Month: May 2014

RACCOONS IN THE NEWS: The Incredible Spider … Darn, I Got Beat to That Reference


Art by johnnyism
Art by johnnyism

In Kalamazoo, MI an amazing little raccoon was climbing a building, got six stories high, and then realized he was afraid of heights.  Fire & Rescue came to help him out, but things went sour for a moment as the critter fell down to the street.  This must have been a young one, though, because as we all know kids are pretty resilient.  People were worried the raccoon was dead, but after a minute it got up and scampered off.  I really wanted to make a Spiderman reference, but one of the people interviewed in the article already did.

Source: Michigan Live

Things I Won’t Miss About Having Housemates


I’ve griped about one of my housemates here before.  I’ve lived in this place for the past nine months and in that time I’ve learned that I don’t really enjoy living with other people.  This wasn’t quite my first time trying this great experiment; I lived with a couple of friends when I first got to Denver and that only lasted two weeks because it turns out I have lousy taste in people.  After that failure I moved to this place: a house with six bedrooms (and thus six occupants.) In that time I’ve endured the following from one roommate or another (or all.) Presented in no particular order:

  1. Morning showers interrupted by a blast of unexpectedly freezing (or scalding) water because someone simply has to do their laundry or the dishes first thing in the morning, and apparently couldn’t hear (or didn’t care about) the person taking a shower in the bathroom right next to the laundry machines.
  2. Not being able to go to the bathroom because it’s occupied.
  3. The showdown of piling trash in the bin because nobody wants to blink first and take the garbage out to the curb.
  4. My utensils, flatware and storage disappearing on me.  Surprisingly, nobody’s pilfered my food at any point, but a knife, spoons, tupperware and a mug have disappeared on me.  One would expect any of those to reappear in the sink, dishwasher or pantry at some point but they never did.  Maybe they got eaten.
  5. Waking up to the sounds of about three different people hocking phlegm.  This is Colorado, so I suppose they all smoke something.  The problem was a couple of them had doors that opened to the outside–right next to the window of my room–so I got a nice clear listen of their spitting.
  6. One of them decided to eschew use of the bathroom (well, at least one less person to compete with) in favor of just stepping outside regularly to take a piss, again something I was able to hear all too clearly.
  7. For a period of time one of the housemates had his brother living in a tent in the back yard.  That was odd.  It also meant there was one more person living here than should have been.
  8. Shouting matches between housemates involving shotguns in the house.  Then there was the restraining order.
  9. The depressing parade of new tenants, mostly unemployed or very down-on-their luck.  Once, one walked up to me with a bag of Doritos in hand and mentioned it was all he had to eat for the weekend until he was able to collect his food stamps on Monday.  I overheard another say he wouldn’t be able to cut the landlord a check because the only money he had access to was from a debit card that he relied on Social Security to periodically replenish, so he’d need to go to the supermarket to get a money order (and even then he’d be a little short.)
  10. Fat old men walking around in just their boxers.

I Love That Tiny Bit of Music!


Earlier this year I was forced to endure the lobby music of a bank for hours on end.  The radio station they had it tuned to had a nasty habit of playing an insurance commercial which featured a seconds-long snippet of the Phillip Phillips song “Gone, Gone, Gone.” I recently saw the newest trailer for How to Train Your Dragon 2, which included a snippet of the 30 Seconds to Mars song “Kings & Queens.”  That song being used in combination with visuals of flying? How original, just like it was when it was used in the trailer for Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole!  Although, in both of those cases the music was used to emphasize the awe of adventure and flying, as opposed to the 2010 movie Skyline where it was used in a hilariously misplaced attempt to make driving through Los Angeles seem epic.  I’m curious if it’s just cheaper to license a little bit (sometimes very little) music rather than having something original composed.  Clearly, nobody who licenses music is worried about whatever message they convey being muddled by overuse from other people attempting to convey the same message, such as Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive,” which was the go-to song for trying to tell audiences “this is a big and important thing.”  Clearly, nobody was concerned that, through overuse, audiences might simply roll their eyes with a dismissive “you too?”

And what do the artists behind these songs feel about this? Sure, cynically, they don’t care about the use (and abuse) of their work so long as the licensing checks roll in, but do any of them get at least a little annoyed and say “you know, there was a whole song there that I worked on.”  But then maybe they’re all like Smash Mouth, whose “All Star” was made specifically to be sold out.

RACCOONS IN THE NEWS: We Don’t Like Your Kind ‘Round Here

Stand up to the ball busters!

There’s one kid in New York who’s mad as hell, and not going to take it anymore! So he did what anybody who wants to get tough on a problem does, he sat down and wrote a letter!  What was it that brought this young man’s piss to a boil?

Raccoons! (I could say “coons” right now to give this story the proper spin, but that would be crass.)

Apparently, his hometown of Whitestone, Queens is overrun by raccoons.  That’s not too surprising; I’ve posted articles about the abundance of the critters in New York before.  So he wrote to the local newspaper to call attention to the problem, noting how they wreak havoc in the neighborhoods as they eat garbage.  He insists they’re not as cute as they look (which is wrong; hey’re totally cute, just kind of annoying, you know, like children) and need to be taken care of.  It seems the town agrees, and is working on a solution that involves capturing wild raccoons, neutering them, and then releasing them back in the wild to curb population growth.

I dunno’, if some crazy dude kidnapped me a cut off my balls I think I’d rather have just been put down.  We’re risking getting overrun by lots of really, really angry raccoons in the future.  Of course, if they’re lacking the testosterone at that point, they might not bother to do too much about it.

Source: New York Daily News




Mommy & Kid from Walt's Camera World
Mommy & Kid from Walt’s Camera World

It’s Mother’s Day! (Or is that Mothers’ Day, as in a day belonging to all mothers?)  Let’s celebrate by recognizing some raccoon mothers (from children’s books.)

  1. The Kissing Hand written by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Ruth Harper & Nancy Leak is a cute little tale about a mommy teaching her son not to be afraid to be away from her. It kicked off a series of books focusing on the son, Chester (the mom goes nameless; and thank goodness the writer avoided the temptation to alliterate his name.)  I think it’s a shame how, as the books progressed, the illustration took on a more cartoon-like as opposed to the more whimsical style of the first one.  Also, Chester is now marketed up the wazoo.
  2. If I Could (A Mother’s Promise) written by Susan Milord & illustrated by Christopher Denise details a mother and son raccoon enjoying a day together (in poem) and how the only thing she regrets (spoiler warning) is how she can’t love her son any more.
  3. Please Pick Me Up, Mama! written and illustrated by Robin Luebs is a board book about a mother and her young daughter playing.

I suppose there’s an emphasis on mothers and their children–so far as raccoons are concerned–since the males really don’t get involved in the rearing of the babies.  Although I seriously doubt the realities of such a thing have much bearing on children’s books, although I don’t think I found anything involving daddy raccoons.  I’ll have to search harder on Fathers’ Day (or is it Father’s Day?)