Friday, December 25, 2009

Eve cheers the ratters on!

While I have a certain amount of misgiving into turning my all too cute nieces and nephews into parrots- they are quite good at it- it does make for some prime time entertainment. And given that Eve has learned this phrase not simply from parental prompting but real live experience, I post it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tools of Battle

From Zardowally on Ratting

Zardowally writes (re-posted from comments):
"A few observations from the mouse-hunting battlefields in Philadelphia
1) Don't give up. It is when you have just about given up, but don't, that you will snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
2) On a similar note, there is a psychological element to this business. You will never catch them all--instead, you must break the spirit of your fury foes. They must conclude: "The losses, the travails, the discouragements, are not worth the warmth, foodstuffs and other comforts of this gentle home. We must retreat."
3) Children make this tougher--your tykes will leave a literal smorgasbord of dainty morsels spread around the house.
4) Children also add something primal to the battle. These googly-eyed ghouls compete for your children's food, they manouver without shame among their toys.
5) Kids can also provide just the encouragment you need to stay the course--when my 2-year old spots me trap-setting, she slaps her hands together in dramatic fashion and exclaims excitedly "All done mouse!"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Things Learned While Ratting

In my three years of Baltimore life, I have dealt with more mice than I can count, and more rats than I care to remember. Today I scored a major victory killing one rat and identifying and plugging the hole of another rat. Between my own efforts, trial and error, and occasional illumination by various friendly Western pest techs, I have learned at least a little bit about the art of ratting.

1) Just because you have mice, doesn't mean you won't get a rat. The mice will just disappear while the rat is around.

2) Rats have selective tastes. They found our chocolate vitamin chews, passing over crackers, dried fruit, candy, and nuts.

3) They like to eat in a comfortable place. Thus, they moved all (meaning 20-30 foil wrapped vitamins) of the calcium chews from one drawer to the other, which was padded with dish clothes, before dining.

4) They are not that smart, and will get caught in a snap trap. 

5) Rats will scavenge their own kind.

6) Some rats look cute and fuzzy. The ones with the black and greasy tails are the worst.

7) If you think you have a rat, it sounds like you have a rat...then you do. Don't be in denial.

What do you know about ratting? Maybe I'll start a website dedicated to supporting all those domestic heroes out there, de-ratting their homes when all others have failed, when the "we are moving" ax is just about to fall (married men know what I am saying). Comrade, I salute you.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

For My Brother, The Butterfly Collector

A song that is probably less applicable than is immediately apparent:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fallen (Continued)

Rick Reilly has had front page commentary on all week with the headline "Tiger Will Be a Better Man." I would like to respectfully disagree. While I think humility and honesty in his marriage and public life are positive things at this point, Proverbs says that a "harlot" reduces a man to "a crust of bread." This is hardly something that can be taken back.
It is interesting to me, given the principles of Proverbs, that in the midst of a stunning public career, Mr. Woods has been so backwards in his private life. Things don't always work themselves out in reality in the way that we would think they should. David, living at ease and safety in a time of war, fell into adultery. So it would be less surprising that a man, laid up with a bum knee and time on his hands might similarly transgress. But it is apparent that Tiger has long been a dabbler among assorted women. Win a major event, stop off at the hotel, then fly home?
I get the feeling that everyone is embarrassed for Tiger. Talk about the rapacious gossip media that has scrounged all this up. Talk up the pressures and temptations of fame. But the reality is of a grown married man who has slept around for years behind his now humiliated wife's back.
I have been a fan of Tiger Woods for a while now. And it is upsetting to have another athlete-hero disappoint in this way. Lance Armstrong followed a similar path. Maybe I should not be surprised. With my own failings before me, I can only be saddened.
I'm signing out on this news topic. I won't read anything more about it and hope that Tiger will find a way to be a father and husband who no longer needs to lie and deceive. I hope he will be the better for it, for his own sake. We can be restored, public image be damned, by a higher source and power whose judgment knows no abating, and whose mercy has no end.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I have been watching developments regarding Tiger Woods' car accident last week pretty closely, but the news has developed slowly, often beginning as rumors covered by disreputable sources. I don't know that we've heard the last of it, and I want to wait and comment further as things are clarified. For now, a few questions:

Was the media absolutely naive or absolutely complicit in propounding what now appears to be the daft notion that this was anything but an issue of a domestic dispute over infidelity?

Tiger Woods, although he has long refused to cast himself as such, seems to be considered a model black athlete. 
Will race play a role in the way his apparent "transgressions" (his words) are handled?

Does Woods have a "right to privacy" on this? He is not an elected official, but he is a public persona.


Red berries go rapping on my window.
Scarlet beads are pinging on the glass:
Ringing little notes of their derision,
Suggesting I get back to books and work.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Manhattan Declaration

Christian Evangelicals have issued a statement calling Christian leaders in the U.S. to hold the line on the "foundational" issues of marriage, abortion, and religious freedom in the face of "growing political pressure." The Manhattan Declaration, as it is being called, is being promoted by Chuck Colson and Professor Robert George (Princeton). The statement is given brief coverage in the November issue of Christianity Today.

At the end of the CT article, there is an interesting aside regarding Catholic Bishop's recent attempts to re-focus the institution of marriage on the church. If gay-rights advocates have indeed won the "civil marriage is a civil right" debate, the American church is already thinking ahead. Marriage is more than tax returns and health care benefits. Interestingly, there's nothing new about this move. Christianity has always had a certain flexibility in its "in but not of" this world tension.

On Tuesday, U.S. Catholic Bishops announced a new document emphasizing that marriage is an institution that can't be defined by the state. Catholic leaders wanted to focus their message on marriage, explaining it as a natural partnership that existed before the Bible was written, George said. "For the first time in history, we're talking about redefining marriage," he said. "So the bishops now in this new challenge are making the point that marriage is not something the state creates. Not only does marriage predate the state, marriage predates the church."

Yachtsmen Held


Negative News- Inquiry Advancing

Staying tuned regarding news of detained yachtsmen from Kingdom of Bahrain. The detained sailors are for the most part in their twenties. The BBC is reporting that they were able to call home on a cell phone this week. Iran is doing its usual grandstanding. The saving grace for the sailors is that Iran is so concerned over its international image it will actually go out of its way to treat them well. Take a look at pictures of the British Navy from a couple of years ago, dressed up in suits, and formally thanking Iran's dictator for their release.