The Magnificence of Prairie Dogs

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Hi folks. Since I’ve been busy with a number of projects lately, I’m just going to drop a short and silly observational piece this week. Hopefully it will make a few of you smile.

Several years ago on a family road trip to Rapid City, South Dakota, I teased my wife about her deep interest and enthusiasm in a local exhibit called “Prairie Dog Town.” It was part of the Reptile Gardens zoo attraction, which a few of you have probably been to. For weeks she had been looking forward to sticking her head up through a bubble in the dirt for an exceptionally close look at the little fellas.

Frankly, I didn’t understand the appeal. I’d always thought prairie dogs were kind of cute and all, but growing up in Colorado, I had become pretty desensitized to the cuteness. I mean, the animals all over the place out here. Heck, large communities of prairie dogs reside less than a mile from our house.

Nonetheless, she was pumped up about Prairie Dog Town, and was let down when the weather that day kept most of the exhibit’s occupants in their burrows.

(Our son still liked it, though.)

But all these years later, I’ve come to realize that my wife was right. Prairie dogs are freakin’ awesome!

I’ve lived in Colorado (almost) all of my life, and as I grow older I find myself forming a deeper appreciation for the state’s natural gifts… from the terrain, to the climate, to the wildlife. I love that I can drive an hour west into the mountains to see herds of elk, bighorn sheep, and moose. I love that I can walk into my backyard, and for about three weeks during the summer see fireflies. And I love that I can head out for a stroll near my home and enjoy the antics of prairie dogs (the world’s greatest ground squirrels).

I see them most days. I go for regular walks at an open-space prairie area about five miles from my house. Whenever I drive down the long, little-used rural road to get to the parking lot, dozens of prairie dogs dart back and forth across the cracked pavement in front of me. They’re like furry, pint-sized crew members of the Starship Enterprise racing to their stations during a Romulan attack. I have no idea what duties they’re performing on the opposite side of the road (prior to my approach sounding the alarm), but watching the bottom-heavy critters scramble with their hind legs —seemingly set a different speed than their front — is pure entertainment to me.

Once I’m on the trail, hundreds of their dirt mounds decorate the terrain around me like impact craters on the Moon. Some of the prairie dogs skedaddle from one hole the another, while others stand shoulder to shoulder and ponder life like Hank Hill and his crew.

The designated chirpers among them hover above their holes, tensely warning the community of my approach. Their tails flap excitedly until I get too close for comfort, and then they drop into their burrows lickety-split, in almost cartoon fashion.

What’s not to love about this animal?

Okay, I get that real estate developers don’t exactly love them, but — hey — that’s their problem.

Prairie dogs, my friends, rule.

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Is there an animal you think is underrated? Tell me about it in an email or the comment section below.

The Hullabaloo

Guess what? I started a new video-interview series over on BernardGoldberg.com this week. It’s called The Daly Express, and I’ll be talking to smart folks about political and cultural issues. My first guest was writer, speaker, and standup comedian(!), Robert George. I talked to Robert about a piece he recently wrote on Kamala Harris and DEI.

Below is a preview of our discussion. You can watch the full episode here, or listen to it on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

The Nerdom Was Good

I wrote last week about my family’s impending trip to the Denver Fan Expo. We were there Friday afternoon and most of Saturday, and it was a good time.

And yes, I did get to meet iconic badass, Keith David. In addition to a very well-attended interview and Q&A, he was gracious (or perhaps confused) enough to indulge a “They Live” pose request with my son.

We also got our picture snapped with a very friendly (and not at all Homelander-like) Antony Starr. The man’s the best “bad guy” on television.

And my daughter and her friend presented their cosplay stylings to the vertically comparable actress, Ella Purnell (Yellowjackets and Fallout).

On a side note, 79-year-old actor Barry Bostwick was among the many celebrities in attendance, and he was selling autographed underwear for $60 a pair. I’m not sure there was much of a demand for it, but I suppose there’s something to be said on that front for creative minds and capitalism.

Big Sale!

(It ends Wednesday night.)

For a limited time, my award-winning novel “Safeguard” is part of a 40% off paperback sale through my publisher’s distributor, IPG. Just enter the “Safeguard40” coupon code (at checkout time) on the IPG website to get your savings!

Random Thought

Obligatory Dog Shot

Smile!

Catch Up on the Sean Coleman Thrillers

All of my Sean Coleman Thriller novels can be purchased through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Books-A-Million, and wherever else books are sold.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading today’s Daly Grind.

Want to drop me a line? You can email me at johndalybooks@hotmail.com, and also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and now Threads! If you haven’t subscribed to this newsletter yet, please click on the “Subscribe now” button below. Doing so will get these posts emailed directly to you.

Also, if you’re not caught up on my Sean Coleman Thrillers, you can pick the entire series up at a great price on Amazon. And if you’re interested in signed, personalized copies of my books, you can order them directly from my website.

Take care. And I’ll talk to you soon!

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