Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday Night Miscellany

It's Friday night and everything's all right - well, it would be, if the dew point would just drop about 20 points -- relief is supposedly on the way, just hovering to the west of Madison right now... So much is strange and unusual in the news this week, it's hard to pick and choose, but I thought I'd start out with some 'ONE STEP BEYOND' stuff. For anyone old enough to remember that outstanding show, I understand it's still in syndication - somewhere - but I don't have cable or satellite t.v. so I'll never see it again, unless it's one U-Tube somewhere. Well, alas, and moving on: Something of a minor sensation was made a week or so ago when Dr. Edgar Mitchell, the astronaut, was on a late-night radio show and talked about close encounters of the alien kind and, as I gather (not having heard the broadcast or read a transcript), about U.S. government cover-ups of the TRUTH, which is indeed OUT THERE, just waiting for Mulder and Scully to show up. Here's some brief info about what Mitchell said (and has said for the past 10 years):
  • Frenzied press coverage after latest interview
  • For those who want to hear it for themselves, check out this UFO Blogger post, which has the relevant excerpt, as well as NASA's response ("Dr Mitchell is a great American, but we do not share his opinion on this issue.").
  • What Mitchell said 10 years ago
  • A video interview from this year's X-Conference in which he says much the same again

So, today I see this report by "another NASA veteran" who confirms Dr. Mitchell's accounts in all aspects and will tell all - but only for a large pay-off. He probably wants Euros, too...

Not to be outdone, no less than The New York Times published it's own article about UFOs - but they covered their butts by placing it in the Op Ed pages. Chickens!

The Axum Obelisk is being resurrected in the town of Axum, Ethiopia, near Addis Ababa. Take a look at a map, you'll see that Ethiopia has Sudan on it's west border, and Somalia on its east. Yeah, a real comfy, peaceful spot, just full of liberty and justice for all - and religious tolerance, too. Wonder how long the 1,700 year old Obelisk will last once it's standing in place? Any one want to place a bet? I wonder if Vegas is giving odds??? Perhaps someone will hold the Obelisk hostage in hopes of a big pay-off, threatening to blow it up if the cash doesn't come. Hmmmm, I smell a movie in the works...

J.K. Rowling ia making a bid for the title greediest author of all time. Still four months to release date and already the cheapo paperback edition of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" is a best seller on

But wait - according to the Daily there's also 100,000 copies of a super-duper "Collectors' Edition" selling for only $100 USD, available for only a few fervent fans. Hmmmm, let's see, if all 100,000 "Collectors' Edition" sell (I believe we can expect they will), that's a gross of Ten Million Dollars. The blurb about the book at Amazon says: Net proceeds from this Collector's Edition and the Standard Edition support of the Children's High Level Group, a charity co-founded in 2005 by J K Rowling and Emma Nicholson MEP to make life better for vulnerable children. (The Children's High Level Group is a charity registered in England and Wales under registered charity number 1112575.)

"Net proceeds", heh? Well, we all know how that works in the movie industry. Does it work the same in the book printing industry? Also note, it does NOT say that "ALL net proceeds" from the sale of the Collector's and Standard editions go to support the charity. Just an oversight? Are we supposed to assume that ALL net proceeds will go to the charity and Ms. Rowling gets not a single dime? Yeah, and the Moon is made of green cheese.

I discovered early this week, much to my horror, that I have MICE. Yes yes, I have mice outside, they don't bother me and I don't bother them. But one or more unknown entities of mouse origin invaded the Inner Sanctum, the Sanctum Sactorum, the Abode of this Goddess. As Bugs Bunny once said, "you know, of course, that this means war..."

I got moth balls, and bombed the exterior of the house. Tomorrow I'll get outside and search the perimeter for wee openings the size of a dime or larger and plug them up and do further mothball bombing. Meantime, I did research on the internet and discovered that essential oil of Peppermint is a known mouse deterrent. Great, I thought. I ran to the supermarket after work on Monday and purchased 100% Pure Peppermint Extract - and two "camoflauged" mouse traps made of plastic. Guaranteed to hide the body of the deceased from one's squeamish view after the trap has sprung.

Well, okay. The camoflauged mouse traps don't work - I tossed them in the garbage and they'll probably take off one or more fingers of some unsuspecting garbageman somewhere down the line. I also discovered, upon further research, that 100% Pure Peppermint Extract is NOT the same as essential oil of Peppermint. Nooooooo - 100% Pure Peppermint Extract is guaranteed, according to my research, to attract ANTS. After my bout with the Invasion of Body Snatcher Ants a few years ago and a costly extermination process, you can imagine my horror - and I'm still hunting down cotton balls saturated with 100% Pure Peppermint Extract. How many cotton balls can one woman possibly hide in a 1,650 square foot house, I ask you?

The mice, meanwhile, were laughing at me. The first night I put out the camoflauged mouse traps, they ate all the peanut butter off the triggering mechanism and the traps did not spring. Next night, same thing. So, last night, I went back to the supermarket and got the cheap old-fashioned kind of mouse-trap that takes muscles to set - the Victor Mouse Trap! I just love that name, implying as it does, "victory" of mere humans over the Mighty Mouse.

I eagerly set a trap last night and after three false tries, I finally got it set without snapping off my fingers or my nose. Put it down in the suspect spot near the fireplace in the living room where they must be coming in through some miniscule hole along the gas pipe from the basement (they have left distinctive "clues") - anyway, I was all set. I didn't get much sleep though, anticipating that distinctive "snap" sound when the trap goes off.

Only it didn't happen. This morning when I checked, all the peanut butter was gone - and the trap had not sprung!

Ohmygoddess, I thought, a ghost mouse! I staggered to the office bleary-eyed and groggy all day, from lack of sleep, cursing the little bugger or, more likely, buggers under my breath. They were mocking me, I could feel their teeny beady eyes boring into the back of my neck, and they were snickering, their whiskers twitching this way and that...they were probably hiding under my bed and coming out at 2:45 a.m. to giggle in the corner, waking me up just enough to wonder what the hell was that strange noise in the corner...

So, tonight, when I got home, I got really serious about mouse extermination. I checked the Victor trap - this time the peanut butter was still intact, but I saw I had far too much of it on the trigger. I pulled the trap, sprung it with a butter knife (let me tell you, it works, whoa!) and made sure this time I put only a smidgeon of peanut butter on the trigger and mushed it in well so any offending mouse would have to really dig down to get at the goodies. That was about 6:30 p.m.

Shortly after 8 this evening, I heard the distinctive sound of the trap going off. OHMYGODDESS, I got one, I thought. I ran out from my upstairs bedroom (where the computer hutch is currently residing), turned on the big overhead light on the ceiling overlooking the staircase, and sure enough, there was a mouse, still alive but caught by the neck, tugging in vain to try and get out. It was all over in a few seconds. The struggle ended.

Did I mention I was eating supper at the time - a hamburger, loaded with ketchup and pickles and mayo. I kept eating. Am I a cold hearted beyatch or what? To make a long story short, I went downstairs, donned rubber safety apparel and disposed of the mousey corpus on the compost pile below the retaining wall out back, expecting that either the racoons will get it or the ants and beetles will. I then washed off the trap (there was some blood on it) and wrapped it in paper toweling to absorb the moisture. I baited a second Victor trap (they come two to a pack) and after springing it a couple of times, I successfully got it over to the spot near the fireplace where I'd caught the first mouse.

I was upstairs still working on my hamburger, not 10 minutes later, when I again heard that distinctive "snap" sound and, sure enough, when I ran out to the balcony overlooking the living room and fireplace and turned on the big light, there was another little sucker caught in the trap, also struggling to get out, also deceasing in my sight in a few seconds. I finished my hamburger and disposed of this body in the same place as the first.

Number 1 corpus was larger, number 2 corpus was smaller, so I figured "daddy" and "mommy" - which means, quel horreurs - babies! Definitely field mice, not voles, not rats (thank Goddess!) I pulled out the first trap from it's paper towel wrapping, still damp, and baited it again. It also went off 2 times while trying to set it, but on the third try I got it down on the floor near the fireplace. So far, nothing. I'm hoping there are no babies and no further mice invade my Inner Sanctum.

Does this make me a murderer? What's more, does this make me an inhuman monster murderer who continued chomping on a hamburger while mayhem and death occured practically under her very nose? Oy! Well, I was hungry.

The lesson to be learned from this - don't fall for the "humane" traps that are intended to shield one's delicate sensibilities from the death of a mouse. THEY ARE FRICKING INVADERS AND DESERVE TO DIE. DIE MOUSE, DIE! Ahem... Buy the Victor traps that are two for $0.99 and just be careful for your fingers (and don't get your nose too close, either). Don't make my rookie mistake and put too much peanut butter on the trigger. If you're not squeamish (evidently I'm not, at least when it comes to dead invader mice) you can wash the traps after removing the mouse corpus and use it again and again. Just make sure you dry it thoroughly so rust doesn't start in the mechanisms. Ninety-nine cents was never better spent.

'night, darlings.

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