Showing posts with label media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label media. Show all posts

08 March 2012

Plumb out of answers

One South Carolina town has been so flush with squirrels this year that even its toilets have been flush with squirrels.

In fact, Channel 10, WIS-TV, broadcast a report about one local homeowner, Rose Strohman-Morris, of the town of North, who discovered one such bushytail getting down and dirty hanging out in her plumbing just this week.

Oddly enough, according to the report, she is not the only resident who has reported rodents in their restroom. The town's mayor, Earl Jeffcoat, is quoted by the TV station as calling this mini-invasion "a nuisance."

The locals attribute it to the overpopulation of squirrels. But that seems, to say the least, an oversimplification. And there have been reports of this happening before, in other locales: In March 2011, in Malawi. In Oklahoma, in 2010. And in 2008, in Canada, when it was a flying squirrel that landed down under the lid.

Squirrels are tree dwellers, not potty animals. It's unlikely they actively seek out homeowners' bidets and bowls in the hopes of scoring a big nut cache.

And a toilet is hardly an ideal receptacle for anything you wish to store for the long haul.

Clearly, the squirrels are there as uninvited guests: Those with standing offers to come to dinner or perhaps Sunday brunch are more likely to make their entrance through the front or side door, wiping their paws delicately first on the welcome mat.

A toilet is the last place you'd drop into as a guest of honor.

How the squirrels ended up in some folks' pipes and bowls is anyone's guess at this point but it's clear if the squirrels had any choice in the matter, they'd hightail (or bushytail) it out of there, especially if they knew what they were getting into, in the first place.

Fortunately, making use of an improvised catchpole of sorts, Strohman-Morris was able to clear the living clog safely from her bowl, taking him outside, thus saving a life and leaving the toilet free for its somewhat earthier mission.

You can bet the squirrel wasn't the only one who immediately felt relief.

11 November 2011

Polar opposites and unbearable truths

In Canada, a political battle is on for hearts, minds and a nation's new emblem, and the faction favoring the longstanding beaver is under siege from the faction favoring the formidable polar bear.

As our beloved blogger colleague, the aptly named Lone Grey Squirrel, has suggested: forget the beaver, forget the polar bear. What about the squirrel? As a Canadian with a strong interest in the outcome of this sparring of national symbols, Mr. Squirrel indeed raises an important nut worth cracking. (You can even vote on the critter of your choice, by the way, by clicking on the link to his blog, provided here.)

One Canadian politician recently lauded the polar bear as worthy because of its "strength, courage, resourcefulness and dignity," and trounced beavers as "dentally defective rats." Putting aside such blatant animal defamation (and idle fantasies of casting the senator out into Canada's woods in the heart of winter), let us step away from this hairy debate and instead consider the simple merits of the squirrel.

In an environment of global economic crisis, the squirrel is resourceful to the point of hoarding. The squirrel's motto: "Cache as cache can" could become the lyrics of a new global anthem in this money-strapped world of ours.

At a time when charitable giving and worldwide cooperation is stressed for our communal survival, who is better equipped to go out on a limb for us all than the squirrel?

And finally, in an era full of negative thinking, the squirrel remains ever bright-eyed and ... well, you know.

We are not here to defame his distant cousin, the beaver. (Nor are we here to "dam" him.) Likewise, we will not engage in polemics over his polar challenger.

The squirrel is the simple answer for a new national symbol in Canada. Just lift another national symbol - the Maple Leaf - and look beneath.

There, neatly nested in the intertwined foliage, you shall find him. Loyal patriot, he's simply waiting for the call to duty.

08 March 2011

Squirrels behaving badly

Talk to any avid gardener or overly protective homeowner and they'll swear that the squirrel is the Charlie Sheen of the wildlife community: A squirrel engages in public mating with reckless serial abandon, has a penchant for crack, particularly when the crack is carefully aimed at the outer coating of addictive acorns, nuts and other hard-shelled yummies. And they dig up dirt. Lots of it. Often on a well-groomed lawn and lovingly planted garden.

Let's not even talk about bird feeders, the seedier side of their long rap sheet.

The squirrel scores "Two and a Half Points" for popularity in some people's playbook. Never mind causing the cancellation of a hit TV show; a squirrel, with a well-aimed chomp of those finely honed teeth, can throw an entire metropolitan area into a sea of blacked-out powerless void. Now that's cancellation power!

OK, so their manners aren't exactly Disney or Beatrix Potter. But remember, even Martha Stewart, with her seemingly impeccable manners and teacup-proper taste, ended up making her exit in a hand-knit prison poncho.

Besides, you don't see many squirrels plastered in full color on the covers of the supermarket tabloids, wearing string bikinis, too-small thongs and oversized, obscene tattoos. You don't see them declaring defiantly, in 42-point headline type: "I don't know the father of my last litter of 8 but I'm keeping them anyway!" or "I'm not sure who gave me mange but I know it's curable!"

Does anyone think to thank them for aerating garden soil with those tiny paws, or for planting the world's giant forests by cracking (and then leaving) all those acorns? How many hours of sweet laughter have resulted from sitting on a Sunday morning watching their treetop antics, especially the young ones first finding the balance in their "tree legs."

They're not perfect but in some eyes, they're pretty close. Squirrels ride high in the trees but have just as much appeal when they're showing their down-to-earth side. They lived on the planet before us and will likely - if we don't destroy the planet - outlive us too. Sorry, Charlie. Say what you will about their naughty antics: The sheen will never be off the squirrel.

10 August 2010

Victoria, it's no secret

Under where?

Yes, under there!

Squirrel Girls, look out below! Way below! The same manufacturer who put tighty whitey underpants on the market (and on squirrels' private areas) a few years ago - those fabulous stretchy Y-fronts for males - is back with a pleasingly pink version for the ladies. Now ultra feminine squirrels can envision themselves as nothing short of fashionable femme fayTAILS, all the while retaining a modicum of modesty.

But do female squirrels really need to cover it all up? (For that matter, do male squirrels?) The answer isn't exactly a secret, least of all Victoria's.

The Archie McPhee product catalogue is betting $6.50 - the price of these delightful dainties - that those at the apex of rodent couture will scoop these up in no time. One size fits all (they're 95 percent cotton, 5 percent spandex, just in case you need to, uh, stretch your limits a bit after having snarfed everything up in a late-night acorn binge the night before.)

Sorry girls, no thong version is available. And there's no talk of a matching underwire SqunderBra for those four pairs of teats. At least not yet, anyway.

23 June 2010

The way the cookies crumble

There's nothing sweet these days about Duchy Originals, an allegedly tasty confection that's popular in the UK.

The acorn-embossed biscuits are leaving a bad taste in animal lovers' mouths, and so is a violent plan against grey squirrels by a high-profile British royal, Prince Charles. As a staunch proponent of saving Britain's beloved red squirrels, and reintroducing them to Cornwall, Charles is once again suggesting a specific plan of genocide against greys, who are seen as the native species' enemy.

Kill them, says the unprincely royal.
Boycott them, say more than just a few animal-loving British, who believe their own culinary cull of the "nature-friendly" Duchy Originals brand will stand as a strong symbol of protest.

"We must speak out against such arrogant meddling with nature. Prince Charles may be King someday, but he is not God," said Kate Fowler, Head of Campaigns at Animal Aid, as quoted in Great Britain's Telegraph newspaper.

Added British zoologist Juliet Gellatley: "I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that there is a minority of 'well-bred' people who may seem normal but who are bent on killing. Sadly, Prince Charles seems to be one of them, following in the footsteps of his tiger-slaughtering father."

This is serious slaughter being talked about here, and its solution cannot easily be hammed out across a kitchen table. Cookies - or rather, going cookie-less in protest - seems a somewhat weak economic sanction against such an egregious and heinous act.

British animal lovers, there's got to be a better way to put one's anger where one's mouth is.

07 February 2010

The Honda Acorn???

This squirrel's funky. He rocks to a song from Kool and the Gang. He totes an oversized, disco-style acorn. And he's into Hondas - and also, it seems, this year's Super Bowl, where he'll be seen during a commercial break.

Take a look at this latest ad from Honda, which features the stylized, animated squirrel boogeying to the beat as a way of introducing the carmaker's new 4-wheel-drive Crosstour.

That's an Accord, by the way, not an Acorn. During a creative team conference at the ad agency, the squirrel probably lost the debate and with it, the naming rights.

Now, what would a Super Bowl game be without at least one squirrel commercial? There was the famous "running of the squirrels" that parodied the annual frenzy in Pamplona. And then there was the Trident chewing gum squirrel, who chomped on a dentist's nuts and no, the good doctor wasn't holding them in his hand at the time.

Super Bowl games and squirrel ads just naturally go together. And even though a football team called the Squirrels - from the Republic of Benin, in Africa - failed a few weeks ago to advance to the championships this year in its game against Egypt, it seems that the name, and the species, are been vindicated after all.

It's always a winning moment whenever squirrels get to go back to the Super Bowl. And this guy's driving there in style, in a Honda Crosstour.