Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Fox wanted: Must be...
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Fox wanted: Must be willing to relocate

Robert Downes - June 6th, 2011
Fox wanted: must be willing to relocate
Saw a huge fox trotting alongside Crystal Lake in Benzie County a
week ago. At first I thought it was a German Shepherd because it
looked to be about four feet long from nose to tail; but drawing
closer, its low stature and rust-red fur revealed it to be a vulpes
vulpes, or red fox, for those of you who no longer speak‘a da Latin.
Anyway, this proud fox was trotting along unconcernedly by the side of
the road with a fresh baby bunny in its jaws, probably heading home to
its den to feed the kits.
Oh how I would love to borrow that fox for a weekend at the Downes
household where we are in the midst of a chipmunk and squirrel
population explosion.
Our neighborhood seems to have more squirrels than Borneo has monkeys,
and they spend most of their time digging up my wife’s tulips, playing
hell with her garden, and gobbling at the bird feeders. Speaking of
which, we are fortunate to have a small flock of cardinals who like to
nest in the neighbors’ evergreens, and last night I saw a nasty black
squirrel trying to sneak up on one of them as it was drying off from a
thunderstorm.
Then there are the chipmunks, who’ve begun a reign of terror in our
garage this spring, nibbling on the stores of bird food. I practically
trip over them each day and they’re cocky too, lingering when you head
in their direction with an I-double-dare-ya -to-stop-me attitude.
So this is a problem for you too? Going online, I checked for
predators of chipmunks and squirrels and came up with this: “Swooping
hawks, raccoons, opossums, wildcats, coyotes, foxes, large snakes,
owls, eagles.”
We have an occasional possum passing through our backyard, and a family
of raccoons lives in the storm sewer, but wildcats, coyotes, large
snakes, owls, “swooping“ hawks and eagles seem to be in short supply in
residential Traverse City. As for our cat (nicknamed “Fat Cat”), she
lays out the occasional mouse, but isn’t much of a threat when it comes
to chipmunks and squirrels. More likely, I‘d fear they‘d carry Fat Cat
off to an evil end if their squirrelly little brains ever decided to
gang up on her.
So a Fantastic Mr. Fox would be a nice addition to our backyard
menagerie to keep the varmints at bay.
I wonder how many other city dwellers suffer from this plague of
rodents? I’ve thought of buying a sling shot and a bag of paint balls,
but that seems likely to produce holes in the neighbors’ windows. I‘ve
also considered live-trapping, but carting varmints out to new homes in
the country -- one tree rat at a time -- sounds like a hassle. Better
to just live-trap that big Benzie fox and give him an all-expenses-paid
vacation in our backyard in return for services rendered.
In the meantime, if anyone has a swooping hawk available, please let me
know.
 
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