I've allowed major portions of the Blaska Experimental Center and Work Farm to go wild, with the result that I now have more rabbits than a fertility clinic.
To keep them away from my favorite garden vegetable, green beans, I invested in several rolls of chicken wire this spring. I ran it all the way around my bean patch and, because I went with pole beans this year, six feet high. The beans did their job by climbing all four sides. Now I am wondering how to get the beans that are inside the bean pound. I locked myself out!
But not the Japanese beetles. They get through just fine. They are hard workers, too. They have made fine Irish lace out of half the bean leaves, which can't be good for producing beans, which is the point of the enterprise.
The garden store promotes a regimen of rotenone pyrethrum spraying but I haven't seen the benefit. But their Japanese beetle traps really do work. The trap comes with a scented disk and a thing that looks like a hollow pencil eraser. I guess the first is the floral lure to attract female beetles and the eraser thing is a pheromone to attract male beetles. But why is it shaped that way?
Those are clipped onto two yellow plastic plates hooked together to form a three-dimensional X. Under that hangs an hourglass-shaped bag.
Before I could even get the contraption set up the miserable bugs were clamoring to get into the bag of death. I've already emptied three bags since I first put them up about three weeks ago. Bag o' bugs. Could have been more if I had been more attentive.
The knock on these traps is that they attract the bugs from all over. That seems to be the case. I could see them flying over the fence onto the manicured grounds of Stately Blaska Manor from Orchard Ridge Park like an all-out kamikaze mission (sly but well meaning Japanese reference). But got to figure some of those bugs would have visited my snap beans anyway and, especially the hollyhocks. Man, do they love hollyhocks. I have gotten to the point where it's just not worth growing them if they are going to be crawling with the bugs. Supposedly, they can go after 300 different species of plants. I probably have 280 varieties of plants and they go after the hollyhocks first.
I don't remember seeing these beetles until about four years ago. (Anita Weir of The Capital Times did a good story on the subject last month.)
If everyone put up a trap, I think we could lick these bugs. The city should do its part at its parks and golf courses. Apparently, the beetles over-winter in turf as grubs. Milky spore is supposed to work. Memo to self: place call to Ald. Thuy to slip appropriation in budget to purchase tanker truckloads of milky spore and 10,000 beetle traps. Take it out of the Tenant Resource Center appropriation.
The Breck man
Remember when the Tommy Lee Jones character in the movie Men in Black says once in awhile the straight press stumbles on a story but to get the real lowdown you have to read the supermarket tabloids?
And not just for the low-down on space aliens and Elvis sightings. Lying, dishonest, cheating-on-your-sick-wife, holier than thou John Edwards sightings, too.
But the Enquirer did not break the story. Our very own John Nichols was first. Way back in January - January 22 - the America First-er wrote:
"There is not much room left for romance in the race for the Democratic nomination." [For Edwards, It Has To Be Finer In Carolina]
Aside from Dennis ("the Red menace") Kucinich, the Left was enthralled by this phony huckster. Now some are alleging that they could see through Edwards' glossy veneer all along. Sure. Here is Katha Pollitt in The Nation on Pretty Boy John:
If he had had more substance to begin with - a thicker resume, more raw political talent, a bigger, more enthusiastic following, a more, how to put this, compelling and endearing personality … But … there just wasn't that much to Edwards, besides his policy proposals. Apparently the electorate intuited that. Fortunately, or we'd have just handed the election to McCain.
I supported Edwards because he was the only candidate who talked seriously about inequality, but the truth is I never liked him - the 28,000 square foot house, the canned son-of-a-mill worker routine, the endless parading of his family and its perfections, the (as it seemed to me) politically manipulative use of his son's tragic death and his wife's cancer.
... Next time, I'm going to trust my instincts more. For good reasons and bad, the person does matter.
So, the person - that is to say, character - does matter? Hmm. We're not just electing a raft of policy papers? What a concept! But I like it. A good person will do good things - especially if he has more than a couple years of experience. (Ahem.)
As for inequality, I'm all for it! Come to think of it, even Edwards' big "Two Americas" issue was phony baloney. Yes, there are two Americas: honest and upstanding versus smarmy and self-centered, people who study and work and play by the rules versus the cult of entitlement and enablers of victimhood.
Unless he was talking about North and South America. If so, maybe he had a point after all. He was giving us a geography lesson. There are two Americas - this one and another one even more South than South Carolina, where my mill-workin' daddy drank whiskey and rye, singin' "This'll be the day that I die, this'll be the die that I die."
So, the former vice presidential nominee loses his convention speaking gig. The best career advice I can give comes from Bluto Blutarsky in Animal House: "My advice to you is to start drinking heavily."
The last man in Wisconsin to opine on Brett
Who knows, Aaron Rodgers may turn out to be Steve Young to Brett Favre's Joe Montana. But Rodgers better not throw any snowballs on the field of play. That belongs solely to Brett Favre in his final Packer post-season victory, over Mike Holmgren's Seattle Seahawks in last year's snow bowl. And no picking up players and throwing them over your back. No putting your six-shooters in imaginary holsters after a touchdown pass, either. Not without the authorized and written consent of Brett Favre.
But there is something about moving on, already.
I got to think that Brett really did want to retire; that he genuinely was sick to death of watching game film. But when you play football since junior high school and the calendar says August training camp is approaching, some kind of circadian rhythm kicks in.
Just a feeling but my guess is that Brett will regret coming back, that the gig with the Jets will not go well. The game film will go unwatched and the gun slinging will backfire because the gun has lost some zing in its sling. There's precedent. For all he meant to the New York Yankees, Babe Ruth played his final year, in 1935, for the old and unlamented Boston Braves. Or, I should say, a half year. He quit baseball midway through. It just wasn't the same any more.
Have you heard this one?
God asks Peyton Manning first: "What do you believe?"
Peyton thinks long and hard, looks God in the eye and says, "I believe in hard work, and in staying true to family and friends."
God can't help but see the essential goodness of Manning, and offers him a seat to his left. Then God turns to Tony Romo and says, "What do you believe?"
Tony says, "I believe passion, discipline, courage and honor are the fundamentals of life."
God is greatly moved by Tony's sincere eloquence, and he offers him a seat to his right. Finally, God turns to Brett Favre. "And you, Brett, what do you believe?"
Brett replies, "I believe you're in my seat."
(Cue raucous laughter.)
Allen Barra in the August 12 Wall Street Journal is not an admirer.
… there is also considerable evidence that he is nowhere near, as his admirers claim, the greatest passer ever to play the game or that he even ranks in the top 25. Mr. Favre's trademark has always been productivity over quality. He's been remarkably durable with the daring to throw the ball more than any other passer, but he hasn't always thrown it better. He has never, for instance, led the NFL in the league's passer-rating system, which measures effectiveness with various statistics. (In comparison, Joe Montana led the league twice; Mr. Montana's successor at San Francisco, Steve Young, was first six times, and Peyton Manning three times.)
Some are suggesting the Democrats are having buyer's remorse over Barack Obama. The polls seem to suggest as much.
Barack Obama and John McCain have run even once again in the Gallup Daily Tracking poll (August 12-14) tied at 44% each for the third time in the last two weeks. According to Gallup, Obama has averaged a 3-point lead since securing the nomination in early June, and just two days ago Obama's advantage was at 6 points.
Now Hillary is going to get her carefully choreographed demonstration at the Denver convention as her name is placed into nomination. There will be cutaways to the former First Lady in her hotel room, shedding a purpose-driven tear before - just guessing - beaming a live thanks but no thanks into the convention hall.
But maybe it's not the catharsis Obama is hoping for. Maybe some of Hillary's women stay good and pissed off. What is it about Democrats that make them such poor losers? Haven't they had enough practice?
The Dems are fully capable of blowing this one yet. Then watch the conspiracy mongering. It will make Kevin Barrett look like Eric Severeid. (All of my cultural references are at least 30 years old.)
Jackie Broyles and Dunlap have Obama and Hillary figured out in their Red State Update.
Saturday, August 9, in the Walgreen's drug store on Whitney Way, your Blaska blogger spotted a young man wearing long baggy shorts well down on his ass. My instruction was simple, befitting the audience. "Hike 'em up son, you look silly." He did.
Abkhazia is in the news. Turns out it's in a country called Georgia. Sounds like a mental disorder.