Author: The BPI Squirrel

Furthermore! – Shush!

I mostly like my studies and roving reporter gig here at BPI. Yes, I admit to procrastinating my research on 21st Century Political Nuttitude. Yes, I get grumpy when I travel. The faculty senate let me get away with that, probably because voting to do anything about it would require their obligatory six hour debate on whether to take a bathroom break. Regardless, they let me climb up on the campus soapbox and say pretty much whatever is on my mind. There are limits, of course. I can’t talk about our Denials Department. So I’m not allowed to tell you when the Professor of Astrology Janitor polishes the lighted display case that is not by the hot tub faculty lounge squirrel bath and does not contain the cue ball that was not autographed by the nuns who were not involved in anything that did not happen in Tijuana. If I talked about that, I’d probably get in trouble. Like Wisconsin state employee Chris Larsen did. You see, Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Legislature recently passed a voter ID bill. They apparently have a Denials Department too, and theirs says they passed that law to control “voter fraud,” which is virtually nonexistent. The new law has nothing to do with trying to stop poor people and other likely Democrats from voting, their Denials Department insists. That’s why the new...

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Furthermore! – Diss-Loyalty

So the baby and I were discussing college plans and his future. Okay, I was discussing college plans and his future. He was texting with his girlfriend about the big tailgate party this weekend. That’s like a tailgate party for humans – they’re getting together before the big game – except squirrels don’t need pickup trucks. We have our own tails. So the kids get together and curl and flick their tails to get each other excited about the game. Or at least that’s what I think the baby said. I wasn’t paying attention, because I was discussing college plans and his future. He was paying as much attention to that as I was to his tailgate party planning. I finally got grumpy – shocking, I know – and asked him to put his Blewberry down. I was, I said, feeling dissed. “Whoa,” the baby said. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to act like a Republican.” He may have meant Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who announced yesterday that he would not attend President Obama’s address to a Joint Session of Congress tonight. The New Orleans Saints kick off the NFL season against the Green Bay Packers tonight, and a mere speech on jobs by the President of the United States – with 14 million Americans unemployed – cannot interfere with a favorite football team. One must have priorities, after...

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Furthermore! – A Brand New Opportunity

“Not many colleges offer Technical Nuttitude,” the baby said as he looked through brochures. Fresh off his internship at BPI’s state-of-the-art High-Energy Meta Mojo Elucidation Detector (HEMMED) Lab, the baby is excited about that field. He wants to learn how to twirl the gears and pull the levers and push the buttons – except for the dreaded Red Button – and crank out political enlightenment. I’m glad he’s excited, but I also told him to keep his options open. College will open new vistas for him, and he may find interests he hasn’t yet imagined. “Right now,” I said, “your life is full of opportunity.” He nodded and munched on a macadamia. “And someday I’ll get stuck in a rut, like you?” I tried not to get grumpy. “I have a brand new opportunity every morning,” I said. It’s true. Almost every morning I sit down to ponder what I’ll say on the campus soapbox. That starts with a blank page. Often I don’t even have an idea until I start my research on 21st Century Political Nuttitude. I usually find the seed of an idea, but even then the page is still blank. I can take that idea in lots of directions. The story is still full of opportunity, brimming with excitement. Maybe Thomas Friedman felt that same way when he and Michael Mandelbaum began writing That Used...

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Furthermore! – Flights of Nuttitude

I should have declined when the baby asked me to try his new flight simulator video game. As you may know, flying makes me grumpy. “But dad,” the baby insisted, “this is different. You get to be the pilot!” Well, okay. Taking off was easy and kind of fun. I didn’t have to go through airport security. I didn’t need luggage. I wasn’t in the cargo hold, or even in a regular cabin seat. I was in the cockpit – which is surprisingly like my favorite branch of my tree – already lined up on the runway. Plus I had a full bowl of macadamias next to me. All I had to do was push the throttle, build up speed, keep going straight, and pull back on the joystick. All according to the baby’s instructions. I learned how to turn, and we circled the airport a few times. Then it came time to land. The runway was off to my left. Okay, that’s easy. Move the joystick to the left. Turn turn turn and … now the runway’s on my right. Oops. Move the joystick to the right. Turn turn turn and … now the runway’s on my left again. All while the ground keeps getting closer, with the baby saying “No, dad, you’re over-steering! Pull up and try again.” My landing would be a nice topic for a...

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Furthermore! – The Threat of Relegation

As a squirrel with British roots, I am genetically obligated to follow English soccer, if only to find another reason to avoid my research on 21st Century Political Nuttitude. But today it offers a way to talk about my research. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The English Premier League kicked off their 2011-2012 campaign last month, and after three weeks the usual suspects have risen to the top. Americans find English soccer standings confusing for two reasons. First, the standings are based on points, and it’s not intuitively obvious that clubs get 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss. The table also shows goals scored and goals allowed, but that only matters as a tie-breaker. And at ESPN they color-code the league table. Someone stumbling across the site will occasionally ask if the colors relate to playoff standings. Of course not. European football leagues don’t have playoffs. The regular season results decide the champion. Period. No playoffs? That’s great for the teams who dominate the regular season, but what about the rest? What keeps them motivated? Well, that’s where those colors matter. The green and grey bars at the top indicate the clubs that would qualify for European competitions, if the season ended today. As the season winds down next spring, only the top two or three...

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