Not my idea of a cougar but hey, …
Loving monsters. A book review by Glenn Reynolds . His entire essay should be read, but here’s the intro and the conclusion. This was written in 2003 – things have gotten worse since then.
NPR science reporter David Baron has a new book out, called The Beast in the Garden: A Modern Parable of Man and Nature. Baron’s book is about the return of cougars to the Boulder, Colorado area after decades of hunting-induced absence, and their eventual taste for eating human beings — along with the various fantasy ideologies regarding wildlife and nature that this chain of events revealed.
But then “fluffy bunny” syndrome extended itself to become “fluffy mountain lion syndrome.” Government-sponsored cougar hunting ended, bounties were removed, and cougars started to make a comeback. Boulder’s inhabitants disliked hunters, and liked the idea of living with wildlife, causing populations of deer in residential areas to explode. Meanwhile low-density housing meant that more and more people were living along the boundary between settled and unsettled areas. As cougars, their fear of humans having dissipated after years of not being hunted, moved into semiurban areas bursting with deer, they acclimated to human beings. People were no longer scary and, after a while, started to look like food.
It’s at this point that Baron’s book — which is very much nonfiction — starts to read like a thriller novel. Scientists and outdoorsmen began to warn of danger, but they were ignored by both the Boulder public — which was sentimentally attached to the idea of free-roaming wildlife — and state wildlife-protection bureaucrats, who downplayed first the presence, and then the danger, posed by the cougars. Dogs and cats started being eaten, cougars started threatening people, and yet meetings on the subject were dominated by people who “came to speak for the cougars.”
In the end, of course, people started to be eaten, and the bureaucracy woke up to a degree. There’s lots of interesting stuff in Baron’s book about ecological change, and the folly of seeking “wilderness” without recognizing humanity’s role in nature, but to me the most interesting behavior isn’t the predatory nature of the cougars — which are, after all, predators — but the willful ignorance of human beings. So many were so invested in the notion that by thinking peaceful thoughts they could will into existence a state of peaceful affairs that they ignored the evidence right in front of them, which tended to suggest that cougars were quite happy to eat anything that was juicy, delicious, and unlikely to fight back.
This is, as Baron notes, something of a parable — and not merely a parable of man and “nature.” One need only look at the treatment of such other topics as crime, terrorism, and warfare to see examples of the same sort of misplaced sentimentality and willful ignorance. Tolerance of criminality leads to more crime; tolerance of terrorism leads to more terrorism; efforts to appear defenseless lead to war.
Nonetheless, the same strand of wishful thinking appears: perhaps this time, the cougars won’t want to eat us. Some people, apparently, would rather be dinner than face up to the fact that nature is red in tooth and claw, and that — in this fallen world, at least — the lion lies down with the lamb only after the lamb’s neck is broken. (Worse yet is the noxious strand of liberalism that suggests we somehow deserve to be dinner.)
In the United States, such silliness seems to have diminished in recent years, though it is still ongoing in Britain, where aggressive efforts to ban hunting (believed by some observers to be politically motivated) have producedpromises of civil disobedience.
The effort to remake the world so that it is safe for predators seems rather odd to me. What sort of person would rather be prey? The sort who lives in upscale neighborhoods, and campaigns against hunting, apparently. I suspect that over the long term this isn’t a viable evolutionary strategy in a world where predators abound.
Got a cell phone in there, I’ll bet – so who ya been calling, huh?
Jeffrey Goldberg: TSA groping led the way to NSA monitoring.
Here’s a question I asked myself yesterday: Would I rather have my phone records collected and readied for possible inspection by the National Security Agency, or have my genitalia scrutinized by the Transportation Security Administration?
One answer, of course, is, why choose? In today’s America you can have both.
Wave goodbye to Pinch Sulzberger
The paper finally notes for its readers what educated people have known for months: the world stopped warming at least 15 years ago.
The rise in the surface temperature of earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that. And that lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace.
Not to worry, though: the point of the article is to admit that the predictions were wrong, but then spend the rest of its carbon-based paper space to assure the reader that we’re still on track for Gormageddon, any day now. A real paper, with a real science reporter, might at least ponder the question of whether the massive accumulation of greenhouse gasses coupled with no global warming might mean that the priests of Gaia are wrong. The New York Times is not that paper.
Says here SOMEONE’S got to pay for white folks’ racism – so who we gonna slam it to?
There are more – next one’s at Eastern, but it wouldn’t hurt to show up and support the parents over there. I know Parkway parents are not happy with the idea now being nosed about, of busing their kids down to New Lebanon. As I keep pointing out, wherever the Deomcrat-sponsored racial roulette ball lands, it will crush real estate values – Riverside, Parkway, Central, the effect will be devastating.
Three sales, one accepted offer.
207 Old Mill
207 Old Mill Road sold for $2.865 million, after starting out, I kid you not, all the way back in 2005 at $5.4 million. I wonder what was the owners’ first clue that they’d overpriced their house?
652 Riversville Rd
652 Riversville took a little over a year to find a buyer at $1.825 (asking price, $2.350) but it did finally sell. Overshooting the target by (aprox.) 20% slows things down considerably. Still, I’d anticipated this being a land deal and the price paid clearly indicates that it was not – there’s a house wrapped up in that sum, somehow.
42 Winding Lane asked $2.750 in June, 2011 and expired unsold last August at $2.2 million. It sold today for $1.825, same broker, but not on the MLS. That happens, and there’s nothing wrong with it – an agent has a buyer interested in an expired listing so she calls the original broker to see if the owners still want to sell. That’s not only a polite way to do business, it’s a smart one, if the owner and their broker ended the listing on decent terms – that broker knows the owner and the situation better than you the buyer do.
45 Cedar Cliff
In Riverside, 45 Cedar Cliff has an accepted offer, asking price $2.895 million. Owners paid $2.8 for this in 2006 and put it back up for sale at $3.075 in 2012. My clients and I found it stale and dogeared and the rest of the market must have thought so too because the house was yanked, a fourth bedroom added, the master bath and two other baths were completely redone, floors refinished, etc.and then returned to the market at $2.895.
I don’t see the need to anything to this decorator’s attempt to achieve “that hunting look”
186 Lake Avenue
One I don’t need to see again is 186 Lake Avenue, now asking $6.2 million. Perfectly nice house, if you like this sort of thing, 7,000 sq. ft. up, 3,000 in the basement, but its history is what I find interesting. The same builder sold the identical house a little up the street and the disappointed bidder for that one had this one built for himself. Paid $6 million for it in 2005 and when it was returned to the market in 2011 it was priced at $7.5. That proved a tad optimistic, with today’s price the result. Riverside may have gone nuts this spring: central Greenwich has yet to recover.
Can you guess whether he supports it? Senator (I choke getting the words out) Chris Murphy shows up in town to decry the cuts in federal aid to our local Head Start program, calling those cuts “cruel”.
He made no mention of the countless studies made since Head Start’s creation that show zero improvements in student’s academic performance if they attended the program, didn’t mention the billions spent on the failed idea, just said we should cut our agricultural subsidy program and defense budget instead. Heck, he didn’t even do the math at the Hamilton Avenue branch’s Head Start, but I’ll do it for him: $500,000 for 34 students equals $14,705 per “student”. Expensive day care.
No problem here with cutting Agriculture and Defense, but those cuts should mark the beginning of a new program to eliminate half our departments and slash the budgets of the remainder by half. We could call it “A Good Start”. T-shirts optional.