Biff Rambles On About … Friday Night Writes, Raccoon Luminaries, a Murder in my Back Yard, and a Visiting Monarch

Biff Hiking #4


For those of you keeping a running tally, tonight is Friday.

Regular readers of my blog know that Friday is my favorite day of the workweek, and my 2nd favorite day of the overall week.  (It was narrowly beaten out of the #1 spot by Saturday, whose son is engaged to my brother’s son’s music teacher’s daughter’s niece.  Nepotism … whadaya gonna do?)

Dueling Raccoons in the Rain

It is another rainy evening here in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.  We have had many, many rainy days here in a row.  In fact, we are on pace to have our wettest year on record.  Ever.  We are at number 6 (with a bullet) right now and are expected to beat the old record some time in the coming week.

While these rains are not biblical by any stretch of the imagination, they are still fairly impressive.  I have a large rain gauge that tops out at about 6 inches.  I have had to empty it so many times over the past two weeks, that I have developed a bad case of “rain gauge elbow”.

The weather boffins said the other night that we received 23 inches of rain in the 6 week span of September 1 through mid-October.

Twenty three inches!

And we have added an inch or two to that total since I heard that figure on about Wednesday.

If I’ve ever had the urge to gather in animals two by two, now is as good a time as any to take up that rather bizarre habit.  I plan to start with a pair of plastic raccoons I saw at the home improvement store the other day that have parabolic reflectors for eyes with solar-powered bulbs in the center of them.


We’ll see how that goes.

I failed high school biology, but I do remember you need two of everything.

Except fruit flies.  They reproduce through halitosis.

Diagnosis:  Murder

Speaking of really annoying animals, my neighborhood has become infested with crows.

My only exposure to crows up to this point was some ancient Heckle and Jeckle cartoons I saw as a child.

Heckle and Jeckle


Based on that limited exposure, I thought they were cute, fun-loving, and interesting birds.  I didn’t understand why people didn’t like them.

Now I know why people don’t like them.

They are loud, obnoxious, destructive, and bullies.  They run off every other bird in the neighborhood, including bluejays, to whom they are related by marriage.  (See?  Nepotism is everywhere.)   But anything obnoxious enough to run off a bluejay, who are themselves about as obnoxious a bird as ever flew down the pike, is pretty obnoxious indeed!

They are infuriatingly smart, which means they haven’t had much difficulty in outwitting me at every turn.

So I am at my wit’s end on how to rid myself of these troublesome birds.  I have contemplated everything just shy of murder.  Would that be attempted murder murder?  Is that the same as 2nd degree murder?

Anyway, I wish them no harm.  I just wish they’d fly away as far as possible.

But everywhere they go is the shortest distance there … as the crow flies.

An Absolute Monarchy

I’m not sure why, but, in addition to crows, the skies have been filled with monarch butterflies lately.

Monarch Butterfly 02


Do crows and monarch butterflies have some sort of weird symbiotic relationship that I don’t know about?  Or is it just a coincidence?

Or have they been filming a Lunesta™ commercial in my neighborhood?

All I know is that, given the choice between crows and butterflies, I far prefer butterflies.

Butterflies don’t make me want to shoot into the air like Yosemite Sam.


How to Kill a Blog Without Really Trying

According to my WP stats page, I managed to sneak my latest Alistair and Alexis story onto the blogosphere without hardly anyone noticing.

I did not think it was possible to actually have stats back up and go into negative territory, but apparently it is possible.  WP is a sort of mÖbius strip of stats, particularly when I publish fiction.

Anyway, this is really just a shameless plug to bring it to your attention that I published another Alistair and Alexis story.  Soon after posting it, it sank to the very bottom of the various tags on which I posted it like a rock in the ocean.

It wasn’t even heavy fiction!

It was light comedy.  It should have floated.

The Dismount

I need to wrap this up.  I have already rambled on far too long.  I mean, I know this is a ramble post, but this is ridiculous.

Anyway, thank you for sticking with me this long!  I have enjoyed your company.

Now go out there and have an awesome weekend!


    • I don’t know how I avoided them so long. I guess I’ve just been lucky. Grackles we have millions of. Perhaps the crows infiltrated the grackles and I just couldn’t tell the difference.

      And possibly on the monarch migration. It happens periodically, but they usually bypass Dallas.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I was going to tell you Heckle and Jeckle were magpies, but Masercot beat me to it. You probably already knew that, but why let the facts get in the way of some fanciful writing? This way you can claim to be presidential. Or regal, if you have a catalogue. .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Man, I would’ve sworn they were crows! However, having been raised in the southern US, I had never heard of magpies before, except maybe in English literature. To us, all black birds were either crows or vultures.


      • Maybe it is just me, but they don’t look like crows. Or maybe having always known they were magpies I can’t see the similarities.

        In Canada we always had crows and ravens (no vultures where I lived), not to mention blackbirds and starlings.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That makes sense. I guess the relative rarity of black birds where I grew up caused us to just call all black birds generically “crows”. Just like we called all brands and varieties of carbonated drinks “Coke”, whether it was Coke or not.


  2. Biff

    A pleasant, and not-at-all rambling bit o’ crumpet you wrote there, vicar. For your (dis) pleasure, here are some eensie weensie analyses of your post.

    No rain here for three weeks. It really brings home the fact that all over the world, every type of weather is now occuring.

    Crows: they call them the ‘feathered apes’. In part due to their intelligence, but, also their nasty habit of throwing shit at people at every turn. I once observed a crow attacking squirrels over some Cheet-os that someone (me) had left on the ground. I have to admire that kind of tenacity.

    The introduction of Yosemite Sam into your blog was most unwelcome, given his ‘laissez-faire’ observation of gun control. Apologies for the French there. It was added to make that sentence more ‘tony’.

    I was a little disheartened to hear your results of your fiction post, which I enjoyed, as you know. If you are as passionate about your craft, as I am about mine (and craft beer too), then this should run off you like water on a duck’s back.

    You have an awesome weekend too! Would that be overstating things, given our elevated ages (I’m as old as MY dad was when he was my age) and facial hair? Right now, my daughter and I are enjoying municipal election results. With Cool Ranch Doritos. Could life even GET any better?


  3. Don’t get me started on crows. You’re right, they are smart. Ours travel in pairs. One is always on the lookout. What’s odd is that our cats avoid them. I was positive our big cat would have taken them on. Hasn’t happened yet.


    • Well, if they’re as smart as a 7 year old, then I don’t have a chance. Perhaps if they were only as smart as a 7th grader I’d have a chance. ha ha!

      I have seriously considered making a scarecrow in the back yard, but then I remembered how ineffectual they were from all the cartoons I watched as a kid. I’m thinking laser guided water cannon. But there’s probably a city ordinance against that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I know crows are noisy but they keep the pigeons away, and to me, pigeons are the most obnoxious bird with their corrosive droppings getting all over everything.
    P.S. your A &A story made me want to run out and get some grocery store samples.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I think I’d rather have crows than pigeons. Oddly enough, I haven’t seen a pigeon up here in the suburbs as long as I’ve lived in Dallas. I guess they only like urban areas. Or maybe there’s just too many cats and dogs and hawks up here.

      I’m laughing about your comment about wanting to go out and get grocery store samples! As I was writing that A&A story, I kept making myself hungry. 🙂

      Have a fantastic weekend, Candice!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I give crows the nod for sure. They are the like the ‘Man With No Name’ of the avian world. Cleaning up the town, one fast food napkin at a time. They make much more noise then Clint did, which kind of spoils the effect.
      As regard the samples, Candice, did you wear a hat when you went for seconds? (sample trying secret)

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is very surprising how few words rhyme with mitosis. 🙂

      I haven’t seen H&J in decades, but I remember thinking they were quite funny when I was 8 or 9. It’s possible my sense of humor has not changed much since then. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Those collective nouns? Like “covey of quail” and “herd of horses”? You know what a group of crows is called? That’s right: a “murder.”

    On the other hand, when they’re just hanging out discussing neighborhood issues, they’re a “caw-cus.”

    Liked by 2 people

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