Saturday, November 18, 2017

Angels And Pinheads

I took some philosophy courses in college. They were fun. There you are, just you and your noodle, batting stuff around. I doubt I'd do as well in philosophy now. My ability to concentrate took off for the corner store years ago and hasn't come back. Ask me how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and I'll start batting away, but my racket's come unstrung.

It's likely that wasn't meant to be a serious question anyway. These days it's used to make fun of people wasting time on ridiculously trivial points when there are more important things to think about. Like debating who is the ickiest Democrat of them all when the Republicans are busy burning up the entire planet. But in medieval times some people really did wonder about that angel thing. It was a way of considering the nature of angels, and whether they occupied any space at all. There is some consensus that they do not have a physical nature even though there are all those paintings suggesting otherwise. And that they're mostly men and chubby babies. What they are instead, it is said, are pure intelligences, and as such any number of them might be able to share a pinhead.

Which is a little silly. Let's face it: intelligences are not all equal. Some are stronger than others. Why, some intelligences could knock other intelligences right off the pin and take their lunch money. So I would posit that not all the available angels are going to dance on the same pin.

Moreover, I don't think any of them do. If there were angels on my pins, my sewing would go smoother. This, of course, assumes that any given angel would have some interest in how my quilts turn out, and it's entirely likely that they aren't giving it any thought at all. In general, I don't look to angels for comfort or advice. I can see how somebody might, but I'm too much of an introvert. You can wish for heavenly guidance all day long, but at some point you're going to have to do the dishes yourself.

So I haven't spent too much time on the angel density issue. I'm more interested in how many maggots can dance on the eyeball of a deceased rodent. This is of immediate importance to me, because we had a monster hatch of flies here last week. One day, no flies; next day, bazillion flies. Right now there are flies every the hell where around here. There's some evidence they came up from the basement. We didn't smell anything, but there might be a dead mouse behind the walls where we can't see it, and it got some flies all sexed up. With any luck, all the resulting maggots started life at the same time and will also drop dead around the same time. We've been hurrying up that process, but we're getting Swatter's Elbow. So that's why I'd like to know how many critters we're dealing with. Because I'm assuming this is all one litter.

The adult fly, it says here, lives for about 28 days, or as long as a standard uterine lining. We should see a significant decline in a month, then, assuming they don't get busy again. I can handle a month.

The angels don't creep me out as much, even though, according to the literature, they demonstrate some serious stalkerish qualities. They can get up on that pinhead and dance all they want, and I won't object no matter how many of them there are. I figure one good Flying Spaghetti Monster could cream the whole crew.

29 comments:

  1. I don't care how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. What I want to know is where they hang the disco ball.

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  2. Several years ago, in another house, in the country, I had the fly problem.......and what I found out was that it pays to study the life cycle of the fly....and why they suddenly come out in force....the truth is they hatched somewhere in your house just waiting for the right time. So I started fumigating the attic once every year, and they were gone. Now I'm dealing with box elder bugs, and though they are quite friendly and innocuous, I don't like them crawling around.

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    1. We don't have box elder bugs here, but I can't think why. They always seemed kind of dopey. If natty.

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    2. We had them, or something that looks just like them, that hung out on our box elder bushes in Oregon city. (And in the house, drat their little souls.)
      My buggy nemesis is the brown marmorated stink bug.

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    3. A box elder bug infestation is how I changed from being a somewhat proper person into a farmer.
      Honest truth.

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  3. On a chilly morning while the flys are slow, you can walk around slowly with a hand held vacuum and slurp up hundreds!!

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    1. Hey, that sounds like fun! As it is, Dave is manning the flyswatter rather too often and I keep thinking a bird's run into our windows.

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  4. Sorry my previous comment was not edited so I shall try again.
    We had a weekend farm and kept heat down during our absence. In the fall of our first year we would arrive to find huge clusters of flies especially in two older uostairs bedrooms but only after our laziness the first in cleaning them right away did we learn they were not dead and huddle together in clusters for comfort to survive. Cluster flies enter via attics to keep warm. Anyway we turned up the heat and the critters all became very active buzzing around like drunks driving us mad.
    On our following visits we suckef them or swept them out of the house before turning the heat on . Whew!
    Then the following August we had the attic sprayed . It made a huge difference but revealed a new issue. We had a large group of barn bats in the older attic that needed attention.
    Sadly bats carry a germ that can cause serious respiratory disease if one is in contact with their poop.
    Hope you find where your critters got in.

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    1. Oh dear! I would consider it a great honor to be a bat host. Seems like it would take care of your fly situation, too. We used to see bats looping around at dusk rather often but haven't in years.

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    2. Seems all sorts of flying critters are lower in population except ticks and mosquitos

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  5. I absolutely love the way you write!!

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    1. Yay! Now let's all think good thoughts that my agent will be able to persuade one of the Big Editors to publish my other books.

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  6. It really depends on the size of the pin. Or perhaps the size of the Angels. I like the idea of guardian Angels watching over us.
    Good luck with those flies. I'd be reaching for the fast-knockdown spray, filling the room with a cloud of it, then shutting the door until the last fly drops dead.Then sweep up the carcasses and air out the room. No chance of any flying hanky-panky that way.

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    1. Have you read much about angels? They can be kind of dangerous. I think I'll chart my own course.

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  7. If they exist at all I expect there are simply motes of cosmic dust.Like the motes we'll become when we shuffle off this mortal coil.
    In fact, no one has ever convincingly explained the size, weight, dimensions of said coil. Maybe I'll give that a little thought.Once I've finished hoovering-up all the ants...

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    1. Every time I try to visualize a mortal coil, it looks kind of like a turd. I suppose it's supposed to look like a snakeskin. Oh bother, do I need to look this up?

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    2. Well, if go via the Google route you wont be much wiser! It's just a poetic device (thanks, Shakespeare) and not any physicak property having shape or weight. Turd is probably not a bad view!

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  8. As the weather cools, we get wasps in the house. Everyone wants to be warm

    Another great post. I especially love this: "You can wish for heavenly guidance all day long, but at some point you're going to have to do the dishes yourself." It reminds me of one of my favorite sayings, "You must walk in the direction you're praying." -- Sun Bear

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  9. I try to - if not like - at least tolerate most bugs, which isn't that hard in a temperate climate because we don't get the really large or the really mean and dangerous ones, and I'm hosting far too many spiders at the moment, but flies? I just can't see any reason for them to exist. Maybe somebody can tell me where they fit in the big picture ...?

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    1. When I was a kid and asked my dad what mosquitoes were good for, he said Frog Food.

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  10. When I lived on the pig farm in Denmark ,in August we used to spray the downstairs just before we went upstair to bed. The next morning, I could sweep up about a cubic foot of flies.
    The pigs ate buttermilk, The dairy would send a truck around and pump gallons of buttermilk into the troughs. If you left a pitcher next to the troughs, and they would fill it with buttermilk. One of my jobs was to go out, bring back the pitcher of buttermilk, strain out all the flies, and put the pitcher in the cupboard where people could grab a glassful when thirsty.

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    1. I just simply don't know what to say to all that. Like any good writer, you had me at the first sentence.

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  11. Ah, yes, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, my spiritual home.

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    1. I assume you have the car magnet...

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    2. Alas, I do not have the FSM magnet. I don't even have a car any longer; I turned in my license last December, when I turned 80.

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