The Zsa Zsa Gabors of the 21 Century

High up on today’s list of people who make me roll my eyes: These New Yorkers who decided to live part-time in the country and then get spooked by the fact that it’s dark and their house is making noises and there are, like, animals out there in the woods. Then they get back to New York and can relax, because, as we all know, nothing bad ever happens at night in New York City.

Smack. Them. All.

I just have to believe that none of them quite comprehended just how jelly-filled this article makes them all look. Oh noes! A raccoon! I must defend myself with an $8,000 lighting system! For God’s sake. Just go back into town and never go above midtown ever again. Simple.

70 thoughts on “The Zsa Zsa Gabors of the 21 Century

  1. Does anybody believe anything Augusten Burroughs says anymore? I was initially charmed by “Running with Scissors,” but have since decided that it’s more fiction than non- and that Burroughs is a more screwed-up individual than even he is willing to acknowledge.

  2. This is the kind of stupidity that drives my wife insane. It’s worse when these numnuts stay in the quiet rural neighborhood and start doing things like going to council meetings to agitate for the zoning variance to get the Starbucks put in, or buying the local dairy farm to put in the new golfing community. . .

    Then the epiphany strikes these same people that, “hey, this ain’t the country anymore, we gotta move. . .”

  3. That’s just plain silly, of course. If you can’t handle the country, stay in the city. But the conditioning is real. To wit:

    For the NYC blackout of 2003, my next door neighbor in Brooklyn had a very, very hard time dealing with the star-filled sky. He’s a Brooklyn native, has never left the city (as a matter of fact, he barely leaves his block!), and had never seen more than a handful of stars in the sky at any one time. While we were all out on the sidewalk stoopin’ it and revelling in the darkness and camaraderie, he was holed up inside, because he really couldn’t deal with it. He tried. He failed. He ran inside with his tail between his legs. It was one of the strangest things I’d ever seen.

  4. I think it has to do with where you grow up. I grew up in rural-land and have a strong dislike of small, dark alleys in large cities. My urban friends have a strange fear of the woods next to my house.

  5. The only book of Burroughs’ I’ve read is Possible Side Effects, which I enjoyed thoroughly. I took it for granted from about the first story on that he was a Master Bullshitter like David Sedaris, and that very little of what he wrote ought to be taken as true, at least not in the sense of “this actually happened and it actually happened this way, seriously, if you ask other people they’ll swear the whole thing is absolutely true and it really happened as I described it, honest.”

    In fact, if any of it was absolutely true, I think I’d be disappointed.

    Surely the line, ““Our skinny, gym-polished urban bodies are no match for anything that scratches its back on a tree,” is a tipoff that he has tongue firmly in cheek. The other people quoted in the story might, in fact, be idiots. But Burroughs, I suspect, is merely staying in character. Of course, I’ve been wrong before.

  6. I just wonder whether or not the author realized how ridiculous it makes all those people seem. I mean, he’d almost have to, but it is the NY Times.

  7. I don’t know any New Yorkers with a pathological fear of nighttime in the country. Then again, I don’t know very many New Yorkers who can afford second homes in the country.

    Perhaps the “New Yorkers” frame is the wrong one; perhaps the kind of people we ought to be chuckling and rolling our eyes at is rich people. Certainly having too much money does seem to make some people get startlingly out of practice at dealing with the challenges that the rest of us surmount fairly routinely, like “it’s raining” or “it’s dark.”

  8. That makes me laugh. If you can’t handle it, why don’t they just rent a cabin every once in a while? I’d love to be able to afford a place in the middle of nowhere, but I can barely afford much more than my rent. I LOVE the dark and quiet of the woods. My friends aren’t quite as enamored as I am. Last time I went camping I went for a hike at 11:30pm by myself. Pitch black and wonderful.

  9. *snerk.*

    It’s like they found everyone who’s ever appeared on one of those HGTV home makeover shows and interviewed them…

  10. These are the same kinds of people who mock their country neighbors for their simplicity, and file complaints because the cattle farm next to their million dollar home is odorous.

  11. Tongue-in-cheek or not, the dude spent $8,000 so he could spot dear. Ridiculous. Oh, how the human race as stumbled.

    In some sense I can kind of understand. I’ve had the reverse experience. After weeks in the New Zealand wilderness and isolation, I went to Auckland, which is a lovely city, but all those people and cars were freaking me out.

    Personally, I think cities should freak us out, they aren’t natural. Stars, raccoons, and deer shouldn’t.

  12. See, I’m the opposite. I HATE the city. the only reason I live as close in as the west end of Fairfax Co. (not too far from your old place in Sterling) is because I hate the idea of wasting my life commuting even more.

  13. Wow, what a bunch of….well, wimps. Idiots.

    Of course, it might all be viral marketing for a remake of Green Acres.

  14. What’s the matter, boy?

    I bet you squeal.

    I bet you can squeal like a pig.

    Let’s squeal. Squeal now.

    Squeal.

    Squeal.

    Squeal louder. Louder.

  15. Good lord. That just reminds me of the people who moved to my rural hometown looking for bucolic country living and then were terribly upset that the local horseback riders didn’t clean up after their horses who pooped on the public roads during rides.

  16. Have you read about glamping? Aka glamor camping… with the guides there to make sure your toilet seats in your camp are prewarmed for you? The butler there to clean your fish?

    People like this make being a Quaker difficult for me, the urge to smack them upside the head is overwhelming.

  17. Having grown up in a small upstate New York town a ways north of NYC, I learned to laugh at the out-of-their-element city people who came to the area to hunt (hide the kids!) or to buy second homes. Not to put too fine a point on it, they seems like a bunch of rude, self-obsessed jerks.

    As often happens when we grow older, I’ve had to admit that I didn’t have the whole story. Those same jerks moved to my home town in increasing numbers, set up good restaurants, art galleries, and antiques stores, and essentially revitalized the place. And to top things off, they managed to defeat the building of a cement plant that would have been a major polluter. (Believe me, I know–when I was growing up we had two cement plants, and you had to clean your car off with vinegar to cut the cement dust. No telling what my lungs look like.) The locals wanted the plant because it would provide jobs, despite the fact that the company lobbying for it eventually had to admit that the plant would provide a total of–I’m not making this up–one new job for the local population.

    So, yes, those city folk are odd and sometimes abrasive, but they have their uses. And as a small-town boy, it really kills me to admit this.

  18. Although I agree with the absurdity of it all, I must point out that the $8000 was spent on a lightning protection system, not a lighting system. $8000 out of fear of your house burning down seems much more reasonable than $8000 to not keep a flashlight by the door.

  19. First of all, Connecticut is *hardly* country. I get that it is rural compared to Manhattan, but you are never really that isolated.

    I guess its all relative. When you have spent time out in the Sandhills of Nebraska, wherein you might as well be on the moon, and there really isn’t even any 911 to call, nor any security personnel that will come help you even if you put an 8000 security system in, then you are in the country and may…just may have a bit to be concerned about. It would be kind of funny to see what would happen if you tried to call for help in rural Nebraska when you had a scawy, scawy deer or racoon siting.

    Connecticut is just a billion different smallish towns that just barely touch, making the suburban areas feel like country to New Yorkers. But, yeah. Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.

  20. Is the Zsa Zsa reference to Green Acres? Cuz that was Eva, not her sister.

    (Aside from that, I’m a country boy at heart, and get a good laugh at how city people freak out in the absence of noise and light pollution. It causes hallucinations.)

  21. Oooh, I bet Jim has some choice words to say on this. I think I’ll go grab some cookies and coffee over at the cafeteria and wait for him to post.

    I go out to a cabin in the woods every year, and have a great time. Somehow I’m betting the suburban cabin I live in would freak these people out, the first time a moose is asleep in the driveway and won’t move when you come home. Stupid moose.

  22. Uh, that’s sighting. There.

    Oh! And I just read an article about just the opposite of this. In Portland, there is a huge new downtown condo high rise development. All these rich suburbanites are clamouring to these new downtown condos to become hip and enjoy the nightlife, etc. Then! They realize! That downtown has (gasp) homeless people! And traffic! And late night noise! And freaky street artists! And even some crime! And now they are developing all these neighborhood tasks forces to decide how to ‘solve the problem.’

    Do any of these people actually visit these places before they drop half a mil or more on a home there?

  23. Re [#3]: I used to think that all the people going crazy upon seeing the stars for the first time in Asimov’s “Nightfall” was unlikely, but after reading what Pablo Defendini’s neighbor did, now I’m not so sure.

  24. Bob, you must be talking about Hudson. I know it well. My parents had a weekend house on Snydertown Road for thirty years and more. Hudson’s a wonderfully preserved old town — because when the whaling industry died and the railroads replaced the Erie Canal, the town fell into a recession so prolonged that nobody had the money to tear down the old Federal houses and build crap. Wasn’t until the weekenders started coming in the 60s and 70s that the town began its economic revival.

    So yeah, John, New Yorkers are a timorous bunch. But those who could get over it got to see the Milky Way from their lawn on almost any clear night as long as the moon wasn’t full.

  25. Terry Austin:

    “Is the Zsa Zsa reference to Green Acres? Cuz that was Eva, not her sister.”

    Oh, nuts. It sounds so much better with Zsa Zsa.

  26. I am…. flabbergasted. Scared of deer? I mean, yeah, if you’re driving and they run out in front of your car, that’s very bad. But deer in the woods? When you’re in your house?

    I mean, if you’re going to be afraid of ANYTHING in the woods, it should be zombies. Or maybe it’s the zombie deer. And the rabbits. With their big sharp pointy teeth.

    Guess that means I shouldn’t be made to feel like such a weenie when I admit that I’m scared of big cities.

    Random Michelle K, from West (by God) Virginia

  27. As someone pointed out, the$8k Burroughs allegedly spent was for lightning protection, but he still allegedly spent $2k on flashlights and night vision goggles.

    But see, here’s the thing (and the point I was trying to make, above): if Burroughs told me that, I’d want to see receipts before I repeated it as gospel. Because I’ve read some of his work, and because I know that $2000 worth of flashlights is a much better story than “We had to buy a flashlight and then we spent $30 on batteries for it.” And claiming you bought night vision goggles because you’re scared of deer is icing on the cake.

    Now it’s possible that Burroughs really is that big a jackass. I’ve never met the guy, and I’ve only read one of his books. (A mostly very funny book that I’d happily recommend to anyone with a few spare hours.)

    But it’s also possible–and I think more likely–that Burroughs (like David Sedaris) is a contemporary version of a Rogers or Twain–someone who never let facts get in the way of a good story. Unfortunately, we live in an era where things are taken at face value, and if they’re really something else it’s supposedly “dishonest.” Which is sad, really.

    And I think it’s likely that the journalist for the Times didn’t care whether Burroughs was bullshitting or not. Heck, given the tenor of the times we live in, the journalist may have believed him. But even if he didn’t, he had a fluff piece for the “Travel” section to finish.

  28. The conditioning thing is real. My wife is from New Delhi where you can always see and hear other people & living in a suburb in Scotland really freaked her out. She found it quite hard to get used to the idea that she rarely saw people walking nearby as they mostly drove & even i they didn’t the populaion just wasn’t there.

  29. John Scalzi:

    “Oh, nuts. It sounds so much better with Zsa Zsa.”

    Zsa Zsa was a lot more fun, since she had no dignity at all. Eva never asked Johnny Carson if he wanted to pet her pussy, after all.

  30. One of the problems I had with Asimov’s “Robots” series was the whole idea that his Terran city folk would be so damned scared of the outside. Then I read this, and understand.

    I do find it terribly ironic that, in one sentence, you’ve got somebody sleeping with a knife ’cause they’re scared and in the next sentence somebody’s upset because his neighbors all have guns.

  31. uhm… native new yorker here, still living in the city (well, in the bronx — woodlawn to be precise near the 480 acre cemetery, which is a wildlife preserve). i admit NYC isn’t the garden of eden when it comes to nothing bad ever happening — but the first time in my entire life i ever heard gunshots was when i was in tennessee after my parents moved down there. and the only two times i’ve ever been mugged were once in the Atlanta bus stations and once in a *hospital* in Alabama… so my feeling is: the next time someone says to me, “I don’t know how y’all can live in New York with all that crime!” i’m gonna punch them (metaphorically, of course).

  32. Tania, I, and others were discussing this very topic in another forum over the last couple of days.

    It’s a common theme here in Alaska, people move up here (usually from Cahleeforniah) to ‘get back to nature’ and then realize that they really, really don’t like nature at all. Bugs, and well water, and snow, and big friggin’ animals, and locals who carry guns. You can always spot them in town, they’re the ones with the giant eyes, round with paranoia, expressing utter disbelief that the nearest mall is in Anchorage – 60 miles away. Couple of years back, there was a guy, new to Alaska, who shot a black bear from the second floor balcony of his apartment building in downtown Anchorage, because “he felt threatened.'” Apparently the bear was dressed in a ninja suit complete with grappling hook gun. Personally, I’m a hell of a lot more afraid of some out of state retard with a rifle in downtown Anchorage than any bear. He ended up paying a major fine (for killing a bear and could not demonstrate self-defense), did some jail time (for discharge of a weapon inside the city limits), and last I heard moved back to California because “Alaskans are just crazy.”

    Of course, the opposite is just as bad, i.e. those idealists that come to the wilderness thinking that they’re going to teach us brutal and ignorant Alaskans how to ‘live in harmony with nature.’ They ignore advice and the rules of common sense and go off into the wilderness a la Timothy Treadwell. If they’re lucky, they are eventually rescued, cold, exhausted and with their little Disneyesque dreams shattered. If they’re not lucky, they end up eaten alive.

  33. Bob said: “yes, those city folk are odd and sometimes abrasive, but they have their uses.”

    For one thing, they’re willing to live in cities–I think that’s crazy (or, if I had to live in one *I’d* go crazy) but if everyone moved to the country, it would be way too crowded.

    I do wish, though, that the people in this article could just be happy about liking the city best–I think there’s this conception that you should want the small town, rural life in the woods (or whatever), but obviously what these people actually want is to go home to the city again. Building a mcmansion fortress against nature and their neighbors isn’t making anyone happy. (But I hope the guy who called the locals “machine people” gets eaten by a deer.)

    In related news, from All Things Considered:
    “Wild Turkeys’ Lurking Puts Boston Area on Edge

    October 24, 2007 · Wild turkeys are roaming the streets of Massachusetts towns, even parts of Boston. The birds get up to 4 feet tall, weigh 20 pounds — and they bite. Pierre Verrier, an Animal Control officer in Brookline, Mass., advises residents to stay away from the birds — or “try to hit the turkey with your purse or something.”

  34. Bonnie-Ann Black:

    In fact, NYC is, if I recall correctly, currently the safest big city in the US. The implication is not that NYC is extraordinarily crime-ridden, merely that bad things still do happen from time to time.

  35. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY (East New York, Brooklyn to be exact), and every time i go to the country side or even the suburbs and hear crickets chirping…it freaks the living *ish out of me. I’d rather sleep with fire engine siren and garbage truck noise than sleep in some nice little town in the middle of no where with crickets singing. Seriously how does that not freak people out.

  36. A few years ago, some friends and I rented an A-Frame in Vermont to go skiing. I went up a day early, so spent the night alone in this house. The nearest other house wasn’t visible from the 2nd floor windows.

    The place had no TV, radio or stereo so things were reeeeeeally quiet. I had just finished the dishes and was settling down with a book and a mug of hot chocolate when I heard a noise on the roof. I listened for a few moments and didn’t hear anything again. As soon as I stopped paying attention, I heard the noise again.

    In short, I spent the night totally freaked out and sure that something or someone was going to attack me. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night.

    In the morning, I went outside expecting to see some kind of tracks in the yard and on the roof. What I saw was that everytime the wind blew, it knocked some snow loose from the trees, which fell on the roof…and made a noise.

    Stupid snow. (or Stupid Brooklynite. Your choice.)

  37. I love the city….BUT…

    Jeebus Christ on a pogo stick with crunches in a kayak! (That takes care of most of the transportation modes offered in Jeebus curses.)

    These people bug me. Burroughs especially. Don’t they realise their effective and expensive lighting systems are causing light pollution? That for folks who like living out where it’s dark and nature-y, that systems like his are destroying the ambience of the area. (And making things hard for us amateur astronomers?)

    BTW, while I am a city girl, I grew up in Utah within fifteen minutes of some awesome canyons, and I heart teh Nature. I was also a Girl Scout, so I can carry a 35 pound backpack for miles and miles and set up camp and dig a latrine and all that. So I’m of the opinion that people who go out to nature and expect it to be a sanitized city park need a serious reality check.

  38. Terry Austin:Is the Zsa Zsa reference to Green Acres? Cuz that was Eva, not her sister.

    Right, because as we all know Zsa Zsa had her own wildlife show to rival Marlon Perkins’. She did stuff that would make Survivorman and Bear whathisname shit their drawers.

    Sorry, I just thought the idea of Zsa Zsa, outdoorswoman very funny.

  39. The urban rural divide. When you see the suburbanites doing the early retirement to a hobby farm dream only to discover there is back breaking work involved then you you get a good laugh. But nothing is better for showing the issues than watching the historical reenactment shows like Colonial House and watching all those urban folks fall apart and fail miserably over 10 episodes.

  40. I’ve been thinking, and this does kind of run both ways. Some of my cousins from the small town moved up to Chicago YEARS ago (early 60s). Every time they answered the door they did so with one hand on a pistol.*

    *kept on a shelf by the door for just such contingencies.

  41. “Mr. Burroughs might take comfort that there is a name for his neurosis: nyctohylophobia, or the fear of dark, wooded areas.”

    HAHAHAHAAHA!!! THAT IS uber funny! So he buys a house in the countryside!?

    Do they make pills to cure “nyctohylophobia” yet?

  42. “Guess that means I shouldn’t be made to feel like such a weenie when I admit that I’m scared of big cities.

    Random Michelle K, from West (by God) Virginia ”

    A few year ago I had the fun experience of driving through Mingo County with my wife and two young teen sons. After dark. With no street lights and damn few houses. And dark, dark hills on either side with only a narrow strip of star filled sky over head. This was upsetting to my suburban, flatland family. And the occasional sign warning about bear activity was the icing on the cake. The final topping was the realization that we were driving through this remote, thinly populated area to get to where my family came from. They don’t like night time in the hills.

  43. 9: “I don’t know any New Yorkers with a pathological fear of nighttime in the country.”

    I ran into this with my then future ex-wife and some friends when we went out to the country to the farm where I grew up to watch a lunar eclipse. All of them found the pitch darkness in the country too dark.

    Two were Torontonians but my ex-to-be was from Brantford, which isn’t exactly a major city.

    I don’t recall the darkness thing coming up during PerseidsBoink and the people at that came from all over. The only odd moment during that was when we realized that we had fulfilled many of the preconditions for a horror movie: we were isolated, it was dark out, we were next to a cemetary, and one of us was missing.

  44. 29: And claiming you bought night vision goggles because you’re scared of deer is icing on the cake.

    My take on this is that is just an excuse to buy an expensive cool geeky toy.

    39: What I saw was that everytime the wind blew, it knocked some snow loose from the trees, which fell on the roof…and made a noise.

    But there hanging on the outside doorknob was A HOOK!

  45. What? A blog full of (or at least hevily inhaited by)( SF fans and there is not one reference to Asimov’s “Nightfall”. Between this and the articles this year on “LuxoCamping” or whatever it was called it is clear that there are too many : (1) People with time on their hands; (2) People with more money than they know what to do with; (3) Pussies (in the courage sense, not the gender). With any luck the savage deer and racoons will attack and thin out the herd and the average IQ will go up. If the Big One hits these are the people who will show up at your door terrified, laden with gear they don’t know how to use, completely useless insofar as they have any survival skill at all, and begging for sanctuary.

    The good news is that they will be easy to drive off after stripping them of their expensive equipment and all their food.

    old Jarhead

  46. (Caveats: Born in Santa Monica, grew up in ‘suburban Orange County, moved back to Santa Monica. Done plenty of backpacking, digs me some desert night sky, only afraid of deer when there’s a possibility of collision.)

    This morning, I went for a ride up Mandeville Canyon Road, a hilly, two-lane street that starts at Sunset Boulevard and ends at some rich guy’s driveway way the hell up there. It was about 6ish, and the moon was still up. I’ve done this ride plenty of times before, even spotted deer munching on the foliage (and got the bright-eyed stare from my headlamp) but this was the first time I ever felt freaked out. Maybe it was exhaustion (not enough sleep the night before), maybe it was because I’d seen the fake Grindhouse trailers on YouTube the previous day (the words “Don’t!” and “Thanksgiving” kept popping through my skull), maybe it was because of the previous week’s ride in Latigo Canyon when I passed a parked car whose driver warned me of a bobcat up in the trees. Whatever the cause, I kept expecting a chainsaw-wielding, undead carnivorous whatever to leap out of the bushes and chew my face off.

    I’m very embarrassed about this. Especially since I got lapped.

  47. If those whimps are afraid of deer, they should try some wild boar in their garden. Or raccoons in the bed if you sleep with the window open. The critters aren’t even indigenous here, but someone brought a few in the 60ies, and they love Germany. Very. Much.

    I still like spending some time in our friends’ country house in summer. The raccoons are cute, after all. :)

  48. City Slicker here. I actually considered buying a deer-infested piece of property out in the sticks somewhere as an excuse to get a pair of night vision goggles. Because a) night vision googles seem like a kinda cool thing to own, and b) the only place it’s actually dark enough to use them around here is in subway tunnels, and CHUDs are way scarier than deer.

  49. A few years ago New England was rife with rabid critters, so evening sojourns were best accompanied by a good hockey stick. No joke a raccoon bit my brother while he was tying his shoe, jus came out of the bushes and nip (rabies shots really suck). Other than that the bears are small and the coyotes have plenty to eat. Sheeesh

  50. “…Ms. McCann has been known to bed down with a knife by her side. “I’ve definitely had some sleepless nights listening to the sound of coyotes killing something…” ”

    Right.
    Because everyone knows coyotes can pick locks and open doorknobs. NOT.
    It’s the raccoons that are out to get you!

    (ftr, 32 years in NYC, 19 in a small town upstate.)

  51. “Mommy, I can’t sleep — there’s too much light outside.”

    “Don’t worry, it’s just the neighbors from the City up for the weekend. By Sunday evening they’ll turn off their fourteen million candlepower exterior lighting system for their weekend getaway compound and go away — unless Jerry and the boys can get enough raccoons and deer in the house after Bonnie hacks into their computer and shuts off their alarm, and have them leave sooner. Wusses are still using Windows Vista Home Defense 1.0, after all.”

    “But I can’t go to sleep until I wish upon a star — and the sky is all washed out from the glare, Mommy.”

    “Dan? Get the sniper scope. I need to take out a few of those light towers for my baby girl.”

    Dr. Phil

  52. It is amazing how every city, especially New York, thinks it’s the center of the universe, then the denizens therein live in mortal terror whenever they venture out beyond its confines. Or, in the case of one publicist in New York, they think everywhere else is closer together than Manhattan is to Brooklyn.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love New York City and San Francisco. But they do need to learn the rest of the planet doesn’t care.

    And just to put this in perspective, Cincinnati thinks IT’S the center of a universe which is only 6000 years old, the Earth is flat, and ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK is an accurate depiction of Manhattan.

    I so want to move to another city.

  53. If people want to spend tens of thousands of dollars to be scared witless a few nights a year, I’m perfectly willing to oblige them. I take cash or credit cards, and I’m happy to tailor my scary noises to meet their specifications. And they won’t have to pay property taxes.

  54. A few year ago I had the fun experience of driving through Mingo County with my wife and two young teen sons. After dark. With no street lights and damn few houses. And dark, dark hills on either side with only a narrow strip of star filled sky over head.

    Man, I’m thinking I need to move to a more rural area soon, because that sounds just lovely. My area is getting a little too populated, and a LOT too light.

  55. Jim – I agree I get a bit tired of New York thinking that nothing else matters. I don’t seem to encounter that attitude as much in DC possibly becuase we are trying to figure out how to rule the world. Heh.

  56. Old Jarhead Says “If the Big One hits these are the people who will show up at your door terrified, laden with gear they don’t know how to use, completely useless insofar as they have any survival skill at all, and begging for sanctuary.”

    Fresh supplies! Oh, this one needs batteries, you can keep it.

    Hell, I chose my house because it has trees all around it. And I’m damn proud we have deer, turkey, three kinds of squirrel, about a thousand birds in the winter, possum, rabbits, etc. And all on a half acre. If I had more money (you know, once I become a rich and famous author :) I’d buy a larger property in the middle of nowhere. $8000 on a lighting system, hell, I think I have a hundred on mine and it covers my property pretty well, and I wired some of it myself. And I bought those only because I still live in a village, not in actual country (exurbia), and we had prowlers of the human kind.

    When I did traveling programs for a former employeer, I once did an event outside Chicago, like 15 minutes outside the limits. There was a nice park like setting, trees all around, but was only a five minute walk to the major highway back into the city. One of the “locals” who came to help was freaked the frig out because of the trees. For the first two hours I thought he was just joking, but after the first day I realized that this kid just couldn’t handle it. I mean, there was still major light pollution from the city, the event place was all lit up, and we were inside a huge conference center and he was wigging out about not being able to make it back to the city.

  57. Hmm, I’ve been wondering lately – if deer are so tasty and they’re every friggin’ where, why isn’t anyone farming them?

  58. MWT,

    Because it’s better to have them cull the wild populations.

    There’s a stretch of I79 between WV and Pittsburgh that is constantly littered with the mangled corpses of deer hit by vehicles. Not only does this do tremendous damage to vehicles, it’s not a very nice way for deer to die. I clipped two deer when I was in college. Both ran back into the woods. The first I could hear crying as it thrashed around in the woods. It was probably one of the most awful things I’ve ever heard, because I knew–even though it wasn’t my fault–I had caused that suffering. After my brother (when he was in high school) hit a deer, his car went into a culvert and rammed into a cement drainage pipe. He luckily wasn’t hurt, but it really freaked him out, because on WV roads, he could easily have been killed. (The amusing part of that story is when my brother went to the nearest house to ask for help, after making sure if my brother was OK and allowing him to call my parents, the gentleman asked politely if my brother was going to take the deer or if he could have the meat. My brother told him he was welcome to it.)

    So yes, deer can (and are being) farmed, but it’s much better when local residents hunt local populations to feed their families. (And if someone kills more deer than they can keep for themselves, the meat is donated to the local food pantries. )

  59. October 24, 2007 · Wild turkeys are roaming the streets of Massachusetts towns, even parts of Boston. The birds get up to 4 feet tall, weigh 20 pounds — and they bite. Pierre Verrier, an Animal Control officer in Brookline, Mass., advises residents to stay away from the birds — or “try to hit the turkey with your purse or something.”

    Yup. I’ve seen plenty of them myself in Billerica, Wilmington, and surrounding areas. We have coyotes, too. (Of course, there are coyotes in downtown Chicago.)

  60. I’m a big city girl who loves the country in small doses, but I just had to laugh at the line, “because those deer are aggressive.”

    I see deer almost every damned day at work (they hang out at JPL quite a bit) and yes, the deer up here are a little more used to humans than in other areas, but they’re certainly not domesticated. Aggressive, they ain’t. I wouldn’t recommend going up to them to pet and feed them, because it’s just not a good idea to mess with the wildlife, but I’ve been within a few feet of does and fawns and bucks multiple times – haven’t been mauled yet.

    However, there is the occasional bobcat and mountain lion sighting on the grounds. I’m steering way clear of them.

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