This rat stuck on an escalator in a San Francisco BART station is a perfect microcosm of daily life…
A few minutes ago, a bit before 1 AM, I was on my front porch doing some nitrocellulose lacquer spray painting (as one tends to do at these hours). At this time of night the local environs tend to be pretty quiet, with nothing but the wind – if there is any. So imagine my surprise when there was a sudden noise from the cluster of trees across the road. How to describe the sound… hmm. You know in the monster movie when Our Heroes are in the forest either hunting the monster or being hunted *by* the monster, and the monster starts moving through the trees, making big *crunching* sounds as it shoves branches and such out of the way? Yeah. About like that. Don;t know what it was, but it sounded sizable. Of course, on a silent night it may well have been nothing more than a raccoon or three moving through low dry brush, but it *sounded* the size of a bear.
I think there’s something in our evolutionary background that makes us a little sensitive to the sound of a largish critter moving through foliage. A few hundred thousand generations of Home Erectus getting gnawed upon by lions and wolves and such might’ve ground that sensitivity into the human gene code.
As nasty as these are, the Japanese Giant Hornet is notably smaller than the Asian Giant Hornet which hails from China. And like all dangerous Chinese products, that one is being exported to the US. To Illinois, in fact:
A whole bunch of Google street views from all over the world. Included are a number of accidents, a number of ongoing crimes, a whole lot of urban blight, some truly beautiful views, some screwed-up processed images… and probably the saddest photo of a cow you’re ever likely to see.
Some weeks ago I was in bed asleep at something like 3AM when I was awakened to the sound of a bear trying to claw his way into my house, just outside my bedroom. After a few seconds of bleauuurrrgh as I woke up, I realized the crazy sound was real. So I grabbed the flashlight, the cell phone and the 1911, sneaked around to the front of the house and stepped out the front door. What I found was, instead of a bear, a whole friggen *army* of racoons who had taken a sudden interest in my place. Half a dozen of them were in the process of actually climbing my walls, right outside my bedroom. Another was climbing up a post on my porch, about 4 feet in front of me. Many more were milling about in the yard. When I turned the light on ‘em they got angry; fortunately they got spooked when I yelled at them and ran off. Good thing, too. Not sure what .45 hollowpoints would do to a raccoon at 4 feet, but I’d bet there’d've been a mess.
About a week later I heard screaming late at night. It was some sort of critter, but it was loud and relatively close. Once again, phone, flashlight, .45. The screaming was coming from an open farm building across the road; when I turned the light on it (one of those nifty cheapo 500 lumen lights), eyes looked back at me. *Lots* of eyes. Couple dozen of ‘em. I figured it must’ve been Raccoon Fight Club, something I wanted nothing to do with, so I started back. On my way I walked along the field of corn I swept the light along it and saw a face looking back at me. One with lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a dolls eyes. After the initial startlement, I figured out what it was. Took photos the next day, including this craptacular cel phone shot:
Someone hung a stuffed deer head in the corn. Awesome. Just a little disturbing at 3 in the damned morning on a pitch-black night with screaming hordes of angry critters. Critters that, I noticed, had spilled out of the farm building and followed me home. As I approached my front porch I heard something, swept the light back across the road to the corn, and saw that army of raccoons spilling out of the corn and swarming across the road at full gallop, heading my way.
Juuuuuuuuust a little odd.
Short form: Some Danes are getting sick and tired of immigrants telling them what they can’t eat, so some of them are proposing laws where 20% of all menu items would have to have pork in them. Consider that, in contrast, one Danish hospital was reported to serve on halal meat, even to those people who *don’t* want extra suffering in their food (see Dhabihah), I guess it should be obvious that a backlash was bound to happen.