Stolf’s Blog 8/21/2011

SOMETHING IS KILLING OUR BATS read the headlines. That something has been named White Nose Syndrome, and it’s believed to be a fungus that prefers cold temperatures and attacks the species known as the Little Brown Bat while they are hibernating. It’s been moving north for the past decade, and now threatens the bat populations of the Northeastern states. The question is, what should we do about it? Less often asked, but equally interesting from my point of view, is should we do anything about it?

It seems these days that the “correct” answer is: of course we should…we should save our bats. “Our” bats. Never mind that if it were put to a popular vote, that might not be the outcome…after all, many people don’t like bats. I happened to think they are wonderful critters, and the service they do us in eating their weight in bugs every night is inestimable. But would people, in similar circumstances, rally to save…the rat?…the fly?…the mosquito? Spiders and snakes might poll better, but then again maybe not. And how do you suppose a “Save the Grub” campaign would fare among gardeners?

Here’s the thing: a fungus is a living creature too…and living creatures destroy each other. We do pick sides after all…do you root for the lion or the antelope? For the hawk or the rabbit? Now over 99% of all the species that have ever lived are extinct. We tend to think of this in terms of one morphological form slowing “turning into” another…the newer one better able to survive, the older one producing fewer and fewer offspring, until it fades away to nothing…quite literally, the “last of its kind.” But it can, as we are now seeing, happen much more quickly…an entire species wiped out by disease, destruction of habitat, climate change, or competition from other species. And what part of that 99% do you reckon human beings were “responsible” for, over the past 3 billion years?

Yes, I think we ought to try something to help our little night-flying friends…but we should keep in mind that we are doing so mainly for esthetic reasons…that is to say, because we admire the Little Brown Bat and appreciate how its natural behavior benefits us. And also because we have this odd notion that its better to have 1000 different kinds of animals on Earth than 999. Better how exactly? Because not to get too cutesy about it, or mix natural and man-made metaphors, but when Mother Nature closes a door, she opens a window. Were the bats to be no more, all those bugs would be eaten by some other creature, which would thrive as a result. That’s just how it works. In the long run, we don’t really have any say in the matter, much as our instinctive hubris makes us imagine that we do. But that’s just natural…

B*A*K*E*R*S   D*O*Z*E*N

(1) Leo Durocher lamented: The only thing winning does is postpone your being fired.

(2) What was the last great gasp for Baby Boomer music?…could
it have been the Traveling Wilburys? Puerto Rico, USA, England,
Cameroon, Norway…everybody’s trying to do the Wilbury Twist…

(3) According to George Bernard Shaw, a monarchy in
the modern world is nothing but a “universal hallucination.”

(4) You wonder how many of history’s great men
and women could today get past Human Resources…

(5) I wonder why the Tango was singled out…don’t all dances
take two?…well, until line dancing came along, I suppose…

(6) One of my favorites: Measure twice, cut once, beat into place…

(7) >>> Voltaire: The secret to being a bore is to tell everything. <<<

(8) Are stereotypes assigned completely by random?…Eskimos are tight with a buck,
the Swiss are hot-tempered, and Patagonians can’t hold their liquor…food 4 thought…

(9) Wouldn’t it be something if, in order to pay taxes,
you had to first pass a civil service exam?…

(10) You’ve heard of the supposed weight gain when they go off to college…
the Freshman 15…less known is the fact that sophomores grow 2 inches in height!

(11) Here’s my theory of governance: If they pass one law,
they should at the same time be required to repeal 2 laws…

(12) Old saying: Prize little things and you are worthy of great ones…

(13) It stands to reason that many among today’s crop of the best girl’s
high school basketball players, are the daughters of former NBA players…
but there are other sports too…like baseball: Diamond/Delino DeShields
and Taryn/Ken Griffey Jr…and also football…Sydney/Randy Moss…


Care to take a crack at identifying this youthful mug? Answer tomorrow…

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