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Ethical Dilemmas May 31, 2006

Posted by skinbad in Personal Experiences.

1. This one's not so serious, but here goes: Some shit machines starlings have built a couple of nests in my carport rafters. They are absolutely doing a number on my cars. This has never happened before. At what point can I get rid of the nests? Are the young out and about yet? I don't know. I should just grow a pair and rent a flamethrower. Some people have fake owls. Do they work?

2. Men: You pass a car that's pulled over on a stretch of road where there isn't normally a good reason to pull over. You see a woman, maybe with some kids. Maybe she's trying to change a tire, maybe she's just sitting in the car. For all you know, she may be feeding a child or changing a diaper. Could be day, dusk, or night. You might have a cell phone; you might not. What course of action do you take?

Women: What would you want a single man who is not a creep (but you don't know that) to do?


1. blogidaho - May 31, 2006

I’ve heard that hanging CD’s on strings bothers the birds, especially where the sun hits them.
Plus it looks pretty cool too.
I’m positive that the AOL CD’s work best.

2. Mrs. Peel - May 31, 2006

1. They’re birds. Who cares? In general, unless the offending birds are bluebirds (very rare) or mockingbirds (state bird) or bald eagles (do I really need to explain this one?) or something, I say take the flamethrower to ’em. If they’re grackles, take the flamethrower to them with extreme prejudice.

2. You flip your driver’s license over to find the roadside assistance number and call it on the lady’s behalf. (Never go out driving without your cell phone. Especially if you are a member of the fairer sex.) I’ve actually done this a couple times when I passed someone whose car was obviously broken down and who didn’t appear to have a cell phone.

3. Bart - May 31, 2006

1. Kill. Them. All.

2. See #1.

4. sandy burger - May 31, 2006

1. If they’re still crapping on your car, then they’re still using the nest, which probably means they still have eggs or babies in the nest. Attach a tarp under the nest or something to catch the bird crap. After they leave the nest, you need to take preemptive action to prevent them from coming back next year, because many birds will repeatedly use a nesting site year after year.

2. I don’t know the answer; I’m curious, too. Once, my brother and I were driving down the highway, and on the opposite side of the road we saw a van full of nuns with a flat tire. Too cool. It was quite a while before we found a place to turn around, though, and by the time we got back there, the van full of nuns was gone.

5. Bart - May 31, 2006

1. Maybe they just go up in the rafters to shit on skinny’s car. Birds have a sense of humor, too.

2. Could it have been a van full of penguins instead of nuns?

6. Muslihoon - May 31, 2006

I knew there was a reason I liked Bart. I like your approach.

7. sandy burger - May 31, 2006

I couldn’t tell whether they were nuns or penguins. But either way, it was a van full of fun.

8. lauraw - May 31, 2006

Remove the nests and don’t give it a second thought. Starlings and English sparrows are non-native birds and you have every right to destroy the nests.

As an aside- If you put up bluebird houses on your property, you would be ethically obliged to destroy the sparrow nests that occasionally take over a bluebird box.

9. kevlarchick - May 31, 2006

1. Get an owl or set off a bunch of firecrackers.

2. Pull over, approach the car but keep your distance and ask if she wants you to call someone or help out. I’ve broken down (before cell phone days) and rode with complete strangers more than once. You can’t hang out on the highway in a blizzard and wait for the “right” help.

10. skinbad - May 31, 2006

I appreciate the advice on dealing with these vexing birds.

The starling advice is also helpful (rimshot). But I’ll feel guilty if Spurwing finds this thread.

KC–You’ve broken down and rode? Your honorary Central Utah Membership Card should be arriving in the mail shortly. 🙂

11. kevlarchick - May 31, 2006

Are you making fun of my grammar? I don’t get it. Rode is the past tense of ride. I guess you can say ridden, but that is more irregular.

Haven’t been to Utah yet. Is it an inside joke?

12. skinbad - May 31, 2006

Sorry, sounded funny to me.
“I rode” sounds fine.
“I’ve rode” sounds like local cowboy speak. “I’ve ridden” seems to work better to me. Maybe just a regional thing.

13. Pupster - May 31, 2006

1. If you leave the birds alone in this location, they will come back year after year. Trust me on this, birds find a “good” spot and keep coming back. If you decide to live and let live, be prepared to do it every year.

2. I always stop it I can. I have been stranded before; I have had perfect strangers help me push a dead vehicle off the road. I’ve done it for perfect strangers. Pass it on, I say. If the vehicle in question is driven by a female, keep your distance, but ask if she needs help. Look non-threatening (BART). Be helpful. The tables may be turned some day.

14. The Comish (sic) - May 31, 2006

1) Keep in mind that they’re animals. If they thought they could, they’d kill you in a second. You’ve got every right to protect your territory.

2) I stop. Heck, I even stop if it’s a guy and he looks particularly lost with the equipment. (Err, did that sound sort of gay?) But if you end up giving someone a ride, … I mean, lift … I mean someone gets in your car and you drive them to help … Oh, forget it.

True story — I was on a date, and as I was driving her home, I leaned over to give her a kiss. Not a good idea. She actually screamed. Now, I’m used to women screaming when I try to kiss them, but this was different. She’d screamed because she thought I was going to hit a telephone pole. I was so wrapped up in kissing her that I stopped paying attention to the road, and I ended up hitting a curb and blowing out a tire. So I pulled into a Walgreen’s parking lot and tried to change the tire. And then it started to rain. Hard. And then my jack broke. I was sitting in a puddle, trying to raise the jack with my fingers, when I saw someone approaching me from behind. Darkened parking lot, 2:00 a.m., approaching from behind, wearing a heavy jacket, hands in pockets, head down, walking straight for me … I figured he was about to rob me. So I took a deep breath and got mentally ready to fight. Turns out he was an extremely gay man who’d stopped to help. He had a super-fancy automatic jack that he loaned me, and I got my date home in no time.

I’m not sure what a good thank you gift is for a gay man who loaned you his jack (after re-reading that sentence, I have a feeling Bart is giggling to himself right now), but I sent him flowers. Gay guys like flowers, right?

And yes, I’m still single. Hard to believe, I know.

15. skinbad - May 31, 2006

“I’m not sure what a good thank you gift is for a gay man who loaned you his jack”

I’ve got about a hundred cornhole jokes going to waste right now.

16. kevlarchick - May 31, 2006

Comish, finish the story! What happened with the girl? Any man who wrecks the car because he’s so distracted by the woman next to him is a catch in my book.

17. digitalbrownshirt - May 31, 2006

1. The nest would be gone and any babies would be fed to my dog.

2. I’d have to stop.

18. Bart - May 31, 2006

1. Call a tow truck to have the nest removed.

2. Approach car slowly with a broom. Then, shoo-away (gently, but firmly) the female motorist. If she comes back to nest, throw rocks. She’ll get the message. eventually, that the side of the road is no place to nest.

19. The Comish (sic) - May 31, 2006


I’m not really sure where to go with the story after that. It’s certainly anti-climactic.

When I got her home, I was way too embarrassed to try to kiss again, so I walked her to her door and then stood about 5 feet away with my hands in my pockets, kicking the carpet like a kid waiting outside the principal’s office. She was nice enough to invite me in for a glass of wine, almost certainly out of pity more than anything else. She kept smiling and laughing until I got over being mortified. This was probably our 3rd or 4th date, and we ended up seeing each other for almost a year.

That was one of her greatest traits (well, one of her top 20 traits) — her ability to forgive me for the myriad idiotic things I did. And it’s a very necessary trait for anyone that dates me.

And I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I assure you that if anyone was a “catch” in my story, it was the girl I was with (or maybe the gay guy, if you’re into that kind of thing). I’m pretty sure that a “catch” would know that your chances of romance increase exponentially when your date doesn’t think you’re trying to kill her.

20. Bart - May 31, 2006

Gay guys like flowers, right?

How the heck should I know? Pobably. Yeah. They like flowers, oriental rugs, and little dogs, too.

That gay guy must be the designated mechanic for the highway rest stops in his area.

21. steve_in_hb - May 31, 2006

The Comish –

So you tried to start a make out session while the car was actually moving? What exactly was your plan if she had responded positively. Weren’t you taught that there is only one sexual activity a man should participate in while driving a car. It allows you to keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. However, uncontrolled bursts of acceleration do take place.

22. Pupster - May 31, 2006

On topic #2, I used to be a service technician and was called to an “emergency” one night/morning about 15 years ago. When I was just finishing the repair (about 3:00 in the morning on a Sunday) I heard a car with a flat tire drive by the building. Ten minutes later as I was driving home, dead tired, I passed a car on the side of the road with a flat tire and a girl sitting in the drivers seat. I did not stop. I was able to justify it to myself at the time, I had been working all day and night, and I needed sleep. Someone else could play the Good Samaritan.

I thought about her the whole way home, running over different scenarios in my mind. What was this girl doing out at 3:00 in the morning? Serves her right, probably up to no good. I got home around 3:30 (the call was on the other end of town) and undressed and got in bed.

No matter how hard I tried, I could not get this stranded motorist out of my mind. I fought with myself until about 4:15, then I gave up, got dressed, and drove back to where I had saw the car. The car was still there, the girl was not. I waited around for about 15 minutes, then drove around in circles for another hour to see if I could spot her. No luck. I never found out what happened to her. Probably nothing bad, but, who knows? I think about that girl every time I see a car on the side of the road. That’s why I always stop.

23. Mrs. Peel - May 31, 2006

The trouble with stopping to help, for me at least, is: how do I know the person who’s apparently broken down isn’t a predator? That’s why I prefer the calling-roadside-assistance method.

And yes, I’m paranoid. That’s why nothing’s ever happened to me.

24. Bart - May 31, 2006

2. P, you wouldn’t stop for a van full of Catholic penguins?

25. trouble - May 31, 2006

1) don’t hurt the baby birdies.
2) Call someone to help me. Hopefully, someone in a recognizable uniform so I don’t have to shoot a well-intentioned (but potentially scary) stranger on the side of the road.

The problem, for me as a woman, is that in general, scary rapist guys look pretty much the same as not scary helpful guys. You don’t really know, until it’s far too late, which one you’ve got on your hands. Haven’t you ever watched Silence of the Lambs?

26. daveintexas - May 31, 2006

1) Get rid of em. Hang a little rubber snake in the eave to keep em from coming back.

2) If you’re a guy, stop to help, window down “can I call someone”? If you’re a gal, drive down the road, call the cops.

27. Russ from Winterset - May 31, 2006

As far as the birds go, get an extremely tall cat. Or a Crosman 760 with a tin of Beeman Crow magnum pellets. Or both.

Broken down cars? I stop about 50% of the time, unless someone else is already there, and I make it a point of stopping all the time if the car’s in a lonely place late at night. I find that the best way to make contact is to approach the driver’s window & ask “can I call someone for you?” I’ve helped change a few tires over the years, and I once helped fix a blocked fuel line back in the day. Thank God for high school auto shop.

28. Sobek - June 1, 2006

My wife gets mad at me when I stop, so I make it a practice to not mention it when I do.

As far as frequency goes, bascially every time I see a stranded motorist, I immediately have the following conversation in my head: “I’m gonna stop.” “No, don’t do it.” “I’m gonna.” “Don’t. Someone else will help.” “How do you know? Besides, the someone else could be a creep.” “That’s not very likely.” “You never know.” “I’m gonna stop.”

The length of the conversation varies, but inevitably it ends up with “I’m gonna stop.” At that point, whether I actually stop depends on how much time has lapsed since I passed the stranded motorist. If it’s too much time, and I’m too far distant, I keep on going. But if I decide soon enough, then I stop.

Re: the Central Utah Membership Card. Once I was driving in Central Utah, in a small town during the day, and I saw a car stall in the middle of an intersection. Immediately after I realized it was stalled (I thought it was just making a turn), I started to pull over. Before I could even bring my car to a stop, I saw in the mirror that at least ten other cars had stopped, people flooded into the street, and began helping push the stalled car to safety. And that’s not the first time I’ve seen the “helpful Utah driver swarm.” I dare say, there’s no better place in the world to have car trouble.

29. jayne - June 1, 2006

As far as the birds go, we had this same problem this spring. We waited until the babies could fly away and then destroyed the nest. Otherwise another set of birds will use it. For good measure we also put lots of mothballs around the area. Mice hate them so I am hoping that birds will, too. The mess baby birds make is just not worth it.
I, personally, just call for help on my cell phone for people because I could really only help someone if the problem was they were out of gas. However, whenever I have needed help a very kind man has always stopped and I really appreciate it. And I expect my son to stop to help people. As far as I know he always does.

30. skinbad - June 1, 2006

Yes Sobek, the conversation in the head sounds familiar. I’m a cell phone hold out, so the busier the street, the less likely I am to stop–unless something looks really off. I hope the person has a phone or someone with one will make the call. On lonelier road stops, I mostly get waved off before I get near the car, “Someone’s on their way,” which is fine. I don’t think I look too scary, but Ted Bundy didn’t either.

31. blogidaho - June 1, 2006

Old cellphones can still diall 911.
They have donation drives around here to collect them and give them to people to carry in their cars.
I’m not sure of the Analog phones will still work.
I’ve got a big clunky one that I leave in my truck. It’s as thick as a brick.

32. Bart - June 1, 2006

1. Do what Russ said — throw a cat in the rafters.

2. Drive by really slowly, beep the horn, point, wave, and laugh.

33. blogidaho - June 1, 2006

Lauraw: As an aside- If you put up bluebird houses on your property, you would be ethically obliged to destroy the sparrow nests that occasionally take over a bluebird box.

The Bluebird is the Idaho State Bird. A proper Bluebird house has a hole that is a certain size, I think it’s 1 1/8″. It’s too small for Starlings.
I was amazed to learn that even members of the local Bird Watchers Club, hate Starlings.

The Magpies like to go into the chicken coop and eat the eggs and scratch grains.
Mrs. Geezer doesn’t approve of this because she has one old Banty Rooster that she is afraid the Magpies will kill. He just sits in the coop all day while the other rooster takes the six hens on a walkabout.

34. Gordon (aka Geezer Dude) - December 6, 2006

I ran across this blog out of happenstance, whatever that means.

Anyway, I found many of the comments amusing and a few actually offered a solution.

Bart, you have made many posts here and you are either a creative sort with a sense of humor or a deranged individual (maybe both). Oh well, they say it takes one to know one. LOL

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