Rodents of Unusual Size

The dangers of the fire swamp are the flame spurt, the lightning sand, the Internet wormholes, and the dreaded Rodents Of Unusual Size (ROUS). Leslie has demonstrated the most effective way to avoid three of these dangers but no one has a viable way of avoiding Internet wormholes short of tossing your computer (or Smart Phone) into the Well at the World’s End.

I personally fall into what should be an easily avoidable wormhole in two seemingly innocent ways. The first is when I go to YouTube to catch up on the four or five video podcasts I follow and enjoy. Unfortunately the folks at Google tempt me with dozens of related or semi-related videos that seem to promise arcane knowledge of digital watches or at least a few minutes of entertainment ranging from mild humor to sexual enticement. My favorites tend to involve food porn (especially street food, down and dirty), classic rock covers played on obscure asian instruments, and videos displaying the my favorite comedian-du-jour (Lewis Black  rocks!). I also still insist on watching the How-To video whenever I need to restring my ukulele.


The other main source of wormholes is the click-bait that populates the bottom of almost every page on the internet. You know the ones: You Won’t Believe What She Looks Like Now; Five Foods To Blast Belly Fat; Hollywood Stars Without Any Tattoos: We’ve Got the Proof; Shocking Family Photos; You’ll Never Guess What This Python Just Ate; Is There Intelligent Life on Earth? Secrets of Long-Forgotten Sitcoms From the Sixties.

My favorite stupid Internet lure is the They Aren’t Pretty Any More theme where they show a photo of a gorgeous actress from a 1972 television show and then the same woman 45 years later and blatantly accuse the poor woman of aging.

There is also a cluster of Internet wormholes that challenge your knowledge and who can avoid a challenge? I took several of these tests that suggested a level of difficulty which were designed to bring the average American to tears. I quickly decided that they were targeting the average 14-year-old American (or sitting congressman).


One example from a “history” quiz showed a picture on President Dwight David Eisenhower and I was asked to respond if the gentleman in the photo was: a) Abraham Lincoln, b) George Washington, c) Dwight Eisenhower, or d) Eleanor Roosevelt.

Then yesterday I was reading a long article related to the history of the music industry and was on the verge of defenestrating my iPad rather than have to learn yet again that Keith Richards was one of the founding members of the Rolling Stones or that Stephen Stills wrote a song about Judy Collins, who was a folk singer in the ’60s [See: Joan Baez]. This reminds me of reading in a schoolbook where I would annoyingly be interrupted to flip to the back of the book and read a footnote that should have been perfectly obvious to the average sophomore in High School.

I suppose in certain instances this aggravating explication of the obvious is necessary. For instance, a reference to the Stones … is that Fred and Barney or a bag of Pet Rocks? Would a 14-year-old get any of these references?

Not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new or interesting (no matter how useless) on the Internet. And then there are those times when my son-in-law gets exasperated at me when I am incredulous that he never heard of Larry Love or Ron Swoboda or Jack Hirschman.

So the wealth of knowledge (and misrepresentation) the Internet provides is a big plus, despite the blasted wormholes. Will someone invent an app to recognize wormholes before they entrap you? A Stupid-meter would be helpful too.

The Mets won that World Series in 1969. You can Google it.

2 thoughts on “Rodents of Unusual Size

  1. Oh Michael you have opened an old wound and ported salt in to it. I lived in Baltimore then and to this day cannot accept the idea that 2 upstart New York teams stole the prizes that belonged to us. First the Jets and then the Mets. Oh the pain.


    1. I was actually in Graduate School in St. Louis. The previous year I had joined the crowd in the department office and watched Denny McClain and crew destroy the Cardinals (I was pleased but the prevailing sentiment in the room was oh-so-sad). The next year I watch the series in my roach infested apartment. If you recall, it was a season long struggle between the Cards and the Cubs and by some freak of fate, the Mets came from way behind and won it all (and that was a great Baltimore team).

      I also watched the Super Bowl in St. Louis at a friends house that year and despite being a Chargers fan, and even a Unitas lover, I appreciated how that little shit Namath won the big one.


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