Monthly Archive for December, 2011

The Great Raccoon Battle…

Took place one Sunday morning while the family was at Mass.

For a couple of weeks leading up to that Sunday morning, I had been hearing a thumping noise in the house. For those of you who have dogs, it sounded just like a dog scratching himself behind the ear with his leg hitting the floor. This was an unusual sound to hear in our house as we did not have a dog. It was always very faint too. I could never really determine where it was coming from, so I never really investigated the source of the sound closely.

On that fateful Sunday, before the rest of the family went to Mass (I myself had gone on Saturday afternoon, for those of you wondering), my wife, our daughter, and I were all sitting in the living room reading the paper and talking over coffee. There came a tremendous sigh from the fireplace. Yes, it sounded just like a dog was settling in to rest in the fireplace. But, again, since we didn’t have a dog, I now knew what the problem was, we had a raccoon that had taken up residence in our chimney.

When the rest of the family departed for Mass, I got a ladder out and got up on the roof to take a look at down the chimney. Sure enough, there was a big raccoon laying on top of the flue.

I thought for a while about what I could do. I thought I might start a fire. Surely that would get rid of the raccoon, right? The heat would drive him right out the top of the Chimney and cause him to leave the house behind. Somehow I convinced myself that this would not work, that the raccoon would simply move up in the chimney and wait me out as we only have a set of gas logs and they don’t really get very hot.

So I decided I needed to remove the raccoon, and then chase him away.

So I got a rope.

I made a loop with a slip knot.

I lowered that loop down the chimney.

One the first try I got the loop over the raccoon’s head.

I gave the rope a good hard tug.

The sensation on my end of the rope when that loop of rope tightened around the raccoon’s waist was very similar to setting the hook on a very large fish.

It was at this point that I had the first inkling that I had made a mistake. I quickly realized I had a 20 pound angry raccoon, that was no doubt made very uncomfortable by the tight loop of rope around its waist at the end of my rope. At this time I realized I had not thought the whole process through and was heading toward trouble.

I pulled on the rope, trying to lift the raccoon out of the chimney. It fought me the whole way, clinging to the rough brick interior of the chimney with its claws.

I paused to think through what I was doing. I realized that I was about to yank a 20 pound raccoon out of the chimney. This raccoon was going to be angry. It might just decide to attack me. I didn’t want to get bitten by a possibly rabid raccoon so I stepped way back on the roof. I got about as far from the chimney as I could. I gave that rope a couple of real hard tugs and out popped the raccoon. I was right too, it started right at me. About half way to me, it suddenly turned and jumped off the roof.

But I had the rope. And now I wanted to make certain that raccoon didn’t ever return. I knew it would take a few days to get a chimney cap (yes, it was amazing that a 30 year old house didn’t have one). In the meantime I didn’t want go through this again. So I stood on the edge of the roof and reeled that raccoon back in (keeping the fishing metaphor going). I soon had him hanging upside down about five feet off the ground. I felt safe. The raccoon was completely enraged and kept trying to climb up the rope to get at me. Every time it started to do this, I just bounced it up and down a foot or two and the climbing stopped.

For a few seconds I was without a plan. I didn’t want to just let the raccoon run off trailing 150 feet of rope, and I was on the roof with no help. Ideas, tools, and weapons were not on the roof with me. I decided I needed to knock the raccoon unconscious. I started swinging the raccoon across as big an arc as I could and tried to slam it into the side of the house. It didn’t work. It only further angered the raccoon. He was pissed. He really seemed to be taking this whole thing personally. But that’s just me ascribing human emotions to animals.

At this point of this avoidable mess, I’ve probably been on the roof for 20 minutes. There are houses less than 30 feet away from us on either side. I live in a major metropolitan area. It was a beautiful Sunday morning about 11:30. No one saw or heard a thing while I’m doing battle with this raccoon. If the neighbor on the side of the house where the raccoon was hanging off the roof had been in his kitchen drinking coffee, he would have had a front row seat to this fiasco. As it was, I was completely on my own.

I stood there for a few minutes. I finally figured out I could tie my end of the rope off around the chimney, leaving the raccoon suspended in front of my daughter’s window. He still wasn’t very pleased about his situation. Not that I was concerned about anything other than bringing this varmit infestation to anything but a satisfactory conclusion for me. It was, however, about to get much worse for the raccoon.

After tying off the raccoon, I thought about my next step. There were a few obvious choices; Handgun, shotgun, and Louisville Slugger. Now remember, I was in a hurry. I had a raccoon hanging from the side of the house, I didn’t really have time to think this through. I decided there was some danger a bullet might continue down a path that was unsafe (I’ve already mentioned how close the neighbors are). I didn’t have any shells for the shotgun, and that noise would have definitely drawn attention anyway. So, Louisville Slugger it was.

I’ll spare you the gory details. Well maybe not, as you’ll picture what happened in your mind. But think about the physics. The raccoon was free swinging from the end of the rope. If you’ve ever seen how many whacks it takes with a stick for kids to break open a piñata, you’ve got a good idea of what it took to do in that damn raccoon.

What a mess! I bagged up the raccoon. Bagged it again. Triple bagged it. Hosed off the side of the house. Cleaned the evidence off the bat. Put the raccoon in the trash, etc.

I was just about to go inside when the wife and kids pulled up home from Mass. You should have seen the look on their faces! They get out of the car and ask me, “What happened? Where did all that blood come from? Are you ok?”

It was then that I realized I looked like Dexter checking his blood spatter patterns. I was a mess too! I then had to sheepishly tell my wife what  I had just done.

About one week later the chimney cap arrived.


I would put up a youtube video of this song, but they’re all a mess.

Here is Los Angeles: 

Pretty good if you ever liked punk.

Christopher Hitchens…

Has died. I enjoyed his writing very much. I didn’t agree with every thing he said, but he always caused me to stop and think.

Others, many of whom knew him personally do a better job of eulogizing him than I ever could:

David Boaz at Cato

Nick Gillespie at Reason

The Agitator

Timothy Sandefur

Gerard at American Digest

Vanity Fair’s Obituary

His writing was always challenging. He was a man of the left, but always unconventional and thoughtful. We have lost a great writer. I have to admit I loved his book on Mother Theresa.


Since I seem to be logging into Facebook more often than ever before (it’s amazing what no TV will allow time for), I’ve been thinking about my so called Facebook friends. Most of these people are from my past. People that I’ve not communicated with for years. Without Facebook I would really have no connection to them. When I log in to pass some time during the evening, I’m really tempted to comment on the various posts that show up in my news feed, but have so far held my smart ass comments in abeyance.

But today, I noticed a friend of mine (a real friend, not just a Facebook friend) commenting on how he’s lost another friend. He suspects it is some sort of comment he’s recently made that drove someone off. I find that somewhat surprising. Since I’ve linked my blog to my Facebook account, I’ve received very few additional comments. I’ve detected very few additional readers to my blog. I know I’m a political crank and that sometimes come through in my blog posts. Maybe that’s enough of my personality for my Facebook friends. Maybe they’ve already unsubscribed to my status updates in Facebook, thereby protecting themselves from by blog posts.

So Chris, I’m ready to have a contest. I’m now ready to start making the comments on the status updates that amuse me. I won’t be excessively mean, just my normal ornery self. Do you want to see who can drive off the most Facebook friends during the month of January? I have 98 Facebook friends, I don’t know your count. We can have a contest over either actual numbers or percentages.

Are you up for it?

Let’s find out who really knows us.

My wife hates this song…

But she really doesn’t understand what good country music is all about.

Check this out:

(Once again, just hit that button to play the song)

It’s Dwight Yoakam, Santa Can’t Stay. Fun but melancholy at the same time. While the story is nothing like my own life, I like the bittersweet nature of the Christmas story told in the song.






Others do this…

Way better than I manage. I give you Sultan Knish:

Multiculturalism and prosperity can uncomfortably exist side by side, but multiculturalism and poverty cannot. Worse yet when you invite in half the world while destroying your own economy and segmenting what is left into government work, private sector jobs requiring a higher education and the dole, then you create your own nightmares and they will walk the streets and beat you senseless.

As they say, do go read the whole thing.

HT: Ilka

Adjusting to life…

On the island is an ongoing project. Part of me keeps trying to get 1.2 million people to bend to my will.

I mean, come on! Can’t they see the wisdom of the way I do things? Can’t they recognize the superiority of my preferences and ideas? Do they not realize that as an American I bring all kinds of market wisdom with me to these shores?

The answer to each of those questions is: No. And they could really not care less about what I think.

I continue to have trouble finding and purchasing the things I want to make my life a little more comfortable around here. One of my coworkers tells me to quit looking, “Just call them up and tell them to bring it to you.” I want to shop and purchase merchandise just like I would at home, but I think I’m going to adopt the island way. I’ve had enough frustration for one weekend.

Here’s another one…

I remember when I’m the Man came out.

There was a group of music geeks in high school that argued over whether or not this new “punk” stuff was going to last.


This live version was the best of the ones I found on youtube. This goes on the list of songs I can listen to once each day. It’s an eclectic list. Here is the studio version:

I think the song has stood the test of time.

Someday I’ll have to compose the list of songs I could listen to each day. Now though, I should get back to studying French.

As long as…

I’m going down memory lane this afternoon, here’s another favorite from the old days:


Listen to that one. Even this old white man can get his toes tapping to that song. Get a few drinks in me and I might even start dancing. And yes, the dancing will have an ’80’s look to it.

I’ve been going through…

My ipod library. I have a huge digital music library and it’s a mess. There are hundreds of tracks labeled like this: Various Artists, Track 1.

This isn’t very helpful when trying to determine if you might want to include that song in a playlist, as you have no idea what it is. But I found a bunch of good stuff while “curating” my music collection.

Check this out: Just hit that button and the music will play.

That was a favorite of mine back in the day.