Art and commentary by Kimberly Harris

Archive for October, 2011

Rescued Penguins Sporting Fashionable New Sweaters

Three penguins are keeping warm with their new sweaters

Three proud penguins show off their colorful new knitted sweaters

On October 5, 2011, the 800-foot long container ship Rena struck the Astrolabe reef off New Zealand’s Port of Tauranga, causing 88 containers to fall into the sea and the release of a fuel oil spill estimated at 360 metric tons. Cleanup crews have recovered much of the oil, but at least a thousand seabirds have been killed.

It is hard to conceive how a tragedy of this magnitude could possibly occur, given that all these reefs are charted and stored in the maps contained in modern GPS systems.

Rescuers are cleaning the birds with canola oil to remove the fuel oil. Then, they are cleansed with detergent. Each bird cleaning requires about 250 gallons of water and takes about a half hour. This process eliminates the natural oils in the birds’ feathers, which makes them vulnerable to hypothermia.

A knitting shop called The Yarn Kitchen put out an appeal for knitters worldwide to make tiny sweaters for the little blue penguins most affected by the spill. Volunteers from far and wide responded to the call and produced a deluge of colorful sweaters, some of them embellished with environmental messages. The sweaters serve a dual purpose – to keep the birds warm until their natural oils are replenished, but more importantly, they prevent the birds from preening themselves and ingesting toxic oil residues.

All was not bad news for the birds. Seagulls were delighted when a broken container full of partially cooked hamburgers washed up on the shores of the Bay of Plenty and disgorged its contents onto the beach.

Illustration by Kim Harris
Story by Don Rudisuhle

The World Will be Destroyed by Fire Today!

A green space alien in a chef’s uniform is sautéing the Earth

A seasoned extraterrestrial chef sautés the Earth in fulfillment of the prophesies of doomsday preacher Harold Camping

Well, there was no evidence of a widespread rapture event on May 21, 2011 and the dead didn’t clamber out of their graves and float skyward. This came as a shock to those followers of doomsday preacher Harold Camping who had quit their jobs, sold all their possessions and maxed out their credit cards in anticipation of their imminent demise. According to Camping, the rapture did actually occur, but it was a stealthy rapture that passed unnoticed by the faithful and nonbelievers alike. Now, Camping asserts that the world will end on October 21, 2011, when it will be destroyed by fire.

This time there will be no billboards, pamphlets or $100 million advertising outreach campaigns to the public. Camping does not believe that the world will end in a flash and a puff of smoke. Rather, he thinks that the end will arrive very, very quietly. However, Camping had no idea that world’s destiny was to slowly simmer over low heat until crispy and then be briefly flambéed with a celestial cognac for the dining pleasure of a group of hungry extraterrestrial beings.

So folks, cancel all your appointments and break out that good bottle of wine that you have secreted away in the cellar. You won’t be needing it for the holidays, so you had better enjoy it today before global warming takes on an altogether new meaning.

In any event, if this one doesn’t pan out, there is always the December 21, 2012 apocalypse predicted by the Mayan calendar that will be triggered by the alignment of the planets and presided over by the Aztec feathered serpent deity Quetzalcoatl.

Illustration by Kim Harris
Story by Don Rudisuhle

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