The noble squirrel contemplates the unknown, eyes fixed on eternity
My friends often describe squirrels, to my great indignation, as “rats with prettier tails.” I will spare you my feelings on this—suffice it to say that, obviously, the trash-scavenging conditions of squirrels in urban areas has more to do with human encroachment on their habitat than any fault of their own (also, I really love rats)—but here in Middletown we have some squirrel variation that invites greater appreciation. Of course I’m referring here to the beautiful jet-black squirrels that frolic and scavenge about the Wesleyan campus.
Hawk won. More documentation of yesterday’s squirrel-hungry hawk on the hunt, then sating the hunger. Intrepid photographer Yushi Ohmori ’11 snapped some excellent shots while the crowd watched outside WestCo.
“It’s low in fat, low in food miles and completely free range. In fact, some claim that Sciurus carolinensis – the grey squirrel – is about as ethical a dish as it is possible to serve on a dinner plate.
The grey squirrel, the American cousin of Britain’s endangered red variety, is flying off the shelves faster than hunters can shoot them, with game butchers struggling to keep up with demand. ‘We put it on the shelf and it sells. It can be a dozen squirrels a day – and they all go,’ said David Simpson, the director of Kingsley Village shopping centre in Fraddon, Cornwall, whose game counter began selling grey squirrel meat two months ago.
Simpson likens the taste to wild boar. Ridley thinks it is more a cross between duck and lamb. ‘It’s moist and sweet because, basically, its diet has been berries and nuts,’ he said.
Both believe its new-found popularity is partly due to its green credentials. ‘People like the fact it is wild meat, low in fat and local – so no food miles,’ says Simpson. Ridley reckons that patriotism also plays a part: ‘Eat a grey and save a red. That’s the message.’
‘People may say they are buying it because it’s green and environmentally friendly, but really they’re doing it out of curiosity and because of the novelty value. If they can say, “Darling, tonight we’re having squirrel”, then that takes care of the first 30 minutes of any dinner party conversation. I see it remaining a niche. There’s not much meat on a squirrel, so I’d be surprised if farming squirrel takes off anywhere some time soon.’ “
Edit: the disturbing fact that the “ultimate ethical meal” happens to involve killing lots and lots of innocent, fuzzy cutelings is not lost on me. DO NOT GO AND KILL THE SQUIRRELS. (I’m fairly sure you’d get some VDS commando team on your ass…)
•Squirrels ruled the land. No really, I can walk across campus twice and see nobody except squirrels. It’s kind of eerie, like a post apocalyptic movie.
•Middletown High played Xavier on Andrus field, complete with at least 1000 people and a sweet, hugely loud brass band. M-town won. Seriously, both sets of bleachers were full. It was epic.
•Weshop/Piggies remained about as helpful in balancing my nutrition as it normally is; it’s been closed since Tuesday, forcing me to seek other sources of protein. (a few more weeks of this and I might be forced to have a little squirrel barbecue.)
•Some really beautiful, balmy days have been bestowed on us by the Giver of All Good Gifts. (Incidentally, Middletown has a righteous christian radio station, WIHS @ 104.9 )
•The alcoholic-drink-of-choice transitioned from something iced to something spiced: Hot Cider with Cardamom and Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. (More snow is necessary to complete this transition, but we’re in the grey area…)
•There were no sweet shows, at the cafe or at eclectic or at anywhere.
You didn’t miss much. Except the football game, which was epic. and some quiet.
Wesleyan has its own mini population of black squirrels, though some claim, “THERE IS ONLY ONE! it’s just so fast it’s tricking you out, dude.”
Some people call it the Alpha Squirrel; others just call it “What the fuck was that?!”. In any case, it is a creature treated with awe, and its appearance has been heralded as both a boon and a warning. It is said that the abundance of acorns this fall was the doing of an intricate harvest dance performed by a circle of flaming black squirrels. Furthermore, what conscientious Wesleyan student will ever forget the Great Gray Squirrel Gorgefest of 2005? Word is that the black squirrel sent mind-rays into the hungry hawk’s brain cluing it into the exact GPS coordinates of the unfortunate gray squirrel in order to prevent a hurricane from striking Guam (Please, like I’m the only one who saw The Butterfly Effect).
The best place for black squirrel-watching is the WestCo courtyard, where if you’re lucky, you can see them barking–No doubt some elaborate code for the upcoming war against the skunks.
“There’s at least 4. 4 crossed my path on my way to an orgo test once, and I did badly on it compared to my others, so I have declared a vendetta against the black squirrels, since it was obviously their doing.”
“there was originally one black squirrel (the shadow squirrel, if you will) but in recent weeks he has cloned himself 3 times (that’s 4 folks) in preparation for some kind of evil plan/takeover that i am working on obtaining knowledge of”
“They say when you see the black squirrel you wake up the next morning really thirsty”
“Man, 50 years ago we’d have had it upside-down with a fork up its ass.”
“This is actually a statement about race.”
And a quick ditty on getting your hands on this valuable creature (for lunch, or perhaps taxidermy):
“a method pioneered at Stanford should help with this one. take a fishing rod, attach a peanut at the end of the hook, and wait. this also works with a bag of weed and people.”