Category Archives: Bart the Bear

Cowards Pass On Offer

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.


Bart here, fading in and out of that wintertime state of torpor otherwise known as “hibernation”.

I’m not too excited about being awake right now, but as long as I’m up I do have a bone to pick with the people who make a big fuss over Groundhog Day.

Last year I said Groundhog Day could be lots more interesting if they made a big show out of rousting a bear to find out how much longer winter would last.

But nobody took me up on it. Yesterday came and went without even a knock on my door. Not that I have an actual door in my den, but you know what I mean. I waited around all morning hoping to be poked with a stick, but nothing happened.

Instead, all the coverage went to that stupid groundhog. Again.

So no, I’m not impressed that P. Phil “saw” his shadow. Casting a shadow is not a big deal in the animal world. Almost everybody can do it.

Rousting a bear would be much more active than waking a groundhog, and I can do a lot more than blink my eyes in the February sunshine. But I realize the whole groundhog thing is built around old fashioned “folk wisdom”, so I made up a little rhyme to get the bear rousting tradition going.

Wake a bear while he is nappin’
and he can tell you what will happen.

If he stomps upon your torso
spring’s delayed six weeks or moreso

If he bites you on your shoulder
March and April will be colder

But if he licks you on your face,
Spring will hurry here, apace.

Nice use of “apace,” eh? That’s Shakespeare.  Let’s see a groundhog do that!

Your pal,

Share your favorite bit of folk wisdom.

True North

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.

H’lo, Bart here.

I’m hibernating right now, though we have our alert moments in between all the napping and torpor. So when I’m awake I check the Google news to see what’s going on, which is how I found out there’s new territory opening up to the north of here.

Bear territory, I mean. Polar bears are getting even more polar, real-estate wise. That means new places are opening up – sights I’ve never seen and fresh ursine experiences. Maybe I’m ready for a change. It would feel different to be the New Bear In Town.

Not that I’m all that excited about the prospect of moving north, especially when you see the area being vacated – it’s a lot of water that isn’t frozen as much as it used to be. But where there’s water, you might find some fish. And anyway, if bears to the north of us are moving away, that means bears to the south of us are moving closer.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against southern bears. I just don’t like crowds.

So anyway … when I fall back to sleep in a minute or two, I’ll dream about going on an adventure to find an abandoned Polar Bear Palace in the distant wilds – my new Fortress of Solitude at the top of the world.

But really, I don’t think I’ll ever leave home.


Have you ever been part of a migration?

Bird Brains

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.

H’lo, Bart here.

Well there’s snow again, finally. ‘Bout time, if you ask me. The woods get kinda dull in winter without a white blanket to make things look clean and crisp, like a freshly made bed.

Not that I know anything about freshly made beds. I’ve heard tell, that’s all. I know there’s three kinds of freshly made beds – too hard, too soft and just right.

That’s the legend among us bears, anyhow.

Most of MY freshly made stuff is exactly the kind of junk the new snow covers up, which is why we like it so much. The woods can get kinda messy and gross, to tell the truth. Gotta love the snow.

It’s funny, because people think we bears and all the other wild creatures hate the “bad” weather and run from it and complain about it, just like you do. But for us, the weather is the weather – we never think about changing it or how it could be better than it is.

What’s the point of that? I would shrug right now but I don’t have the shoulders for it.

So anyway, I was surprised to see this article the other day about birds having the power to sense severe storms days in advance and then they take action to avoid them, which makes birds look pretty smart.

Read it if you like. Some people think this means that birds are oh-so sensitive and highly intelligent because they can fly out of the way of bad weather the same way we would if only we could be so smart for even a day.

Some are even saying we should let pigeons do the daily TV forecast – that they would rescue us from harm because of their extreme weather smarts.

Seriously, though, that’s not a good idea. I’ve known a few birds and they’re as dumb as stones. Pigeons especially!  Not really hero material.  Not even close.  Suppose they knew some bad weather was coming – so what?  Birds wouldn’t be able to tell you why, or how they knew, or what to do about it, except “Fly!”

That’s pretty much the whole bird vocabulary right there. “Eat”. “Poop”. “Fly”. Not the kind of TV role model you want for your kids.

I’m not saying birds are worthless. You just have to know who you’re dealing with. Here’s a YouTube video from the Budapest Zoo that pretty much sums it up:

So I’m a creature of the woods. I don’t know what it’s like to be a zoo bear. But if I was set up in a pen like this with tons of visitors every day, I’d want to keep it tidy. Lots of people say this bear was trying to save the bird, but I think she was just trying to get that annoying thing out of her water. They can cause such a ruckus, and for what?

All that squawking, flailing and flapping would make people forget to look at the cool bear!

Your pal,

When have you rescued a wild creature?

Love Storm, Revisited

This morning at 9am, my good friend Mike Pengra will re-air the final broadcast of MPR’s Morning Show on Radio Heartland, recorded 6 years ago today.

Such a kind gesture from a true gentleman!

Since it’s only good manners to bring a gift of some sort to a party, I’ll offer this – a post from the old “Trail Balloon” blog that immediately followed the event itself:

Our final Morning Show broadcast was an immense hug and a truly beautiful thing thanks to the waves of faithful listeners who flowed to and through the Fitzgerald Theater and St. Paul’s Central Presbyterian Church. The size of the crowd went well beyond our expectations (I wagered 1500) and their warmth was off the charts.

As a lifelong radio guy, I am naturally timid at the thought of facing a live audience, but this group was as comfort-inducing as any collection of 2000 souls can be. What’s the opposite of an unruly mob? A ruly mob, I guess. That’s what we had.

All the heartfelt words of praise for our Morning Show were oh so welcome, but after awhile I did begin to feel a bit guilty. Let’s face it, everybody works hard and the stress of day-to-day living takes a toll. Who wouldn’t get a boost from having a gaggle of admiring people asking for your autograph? I confess I enjoyed it tremendously, but I recognize that most people deserve a kind word and a pat on the back for the good things they do every day, and do they get it? You know the answer. Sorry Jim Ed and I hogged the love storm, but what could we do? It blew down the doors.

The Morning Show is done. It was a long-running and sometimes confounding radio gymnastics routine with plenty of twists and flourishes and it looked like we would come crashing down a couple of times, but our spotters were there for us and gravity gave us some lucky breaks, and the dismount was incredible.

When have you finished well?

Anti-Social Media

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone.

H’lo, Bart here.

Last time I posted I saw in the comments (yes, I read the comments!) where it was disputed that a smart phone found by a bear in the woods would be working this long, what with batteries wearing out and stuff.

Screenshot 2014-12-02 at 7.18.31 PM

Good questions. But it’s not that difficult for a bear to get a smart phone whenever he needs one.

As a rule, people should have all their senses turned “on” while out in nature. I am part of nature itself, so I can guarantee that we wild creatures are very alert!

So if you’re a bear who wants a smart phone, all you have to do is wait very patiently for a distracted hiker to come near. Usually it’s pretty easy, especially if they’re hiking & texting. When they’re about 15 feet away, step out of the brush and roar a bit.

The hiker stops.

If you’re a human, all the guide books say at this point you’re supposed to back away slowly, not turning around for fear I’ll chase you. Whatever you do, the books urge, don’t run.

This is good advice, because I do like to chase down running things.

But more and more these days, people don’t do either. Instead, they very slowly lift the phone up to take a picture of me. It kinda makes sense because they’re on social media already. When something special happens to you, you post it right away.

So I wait for them to lift up the phone and fumble for the camera app.

When I sense they’re about to click the shutter, I charge!

Most times, the hiker drops the thing and runs, and ta da! I have a new smart phone!

I also have a pretty cool collection of pictures of me, charging. That’s how it goes in the digital age. Just about anything can be captured and distributed, though I’m guessing those hikers weren’t expecting to share their phones with me in exactly this way.

But then social media has just been declared misleading when it comes to showing your real-life experiences and values.

Big surprise there! I know there are a lot of smart-phone holding bears in these woods who feel their lives are pretty dull when they see all the neat photos I have of the backsides of running hikers!

Yes, my life IS that good! Read it and weep, suckers!

Your pal,

Do you believe what you see, read and hear on social media?

Storm Porn!

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.

Having the Internet through this phone is good, but there’s a lot of stuff I can see on it that doesn’t interest me much.

Like all that human porn.

He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods
He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods

What I see there is animals without much hair, making faces and wriggling around. What’s that about? I mean, I get what it’s about, but when you live in the woods like I do, you can see that kind of thing going on right in front of you with all the deer, raccoon, muskrat, chipmunks, etc. Don’t get me started on those chipmunks. If they spent more time looking for food or sleeping, there wouldn’t be so darn many chipmunks!

But when it comes to reproduction, it’s just not that interesting. The only time I watched for more than a few seconds was when I saw a couple of porcupines getting together because, you just have to wonder about that, y’know?

All the porn on the Internet just says to me you people aren’t really connected in any real way to nature. If you were, basic stuff like that wouldn’t be so fascinating. Maybe you need to get out more. Then it wouldn’t be so simple to get you to look.

But the thing that really gets my attention on the Internet is when there’s a storm coming! Now THAT’s exciting.

When a big snowstorm is building up, I can’t turn away. I mean literally, I can’t turn away because I LIVE IN THE WOODS!

And the worse it’s expected to be, the more I wanna watch, especially if I’m hibernating. Then it’s really fun to snuggle down into my hidey hole so I can see it come in on the radar, looking all mean and colorful and blotchy.

If I’m not hibernating, I go looking for a place to hang out until the worst is over. Note to all you folks who spent yesterday working in the yard – don’t forget to leave your tool sheds unlocked!

Your pal,

How do you prepare for a snowstorm?

Late Night Snack

Today’s post is by Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.

H’lo, Bart here.

Really interested in this story about how bad it is to eat late at night.  Here’s what opened my eyes – I never thought you could decide for yourself when the meals happen.

They say we bears are “opportunistic eaters“, which is another way of saying dinnertime is whenever I can find something, or when unsuspecting food wanders into my reach. And really, how could it be any other way? I have to get lots of fat built up for winter, so I can’t ever afford to say “No”!

Especially if donuts are involved.  

This makes me like a lot of people who seem to swallow things for entertainment, or just because it’s there.

I see the kitchen lights on late at night, and then I see the bedroom and bathroom lights come on even later!  Yes, I’m just out of sight in the trees, and I’m taking notes!

Those notes say your midnight buffets have to stop, because acid reflux is a nasty, should-never-happen type of thing, just like wrong-way drivers or falling down a ladder.

So here’s Bart’s Acid Reflux action plan: Whenever you feel the urge to eat something after dark, you should follow these simple Bart-approved steps:

    1. Find the food that’s tempting you.
    2. Put the food into a loose, open bag.
    3. Set the bag outside, in the yard, at least 50 feet from any structure.
    4. Bring the dog in.
    5. Turn out the light.

If the food is still there in the morning, you were meant to have it, so chow down.   The morning is a much better time to take in large quantities of food anyway!

Or so they tell me.  

If you follow my instructions you’ll feel better and sleep better.  

This is also a great weight-loss strategy!  The reason so many diets fail is this: people expect their excess pounds to just disappear, and that’s unreasonable.  But if you follow the simple steps listed above, you’ll really be donating your future fat to someone else who needs it more!  

It makes perfect sense.  Especially if you live right on the edge of the woods!

Your Pal,

How late is your last meal of the day?