The Fear of Monkeys - The Best E-Zine on the Web for Politically Conscious WritingGursky's Spectral Tarsier - Issue Thirty-Three
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Gursky's Spectral Tarsier  from Christiano Artuso The Gursky's Spectral Tarsier is a species endemic to the Indonesian islands of Southeast Asia. Although their fossil relatives have been found in Asia, Europe, North America, and Africa, modern tarsiers are restricted to Pulau Peleng, and Pulau Selajar, although most live on the northern peninsula of Sulawesi Island where they have likely lived for more than 40 million years. Tarsiers evolved from a diurnal, or daytime-dwelling, ancestor, splitting from other monkeys and apes around the time the dinosaurs died out, about 64.2 to 58.4 million years ago. They are found in primary and secondary rainforests, though they prefer secondary growth forests. Their habitat ranges from the lowland evergreen rainforest near sea level to the lower montane rainforest up to 1500 m, although they have also been found in mangroves and scrub forest. These tiny tree-dwellers are among the smallest known primates, and have the biggest eyes of any mammal relative to their body weight. Their head-body length ranges from 9.5 to 14 cm and tail length ranges from 20 to 26 cm, and their eyes are larger than their brain. They have the most acute night vision of all primates, and even if their head is immobile due to large eye size, this is compensated for by the ability to rotate the head 180 degrees. The gestation period is approximately 6 months, and births also usually occur during May or November. Females give birth to a single offspring, which is born fully furred and with its eyes open. Newborns are precocial and are able to climb at just one day of age. Both crepuscular and nocturnal, they are very active throughout the night. At dusk, they travel for about 30 minutes until they find a forage site. They move through the trees and can leap more than 40 times the length of their body. As morning approaches, spectral tarsiers sing as they return to their sleeping sites, either as a duet with their mate or in a family chorus. These songs signal to neighboring groups that a territory is occupied. They mark their territories with urine and glandular secretions. They eat live animals, such as flying insects such as moths, locusts, beetles and cicadas. They occasionally eat small vertebrates, such as lizards or bats. Once a prey item is targeted, a tarsier ambushes its prey with a sudden lunge, grasps it with its long, slender fingers, and bites to kill it. The tarsier then returns to its perch to consume its prey. This form of ambush hunting requires excellent hand-eye coordination. Tarsiers can eat 10% of their own body weight every 24 hours, and they drink water several times throughout the night. Potential predators of spectral tarsiers include arboreal snakes, civets, monitor lizards, humans, owls and other raptors, and feral cats. If a predator, particularly a snake, is identified, they emit an alarm call. This initiates mobbing behavior, in which numerous tarsiers gather and approach the predator as a group, screaming, lunging, and even biting. Mob groups usually consist of adult males from neighboring groups, which is interesting as most spectral tarsier social groups only contain one territorial adult male. This grouping by neighboring males suggests some form of cooperation among males during predator mobbing. The species is still considered vulnerable due to habitat destruction caused by logging. Logging reduces tarsier densities through the destruction of preferred sleeping sites such as strangler fig trees. Strangler figs are removed from human-utilized forests because they are seen as a threat to other commercially valuable trees. This bleak situation indicates that some primate species in Sulawesi may go extinct before they have even been identified.


The Curse of Collusion


B. Craig Grafton

The High Commissioner of baseball was one Cooey Mountaintop Boone. She was a delicate dove of a damsel who sat alone as god of the wonderful world of baseball, America's most treasured, beloved, holy, and hallowed past time. It was her job to decide what was in the best interests of baseball whenever any controversy came up so that baseball would not soil itself. For as many claimed, she was a dove of a woman and could not allow herself or baseball to be soiled. Today such a controversy was before her. The Cubans had colluded and thrown the world series. In other words they rigged it. Shades of 1919 only worse, much much worse, because this time politics were involved.

Her decision had long been a foregone conclusion of collusion as far as her Her Eminence was concerned. Only the formality of an impartial hearing remained in order to show the world how fair and just she was in dealing with such a travesty.

The culprit here was one Duriel Muriel a Cuban national playing for Houston, and yes Houston did have a problem. It seems that Senor Muriel made an insensitive gesture by slanting both his eyes with his fingers and then pointing to one Yu No Who the opposing pitcher who was of Korean descent. (Well at least we knew Who wasn't on first).

He was represented at this hearing by one Flea Bailey an attorney who volunteered his services wherever he saw an injustice being done anywhere in the world like it was now. This crazed crusader blood-sucker of justice knew that his client was doomed and didn't stand a politician's chance at Heaven of having a fair hearing. His only defense was to jihad all this and take down as much of baseball with him as possible. Or in other, more American words that is, take as many of the enemy to Hell with him like they did at the Alamo while trying not to come out looking as bad as Custer did at Little Bighorn.

Ms Boone was both prosecutor and judge here and she was out for bear. "Take the stand, Senor Muriel por favor," she growled at him in her best Spanish accent.

Senor Muriel took the stand. The ritual began.

"Well?" she roared to the doomed accused.

"Well, what?" Muriel meekly responded. Attorney Bailey had coached him in acting meekly.

"Well, what do you have to say for yourself?"

"There was something in my eyes and I was just rubbing my eyes that's all."

"Don't pitch me that bull. Everyone knows that was a very insensitive thing for you to do. Don't you know that it's against the law in this country to be insensitive, offend people, and hurt people's feelings. You're not in Cuba anymore, Senor Muriel, where you communist people have no feelings for each other like we do here in America."

Muriel bowed his head in fake shame shaking it from side to side soulfully. Bailey gave him a two-thumbs-up review.

"You got anything you want to ask him Mr. Bailey?"

"Yes, Your Eminence."

"Well, make it quick then."

Mr. Bailey began his kamikaze defense.

"After you rubbed your eyes you weren't pointing to the pitcher then, were you?"

"No, I was not."

"Who then?"

"Who then was I pointing to?"

"Yah who?


"No who."

"Well, it wasn't Who. That's who."

"Who was it then?"

"Enough with the schtick already," bellowed Her Correctness.

"It was Israel Ishmael."

"Israel Ishmael the Cuban outfielder for the Trolley Dodgers. Is that who you were pointing to?" The Trolley Dodgers was the original name of this team that bleeds blue.


"And why?"

"No, I wasn't pointing to Senor Why. He's not Cuban." Duriel was referring to Bill Why the second base guy of the Trolley Dodgers. "I was letting Israel know I had put the Voodoo Cuban Curveball Curse on his team."

"What?" asked a flabbergasted attorney Bailey taken back in fake shock while putting his hand over his heart, opening his mouth, and bugging out his eyes. "What?" he repeated again in an over emoted likewise astonished response. The bad acting award was his for the taking.

"Watt? I didn't do it to Senor Jay Jay Watt." The Jay Jay came out Hay Hay in Spanish. No one dared laugh though for fear of offending the entire Hispanic culture. Jay Jay Watt was the Trolley Dodgers first baseman. (When someone asked who's on first, the answer was of course, Watt's his name.)

"Forget the who, why, and what of it Duriel, and just tell us how come you did it."

"I was just following orders. That's all," he said in his best non German accented voice.

"Orders from your man in Havana?"

"Yes, from our man in Havana."

"You mean your and Israel's man in Havana?"


"And when you were making all those signs to him like touching your nose, you cap, your ear, crossing your chest, they weren't baseball signals like a manager or base coach makes were they?

"No. They were my orders in code."

"And what exactly were you signaling him?"

"I told him that I had put the Voodoo Cuban Curveball Curse on them as ordered and that he too should do likewise just to make sure the curse worked. And he signaled back to me that he already done so."

"So," continued attorney Bailey excitedly, "one could say that you two, yourself and Israel Ismael, were in cahoots, or cahoosion, or collusion to fix the game then. Is that correct?"

"Yes, one could say that if one wanted to say that," answered Duriel as he bowed his head again in fake shame laying it on the chopping block of justice.

The room went deathly silent.

"Your Eminence I hereby hand you a dossier that I have composed," exclaimed attorney Bailey, and he had in fact himself composed it, "of all the Cuban infiltration into baseball from the minor leagues all the way up to the majors. How the Cubans have infiltrated the minor league farm system and how they plan to take over Major League Baseball and socialize it or should I say communize it. Why there are things in here you wouldn't believe." And that was true. There were things in there designed to rock and shock and blow up the baseball world. Some of that stuff that he made up was truly unbelievable, but now that politics had been injected, like it was into everything else in this country today, the unbelievable became the believable.

Commissioner Boone began thumbing through this top, self-created, secret document. Her jaw dropped. Her eyes widened as she read a couple more pages and then announced, "We'll take a break now while I review this in my office and then I'll come back and give you my decision."

Bailey let out a sigh of relief and patted his client on the shoulder.

Shortly thereafter Her Eminence herself seated herself upon her throne and she herself announced her ruling.

"As all of you know it is my job here to rule in favor of the best interest of baseball. Baseball is and always has been holy in this great country of ours, the country of its origin, the Mecca of its sacred birth. The U. S. Supreme Court has ruled many many years ago that baseball is exempt from the antitrust laws and that baseball is a game and not a business. Therefore, baseball is free to make its own rules and regulations. So based on that foundation I rule, and again all in the best interests of baseball, as follows:

First: I order the dossier of Attorney Bailey be impounded and sealed until such time as it may be ruled otherwise by myself or my successor."

She could not have the contents revealed as it was much too much a hot of a political potato to serve the press. Baseball would implode if the contents became known to the public.

"I am doing this because I find collusion or cahoosion, take your pick, here between the Cuban baseball players and the Cuban government to monopolize and take control of baseball, in other words a conspiracy probably spawned by the Russians. Therefore, I further order Mr. Bailey to turn over the entire contents of his office and his computer immediately to Major League Baseball and place him, his client, and Israel Ishmael under a gag order not to talk about all this on pain of a lifetime banishment from baseball.

Second: I am ordering Senors Muriel and Ishmael to remove the Voodoo Cuban Curveball Curse from baseball instanter, that's a legal term that means right now, again on the pain of a lifetime banishment from baseball if they don't do so. Once this is done they can remain in baseball subject to the terms and conditions of a parole that I will later harshly impose upon them.

Third: I am issuing a travel ban on all Cubans either coming into or going out of this country until further order. Furthermore, I am extending it to any Venezuelans also because of all the Venezuelan players in the league as I find that their government is in cahoots with Cuba.

Fourth: I am ordering a Congressional Committee be impaneled and chosen by myself to get to the bottom of all this." The crud had already risen to the top. The Committee would skim it all off though.

"Fifth: As to Senor Muriel's insensitivity to Papa San Who." The Commissioner was a little confused on the use of the term papasan. "I am ruling that even if I believe the Defendant's cockeyed concocted story about just rubbing his eyes, I still find that he was grossly negligent in doing so and therefore I assess him a fine equal to one tenth of his annual salary to be paid instanter to Major League Baseball." She wasn't sure just exactly what that number was but she knew it had to be in the tens of thousands of dollars. She figured that since most churches in this country wanted a tenth of your income that this figure had to be fair.

"This is my ruling. So be it," she decreed. "This matter is hereby adjourned."

Attorney Bailey slapped his client on the back and smirked.

"Gracias," said Duriel thankful that he hadn't been deported or sent to Guantanamo.

"De nada," said Bailey. Attorney Bailey had done all this pro bono but the publicity from it was worth a fortune to him in future fees. His threat of a jihad defense to blow up baseball was a success thanks to the confusion of collusion or cahoosion or contusion or whatever it was called.

Who says terrorism doesn't work? Not Who, that's who. (Sorry couldn't resist.)

B. Craig Grafton is a retired attorney. His books, An Old West Texas Attorney and the 8:10 to Chicago and An Old West Texas Attorney: The Apache Custody Case, The Fort Davis Black Sox Scandal, Finding Jesus, Texas Roulette, and Cowhide have been published by Outlaws Publishing under his pen name Bryan Grafton and are available on Amazon.


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