It was an exciting weekend here in Biffville.
You may be asking yourself, “What constitutes excitement in Biffville?”
I’m glad you asked that question. I have here a prepared statement which I will be sharing with members of the press. Or with anyone else who happened to wander in here to the briefing room looking for a free buffet.
And by the way, I apologize for the lack of a free buffet. If you knew what those things cost, you’d choke on your little smoked wiener on a toothpick. But now you understand why this is the first press briefing in history that has a twenty dollar cover charge.
But, to get back to your question about what constitutes excitement in Biffville, particularly on a weekend. That is a question with many layers and so requires an answer that is … no, not obfuscated … we prefer to call it “nuanced”.
- Was it the yard work in suffocating heat and humidity?
- Was it the trip to the bank? Or the grocery store? Or the filling station? Or the dry cleaners?
- Was it the binge-watching of “Shaun the Sheep” videos on YouTube?
- Was it the scrubbing of cat barf from the carpet?
- Was it a killer thunderstorm that blew up out of nowhere and terrorized an entire city?
- Was the breaking up of a riot between rival gangs in my front yard? Gangs consisting of crows, squirrels, blue jays, and mockingbirds?
It was a trick question. It was ALL of those things!
So let’s get started, shall we?
But it’s a Wet Heat
It was a seasonably warm weekend here in Dallas. It peaked in the lower 90s (33 C) with humidity at around 50%, which made it feel like it was, oh, about 200 degrees in the shade, give or take a hundred degrees or so.
So what better time to get outside and mow the yards? And trim the trees? And remove the dead-leaf thatch from the flower beds? And peel away the tentacles of about half-an-acre of Virginia Creeper vine off the side of my house? And shape the bushes?
There is no better time.
And to prove it, I lost nearly half my body weight by sweating like a mule yoked to a sugar cane squeezer in a steam bath.
The Imperfect Storm
My yard toils today were interrupted by a storm that literally blew through Dallas.
I saw it approaching about 20 minutes before it hit. It began to get dark. A breeze kicked up. Soon the trees were whipping around. It was as black as night outside. There were crazy streaks of lightening though the sky. Rain poured down, totaling one inch in about 30 minutes. The winds were sustained about about 30 MPH, and there were gusts up to about 65 MPH. It was quite exciting.
Fortunately, strong storms do not typically last very long, so after about an hour, the skies were once again clear. The birds were singing. All was back to normal.
It was like the storm never happened. Just another summer day in Dallas.
Except that this particular storm toppled a huge building crane in downtown Dallas, killing one person and severely injuring several others.
Just a little reminder that we are not the boss of Mother Nature.
An Attempted Murder of Crows
After so much yard work in the sweltering heat, I was taking a much-needed doze in my writing chair later in the day (after the storm had passed). It was quite a nice nap. It was one of those naps you don’t intend to take. You just sort of drift off in the middle of whatever it was you happened to be doing.
Well, my little nap was interrupted by a horrendous ruckus that sounded like it was coming from the street in front of my house. So, I dashed outside to see what was the matter.
There was a riot in progress.
There were about 5 large crows up in the tree in my front yard. They were all cawing uproariously, aggressively, and obnoxiously. In one of the branches of the tree was a poor little squirrel who was standing up on his hind legs and barking like a dog (albeit it small, annoying type dog). He seemed to be powerless to scare away the crows who were up to no good. Nearby were two or three blue jays (obnoxious in their own right) and 2 or 3 mockingbirds. They had joined forces and were all making noise at the crows and swooping at them to try and get them to fly away.
I clapped my hands loudly and yelled up into the tree. The crows flew away, though I’m pretty sure they were cursing at me in crow.
Soon the squirrel quieted down and the other birds resumed their normal activities.
Have I mentioned how much I intensely dislike crows? They are obnoxious bullies. I’m pretty sure they raid the nests of other birds and perhaps even squirrels. They are the size of small chickens, so they are so much larger than any of the other bird species around here … and even the squirrels. They will chase off every other creature in the neighborhood if left to their own devices.
Now, I am a live-and-let-live kind of guy. I don’t concern myself too much with the affairs of the fauna here in my neighborhood. I wish them all well. I even put out feeders for the birds (and, therefore, the squirrels). I am thrilled that I have rabbits living in my yard. I wish no living creature any harm.
But having crows in your yard or your neighborhood is like having termites in your walls or rats in your house. You can’t help but think how much better your life would be without them.
A Sheepish Confession
I somehow have become addicted to watching “Shaun the Sheep” videos.
I don’t know why.
They are geared towards children. They’re kind of silly. But there is just something so darn charming about them.
Shaun made his first appearance in the 1995 Nick Park (Aardman Animations Studio) “Wallace and Gromit” stop-motion cartoon called “A Close Shave”. He went on to star in his own series on BBC.
I’m not sure how closely Nick Park is associate with these cartoons, but they definitely have the same “look and feel” of the Wallace and Gromit shorts.
Anyway, I just can’t seem to stop watching these things. They are addictive … like candy. I find myself laughing out loud at them (causing those around me to think I have lost my last marble).
I particularly recommend the episode “Super Magnet”. In light of what I wrote about crows above, this one is hit close to home (though it is about magpies, rather than crows, though they are very closely related).
Foxy Laddie had me laughing so hard that I actually had to dry my eyes. (Allergies, no doubt.)
“Hide and Squeak” is also very funny, mostly because of the scene with the pigs.
All in all, was a very nice weekend. I hope your weekend was equally enjoyable … though without the storms and the crows.