Result: Lionfish made of metal, glue, hardened clay blob, screw eyes and paint
I thought I was being really clever here, creating a fish where each spike/fin thing represented a different community to which I belong. We got the artist community, writer community, Reiki community, girlfriend community, sister community, daughter community, dog lover community and so on.
When I was done, however, I realized my creation for the topic of community was a poisonous fish that pretty much kills anything that comes near it. Hahahahhaah.
Told you this was insightful stuff.
Too bad I’ll be missing the group session on this topic as I’ll be out of town. What a doozy that one would be!
UPDATE: The Almanac responded to my letter on Aug. 9, 2017. Here’s what they had to say:
Dear Mr. Gargulinski,
We apologize for the inconvenience. You were on a continuity program. We have cancelled the billing and removed you from the program. You may keep the Almanac with our compliments.
Kaye Dunn Almanac Products, EMail Customer Service
Moral of the story: Don’t let the big guys push you around.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I used to adore the Old Farmer’s Almanac until I met with unscrupulous actions like those outlined below. This letter was emailed to the company Aug. 5, 2017 (without the Scam Alert Bug illustration).
Dear Old Farmer’s Almanac:
Thank you! for the free gift you sent my way. After all, I am assuming the hardcover2018 Old Farmer’s Almanac you sent is a free gift since:
I did NOT ORDER IT.
I do not want it.
I am not paying for it.
I have not the time, energy or desire to deal with sending it back.
Since this is a free gift, please adjust my account balance to zero and credit out the invoice for $20.90 that accompanied my free gift. I refuse to pay an invoice for an item I did not order. I also refuse to waste my time, effort and packing tape to send it back.
Unsolicited items = free gifts.
If you do wish for me to send back the unsolicited item I neither want nor need, I would have to bill you for my services and supplies:
Return shipping rate: $7
Handling charges: $11
Time to pack item and ensure it is placed in location for outgoing mail: $25
My general hourly rate for services is $50; I would expect this hassle to take about 30 minutes, provided the packing tape dispenser doesn’t jam.
What you owe me to return item: $43
The choice is yours. You can either:
Wipe out the invoice and charge for the item you sent my way WITHOUT my order or consent
Mail me a check for $43 and I’ll send back your book
Any action on your part other than the two options listed above will result in a report to the Better Business Bureau.
And please don’t give me a song and dance about being on an “automatic mailing list” that gets the almanac sent every year. You tried that one on me a few years back, and I called one of your reps to be removed from this unscrupulous list.
Whether you live in a New York City high rise or a Tucson one-story house, birds always seem to find a way to hurl themselves at whatever windows you may have. Not only does the bird strike’s sickening “thump” tend to interrupt whatever you’re doing, but it also startles the dogs and often leaves a dead, injured or completely stunned bird lying on the ground.
And even birds that are merely stunned can quickly end up injured or dead once the dogs head out to investigate what made the sickening thump.
I recently saved a colorful tanager from certain death after he crashed into our Tucson door wall and then sat at the base of it having what looked like panic attack. He was panting like a freight engine. His eyes were the size of saucers. And his beak was frozen open in an ongoing grimace.
He was so out of it he let me pick gently pick him up and place him on the patio table, away from the certain death from dogs zone. There he sat panting for at least an hour, pooping at least once, until he finally gathered his wits back enough to hop onto a nearby oleander branch.
I vowed I would do whatever I could to make sure this would not happen again. So I checked out some options to prevent bird strikes into windows. Here’s what I found:
Remove the Windows
While this could work if you live in a climate that doesn’t rain, snow, dip below 72 degrees, or have insects, removing the windows is not a feasible option in most cases. Besides, you’d still have gaping openings in your walls what would beckon birds to fly on in. If you think a tanager pooping once on a patio table is bad, you should see what the average bird can do to your living room carpet.
Feasibility score (1 to 10): 0
Cover the Windows
Exterior shades could cover the window glass, as could meaty chunks of plywood or flat, black paint. But do you really want to sit around in the dark all day?
Feasibility score (1 to 10): 2 (if you don’t mind the dark)
Try Bird Strike Window Decals
This is the option I initially wanted to try, although it did take some time to find decals that:
Weren’t in the shape of birds, butterflies or some other fru fru design
Weren’t ugly white
Didn’t resemble those things you stick in bathtubs to stop from slipping
Looked attractive from the exterior as well as the interior
I ended up ordering two different decal sets, a cool-looking mandala and a circle-spiral-ey thing.
One issue I was already expecting to encounter was longevity. Other window decals have peeled, faded and otherwise fallen prey to window washing, constant sun and other elements and ailments to which exterior windows are regularly exposed.
The other issue was the wait. The cool spiral-ey set was coming all the way from Germany and would take at least 10 days to arrive. After witnessing the panic of the tanager, I knew I couldn’t wait a single second to put something in place. So I moved on to the next solution.
Feasibility score (1 to 10): 5
Bird Crash Prevention Sign
Since I’m already making loads of weather-resistant, metal yard art, making a bird strike prevention sign came pretty easy. Steps included:
Cutting a bird shape out of metal, filing edges, sanding and drilling top hole
Picking text that would let birds know this sign was for them
Painting one side with metallics to give the bird’s a head’s up not to head here
Painting the other side with an image I felt like looking at all day long in my kitchen
Adding a chain so the sign could hang from the top of the window frame from a clip, nail or whatever else I decided to secure it to
The end result was a bird crash prevention sign that has been a huge hit – not in the literal sense but in the sense of working wonderfully.
Only one bird came close to crashing into the window since I installed the sign about two weeks back. He was heading for the glass at high speed, but then slowed down enough when he saw the sign to change course and only make a “tap” noise instead of a “SPLAT.”
I KNEW birds could read English. Not a bird crash, bird bash or bird strike since!
Thus I’d definitely vote for a unique sign that lasts for years, can be moved to different windows, cities or time zones as needed, and ensures birds get the message that you love them and want to keep them safe.
Feasibility score (1 to 10): 10
Get creative and make your own double-sided bird crash prevention sign – or buy one from ryndustries. Either way, the birds will thank you.
The following is an excerpt from The Little Book of Big Jerks to give you a sneak peek at the types of jerks you’ll meet inside the guide to dealing with difficult people.
Argumentative Anna is an expert on everything, or so she thinks. And the first thing she knows is that whatever you know is wrong. It doesn’t matter that she never rode a horse, painted an awning or flown a plane, she’ll tell the cowboy his saddle is too tight, tell the awning painter the color is not right and tell the pilot he’s doing the landing thing all wrong.
3 Giveaway Traits:
Constantly barges in with her input, even if she has no idea about the topic at hand
Tells you you’re wrong, even if you happen to agree with her
Argues about things that have basis in scientific fact, like that silly idea about the earth being round