Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It Came From The Cretaceous

"That's cruel." Caught by the neighbor.

"Not really. There is nothing in this world safer than a velociraptor I'm chunking a rock at." It's a fact. Nobody stands behind me in horseshoes without a helmet. I don't always let go in time. The velociraptor in question leapt straight up to the wall and sneered at me before vanishing. It was beautiful; even I could see that.

"I guess you're not a velociraptor person," he said. "I love them."

"I do too. I've got one myself. She stays inside. And there's nothing I like better than a good velociraptor video like the one where they're playing patty-cake. OMG."

"I'd never keep mine in. It's not fair to them. They want to be outside."

"Yes. They do. And I want to share a pint of ale and a blanket on the moors with Liam Neeson."

"They made me promise at the Humane Society that I'd keep my velociraptor indoors, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Hey, I'm doing them a favor. I gave him a home."

"And a yard. Two, counting mine," I said, flinging a velociraptor turd out of my pea patch. No one should stand next to me when I'm doing that. I don't always let go in time. "Thanks a heap. Hey. I'd be okay with the turds and all, but do you have any idea how many birds they destroy?"

"I don't like that," my neighbor admitted. "But they're only doing what comes naturally. It's not their fault."

"That's right. It's yours. Because you're letting them outside to do it. You thought, 'look at my sleek, agile, athletic, adorable little pet killing-machine from the Cretaceous! Let's let it out and see what it can rip up!' It's a big deal, man. Domestic velociraptors take a huge toll on the songbird population. It's not minor. You, and everyone who feels the way you do, are introducing a completely unnatural predator into a world that has no defense for it, just because you think they're cool-looking and entertaining and they need to express themselves, even if they do it with their teeth and on birds. That's cruel."

"Unnatural? They've been around forever. I've had vellies my whole life."

"You're twenty-five. You think money has always come out of the side of a building. You think Cheetohs are food. You think I want to look at your underwear."

My neighbor looked hurt.  "You don't?"

"It's lovely," I said after a pause. "Listen. They haven't been here forever. They started out barely scraping by in a little patch of desert in the Middle East. Songbirds have evolved no defense against them whatsoever. Pet 'raptors like yours polish them off at a rate of nearly a billion a year."

"Maybe the birds need to learn to adapt."

"Well, they are adapting, if you mean they're transforming themselves into velociraptor turds. We can wait and see if natural selection leaves us with nothing but a crew of grossly overweight vultures, or we could exercise some control over our pets. Look. It's illegal to kill a migratory bird. You wouldn't think of popping out in the back yard with a shotgun, but if you cut loose a spring-loaded double-barrel velociraptor with fixed bayonets, I suppose that's all fine and dandy?" My voice was rising.

"You're crazy," he said, backing away.

"I have a refrigerator just for beer," I retorted. My neighbor followed me inside. Beer goes good with a scolding. With most things, really.

"Doesn't your vellie want to be outside?"

"She thought she did, at first, but amazingly enough it was raining sideways from a garden hose every time she stuck a foot out. Horrible velociraptor weather, it was. She's had a whole new outlook since then. Now she runs around the house stalking moths and lint balls and sunbeams. The only thing she's missing is the tiara. She's ecstatic. Watch her roll over for a belly rub." My velociraptor flipped over and rumbled with enthusiasm, rear legs pedaling through the air.

"See, they would have stayed there in the desert, just eking out a living in the shadows, creeping out the antique Mesopotamians, but when people started farming and storing grain, it was like opening up a rodent diner for them, and they started hanging out. Murdering birds is just something they do for a hobby. They didn't make it over to this country until my ancestors hauled them over in the Mayflower. Bird murder, smallpox, religion--we totally hit the trifecta with my people. Anyway, no reason we have to make it any worse than it is."

"Well--I never thought about it. Maybe my next velociraptor can stay indoors."

"Maybe this one, too, at least during nesting season. Think you can handle that for a month or so?"

My neighbor looked uncomfortable. "He'll be pretty annoying."

I bobbled my hands. "Annoying? Massacre. Annoying? Massacre. It's a puzzler, all right."

Dave strolled up as my neighbor shambled home.

"I see you're proselytizing again. You know, you keep this up and we won't have any friends left."

"Sure we will. We still have beer and a pickup truck. We'll never be lonely."

"Just because people learn about velociraptors being introduced predators, it doesn't mean they're going to change their ways."

"It might. I did."

"As I've had opportunity to observe several times a day, you're not normal. Nobody's going to change just because you ask them to. People don't change."

"I'm not so sure. Twenty years ago you never could have convinced me people would pick up iguanodon poop in a baggie, either."


  1. Our Velociraptor plays cribbage with mice however he killed and ate all our swallows two years ago. Now he is down to killing and eating the neighbour's baby bunnies. He is a barn Velociraptor in spite of spending time in the house eating Velociraptor food and drinking whole milk with cream. He wins fights with other Velociraptors though he is usually badly chewed up and has sired more than his share of baby Velociraptors in the village. Can I send him to you for re-educating?

  2. I want a velociraptor now. If I get one, will Dave come over and sing to it?

  3. Bwhahaha! Thanks for the morning giggles. I miss my old velociraptor now that you reminded me of her...

  4. Thanks for the reminder. Our new cat is just a year old, has never been outside, and sometimes I feel guilty that he doesn't have the whole wide outside to play in. (And kill birds, squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks, like our last cat.) I sure don't miss the carnage so I just tell myself that Baxter doesn't miss what he didn't have to begin with.

  5. There is some statistic out there about how one minute of laughter adds X minutes to your lifespan. I come here for my health.

  6. Brilliant. You are crazy, of course. And that's a good thing.

  7. Awesome, awesome. Laughter is good on a Wednesday! The patty-cake cats looked the the speakers with such disdain. Excellent.

  8. Our indoor velociraptors are pretty good at the occasional spider massacre. Good velociraptors!

  9. Sigh. You're right. So far I'm like Thomas Jefferson keeping his slaves, even though he knew it was wrong. How wrong can it really be if everyone else you know does it, and if it's so damn convenient?

  10. (Yes, "pretty damn wrong" *is* the answer.)

  11. A billion birds a year get killed by cats? We need more dogs...

  12. Our neighbors vellie has taken to marking it's territory in the shrubs under our bedroom window. The malodorous scent of vellie urine wafting through the screen on hot, humid nights is enough to make your wide-open eyes water and cure you of a good nights sleep. I'm thinking a camouflaged pit will solve the problem....

    My rampantly silly imagination is picturing a bunch of vellies running around wearing collars with little bells on them so the pterodactyls at the feeders are forewarned and can fly away in time. As usual Murr, thanks for the snickers and chuckles.

  13. Such a great way to make an argument that many people just refuse to absorb. Thank you!

  14. You are a brave, brave woman to take on the kitty-owners, Murr Brewster! But I'm here to report that Maggie is an indoor kitty and Chloe goes out only on her leash (yes, she looks silly, but she puts up with it because it's the only way she gets outside).

    Now that you mention it, Velli would be a great name for a kitty...

  15. The rollover was priceless. Mine would sooner rip out the flesh of my face than follow a command.

  16. I don;t know if my pet is a velociraptor. Like a stegosaurus, she needs a second small brain in her butt area to get her butt off of my lap when I get out of my recliner.

  17. Oh, the stegosaurus butt brain! I'd forgotten about that. It turns out not to be true, but it's such a good idea that I can't let it go. If I had a little brain operating my butt, I'd go in circles all the time.

    I must say everyone's taking this well. EXCEPT BLOG FODDER, man! I was tryin' to edjimacate YOU, dude, not your velociraptor! Unfixed, murderous...did I miss anything? BAD Blog Fodder, BAD! You got me rooting for the coyotes. (I was, anyway...)

  18. Oh, but if you could point them at pigeons.... flying rodents is what they are! Even tho they are technically dong birds. Could the vellis be a bit more selective?

  19. You would have better luck re-educating Velociraptor Kuchma, than me. I am a slow learner. Dumb as a post, really.
    And no one neuters cats or dogs in Ukraine. Or cattle. Or anything. Nor will a vet here put an unwanted animal down.

  20. I did a post on this a while back myself Murr. I read where feral cats kill 400 million birds a year in the U.S. alone, and that's just feral cats, not counting your pet raptor. It's a huge problem.

  21. I'm in need of a new vellie. It's been some time and I'm feeling quite deprived. So, soon I'll fill my house with vellies. But no vellie box. That's just too much work, and gross.

    P.S. I love when vellies play patty cake.

  22. Sadly, Jim and his kids are allergic to Velociraptors...I had to give mine to my daughter. She never lets them outside though, although they do have her trained to turn on the bathroom faucet when they're thirsty...


  23. Feral cats are a big problem on the Big Island of Hawaii. They have found that the cats breed baster than they can be trapped and destroyed. So now they put up feeding stations for them; trapping then spaying or neutering them, then releasing them again. Hopefully the population will remain smaller as the remaining cats enforce their existing territory.

    That video was too cool!

  24. Feral cats are a big problem everywhere. There's controversy about that--bird advocates do not believe neutering them and releasing them is helpful. There's no end to them, and they're still wiping out the birds. Fragrant Liar, no box? Either you're letting them out, or...or...your friends will decline invitations to your house. Have you had a cat since clumping litter was invented? Not so gross at all.

  25. Mine is a watcher from the upstairs deck. My neighbor has 14 chickens and she just watches. If ever there were a missing chicken, the cat door would get sealed shut and she'd have to watch from the bay window.

  26. Sigh...our cats kill birds. We hate it, but we let them outside to do it. If you gave me the lecture, I'd hang my head in shame. I've got a water pistol and I've gotten a lot of practice using it, but I can't always be there. They've still managed to tear up the carpet on the stairs, trash the side of our bed, and pee in several corners of the house.

    They took to sitting on the bird table, which (obviously) I no longer put bird feed in. I now get a lot of pleasure hanging the bird feeder where they can't possibly reach it. I practically break my neck doing it, but it's worth it.

  27. It can be done. I never thought I'd be able to keep my girls indoors [ba-dah-booom!]. But, they've adapted. Now, if I could only get the neighbors to stop feeding the squirrels.

  28. Kiss Kiss Murr! Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  29. I'm keeping my girls indoors but they're moving to the basement. Ba-dah-BOOM!

  30. I can't keep blogging until I get some pets.

  31. My chelonioraptors eat the slugs. Is that okay? And their turtiturds aren't very big. Is that okay?

  32. It's okay to eat the slugs, but it's kind of disgusting, Rose.

  33. I have usually had a cat or more and they have lived very happily indoors. They can be trained to walk you on a leash when outside. But thanks so much for helping to save birds.

    And keeping cats indoors keeps the fleas outside.

  34. I had forgotten how funny you are, for an American...
    Patty cake had me on the floor, of course that could be a result of my velociraptor attacking in a fit of jealous rage.
    Anybody got a bandaid, or a bandage (pre mass marketing).
    How about a tourniquet?

    This is going to leave a stain on the floor, never mind the carpet.


  35. "You think I want to look at your underwear." Uhh, how does that fit into the conversation here? Even if it doesn't, it struck me as funny as all heck. I'm going to have to randomly throw that into an argument sometime, just for effect.