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Welcome to Mike Redmond's home on the Weird Wide Web!

Greetings, Earth People. I'm Mike Redmond. Not the baseball player. Instead of making you guess the rest, I'll just go ahead and tell you who I am and what I do.

  • I'm a newspaper columnist -- formerly the feature columnist for The Indianapolis Star (back when you could call it a newspaper). I bailed out of the place about two years after Gannett bought it, and I still count that as the best decision I ever made. My creditors don't always agree.
  • Now I write for papers around Central Indiana, a magazine or two, and this site. I'm also a public speaker, a teacher, an historical (as opposed to hysterical) interpreter, a farm tour guide, and occasionally, when I can be talked into it, an author. They're all my favorite jobs.
  • This is where you'll find my online column, posted every Wednesday, unless I get ambitious and post it Tuesday. But don't count on it.
  • This is also where to look for news about speaking engagements, new jobs, friends, and stuff that strikes me as interesting. I'll probably throw in a few recipes, too. I get wild like that sometimes.
  • Take a look around. Let's have some fun.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Hi, Gang! Remember me? Oh.

(Note from the proprietor: Howdy. I went away for a while to confer, converse and otherwise hobnob with my fellow lizards. I mean wizards. Anyway, I'm back now and posting again, for the three of you who asked. Mike)

Nuts to You, Filbert


When we were kids, my brother and sister and I had a pet squirrel named "Filbert." Well, "pet" is a bit of an overstatement. He lived in the tree behind our house and came to the back door to get the nuts we left for him.

While he may not have been a pet, it was my first positive interaction with a squirrel. It was also my last positive interaction with a squirrel.

(I'm not counting squirrel hunting, which I used to do a lot of. Although it might have been a positive interaction for me - I love fried squirrel - I am pretty sure the squirrels did not see it that way.)

Anyway, I haven't buddied up to Sciurus niger since Filbert, and this year is no exception. Once again, I find myself at odds with the neighborhood squirrels over a long standing dispute over who REALLY owns the bird feeder.

First, you should understand that this is strictly between me and the squirrels. The birds have  long since been cut out of the deal.

Second, you should understand that anyone who says he has a squirrel-proof bird feeder is a lying sack of sunflower seeds. The squirrel-proof bird feeder is a fraud, like El Dorado or the Fountain of Youth or, to use a more recent example, that May 21 Rapture. In fact, the last one double qualifies because it was not only a fraud, but the people who fell for it all seemed a bit squirrelly.

But back to the feeder. Over the years I have bought every squirrel-proof bird feeder on the market, and over the years the squirrels have gotten fat at my expense.

Out of necessity, I have even taken to "improving" the feeders. For example, I bought a feeder that had a locking door on the top of the bin and a feeder bar that would close the trough if touched by anything heavier than a chickadee. It took one day for the squirrels to figure out how to get seed without touching the bar, two to open the top.

I wrapped the lid down tight with not one, not two, but three bungee cords. Two days later the squirrels were bungee jumping off the top of the garage.

Now, what happened next may or may not be true. It's quite possible I was hallucinating at the time. Frustration will do that to you

I bought six feet of stainless steel chain, wrapped it around the bird feeder and secured it with a combination padlock. Three hours later I went out on the deck with a cup of tea and saw a squirrel twirling the knob with a look of intense concentration on his face and a tiny stethoscope in his ears.

Hallucination or not, that's when I decided to just give up. The squirrels weren't too happy about it but they haven't lost any weight, so I don't think they're suffering.

Which, in a way, gets me back to Filbert. Oh, he didn't suffer. But when Dad got cute and tried to hand feed him, Filbert bit him right on the index finger. He had to get stitches and a shot. He suffered. It was anything but a positive interaction.

And I think that's why he never said no when I asked to go squirrel hunting.

  © 2011 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.

Mon, May 30, 2011 | link 

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By the way -- everything on this site is Copyright 2009 by Mike Redmond. If you copy it without my permission, I will hunt you down with either my dog or my lawyer. I'll probably go with the dog. She's smarter.

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