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Invasion of the Waschbären

Oooh, I did not know this. Germany has a raccoon problem. They deliberately imported the first breeding pair in 1930 for the fur, which was both prized and expensive, and being diabolical evil freaking genius animals, raccoonlets soon escaped into the wild. The Krauts call them “Waschbären” (wash bears), because they wash their food with their hands (and their clever opposable thumbs).

How big a problem? In Brandenburg, the area around Berlin, hunters killed 41 of them in 1990 and 5,712 in the most recent season. A total of 30,000 were killed in the country at large — that’s triple six years ago. But being the diabolical evil freaking genius animals that they are, the raccoons packed up and moved to the city, away from the hunters. Now there are far more urban raccoons than country ones.

We kept several as pets when I was a kid. It was legal then. Easily the smartest animal I’ve ever handled, including monkeys, most small children and all my relatives. Scary smart. There aren’t many latches those evil little fingers can’t pick.

The raccoon I got when I was 16 was raised largely on raisins and scrambled eggs and other delicious people food. When he was fully grown, I wanted to switch him over to dry dogfood, but he hated it. So I tried mixing raisins in with his dry food. He took one sniff, dumped the bowl on the floor, picked out the raisins and ate them, and swaggered off, leaving me with a mess to clean up.

Raccoons open latches, love people food, live anywhere, carry diseases, are incredibly destructive and — bonus — adorable.

Jerry? You are so screwed.

March 12, 2007 — 11:42 am
Comments: 13

Diplomat gone wild

Via Times of India, Israel’s ambassador to El Salvador, Tzuriel Refael, was found naked and drunk in the street recently.

Citing media reports, Israel Radio said that police found a man about two weeks ago in an inebriated state with hands tied, mouth gagged with a rubber ball, and carrying accessories that implied he had been involved in sexual activity.

“Diplomatic immunity” — the ultimate safe words.

Update: he got fired for it, anyhow. More, not suprisingly, from the JPost.

— 8:30 am
Comments: 3


This was Bill Paying Weekend, a monthly trauma I endure under the soothing alfluence of incohol. I have the money to settle my accounts these days, but I still dread this ordeal…sorting through a month’s worth of special offers from credit card companies cleverly designed to look like overdue notices so I’ll open them for sure (thus pissing me off so thoroughly they’d have to be Pretty Damn Special offers before I’d take a second look) and all the other irritations and stupidities that fall through my mail slot in thirty days.

Like this thing. This is a thirty page questionnaire from the Census Bureau. Why am I getting a questionnaire from the Census Bureau in 2007? Presumably because I blew them off in 2000.

I know, I know…I’m a Constitution-humping ‘winger and the Constitution says the government must do a census every ten years. I wouldn’t mind being a part of a head count. But I got the long form in 2000, too. Remember that? Some people got the usual few questions, and a random selection got a thirty page beast that asks nosey junque about years of schooling and income and how long my commute is and a bunch of other nunya bidness stuff. Oh, and about twenty different precise choices for race, of course. I’m an Eskimo princess, fuck off.

I wouldn’t, perhaps, be quite so set against it, if it weren’t marked “YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW.” And inside there’s this “title blah-blah-blah of the US Code, section blah-blah-blah, imposes a penalty for not responding.” Without, of course, mentioning what that penalty is.

OH! Threaten me? They can smooch silky weasel ass. I ain’t doing it. I assume the penalty is a fine, but you guys’ll visit me in the pen if I guess wrong, mmm?

Then I get four more pages of nosiness from Blue Cross. Do I smoke? Did my doctor tell me that’s bad? Naw, I gave up cigarettes so I could afford more heroin. Jesus.

So it was like a breath of warm Spring sunshine to get this in the mail. It’s NRA sweepstakes time again. I love the cheerful, breathless way the NRA flat-out fails to comprehend it’s supposed to be ashamed of itself. Guns, guns and more guns! Get one for grandma!

Though I prefer the one where they give you a page of stickers with photos of guns, and you have to peel off ten of your favorites and stick them on the Grand Prize page so they know what to send you when you win. I can spend a happy hour working out the logistics of that, maximizing the flexibility of my arsenal but minimizing the different kinds of ammo I’d have to keep in stock. Plus, colorful stickers!

Ooo! Mustn’t forget a shotgun for Grandma!

— 7:12 am
Comments: 5