Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Birdosaurus Rex and Bums

So last night after the human got back from watching fireworks, the Tribe went out in back to wring out the dogs. There in the darkness I see a black form scuttling across the ground.

Huh,” think I. “Biggest cockroach I’ve ever seen.”

Well, no: it’s a paloverde beetle: about four inches long and an inch wide, a mighty handsome monster of a bug. These critters’ babies can kill a mature paloverde tree in seven years. And yea verily, they infest the ground all around my beautiful Desert Museum specimen. They’re also going after a couple of the citrus, and I found one exit hole over by the olive tree on the other side of the house, too.

Paloverde beetles are essentially immune to bug sprays. They’re unfazed by any of your schemes to rid the world of their ugly little faces. It is, in essence, an impregnable insect.


Curve-bill thrasher

They are not immune to thrashers and mockingbirds. Those little dinosaurs (as we know, birds are dinosaurs) can take on one of these Cretaceous cockroaches, kill it (with some trouble), and eat the damn thing.

That is one helluva bird, because a paloverde beetle is about a third the length of a thrasher, which is not small at-tall as tweetie-birds go.

So this morning I’m sitting here, and down by one of the orange trees, there’s a thrasher doing battle. A paloverde beetle can inflict a fierce bite, and this one is fighting back. You can see the bird dodge out of the way, then dart back in, grab the critter, whack it on the ground, toss it in the air, and dodge aside again.

Finally Birdosaurus rex wins out and enjoys a handsome feast by the light of dawn.

This is the benefit of fighting off the neighbors’ damn cats. No cats in the yard means more birds, safer birds, healthier birds…and lots fewer bugs.

We’ve not seen a single minion of the Ant Queen’s armies this year. Birds—almost all tweetie-birds and many game birds—eat ants.

Another beneficiary of the de-cattification campaign is the single most amazing gecko I have ever seen. He must be a good seven inches long, from the tip of his nose to the end of his graceful, whiplike tail. He lives in the termite nest…uhm, firewood stacked by the wall, as far away from the house as it can be stacked.

In the hour or three after dawn, he comes out to soak up some vitamin D, presumably: races up the wall, parks himself in the sun, and does a series of push-ups.

This, we’re told, is a strategy for cooling the reptilian body.

Lizards eat vast quantities of bugs, notably…yes!…goddamned mosquitoes. There are at least two of the little critters over there, the gigantic gecko and another in a more typical size. And lo! We have hardly any skeeters these days.

What we need here is a Bumosaurus rex. We do have a great deal more bums than mosquitoes around the ’hood these days.

Just went out, armed to the teeth, to investigate the goings-on in the alley and found this poor little guy: filthy dirty, sweaty, exhausted-looking, and claiming to be lost.

Well, he’s lost, all right, but not in a geographical sense.

He remarks on the shillelagh I’m carrying (which of course I have in hand for self-defense), and I say it’s my dog shillelagh, because you’ll run into loose pit bulls and the like around here. This is a lie: he knows it’s a lie, I know it’s a lie, but it’s convenient.

He says, “Sometimes people call me Dog.”

I say, “You’re not a dog; you’re a man.”

He says, with a grin, “A friend! I need a friend.”


I clue him to the activities of Catholic Social Services, who are building “low-income” (read “homeless”) housing down the street from us and suggest that if he finds himself in those parts he should go in and ask about it. I do not say that last night someone said the complex will be only for families. Virtually all of the homeless who haunt our alleys are single men.

We wander off on our separate ways.

There, but for the grace of God, go we.

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Author: funny

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  1. Couple of things….As for birds….boy are they beneficial. We tried to lure them to our place with several bird feeders with VERY limited success. Then I discovered by accident that what birds really want is “housing”…I put a couple of bird houses up that I recovered from an eviction…Almost immediately we got “tenants”….I put a couple more up….more tenants….We now have a yard full of birds….a lot fewer bugs and we don’t even have to feed them!
    As for the “homeless” and crime….they seem to go hand in hand ….around here anyway. You are wise to be “pensive”….in this neck of the woods these guys are getting more and more aggressive. At the Aldi I go to there was a guy who would offer to take the cart back to the rack to retrieve the quarter. It’s my understanding he got overly aggressive with some female patrons in his pursuits….and was escorted from the property….sad. I will say that I witnessed a guy offer “the cart guy” some yard work for $10 an hour … offered to pick him up at the Aldi….buy his lunch AND pay him… He declined….$10 an hour is A LOT of quarters!

    • He may make more than $10 an hour retrieving carts. Let’s see: to get $10 he’d have to roll 40 carts back to the store, and while he’s at it he could be panhandling, too. And some people may just give him a buck or so as a “tip” when he “offers” to return the cart. In the parking lot, he works at his convenience and whim; in your yard, he’s working on a boss’s time and at the boss’s behest. Some people don’t do well with the latter…

      In some parts of the country, tipping a bagboy who helps carry groceries out to your car is expected, so CartDude no doubt guilts some people into forking over a handout.

      I wasn’t frightened by this guy…you can tell, about 90% of the time, when a man is dangerous, and this one wasn’t. Well, at least not at that moment. He was just a sad little loser.

      There are some people who need to be cared for, and our culture needs to provide a framework to care for those who have no one to help them. Some no doubt need to be cared for in prison…but my guess is, this guy fundamentally needs a clean place to sleep, one or two halfway decent meals a day, a shower, and access to some clean clothes. Would he ever be a productive member of our society? No. But he’d probably spend the rest of his life without doing much harm.

      But yeah. I’m careful about where I shop anymore: the Walmart on GangBanger’s Way has a security service patrolling the parking lot and so, I discovered yesterday, does the Sprouts on Conduit of Blight Blvd. I do NOT carry a purse into a grocery store these days: always hide a credit card (1, one credit card) in a pocket. At the Albertson’s on Conduit of Blight, I had a guy CHASE me around the parking lot…one of my neighbors had the same experience with the guy. That’s why I drive across the city to shop.

      It was bad enough before the City made a conscious decision to dump “homeless” into our neighborhood. Now we’re just getting over-run. I don’t want to move but now must consider it seriously. My plan is to see how things go with the choir this fall: if the new director turns out to be a worthy replacement of the outgoing incumbent, then I’ll stay around…either stay here or move to a slightly less bum-ridden central location. If not, then I’ll consider Fountain Hills or, if push comes to shove, Prescott.

      Fountain Hills is a bitch of a long way from the central part of the city, so I wouldn’t be able to continue participating in choir. But they do have a church out there that apparently has a decent music program. It’s quiet and relatively safe out there, so even though it’s a long way from my son, that probably would be my first choice.