Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Die Fledermaus in OUR house

Tuesday, 2:08 AM. Fritz and I were awakened by a wild scrambling outside the bedroom in the front hall. There was also a high, piercing squeaking noise. “What’s that?” from Fritz. I guessed Starr was playing with the little rug just inside the great room under which she likes to hide various little treasures. I got up, went into the hall, turned on the light. Starr was standing over a bat that was lying still, wings laid out flat, on the hall rug.

“OMG, it’s a bat! She’s killed a bat.” I went into the mechanical room to get some newspaper from recycling to wrap the little cadaver. As I came back, praising the great huntress for her kill, I asked Fritz how he thought it could possibly have gotten in. But that question faded into irrelevance as I leaned over to pick the little guy up. The bat sprang right back to life, careened off my leg and took to the air among the trusses of the great room.

The players and the playing field: two naked men, one hyper cat who can’t choose between leaping for a flying rodent or two white moths who’ve also gotten in somehow, all in an 18’x24’ room with a 15’ high roof peak and large open arches into the rest of the house. The bat navigated effortlessly up and around the beams, occasionally clinging on the side of a truss, showing no signs of injury.

Fritz went into action, telling me to take Starr and confine her to the upstairs by closing the pocket door at the foot of the stairs—she was NOT a happy cat. He then removed the screens from two of the tall great room windows and cranked them fully open with the hope that the bat would simply fly out. It almost did on several occasions as it flew an irregular oval course through the room at various altitudes, but it didn’t quite manage to make it out into the night.

Unexpectedly it zeroed in on the multi-tiered bamboo Chinese bird cage that sits on the main truss where all the other trusses join in. It landed and stayed put. Fritz got a step ladder and gently got the cage down, the bat all the while resting comfortably on one of its upper “roofs.” I took a quick picture as he walked by on the way to one of the open windows and placed the cage on the planter outside. I cranked both windows closed and it was all over.

We went back to bed but it was a long time before either one of us could sleep. Fritz reminded me that bats eat thousands of mosquitoes. “We just have to train them,” he said, “we have to get some very small whips.”

This morning the bat was gone, flown off into the night, and the cage is back on its perch in front of the roof’s king beam. When we began to build this house, I said to Fritz how exciting it was going to be living right in the middle of nature. The moral of the story is, be careful what you ask for.


One of my favorite bloggers has announced that he’s shutting down. RG’s dulce y peligroso is only about a year old but it’s become an essential part of my blog reading. RG lives very near to where I used to live in Boston but I didn’t discover that fact until I moved up here. He’s irresistible: a smartass, unpredictable, funny, irreverent, boisterous and--not the least of it by any means--a very hot guy. (The picture was taken after his team lost a softball game and what looks exactly like the hat Lorenzo de Medici wears in his famous portrait is actually RG’s glove plopped down on top of his head. Only RG). He’ll be sorely missed.


This cartoon is borrowed with thanks to Alexander of Voenix Rising. It’s in tribute to the opening of the Democratic National Convention and the hope that it will give Obama-Biden a huge boost and not turn into the Democratic National Contention, as Democratic Party affairs so often do.


The next article comes as a huge surprise as Vanity is one of the Seven Deadly Sins and this event has the possibility for Vanity written all over it. The pictures I gathered are illustrative of the fact that today’s nuns may very well not be the sadistic battle axes of my Catholic School upbringing:

Priest to hold nun beauty pageant
BBC News

An Italian priest says he is organising the world's first beauty pageant for nuns to erase a stereotype of them as being old and dour. Antonio Rungi says The Miss Sister Italy online contest will start on his blog in September.

"Nuns are above all women and beauty is a gift from God," he told Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper. He is asking nuns to send their photos to him, saying that internet users will then choose the winner.

Father Rungi stressed that nuns were not being invited to parade in bathing suits, saying it will be up to them whether they pose with the traditional veil or with their heads uncovered.

"This contest will be a way to show there isn't just the beauty we see on television but also a more discreet charm," the priest, who lives near the southern city of Naples, told the Corriere della Sera.

"You really think all nuns are old, stunted and sad? This isn't the case anymore," he said, pointing out that many young nuns had arrived to Italy from around the world. He added that the idea of staging such a contest had been suggested by nuns themselves.


I’ve been having a lot of fun (and hope you have, too) revisiting some of the memorably tortured syntax and thought processes of or current, blessedly soon to be non-president. But I got to thinking that really stellar, thought-provoking statements from a Republican White House aren’t actually new. Bozo’s father, Papa Bush, enjoyed(?) the back-up of a unique, unimaginably screwed-up thinker and public speaker named Dan Quayle.

What, I wondered, if you could telescope the two Bush presidencies into one in which the ticket was George W. Bush and Dan Quayle? Well you can, sort of. For the duration of the Bush presidency, I’m now converting my tag line on each post to:

The Wit and Wisdom of George W. Bush AND Dan Quayle

<< I understand small business growth. I was one.

>>I had a wonderful trip to Latin America. And now I wish I had taken Latin in school so I could talk to those people.

You know what's interesting? Bush and Quayle are SO dumb (and in so many of the same ways) that if you google something like "dumb statements by Bush" or "dumb statements by Quayle", you'll find that some of the same statements are attributed to both.

I'm glad you men were able to get the bat outside where he belongs. In our house, we try to rescue insects (well, except for things like mosquitoes) that get inside and put them back outside where they can do their work. I'm not sure if I could stop freaking out long enough to save a bat, but I'm sure we would. I hate to see any animal get hurt, and a bat certainly needs to be outside!

Good for you for helping an animal in need!
Were there cameras rolling when the bat escapade took place? Because it's a serious moment for Comedy Central. I had one fly and attach itself to my leg once. Not pretty. Neither was my screaming.
Oh the bat, the cat and the two naked men. A story for the grandkids.

I love your wit and wisdom bits.
Wait, there were moths? And two naked men? Reminds me of a collecting trip I once did in a very remote area.
Jess--We try to save insects, too. When a wasp gets on a window, Fritz puts a drinking glass over it, then slides a cardboard piece underneath and then carries it outside to release it back into nature. I have to admit that we kill mosquitoes and house flies, however.

Lewis--No, no video but I had presence of mind enough to grab the digital camera for the one shot of the bat on the cage. I think I'd probably fall apart a bit if one landed on me, too.

Richard--glad you like the quotes--may you Canadians never have to suffer anyone in public officeremotely similar to those clowns.

"The Cat, the Bat and the Two Naked Men" sounds like a great title for an illustrated children's book to me!

Doug--the nice part about this house with all of it's big windows is that we can run around naked whenever we want because of it's complete privacy up here in the birches, shagbark hickories and white pines.
I heard this morning on NPR that the nun pageant had to be canceled due to some fairly strong negative reactions. Oh well.

You would think that two naked men awake in the middle of the night would have something better to do than chase bats, but chacun a son gout, right?
Ted--the two naked men did something better than chase bats before getting up this morning as it happens. Although bats, of a kind, were involved.

And thanks for completely blowing the lead item for Thursday's entry, buddy--the BBC News follow-up story of how the event had to be canceled due to negative reaction. :-)

I emailed your blogger address on 8/16, but never got a response. I know many people seldom check such addresses, preferring a private address.

What I wrote may not please you. If that's the case, I'm sorry. But if it's simply an oversight, I sincerely would like to hear from you.

Bob--I suspect I never got your message as I've checked my back emails and found no trace of one from you on the 16th. Whatever it is/was, please send it again to wagf@hotmail.com. If I'd gotten it, I would have answered, whether I liked or didn't like what you'd written. Thanks
Will, we take exactly the same approach--a glass over the insect and then slide something under it, so we can trap it and take it outside. As with you, mosquitoes and flies don't tend to get the same treatment. Honestly, a wasp only gets rescued if it is relatively tame. If it's flying around and posing a risk of stinging one of us, I can't guarantee its continued existence! But when it comes to most other bugs (beetles, ladybugs, etc.), a rescue is in order!

We even used a "Hav-A-Hart" trap when we had mice, so we could safely catch them and take them to the park!
Jess--Alas our mouse trap has no heart. Her name is Starr and she's no walk in the park for a mouse!
Hello - I've nicked one of your nun pictures to use here http://wp.me/pDjed-VV
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