28 February 2011

The 2011 SQU'OSCARS? No contest!

Live from the Holly-studded Woods, the Academy of Bushytails has spoken. The stars have all walked the gray carpet and now....it is time to announce recipients of this year's SQU'OSCAR AWARDS.

Films like "The Social Nutwork," "The Black Squirrel," "The King's Chatter" and "True Grey" never had a chance in this field of contenders.

The envelope please:

Best Squirrel in a Nut-Burying Role: Mr. Tilty, for being able to crack, cache and even eat a few walnuts while handling neurological challenges.

Visual Effects: Residents of the nestbox in the maple on the west side of the property, for leaping, climbing and hanging upside down while emptying the suet feeder.

Best Supporting Branch: The sycamore tree on the east end of the property for holding up under strong wind conditions and also under a few fat-butt squirrels.

Music (original score): Doorknob Mama, the matriarch of the yard, for her unusually melodic mating calls.

Costume Design: All the locals, for managing to keep their coats intact and pest-free during a season that usually brings more than a few cases of mange.

And finally:

Squirrel of the Year: This will not be awarded. The walnut statuette has been gnawed beyond recognition. The judges are going back to their nests until next year in the hopes that competitors exhibit better manners in the future.

05 February 2011

Sports fans, are ya ready for some Furball?

Oh, the fur's going to be flying in Dallas, Texas tomorrow.

Never before has there been such gridiron animosity. And never before such gridiron animal-osity. The Green Bay Snackers are about to square off against the Pittsburgh Squealers.

All eyes are on the opening moves: Just how long will the acorn have to be in play before someone scores the first Munchdown - or buries the acorn deep in the opposing team's side of the field?

Will there be penalties for biting the opponent on the back of the neck? What if a player is supposed to pass the acorn to a teammate, but cracks and eats it instead?

And how 'bout that glitzy halftime show: The Squirrel Nut Zippers, newly reunited, playing a compendium of their classics!

And don't forget those notorious, eye-popping commercials: Nutella, Skippy Peanut Butter, Walnut Acres Natural Foods, Audubon Bird Seed and Starbucks Hazelnut Coffee. Plenty of money's been paid to hawk (OK, poor choice of words here) these wares.

So let the game begin and may the better team bask in the victory of the National Furball League. Their NFL trophy, in this case, will necessarily be short-lived. In less than 24 hours, the sun will come up once more and the skirmishes will begin anew on the gridiron we call our backyards.

01 February 2011

The chuck's not chuckling now!

Chuck this!

Snow is piled so deep in metropolitan New York that Malverne Mel, a regional rodent of some notoriety, has ended up taking a powder. Winter’s long frozen shadow has snuffed out his prognosticating prowess.

That's left Malverne Mel on burrowed time. He plans to be a no-show in the great outdoors. Not even Punxsutawney Phil could have predicted this: A winter so bad that even one of his fellow groundhogs can't take it.

That leaves us with a few meager options to discern if we’ll have an early spring:

1. Play the 1978 Andy Gibb hit, “Shadow Dancing,” backwards. (This would be a lot easier in the age of vinyl instead of MP3s). Gibbs’ voice, though barely intelligible, can be heard identifying the date on which the temperature will crawl past the 60-degree mark.

2. Shine a flashlight on a squirrel. If he sees his shadow – and don't worry, he will – you will owe him six more weeks of walnuts. Squirrels don’t care about spring anyway. They’ve been mating since December and scoff anything resembling a calendar. They all know that us fool humans will feed them no matter what the month or season.

3. You can also wait until Feb. 3. That’s the start of the next major holiday, Chinese New Year. This year we celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. Rabbits are lagomorphs, not rodents - but even if the groundhog doesn’t show up, the rabbit will be right on schedule. The Lunar Calendar guarantees it.

Here's the good news: rabbits move so fast they're rarely looking for their own shadows. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are calm, considerate, outgoing, friendly and gregarious. They also do not enjoy conflict. The Year of the Rabbit that lies ahead of us is described, in general, as a quiet year.

With one less groundhog out there to stir things up during a winter that almost everyone seems to be cursing, that rabbit may be just what we need.

Especially if the rabbit turns out to be Bugs Bunny: What we need, now more than ever, is for the rabbit to take one look at the snow - the same snow that's keeping Malverne Mel underground - and tell us, "Th-th-th-th-th-th-that's all folks!"