G. P. Bear goes to Washington: part 5

By Bill Steigerwald

“Voyage of the Polar Bears”

Of all the animals the Inuit traditionally hunted, Nanuk, the polar bear, was the most prized. Native hunters considered Nanuk to be wise, powerful, and “almost a man.” Some called the bear “the great lonely roamer.” Many tribes told legends of strange polar-bear men that lived in igloos. These bears walked upright, just like men, and were able to talk. Natives believed they shed their skins in the privacy of their homes.

– Polar Bears International


For their historic voyage to Washington, Grandpa carefully chose a special iceberg from among the hundreds slowly drifting past them on the Greenland Sea. Almost 500 feet long, and with two pointed peaks towering 200 feet above the water like sails, it looked like a clipper ship made of blue glass.

While Mother and Junior dug a new cave and fixed it up with some IKEA furniture they found at the town dump, Grandpa and Cousin Eddie hooked up a satellite dish, a small color TV set and a table lamp to a Honda power generator.

“God bless ExxonMobil,” Grandpa said with a wicked laugh as he lugged two 10-gallon cans of gasoline onto the iceberg. “Solar panels don’t work too well when the sun doesn’t come up five months of the year, do they, Junior?”

Mother packed books for Junior’s home-schooling sessions and her special sewing project, which she kept in the old brown suitcase she used when she and Grandpa immigrated to Greenland from Alaska in 1994.

Grandpa brought his ancient nautical charts, a tattered copy of Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose” and a 1964 National Geographic tourist map of Washington, D.C., which had a big red circle drawn around the U.S. Capitol Building. Most important, he brought a letter he had received from Washington.

Addressed to “Mr. G.P. Bear,” it was his ticket to the polar bear hearings being held Dec. 18 by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works:

G.P. Bear

Tasiilaq, East Greenland


Dear Mr. Bear,

We are pleased to accept your generous offer to appear as an expert witness at our Dec. 18 hearing to decide whether polar bears should be placed on the Endangered Species list. As someone who has lived among polar bears and studied them for 50 years, your credentials are most impressive. We look forward to hearing what you have to say about these magnificent creatures and we hope it will help us craft legislation that will save arsus maritimus from certain extinction from the effects of man-made global warming.

Yours truly,

Al Franken,

U.S. Senator, Minnesota

For the next two months, Grandpa’s magical iceberg traveled faster than any had ever traveled before or since. Exactly as Grandpa planned, it sped south and met up with the swift Labrador Current, which swung it around the Island of Newfoundland, through the treacherous Grand Banks and down into the North Atlantic.

As Grandpa predicted, it was the coldest, most ferocious winter in North America in 1,000 years. By Thanksgiving the entire East Coast was locked in a brutal cold spell. For the first time since 1776, the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay were frozen solid.

The Labrador Current carried their shrunken iceberg to within 50 miles of land. Then, putting mother’s old suitcase in a garbage bag, the bears slipped into the sea and swam until they reached the thick ice covering Chesapeake Bay.

“Just like home,” Grandpa said, climbing onto the ice and surveying the vast frozen wasteland.

The weather in Washington was perfect for polar bears. A vicious Arctic air mass had been parked over the city for weeks, pounding it with a series of blizzards that closed most government offices. Not even Al Roker could explain its mysterious origins.

Twenty-four hours later, as the three polar bears walked up the middle of the frozen Potomac River, they saw the Washington Monument shining in the distance. Grandpa smiled. “We’ve made it, kids. Now comes the hard part – getting the politicians in this town to do the right thing.”

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
December 29, 2009 10:05 pm

Did Grandpa remember to bring the laptop and the Proxima?
If he doesn’t have a grabber of a Powerpoint slide show, the Congers will doze off…

December 29, 2009 10:20 pm

I’m waiting for the part where they reach the Capitol building and Grand Papa Bear has to explain to the kids that it’s just like a giant Crab: the soft tasty part is on the inside and once you get past the shell it’s all ‘easy’… ;-0

December 30, 2009 12:27 am

Love the series. 🙂
“…just like a giant Crab…”

December 30, 2009 4:07 am

Heh. Waiting eagerly for the next installment!

December 30, 2009 6:08 am

“…a tattered copy of Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose” …”

December 30, 2009 6:14 am

So Grandpa is passing himself off as a “Mr Bear” who has lived with polar bears for 50 years. What do you think is going to happen when the humans discover that Mr Bear is in fact – a bear!

December 30, 2009 6:20 am

I would be entirely content if Part 5 were the final part. This stuff is vagely amusing, but I’m not at all sure whether it enhances the reputation of this great and revered web site.

Kevin Q
December 30, 2009 6:53 am

This begs for a you-tube video…perhaps a collaboration with Minnesotans 4 Global Warming?! Then it will go viral!

December 30, 2009 8:40 am

I wonder if GP will get heartburn after eating al frankenswine?

DJ Meredith
December 30, 2009 9:18 am

But can a real bear be any match for ManBearPig?? So far, in the actual reality-meets-science fiction, science fiction has been winning.

December 30, 2009 10:25 am

MartinW (06:20:15) :
I would be entirely content if Part 5 were the final part. This stuff is vagely amusing, but I’m not at all sure whether it enhances the reputation of this great and revered web site.
I’m sorry Martin, but you sound so much like a troll it’s hard to imagine that you aren’t one. You don’t have to read the P.B series. You are not in any position to tell the operator of a gigantically successful blog how to do it, etc.. If you are not a troll, for god’s sake try to enlarge your perspective. This blog does not exist for you, or for me alone. Are you completely done with learning?

December 30, 2009 10:30 am

Plus, this Series seems to be “warming up”. I wonder if Martin even knows who Milton Freidman is?

December 30, 2009 11:10 am

Love the GP Bear story, and I was given my free bus pass years ago!
Some people don’t know the valuable bits of childhood which should NEVER be discarded!

December 30, 2009 12:34 pm

What are the Polar bears going to do when they get inside the “American houses of parliament”?? Eat the politicians?? (Let’s hope so).
I have to say, i don’t get this bear story at all, doesn’t fit in with the rest of this excellent site.

December 30, 2009 12:36 pm

To use an analogy for another take on the Bear Series, if you listen to music you find many times that a piece might start off kind of slow or deceptive, then start to work some other things in, then do something odd or dramatic, or go back to being pacific, then even reach a kind of climax, or not, etc.. So even on that level, What is the problem here! with the Bear Series? It’s a story, for chris’ sake. One from which people can even learn, or not. Who cares if some people don’t like it or think it is perhaps useless background? I don’t, fwiw.
Hey, but maybe I’m going nuts from even bothering to comment on what I think should otherwise be obvious? Well, if so, I’m going to just blame it on AGW, which might have caused me some extra “cabin fever” by means of its current manifestation.

Daniel M
December 30, 2009 12:54 pm

“God bless ExxonMobil,” Grandpa said with a wicked laugh as he lugged two 10-gallon cans of gasoline onto the iceberg.
The story would have been better if it had read:
“God bless the Catlin Expedition,” Grandapa said with a wicked laugh as he rolled the drum of previously abandoned fuel onto the iceberg. “Don’t worry – I’m leaving you with plenty!”

December 30, 2009 1:07 pm

It may be a cultural thing, but this website is usually excellent in its selective choice of good articles on the global warming debate. The polar bear story seems to me to be very out of character with the usual excellent Watts Up With That material. I understand the irony of a polar bear travelling to make his point when the polar bear is used as the poster child for nature threatened by man’s evil ways etc etc, and I understand that it is meant to be funny. But the humor doesn’t seem to translate to this side of the Atlantic for me, and as a story it seems weak and not deserving of a several part series column space in this otherwise excellent blog.
Yes, you can publish what you want but please don’t try and stifle debate on the published content! 😉 There is no consensus here, no hiding of the decline. There are some of us that will groan and wince when we see “polar bear goes to see the president part XIV”. And no doubt some that will love the story – good luck to all.

December 30, 2009 1:09 pm

He could have taken a copy of this with him…..
Canadian Polar Bears Not ‘Endangered’ by Gregory Murphy
The polar bear has managed to survive and thrive for about
250,000 years, through both an Ice Age, and the last Interglacial
period (130,000 years ago), when there was virtually no
ice at the North Pole. But on May 15, the U.S. Department of
the Interior, bowing to Al Gore’s “save the polar bear” mania,
ruled that this resilient species is now officially “endangered.”

December 30, 2009 4:48 pm

Thanks to both Bill and Anthony for the series. It has been funny and entertaining and each day I find myself looking forward to the next installment. Humor is a great way to deliver a message.
Have a happy and (hopefully) prosperous New Year all.

December 31, 2009 12:06 am

DJ Meredith (09:18:34) :
So far, in the actual reality-meets-science fiction, science fiction has been winning.
That’s in Grandpa’s favor, since it appears that Al Franken has mistaken him for Greg Bear, the prolific sci-fi author…

December 31, 2009 6:01 am

“What is the problem here! with the Bear Series? It’s a story, for chris’ sake.”
Maybe some readers prefer their stories a la John Grisham. They would prefer something along the lines of a young ambitiously hungry polar bear is working for WWF to help protect their species. By some quirk of fate he realises the WWF is fronting a gigantic worldwide fraud headed by the duplicitous Al Gore. After uncovering secret documents of a conspiracy he is forced to flee for his life from the hit men of WWF, racing to get the evidence to the FBI before the global powers sign the treaty of the world government.
Something like that.

%d bloggers like this: