Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Possible New Recruit

So I’ve been scouting a squirrel for a few weeks now. He never gets too close, though, so I’ve had a problem getting a good look into his eyes. As for his temperament, he seems more suited for the life of a soldier (he once snatched a starling from the sky) than anything else. Not sure if he’d be good as an entertainer. Oh, I tried taking some photos, but he didn’t seem willing:
Well, he was there, sitting on that lowest branch. The little bastard’s fast.

You can just barely see him in the center of the photo.

If you can believe it, he leaped from the lowest branch on the tree to the left all the way to the tree in the center of the photo. This little guy’s amazing.

He was on that large branch. Damn. Missed him again.

You can just barely see him at the top of that tree in the distance.

He likes to hide under here and mock me.

Interestingly, the nest he grew up in is still nearby:

He’s definitely worth it, folks. Maybe I can train him to lead my next anti-terror squirrel unit.

For Greg, Jr. (2001-2007)

Here’s something I just composed on the spot in memory of Greg, Jr., my late little buddy:
This Light Branch

for Greg, Jr. (2001-2007)

Taking a page from your mother’s book
of secrets,
you avoided for a time the urge
to deliver.

I can remember standing
between two trees,
a tree myself,
watching your watching:

black glass reflected
in black glass;
disaffected heart
to disaffected heart.

This I know:
sight must be the envy
of flowers —
who swim up to your smell.

I Can Barely Write This, Folks

Greg, Jr. (2001-2007)

The last 24 hours have been tough, folks. I still can’t believe Greg, Jr., is gone. To think, he was one of only two squirrels I’ve let myself raise from pups. If I feel up to it in the next day or so, I’ll write an extended biography of “Cuddles” (that was his nickname).

Friday, November 16, 2007

Dumb-Dumb County, Florida

Do I look like an orangutan to you? (PHOTO BY Jimmy Smith/FLICKR)

It seems wildlife officials are finally saying that the animal sneaking around Baker County, Florida, is an orange phase fox squirrel — not an orangutan.

Huh? Did I miss something? Sure, fox squirrels can get pretty big (about two feet max). But how out of it do you have to be to think a fox squirrel is an orangutan?

Just a note on fox squirrels: They tend to stink — badly. Not sure why. Must have something to do with their cranberry fetish.

A Moment of Silence, Please, for a Fallen Soldier

Lt. Harry P. Chestnut: Four hundred kills.

Remember the neighbor I told you about whose rutabagas were being eaten by prairie dogs? Well, it turns out that the anti-terror squirrel unit I trained to take care of the problem got ambushed, under the cover of darkness, no more than an hour ago. My neighbor said the prairie dogs must have brought an army, because no one from the unit survived — not even Branson, the best little soldier I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

Here’s to you, Branson! Simper fidelis. Sic transit gloria mundi. Amen.

Letter to the Squirrel-Editor

Still think red squirrels are cute? (PHOTO BY Gerry Balding/FLICKR)

Today’s Letter to the Squirrel-Editor comes from Pete in Gettysburg, PA. Pete writes:
I recently trapped four adult red squirrels, and am currently keeping them in a cage. I’ve heard they’re aggressive, and would love to know how I can train them to keep my neighbor’s dog out of my yard. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Well, Pete, you heard right: red squirrels are aggressive. And guess what? They’ve been known to go after dogs. So you, my friend, are in luck. As for any advice I can give, I should probably warn you first: Be prepared to work. My late mentor, H. C. Blithe (blessings and peace be upon Him), spent 15 fruitless years trying to tame a single red squirrel. His vain efforts proved too much, and he died of a heart attack at the age of 70 (two years ago tomorrow).

But if it’s any consolation, taming a red squirrel is much harder than training one to harness its aggressiveness. So here are four bits of advice (anything more, and I’d have to charge you): (1) feed them sparingly the first few weeks; if you feed them too much, they’ll expect too much; this is critical, because red squirrels are takers, not givers; (2) be sure to keep their cage at least two feet below eye-level; since they’re extremely aggressive by nature, red squirrels love being in a dominant position; this also applies once you get them out of their cage to interact with you and others; anytime they want to get on your shoulder or climb about the mantel in your living room, grab a net and put them right back in their cage; in theory, they should eventually get the picture; (3) once you’ve created some trust and gotten the squirrels to take on their role as subordinates, it’s important to keep this in mind: red squirrels play mind-games; they love to trick you into thinking they love you; so, whatever you do, resist the urge to love them; stay firm, and the rest, in theory, should fall into place; and (4) never feed them after midnight . . . just kidding . . . No, my last piece of advice is this: as you begin to show them who’s the boss, they’ll begin to respect you a little; in fact, as dominant creatures, they’ll admire your uncompromising approach; they may even leave fruits and nuts by your pillow as a sign of respect; but you must keep this in mind: it’s all a ploy; the more you resist the urge to show love, the more willing they’ll be to go to war for you; if you stay strong, before you know it, you’ll have four pintsized junkyard dogs at your disposal — willing to do whatever it takes to earn your favor; the last step will involve showing them the object(s) of your hate: if you want them to attack your neighbor’s dog, show that you hate your neighbor’s dog (the same applies to ex-wives and mothers-in-law).

Once again, training a red squirrel isn’t as hard as taming one. But perhaps that’s the best thing, give your situation; perhaps taming a red squirrel (if that’s even possible) would involve stripping it of its essence, which would do you no good.

To boost your morale, I’ll leave you with a passage from Satan is a Red Squirrel, my late mentor’s unfinished memoirs:
The red squirrel is a demon, albeit a cute one. But don’t let his fiery charms beguile you. He knows the patterns of your mind and the design of your soul. To take him in will earn you nothing but eternal misery.
Hope I could help, Pete.

U.K. Island of Red Squirrels

A red squirrel clutching his chest. You O.K., boy? (PHOTO BY AlexRK/FLICKR)

I’ve got “good” news, folks: It appears red squirrels are thriving on an island off the southern coast of England. They went there to escape a deadly poxvirus carried by the more common North American gray squirrel.

Though I’ve never had the “pleasure” of working with red squirrels, let me just say one thing about them: My mentor, H. C. Blithe, hated them. I mean, as much as he loved Eastern gray squirrels, he couldn’t stand red squirrels — “sciurus succubus,” as he called them.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering if I hate them, too. Well, yes and no. On the one hand, I have to show respect to my late mentor (blessings and peace be upon Him), so hating them is sort of a no-brainer. My mentor was a genius, after all. He knew what he was talking about. On the other hand, one of my dreams is to tame one of them (something even the Maestro was unable to do). So there you have it: I love them and I hate them.

Iran & Squirrels

Take that, Ahmadinejad!

O.K., so I was thinking/reading about Iran and the possibility of a future U.S. invasion — and devising ways to train squirrels as infiltrators — and I came across this article from July, about 14 squirrels that were busted by Iranian intelligence operatives for espionage: AHN

Interestingly, Iran claims the squirrels were “Western,” and attempting to “undermine the Islamic Republic.” Well, they sure did a poor job of it! Sounds like a shoddy operation to me. Come on, George, get with it! I’m not gonna keep putting myself out like this. You want my help, you know where to find me.

If you want my opinion, I’m thinking these squirrels were either overfed or too tame. That’s right, folks, squirrels can be too tame — especially if they’re combat squirrels.

Without revealing too much, this is what I’d do: (1) you have to make squirrels train in an obstacle course (humans do it, and so must squirrels); (2) don’t give them standard fatigues (they’re already camouflaged, for crying out loud), and (3) minimize the love (trust me, they’ll be better off for it).

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Stupid People Acting Like Squirrels

Once again, people are acting like squirrels. This time, they’re doing it on a pretty grand scale. Anyone else think these guys are nuts? Get it — nuts?

The Lineup


Name: Greg, Jr.
Nickname: “Junior,” or “Cuddles”
Weaknesses: Peanuts


Name: Splinter
Nickname: “Broadside”
Weaknesses: Corn; “Becca” (see below)


Name: Reggie
Nickname: “Monk,” or “Bunny Head”
Weaknesses: Carrots; “Becca” (see below)

“My Fair Lady”

Name: Harriet
Nickname: “My Fair Lady”
Weaknesses: Corn


Name: Rebecca
Nickname: “Becca”
Weaknesses: Sunflower seeds; Men

Ladies and gentlemen, my flock.

Letter to the Squirrel-Editor

Today’s Letter to the Squirrel-Editor comes from Janice in Alexandria, Virginia. Janice writes:
There are these three Eastern gray squirrels living in my attic. They’re tearing apart everything, including my Christmas ornaments. I don’t want to kill them, but I wouldn’t mind some tips on how to tame them. Any advice?
Well, Eastern gray squirrels are easily tamable. In fact, they’re big suckers for corn. Give them corn, and they’ll do anything short of a lap dance. Once you start to gain their trust, you have to trick them into thinking you’re the boss. So it doesn’t hurt to cage them immediately. Tough love usually does it for me.

Squirrel Obstacle Course

This isn’t the greatest thing you’ll ever see, but it’s cool enough, and it does give you a little taste of what they’re capable of: Squirrel Obstacle Course

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Letter to the Squirrel-Editor

I’ve only had this blog a few hours, and I’ve already received my first Letter to the Squirrel-Editor. To be fair, it’s from my buddy Gary, who begged me to put it on my blog. Here’s his question:
What’s the best way to kill squirrels?
You sick bastard. Have I taught you nothing? We’re no longer friends.

OSU mourns loss of Whitey

An albino squirrel — who likes corn way too much.

So The Ohio State University’s beloved albino squirrel Whitey died today. A hawk ate it.

Too bad. Albino squirrels are easily trainable. Though they are a bit feisty. (The fact that they’re shunned by non-albinos must have something to do with it.) And they tend to gain a lot of muscle. I once trained an albino squirrel to get me the paper every morning. After about a month, the little guy was totally ripped.

Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel

Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel.

For those who aren’t familiar with Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel, let me just say one thing: If you’re not happy with your life, you have to go see Twiggy. She’ll put it all into perspective. How? She’s a water skiing squirrel, for fuck sake!

Her tamers are Chuck and Lou Ann Best, and they’re friggin’ amazing. I mean, I’ve trained squirrels to box each other (to be fair, they’re born fighters) but this is totally different. Water skiing? That takes some real work.

The Squirrel-Tamer: An Introduction

See what happens when you let them stay wild?

You think you know what a squirrel-tamer is, but you have no idea. Well, at least not this squirrel-tamer.

How am I different? For starters, squirrels respect me. I mean, when I lock eyes with a squirrel, he can’t help but be taken in. I mesmerize him. I hypnotize him. And then, of course, I sanitize him.

What else . . . Oh, yeah, I also train squirrels. What for? Well, it’s really up to the customer. For example, my neighbor had four menacing prairie dogs who kept eating his rutabagas, so I captured and trained 30 Eastern gray squirrels to serve as a sort of anti-terror unit. Did it work? Like a charm.

So that’s what this blog is about. Here you’ll get a glimpse of my life’s work — and maybe a teensy, weensy peak into the inner workings of my mind.