In Other News

Monday, January 09, 2006
This mouse is a real flamer.

And the Big News of weather, whether it happens or not (or, we have nothing to fear but whatever it is we're stupid enough to be afraid of).


Buddy Larsen said...

That's a pretty crappy way to kill an animal, even if it was just a mouse.

Skookumchuk said...


I love this priceless gem in your link from one Carol Wilder, chair of the Media Studies Department at The New School in New York:

"Reporters Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams delivered career-making performances. Weather reporting is the new war reporting, because war reporting has become just too dangerous for journalists."

Yup. Sho' nuff.

Knucklehead said...


Yuppers. Not even Hemmingway really was Hemmingway but today's "journalists" are, well, wimps.

Buddy Larsen said...

You're right knuck, toward the end he was a scared old geezer trying to perform 'the Hemingway'. Shame he couldn't endure the fading impetus, and find a way to enjoy the garden and reflect.

Skookumchuk said...


Yeah, mouse auto-da-fe seems a bit extreme. Especially when you can use one of these.


Speaking of weather, it was a revelation to see the difference between what the media was saying during Katrina and what was actually happening during Katrina. There used to be an implicit understanding that the MSM would serve as a positive force in the restoration of public order and services after a major civil emergency. We need to revisit that assumption.

Maybe someday a kind of RACES for bloggers?

chuck said...

That's a pretty crappy way to kill an animal, even if it was just a mouse.

I can't find the story, but one of the diplomadic bloggers (diplomad) told of bringing in the rat catchers, who proceeded to capture the rats in cages and then burn them on a large fire. Ugly, no? But he, after all, had asked for their services and they did their job. The blogger tied this in to the US, who had to do the dirty work in dealing with terrorism. Wish I could find the post.

As to the mouse, I am not sure I believe the story. Not much fur on a mouse, although I suppose the body could have been burning.

Skookumchuk said...

Well, only the milbloggers can hold a candle to this guy:

"I have no home. My home is where my extra luggage is, and where the car is stopped, and where I happen to be getting mail this time. My home is America." ­- Ernie Pyle

Barry Dauphin said...

Weather is an ancient bogeyman, sufficient to arouse fear in the multitudes. Furthermore, using weather as part of a moral drama is at least as old as Plato. Plato came to believe that the world was controlled by impersonal forces that were more powerful than humanity (like physics). Yet Plato lived in a culture that believed the gods controlled many events and that the behavior of people (society) could be rewarded or punished.

Plato used the story of Atlantis to suggest that the inhabits of Atlantis were in moral decline and were punished by the gods (flooded) for thier hubris and excessive pride. In a sense it might have been a version of a Noble Lie, namely not true but possibly an effective mechanism to get people to change their ways in accordance with the wishes of the lier. Is global warming the new "Noble?" Lie about weather. Namely, we certainly don't have certainty on the existence or causal mechanisms of this, but it is used to pursue other agendas, i.e., the diminution of US power and the undercutting of market forces and globalization. But do we really want to see Anderson Cooper in a toga?

Skookumchuk said...

barry dauphin:

Is global warming the new "Noble?" Lie about weather?

Probably. All these prognostications about the doom of industrial society that we have been seeing now for the past thirty years have a kind of medieval morality play air about them. Morality plays composed, of course, in the post-Christian language of "science".

Buddy Larsen said...

yeh, skook, the marlin is a great one, and using 'rat-shot' won't even damage the property--except for the rifling in the gunbarrel gets clogged if ya don't clean it.

And right on the Ernie Pyle...what an hombre. And he had more than his share of demons, too--he just fought thru 'em and stuck it out for GI Joe. Until Ie Shima, or wherever it was his odds ran out.

Buddy Larsen said...

Two cars set off from the same point to travel the same journey. The first car has a start of nine minutes before the second car leaves. If the first car travels at 40kph and the second car travels at 70kph, how many kilometres will be travelled when the cars are level?

Send answer, win prize.

(I went there looking for a certain joke contest, the puzzle is over my head)

Buddy Larsen said...

oops, went back, contest was over last December. EVERYthing is over my head.

Buddy Larsen said...

...looking for the origin of these, arrived in an email:

Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
Carcinoma (n.), a valley in California, notable for its heavy smog.

Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightie.

Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

Gargoyle (n.), an olive-flavored mouthwash.

Bustard (n.), a very rude Metrobus driver.

Coffee (n.), a person who is coughed upon.

Flatulence (n.) the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

Semantics (n.), pranks conducted by young men studying for the priesthood, including such things as gluing the pages of the priest's prayer book together just before vespers.

Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a proctologist immediately before he examines you.

Marionettes (n.), residents of Washington, DC who have been jerked around by the mayor.

Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.

Circumvent (n.), the opening in the front of boxer shorts

chuck said...

The first car has a start of nine minutes before the second car leaves. If the first car travels at 40kph and the second car travels at 70kph, how many kilometres will be travelled when the cars are level?

The first car has a head start of 40*9/60 = 6km. The second car gains on the first at (70 - 40) = 30kph, so takes 6/30 = 1/5 hrs to come abreast. In that time it travels 70*1/5 = 14km.

Anonymous said...

I could've figured that out, but it was late. and i drank too much iced tea earlier. and the wind is blowing outside, and stuff.

terrye said...

I have been known to take mice away from my cat Cheetah because I can not stand to see them killed.

I feed her, the little serial killer does not need to torture and kill a mouse.

Speaking of weather, imagine what they do with the Dust Bowl today.

Buddy Larsen said...

Terrye, we may not have to 'imagine'...I've never seen it so dry around here.

RogerA said...

Although I agree philosophically with buddy's post at 5:36--mice and other rodentia in New Mexico especially carry such nasty things as hantavirus and bubonic plague--so as distasteful as a rodent auto-da-fe may be, it might have been appropriate from a disease perspective. (OK OK--I am in public health and Grant County has already had one fatality last year from hantavirus).

Knucklehead said...


Interesting catch on the flaming mouse scepticism. I briefly wondered how a flaming mouse that ran under the siding could burn down an entire house but didn't allow that to rise to the level of "this story is bogus". I left it at "Man, that musta been one tinderbox of a house!"

Either the story is bogus or there's some more to it, such as this dope who watched a flaming mouse set fire to his house and didn't manage to put it out was drunk as a skunk and did something even stupider than tossing the mouse onto a fire - something like dousing it with gasoline first. The idiot probably was burning leaves or trash too close to the house.

It would be interesting to learn what the insurance company thinks for this one.

BTW, according to the net the ultrasonic devices that claim to repel rodents and some insects are virtually useless. I didn't bother to research them prior to investing a whopping $12 for a two-pack I happened to spot at Home Depot one day. I haven't had a mouse in the house during the winter since (a couple years now) and near as I can tell I've got fewer spiders and crickets inside during the big spider and cricket season (fall). The mouse part ain't my imagination since they are quite easy to hear and trap and I neither hear them nor get any in the traps no more (admittedly I stopped bothering to set traps). The spiders and crickets part could be pure wishful thinking.

I'd gladly use Skook's Marlin suggestion but where I live that's be a ticket to the clink.

Stoking people up about the weather is and old phenomenon. I like to wander over to the nearby grocery store during the ubiquitous winter "Storm Watch!" nonsense just to see the sight of the shelves picked clean. It is amazing. People behave as if they might be isolated for weeks. They actually seem to believe that the Wrath of Gaia is sure to happen with each snowstorm or nor'easter.

The worst anyone can recall is very small and isolated pockets of no electricity for 72 hours or not being able to get off one's street for 24 hours. But they relentlessly behave as if something an order of magnitude worse can happen at any moment.

How does such a large swath of the population completely lose track of all sense of proportion and perspective so easily?

Buddy Larsen said...

Interesting question...can there be 'too much' safety? Such that it blunts our perspective on threat levels?

The term 'cabin fever' has just about disappreared--but it was common not so long ago, a real entity in the lives of people who'd get 'snowed in' for long stretches of time.

Knucklehead said...


I don't know if there can be "too much safety". I am pretty well convinced that many people have long since lost the ability to seperate the sense of "danger" or "pain" or "suffering" from that of "anxiety".

I was recently listening to my daughters discuss the phenomenon of how some of their college friends and acquaintances seem "afraid" to do things - things like simply going in to NYC to a show or sporting event or most anything that is something they have never done before. I find this an odd way to go about life. We're not talking about things like skydiving here or, for that matter, young people with obvious emotional issues, just relatively normal young people seemingly afraid to do relatively normal things.

I've long been amazed by how much people seem to be willing to forego in life for the sake of maintaining their sense of security.

Buddy Larsen said...

Instinct of self-preservation is right up there at the top of our automatic systems. TV's relentless feed into the limbic brain, bypassing the intellect as images are wired to do, is probably at the root of a vicious-circle of wrong-thinking, there, knuck.

Buddy Larsen said...

And the fear-of-fear thing, as in "I KNOW it's safe, but I also KNOW it scares me".

chuck said...

I was recently listening to my daughters discuss the phenomenon of how some of their college friends and acquaintances seem "afraid" to do things - things like simply going in to NYC to a show or sporting event or most anything that is something they have never done before.

I used to watch parents worry over every little thing about their children: falling off swings, always wearing helmets, being poisoned on Halloween, etc., etc.. I wondered if the result wouldn't be adults afraid to do anything.

At the same time, all the good stuff disappeared from pharmacies and chemistry sets: saltpetre, sulphur, test tubes, hypodermics, etc., etc. I wondered if the result wouldn't be adults with no connection to reality and no ability to deal with 'real' stuff.

Buddy Larsen said...

I think the wars of the 20th century resuted in a cultural transfer of power from exploration and curiosity toward fear of consequences in general.

daddy keeps screwing up, let mommy run things.

Knucklehead said...

Chuck & Buddy,

The most interesting part of it, and I failed to communicate it, was that they were talking about what they perceived as actual fear. They weren't talking about these people being "concerned" or "cautious" (one of mine tends toward caution and the other is much more likely to toss caution to the the wind).

Re: the helmets thing... Has anyone noticed how few children ride bicycles anymore or, perhaps more accurately, how little time children spend upon bicycles anymore. I blame it on the ridiculous helmet laws for bicylces. We lived on our bicycles when I was a kid. If the world would have insisted we wore goofy looking helmets every time we climbed aboard a bike I don't think that would have been the case. Skateboards apparently don't require helmets and I see far more brats traveling by skateboard than bicycle. Only adults ride bikes anymore. Wassupwitdat?

Buddy Larsen said...

Could be that they're just 'out' in kiddieland.

Kids are all trying to be the next cohort up, and a 10 yr old is gonna have the bike attitude we had when we were a year or two short of driving. Remember?

Maybe that's part of it. it is true, tho, and sad. Bikes were the first course in all sorts of physics and mechanics interests.