11 Fun Raccoon Facts

In order to know my new neighbor a bit better (before he gets evicted), I decided to learn something about raccoons. Here are the fruits of my labors.

Photo by Tobias Mercer.

Photo by Tobias Mercer.

11 Fun Raccoon Facts

  1. The raccoon’s scientific name, Procyon lotor, means “washer dog” although it is a closer relative to the bear family.
  2. Raccoons have a large array of vocalizations. Scientists have determined that they can make over 51 different sounds! They purr, whistle, growl, hiss, scream and even whinny.
  3. Raccoons have been kept as pets (President Coolidge and his wife had one named Rebecca), and while young, seem happy to be in human company. As they mature, especially during mating season, they can become increasingly destructive and aggressive.
  4. A raccoon’s hands are so nimble they can unlace a shoe, unlatch a cage and deftly retrieve coins as thin as dimes from your shirt pocket.
  5. In spring, female raccoons give birth to three or four young. The baby raccoon’s eyes do not open until 20 days or so after birth. It won’t have rings on its tail, or a mask around its eyes, until it’s older. Baby raccoons stay in the den for eight to ten weeks. The mother raccoon is very protective of her babies—she won’t even let the father near them.
  6. On the mammal IQ scale raccoons rank higher than cats and just below monkeys.
  7. Christopher Columbus is the first individual we know of to have written about the species.
  8. The raccoon has the ability to rotate their hind feet a full 180 degrees to allow for their ability to climb down from trees head first.
  9. The word raccoon, derived from the Algonquin Indian word “arakun” means “he scratches with hands”.
  10. Raccoons are more likely to be killed by an automobile than by another predator.
  11. A raccoon can run at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour.

Thanks for reading!

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I am a Raccoon’s Neighbor.

A raccoon moved in next door. My family lives next to an office building and the roof vents on that building have been damaged for some time. A couple of weeks ago, I was taking the dog out early in the morning when I looked over and saw a raccoon standing on the office building roof. It seemed that he was on his way to bed though, because he lumbered up the roof and disappeared into the roof through the damaged vent.

I told my wife about the incident at breakfast and my daughter overheard. She was enthralled by the idea that a raccoon lived next door. She kept going to our kitchen window, staring at the roof and saying, “I see the Raccoon? The raccoon will come out at six o’clock?” I’m not even sure that she knows what a raccoon looks like, being that they aren’t usually featured in the animal picture books (which place higher importance on animals one might find in a zoo like lions and zebras).

I don’t know what her deal with six o’clock is, by the way. It must be the time when things happen with animals, because it’s not the first time she’s mentioned it.

The next morning, around six in the morning, I woke up to the sound of scraping metal from outside the window nearest the office building. Sure enough, my daughter was right about the six o’clock, but wrong about the coming out. It was going back to bed for the day.

Weeks passed without seeing our new neighbor when my wife spotted him from the window as we were making our way to bed. I grabbed the camera to prove that I’m not crazy. Sorry about the poor quality image. Everything was kind of dark.

DSC01051_sidebyside

Now, I’m not sure what to do about my new neighbor. Should I tell the people in the office building so they can be charging it rent, or should I leave it to its own nocturnal devices?

Fun to Say

rfv-coverSome words are fun to say. And if you’ve never seen or heard the Vestibule’s performance of “Bulbous Bouffant”, you are missing out on a ton of them.

The premise is that a word lover approaches a man waiting for the bus and strikes up a conversation. In the fullness of time, a third man joins the conversation and they all start throwing out fun words to say.

Here are the lyrics:

Man 1: Hi.
Man 2: Hello.
Man 1: Are you waiting for the bus?
Man 2: Uh, yes I am, actually.
Man 1: Hm.
Man 1: I noticed you’re not wearing any GALOSHES.
Man 2: Uh, no I’m not…it’s uh…it’s sunny out…uh…no need for galoshes.
Man 1: I’M wearing galoshes.
Man 2: Hm.
Man 1: GALOSHES.
Man 2: Uh huh.
Man 1: Did’ja read the paper today?
Man 2: Uh, no, I haven’t had a chance.
Man 1: Did you read the thing about the ESKIMOS?
Man 2: No.
Man 1: Well the article was saying that the Eskimos will eat the FAT from the whale.
Man 2: Oh, yeah.
Man 1: Do you know what that’s called?
Man 2: Uh, no, uh, I don’t.
Man 1: BLUBBER.
Man 2: Oh, right.
Man 1: BLUBBER.
Man 2: Yeah, blubber.
Man 1: That’s what it’s called.
Man 2: Uh huh.
Man 1: BLUBBER.
Man 2: Right.
Man 1: The Eskimos eat the BLUBBER.
Man 2: Uh huh.
Man 1: And the BLUBBER will come from different kinds of whales, you know?
Man 2: Oh, yeah.
Man 1: Sometimes it will come from a Beluga whale.
Man 2: Uh huh.
Man 1: BALOOGAH!
Man 2: Right, yeah.
Man 1: Heh heh. They don’t wear galoshes.
Man 2: Who the, the whales?
Man 1: NOOOOOOO. The ESKIMOS.
Man 2: Oh no. That’s right, they don’t.
Man 1: They wear MUKLUKS!
Man 2: Uh huh.
Man 1: MUKLUKS!
Man 2: That’s right; mukluks.
Man 1: MAAAAAAAKLAAAAAAAAKKKKKSSS.
Man 2: Yeah…mukluks.
Man 1: Say it again.
Man 2: Mukluks.
Man 1: Say it LOUDER.
Man 2: MUK–LUKS!
Man 1: Um hmm…good eh?
Man 2: Yeah, it is a good one…I didn’t want to say it but uhh….I like it…
Man 1: Say say say GALOSHES.
Man 2: Galoshes.
Man 1: Heh heh…it’s good, eh?
Man 2: Yeah, it’s good.
Man 1: Galoshes!
Man 2: Galoshes!
Man 1: Balooooooooogah!
Man 2: Baloogah.
Man 1: Blubber blubber blubber blubber…
Man 2: Blubber MUKLUK!
Man 1: Blubber…BALOOGAH!

Man 3: Uh, excuse me.
Man 2: Ahem.
Man 3: Sorry, um….I didn’t mean to interrupt whatever it was you were doing there…
Man 2: Oh nah…it’s OK!
Man 3: Uh, ok. I just wanted to know if this is where the bus stops?
Man 2: Uh yeah, ah…it should be here any minute actually.
Man 3: OH, I see. Well, sorry to disturb you.
Man 2: That’s ok, we were just….uhhhh…..
{long pause}
Man 1: Sir.
Man 3: Yes?
Man 1: PPPPSSSSSSSSSSSSTTTTTTT!
Man 3: Yeah.
Man 1: Look over there.
Man 3: Across the street?
Man 1: Yeah, yeah yeah.
Man 3: Um-huh.
Man 1: See that LADY?
Man 3: Yes.
Man 1: What kind of a hairstyle does she have?
Man 3: Uh, that looks like a bouffant.
Man 1: YES. A BOOOOOFFANT!
Man 3: Yes, a bouffant.
Man 2: Uh, actually, I…I couldn’t help noticing that myself, it’s sort-of what you might call a, a bulbous bouffant.
Man 3: Yes, a bulbous bouffant.
Man 1: BULBOUS BOUFFANT.
Man 3: Bouffant.
Man 1: BLUBBER
Man 2: GALOSHES!!!
Man 1: Heh heh. Mukluks!
Man 2: Bulbous bouffant.
Man 1: Mukluk mukluk. heh heh.
Man 3: MACADAMIA.
Man 1  & 2: Ooooooohhhhhhhhh. heh heh.
Man 3: Macadamia.
Man 1: Ga-ze-bo!
Man 2: Bulbous bouffant.
Man 3: Macadamia.
At this point, it breaks completely into a song… so I’ll leave off here.

Here’s an alternate version that I found in video form. Of course, in this version, they don’t actually say “Bulbous Bouffant”. So it goes.

Anyway, what is your favorite word to say?

On the Origin of Mosey

slow-walking

It’s been a while since I’ve done an etymology post, as I haven’t come across any words and needed to know where they came from (it’s a passing fancy, I guess). But knowing that I enjoy etymology, I decided to find a word to look up.

I settled on my last name. When people ask for my last name, I usually say, “Mosey, like to saunter or walk slowly”, since that is the meaning as used down south. It helps differentiate me from any Mosleys out there (as that is the most common misspelling of my name). But where did that “walk slowly” meaning come from?

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the origin is unknown, but it is most likely related to the British dialectal “mose” which means to “go around in a dull, stupid way.”

Not very uplifting.

But it is possible that it has some Spanish origins in “Vamos”, which means “to go”. That’s a bit nicer to believe.

In any case, it isn’t like I’m going to change it now. Not legally, at least. Although, I may stop correcting people if they call me “Mosley” on accident.

Creator of Worlds

Over the weekend, I started creating a new world. Well, maybe not a whole world. But a town. I started creating a town.

But there’s still a lot to consider when you create a town.

I was working at Rock the Coast on behalf of Baker Book House, running the booth, selling CDs, books, and jewelry. But in between customers, I was dreaming up people and places, names, jobs, and small histories. I asked my coworkers for help in figuring out the businesses that must be represented within any small town. We came up with quite a list:

Grocer, Police, Volunteer Fire Dept., Gas Station/Convenience Store, School, Plumber/Handyman, Construction, Pastor, Bookstore (maybe you don’t think this is necessary, but I do), Mechanic, Electronics Repairman, Barber/Beautician, Doctor, and so on.

It goes on and on.

And the thing about creating is that everyone needs a story, a place to live, something to do for money, something to spend money on, hobbies, loves, flaws. And every person, business and building needs a name.

It takes a lot of creative energy.

I can understand why God needed a rest after six days of non-stop creation. And he wasn’t just working on a small town. He was doing it all.

Perhaps I have a god complex, but I really enjoy the creation process. I always have. As a child, I made stories with my Lego people, created places for them to live, jobs for them to have, and reasons for them to do what they did. In college, I was hooked on The Sims, starting characters, building houses, and the rest. And I recently posted how much I enjoy creating new characters for another computer game (Diablo II).

Creating something from nothing but thought is intoxicating!

And so I am creating my small town. Moose Lake, Michigan. And I can’t wait to fill it with stories.

welcome_to_moose_lake

I am a Millennial

Jonaya Kemper sews her own sundresses and grows her own vegetables, embodying the do-it-yourself mindset of many in the millennial generation. (Christina House, For The Times / May 15, 2013)

I was listening to NPR recently, and a story about Millennials (people aged 18 to early 30’s) caught my ear. They were talking about student loans, credit cards, and the attitudes of different generations toward debt.

I think they were referencing this story from the LA Times written by Emily Alpert. Here’s a snippet:

Millennials, who range from teenagers to people in their early 30s, are more financially cautious than the stereotype of the spendthrift twentysomething, several studies suggest. Many embrace thrift.

Some experts say their habits echo those of another generation, those who came of age during the Great Depression and forged lifelong habits of scrimping and saving — along with a suspicion of financial risk.

The article goes on to say that Millennials have fewer credit cards and less credit card debt. We avoid large financial purchases like cars and homes. And we spend less annually on entertainment than our 65 to 74 year-old counterparts.

Another article snippet:

“As a kid, if you had a patch on your jeans it wasn’t cool — people made fun of me,” said Jonaya Kemper, a 27-year-old preschool teacher who grows her own vegetables and sews her own sundresses. “Now they ask, ‘Can you teach me?'”

I can attest to this lifestyle and attitude toward debt. After we married, my wife and I made a point of not taking college classes that we couldn’t pay for immediately. We don’t carry a balance on our credit card, and we are well on our way to paying off our 5-year car loan in under one year. The majority of the clothes that my family wears are either from thrift shops or we have owned and worn them for over five years.

Perhaps my wife and I are cheap, but I would rather be thrifty than pay interest on credit cards or loans. And I don’t think it is just a thrift mindset at work either.

I have known three families to lose all of their things to fire. My neighbor told me the other day that there have been some daytime burglaries in our area recently. I think about the things in my house, and aside from my wife and girls, nothing else is worth risking my life over. Sure, it would stink if someone stole my extended edition Lord of the Rings DVDs, and yeah, it would be a pain to replace my book collections from P.G. Wodehouse, Kurt Vonnegut, and others, but things get stolen and things burn.

I didn’t know that this was a prevalent feeling among people in my age category before the NPR reference to the LA Times story. It’s good to know that I’m in good company.

My Grandpa was Full of Little Jokes | Memorial Day 2012

Here’s a piece I wrote for last year. I’ll be enjoying this Memorial Day with my wife and family! Have a happy and safe holiday!

Josh Mosey | Writer

I wrote this back in 2008 after my grandpa died. He was a serviceman in the US Navy during WWII. In the spirit of Memorial Day, I wanted to share this and remember him and his service, both to our country and to his family.

God bless you Norman Mosey.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My grandpa always used to read the obituary section. He said that if he didn’t see his name there, he knew that he wasn’t dead. It was one of his little jokes.

He was full of little jokes.

When I would ask for a half glass of orange juice, he would ask…

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