Department Of That’s His Story And He’s Sticking To It
MH traveled to Pasadena last weekend to attend a memorial service for a college classmate.  He shared a hotel room and rental car with friend with fellow alum DH. Following the Sunday afternoon service, the two longtime buddies went out to dinner with another friend/CalTech alum – JD, who had also attended the memorial. JD offered to drive and picked up the boys at their hotel – which, BTW and not incidental to this story, had a choice of valet parking or no parking; thus, MH left the rental car’s keys with the hotel parking valet.
Upon returning to their hotel room, the boys found they had a terse/sheepish message on their room phone, saying that they needed to come down to the front desk and see the manager “…about your car.” In his text and photo to me about what had happened, MH, trying to piece together the story, said that the hotel’s parking valet apparently “…had a fun drive in the parking garage…until a cement post got in the way.”
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Department Of Weapons Of A Would-Be Serial Killer
Or make that, squirrel-y-er killer.
Exhibit A, as viewed from our kitchen window: Can you spot the discharged shell?
Exhibit B: Can you identify the weapon on the windowsill?
A classy addition to our home décor which I’d hitherto unimagined, a Nerf Uzi  seems to have found a home on our kitchen eating area windowsill during the past few months. This particular window looks out onto our side yard, a jungle-y area of shrubs and ferns and vine maples. The trees bear the responsibility of holding MH’s growing collection of bird feeders, at least two of which were guaranteed to thwart those nefarious scourges of bird feeder hangers everywhere.
Yep, I’m talkin’ squirrels.
A “squirrel-proof” bird feeder is, as we have discovered, a concept and not a reality. Similar to how Science ® has proved that trailer parks attract tornadoes, hanging a squirrel-proof bird feeder in your tree guarantees that your neighborhood’s most balletic-ally agile, persistent, inventive and dexterous squirrels will be irresistibly, almost magnetically drawn to your yard. Thus, the years-long enmity between MH and sciurus carolinensis which has led my otherwise mild-mannered spouse to keep the afore-mentioned, foam dart-deploying weapon handy. 
Exhibit C: can you spot the mas, which, when donned by a 6’2″ male biped, produces not one iota of dread in squirrels but is most effective in inducing a butt-dragging-crapping-outside-the-box-in-terror reaction in housecats?
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Department Of More Fun With Animals
So, thanks to my new car’s radio – and BTW, when you say the phrase, my new car, please use your best Oprah voice…
Yet again, I digress.
My new car’s radio has, like, a bajillion preset options,  and I’ve only seven or so channels I listen to on a regular basis. Before I selected the presets I did an internet search for Portland metro area music stations, to get my number of presets up to what I thought was a respectable figure (10). More often than not, I find myself leaving the channel on one of these new station “discoveries” – an eclectic oldies station run by local (Hillsboro) ham radio operators. The station’s programming is all over the oldies map: I’ll hear a 50s doo-wop song followed by a John Denver’s first hit (Country Roads) followed by one of The Beatles’ lesser-played covers (Carl Perkins’ Honey Don’t) to other hits and misses spanning several decades. Wednesday morning I was treated to a somnambulant edition of Hang on Sloopy I had no idea existed.  The latter version varied greatly in tempo and even melody and was not as swampy/sexy as the more familiar version by The McCoys, but still had its own charm.
Earlier in the week I’d heard the station play, “Remember (Walking in the Sand)” by The Shangri-Las, that classic, romantic tragedy (romagedy?) tale of a teenage girl lamenting the loss and/or unfaithfulness of her boyfriend – which was fundamental fodder of songs written for the girl groups of the late 1950s – early 1960s.
I was familiar with the song, but couldn’t remember the last time I’d heard it…and after I heard it on that radio station I had to consider whether or not I’d ever listened to it all the way through. Perhaps the radio station’s engineer was having fun with the background volume controls; whatever the reason, the increasingly loud sound effects at the end of the song got me to wondering: are listeners supposed to think that the heartbroken narrator returned to the beach where she once walked (in the sand…remember?) with her boyfriend and, distracted and distraught over her lover’s betrayal, she staggered into a mob of seagulls and was pecked to death?
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Department Of More Fun With Radio
Make that, fun with a podcast. And I’m not sure that fun is the appropriate modifier…although I’d like to think that enlightenment of any kind is entertaining, in some ways.
Wednesday morning I listened to an amazing TED talk. Two speakers shared a stage, and shared a story which began almost two decades ago. Listen to it, and you’ll discover that what starts out as the tale of an Icelandic girl and her Australian exchange student boyfriend doesn’t go where you’d expect, to put it mildly.
For the rest of the day I kept thinking about the after effects of sexual violence, and in particular, the paucity of perspectives we have from its perpetrators. Increasingly, women and girls are daring to speak out about their experiences of having been raped, but how many men and boys have you ever heard admit to being rapists, and to talk openly about what that was like?
Rapist; Brute; Savage; Animal; Inhuman. We’ve many epithets and adjectives for those who commit sexual assault. I vote for eliminating inhuman from that list, because I think societies might make more progress in dealing with sexual assault by ultimately recognizing the humanity of the assailant.
Yep, you read correctly. I know, it sounds almost sacrilegious  to refer to a rapist’s humanity. But how can you ever hope to solve a problem if you aren’t willing to think clearly about it?
And clearly, history demonstrates that just as kindness, compassion, empathy, altruism, and sacrifice are bright colors on the spectrum of human behavior, so are the darker shades of human-on-human abuse.
Rape and other acts of assault and violence, from bullying to waging war, are unfortunately common to the human experience. But when we label rapists/sexual abusers as inhuman we enable those human beings who for whatever reasons  force themselves upon weaker/ intoxicated/drugged/otherwise incapacitated human beings, to subsequently and sincerely not consider themselves to be rapists or to have committed sexual assault, because they are not the archetypal inhuman fiend who sprang out from behind a hedge and held a knife to her throat….
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Department Of Ending On A Lighter Note
Business sign of the week… or month…or maybe even year: I saw this sign on the side of the road, meant to entice passers-by to consider the services of a landscaping company to spruce up your yard for the coming warmer months:
“This spring don’t get caught with your plants down.”
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May you revel in the small pleasures of a forgotten song remembered;
May you never get caught with your plants down;
May you consider the humanity of the serial squirrel-harasser;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 Who died too young after a long battle with rheumatoid arthritis. I shall write a bit about him in another post.
 Not its official name.
 Yeah, the squirrels flee when he fires it at them. And then they return.
 Okay; thirty.
 The stations website, such as it is, is quite low tech, and has no playlist, so I don’t know who did that version of HOS.
 But I’m a happy heathen, remember?
 Usually related to the cultural dictates which teach men that they are entitled to women’s bodies.