Day Brightener – “Who Is Shaking The Jar”

This tends to sum up the ‘human situation’. Thanks, Loren.

Loren Berg's Blog

I first recieved the following quote as a video featuring Mark Twain, while Twain may have penned this comment, it appears that it is more likely from Shera Starr. It also appeared in something from Sir David Attenborough. Regardless of the origin and regardless of your political leanings, this should resonate.

“If you catch 100 red fire ants as well as 100 large black ants, and put them in a jar, at first, nothing will happen. However, if you violently shake the jar and dump them back on the ground the ants will fight until they eventually kill each other. The thing is, the red ants think the black ants are the enemy and vice versa, when in reality, the real enemy is the person who shook the jar. This is exactly what’s happening in society today. Liberal vs. Conservative. Black vs. White. Pro Mask vs. Anti-Mask. Vax vs. Anti-vax…

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If Ants Were As Big As Poodles

The photo above is of a ‘Murder Hornet’. I read this about them yesterday.
‘Huge ‘murder hornets’ capable of killing humans have invaded the US’.

It’s pretty big, we can all see that. But what if it was as as big as a pigeon? Then imagine hundreds of them swarming around on a hot day. It’s a lucky escape for humans that insects are tiny in comparison to us. If ants were as big as dogs, even small dogs like poodles, they would have wiped out the human race a very long time ago, I’m sure.

Even the smallest insects kill tens of thousands of us every year. Take the mosquito spreading malaria, or locusts wiping out crops, leading to starvation for many. By combining into huge swarms, or living in city-sized colonies, insects prove that there is strength in numbers.

If humble houseflies were as big as oranges, just think how miserable our life would be. Something so easily dealt with by swatting, fly spray, or even a rolled up newspaper would suddenly become a whole different ball game. And think of dragonflies as big as eagles, swooping down on us. Or perhaps don’t think about that, as it’s too terrible to contemplate.

Spiders are not insects, but if they were as big as dustbin lids, we might all be in a lot of trouble. One of those in the bath wouldn’t be easy to flush down the drain by running the hot tap. And getting trapped in their web would be the end of you, undoubtedly. And if wasps were the size of Havana Cigars, the idea of a country picnic woud never have even been invented.

Gardens would probably not exist if aphids were as big as a lemon. Try washing them away with a spray of soapy water. Not going to happen. And if bees were the size of grapefruits, forget getting anyhere near their honey.

So evolution worked out pretty well for us, didn’t it?

Insects and Genies

When I was very young, I read a story about a young adventurer. He finds an old lamp, and as he rubs it, to make it shine, a spirit appears from the spout, in the form of smoke. This takes form, and declares that it is the Genie of the Lamp, and that it will grant the finder three wishes. This fascinated me at the time, and I often considered what three wishes I would have chosen, had I been the lucky lad. More than 50 years later, I know that Genies do not exist, and that it is an Arabian folk tale, which later became a swashbuckling story embellished by Hollywood. None the less, I still have my three wishes ready, just in case.

Wish 1 would be to have a lot of money, say £100,000,000. This would mean that my latter years would be lived free from financial concern. My wife would be able to stop working, and all our family and friends would be well looked after too. Nothing unusual in that one. A bit greedy perhaps, but I am considering inflation.

Wish 2 would have to be that poverty and famine were eradicated in The World. I know this is technically two wishes, so I would have to be careful how I phrased it. Genies are known to be cunning after all, and I wouldn’t want to lose my third wish. It is also a bit worthy, though I do feel that in that situation, you are duty bound to do at least one selfless thing.

Wish 3 would be the achievement of a lifelong, personal ambition. The eradication of most flying insects. I say most, not all, as I would have to be careful not to lose the necessary ones, like Bees, and Ladybirds. If this meant that contingency plans would have to be put into place to feed some birds, frogs, lizards, etc; then so be it. I already put out nuts, fat balls and meal worms, as well as throwing old bread onto the lawn. Others could do the same to keep the animals that they like. When requesting this wish from the Genie, it would be complex in its wording, to still only be one wish, but I would give it my best shot. I would not include crawling insects, like beetles, though many do have the capacity to fly. They tend to be easy to kill, when necessary, and rarely invade your home. Imagine, no more Malaria, no swarms of locusts, and just as importantly to me, no flies on my dinner.

I feel as if I have spent at least a third of my many Summers, trying to kill insects. I say trying, because though I have managed to kill many thousands, most have escaped me. I have armed myself with all known weaponry used in Man’s fight against the flying pests. The rolled-up newspaper, the undersides of slippers or shoes, aerosol sprays, tennis rackets, table tennis bats, even lumps of wood. If unsuccessful swatting was a sport, I would be a household name.

I have recently invested in a selection of electronic fly bats. For those of you that have never seen one of these, they resemble a squash racket. Two batteries are inserted in the handle, a button depressed, and the wire mesh becomes electrified. My strike rate with this type of weapon is not a great deal better. However, the satisfaction element is beyond compare. Once trapped in the mesh, the insect is electrocuted. It sparks, smokes, and eventually dies, recalling the electric chair scene from ‘The Green Mile’, but in miniature.

Some people do not seemed to be bothered by flies landing on their food, or their bodies. I am. These filthy disease carriers have no place in my World. Moving from London to the countryside has increased my contact with flies. In the city, they can gorge themselves on discarded rubbish, half-eaten junk food, and other deposits left by drunks, or dogs. They just couldn’t be bothered to drag their full bellies up three floors to the windows of my flat. No need, as the next pile of kebab residue was only a short crawl away. In my present house, open windows and a door to the garden seem to be considered an invitation to come in and enjoy themselves. Getting a dog didn’t really help. His alfresco toilet habits, and his uneaten dog food, are all haute cuisine to the flying legions of filth.

Wasps also appear to have no purpose, save crawling around on cakes in a Baker’s window, or trying to get into your drink, if you are foolish enough to want to drink outside, in good weather. They buzz, they pester, and worst of all, they deliver a painful sting. As for blood-sucking insects, midges, gnats, and mosquitoes, they seem to all carry a photo of me, headed ‘Most Wanted’.
I have suffered all my life from reactions to bites and stings, as I outlined in a previous post. To imagine a World free of all this, is to me, to dream of Paradise.

So there you have it. I have got my obscene amount of money. All my friends and family are happy. The Peoples of the World no longer die prematurely, or want for food, and I can have a picnic in the park without being unduly bothered. Except for the ants…