March 13th, 2008


Something New?

Signs of Spring

I've often written -- and probably will again this year when it happens -- that two of the sure signs of Spring are worms on the sidewalk when it rains and the deafening roar of the peepers in the ponds and drainage ditches by the road. My 2004 Clarion colleague webpetals has already written about the peepers, but she's in southern Indiana which is practically in the South.

So today, on a sunny afternoon where the temperature teased around with 50degF and the crusty, icy snow banks are rapidly rotting and dwindling, I was surprised to see a yellow jacket sitting on the sidewalk underneath the overhang of the new Psychology Building, as I was leaving my afternoon labs. Ten feet later and there was a second yellow jacket.

First, I am quite sure of my identification. It drives me nuts that to the West Michigan locals, anything yellowy with a stinger is a "bee". No. Yellow jackets and hornets are not bees. They are not nice little insects. They are mean, nasty creatures which, like Great White Sharks, seem to have been born with a permanent migraine. Yellow jackets are a mistake by Mother Nature.

But what the hell were they doing on a cold sidewalk next to a snowbank, on the shadow side of the building? Did a nest get uncovered? Did a squadron of yellow jackets get trapped under a mini-glacier and only just now liberated? For that matter, though these two looked whole, were they alive? I don't know but twenty feet further along there was a third yellow jacket -- and this one was definitely yellow jacket jelly as someone had stepped on it.

I don't step on yellow jackets unless I'm sure it's lost from the herd. I'm not interested in yellow jacket mafia reprisals. I had that happen once when I ran a lawnmower over an underground yellow jacket nest...

Dodging a Tiny Bullet

Got gas this morning. It'd gone up by 20 cents a gallon the other day. As I drove past the Meijers in Standale, their gas was another 20 cents a gallon higher. But apparently that level of greed was not sustainable and by the time I came home, gas prices had returned to their previous value.

Of course, this is all a ploy to make us grateful for the old, outrageous pricing. (grin) One of the guys on WOOD-AM radio was just in St. Louis MO and gas was nearly 50 cents cheaper there. And in Jackson MI, it was 20 cents a gallon cheaper. Anyway you cut it, our average pricing here is usually several dimes higher than the so-called national average pricing.

No, it's not gouging. The latest word is that our gas prices are higher because "the gasoline has to come up a peninsula". Oh yeah, like it didn't have to come up a peninsula last week. And Jackson is in Michigan. And how is transporting gasoline up to Grand Rapids MI different than say Milwaukee WI?


Dr. Phil
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