It’s Raining Cats and Dogs (and Chickens and Cows)

Do airborne animal parts suggest an emerging front in the War on Terror?

We have less than three weeks to go before the election, yet not once have the candidates brought up one of the gravest threats facing the nation: falling chicken parts.

A few days ago Cassie Bernard was on a horseback ride in Accomac, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, when she was struck on the head by a foot-long piece of raw chicken that fell from the sky. Fortunately, she was wearing a helmet. But those riding with her said several other chicken parts also rained down, so it is a lucky break indeed that no one got winged.

How could this happen? Explanations vary. A bird expert blames seagulls. Others say it was vultures. The chicken might have been improperly composted, according to officials who think “compost pile” is a synonym for “catapult.” An investigation also has been launched.

Meanwhile, the authorities have arrived at some preliminary conclusions. Drawing on years of expertise – backed by two centuries of scientific progress and the collective wisdom of a regulatory agency with a $150-million budget – the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Milton Johnston feels confident in declaring: “We can’t have pieces of chicken falling out of the sky.”

Granted, that might sound counterintuitive. But it makes sense the more you think about it.

Oh, but if only it were just chicken parts. If only.

In fact, this is but the latest in a string of disturbing animals-falling-from-the-sky incidents. Last year, roughly 2,000 blackbirds – i.e., more than 80 times the standard four-and-twenty – fell dead from the sky onto the streets of Beebe, Ark. Two years ago hundreds of spangled perch rained down out of the clear blue upon Lajamanu, Australia. And in 2007, Linda and Charles Everson were driving through Chelan County, in Washington state, when a 600-pound cow slammed down on the hood of their minivan. Copy desk editors across the nation were delighted (“Holy Cow!” “Udder Disaster!”). The cow’s name was Michele, kid you not.

It’s pretty clear what’s going on here: Al-Qaida terrorists are probing our defenses. Since 9/11, Americans have gone on high alert against airplane hijackings, cyberattacks, suicide bombers, and chemical, biological, or nuclear threats. The terrorists know this. And so, in their diabolical genius, they have devised a new method of mayhem: animal flinging. Once again it appears our public officials are unable to “connect the dots.”

It wasn’t always thus. A little over a decade ago, two swimmers were attacked by sharks in quick succession off Virginia’s coast. The governor at that time, Jim Gilmore, a former Army counterintelligence agent who chaired a congressional panel on counterterrorism, promptly empaneled a task force to study the issue. People made fun of him, but there has been only one shark attack since.

So what are our elected officials doing about falling chicken parts and other WRMDs (Weapons of Rapid Mammallian Descent)? Apparently nothing. The website of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management contains no advice on how to prepare for such eventualities. The federal Department of Homeland Security has nothing, either. Gov. Bob McDonnell has not assembled a task force, and apparently will not. In fact, McDonnell spokesman J. Tucker Martin laughs the whole thing off: “We’re looking into every animal issue facing the Commonwealth,” he says, “including unverified reports of a rollerblading alpaca in the greater Lynchburg area.” Very funny, sir.

This insouciance seems ill-advised, when you reflect that Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where the chicken attack took place, is home to the Wallops Island Spaceport – a crucial piece of the nation’s transportation infrastructure.

What’s more, a highly placed official, speaking on condition of anonymity, notes that back in March a group of high-school students in California used a helium balloon to launch into the eye of a solar radiation storm nothing less than  . . . a rubber chicken. (The rubber chicken is the mascot of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Its name is Camilla, kid you not.)

We’re through the looking-glass here, people.

Let us hope the preceding paragraphs rouse the nation’s guardians from their torpid slumber, and alert them to the peril that threatens the very fabric of our nation. Let us hope.

Yet one cannot avoid the nagging doubt that even now, the warning may come too late. Last month a beaver bit 83-year-old Lillian Peterson in Fairfax. Six days later, according to eyewitness accounts, another beaver approached a group of children at the Hidden Pond Nature Center in Springfield and staggered toward them in a most menacing manner.

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  • ||

    Terrorists? Come on, the obvious explanation is alien abductions.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I can't tell if this article was Hinkle trying, poorly, to make a point about regulatory waste or Hinkle doing a rambling Andy Rooney schtick, poorly.

  • Tonio||

    I think he just likes the swirlies.

  • Tonio||

    chicken parts and other WRMDs (Weapons of Rapid Mammallian Descent)

    Chickens are birds. Birds are not mammals.

    Dammit, Bart, you went months without earning a swirly and now we have to start again.

    Also, the fact that Virginia's Eastern Shore is a major poultry-producing area might be more relevant than the presence of a NASA facility.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    But they have breasts!

  • H. Reardon||

    But no nipples, sadly.

  • entropy||

    That's what the terrorists want you to think.

  • mr simple||

    There's also only one 'l' in mammalian. Although, with the order of the words, it's possible he meant that the chickens were derived from mammals (rapidly).

  • Stormy Dragon||

    As God as my witness, I thought chickens could fly!

  • sarcasmic||

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FXSnoy71Q4

    That was one of my favorite episodes.

  • Marshall Gill||

    "oh, the humanity"

  • sarcasmic||

    "They're hitting the ground like bags of wet cement!"

  • tarran||

    "It was almost like they were organized!"

  • T||

    That is one of the funniest moments ever broadcast.

  • JW||

    Mmmmmm...Bailey....

  • NeonCat||

    +Up and down the dial

  • Marshall Gill||

    From the sound of this article I am assuming that the terrorists now have allies. Frenchies in an English castle are the certain cause of this.

  • alittlesense||

    Pitchez la vache!

  • Marshall Gill||

    I thought it was fetche la vache.

  • T||

    Chicken Little had it wrong. The sky wasn't falling, he was.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    And what's this thing coming toward me very fast? So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like 'Ow', 'Ownge', 'Round', 'Ground'! That's it! Ground! Ha! I wonder if it'll be friends with me? Hello, Ground!

  • T||

    Oh, no. Not again.

  • Loki||

    Meh, it all depends on your frame of reference. If Chicken Little was falling head first and is considered to be in an inertial reference frame then the sky would be falling relative to Chicken Little.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    When will the government save us from pointless two sentence "page two" click throughs?

  • Whiterun Guard||

    There oughtta be a law.

  • $park¥||

    I doubt Sr Hinkle read HyR comments, but on the off chance he does let me offer this bit of advice: Don't attempt humor with the humorless. There are types of humor that some people just won't ever get.

  • H. Reardon||

    This should have been saved for the Friday Funnies.

  • Tonio||

    He is not only humorless in himself, he is the cause of humorlessness in others.

  • Tonio||

    Also, Sister Hinkle??!?

    Kinky.

  • SugarFree||

    Sister Hinkle, oh the time has come
    And you know that you're the only one
    To say "Okay."

  • T||

    Night Ranger? Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last?

  • Romulus Augustus||

    Obviously the remains of Big Bird after the mean GOP/Romney "gutted"
    him.

  • alittlesense||

    This wins the thread!

  • Loki||

    The cow’s name was Michele, kid you not.

    Well, if the first lady hadn't insisted on packing her own 'chute despite having never gone skydiving before maybe that wouldn't have happened.

  • Loki||

    Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where the chicken attack took place, is home to the Wallops Island Spaceport

    Does Wallops have a chicken gun? Maybe someone as a joke fired a chicken into the sky just to see how far they could launch one. My turbine and rocket propulsion professor in college used to work at a facility that, among other things, tested jet engines for bird strike resistance. The facility was at the top of a hill and apparently they would sometimes fire the chicken gun at approaching cars coming up the hill. For some strange reason they eventually modified the gun so that it was fixed in place. I wonder why?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Why would they have needed it to be positionable in the first place? That's not very scientific.

  • SugarFree||

    Government has never defended us against Fortean events, despite years of investigating them. The X-Files wasn't a documentary, people.

  • Harvard||

    Wake me when it starts raining pussies.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    A. Barton Hinkle Heimer Schmidt

  • Agammamon||

    If I see one more article with less than a paragraph onthe second page I'm going to think really bad thoughts towards you and the editors.

    My normal thoughts are unpleasant enough, you really wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of the bad ones.

  • pradaguccioutlet@gmail.co||

    It’s a tie game, folks: With the first of three presidential debates down and the vice presidential sideshow over, the two men at the top of the major party tickets will face off once again in yet another 90 minute debate, but putting on a carefully scripted show. cheap nfl jerseys positions. If either candidate started talking a good libertarian talk, even if only on a few subjects, they wouldn't ever be trusted this late in the game. And the game here is not just this general election but the whole of their political careers.

  • pradaguccioutlet@gmail.co||

    Let us hope the preceding paragraphs rouse the nation’s guardians from their torpid slumber, and alert them to the peril that threatens the very fabric of our nation. Let us hope. This insouciance seems ill-advised, when you reflect that Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where the chicken attack took place, is home to the Wallops Island Spaceport – a crucial piece of the nation’s transportation infrastructurecheap nfl jerseys positions. I can't tell if this article was Hinkle trying, poorly, to make a point about regulatory waste or Hinkle doing a rambling Andy Rooney schtick, poorly.

  • putting4par||

    Given the way man has (in general) treated animals, I sincerely hope this is a well orchestrated conspiracy by the animal kingdom to get some measure of revenge. Tippi Hedren had it coming!

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