Friday 6 February 2015

Working in Ottawa today --Lemming Sunday

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Ottawa today.

Cold Ottawa.

Warning, today's Pulp may contain coarse language, adult situations, suicide and violence.

My friend John had not heard of Lemmings not committing suicide en masse --no.. Just because I invoke non-English words in a double negative sentence it does not mean that this will be a Pulp about some philosophy du jour.  Although tossing in some philosophical bon mot now and then is de rigueur, this will not be introducing any Lemming-based truths, idioms or ideology.

Maybe.  Let's wait and see.

Back to my friend John.  A week or so back, prior to taking last week off in sunny yet annoyingly expensive Barbados, while in the locker room after a few games of racquetball and continuing at our favorite pub a discussion of lemmings ensued.  It was during this discussion that it became apparent that my friend John was generally unaware that we had all been collectively hood winked by Disney's docu-farce White Wilderness (1950 something) into believing that lemming over-populations dive off high cliffs during migration to their deaths en masse.  Now to give equal billing, my friends Brian and Brent also claimed to be unaware of the suicide reports being myth, but I suspect that Brian was merely trying to egg on what had rapidly becoming an absurd bar table discussion and Brent had joined the conversation late and thought lemmings themselves were mythical.

It was during the egging on at which point Heather, our favorite bartender, joined the discussion -only to regret it quickly.  She inquired as to what was a lemming? Brian explained it was like a mouse that lives in the great white north and has been known to take its own life. I clarified that they resemble fat hamsters and while I personally respect their right to choose, they themselves are Pro-Life and do not take their own lives.  To which Heather may have remembered that conversations at our table often descend to the absurd and exclaimed that hamsters themselves look like fat hamsters and stormed off.  She did return with a fresh Guinness for me, so I figure all was forgiven.

I attempted to appeal to John's sense of logic alone, of course I first derided him a bit for being a school principal and not knowing about the lemming myth, and I asked the question:

Is it more likely that this species of animal actually commits a collective suicide and in a demonstration of brilliant timing the Disney cameramen were there but only with only closeup camera lens -no full field coverage shots were taken- to catch the flailing lemmings hurling themselves off of a cliff - some even hurling themselves backwards or doing summersaults and colliding in mid air OR is it more likely I ask the good men and women of this jury isn't it more probable on the preponderance of logic and evidence that what we actually saw were the victims of a heinous crime against rodentdom, a staged flinging from a macabre spinning hamster wheel of death the unsuspecting and peaceful fat hamster like herbivora caught by the guilty eye of those same Disney cameramen?

Later when they make a film of my life, Al Pacino will play me, and the observers in the gallery will have leapt to their feet demanding the unearthing and posthumous lynching of Disney and Canadian Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverly McLachin played by Heather Locklear with a few too many buttons popped open to be tasteful will be sitting at the next table slamming her gavel down and demanding order or she will clear the pub.

Wow.  Um.. Uncle Daniel, does that really go on in your head?

Sometimes.  Other times I just hum a little tune.

Hey.. we still have a few minutes before we start our descent into Ottawa, I had most of this written during de-icing on the ground at YYZ.  For those curious, there are some suicides that occur in nature that aren't human and that aren't lemming related.

We have all seen footage (although now all docu film footage is suspect) of whale pods beaching themselves in what appears to be mass suicide, but that is likely one whale that didn't ask for directions and a pod of followers.. followed.  I have also read about some one-offs.. deer or dogs leaping to death, I figure in a panic and not thinking clearly.  But no mass animal suicides AFAIK.

But a regular occurrence is Carpenter ants and some termites will invoke an autothysis (self sacrifice) by causing an explosion of a mid thoracic gland that releases a sticky and corrosive chemical cocktail to disable attackers to their colony.   Also in colony defence mode, the pea aphid can explode on will much like a claymore and kill an attacking ladybug.

Really.  If they ever get nukes our back garden could end up a wasteland.

So out of time, no coarse language, but I did deliver some suicide and violence. Yeah, no adult situations either.  Oh wait.  I went back and mentioned the opened buttons.  Yay, adult situations!

Have a great day.  Defend the colony.


  1. OMG: much hilarity to start my day! re animal docs: watch anything on meerkats for colony solidarity!

  2. Walt Disney isn't buried, he's Cryo-sleeping until medicine can cure him!

  3. You have a funny brain :p