Raccoon Leaders Call For Loosening Of Garbage-Can Lids

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Vol 36 Issue 20

Woman Apologizes For What Appears To Be Clean House

PAWTUCKET, RI–For no apparent reason, Pawtucket resident Estelle Scheide, 53, apologized to houseguests Tuesday for the "terribly messy" condition of her spotless house. "I'm so sorry about this," Scheide told a group of visiting relatives. "It's not normally this bad, I swear." "What was she talking about?" son-in-law Bruce Unger asked. "I didn't see a mess anywhere. Did she mean the vacuum cleaner that was out? Or maybe that bag of to-be-recycled newspapers by the back door. Weird."

Toys 'R' Us Sign Triggers Pavlovian Shrieking Response In Child

FREDERICK, MD–A Pavlovian response mechanism was triggered in Jamie Bolz Monday, when the 5-year-old reflexively shrieked at the top of his lungs upon seeing a large, colorful Toys 'R' Us sign during a family car trip. "Ahhhhhhhh! Toys 'R' Us! Toys 'R' Us!" Bolz involuntarily shouted despite countless lectures from his mother about proper car-trip conduct. Behavioral psychologists have likened Bolz's response to the well-documented Burger King-salivation reflex.

Conversation With Boss Puts Man An Hour Behind

CHICAGO–A conversation with his boss set Latham, Towson & Green marketing executive Alex Henkel back an hour Monday. "Jesus, I'm gonna be here until midnight," Henkel, 31, said after the time-consuming chat. "I've got tons of work to do today, and the last thing I needed was to have some bullshit pow-wow with [supervisor] Bill [Svoboda]." Svoboda called for the unproductive, 60-minute meeting to "go over some general strategies and just make sure we're on the same page about things."

MIT Physicists Split The Smithereen

CAMBRIDGE, MA–A team of MIT physicists announced Monday that they have successfully split the smithereen, heretofore considered the smallest possible unit of matter. "For decades, conventional scientific wisdom held that the most to which you could blow something was smithereens," Dr. Jonathan Eng said. "It now appears that it is possible, under certain special laboratory conditions, to blow something to sub-smithereens." Eng said he believes the discovery will revolutionize humanity's potential for harnessing smithereenetic energy.

Area Man Coughs To Let Others Know He's In Bathroom

ATLANTA–Seeking to break the tension and inform others that he was in the bathroom, Barnes & Noble men's-room- stall occupant Larry Ardell coughed Monday. "I was alone in the bathroom, taking a dump, when I could hear one or two other guys walk in," Ardell recalled. "I wasn't sure they knew I was there, and I started getting a little uptight about it, so I decided to cough." Ardell said he had considered rattling the toilet-paper dispenser as a means of announcing his presence, but decided against it out of concern that it would call attention to his wiping.

Clinton Goes On Fun Plane Ride

LISBON, PORTUGAL–President Clinton deplaned from Air Force One excited and thrilled Monday following a fun plane ride from Washington to Lisbon for an eight-day, three-nation European trip. "I went on the airplane," Clinton shouted to Portuguese president Jorge Sampaio. "We went way, way up high, and I saw lots of clouds." Clinton, who has refused to remove the golden-wings pin given to him by Air Force One pilot Edwin Jacobs, capped his remarks with several seconds of airplane noises.

Federal Security Breaches

Last week, it was reported that federal investigators carrying fake law-enforcement credentials were able to penetrate security at 21 government buildings, including the Pentagon, CIA, FBI, and Justice Department. What do you think about these alarming security breaches?

Praise The Lord... And Pass The Chocolate!

Hey, Jeanketeers, remember in my last column, how I said I was going to tell hubby Rick about my decision to retire from the workaday world and become a full-time housewife? Well, if you were anywhere in the vicinity of 1567 Blossom Meadows Drive on the evening of May 3, I sure hope you had a good pair of earplugs!

Advice For Gentle-Men

My considerable ire was raised yet again this past week when I was subjected to the ignominy of an intrusion on my privacy, conducted by means of the insulting mechanical-tele-phone device, by a reporter calling from the infamous Gentle-Man's Quarterly Gazette.
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Raccoon Leaders Call For Loosening Of Garbage-Can Lids

WASHINGTON, DC–In a 4 a.m. speech at the group's annual convention Sunday, North American Raccoon Federation president Bristletail called upon homeowners to loosen the lids of their garbage cans, providing the ring-tailed mammals with greater access to discarded food scraps during nocturnal scavenging.

NARF president Bristletail urges homeowners to be less careful about sealing their trash cans.

"Every time you seal a standard 30-gallon garbage can, as many as six raccoons are forced to go without their necessary daily supply of congealed baked beans, rancid cottage-cheese chunks, and moldy cantaloupe rinds," Bristletail told an audience of NARF members and human reporters. "This leads to malnutrition, starvation, and even death–all because humans do not have the decency to take the easy step of loosening or altogether removing the lids from their garbage cans."

Sunday's speech is one of many recent NARF efforts to advance its lid-loosening agenda. On May 22, a coalition of top raccoon leaders, including Bristletail, Rascal, Miss Nosy, and National Wildlife Federation mascot Ranger Rick, made their plea before the Senate Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife & Water. Blaming their human-refuse dependence on the steady disappearance of their natural habitat, the raccoons urged subcommittee members to pass legislation penalizing individuals who block access to putrefied hot dogs and other trash-based morsels.

Subcommittee members reacted strongly to the raccoons' plea.

"In all my years in the senate, this is the most adorable thing I have ever seen," Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) said. "The little raccoonies have come to visit! Aren't they precious? Look at their little pawsy-hands. Hello, little bandit masks! Look at the racoonie-woonies with their widdle bandit masky-wasks! Wee pawsy-wawsy hands! Oooh, I wish I could pick you up and give you such a great big hug!"

This is not the first time that the raccoons' lobbying efforts have been undermined by their own adorability. In March, a meeting between New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani and NARF vice-president Rocky Raccoon was cut short when Raccoon was scooped up and taken to the Central Park Children's Zoo for permanent display in the "Cute Critters!" exhibit. A September 1999 visit was canceled by fearful raccoon leaders when they learned that President Clinton wanted to just eat them all up, they were so darling.

NARF member Bandit attempts to breach a Tulsa, OK, garbage can.

Despite their adorability, the raccoons are not without their opponents.

"What these raccoons conveniently neglect to mention is that their foraging creates an enormous mess," Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) said. "They recklessly overturn trash cans and rip apart garbage bags with their sharp teeth, then they don't even bother to clean up afterwards. In the morning, residents wake up to find garbage strewn about their lawns, creating an ugly, unsanitary situation. What's worse, they don't even have the decency to be quiet about it, knocking over metal cans in the middle of the night while decent, non-nocturnal folk are trying to sleep. They're animals, I tell you."

Wilmington, DE, homemaker Denise Durbin agreed. "This symbiotic raccoon-human relationship that raccoon leaders are trying to get you to buy into is a big myth," she said. "I mean, aren't these creatures supposed to be in the woods washing crayfish in a stream or something? And I'm pretty sure that Ranger Rick fellow is the one who killed Mrs. Sanderson's cat the other night."

Even if their congressional lobbying efforts fail, the raccoons remain hopeful that they can improve their situation through awareness-raising.

"When citizens put their trash out, we're hoping that some of them will think of us and voluntary leave their garbage-can covers slightly ajar," said Bristletail, gnawing on a bluish-gray ham hock. "Raccoons have proudly lived on this land for millions of years, and our existence is vital to its ecosystem. But our survival is in jeopardy unless citizens act promptly and decisively."

"Besides," continued Bristletail, "if we disappear, the possums might take over. And no one wants that."

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