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Monday, January 24, 2022

THE FOX SQUIRREL

 THE FOX SQUIRREL


A “Fishing with Frog” LEGEND


Outdoorsman Catfish let me know that Yesterday was National Fox Squirrel  Day
In honor of Fox Squirrel Day I submit this two part rerun from 2012


This year’s annual “Fishing with Frog” (see http://joeh-crankyoldman.blogspot.com/2011/05/fishing-with-frog.html) trip is scheduled for early June.  I am looking forward to the fishing, and the comradery (I don’t care Webster; I insist it is a word.)  I am not looking forward to the annual BOS (bag of shit) about my infamous sighting of the mysterious “Fox Squirrel.”

Five years ago while fishing the West Virginia side of the upper Potomac; I spotted a huge squirrel like animal.  I shouted out to Frog and Catfish:

“Holy Shit!  Did you guys see that?”

“See what?”

“It was like a big squirrel only it was hopping through the woods on the other side of the river.  It looked like a small deer with a huge squirrel body.”

Catfish who is the expert on all things that breathe with lungs or gills replied nonchalantly, 
“Didn't see it, but it sounds like a Fox Squirrel.”

“Fox squirrel?  I never heard of a fox squirrel.”

“They are very common in this area.  They are very large squirrels.”

“Large!”  Three foot large?”

“It was a fox squirrel.”

“Damn”

I am not an expert on animal life like the Catfish, but I am pretty sure I would have heard somewhere about a three foot high squirrel. 

“Are you sure?…This thing was BIG!” 

“A fox squirrel is a big squirrel.”

I let it be for the rest of the trip.  We did meet some locals and I questioned them about really large squirrels in this area.  They immediately responded, “Oh yeah, sounds like a fox squirrel.  We see them in our yard all the time.”

When I returned home, the first thing I did was get on the internet and search for “fox squirrel.”  I found that there is in fact such an animal.  It is the largest of all squirrels growing to almost three pounds.  The pictures I found looked exactly like every squirrel I have ever seen except…maybe…a little bigger than most. 

The creature I saw was not just three pounds.

The next year I told Catfish this thing I saw was no fox squirrel.  It was not three pounds; it was more like 40 pounds.

The Catfish laughed.  Frog laughed.  It was a big joke; a forty pound squirrel!  It is a big joke every year.

“Hey Hagy, watch out for the killer fox squirrel!”

“Did you bring your elephant rifle?  Its fox squirrel season you know.”

I say very freaking funny.  Go ahead guys, make a joke.  I know what I saw.  Now I know how people feel when their spotting of a UFO or Bigfoot is put-down with derisive laughter.

I don’t care if Catfish, Frog or anyone else chooses to make fun of me.

Somewhere on the Maryland side of the upper Potomac River is an animal with a very large squirrel-like body, a squirrel-like fluffy tail, and the legs of a Great Dane.  It hops like a rabbit....I seem to remember large fangs. 

It is NOT a Fox Squirrel!

THE FOX SQUIRREL part II

Last week I posted the story of my sighting of a mythical beast while fly- fishing on the upper Potomac River with old College friends and fraternity brothers Frog and Catfish.  Catfish assured me that the creature I spotted from the West Virginia side of the river to the Maryland side, over 200 yards was simply a Fox Squirrel.

The Fox Squirrel is a large (2-3 pounds) squirrel common to the area.  The creature I saw was well over 30 pounds and fierce looking.  I have been chided by Frog and Catfish ever since, the country rube getting excited about spotting a “fierce” squirrel.

Keep in mind that I was fishing with tri-focal lenses and I have a cataract in my right eye which makes everything a bit cloudy.  I don’t believe that a three pound squirrel from over two-hundred yards across the river would have caught my attention.  Nevertheless Frog and Catfish insist it had to be a Fox Squirrel.  Frog is an avid outdoorsman; Catfish was a big shot with the Delaware Fish and Game Department.  I never even stuck it out with the cub scouts.  Who am I to argue?

Since my post, the blog community has sought to identify the mysterious creature that I saw on the Maryland side of the river:

Irene from "Irene’s world Travels"  insists the creature sounds like the mythical Bulgarian “Wolpertinger.” I did some research on this and it seems unlikely a Wolpertinger would find its way from Europe to the woods of Western Maryland.

"The Broad" from "A Broad with a View"   suggests the animal was a “Wild Easter Bunny.”  I think The Broad is siding with Frog and Catfish in making fun of me.

Lou from "Sunny Side" (long since retired from posting)   Suspects that I saw the elusive Chupacabra or the Mexican goat sucker.  Lou is still a little Google-eyed over her recent marriage and as a UK transplant has trouble finding her way from the freeway to the airport.  I really cannot give her much credibility.  Besides everyone knows the Chupacabra are not found north of Texas.

JohnD, the Aussie outdoorsman from "Tok Tok" place (sadly passed away)   Says it sounds like the Australian tourist killer the “Drop Bear.”  Research shows that apparently the most poisonous snakes, spiders and toads in the world along with killer stingrays, crocodiles and great white sharks are not enough to scare the bejesus out of tourists; the Aussies have invented the killer “Drop Bear.”  Nice try John, I’m not buying it.

Finally, my old College friend and fraternity brother, Fast Freddy the Dentist, alerted me to the possibility the creature is a Fisher Cat. 

The Fisher Cat is a fierce 30 pound cat-like weasel which once roamed the north eastern United States until it was almost trapped into extinction for its pelt.  The Fisher Cat is so fierce it is the only animal which is able to kill and eat a porcupine.  The Fisher Cat is making an ecological comeback.

Now I ask you, whom should I believe?

The retired bigwig with the Delaware Fish and Game Department:
Fox Squirrel
                                      OR                                              

                                             A Rhode Island Dentist:

Fisher Cat 
  I’m going with the Dentist!    

Saturday, January 22, 2022

The Hidden Cost of Masking Up

 

The Hidden Cost of Masking Up



It seems to me that people are way less friendly than they used to be.  Airlines have seen a huge increase in belligerent passengers.  It has got to be the masks.

I have noticed that waitstaff at restaurants seem less friendly, and they rely on tips!  It has got to be the masks.

My son just told me about a pizza parlor owner busting his chops because he took a packet of hot peppers before his slices were ready for take-out.  It has got to be the masks.

In many States, and NJ is one, masks are required for all indoor venues.  There are several problems with these rules. 

First of all, it seems that unless you have the super protective N95 masks, they really don’t offer much protection.  That assertion is born out by the fact that people keep getting infected even though they are wearing masks.  Of course, most mask wearers don’t wear them correctly, often leaving their primary breather, the nose, uncovered…or they get in your face when talking and pull down the mask because no one can understand the mask-covered mumble.

So, wear a mask, no big deal, except some people just refuse.  What is a proprietor at a store, or an airline attendant to do when someone refuses to follow the rule?  Ignore it? Then they risk a fine or losing their job.  I imagine workers get pretty cranky having to police mask hating customers.  They probably develop an attitude after a while and do not police politely.  Fights often in sue.

So, wear a mask, no big deal, except there is always some asshole telling you that you are a sheep and masks do no good, or if you do not wear one there is the other asshole telling you that you are killing their grandmother!  Fights often in sue.

There are other problems with the mask.  Wear it for a long time and your breath stinks.  I found this out after a plane trip with Mrs. C.  When we landed she told me I need a piece of gum.  I said I didn’t want any gum. She said,

“You don’t understand, YOU NEED A PIECE OF GUM!”

We have to wear a mask in our bowling league, unless you are actively bowling, or eating, or drinking, so, only half the time.  While wearing the mask it is not a good idea to make conversation with the other team.  With a mask, facial expressions are hidden. I did not know how much facial expressions play a part in friendly conversation.

“Nice shot!” With a mask covered expression, can mean that was a nice shot, or that was a lucky shot, or that was actually a crappy shot.  Better to just say nothing.

Our bowling matches are less amicable than before the mask.

Look, the mask thing was a good idea, especially when we thought you could catch this thing if you just walked through a Covid exhalation cloud wafting in the air from the person less than 6 feet from you.  Maybe if we all had the correct masks, and we all wore them correctly and we wore them ALL the time, maybe they would be effective; but we don’t, we don’t know how, and we won’t…so.

Enough with the masks.  Wear them if you want.  Just like wearing a hat in the cold won’t protect you from a cold, and not cracking your knuckles has nothing to do with arthritis, and standing back from the TV won’t save you eyesight, it won’t hurt. 

Just don’t make it a law.  Especially a law that is almost impossible to enforce.

Whatever benefits there may be from wearing a mask (and the science is leaning towards very limited) in most situations, it is not worth the loss of civility those communication hindering, breath stinking, political dissention creating contraptions are causing.

At least they are nice outside in the winter when the wind chill is 15 degrees.

 

 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The Games Continue

 

The Games Continue






The gamesmanship in the Cranky house is getting out of hand.

The other day Mrs. C brought home three pretzel bites left over from a Little Annie’s take out, and a box of four large icing covered cinnamon buns.

“The left over pretzel bites are for you, and we get two cinnamon buns each.”

The next morning I ate one bun.  It was delicious, but way too big, I should have only had a half.

“I can’t believe you ate one whole bun.”

“I know, I couldn’t help myself, I’m going to eat the other one in halves only.”

“You shouldn’t have either until you finish the pretzel bites.”

“I’m not eating left over pretzel bites when there are delicious cinnamon buns still to be had.”

Yesterday I had one half of a bun with my coffee at breakfast and the other half with coffee after dinner.

“You are supposed to eat the pretzel bites first.”

“What do you mean eat the pretzel bites first?  Like there is a dessert rule?”

“Yes!”

“Well I am saving the pretzel bites for breakfast tomorrow now that I had my buns.”

Mrs. C had a half bun after her dinner and then she also took and ate the three pretzel bites.

“What the heck?  I was going to eat them in the morning.”

“They’ve been here for two days, it’s too late, I ate them before they went stale.”

“Fine, then I’m having a half cinnamon bun in the morning.”

“Oh no you are not!”

This morning after breakfast I looked for the buns to have one half with my coffee.  They were nowhere to be found.  I checked under every towel and all the other usual hiding spots…NOTHING!

I ran upstairs,

“I hate you, I can’t believe you hid the buns, especially after you ate my pretzel bites!”

“I didn’t hide them, I ate them.”

“You what?”

“I ate them because I knew you were going to have some this morning.”

This was a new one to me.  Mrs. C can be sneaky, she can be playful, she can be greedy, but she has never before been spiteful.

“I can’t believe you, those buns were huge, you could get sick eating both especially after eating my pretzel bites!”

“You had your chance with the pretzel bites.”

“I hate you!”

I then went down stairs just a little miffed.  OK, I stomped downstairs.

About ten minutes later Mrs. C called me back upstairs.

“Yeah, what do you want?”

“We need to talk.”

Oh shit, the four most dreaded words to a husband in every marriage ever!

“What?”

“I didn’t eat the last buns, I hid them so we could share them after dinner tonight.”

“Oh, thank God! I didn’t mind that you hid them, but eating them? First of all that could have made you sick, and second of all that was just spiteful.  You’ve never been spiteful before.”

“I know, I wanted to surprise you tonight, but I felt bad because you had that hurt puppy dog look on you face.”

“Where did you hide them, I looked all over.”

“I know, I hid them good.”

“Where?”

“Do you think I’m stupid?”

I’ve never thought Mrs. C was stupid, then I never thought she was spiteful either.  Fortunately she is neither.

Oh yeah, she did call me a jerk.