Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Anonymous Family's Prodigal Son

Aww, Sugar. Mommy missed you!

you boomers are shutting down the entire economy because you're afraid of a flu. Seriously, can you boomers kill yourselves? ...I  HOPE the virus gets much stronger and kills you all. There is not one single demographic that does not hate you--white people, black people, asians, mexicans, indians, chinese, millennials, GenX, GenZ...can you baby boomers hurry up and fucking drop dead? ...I hope you enjoy the retirement homes, boomer scum!

That's how it is. Our shitty kids go out in the world wreaking havoc everywhere and we don't even hear from them for years at a time and then bam, they're off the streets and back in our life, and not one bit better than they ever were, but by cracky, we're so relieved to see them again! We let them crash in the basement and suck up the wi-fi because that's what mommies do, but eventually we have to give them the old heave-ho again because of all the things. The grocery budget, the ominous odor wafting up the stairs, the missing money from the change jar, the noise. We give them a little warning and then the boot, and maybe they'll have grown up some by the next time they surface. That's all we can do and all we can hope for.

Anyway, welcome back, honey. Oh, your Uncle Loogey "BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN" called--wants to know if you have any spare coaxial splitters, and said to tell you he knows it was you that got into his Cheez Doodles.

Sweet boy! We know you're only a troll and a bot, of course, but still we're beginning to despair of your ever learning anything about constructing an essay. Repetition is good as a rhetorical device, but pay attention to cadence, and tighten, tighten, tighten! The list of demographics that hate boomers? Overdone. You've lost the reader by number four.

Spelling and syntax have improved since the last time you showed up, several years ago, so that gives a body hope. And the virus bit is a nice update. Before, we were advised only to "drop dead" without being given any suggestions as to method, which just leads the reader to conclude you're lazy, when there are so many intriguing options. But it doesn't help your case when the same exact screed shows up week after week, and all across the blogosphere. Sure, we know you're just clueing in on keywords such as "sagging" or "chin  hair" or "by cracky." Or maybe you have a way of detecting complete sentences and punctuation. Maybe that's what passes for research these days, but ultimately no one is going to be impressed if you repeatedly plagiarize your own self. Call me an old fogey, but "content" is not worthy in itself, no matter what you've read.

Or perhaps you are targeting blogs with old-lady wallpaper such as this one, presuming, correctly, the author is too technologically challenged to freshen things up, but you don't have any quarrel with the décor when you're cleaning out the fridge and piggy-backing off the cable. I mean, really, son. What's the point? Who asked you to take your cans of literary spray paint and tag the whole internet? Do you really imagine you're hurting our feelings?

We don't have feelings. We've got money. We're old and funny-looking and got over ourselves ten menopausal years ago. We own the houses you're crashing in and we've decided to spend most of the money we stole from your generation and bequeath the remainder to environmental organizations. Until you find someone else who has a basement, you might think about sweetening up.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Rocking The Man Skirt

New shop coming in on Alberta Street where the doo-dad shop used to be. Stumptown Kilts. We didn't have a kilt shop yet on Alberta and we have to cross our fingers that it will make it, stranded on a corner at least two blocks away from the nearest Thai or Mexican restaurant. Noodles and tortillas run this street like electricity, and you don't want to be too far from an outlet.

I wish them well. I'm a fan of kilts. They're snappy. I like the old time kilts best, though. A few centuries ago a kilt was basically a gigantic tablecloth, assuming your table seated fourteen, and half of it got bunched up into a skirt and the rest got wrapped around whatever chilly bits were left out: over the shoulder, around the bend, on the head, tucked into the waist. You had to lay it out on the ground and painstakingly fold over all the pleats, then lie down on it and cinch it with a belt. You could probably wrap your horse in it. It was an operation, putting that on.

It seems silly to have to lie down to put your clothes on, but I remember doing it myself. In the old days when pants were supposed to be tight, and Spandex hadn't been discovered, we had to lie down on the bed just to get them zipped up.

But the so-called "great kilt" got abbreviated at some point and now most men wear just the short kilt, although there's still plenty of material involved. The classic great kilt and newer kilts are all gathered mightily in the rear and sides, and flat in front. Simple knife-pleasts, usually, but sometimes box pleats. I know box pleats.

You KNOW I'm putting in Liam Neeson.
I know box pleats because when we learned to sew in 8th-grade Home Ec, we had to make a box-pleated skirt, for some goddam reason. Each pleat is folded on both sides and stitched down. You start with a couple hundred yards of fabric and pleat your way to your tiny 8th-grader waist size, a number you will never see again. It was a giant pain in the ass. I don't recall if I ever wore my pleated skirt, but I do remember it was blue and white gingham, unless that was the apron we also made to wear when we were supposedly learning how to cook but didn't.

Anyway the modern kilt is much like that gingham number, and you don't have to fold it up on the ground in order to get into it.

I get a big kick out of the men wearing kilts around Portland these days. That is because there is clearly a bit of pride involved in deciding to wear one in the first place, America being the sexually repressed place it is. "I am manly enough to wear a skirt," the modern Portland man says, and just in case there's any doubt about the manliness, his skirt is made out of some kind of poop-brown duck cloth you could make tractor tires out of. You know Carhartts? That material, folded ten ways to Sunday and fortified with extract of boar gristle. Doll that bad boy up with rivets, chains, buckles, a winch rope, tiny skulls, bear claws, and penis bones and slap on a sneer and nobody's going to come after you.

Then top it with your sporran. That's Scottish for "purse," but no one has to know that. It's worn right in front, and comes in various sizes depending on how much you're planning to pack, or are already packing.

They also sell a "sport utility" kilt, but I'm pretty sure you can get a King Cab Super-Duty version with cupholders if you want. Whichever you choose, be sure to accessorize with your sporran, and mind how it's hanging.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Price Of Freedom, TBD

You really have to hand it to the Republicans. They can call up a standing army at any time and not even pay the soldiers. The pawns can be found everywhere, like little dormant seeds in the soil, and all the Rs have to do is plop in some manure and boom, up they spring in their little flag outfits, loud and proud and fully armed, ready to take on the enemies of the plutocracy. And boy oh boy do they have plenty of manure. They ain't running out of that anytime soon.

Their aim is pretty transparent. They would like to be in power forever in order to funnel all the money from as many people as possible to the lucky few that own the propaganda arm, the presidency, and the courts. Of course that's a lousy way to raise an army. You can't get people up in literal arms by telling them you want them to work for minimum wage or lower with no sick leave and no pension and no medical insurance, just so a small number of people can own everything in the world. That's where the manure comes in. They have to make the people believe they give one shiny shit about gun rights and abortion and [cough cough] freedom and then, just like that, they've got their sad little soldiers, marching as to war.

Not really sure what a bunch of people screaming and honking and wiping their noses on the flag because of a public health order has to do with the right to bear arms, but in certain circles that case can be made without any logic involved whatsoever. You could accuse your mom of trying to take your Second Amendment rights away if she runs out of Nestlé's Quik, and nobody'd even blink an eye anymore.

I mean, what's the good of open-carry laws if they're making you march around the living room with your toddler all day long? The point is to brandish. Can't brandish by yourself. Look at them! All dolled up in bullet-proof this-and-that, bristling with firepower! Nothing's going to take them down, by God. Psst: Do they know just how small a virus is? Perhaps they're planning to rain bullets into the air in case we get a locust plague next. That, at least, would take down one or two locusts, making it more effective than trying to kill a virus with an antibiotic--Mr. President Science-Boy, sir.

And if you can't rouse enough rabble with an imaginary assault on gun rights, you can always remind people how many fetuses have been lost compared with the number of grandmas dying ghastly deaths alone in the ICU. That old chestnut! Never gets old.

Hell, you can raise an army by telling people Democrat Governors want to shut down their states until December just so people can't say Merry Christmas to each other. You can make up any old thing. There will always be willing buyers. Seeds...manure...sprinkle, sprinkle. Boom.

The demonstrations in Michigan and elsewhere have had some adorable touches. "Don't carpool," one organizer tweeted, "gas is cheap!" And so in a new natural world that has gone blessedly quiet and started showing signs of environmental repair and recovery in a few short weeks, amassing the maximum number of vehicles making the maximum amount of noise is bound to have the bonus effect of annoying liberals. Awesome, my dudes! Now, don't you feel better?

You don't?

Excellent. That means you're still exploitable.

When you get your socialist stimulus check from The Little People, a.k.a. the chumps who aren't rich enough to quit paying taxes, just mail them to Betsy DeVos and her family, who have sunk a buttload of dough into your little "grass-roots" organization. That's really her point, stripped down. She and her friends want the rest of your money.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Chip And Mitzi Put In An Offer

Well, we certainly did not want to discourage Chip and Mitzi Vinebustle, the bushtits, from building a nest right spang in front of our noses. And we'd only get the one shot. In spite of the fact that it takes a month or more to knit a bushtit nest, they don't reuse them the next year, but choose a different location. The amazing thing is they totally could reuse them. The suckers are sturdy. I'm always seeing bushtit nests from previous years. They look like fluff with intention, but they make it right through the winter, and as you may recall, this is tornado country.

Not really. But it's tornado neighborhood. We had a genuine petite tornado a couple blocks away last year and it took some trees down but I'm betting the bushtit nests made it through. What makes them so durable?

The main ingredient is spider web, a.k.a. God's Own Spandex. Chip and Mitzi are in there tugging on the webbing and pulling it every which direction. Usually these nests dangle from tree branches, which means the construction crew has to hang onto the nest with their feets while they're working on it, but Chip is totally using scaffolding. We have the smartest birds! The wisteria is jangling with old beans on strings and they're hanging their nest right in amongst them.

Mitzi up top with construction-grade fluff
That was job one, for us. The beans are left over from last year's pendulous flowers and some warm evening in March they all detonate. They can take your eye out. You can hear them blow up from a block away. Unfortunately not every one has gone off yet this year. There were still three unpopped beans hanging within a foot of the Vinebustles' nest, so we clipped them off. The explosion would be sure to discourage any prospective fuzzy homeowner and that's if it doesn't blast them into the street.

It's possible that bushtits have enough equanimity to shrug off exploding wisteria beans, though. They don't mind us too much. And they're not real fussy. The Literature states that the location of the nest in a given tree "tends to be from 3 feet to 100 feet" off the ground. Tends? That's like saying your average American tends to live somewhere between sea and shining sea.

The Literature also says that the tits incorporate feathers, fur, and downy plant matter to camouflage the outside of the nest. That way nobody will notice a foot-long fuzzy sock with a bustle of bushtits flying in and out of it all day long. Because once Chip and Mitzi invite the whole family back in, there are going to be lots of bushtits, and they never stop talking, either. It'll be as quiet as a preteen slumber party. Everyone wants a turn. Let ME sit the eggs! No, let ME! MOM! It's MY turn! Pip pip pip! No fair! SCOOT OVER!

Chip on his scaffolding
Camouflage? Please. They might as well go for a snappy argyle.

The extra helper tits are referred to (in The Literature) as "supernumeraries," and yes, that is the same term used for extra nipples on people. It's a little dismissive. The implication is that you really don't need all those bushtits. They're superfluous. But bushtits never find each other superfluous. They all find each other equally swell and they're all super excited about making new ones.

So among the things I'm looking forward to here is the arrival of the Louis Tiffany drapes Mitzi has on order, and the day the sock will bulge and bop with essential birds, cozying up in the feather lining. There won't be a kid jiggling his bag of marbles who will be any happier than me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Flyover

Well, they all showed up on the same day. April 8. What a bunch of goofs.

April 8: Housefly Day. Not a ton of flies. Well, possibly a ton, but not a large number. These are the biggest, slowest, logiest bunch of fattycakes I've ever seen. They don't even fly so much as they lumber. They remind me of the big-bellied prop planes that used to trudge across the sky over our house when I was little. You saw them coming and you had time to go inside for a popsicle before they were all the way done with going over your house. They came from National Airport, which was relatively close by. That's the one that got renamed the Ronald Reagan Union-Busting Libertarian Assholes Airport, but by that time, the planes had a little more pep and we had a lot more confidence they weren't going to plop into the back yard.

I have no idea what was keeping them in the air. The houseflies either. In fact I've been watching them, and they don't all stay in the air. Some of them end up on the floor from sheer excess of avoirdupois. I coaxed three of them out the window already. You know how you open the window for a fly but it always goes buzzing off in the wrong direction? These guys just lifted off from the windowsill, I went to get a popsicle, and then I popped them on their fannies in mid-air and they bumbled their way out.

The larger house spiders are watching the flies warily and wondering if they're well-marbled. Spiders are not known for hunting cooperatively but it wouldn't be the worst idea in this case. Early humans could live off squirrels but if they banded together and took down a mastodon they were set for the winter. The smaller house spiders, meanwhile, are boarding up and latching the shutters. They assume mastodons are mostly aspirational anyway. You don't want one falling on your house.

I figure this was a single hatch, since they showed up all at once. The maggots had to be the size of pinto beans. I don't know how they got in. This is why people used to think flies were spontaneously generated from meat. You'd have a lovely piece of meat and then out of nowhere it flang out maggots. It took people a remarkably long time to recognize that the maggots came from fly eggs, even though the experiments involved were simple. (Cover the meat.) It was just easier for them to imagine flies came out of nowhere. Isn't that silly?

But we're way smarter these days. I've been researching a lot of typing on the internet, and it's perfectly obvious that my flies came from Bill Gates. Bill Gates is a multi-billionaire who keeps trying to do good works with some of his money, which most of us agree is highly suspicious. He has already been caught trying to depopulate the world using his dastardly vaccines, and now, with the coronavirus, the word on the street is he's working on a vaccine that essentially implants a microchip in the unfortunate recipients so that he can control everyone. You can see the potential for big mischief here, if you're paying attention at all. The odder the conspiracy theory, after all, the more likely it is to be true, because the best conspirators are known to be very sneaky by nature. As lots of typists on the internet are saying, Wake up.

So I'm sure that's what the deal is with my flies. Bill Gates developed them. Clearly, they're drones. They're spying on us every minute. Somewhere Bill is sitting in a lavish bunker watching video footage from my flies and I have half a mind (this helps) to show him my big white fanny. But I won't. He's just wily enough to have snuck in a real decoy fly, and I don't want to get into a personal maggot situation.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

The Wish List

I don't have a big wish list. I've got what I need, and if I don't, I won't take it personally. Still, there are things.

I want to see a woodcock. I want to watch that goof strutting with his big old eyeballs on top of his head. His eyeballs are so big his brain had to slide down the back of his neck just to fit them in, and I'm not even kidding. He's dashing. He's got rhythm. He goes PEENT. He is everything I want in a wish, except Here.

Also? I want a personal bushtit nest with personal bushtits in it. As wishes go, it's not out of line. We are butt-deep in bushtits all year. They fly plurally from one tree to the next. If they had to practice social distancing they would just die. The only time of the year you'll see just two bushtits together is when they're building a nest. The rest of the flock has to be sitting around hyperventilating until they're all invited back for the open-house. And believe it or not--they will be.

Standard number of bushtits, on suet feeder
I make a point of looking for bushtit nests when we're out walking. They're often dangling from the branches of evergreens, but I've seen them in other kinds of trees as well. That's right, dangling. They totally knit a sock. A fuzzy sock.

So the bushtits in our yard have to be nesting somewhere nearby, and every year I hope I'll spy the sock, so I can watch. My sheltering-in-place plans already included trying to spot bushtits with nesting material and figuring out where they go.

And then, on a March evening warm enough to take our beers out to the front porch, we saw it. We saw it! There are two bushtits knitting a nest in our WISTERIA! Which is like six feet away from our chairs! On the PORCH! Right the heck THERE! Right the heck IN FRONT OF US!

Day two
Oh my god oh my god. They were just casting on, but I guess it takes a month for them to finish a sock. Once they turn the heel, they're home free. I read that the male will be starting two or three nests at once and the female picks one and they finish it together, so there's some danger she'll pick a different one. But we're a week in now and I think this thing is happening. So far it doesn't look like there's any actual knitting going on. It looks like it's entirely made of individual dandelion flufflets and static cling. But there's plenty of spiderweb and moss in there too. Maybe they're just putting in the lining and they'll bring in something stouter for the siding later. I plan to see.

Just think of it: can you make a sock with your face using only spider butt juice and lint? Okay fine, but then can you pop out eggs in it and jam yourself and your teenage kids and your in-laws in there until teeny weeny bushtit babies come out? I thought not. You can't even spend that kind of time with your family on Thanksgiving. But bushtits are all of the same mind when it comes to politics. It works for them. Thanks, thanks, thanks, praise the Lord and pass the creamed aphids.

And unlike most chickadees--Marge and Studley excepted--you can tell the bushtits apart. The boy has brown eyes and the girl has yellow eyes. That's Chip up top and Mitzi to the left. We're trying to give them all the space they need (and they don't seem to need much) but we have been eavesdropping and we do know their names.

Everyone? Meet Chip and Mitzi. The Vinebustles.

And bonus woodcock from Mr. Internet:

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Push Pause

Don't waste this.

This: this experience we're sharing as a species is a rare opportunity. To pay attention. To notice. What do you feel? Let's start with something easier. What do you hear?

It's quiet where I am. I walk in the middle of the street to keep my distance from people and hardly ever have to get out of the way of a car. Traffic is mostly gone. I don't even hear many airplanes and we live near the airport. That quiet is the sound of fuel that doesn't have to be used, of trips that don't have to be made. How many of our trips really had to be made, before?

Are you able to work from home? More and more people can. If they can now, is there a good reason to commute later? Are all the conferences and meetings in person necessary, or even desirable? One person I know has been surprised to discover he's getting more work done from home.

Are you counting squares of toilet paper? Are you wasting less food? Are you thinking of putting in your first garden? What happened to all the toilet paper? Did everyone just suddenly shit themselves? How scared are we?

Are you frightened? Stressed? Don't waste this moment. Let it tell you who you are and what you're afraid of. Dying? What changed? You were always going to die. All that busyness you engaged in before--was it just to distract you? Pay attention to your fear. Notice it, and move on to something else.

What are you thinking about? What does it sound like in your head if nothing is distracting you? Do you imagine you should be getting a lot of stuff done now? What if there's nothing at all going through your head? Would that really be a bad thing?

What can you not do without? Why? Listen to yourself.

People are complaining about something they call social isolation...on the internet. They are discussing their loneliness with friends and strangers all over the world, all at once, all the time. They feel bereft. What happened? Not long ago, phone calls were too expensive to make often, or for long; we heard from each other at Christmas and once or twice a year by letter, if we were lucky. Friends, parents, children, everyone. It was fine. Not long before that, people would get in a wagon and go away from their friends and family basically forever. Now we are all rattled if we don't get our text messages returned right away. Are we better off for this? We're so tense. This super-connection: is it good for us? If you had to do without physical human contact, or do without the internet, which would you choose?

Do you feel compelled to read the latest about COVID-19? You want to keep up with the latest recommendations, sure. Then do you also need to hear and share everything you can about how dreadful Trump is? You already know how you're voting. Those people defending that sorry soul online are only going to keep you up at night. You can't spank them from your own device, and correcting their spelling doesn't have the sting you think it does. They don't care. Leave them alone. They're keeping you from paying attention. From noticing.

So do that. Go outside. Don't take any devices with you. Write a list for a scavenger hunt. Nothing is funner than a scavenger hunt! I'll start you off. Find an insect you've never seen. Find a bird. Find a bird carrying sticks and follow that bird until you know where it's going and what it's doing. Find something on the underside of a leaf. It could be on the ground, or still on the plant; turn leaves over until you find a spider, a gall, a fungus, a bug, a salamander, a larva, life. Find something natural that is sphere-shaped. Find a feather.

Find a drawing of anything, or even a doodle. Done by you. Earlier today.

Find the thing you're most afraid of. Stare it down until you're bored with it. Until it gives up on you and passes by. Live.

All these photos were taken in one twenty-minute outing in my yard, just after I finished typing this up. This is the first day I've seen crows with nesting material, and I've been looking. And then Studley showed up when I was trying to get a photo of a bumble bee. He wrecked that. All my bee photos were out of focus. If I had worries, I completely forgot about them.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

And That's The Way It Was

There used to be a thing called The News. It came out of your TV at six pm. There were three portals in your TV it could come out of. Every family had their favorite portal.

The three portals were NBC, CBS, and ABC. It was hard to compare them because once you chose your The News portal you stuck with it. You had your personal family anchorman and you didn't switch. This is because it would require hauling your dead ass out of your chair to change the channel.

We were a Huntley-Brinkley family. I don't know why. Daddy was a man of strong opinions, eloquently hollered, whether you asked about them or not. So I figure he had a reason. Because I had faith in that, I grew up thinking Walter Cronkite was not as good, and maybe bad. Similarly, I knew Eisenhower was not as good as Adlai Stevenson, even though I didn't know anything about either one. It's also possible we were Huntley-Brinkleyers because of the theme music, which was the second movement of Beethoven's 9th symphony. At the end of their final show, they played the whole movement. I was transported. I now suspect we had the album in our meager record collection and could have played it at any time, but I thought of the moment as a once-in-a-lifetime event. That's how TV events were. You didn't get a second shot.

Anyway, in much the same way as one could be either a Methodist or a Presbyterian, many people preferred Cronkite over on CBS. Nobody knows who did The News on ABC. Probably Ward Cleaver, with opinion by Uncle Bub for gravitas.

But whether you watched Huntley-Brinkley on the peacock channel, or Walter Cronkite on the eyeball channel, or Amos Real McCoy over on the channel with just the little letters inside a button, you got pretty much the same The News, at the same time of day.

They didn't necessarily get the news right, but one assumes they tried. Powerful people were still capable of manufacturing a story that would get us more enthusiastic about a war, and the portals would dutifully report that story, but good journalism eventually prevailed. All of us sat around our boxes and absorbed The News without much suspicion, and we formed our different opinions and voted based on the same basic product.

That turns out to be a big deal. Now we can simply default to our own ill-formed biases without any illumination whatsoever, if we want to. The News can be less a source of information than a vehicle to get and keep our dander up.

So on one portal you can learn that seasoned professional intelligence officers, diplomats, and presidential appointees have all agreed that the President has attempted to extort a strategic ally for a personal favor. Or, you can go to another portal and learn that House Democrats have conducted shady interrogations in the basement of the same D.C. pizza parlor Hillary "Lock Her Up" Clinton used to run a child sex ring out of, and that one of the inquisitors has been secretly recorded snickering at a photo of Trump in golf pants and a stiff breeze; and that the entire impeachment process is rigged, illegitimate, and illegal, and springs only out of a deep-seated irrational hatred of a successful and godly president on the part of people who simply can't get over having lost an election. And if Trump gets removed, Joe Biden and his son should be found guilty of entrapment. All of this would become clear if only we had access to HC's deleted emails, which are also thought to include correspondence with her sex-change surgeon, a scanned copy of Satan's compact with Obama, and a mysterious photo of a baby with one white head, one Kenyan head, and thick ankles.

You know what else? The three old portals used to blink off at midnight.

I miss that.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Murderers In Our Midst

I had sworn off arguing with people about politics on the social media, just to give myself a break. But after a few days my pulse rate had gone logy and I was sleeping through the night. Who knows what I might be missing in those hours previously devoted to lying awake wishing people were smarter? Is it wise? Shit isn't going to worry about itself.

So just to get a life-affirming dose of venomous hatred, I wandered into a thread on the neighborhood vine about outdoor cats.

I'm gingerly about that sort of thing these days. Something I might have thought was a simple offer of information turns out to be a highly obnoxious invasion of other people's private business and a threat to their God-given freedoms. Offense is liable to be taken. Epithets are liable to be flung. I edge up to the subject like I'm putting my neck on a slab.

"Oh hi," I begin. "You know, that's exactly how I used to feel about letting a cat out myself! LOL! But then I did some reading, and I decided I would always keep my kitty indoors. I LOVE KITTIES! I just had no idea what a huge impact they had on our native wildlife. And I had no idea they are an invasive species. I just figured they'd always been around and they always ate birds and everything was in balance. Nope! In fact..."

Typical liberal, always so sure you should decide what's best for other people to do. You want to take my car away next? Fortunately this is still a free country.

But did you know that cats are responsible for decimating populations of birds and...

[Ed. note: Did you know your hair can be singed off by being too close to a cat thread on the internet?]

I like my cat better than your stupid birds. Mind your own business. People like you make me sick.

...Speaking of sick, there's a special problem with cat shit too, because it carries a parasite that can infect a...

You know so much more than the rest of us and we're all SO grateful for your input. BTW, birds poop all over your garden too, you know. Maybe we should all stay indoors?

I just thought that if...hey. Aren't you the same person who was just on this site last week all huffy about people who don't pick up their dog's poop?

Dog poop is disgusting. You have to pick it up. It's the law.

Aww, Petunia. Bless your heart. Maybe we do now. You know how it used to be? I'll tell you how it used to be.

We grew up rolling around on the lawn with the chiggers and the dog poop. Our mothers put the hose on us at the back door and made us strip down before we came in. Dog poop was everywhere. Desiccated white turds and giant smeary piles. People let their dogs out in the morning and they were expected to gang up and terrorize little kids until they were brought back inside for the night. They weren't precious little purse pups either, the kind ladies pluck out of their pocketbook to pop a poop like a Pez. They weren't going to dent you in the ankle socks. They were going to come at you pointy end first and bowl you into next week. They were named King and Duke and Bruno and they'd use your little four-year-old legs for dental floss. You didn't know how fast you could pedal a bicycle until the pack came around the corner and showed you a gear you didn't know you had.

Tater takes down a wooden chicken
Nobody wanted to pick up poop or walk a dog three times a day then either. They wanted their dogs and their kids happy and worn-out, and that's what they got. But things changed. Most of us think they changed for the better. Maybe not the kids.

One of these days people are going to feel differently about the toxoplasmosis land mines in their tomato patches and the songbird massacres and things are going to change again. In the meantime I have a jet spray setting on my hose and a great fondness for urban coyotes.

OK, Boomer, touch a hair on my cat and I'm coming after you.

Go ahead and try it, Junior. I can pedal a bike real fast. You've got allergies and asthma and you can't read a map.