Saturday, July 12, 2008

When Animals Attack

Yesterday, at approximately 9:15a, my car was attacked by a deer missile! I had just dropped the kids off at a day camp, and I was headed back to our house when a deer dropped out of the sky and rammed into the side of my car. Apparently, a mid-sized Bambi was grazing in someone's yard above the street and was spooked by a passing dog.

Ashland's tourist season is in full swing, so naturally my accident became a memorable moment for some poor Shakespeare-loving fool. No doubt this was the first time many of them had seen a deer - and now they know the dangers of the wild! Deer are not our friends, they are killers wrapped in a cute and seemingly docile fur coat. Case in point, check out the pics from my fellow victims. My eyes have been opened to the real dangers of deer crime, "There are more than 1.5 million crashes involving deer each year which cause over one billion in damage, 150 of the deer collisions are fatal, and there are more than 10,000 people injured."

Yes, Bambi survived... and I'm fine too, until the insurance bill arrives.

What misdeeds have I wrought against the animal kingdom that warranted such an act? Sure, I've killed a few ant colonies and wasp nests in my time but I've been a friend to all mammals thus far. Perhaps human science and invention can provide a solution. Deer-fearing folk from across the nation have created "Made in the U.S.A" solutions to the age-old problem of deer/auto attacks.
  • From Maxsa Innovations comes the "Deer Alert", available in standard and deluxe configurations. "Deer Alert's unique 'transonic pulse' emits both audible and ultrasonic sound to alert a wide range of animals. The sonic tones alert all animals and the ultrasonic tones alert smaller animals such as pets." Imagine the animal madness that would proceed your arrival on the street!

  • Not so fast... There are competitive products on the market. The makers of the Hornet Deer Whistle have a slogan, "When You Hit A Deer, You Will Lose" Apparently, "Deer are responsible for more death and injury than any other animal in the U.S.A." You simply mount this under the hood and connect it to your battery. Uh, no comments on product design. Let's keep it clean for the children out there.

  • For those eco-minded, deer-fearing folk you can buy a hood-mounted, wind-powered solution from the eCommerce powerhouse known as http://www.deerbusters.com/, "your wildlife control specialist." These simple units employ the power of wind to warn wildlife up to 2,000 feet ahead that, "Man is coming, get out of the way!" One caveat, many have expressed concern on the internet that these get clogged with bugs and stop working.

Regardless of your stance on mammals, I urge you to seriously consider the threat of deer/auto accidents and arm yourselves accordingly. Terror from the skies can strike at any time!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

It's been awhile since I last felt bloggy. Busy summer, but it's been all good. I live in Ashland, Oregon which is home to one of the most hilariously high-minded fourth of July parades that you'll find in today's 'merica. Our little town of 20,000 pulls out the far left and far right in a sort of liberty soup that is simultaneously tasty and bitter. I guess that's why they call it democracy.

As you know, I'm a bullet-y kind of blogger. Here are some of my favorite moments of July 4th, 2008.
  • My daughter Juliet and I walked in the parade with the "Friends of the Ashland Public Library". I was handed a strange, large faux book with, "Let's Make Tracks to Hit the Stacks" written on it in large letters. I have to say it was really weird to have so many people looking at us and applauding our dutiful chant, "Open Books, Open Minds, Open Libraries -- thanks -- to -- you". I got off easy, as my friend Julie had to lead the whole group in front with the banner. She was the prom queen of literacy. I felt like a bit of fraud, as my kids and wife are avid library visitors but I've barely stepped into our local branch. But I know how to wave fake books around in front a crowd with the best of them...

  • A tiny poodle being pulled through the parade in a tiny red wagon.

  • Not seeing publicity-hound "The Pastie Lady" at any point during the day. Apologies for all the banjo-playing comments on the story featured in this link. We have all kinds down in Southern Oregon.

  • Hearing the sound of bagpipes. I must have been Scottish in a previous life.

  • Having a barbecue later in the day with some friends, and watching all of the kids play in the yard. There's something really peaceful about barefoot kids screaming and laughing, and running laps around the house. The Banzai Blast Water Slide was a big hit, as usual.

  • Re-discovering Shasta's Tiki Punch - a 1970's classic that is still 200 calories per 12 oz of awesomeness. Hey, I hear your cries of "inappropriate for children!" But don't worry, it's completely caffeine free. I think this was Hank's primary fuel all day long. His lips were permanently fruit punch red until the next morning.

  • Home-made ice cream and my awkward white trash firework show in the front yard, followed by a rousing finale of the real thing downtown. I'm a cynic at heart, but standing next to my family and watching fireworks in the sky always makes me proud to be an American - even if we almost burned our house down while watching the big show.