Finally, the Best of Possible News


We’ve got that woodchuck hanging around our backyard! All it took was a split pumpkin tossed on the lawn for squirrels to nibble on, and the woodchuck followed their much smaller relatives in, and then wandered back to disappear under the hostas. This is going to do great stuff for us on Squirrel Yelp and maybe get us an interesting review on Hosta Yelp.

In Which I Am At Peace With The Neighbors


I saw the neighbors’ woodchuck shuffling around in our backyard in an amble that also caused every sparrow in the world to fly away from our bird feeder. Also, if you’re missing a sparrow, it’s probably flying back to you after visiting our bird feeder this afternoon.

Some happy news from the neighborhood


Saw they’ve got the kid-size car righted and standing on the edge of the patio, so it looks like they had no trouble getting things sorted out with the Kiddie Car Insurance people and finding a reliable Kiddie Mechanic. I wonder if they went to the place on the corner with the quietly despairing signs. Well, it’s still good to see they have that fixed. I hope they’re having fun.

Their woodchuck was unavailable for comment.

Statistics Saturday: Some Credible Facts About Apollo 11


  • Although none of the Apollo 11 astronauts ever flew a spaceship again, they did fly in airplanes and took boat rides and probably even train rides like the rest of us.
  • Neil Armstrong left his wristwatch behind in the Lunar Module when it (the watch) stopped working.
  • Buzz Aldrin was prescribed Ritalin to cope with his post-Apollo depression.
  • The mission patch originally depicted the eagle landing on the moon holding an olive branch in its talons, which for some reason moved to being held in its beak, or maybe it started out held in its beak. Whatever it was on the actual mission patch it started the other way, though.
  • The Apollo Guidance Computer was less powerful than the Space Shuttle Guidance Computer, but more powerful than the Gemini Guidance Computer.
  • Some of the Apollo 11 prime or backup crew have probably ridden horses some time or other. What the heck, maybe even the support crew.
  • Apollo 11 set a record for human lunar population that since then has been tied, but never beaten.
  • Though there was a fair chance Apollo 11 would not land on the Moon, there was no reasonable chance it would land on Mars instead.
  • There were no woodchucks on the prime, backup, or support crews of Apollo 11.
  • At the time of Apollo 11, not a single person person had yet attended the Woodstock music festival.

Reference: Car Wars: The Untold Story, Robert Sobel.

Oh and Now the Neighbors Have a Woodchuck


They’ve got a woodchuck living in their yard! An actual woodchuck, all ready to come over and chuck some wood if they would. On top of all the other stuff they’ve got going on, they’re also going to be able to run their very own early-end-of-winter forecasts? That’s just too much, right? Why can’t we have a woodchuck living in our yard? We’ve got a great yard, it’s got a fence that really annoyed the other neighbors, and we’ve got this squirrel feeder that we found a real live worried mouse in the other day, and a goldfish pond, and a bunch of perennials that I can’t tell apart but that have names that sound like the butler in some low-effort 1930s cozy mystery movie series starring a reformed cat burglar, like, “Astilbe” and “Yarrow” and “Fescue” and stuff. And they get a woodchuck. I just can’t.

The Report Of The Michigan State Groundhog


So Michigan’s official state groundhog, who works out of an animal rescue shelter very near to Howell, and not out of the capital in Lansing, predicted six more weeks of winter, which would still be a pretty early end to winter. This doesn’t surprise folks much because we got up to eighteen inches of snow on Sunday and there might be more coming in tomorrow, although it’s better than last winter, which moved in around August 24th and still hasn’t left.

What is surprising is that the prediction was made by Murray, who’s the state’s backup groundhog because Woody the Woodchuck, the main groundhog, was recovering from a respiratory infection. I’d like to think the state has a main and a backup groundhog because, hey, two major peninsulas, two major woodchucks, but that seems to just be coincidence. Also, Murray is named after Bill Murray, and as you might expect Murray is a female groundhog. I suppose this reflects people not asking groundhogs some obvious questions before naming them.

Also, not to get into an inter-state rivalry thing here, because I can’t, because I’m from New Jersey, but the groundhog in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, bit mayor Jonathan Freund, who — according to groundhog handlers Jerry and Maria Hahn — went on to misrepresent the groundhog’s weather prediction. I can sympathize with Freund getting it wrong after being bitten by a Wisconsonian groundhog, though.

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