Day: June 4, 2004

Smack My Ass And Call Me Betty!

We’ve got raccoons!
Last night, I was about to sit down for a light, post gym meal while watching game five of the Stanley Cup Finals and thinking of 1500 words I could write on the brilliance of the NHL playoffs when I detected movement on our deck. Three, count ’em, three raccoons! A mother and two babies (What are they, kittens? Kits?) were wedged into the corner. The young ones were exploring, sniffing the barbecue, smelling the chair that was still pulled out from when I sat outside Wednesday afternoon, and trying to figure out what was going on with our stone Jayhawk (the same Jayhawk, mind you, that our friend the cardinal was seen eyeing suspiciously earlier in the day). I ran out to my office to grab my camera then snuck back in time to catch one of the juveniles next to the Jayhawk. As I was playing with camera settings, all three disappeared over the edge and started exploring the dug out spot our old friend Mr. Opossum has been using for the past five months. I stepped out into the sun room and tried to get a good angle for some photos, but that didn’t work.
I called S.¬†at work and told her about the latest addition to our menagerie. “Well, you wanted wild life!” was her response. Made me think of the line in Vacation where Brian Doyle Murray tells Chevy Chase that wildlife fun is included in the price of their tents. “And as a bonus to you, Bank One has decided to include free wildlife fun with your mortgage! Congratulations!”
I sat anxiously on the back of the couch waiting for the varmints to reappear. Finally, momma stuck her head out. At first, she didn’t see me standing straight ahead of her behind the window. Eventually, my movements caught her eye. It’s crazy how feline their actions are. She dipped and raised her head, much like a cat does when trying to act tough. As the picture I’ll post shows, she sat in between two banisters with her front paws on the deck for at least five minutes. I walked back out to the sun room and tried to sneak the camera out the door, but she slipped back under the deck as soon as the door cracked. I went back into the living room and she popped out again. She soon grew bored with me and disappeared under the deck for good. A couple times one of the young ones came out and sniffed around the edge, but it seems as though they found themselves a nice place to hole up for awhile. I have no idea if the opossum is still under there. It’s been obvious since we mulched that something is digging in and out, so the raccoons very well could have been residing there for a month or more.
I did walk out onto the deck later to put cayenne pepper at the entrance of the hole (The genius of Google tells me that spreading spicy peppers may drive the critters away) and as soon as I hit the deck, I heard scurrying underneath the boards.
So let’s reset. We’ve got the biggest squirrels in the world that sound like mountain lions when the run across the roof in the morning. We’ve got a nasty old opossum. We’ve got a family of raccoons. Cardinals. Grackles. The occasional Blue Jay. Sparrows. And Robins out the ass. Life is indeed good down on the farm in Indiana.
(Note: this sweet little application Blogger has provided us to post pictures doesn’t seem to be working this morning. I’ll add pics of our furry little friends as soon as I can.)


Pacers Post-Mortem

Have I mentioned lately that the NBA sucks? I just got finished watching that travesty of a series between the Pacers and Pistons wrap up. Is there some kind of rule that no more than one person on the court at any given time is allowed to hit shots? During one exhilarating stretch tonight, the Pistons outscored the Pacers 10-2 over an 8:00 period. I know it’s apples and oranges, but I recall seeing the 2002 and 2003 Kansas Jayhawks put many a 10-2 run on teams in a matter of 90 or even 60 seconds. I thought the NBA was supposed to be the highest level of basketball. Sure, they play intense defense, but if no one can shoot, how do you really know? The Lakers, Celtics, Rockets, and Sixers of the 80s all played great defense. But they also had not just five but often seven or eight players who could score, so teams consistently scored over 100 points a game. Some say Naismith would be turning in his grave over games like tonight’s. I beg to differ. I think modern NBA ball is shockingly close to the original game. Those dudes back in Springfield, Mass couldn’t shoot! According to the Indy Star, of the ten lowest scoring playoff games since the advent of the shot clock, all have taken place since 1997 and five took place this year. And don’t get me started on Karl Malone not getting suspended for basically the same thing that Anthony Peeler had done a couple nights earlier, or a referee in Monday’s game asking how many fouls Shaq had. Really, do NOT get me started here.

As for why the Pacers lost: stupidity, youth, injuries, in that order. Ron Artest reverted to form throughout the series, really only having one good game. He continually put his head down and drove into the lane either forcing up bad shots or getting his shots blocked. He took long threes early in the shot clock before Jermaine O’Neal had a chance to set-up in the post. He used his slow-as-molasses behind the back dribble in traffic and continually had the ball stolen away. Worst of all, his flagrant foul in the final four minutes of a tie game Tuesday night was the turning point. Youth, because players like Artest, Jermaine O’Neal, Fred Jones, Al Harrington, Jamaal Tinsley, and Jonathan Bender still have so much to learn about playing consistently at a high level. The good news is the Pacers have such a stable of young players. The bad news is I think Artest, Tinsley, and Bender are the kinds of players who will always drive you mad with their inconsistency. Injuries kept Tinsley off the court much of the last two games, and rendered him ineffective the remainder of the series, plus kept O’Neal from playing at his highest level in the final two games.

At least I know how the Finals will turn out and I won’t have to watch. Larry Brown will find a way to win game one. The Lakers will win the next two. The Pistons might get lucky and win game four to even the series, but the Lakers will close things out in six. Kourageous Kobe Bryant and Shaq are too much for the Pistons to handle, even with their depth in the post. I can see Rasheed Wallace dominating Karl Malone, but I have a hard time seeing Rip Hamilton get off consistently while being guarded by Kobe.

I’ll try to edit down my storm watchers log from the weekend and get that posted later.


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