More Dogs on Main Street
July 27, 2006
The news has been pretty ugly lately. Rockets raining down on the Israel-Lebanon border; trains exploding in India with Pakistani connections and both sides sitting on nuclear weapons; North Korea behaving badly and while their long-range missile fizzled after 42 seconds, the idea that they could plant one on Seattle is unsettling.
The list goes on and on — a disputed election in Mexico, the Taliban back in control of much of Afghanistan, the usual problems all over Africa. And of course, we are still being greeted as liberators in Iraq.
When the clock radio comes on in the morning, that first blast of NPR news is enough to have me pulling the covers over my head. It would be easy to just stay put, except for the heat. Officially, it’s not global warming, but it sure feels like global warming, or global deep-frying. The worst part of that would be hearing Al Gore say, "I told you so."
With the world situation going to pieces, at least things have been completely normal around here. Until now. Now we have kangaroos running amok in Silver Creek. I don’t know if the heat has driven them barmy or if we have some kind of "mad ‘roo" disease that has infected them, but the kangaroos are on a rampage.
I didn’t know we had kangaroos in Summit County. We shouldn’t be surprised. With the ski areas hiring so many Australians over the past several years, it was bound to happen. One of them brings a pet along, or a tiny kangaroo hides away in somebody’s pocket, then strikes out on its own when it gets to Park City. Then they go hopping along, frightening the women and horses.
There used to be reports of camels roaming the Uinta Mountains.
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The story was that the U.S. Army, back in the 1800s, had experimented with using camels as pack animals to get across the Great Plains and the deserts of the western U.S. It seems to make sense, using camels to get across the salt flats or through the Mojave Desert. The experiment failed for some reason, but for years after, there were reports of camels running wild all over the West. The last of the feral camels seems to have vanished years ago. Now we have kangaroos. It’s always something.
When I first heard about the kangaroos, I had to wonder who you call about that. If you pick up the phone and call somebody to report that there is a kangaroo in your yard, it may be difficult to be taken seriously. The dispatcher would probably say, "Yes, I see it, right there next to the Klingon Starship, boxing with the Hobbit. Now put your aluminum foil hat back on and go inside. The heat has gotten to you."
It’s not the usual Animal Control situation. The dogcatcher could very reasonably respond, "We don’t do kangaroos." “No, I don’t suppose you have much call for that.” It would be hard to find fault with that. So you might call Wildlife Resources. They deal with moose, bear, mountain lions, rabid skunks and the like. Surely they would have a kangaroo wrangler someplace in the department. But apparently they don’t. It’s a safe bet that the kangaroos are not natives. Maybe it’s an immigration issue, and the feds have jurisdiction. But our borders are so loosely enforced that kangaroos are not required to have passports or proof of citizenship. So the calls about the rampaging ‘roo went to the sheriff, who promptly busted it for jaywalking.
Speaking of mindless hopping around, have you been paying attention to Congress lately? It’s business as usual. In a week when the world was falling apart, and the administration seemed to be caught flat-footed once again in dealing with the issues, we might have expected Congress to rise to the occasion. One might have expected Congress to look at some of the substantive problems or engage in meaningful debate about what our policies should be. But instead, the House took two days debating a constitutional amendment on gay marriage.
The proposal had already failed in the Senate, so there was no reason to discuss it at all. They also took up the all-important issue of whether the words “under God” should remain in the pledge of allegiance or not. That will certainly protect us from Iranian nukes, or keep the country functioning if a couple of oil tankers get blown up in the Strait of Hormuz.
Instead of attempting to deal with planning for such things as the Israeli war spreading into the other countries, how to deal with global oil supply disruptions, and a serious discussion of what the U.S. response to all of this ought to be, Congress is discussing a gay marriage ban, that has already died, and the language of the pledge of allegiance. They must be very proud of the work they do.
Pioneer Day is Monday. It’s a big deal, though not so much here in Park City. If July of 1847 was as miserably hot and dry as July of 2006, and if the biting flies were as numerous then as now, you really have to question the decision to stay here. One hundred and five degrees with biting flies? This is the place? Brigham, surely you’re joking. But no, here we are all these years later. It worked out pretty well, for the most part. Thousands of people will fry themselves on the sidewalks to watch the big parade in Salt Lake. I don’t think there will be any kangaroos in the parade.