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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Diplomad vs. Godzilla

Let's take a little break from the usual writing about the heavy-hearted silliness that is destroying Western civilization. Let's, instead, discuss light-hearted mortal combat (sorta) at the Diplohouse.

Your humble servant and the Diplowife were in the process of loading dogs and a few other odds-and-ends into the ol' Silverado truck for the weekly 65 mile drive to our other home. I was in the garage getting the dog leashes and just coming into the adjoining Diplomancave when I saw Txiki, our goofy Shepherd/Dane mix, sitting in the middle of the room staring at something on the carpet. I thought Txiki had made a dog mess on the carpet, something he has never done. I yelled this piece of what turned out to be CNN-type fake news to the Diplowife who was in a corner of the cave tending to Hartza, our grumpy Akita/Shepherd, who was grumpily trying a new dog bed--he doesn't like change.

The Diplowife walked over to Txiki and the focus of his attention. A soul-piercing scream followed. The Diplowife backed up and breathlessly reported, "A giant lizard! Txiki has killed a giant lizard!" Regular readers of this little blog will recall that the Diplowife has a different measuring standard than most of us when dealing with wildlife (here, here).  It must be that she thinks in metric. That aside, a new drama had commenced!

Sir Txiki, Slayer of Dragons
Diplowife retreated to the Diplomancave's newly redone Diplobathroom from whence she continued to emit vows and screams and issue orders. "I am leaving this house and never coming back! Get that monster out of my house! Don't flush it down the toilet! They crawl back out! Is it dead?" You get the idea.

While I am not a person generally given to panic, I confess to having what you might consider a near-Biblical aversion to reptiles and amphibians. I do not like those creatures. Even as a lad I never shared my friends' love for snakes, lizards, frogs, and toads. With my many years in the tropics, my aversion for the cold-blooded ones grew stronger. I have never considered cobras, kraits, gators, crocs, etc., as my friends; they are magnificent, awesome survivors from another age, but I do not find them cuddly or want them around me. I have never been enamored of the various geckos, iguanas, and water monitor lizards that at various times shared our Diplodigs with us. I wish them no harm, but I wish them to go away (my motto for progressives, too).

With that said, you would rightly conclude that I was not perfectly cast to play the hero in this play. The setting? Well, we had a rather chubby lizard, I think either an alligator lizard or a fence lizard, belly-up on our carpet presided over by a very proud Txiki. I got a dust pan and wrapped my hand in a plastic bag and gently prodded and slid the beast onto the pan. I was not going to touch it. The thing, of course, only played dead, as I could see some breathing action. I walked past the hysterical Diplowife, out of the house, through the garage, and out to the front of the house where I tossed Godzilla into some bushes. It immediately scampered away. Thinking my job done, I proudly returned to the house to report "Mission accomplished!" only to find the Diplowife pointing at the floor and yelling, "The tail! You left the tail!" More plastic bag and dust pan action, and the tail, too, departed the premises. Txiki was not amused at the poor reception his trophy had elicited from us.

While the rest of America was focussed on the increasingly absurd wire-tapping scandal, this is what I was doing. At least, I can understand this . . .

34 comments:

  1. Well, I hope you said, "Good Dog" and provided a treat. After all the dog did pin it down to be vamoosed, rather than extra panic upon finding it on your own.

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  2. We had red-headed rock agamas in much of Africa, in special abundance in Bangui, where they were so common that seeing one elicited little response from me or the kids. Except for the time I was entertaining in the back yard and looked up on one of the trees in the garden to see a rhombic night adder with a red-headed agama half way down his throat.

    We also had plenty of snakes in Bangui, and the rhombic night adder seemed particularly common on the banks of the Ubangui River, where we lived. I had asked a good friend, a French doctor who headed the local Pasteur Institute, if that species of adder was poisonous and he replied "moyennement" -- somewhat. I said does that mean I'll somewhat die if he bites me? He just laughed. The French have such a quaint sense of humor.

    In any case, I would normally have called for the gardener to kill the snake, and put the lizard out of its misery if it were still alive in its half-digested condition. But my guests had not noticed the drama occurring ten feet up the tree, and the snake was in no condition to be threatening the guests with a giant lizard halfway into its mouth, so I just went back to my host duties.

    After the reception both snake and lizard were gone from the tree, so I presumed the lizard was (more than) moyennement digested and the snake was back in the shrubbery somewhere, looking for more red headed agamas.

    Like your story of the lizard in the den, my story had a happy ending. I love happy endings.

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    1. Taiwan had cobras and kraits. Once, on the campus where I taught, there was a huge crowd of students and faculty gathered around the front of the admin building. The cause was that the mountaineering club had just returned, and one of its members had killed a banded krait ('umbrella snake' to the locals) with his pick, over which he had draped the creature. Having one of those prowling the plantings in front of the admin building would've been dangerous, since they're highly neurotoxic.

      There's a legend that AmEmbassy Bangkok got to keep its status as a hardship post because an inspector from Washington got bitten by a banded krait while crossing the lawn in order to inspect a spirit house the Thai employees had set up in one corner of the grounds. He nearly died, but a local hospital got the needed antivenin into him soon enough. Ironically, the quality of medical care in Bangkok was one reason why he was thinking of stripping the post of hardship pay in the first place. Some say the snake was planted there by our colleagues who aren't supposed to exist, but I doubt it.

      I've heard about the snaked "Down Under", by the way.

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  3. You know, you dodged a bullet when you never got that posting to Australia.

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    1. Terrible thing to say about Australians!
      They're not *all* descendants of the first fleet!

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    2. I always wanted to go to Australia but never had the right connections. I like all the Australians with whom I have worked and played, and wanted to see if I would still like them in their natural habitat. Sigh . . .

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    3. We are a likeable mob, but your aversion to reptiles is highly problematic down here; not that I like them any better than you, but you learn to deal with them.

      We live in Sydney, a mere 8 klms from the city, but on the harbour front with large reserves of bush, and we have a constant procession of snakes and goannas. I have a photo of a goanna clinging to our screen door that will put your lizard experience into some kind of perspective if you let me know how to send it to you.

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  4. I'm glad to see that its not just my wife who doesn't want anything to do with a piece of tail.

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    Replies
    1. You are confined to quarters for the duration of the cruise.

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  5. When I was a little schoolboy I used to walk home for tea with a lad called, appropriately, Tom Brown. Always, just always, his cat would have left him a dead rabbit on the front door mat. How's your wife with defunct bunnies?

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    1. She never cared for bunnies, especially those at the Playboy Club . . .

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    2. Maybe it's because I grew up with cats, but I'm sadly used to pieces/parts of once-furry things. When we were in Ireland we eventually managed to train the black and white tom who moved in with us to leave his presents on the door step. But my favorite(?) memory is of my then three-year-old sister walking up to us one morning as we were getting ready to get in the car and head off somewhere, waving a lapine hindquarter and asking if we could fix the broken bunny. I told her the first thing I could think of which was "No dear, we don't have all the pieces", which seemed to satisfy her.

      Right now if it weren't for how cold our house gets in the winter, I'd want to acquire a bunch of geckos for bug control. They're much more attractive than fly strips, though they'd probably drive the cats nuts.

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    3. When we lived in Queensland the cats would bring snakes to the kitchen door. Australian snakes are unusually venomous.

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    4. When I taught in Taiwan, there were geckos running along the walls of the room I lived in. They weren't so bad, because they had to eat half their weight in bugs every day just to keep alive--or something like that.

      I also had cats when I was a boy, and recall my mother (Gud hville henne) screeching in terror on a day when she got up before me and let Pussums in--to be presented with a dead rat.

      As for snakes, I've got mixed feeling. When, as a kid, I went to summer camp, the nature counselor presented a bag and said, "Anyone dare put a hand in it? It's either a pair of bad-tempered black snakes, or a docile king snake." I took the dare, because I knew he wouldn't endanger any of us, and got to play with his prized king snake for a while. Snakes are actually warm and dry, and their scales give them a nice texture.

      In the Far East, I ate quite a bit of snake, turtle, and frog. The last I don't care for. While I like chicken, and like fish, the thing between doesn't really suit my tastes. However, snake and turtle are actually quite good.

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  6. One of the reasons that I often return to this blog (other than its fine writing) is the almost total lack of troll commenters on this site. The comments keep me coming back even without a new post. Thanks all.

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    1. Yes, for all its faults, the Foreign Service attracts people with class, if I do say so myself. ;)

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  7. We are now in Arizona and looking forward to encounters with Gila monsters, scorpions and rattlesnakes. We also have a herd of about 40 javalinas in the neighborhood. So far my dog and I have had no encounters.

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  8. In AZ from a small dog perspective, BEWARE the wiley COYOTE! Brother in Law in Cave Creek lost a pair of inquisitive Jack Russell's to them... Too bad they haven't acquired a taste for old RINO Senators!
    OW~~~

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    1. That "old RINO Senator" IS a wiley coyote! Your warning is justified!

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    2. Pity my poor son as he was learning to drive on the back roads of southern Illinois. I always told him to watch out for peoples' pets, and treat them as practice for when a child might dart out into the road--although he could run over a woodchuck anywhere near someone's cow pasture with my blessing. Well, one day, he started to brake for what he thought was a dog, and you should have seen the shock on his teenaged face when I told him to run it down. It was a coyote. Those things have been known to attack small kids, as well as pets.

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  9. What a handsome animal! Would you please post pics of him and his buddy. I am also a "slitheraphob", but am thankfully married to a heroic slayer of those god-cursed, vial, misanthropic,camouflaged lie-in-wait.fear inducing wretches set on this earth to just to cause ruin to my bucolic existence.

    TWC

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  10. I feel for ya man. A few years ago, after finishing a grueling 10 month project of 16 hour days, six or seven days a week the wife and I hopped a plane to the VI for a week of doing nothing more taxing than drinking Carib and getting wet. We both fell asleep in the lounge chairs by the pool one afternoon. I was awakened by my wife's blood curdling screams as an interview iguana had taken his on place in the sun on the rock wall about 10 inches from her head. There was no convincing here that this creature was not sent by the devil himself to haunt her dreams. My laughing at her panic only made her panic more acute.

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  11. A little bit off topic, but I thought that now is a particularly good time to call attention to the number one bestselling book on Amazon.

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    1. ROFLMAO! I attempted to "Look Inside" but all I found was a table of contents and blank pages! No wonder its a "bestseller" in Donkeyland! Here's the first 5star customer review written by coriolis, worth a read as are his replies to commenters -- He wrote:

      "Posted with the DISCLAIMER: For those without a sense of humor, this is intended to be a satirical review of a satirical >>blank book<<. This is the second time I'm posting this review. Apparently my original review triggered someone so badly they reported it as abuse and got the #3 review on the front page deleted. Although I find that passive aggression hilarious, if you have a beef with my review, I think you'll feel better if you just reply and tell me why you don't like it. Who knows? You might even change my mind.

      On Watch~~~
      "Let's Roll"

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    2. P.S.
      While I was at Amazon I ordered a copy of "Victor Davis Hanson's The Father of Us All, War and History." Which our host mentioned in his previous post... maybe we could start a thread on that title next week or so, if enough of us can find the time to indulge in what I hope will be a 'great read'.
      OW

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  12. Back on topic:
    Down here in the backwaters of the "First Coast" I was inducted into the ways of Florida marsh hounds! As a member of the Pack, in good standing, I was often invited to partake of their findings, a live gopher tortoise, various dead sea and shore birds, cats, Norwegian rats-- talk about 'tails hangin down', polecats, possums, and once when I took them to the ocean, I decided to wet a line, then hear comes the Alpha dog with a plastic bag of rank bait he found along the shore, sporting a happy-to- serve twinkle in his eyes, I said thanks, proud dog! Once upon another time an 8 foot gator stopped by for a bite, and the boys proceeded to raise hell, since there was 6 of them full grown, he reversed course and headed back down the creek in the direction he came from! One of the oddest things tho, happened when I turned over some yard furniture and an Army of thumb-sized roaches came scuttling out all but one brave female (Beauty) stuck by me to deal with the invaders! First she charged them, made a couple of faints and bites, then backed-off looked at me and proceeded to rollover on her back onto the enemy vermin, and she continued that action till she smashed most of them! Don't know where she learned that move but she seemed pretty satisfied with the results! Anyhowl, I miss my dogs, but my daughter keeps me busy and makes us stop at the Dog rescue place and I practice my canine when I take one for a walk~~~
    On Watch~~~

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  13. Hearken back to circa 1980 and living in East Texas. As a boy of 10 and residing in a decidedly rural town, population 549 and hence no garbage collection, it was my duty to burn the trash.

    One beautiful early Fall Saturday morning I trek to the burn barrel at the back fence, a good hundred feet or so from the back door. Two full trash bags in one hand, gas can in the other, my trusty 'burn stick' already leaning against the barrel.

    As I approach, I notice the barrel is....moving. I stop, wait...sure enough, it's MOVING. This is a 55 gallon drum half full of ash. Anything inside making it MOVE is not something with which I am even remotely prepared to handle.

    Venturing back inside, I inform my father the barrel is moving. Upon investigation, we determine it is a full grown possum. Only having a Winchester Model 94, dad decides to walk down the road and borrow a .22 from our rancher/ farmer neighbor to dispatch the trespasser.

    We walk 1/4 mile down the road and tell Dub, yes that was his name, our situation. He laughs and shakes his head and says, 'I'm not wasting a .22 shell on a possum.' Dad and I share a look and follow him outside.

    Dub grabs a broken off shovel, hoe, something...handle with a nail driven in the top end and bent over in a hook. We walk back to our place and up to the barrel. It is at this point I should inform you, Dub is shorter than I was at the time. He's also pushing 80 if not already past that mark.

    Upon visual inspection he confirms our diagnosis of possum infestation. With one hand he pulls the barrel over. The possum rolls out and Dub clubs it on the back of the head. Then lays the broken handle on the back of it's neck, steps on it, grabs the tail with both hands, and jerks on it as he stands up. 'Craaaaaaack!'

    Dad and I stand there watching. Dub then throws the possum back in the burn barrel, lifts it upright, again one handed, and proceeds to open the gas can. Dad turns to me and says, you might want to go inside. I turn and walk towards the house. As I reach the back door I hear, 'FOOOOM!, followed by, 'EEEEEEEEEE!' I step inside the house and mom, standing at the kitchen sink looking out the window asks,'What are Dub and your father doing?'

    I reply simply, 'You don't wanna know' and walk to my room.

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    1. I want to say burning animals alive is creepy... but.. forest fires... I am weak and fluffy...

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  14. The first house we owned in the States--after I got RIFfed from the Foreign Service--was in the butt end of Illinois, about an hour's drive from the confluencce of the Ohio and Mississippi. It had big glass sliding doors opening out onto the back patio from our long combination family and dining room. My wife had settled comfortably on the sofa to watch TV, and I went to the computer to print a few CV's to mail out. Next, I heard a loud scream. I ran to see what the matter was, and there was my wife, huddled up and pointing towards the glass doors.

    "A big RAT!!!!!"

    Actually, it was a rather large possum crossing our patio for its evening stroll. I had to admit that from that close, the critter really was downright ugly.

    Had I been a gun owner then, I might've dispatched it. There's no telling what kind of tasty meal it would've made for us. Then again, I doubt that discharging a firearm in the neighborhood was legal...:(

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  15. The elitisphere is abuzz about how "unconstitutional" it is for sec state to travel without a press entourage.
    The 'press' and religion are both addressed by the first amendment. How would people feel if sec state were to be accompanied by a congregation of pastors?
    What happened to "separation of press and state"?
    It just seems to me that having a government-defined "press" is as big a problem as a government-defined "religion".

    - reader #1482

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    1. John Effing Kerry was/is a pathetic narcissist who I am sure needed to have a press corps following him around to affirm his huge opinion of himself. Tillerson is probably more comfortable in his own skin and doesn't need a fawning media to tell him how wonderful he is. Not that they would, given that he works for that Satan-spawn Trump

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  16. I think the Diplowife's response was perfectly appropriate considering the circumstances.

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  17. The possum was the rough draft for the rat. Rats, are, after all, prettier than possums.

    Michael Adams

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