Re: Nature bites.

1

Since Michael Bay is mentioned in the previous thread, I'm going to say you have to have a montage of your recovery and preparation for vengeance. Then destroy the hive.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 1:38 PM
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Wow. Could they have been Killer Bees?

signed,

300 miles N of ya who spends time in deep woods.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 1:39 PM
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We're out in the Bay Area, actually.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 1:43 PM
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Wow. Could they have been Killer Bees?

apparently not:
who stung me five times

heebies' on the road, so I don't know where this took place.


yikes heebie! no fun.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 1:43 PM
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did you get a good look at the one you caught and dispatched? What was the coloration? Most of them (unlike bees) don't congregate in large numbers...


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 1:44 PM
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Since I don't have anything bee-related to add, I will instead say that last night I happened to see a can of beverage Hawaiian Punch and thought to myself, "Huh, who knew that Heebie's kid had a soft drink named after her? That's cute!". This is kind of like the time that I saw a woman at work on Halloween who was wearing, along with her regular business-casual clothes, a pair of very realistic cat ears and my first thought was, "Oh, I guess they've started hiring some of those cat-human hybrids now. That's nice."


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 1:44 PM
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Ouch. Wow, that really sucks.

My dad is mildly allergic to insect stings - he only gets a reaction in combination with other stuff - and my sister is pretty seriously allergic, such that she bring an EpiPen syringe with her when she travels anywhere with any risk of stinging insects, but for most of my childhood we didn't know if I was. I was just lucky or sufficiently cautious that AFAIR I never got stung by anything like a bee or hornet. That is, until one day when I was 16. I was mowing the lawn of someone down the road a ways, mowed over a wasp's nest in the ground or something, and got stung four times on one leg below the knee. I limped, almost hopped, a fifth of a mile home*, spent the day on the couch with ice on my leg or whatever, and went back to get the lawnmower the following day. If I had had my sister's allergy I probably wouldn't have lived long enough to get home. Yours sounds a lot worse.

(Also, I'm a horrible person and/or juvenile, because I confess I'm tittilated by the part about you taking off your shirt to get away from the insect. If not for the "painful welts from unnaturally persistent stinging insects" part, it would sound like a scene from a romcom.)

* Distance verified by going to the satellite view of Google maps. Man, that is cool.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 1:46 PM
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If not for the "painful welts from unnaturally persistent stinging insects" part, it would sound like a scene from a romcom.

Also if I weren't with my dad.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 1:48 PM
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The wasp stuck in your shirt thing really sucks, because almost everything you can do results in more stings. At least, that was my experience (twice! 10 years apart) with wetsuits.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 1:49 PM
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Other than the maurading insects, Miss Heebie, how is the trip?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 1:51 PM
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(Heh.) The trip is going well. It's wonderful to see everyone, but a bit emotionally fraught.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 1:55 PM
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I wondered if we were emitting some smell that was making new hornets show up

Bees and wasps (which include hornets and yellow jackets) give off a pheremone when they sting that signals their pals to join in the attack. So probably, I'd guess.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 1:58 PM
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yeah I bet it's fraught. Good to have the time together though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 1:59 PM
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How do you get a wasp stick in a wet suit?


Posted by: dob | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:02 PM
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My guess would be the western (despite its Latin name) yellowjacket based on location, aggressiveness and multiple sting capability. See if the picture looks familiar.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:03 PM
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14: leaving them out overnight. I think they like the salt, or something.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:04 PM
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15: those are the ones I'm most familiar with, anyway.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:05 PM
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15: Those certainly look like something I'd shriek at and run from.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:08 PM
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I don't remember yellowjackets being chasers, though. I've heard that hornets will do that but never got close enough to hornets to find out for myself.

Best yellowjacket story I know: my dad had his glasses scraped off his face by a branch while doing some Cat work in the brush. He got down off the Cat and thought he had his glasses spotted, but they were surrounded by yellowjackets who were busy stinging him. So he went to work with a long stick trying to pull the glasses to him while keeping some distance from the yellowjackets, getting stung all the while. After a bit his buddy came along and, once he stopped laughing too hard to talk, informed my dad that what he was actually raking at with the stick was the yellowjackets' nest, which he'd knocked off its branch with the Cat.

My dad does not see well without his glasses.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:13 PM
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I don't remember yellowjackets being chasers, though.

Me either. Or at least, not very serious about it.

I've been chased by bee swarms a couple times when breaking trail, but never more than individual hornets or wasps, that I recall.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:16 PM
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Three months after getting our bees, our beekeeping has started to include active bee management. Just yesterday we added a second story to the hive, which by and large was a calm event.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:18 PM
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What are you planning to do with the honey? Does your sister have a centrifuge and everything you need, or do you bring honey-filled frames to some honey processing plant?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:24 PM
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As a kid, I once was jumped on an abandoned box spring in the woods and found out there was hornet's nest in it. Don't jump on box springs with hornet's nests in them.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:28 PM
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OT: I just got invited to Google Voice and have to pick a phone number. Which of these do you like?

###-OMFG
20-[abbreviated name -- like WGSHR]
NET-POET
NET-WORD
#NEURAL
9MEDIUM
9ODDEST
9MEDIA9

keep in mind that this I will use this for some sort of freelance publications/speechwriting/consulting practice. But awesome is as good as relevant.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:30 PM
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(Sorry, I really should have derailed the older thread.)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:32 PM
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24: I don't have a strong preference between "9MEDIUM" and "20-[abbreviated name -- like WGSHR]". Definitely opposed to the two that start with NET, though.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:34 PM
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toe-jams, net-jeux, toe-nuke/mule


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:36 PM
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oh gosh I'm so sorry. That sounds terrifying! Besides ibuprofen, benadryl (gel? do you ahve the gel?) and cortisone, lanacaine and gold bond cream are often very helpful, as well as baking soda baths.

Megan! I may have bees for you. I'll email you details later today.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:38 PM
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(eye-she-new)(dirt-fist)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:42 PM
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You must have kicked over their nest, HG, probably a big one. That made them really really mad; plus, they were auditioning for a Michael Bay movie.

Neither wasp nor bee stings usually hurt me too much... well, until last year, when I was out front, trimming the hedges, barefoot, and stepped on something. 1...2...3.... OW..... OW. HOLY OW SHIT.

Got stung (I think) on the bottom of my big toe. Felt like teh nuclear fire bathing my entire toe. The pain kept getting worse for like 20 minutes, so I finally (hopping and swearing) filled up a pot full of ice water and stuck my entire foot in there. It subsided to a normal level of sting pain. So I took my foot out and OW. Toe being burned away from by furnace! Finally scrapped the bottom of my foot with a knife, found the very base of the barb, and managed to yank it out. Damn thing was like a 1/4" long. Yeesh.

max
['My condolences. That shit sucks.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:43 PM
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"Woegasm" is kind of cool, though I probably wouldn't use it for my business cards. Also: Yo, Dirty


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:46 PM
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Zomg! How many stung the baby?


Posted by: Cryptic need | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:47 PM
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Ile! Awesome, although I would have to bring them to Sacramento somehow, which would be exciting. If you have another convenient destination for them, you should do that first.

Also, H-G, when I was stung by a bee when I was little, the doctor told us to steep a black teabag for a couple seconds, then press it to the sting for a few minutes. It was supposed to fix it, by leaching the irritant perhaps? I didn't get the full story, but I remember the prescription.

*****
My sister was the one who wanted the honey, so I was gonna let her figure all that out. I just wanted the hobby and the street-cred. Having tasted the honey the last time we opened the hive, I am now more enthusiastic about that aspect than I was. We'll probably hunt down some local enthusiasts and borrow their equipment.

(Also, LB, do you remember a guy who was plaguing my old blog for a few months? Nutso right-winger from Canada who was convinced that I was a Korean lesbian man-hater? Had a genuine flair for words, but nutso? He left me a comment on RP. He's been waiting TWO YEARS to abuse me again. Two years!)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:52 PM
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He left me a comment on RP. He's been waiting TWO YEARS to abuse me again. Two years!)

It must be love.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:56 PM
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wow, Megan, that's stalkerific.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:59 PM
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Is it K/n//th E/n/g?


Posted by: Cryptic need | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 2:59 PM
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Coincidentally, I was stung on Saturday for the first time that I can remember (the last time I can recall was the summer of '84, but it seems likely I've been stung since). Fucker was (apparently) on the strap of a pack as I slung it on, so it stung me in the armpit. Pain went away very quickly, but still alarming.

Sorry to hear that you got it at least 14X worse, Heebs.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 3:02 PM
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I had no idea that centrifuges were used in harvesting honey. Apparently they can be quite simple. The SafNatura stainless steel motorized 39-comb radial extractor looks pretty cool.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 3:11 PM
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38: Plus, you could dry out your towels.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 3:14 PM
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This weekend when I was at the gym, there was some story on some news channel about a sports jacket worn by some team's batgirl getting swarmed. (They were giving her a new jacket and spinning it that even evil stinging insects are drawn to their quality product...)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 3:19 PM
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Bee swarm.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 3:30 PM
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How come we still haven't heard a plausible explanation for the Palin resignation, or at least juicier rumors? It's been 72 hours, dammit.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 3:46 PM
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I went with the OMFG. None of my friends thought WOEGASM was a very good phone number.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 3:48 PM
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Our family's potentially scary stinging bee swarm episode happened to my youngest on a canoe trip when he was 11 or 12. He and I were exploring an island we were camping on and he stumbled over a nest. Fortunately nothing too bad (and benadryl seemed to knock down the pain quite well) as we were half-a-day's paddle/portage from the roadhead. A day later he came bolting out of the water screaming "Get it off me! Get it off me!". Turned out to be a good-sized leech on his foot. It got christened Audrey II (or maybe III, I forget which) and saved in a baggie until I murdered it through neglect. Still at the end of the trip his only real regret was not having seen a moose.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 3:53 PM
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did you get a good look at the one you caught and dispatched?

This is essential in case it was rabid......not really.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 3:57 PM
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19: I've heard that hornets will do that but never got close enough to hornets to find out for myself.

I'd bet on hornets. They are very aggressive about their nests, which is why you gotta go after the big nests with the (chemical) spray that shoots for 50-foot out of the can. (Then they know they're really pissed at somebody, but that can't figure out where that person is.)

max
['Yellowjackets aren't so bad.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 4:22 PM
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None of my friends thought WOEGASM was a very good phone number.

you may need new friends.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 4:24 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 4:27 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 4:37 PM
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I wondered if we were emitting some smell

Er, well, breastmilk smells kinda sweet. Not that I've ever heard of bees or wasps being attracted to it, but you never know.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 5:02 PM
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re: 6

I was out drinking last week and one of the girls in the group brought her sister. The sister has cartoon pink hair -- so bright it looks like a cosplay wig -- and was wearing, for no reason I could tell other than she wanted to, a pair of black velvet cat ears. It is a pretty distinctive look.


Posted by: natarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 5:11 PM
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It is a pretty distinctive look.

One straddling the fine line between charmingly whimsical and 'someone should chase her up a tree'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 5:16 PM
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One of the mysteries of life to me is why I got stung so many times as a child, but the only once as an adult. Which was on my big toe - fortunately it hit a callous and it only briefly hurt. Finally, a benefit to not having perfectly pedicured feet!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 5:56 PM
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Surely there are other benefits to not having perfectly pedicured feet.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 6:16 PM
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Well, I have superhuman soles and can walk and/or run on pretty much every surface barefoot. That's nice.

I'm just still smarting because when my mom paid for all of us to get pedicures before her wedding, the male pedicurist actually called people over to marvel (and not in a good way) at the thickness of the skin on my feet. Geeze, they don't look bad, and they're useful!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 6:35 PM
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55: I hope you tipped poorly!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 6:39 PM
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55: That's roughly what I was after in 54. My soles aren't superhuman by any means, but I sort of assume -- maybe I'm wrong -- that if you have regular pedicures and have therefore few to no callouses, you (a) can't walk barefoot outdoors much, and (b) are viewed as unfeminine. Bah, as Witt might say.

I should note that I'm grumpy.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 6:40 PM
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We know you're grumpy.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 6:41 PM
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Pots, kettles...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 6:49 PM
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56: I didn't have control over that, but I wouldn't go back. Plus, and I know this isn't hugely fair, I really didn't like having a man doing the pedicure in the first place. If I'm going to be touched by a stranger who I am not planning on getting to know better, I prefer it be a woman.

57: I can tell you that after that pedicure, the skin of my feet decided to crack and split in an ugly and painful manner, despite my daily ritual of foot-lotioning. I don't think I'm well-suited to such things.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 6:56 PM
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Heebie's run sounds like good exercise.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 6:59 PM
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58. Sorry, probably best to head out.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 7:05 PM
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I've never been stung by a bee- once by a wasp, once by a yellow jacket. When I was 11 I was at camp and had just read about what's mentioned @12, that yellow jackets give off a chemical to attract others when threatened or damaged. A day or two later I was outside and felt a bug land on my leg and slapped it, and I looked down and saw a squashed yellow jacket- it hadn't actually stung me- but I ran out of there faster then I ever have, down a wooded path, hurdling branches and rocks until I reached a cabin. Very good exercise.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 7:10 PM
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Ugh, that sucks, Geebs. I'm lucky enough never to have been stung by anything other than a bee, and not since I was about 10. My wife was stung the other day when she sat on a bee in our front yard. We had to ask our friends to keep an eye on the kids while I--in a very dignified fashion--held an ice cube against her bottom until the pain went away.

I'm totally terrified of stinging insects, though. Your story chills me.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 7:48 PM
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51: The sister has cartoon pink hair -- so bright it looks like a cosplay wig -- and was wearing, for no reason I could tell other than she wanted to, a pair of black velvet cat ears. It is a pretty distinctive look.

Cute!

53: Which was on my big toe - fortunately it hit a callous and it only briefly hurt. Finally, a benefit to not having perfectly pedicured feet!

Heh. I think the one I mentioned above was directly on a nerve, and I know it was in the middle of the crack in my callus. Then again, maybe those wood-eating bees have really mean stings.

55: the male pedicurist actually called people over to marvel (and not in a good way) at the thickness of the skin on my feet. Geeze, they don't look bad, and they're useful!

I think women's feet are supposed to be pink, smooth, soft... virginal. I think Freud would say I left an 'a' out of that last word.

57: My soles aren't superhuman by any means, but I sort of assume -- maybe I'm wrong -- that if you have regular pedicures and have therefore few to no callouses, you (a) can't walk barefoot outdoors much, and (b) are viewed as unfeminine.

That makes you, me, bob and () as barefooted persons. I don't have a problem with being unfeminine, but really, that seems stupid you would be seen that way. Unless it were by a guy with a foot fetish.

63: I've never been stung by a bee- once by a wasp, once by a yellow jacket.

I've been stung dozens of times. Chigger bites are worse. So are scorpion bites.

max
['Except for that whatever it was.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 7:52 PM
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viraginal?
Spider bites are my paranoia, although I don't think we have any poisonous ones here (MA)- my basement is totally occupied by these long legged ones that leave webs everywhere, but I don't think they're bad. We had wolf spiders when I was growing up (NY), but they never bit anyone, it just took an unabridged dictionary to kill them.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 8:10 PM
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66: vairginal -- not many people know this, but Freud had quite the drawl.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 8:13 PM
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65.last: I've been stung dozens of times

I seem to recall averaging about one or two stings a summer as a kid (mostly just honeybees), a few as an adult. When my eldest was about 3 or 4 he had one bad summer where he got nailed 4 different times in the course of a couple of weeks. The last one was a bee that flew into our car while we were driving, made a beeline to his car seat and stung him. His crying had a particular "Why me?" timbre to it. I, however, insisted on pressing ahead to the free concert we were going to, but when we got there he proved stubbornly disinclined to go sit out on a big lawn.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 8:23 PM
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feeta? a not-so-popular greek cheese?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 8:36 PM
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Chigger bites are worse. So are scorpion bites.

Or, you know, brown recluse bites.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 8:43 PM
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feeta? a not-so-popular greek cheese?

nosflow won't like it


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 8:43 PM
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I've never been stung by a bee- once by a wasp, once by a yellow jacket.

I got at least a dozen a summer as a kid, I'd guess.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 8:45 PM
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OT:
I'm trying to remember the name of a novel I read a long time ago, when I was a little kid. It was about these two boys who went to a boarding school. One of them collected Soldier of Fortune Magazine and assorted military and survival equipment. They discover a cave or something, and there's evidence -- like tiny canals and houses -- that it was once inhabited by tiny, doll-sized people. They begin to excavate the site in secret, but eventually I think tragedy strikes and the cave is destroyed.

Anyone remember this? I think it was written in the 70s, and it was for a YA audience.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 8:48 PM
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of course, we used to catch them (sometimes in hands), and do stupid things like dare each other to mess a nest or whatever.

dumb kids, i guess.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 8:48 PM
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Aha! I found it. Through the Hidden Door, by Rosemary Wells.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 8:56 PM
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70:Is this turning into a grossout critter thread? Cause I watched this thing on Animal Planet last night where a guy goes swimming in Lake Victoria and six years later has a golfball size mass of wriggly worms at the base of his brain.

I ain't ever goin' to Africa. I will barely leave my house after watching that.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 9:05 PM
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68: The last one was a bee that flew into our car while we were driving, made a beeline to his car seat and stung him. His crying had a particular "Why me?" timbre to it.

Most of the time you can shake them off, but some of those bugs are determined.

70: Or, you know, brown recluse bites.

Enh. I find black widows scarier; I think I've been bitten by a brown recluse, but not sure. Ex- got bit a few times and boy did she have some nasty reactions.

66: my basement is totally occupied by these long legged ones that leave webs everywhere, but I don't think they're bad. We had wolf spiders when I was growing up (NY), but they never bit anyone, it just took an unabridged dictionary to kill them.

Daddy longlegs is what we called 'em. Not that many spiders in my part of TX, but in West Texas (depending on which part) they can get pretty thick. Plus the tarantulas appear. There's a shitload of spiders here in VA, but they aren't really noxious.

68: I seem to recall averaging about one or two stings a summer as a kid (mostly just honeybees), a few as an adult.

In Dallas, in the summer, mainly, when the birds are scarce, yellowjackets, hornets, wasps and mud daubers want to get into your house, and really like building nests under the eaves of houses. When they hit nuisance levels (they start attacking people and pets) you gotta go clean the little fuckers out. That's when the stings accumulate. Bees are comparatively rare.

max
['Fire ants are not rare.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 10:36 PM
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those wood-eating bees

We have these, I'm pretty sure. They seem kind of slow and will follow anything you throw in the air. I think my roomates had a name for them. Carpenter bees, maybe?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 10:43 PM
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66: my basement is totally occupied by these long legged ones that leave webs everywhere, but I don't think they're bad.

77 Daddy longlegs is what we called 'em.

Hmm. What I know as "daddy longlegs" is not a spider and doesn't make a web. But apparently the term is also used for an actual spider. Who knew?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 10:44 PM
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those wood-eating bees

I don't know if wood-eating bees are the same as the ones that live in the ground in Texas and are called Wood Bees, but that name always cracks me up. The Has-Beens meet the Wood Bees.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 10:59 PM
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76: We were strictly instructed to avoid swimming in certain places when I was a kid because of this. Not the brain thing specifically, but the wriggly worms. They can take up residence in a number of places. My dad was peripherally associated with rural education efforts to deal with this stuff when he was in the Peace Corps.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 11:00 PM
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I've been stung dozens of times.

Heh. My dad kept beehives when we were growing up. I used work the smoker! Good times. One of my funnier childhood memories is of my little brother whacking the hives with a stick while wearing nothing but a diaper.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 11:00 PM
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This thread is making me think a bit more wistfully about autoclaving the non-human population of the planet.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 11:08 PM
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What I know as "daddy longlegs" is not a spider

WTF. I've been living a lie for like forty years, thinking they were spiders. I don't know what's true anymore.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 11:28 PM
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I'm pretty sure the thing I call a Daddy Long Legs is indeed a spider.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 11:32 PM
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Also, now that I have seen the close up picture, I'm suddenly terrified of them whereas before I always found them inoffensive. (A former roommate hated them, though, because they reminded her of kiwis. Which terrified her because the brown fuzzy skin and green innards reminded her of spiders. It was a very circular phobia).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 11:34 PM
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Parenthetical's Daddy Long Legs is what I also call a Daddy Long Legs, and until this thread I had been unaware that the term had any other referents.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 6-09 11:53 PM
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Hm. I'd call essear's thing a harvestman. This is what I'd call a daddy longlegs.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 2:42 AM
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WTF- daddy long legs don't have wings.
I think it's Pholcidae in the basement.
What I call daddy long legs are the ones wikipedia says are harvestmen. Even before reading that classification, I knew they couldn't really be spiders because they're the only spider-like thing I don't really mind.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 5:12 AM
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78: Those critters were called 'Borer bees" in Alabama. They're big, and the impact of intersecting the flight path of one of those while on a bike at 80+ MPH was painful. I could see them from about 10-20 feet away but there was nothing to do about it except concentrate on not flinching.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 5:19 AM
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That looks more like a Mosquito Hawk, ofe.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 5:45 AM
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Huh, and I think a mosquito hawk is a kind of dragonfly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 5:50 AM
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It's a Crane Fly, referred to as a Mosquito Hawk in the US, which is the only country in the anglosphere which doesn't call it a Daddy Longlegs. I suppose it's one of those things like having a different name for football.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 6:08 AM
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79: Yes, my daddy longlegs growing up was was essear's. I suspect it's a regionalism (I'm Ohio and I believe essear was Kentucky). In fact it's question #67 in this dialect survey, but the question misses the point for what we are looking for.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 6:56 AM
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You have to admit that Mosquito Hawk is a fairly awesome name. Once you've thought of it, you more or less have to find something to use it on, international comity of insect nomenclature be damned. (This also happens the other way round, ie Americans use the same word to refer to something completely different: sparrows, football, suspenders, braces, solicitors, fannies etc.)

I note that it's a very inappropriate name for something that doesn't actually hunt mosquitos.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 7:03 AM
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Maybe we could reduce the confusion by using 'Daddy longlegs' for the spider with long legs and 'mosquito hawk' for 'British lawyer who doesn't wear a wig'. That would free-up 'solicitor' for salespeople/prostitutes on both sides of the Atlantic. By way of trade, I am completely willing to use 'sparrow' however the British use it just as soon as somebody tells me what that is. I sort of like the double-meaning for 'suspenders' and 'fannie', so we should leave that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 7:14 AM
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The first thing that you hear when you deplane in LAX is a looped recording saying "Please do not give money to solicitors. This airport does not support the activities of solicitors." This is rather surprising for the British visitor.

Sparrow, in Britain, means a small brown bird. In the US, by contrast, it means a different sort of small brown bird. You can see how this would cause confusion.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 7:20 AM
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97.2: That's not a difference. I'm fairly certain that most of the birds I call sparrows aren't sparrows in either the U.S. or British meaning. If I was supposed to be able to tell one small brown bird from another, I'd have better vision.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 7:26 AM
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I suspect it's a regionalism (I'm Ohio and I believe essear was Kentucky).

It's the same in New Jersey, CA (per Parenthetical), and NM (per teo), so not much of a regionalism.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 7:29 AM
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97.2 Yes, sparrows in the US are buntings in the "Old World", while most US buntings are in the Cardinal family.

The "buntings" in this family are sometimes generically known as "tropical buntings" (though not all live in the tropics) or "North American buntings" (though there are other buntings in North America) to distinguish them from the true buntings. Likewise the grosbeaks in this family are sometimes called "cardinal-grosbeaks" to distinguish them from other grosbeaks.

And don't even get started on finches (for instance: The rosefinches should not be confused with the rosy finches).

A lot of this is because "folk" names that stick were pretty much determined by the Moby Hicks of the world.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 7:34 AM
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99: The use of the term "daddy longlegs" is common, but per 85 Parenthetical and teo use it to refer to a different species (an actual spider).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 7:35 AM
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101: Yeah, upon re-reading, you're right. I'm easily confused in the morning hours. My NJ daddy longlegs was the same as yours, though.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 7:39 AM
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100.last: Sorry about that. Before your comment, I was unaware that 'bunting' had any meaning outside of baseball and grandstand decoration.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 7:42 AM
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95
(This also happens the other way round, ie Americans use the same word to refer to something completely different: sparrows, football, suspenders, braces, solicitors, fannies etc.)

I was going to ask about sparrows, but I guess 97-100 covered it. Football I know. I know the British* meaning of "solicitors" only from reading Dracula; it means some kind of lawyer, right? In American it seems so rarely used that you only see it in metal signs and police documents and only hear it in, well, looped recordings in airports. I'm baffled by "suspenders," "bracers" and "fannies." What are they in British? In American the most common meanings of each are, respectively, elastic straps that men use to hold pants up, orthodontic appliances to straighten teeth out**, and a cute, nonthreatening slang for the ass.

* Also, am I using "British" correctly, to refer to that dialect spoken in England? I tend to use "British" interchangeably with "English," although this seems like the place for precision. One time I saw a Venn diagram of the United Kingdom. It was complicated.

** Jokes about British people having bad teeth are low-hanging fruit.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 7:56 AM
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In British, suspenders means garter belt or something related. Braces refer to what is called suspenders in regular English. Fannie means adjustable-rate mortgage.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 7:59 AM
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103: Ah, no worries, there's been a lot or re-orging at the family level (and sometimes other levels) in songbirds as direct genetic evidence comes into play. Early scientific namers/classifiers were likewise limited in the information they had to work with (and of course the roots of taxonomy are pre-Darwinian, it has been a (continuing) long hard slog to sort it all out within the overall pre-existing Linnaean structure and there are controversial proposals to replace it).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:05 AM
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I think I made an error in 105. "Braces" for "Suspenders" may be just old-school American English.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:05 AM
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re: 105

"regular English"?

LAUNCH THE WAR CORACLES!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:07 AM
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re: 104

Braces hold trousers up [not pants, which are something else], braces are also things for straightening teeth, and fanny is for the vagina, not the ass. Although in Scotland the primary use of fanny is as an insult.

"Shut it, ya fanny"


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:10 AM
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108: "Standard English?"

Also, a coracle is a database program combining C+ and Oracle?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:10 AM
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109: Trousers are not a subtype of pants? Pants are not garments you wear on your legs? Now I know you're just making stuff up. What do you call the thing you're typing on when you reply to this, an octopus?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:14 AM
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Typing? Don't you have a secretary?

[Dictated but not signed, for speed.]


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:16 AM
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111: In non-American English, pants means underwear.

Also, for the reason given in 109, never go into a luggage store in New Zealand and ask for a fanny pack if you don't want people to laugh at you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:17 AM
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And if somebody British says you should 'knock them up', they don't want to be impregnated.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:19 AM
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Likewise, a girl in your math class asking to borrow a rubber? A conscientious student making a reasonable request.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:25 AM
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115: That one I knew about. Jokes about confusion caused by asking for a fag are common too.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:30 AM
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113: What would you call it, then? An arse pack?

114: You can't rule it out.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:30 AM
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But if she's really giving you the eye and you think she might know American slang, you may as well try to talk to her after class. Can't hurt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:30 AM
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118 to 115.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:31 AM
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re: 117.1

I think they were outlawed by some sort of royal ordinance.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:31 AM
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regular English

I hate to break this to you, Moby, but you have the attribution of "regular english" around backwards.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:33 AM
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120: If justice prevails...

Nothing shouts "I'm an American tourist!!" like a fanny-pack. Other than shouting "I'm an American tourist", that is.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:33 AM
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What would you call it, then? An arse pack?

Lumbar or waist pack seem to be the term used by hiking suppliers.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:33 AM
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This is rather surprising for the British visitor

surprising, or refreshing?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:34 AM
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re: 123

Bumbag was the standard term, before they were interdicted.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:35 AM
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121: Everybody local uses 'regular English' the way I do.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:35 AM
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I know the word "solicitor" means lawyer rather than panhandler, but it doesn't appear to be a synonym for lawyer, so it remains a mystery.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:36 AM
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127: A barister is a lawyer who wears a powdered wig. A solicitor is the lawyer who chases the ambulance ('medical lorry' in British) to get the client that the barister puts on the powdered wig to represent.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:38 AM
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re: 127

Solicitors are a subset of lawyers in the UK. There are also barristers, and (in Scotland) advocates.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:38 AM
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Incidentally, Prince William was made a barrister today, presumably as he's going bald.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:44 AM
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97.1: As the plane was coming into land on my first visit to North America, a voice from the intercom said "We will be landing momentarily at Washington-Dulles" and I very nearly panicked, I tell you: because in British English that meant the plane was just landing for a moment and would be taking off again very soon, and dammit, I had a friend to meet up with and wanted to get off the plane!


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:45 AM
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131: Airlines use bad English by any standard. My favorite is 'water landing'.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:47 AM
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Yesterday I heard a Wendy's commercial advertising "Mouth-watering Asian Sauce". That amused me a lot.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:56 AM
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I saw that commercial also. It made me want to eat Wendy's regular nuggests (sans sauce). I may have a 'dollar menu' lunch.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:00 AM
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130:

Called to the Bench by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, thus receiving the title Master His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales

Heh.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:02 AM
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Woo iPhone!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:03 AM
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120
I think they were outlawed by some sort of royal ordinance.

Ah, so monarchy isn't all bad, then. (My main reason for hating on fanny packs is just because it's the done thing, but I don't know any reason not to join in.)

131: I think that usage varies within North America was well as across the Atlantic. It seems like the kind of thing I've seen know-it-all writing guides correcting people on, which means it's a common enough disagreement to need to be corrected.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:03 AM
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See, they heard they weren't supposed to say "Oriental" anymore, so...


Posted by: adamhenne | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:04 AM
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136: Did you get it at the Apple store? Is that even still open?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:05 AM
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Harvestmen are daddy longlegses. Skeeter-eaters don't eat mosquitoes, but they certainly aren't daddy longlegses. Zebra crossings are especially dangerous for zebras, who camo in them.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:11 AM
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I suspect it's a regionalism (I'm Ohio and I believe essear was Kentucky).

Opiliones/harvestmen are also known as daddy longlegs where I grew up (PA, NY, VT), though I seems to recall that some people used to call them "granddaddy longlegs".

JRoth, if your team were worth following, I'd recommend the MLB app for your phone. Might as well save yourself the ten bucks, though.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:13 AM
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I'm with Wrongshore on harvestmen being daddy-long-legs. Harvestmen are daddy-long-legs, dragonflies are mosquito hawks, and I don't think I've ever seen a crane fly in person, but if I did I'd call it a crane fly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:17 AM
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I don't think I've ever seen a crane fly in person

Just stand in its way and startle it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:19 AM
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132: well, you couldn't really call it a "watering", and "splashdown" doesn't give the (erroneous) impression of a calm, orderly touchdown that the airlines want to convey.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:21 AM
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144: How about 'crashing in the water?' "In the event we crash in the water, you can use your seat as a floatation device." IMO, you can only have a 'water landing' if your plane has pontoons.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:24 AM
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It made me want to eat Wendy's regular nuggests (sans sauce). I may have a 'dollar menu' lunch.

Everybody should try the "Frosty-cino". Frosty + coffee. I could feel myself getting fatter with each swallow, but it's damn tasty.

http://www.wendys.com/food/Product.jsp?family=10&product=356


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:25 AM
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It *was* a little disturbing to see all the air safety people marvel at how extraordinarily skilled and rare that pilot who splashed down in the Hudson was.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:28 AM
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It's the whistles that get me. "In the unlikely event of this aircraft having to make an emergency water landing, we have equipped you with a small plastic thing that goes PHEEP in order that you may attract the attention of any nearby persons who have failed to notice two hundred and fifty tons of metal smashing into the sea beside them at a hundred miles an hour, but who might still be alerted to your predicament by hearing you going PHEEP with a small plastic thing."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:31 AM
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148: More like that scene from Titanic.

"In the unlikely event of this aircraft having to make an emergency water landing, we have equipped you with a small plastic thing that goes PHEEP in order that you may attract the attention of any nearby persons who are looking for living bodies amidst two hundred and fifty tons of metal smashing into the sea beside them at a hundred miles an hour and a hundred other bodies that might or might not be dead yet."


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:35 AM
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146: That makes me want to get a salad with the dressing on the side.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:38 AM
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There are whistles? Really? I don't remember that as part of any airplane-safety-spiel I've ever listened to tuned out.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:41 AM
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In the US, by contrast, it means a different sort of small brown bird.

I think there are quite a lot of European sparrows in America too, these being the ones whose ancestors woke up one morning to discover that the tree they were sleeping in had sprouted a load of canvas overnight and moved into the middle of the ocean. The wiser sparrows decided to go with the flow.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:52 AM
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151: yes, attached to the life jackets.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:56 AM
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Nature Bites Dep't:

This morning, walking dogs in the park, took a break, sat down on shady grass a fire ant mound. Hundreds

Serious enough I had to get behind a shelter and strip naked in order to shake my clothes out.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:58 AM
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There was also some maniac in the nineteenth century who decided to import all of the birds mentioned by Shakespeare to America -- I know that's why we have starlings, and I wouldn't be surprised if European sparrows were also part of that project.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:58 AM
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154: Fire ants are one of many reasons I have for refusing to live somewhere without at least two months of freezing weather a year.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:00 AM
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The Shakespeare bit may have been a myth, but sparrows were deliberately imported.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:01 AM
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146: "real-brewed coffee" does not inspire confidence.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:03 AM
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155: I didn't know that starlings were native. Now I don't feel so bad about trying to shoot them when I was younger (not that I ever hit one).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:05 AM
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'weren't native'


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:05 AM
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157. That is the stupidest stupid I have ever seen in my life.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:08 AM
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Oh, I think you have to cut them some slack for just not knowing what the consequences would be -- figuring out that non-native species can devastate an ecology was genuinely not obvious when people were doing it. Now, it'd be spectacularly stupid, but then it must have seemed at worst harmless -- what damage could a bunch of birds do?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:13 AM
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115: My mercifully brief experience of public schools in the US (basically 7th and half of 8th grade) was marred by many such confusions, including that exact one. Not the best way to introduce yourself to our new classmates.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:17 AM
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do starlings commonly flock around garbage? If so, thanks alot, American Acclimitization Society.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:18 AM
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157: The starling introduction was definitely linked to the Shakespeare nuts (although others introduced them as well). Here is an extensive list and subsequent history of the mutliple introductions of the House (English) Sparrow. The first was apparently in Brooklyn in the 1850s. As early as the late 1880s some realized that it was a big fuck-up, Without question the most deplorable event in the history of American ornithology was the introduction of the English Sparrow.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:19 AM
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Still catching up, but...

116, yes indeed. "Blow a fag" was slang for smoke a cigarette in my circles right before I came to college. Much fun that one caused, but less mortifying than the rubber incident because I was more mature. When you invite someone to step outside and blow a fag with you the response is sometimes surprisingly enthusiastic.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:21 AM
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164: Starlings are little birds that flit so quickly and never fly in a straight line for more than a couple of yards. I've never seen them around city trash piles. Usually, I've seen them near barns.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:24 AM
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158: In the UK, if you order tea, you usually get proper tea - made by pouring boiling water onto tealeaves or at worst teadust in a bag. In the US, if you order tea, it's any odds what you'll get, but it usually won't taste good. (Canada is a toss-up, in my experience: sometimes you get real tea, but not invariably.)

In the US/Canada, if there's coffee, "freshly brewed" is redundant because people take for granted that's how you make it. In the UK, if it doesn't say "freshly brewed", it's just as likely to be made with a teaspoon of instant coffee and boiling water.

Result: I drink more coffee in North America, and more tea in the UK.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:27 AM
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And ironically, the sparrow population in England has crashed over the last 20 years, to the extent that people remark on it when they see one. Nobody knows why, although there are plenty of theories.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:28 AM
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It's the whistles that get me.

Nah, that makes a lot of sense. You can drift apart a lot in the time it may take a rescue to get there. If they bring a boat, you want them to notice *you*.

If the pilot can actually ditch in the water (the non euphemistic term for "water landing") then your odds aren't so bad. If it's an actual crash though, you probably don't have to worry about whistles.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:31 AM
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Canada is a toss-up, in my experience: sometimes you get real tea, but not invariably.

Agreed, but if you specify they'll probably know the difference.

There is also the north/south split in north america over what an unadorned order of "tea" means. Asking for the same thing in different places can get you hot brewed tea, cold brewed tea, sweetened cold brewed tea (sweet tea), or even a sugar crystal based concoction (served cold) with dubious connections to Camellia sinensis


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:36 AM
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167: Don't know if they are still there, but a massive starling flock used to overwinter at Rice University in Houston, befouling the place. They'd go out to the rice and other grain fields to feed during the day in and come back in the evening in huge flocks. Unwanted pests or no, the flocks were magnificent to watch from my nearby balcony. (As in this video, although it is in England. They really get cranking about 3 minutes in.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:37 AM
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149: [sea rescue whistles] 148: More like that scene from Titanic.

Rather than whistle you could just yell "Marco!"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:40 AM
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170: And sea states in which the whistle is likely to be needed would be more conducive to the full-on crash scenario.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:41 AM
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Starlings are valuable only to small boys with pellet guns.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:42 AM
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175: I couldn't hit them with a shotgun. Of course, I've never been a good shot. But, I'd be very impressed if anybody hit one with a pellet gun (assuming on-the-wing).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:45 AM
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(assuming on-the-wing)

Why on earth would you assume that?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:46 AM
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In Europe some even more fearsome thrill-killer is taking out the terrifying and brutal House Sparrow?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:46 AM
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Why on earth would you assume that?

Because otherwise it would hardly be impressive.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:47 AM
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177: Because I've rarely seen a starling sit still. Also, I was raised not to shoot a bird that is sitting (baring extreme hunger on my part or the bird being a crow/flying rat).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:49 AM
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Because otherwise it would hardly be impressive.

Small boys rarely are, yet we always seem so damn proud of ourselves.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:52 AM
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181 gets it exactly right.

180: I was raised to kill pests any old way that worked.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 11:24 AM
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181/182

Oh, I don't know. My father apparently spent a fair bit of time wandering around with a pellet gun as a child trying exactly these sort of challenges. Later, as an adult, he won a trophy in a shooting contest on the strength of that practice. Much to the chagrin of the shooting club members who regularly practiced.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 11:32 AM
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182: I guess I've never thought of starling as being 'pests' on the same level as a rat or crow (or, after city-living, a pigeon).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 11:55 AM
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Starlings are total pests.

I was shocked, though, by how different the starlings of Paris look from the starlings of California. Same species, but the Parisian starlings are far more dressy.

172: Tree sparrows flock like that in the corn fields of central California - I got to see an amazing display one night as they came home to roost. At some unseen cue, they all rocket down into the field - it sounds like rain.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 12:10 PM
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Nature Bites

2-3 hours after 154, my ankles and calves are covered with the little fire ant welts. Maybe 50+ of them. Each will enclose a little drop of serum tomorrow. Everybody say:Aww, poor bob. Or you dumb shit, whichever suits you.

Fire ants and their bites really don't bother me much, as far as pain or itching. I don't know why. Built up immunity? Wonder a little about infection or antibody reaction with this quantity of bites.

Now Texas mosquitos and gnats make me crazy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 2:17 PM
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186: I think you are supposed to pour boiling soap water on the ant hole. I could have gotten that wrong, but I think that's what my neighbor did during my brief southern period.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 2:22 PM
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I'm deathly allergic (or was, knock wood) to bee and hornet stings and when I was in junior high happened to get stung 6 times while mowing the lawn. Likely would have died except for some quick thinking by my mother.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 2:27 PM
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185: Starlings are total pests. + worst move ever stuff from above.

At one level I am of course completely onboard with these sentiments and certainly am supportive of efforts to protect remaining natural ecosystems from non-native plants and animals. However:

1) We really do seem to have a special hatred for our "non-chosen" symbionts. Wolves are pests that we managed to control.

2) It is a bit precious for members of the group within a species of animal that came marching in and utterly disrupted the overall ecology of a place to get hung up on the margins like invasive species. Don't want starlings, pigeons, and house sparrows in the New World? Don't go there, white man. But in the long run, we (white, black, watever) have been the invasive species from hell.

We'd view many of these things differently if we really viewed ourselves as really being a part of the natural world. (Somewhere here at Unfogged, ari linked to a nice piece on how we view our relationship to "wilderness".) I'd call our current Western lifestyle the triumph of radical humanism (of course there are also a lot of problems with any other worldview).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 3:12 PM
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Now Texas mosquitos and gnats make me crazy.

The Texas variants are relatively mile, ime.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 3:16 PM
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mild, even.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 3:22 PM
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I endorse the sentiments in 189.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 3:34 PM
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192: But not the typos I hope.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 3:39 PM
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189 -- Bah. You play the ball where it lays.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 3:44 PM
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You play the ball where it lays.

True, but understanding how the game has gone so far is important to determining the best strategy going forward.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 3:48 PM
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192 and 194 get it exactly right.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 3:49 PM
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189: I agree with much of what you say, but viewing starlings as pests while also viewing humans as pests and invasive species rather fits with my world view - and, I think, with the ecological world view that you're promoting.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 3:52 PM
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186: 2-3 hours after 154, my ankles and calves are covered with the little fire ant welts. Maybe 50+ of them. Each will enclose a little drop of serum tomorrow. Everybody say:Aww, poor bob. Or you dumb shit, whichever suits you.

I'm sorry bob. That shit sucks. Unless you are specifically allergic (which you should know from experience with previous bites) 50 or so bites should not be anything other than annoying. (I stumbled into a pile when I was a kid and got swarmed by fire ants. I eventually wound up with lots (in a similar range, but all over) of swollen bite marks and a little sick to my stomach.)

192: I endorse the sentiments in 189.

So do I.

78: Carpenter bees, maybe?

Yeah.

79: I don't know if wood-eating bees are the same as the ones that live in the ground in Texas and are called Wood Bees, but that name always cracks me up.

Bumblebees? I am not expert on the insects in your area, but we've got (ok, had) bumblebees (ground-dwelling) and honeybees. Here (VA), we've got carpenter bees and honeybees (I think). The carpenter bees like fresh wood, so they will spend a lot of time trying to bore holes in any unpainted wood attached to your house. And they are very persistant, but not bite-y. They can chew a 6" long 3/8" wide hole in exposed wood in about 24 hours. Then they chew another hole as an exit and pop out the other end.

max
['I have no idea what they're doing in there.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 4:03 PM
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194: A bit too tersely aphoristic for me to be sure what you're specifically arguing about. (Although I agree with teo's response. Go ahead and take it form here, teo.)

197: Yes, just pointing out how we usually are so unthinkingly contemptuous of the "non-useful" species that prosper off of our presence. Pigeons are a pretty amazingly species, who nicely adapted by hooking up with a species of ape hellbent on building artificial cliffs, ledges and overhangs and leaving food around.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 4:06 PM
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As does 197.

What I grew up with the still very much in the nature of Those Varmints Are Eating Our Food.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 4:11 PM
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Go ahead and take it form here, teo.

I don't have a whole lot more to add, actually. I doubt there's a whole lot of practical effect to whatever disagreements are being expressed here.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 4:12 PM
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186, 198: My first real appreciation for fire ants came on the practice rugby pitch when several of us were tackled onto a small mound. (Also illustrates the quality of field you could find for rugby practice in Houston in the '70s.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 4:13 PM
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Pigeons are a pretty amazingly species, who nicely adapted by hooking up with a species of ape hellbent on building artificial cliffs, ledges and overhangs and leaving food around.

And support a surprisingly large population of hawks in NYC. The bridge I walk across to get to the Bronx always has mangled pigeon bits on it left by hunting hawks.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 4:14 PM
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203: Pigeons apparently do not leave the nest until they are pretty mature (or maybe what we see *are* the babies!) as I have rarely seen a fledgling. Curious if those of you who see lots of pigeons more routinely have the same observation.

Hard to be absolutely sure of their original habitat, but it seems their original range was rocky outcrops from the eastern Mediterranean through South Asia.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 4:23 PM
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Never seen a living pigeon chick -- I've occasionally seen them dead. They must, as you say, not leave the nest until they look mature.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 4:25 PM
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Another interesting observation I have on pigeons is how relatively close they seem to stick to their habitat depite being relatively strong fliers. A number of them live under some freeway and bridge overpasses, not more than 1/2 mile to a mile from my house as a pigeon *could* fly, yet I almost never see them around. Even in a park right above the bridge you don't see them. I do get a lot of Mourning Doves, however.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 4:48 PM
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I'm not much of a believer in the wilderness Out There (to bastardize Cronon's terms) - I like the wilderness right here. I enjoy watching the totally invasive turkeys in my neighborhood, etc, etc. But my distinctions generally fall less on useful or not-useful and more on idiosyncrasies. So, weirdly, pigeons I don't much mind, because they're incredibly well-adapted to the city; yellow star thistle I would like to eradicate, because it ruins grasslands (and makes hiking in shorts awful).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 5:03 PM
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I stepped on a ground nest of wasps while trying to cut a trail to an abandoned swimming hole. Barefoot.

I started slapping at the wasps on my body with the machete, it was so unpleasant. Something like 13 stings.

Later the same day--while playing volleyball on the lawn--I was stung twice more by bees.

Worst day of my life (stinging insect-wise).


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 6:25 PM
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Ant bites are kind of fun because you can pop them again and again.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 6:31 PM
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209:As I'm writing, h-g. Pop!


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 7:42 PM
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Wolves are pests that we managed to control.

JP, you might like Jon Coleman's Vicious.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 7:55 PM
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211: Thanks., looks good.

Exhilirating as it was, Will Cather has a lot to answer for for the wedding party to the wolves story in My √Āntonia.

Pavel and Peter drove into the village alone, and they had been alone ever since. They were run out of their village. Pavel's own mother would not look at him. They went away to strange towns, but when people learned where they came from, they were always asked if they knew the two men who had fed the bride to the wolves. Wherever they went, the story followed them. It took them five years to save money enough to come to America.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 8:07 PM
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Willa Cather has a lot to answer for in general.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:23 PM
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Willa Cather is the only other person I can think of who went from rural Nebraska to Pittsburgh. I feel that I should defend her, but I didn't pay enough attention in English.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 9:27 PM
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hornets are one of the few insects that can a) sting you repeatedly (sometimes without introducing venom) and b) can bite the crap out of you--they are meat and carrion eaters, and have strong jaws as well as straight-bored stingers (no barb on the stinger, that is what kills gees).


Posted by: Paula Helm Murray | Link to this comment | 07- 7-09 10:57 PM
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re: 169

Yeah, although we still seem to have a fair number in and around our garden. Our neighbours have a bird feeder, though, which may explain it. That and the fact that the rear half of the garden is basically wild. So it seems to attract a lot of small birds (and not so small birds).


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 12:14 AM
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211, 212: You could read Brett Walker too.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 1:14 AM
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Updato to fire ant attack, after 24 hours:

Gawd, I am so fucking gross.

Maybe more than 50 spots, I have a dozen on my hands. So maybe 100 bumbs, mostly on ankles and calves. Solid, covered completely. So intense I don't have to pop them, the serum acumulates til they pop spontaneously. So my legs are oozy and sticky with pus, and I am constantly going over them with disinfectant wipes. I can hold the wipe over a bump and feel it fill and burst. I am trying to keep the holes clean because of a worry about infection and scarring.

No pain, no itching, no fever or nausea, but I am just hilariously disgusting, like something from a bad scifi movie.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 9:26 AM
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If you can fix my typo, it's 'bees', not 'gees.'

and delete this.

Thanks.


Posted by: Paula Helm Murray | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:46 PM
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219: I wouldn't sweat the typo. Everybody does it, and your self-correction clarifies well enough.

Also, I'd offer a fruit basket (you're new 'round these parts, no?), but after this comment thread, I'm afraid to go looking, lest it be covered in bees. Or gees. Or, worst case scenario, the Bee Gees.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 10:57 PM
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You should leave the typo, and delete everything else.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-09 11:09 PM
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And I thought it was all about horse flies...

In short, when I've a smattering of elemental strategy,/ You'll say a better Major-General has never sat a gee.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 3:18 AM
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I didn't know there was a plural form of ghee.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 5:03 AM
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218: I had a case of poison ivy like that once, where all the skin on my legs from the midthigh down was crusty and oozing--ridiculously disgusting. I feel your pain.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 5:21 AM
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Pretty successful adaptive strategy, I'd say.


Posted by: froz gobo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-09 7:48 PM
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