Random thoughts for a Monday

The fire ants in my backyard are no more.

My full-out assault last weekend to rid the area of the killer insects appears to have succeeded. My generals had recommended a sharp increase in resources to battle the growing insurgency, so I poured large quantities of ant killer around and into the mounds. I refuse to help them rebuild their power-grid infrastructure or plan for democratic elections, because they’re ants.

The carnage I reviewed yesterday was fairly complete. The red dirt hills remained in place, but when you kicked at them there’d be no scurry of activity. I couldn’t be sure whether the fatal blow was dealt by my pesticide or by a recent spell of intensely cold weather, and I took comfort in this doubt. It allowed me the option of deniability should the guilt later overwhelm me. I was just one member of the firing squad; I’m not even sure it was my bullets that killed the victim.

In any case, it’s never a happy occasion to preside over the deaths of millions. They were definitely evil-doers and had to be dispatched, but there’s no joy in destroying over two dozen civilizations.

Maybe a little joy.

Should there be any survivors deep in the ground, or should future generations — sure to reappear next spring — want to honor their fallen forefathers, I left a small memorial at the site of one of the biggest mounds. Though they traditionally survive on seeds and the occasional cricket, I thought they’d appreciate something a little more substantial to remember those who had fought so bravely. The picture below shows the new Whopper Junior (No Mayo) and Small Order of Fries War Memorial that I hope will feed the proud history of the fire ants of 2083 Franklin Street, and any of their survivors.

Memorial combo

Memorial combo


Our local neighborhood Blockbuster is trying desperately to survive by diversifying its product offerings. There’s an area where customers are supposed to wait for the next available clerk, sort of a throwback to those bygone days when Blockbuster had more shoppers in the store than people who worked there. In this waiting pen there are magazines, candy, drinks, ice cream and other assorted items they hope you’ll decide to buy on a whim. For the Halloween season, there’s also a rack of costume accessories, including a pullover ski mask featuring a design from some recent horror movie I’ve managed to miss.

Offering a ski mask for sale within steps of the cash register is either very negligent planning, or perhaps the work of a marketing genius. “Stop by Blockbuster this Halloween season,” could read the advertising tagline, “for convenient one-stop armed robbery.”


Along with the usual warnings about not mixing with alcohol and keeping the medicine in a cool, dark place, there’s this sticker on the side of my bottle of Ambien: “Report Disturbing Thoughts or Behavior.” Report to whom? Would an oral report be sufficient, or do I have to compile a written presentation complete with footnoted citations? Or will recent posts of this blog provide sufficient documentation?


I had not known this, but I learned yesterday that October is Spinal Awareness Month. I am now aware of the need for awareness. I’m glad to say I was already familiar with my spine.


My wife encountered another example of an unfortunately named website over the weekend. The magazine Real Simple (typically logging in at about 400 pages a month, which is an awfully complex amount of simplicity) was offering holiday gift-giving ideas, and mentioned a site that sold Elvis Presley mementoes. The URL was shopelvis.com. I just hope it doesn’t get confused with the adult-themed website where people show photographs of their pelvis.


I know you can’t necessarily take Wikipedia as gospel, but I want very much to believe the following phrase in the entry about Julius Caesar: “In 85 BC, Caesar’s father died suddenly while putting on his shoes one morning, without any apparent cause, and at sixteen, Caesar was the head of the family.”


One of the less-than-sharp temps working in my office admitted confusion the other day about the terms “sudoku” and “tsunami.” I’m grateful that she doesn’t work at the U.S. Geologic Survey. I also wouldn’t want to sit within 500 nautical miles of her if she starts doing number puzzles.


Also overheard at work over the weekend —

Person A: “My friend in Washington said the subway was packed this morning with runners in the Marine Corps Marathon.”

Person B: “Are runners allowed to take the subway?”

Person A: “Not during the race. Only to get there.”


Is there anything — anything — more annoying that dropping a bar of soap while lathering yourself in the shower? I’d have to say it ranks right up there with the failure of government regulators to foresee the subprime-mortgage-fueled economic meltdown of last fall, and with the geopolitical fallout after World War II, which set up artificial national boundaries in many parts of Asia and Africa that still provoke internal social tensions to this day.


Fun Fact from this weekend’s Fiber Arts Festival in Fletcher, N.C.: Did you know that you don’t have to butcher a llama in order to harvest its undercoat for purposes of knitting? It can safely be removed from the animal with other less-invasive techniques. Hopefully, some day this technology can be transferred to cattle and swine herds so we can simply carve off a flank for dinner and leave the larger animal otherwise unharmed.

No butchering necessary? I'm glad to hear that. No butchering necessary? I’m glad to hear that.

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4 Responses to “Random thoughts for a Monday”

  1. thetownecrier Says:

    “I refuse to help them rebuild their power-grid infrastructure or plan for democratic elections, because they’re ants.”

    The 2010 elections are just around the corner and your advice could greatly help the opposition topple the incumbents.

  2. Phillip Donnelly Says:

    Readers of my comments, who outnumber readers of my blog by a wide margin, will have heard my hark on the theme of vegetarianism and Davis W’s unwilling to adopt my moral code, but I must admit that I too have laid down poison against ant intrusion; but in my defense, they were Chinese ants and therefore probably corrupt commies and not hot-blooded all-American ants; and they had infested my kitchen (albeit a kitchen in China).
    Re the last photo, I was wondering how you dared get so close to a llama, because it looks to be a frightfully scary beast, but then I remembered cameras have zoom lenses; and that’s just the kind of insight that’s got me where I am today; in a tiny flat with only three news channels in English: one (BBC) showing a Middle East business report (who cares!); another (Sky) with the lastest sports news (grown men still wear shorts, sweat and hug each other while kicking a ball); and the third (CNN) with some crummy gimmick where ‘real live reporters (read blogging morons) tell the ‘real’ story.
    For crying out loud: when are they going to syndicate Davis W?

  3. morethananelectrician Says:

    Fire Ants in Virginia Beach are storming playgrounds in protest of your actions…


  4. fakename2 Says:

    I actually have pictures of me and my best friend from high school kissing a llama. It’s a long story, but yes, we were pretty desperate. Thank God he kept his mouth closed because if he looked like that llama I would have had to do it through the traditional paper bag.

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