Notes & comment

December 19, 2011

YOU REALLY OTTER BELIEVE ME: Many years ago a James Thurber cartoon showed a bickering couple in bed. A seal is seen behind them, resting its flippers on the headboard.  “All right have it your way,” the wife snaps, “you heard a seal bark.”

Like many of the wives in Thurber cartoons, she thinks her husband is slightly loony.

I know how that man felt. Recently, I saw an otter in our pond out back near Lewes. This is not a big pond. It’s a small drainage pond, which darn near dried up this summer.

And while I’ve seen river otters in Delaware – at Bombay Hook, east of Smyrna – I never expected to see one in my back yard.

When I first saw something stirring in the water, I thought it was a turtle. But with Sherlock-like observational skills, I quickly eliminated that possibility.

One, it was too long. Two, it had fur. And three, it had a pup-like head. It didn’t fit the description of any turtle I knew.

But what was it? A mini Loch Ness Monster? For some reason that seemed no more unlikely to me than an otter.

Unfortunately, my wife wasn’t home, so I had no witness.

And I wasn’t sure I even wanted to tell Helen, because I suspected she would react much like the wife in the Thurber cartoon.

Which she did, except for some reason she seemed to feel it necessary to ask if I’d been drinking.

Well, no I hadn’t been. It was pretty early in the day and, besides, who sees otters after a few drinks? (You do? Well, sir, it’s time for you to cut back.)

Anyway, I felt somewhat vindicated when I asked a neighbor if he had seen the otter. He said he hadn’t but he did say he’d seen them in the canal.

He also said they could travel five or six miles on land, making our land-locked pond well within their range.

On Sunday, I felt even more vindicated when the News-Journal ran a story about otters being sighted in Milton. So keep your eyes peeled. You might see an otter in a nearby pond.

Or resting behind your headboard.

GETTING THEIR KICKS: On Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner criticized the two-month plan to extend the payroll tax break, saying, “I believe two months is just kicking the can down the road.”

No, a two-month agreement is nudging the can down the road. Maybe.

For this Congress, kicking the can down the road would qualify as a major accomplishment.

MORE LOCAL NEWS: Under the heading, “Local news for 19958,” here’s what Comcast was announcing Monday: “Officials: US weighs NKorea policy after Kim death.”

North Korea counts as a local story?

Apparently, Comcast believes that all news is local.

JOKE-OFF CONTINUES: And now we move on to the tasteless portion of our program. Those under 18 should not read further and those over 18 should be unusually immature.

On Saturday Night Live this past weekend, Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, and Amy Poehler held a Joke-off to see who could tell the best one liner following this real-live news update:

A strip club in Chicago is offering free lap dances for patrons who bring in a toy for a needy child.

The one-liners included:

* “The most popular toy so far is Tickle Me, Brenda.”

* “So remember kids, that’s not Christmas magic, it’s stripper glitter.”

* And Fallon was declared the winner when he proclaimed, “I got it! The charity is called Toys for Tatas.”

Sadly, I found these somewhat lacking. I have added my own:

* “Said one man,  ‘I plan on giving till it hurts.’”

* “In a totally unrelated story, area Dollar Stores report surging toy sales.”

* “Later, the club owner said, ‘Thanks, but we’ve already collected enough used crack pipes for the kids.’”

* “It brings a whole new meaning to the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas.’”

That’s all, folks. And as stripper Tiny Tammy said of her fellow dancers’ efforts,  “God bless us, everyone one.”