Sunday, September 21, 2008

So what is the purpose of these little suckers???

Just a warning, when I write late at night, my editing skills become lax and some crudeness might be included in my lamenting. It's meant in jest so please don't take offense.....

One of the residues of Hurricane Ike is an enormous infestation of mosquitoes. Having been blessed with little damage and no standing water, I just don't get why I am unable to stand outside for more than a minute without being attacked by a swarm of killer insects that are intent of ridding me of all my excess blood and leaving me the remnants of their saliva to itch until the skin is raw. So, since my work has been postponed until the electric company can fix all the problems in Houston, I find myself with time to research such mundane questions. What is the purpose of these little suckers??

Thanks to and Dr. Craig Freudenrich, Phd., I found out more about these annoying critters. Did you know there are more than 2700 species of mosquitoes?? They have chemical sensors, heat sensors and visual sensors. So our chances of controlling these pests are like putting a band aid on top of a volcano. They stick their little sword like mouths into us, suck out our blood and leave a residue of saliva that causes the itching. Supposedly, they've also been around for over 30 million do they have a family tree bigger than a cockroach?? The adult mosquito can live one to several weeks. However if it is a "mated female" (which I'm guessing is a prego squito), they can survive a winter, then lay their eggs and die. (Maybe that's the problem, they lay their eggs and them mom parental oversight...reminds me of some teenagers I know...but I digress).

So what do we do? We can spray ourselves with DEET and became the stink generation. But if that stuff will ward off an insect that has survived for 30 million years, what exactly does it do to the human body? Avon tauted its Skin So Soft which has now been proven to have an effective time of 20 minutes (according to the above mentioned author). The bug zapper...well that's just annoying to listen to and probably effective as long as you are sitting right next to it. Maybe someone should invent one of those baseball caps with a battery operated bug zapper that hangs off the sides....much like the ones seen at baseball games with beer cans attached (for the avid fan who is too busy cheering on his team to get himself another beer so he carries two per cap...ever wonder if he also has a catheter and is filling up pouches in those baggy jeans they wear so they don't have to take the time to potty?...but I digress again...).

So here's the solution: birth control for female mosquitoes!! Do you think we can make a patch small enough for their little arms?? Perhaps instead of pesticide, we crush birth control pills and scatter them in all areas with standing water. Better yet, let's help them with their own extinction. Let's play Olivia Newton John music and dress them all in drag...then they will all "turn" gay and reproduction will no longer be an issue. Now I bet there is some government agency that would be more than willing to shell out some research funds to look into this further.

After perusing the Internet, I have yet to read a positive purpose for the mosquito. All it does is cause pain to human and animal kind, spread disease, and overall just annoys the crap out of us. And the one fact that just shows that God does have a sense of humor when He created these things, it is the female that does the suck and spit.........sigh.........(and get your minds out of the gutter, I'm talking about female MOSQUITOES!).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

When did compassion start to fade...

It's September 20, 2008. Exactly a week ago, I was sitting in my house wondering how we made it through the last 24 hours. Hurricane Ike came to visit Texas and left disaster and chaos in its wake. The previous night was spent huddling with my children on a make shift bed in the middle of our living room. The wind whistled through the house and the windows shook with the fierceness that only a hurricane can produce. Kids being kids, they fell asleep before we felt the full force of the storm. Somewhere around 3:30 AM (and why is it ALWAYS in the middle of the night??), a huge branch blew free from the cottonwood tree out front and smacked into the roof with such momentum that it stuck right through the shingles. Fortunately, it landed primarily on the porch. Minutes later, the electricity was off and the storm took on a more eerie personality. Sleep was no longer even a thought....

As dawn approached, the winds slowly started to die down. Though the rain continued, as the night became day, neighbors started to come outside to investigate the remnants of Hurricane Ike. It became evident as we inspected our house that we were the lucky ones. There was a lot of debris but not much damage. A small hole in the roof, a fence down here and there, and it was hard to see grass on the lawn for it was covered by small branches and leaves. But nothing that couldn't be fixed or cleaned up. We were also lucky because we regained power in less than 24 hours.

As the days progressed, the TV was inundated with story after story, horror after horror, but also amazing feats of compassion. People were helping people. Neighbors were talking to each other for the first time in years, or maybe just the first time ever. My fence was fixed one day...I have no idea who did it...when I left home in the morning (on Sunday) it was down, and when I came back that afternoon, it was up. It was amazing.

But today, an email was forwarded to me that told the story of Ike in picture form. I think it was from the Boston Globe. After the 22 pictures of the effects of the storm from Haiti to Houston, people posted comments. There were many that shared their prayers for everyone effected by this natural disaster. But there was one that just stuck in my craw. This person commented that we got what we deserved because we chose to live on the Gulf Coast. I was stunned. And it made me sad. I wonder what kind of history did this person have that made him/her lose their compassion. When did their cynicism take over from their ability to comprehend a person's loss. I also wondered if this person ever spent a vacation at the beach...any beach. Did they ever wonder where those people lived who served him/her their margarita under the cabana while they enjoyed their fun in the sun?

My loss was nothing compared to those in Galveston and other coastal towns. Ike had 45 miles over land to buffer its winds before it hit my trees and my house. But those folks lost everything...and to that one commenter in the Boston Globe:....when did your compassion start to fade.....