Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Killjar

I'm calling last summer, 2011, the Summer of the Wasp. We had an infestation in our neighborhood. Somewhere there was a huge wasps’ nest, sending out thousands of the dangerous little critters. If anyone knew where it was they didn't do anything about it. I know it wasn't on my property, because I looked. The wasps especially liked the cat food I set out for the three stray cats we have committed ourselves to taking care of. Poor Mamacat didn't fare well with the wasps. They stung her on the eyeball and she lost sight in her left eye.

Sally and I set out pest strips, old-fashioned flypaper, which worked to a point, and caught a lot of wasps and other flying insects. This year she put out some brightly colored, specially designed glass jars as traps. She pours in a couple of inches of sugar water. The ingenious construction lures the wasps in, but they can't get back out. Then they drown. I'd feel sorry for them, but it’s hard to feel sorry for pests whose stingers contain venom. Sally was stung by a wasp this summer, but not at home. It was on the walking trail we use for our exercise walks. The wasps have built nests all over town, it seems.

We have three of the killjars hung up outside the back door, right over where we feed the cats. As you can see from the picture, they work. Maybe next summer we won't need them. We can always hope.


The jars did their killing while we were in Los Angeles for five days. We took our two grandchildren, who stayed with us for six weeks, to our son, their dad. His wife joined him the day we left, and they took the kids to Disneyland. They have a true bi-coastal relationship. He lives in California, she in Pennsylvania. He found a job opportunity, but it was 2000 miles from his family.

For us it was kind of a working vacation. We took care of the kids, mostly letting them play in the nearby Arcadia Park, while their dad worked. I didn't rent a car, and depended on him to take us where we wanted to go, including the beach on Sunday. Maybe next time we‘ll do some more sightseeing. I’m intimidated by Southern California, the traffic especially. You people who live there, bless you, but you won’t have to worry about me joining any in-migration to your state.

We didn't get to any of the Southern California distractions attractions, but at least I picked up a few brochures at the motel.

I’m struck by the Madame Tussauds brochure and the headline “Save up to $30!” Thirty dollars! How much does it cost to go through Madame Tussauds? That’s a rhetorical question. I’m not interested. Thirty dollars...sheesh.

Amoeba Records is fabulous. I haven't been to their L.A. store, but used to go to the one in Berkeley. You young people owe it to yourselves to see it, if only to see 12” vinyl LPs like your parents listened to.

I didn't find one brochure I looked for, the Museum of Death. My niece, who is a bit on the morbid side, loved that museum, and I admire the t-shirt she bought there as a souvenir.

A sampling from other brochures:

Maybe I should design a t-shirt:

For the final word on Los Angeles we turn it over to the master of cynical observation, Randy Newman:

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