Well, Spring has officially sprung here at TWD World Headquarters. Twitchy the Squirrel is eating himself sick at the bird feeder, the mourning doves are building nests in the most inappropriate places imaginable (atop the door post of the garage, for instance, making every day a series of heart-stopping alarms for the little feathered idiots), and twilight brings vast herds of rabbits running in circles on the lawn. Best of all, Babs and Monroe, our two resident turkey vultures, have returned from their winter hideaway (Palm Beach? Costa Rica?) to nest, as they do every year, in our spooky dead tree down by the road. If you follow that link, you’ll see that vultures have gotten a bad rap in popular culture and are actually peaceful, devoted family birds that only want to help us. They are also seriously cool close up. In the afternoon Babs and Monroe swoop low over our side yard, 10 or 15 feet off the ground, and they are huge. As the article notes, vultures are almost voiceless, unlike the red-tailed hawks around here, which have a chillingly primal scream. The only noise I’ve ever heard Babs and Monroe make is a kind of very loud huffing sound, like a large bull snorting.
It really is like living in a zoo. Whenever the emergency squad takes off from the firehouse in town a few miles away, every coyote within earshot chimes in with mournful howling. I was out late with Brownie and Pokie a few nights ago when the squad took attendance, indicating that there were several coyotes in the underbrush about a hundred feet from us. Uh, time to go inside, girls.
Onward. All of the columns in this month’s issue were actually written (and sent to newspapers and subscribers) in August and September of last year, so please do not be alarmed by the anachronistic references to the election, etc., to be found therein. The solution for folks who do find this sort of thing disquieting is, of course, to subscribe, which brings us to the nudge du jour. As I said last month, things are getting grim around here. Newspapers are dropping like flies, book publishing is on the ropes, and my multiple sclerosis precludes my getting a job doing something else.
Worst of all, the dismal state of the economy has dramatically reduced the number of readers able to subscribe, cutting my income from this site to nearly nothing just at the point when it was stepping into a starring role in our financial drama.
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Incidentally, if you happened to visit this site earlier this week, and you were using Microsoft Internet Explorer, you may have noticed that the entire site seemed to be weirdly garbled. Sorry about that. There was a malformed tag in a widget in the left sidebar that didn’t affect Firefox at all but caused IE to have a nervous breakdown. Just a little glitch, only took me two solid hours to figure it out. People sometimes write me with suggestions for improvements to pass along to my “web designer.” Ha. I am the man behind the curtain, folks. There is no staff, there are no assistants. Just moi.
And now, on with the show…