Our feature presentation today is a rant about crazy hairy ants, and it's coming up, but a few short subjects first.

• When the Toad Suck Toesucker returned to his old tricks recently, did anybody think to check on the whereabouts of Dick Morris?

• Wednesday is Columbus Day, the real one, and I'm wondering if anyone ever gifted the world with as much grief and misery as the Admiral of the Ocean Sea did. I expect not. Not Schicklgruber or the Man of Steel. Not even Fred Phelps. 519 and counting, the New World still reeling from the shock. Columbus Day following Labor Day in a country that now officially hates labor. That would rather drown it in the bathtub than give it its own holiday.

• If any of you'unses decide to compile a 10 Worst Bailiwick Grubberies list, I've got a nomination. A place out on the highway whose sole claim to fame is the length of its buffet serving line — a gantlet of stainless steel pans filled with steaming swill pretending to be comestibles. There are pans of fried swill, boiled swill, more fried swill, still more fried swill, deep-fried swill, swill dumplings, swill nuggets, mashed swill, pulled swill, swill loaf, scalloped swill, deviled swill, chopped swill, tossed swill, pickled swill, swill-on-the cob, swill-filled pie with galvanized crust that had to have come from a  tannery, and machine swill disguised as frozen custard.

When you get your plate to the table, all the different swill strains morph into a gray lumpy mass that has a swillish consistency of drying cement. Be good in a food fight, but the thought of actually ingesting such troughage surely violates the cruel and unusual clause. Paying good money for it ought at least to free you from the obligation to petition fellow diners to ramrod glops of it down your goozle while you kick and scream, while tears well and gorge rises.

OK, then — about those pismires.

As if we didn't have enough to worry about with killer cantaloupes,  Asshat Oligarchs, Armageddon, the Mayan countdown, global warming, Huckabee dropping the F-bomb, and the coming-soon Great Crash of a civilization near you, we're now asked to hail the arrival of crazy hairy ants.

Crazy hairy ants aren't called crazy for nothing. Little buggers are bat-guano berserk, such brutes that they round up fearsome fire ants and have rodeos riding them bareback and yeehawing. And then eating them. Alive. It's unspeakable what they do to carpenter ants and their other more docile cousins.

Because crazy hairy ants are really crazy and really hairy, and remorseless, they're also really scary even to notorious antslayers. A mongoose will faint just at the thought of them. Aardvarks turn tail and run. Crazy hairy ants laugh at every pesticide on the market and the banned ones too. They'll wallow in Mirex or DDT as happily as elephants in the dust of a wadi. Even without noses, they'll snort Delta Dust like it was coke and they were Kate Moss.

You might be able to kill them one at a time with a meat cleaver, but the thing is, you wouldn't want to kill them even if you could, because if you even look at them wrong, with malicious intent, they release a chemical that rallies every crazy hairy ant for kilometers around. They come after your ass. They'll get you too. Some of them with microscopic tattoos that say "I'm your worst nightmare."

There's no known defense against them, as with the Native Americans v. Columbus. So all you can do is grin and bear them, submit to their depredations, and not let them catch you muttering behind their backs.

If you think I'm exaggerating, or doing my usual punk-ass end-of-the-world panic number, you could look it up. Google it if they haven't already overrun and consumed your Googler. Fire doesn't work against them. Prayer doesn't. And don't be thinking moat. With their little side hairs working in tandem like banks of minuscule oars, they can scull a moat faster than Johnny Weissmuller could freestyle it. They'd actually rather cross a moat than not. They'll go out of their way to cross one.

The question is already under seminary mulling whether the advance of crazy hairy ant is a show of Providential displeasure, as 9/ll was, according to Bro. Pat and St. Jerry, both confidantes. I don't think that's the case. For one thing, the Almighty usually takes His vengeance with a flair for the dramatic, like loosing a Great Flood that turns untold numbers of newborn babes and saintly old-timers, and puppies and spotted fawns, into catfish nosh. He doesn't have the patience, if you'll pardon the presumption, to smite large-scale iniquity with mere ants. Locusts are probably as low as He'd go.

The crazy hairy ant could be the Devil's handiwork, though, if only because Ned is obliged to work within a much smaller special-effects budget. But even the Devil might balk at sending forth to wreak havoc a critter that you'd need a magnifying glass to be viscerally terrified by.

So whence the loony hirsute ant? I'd venture it's neither God-sent nor up from Pandemonium; that it rather crawled out from under the same rock that provided harborage to others of our eeewy mutants — Newt Gingrich, for example, or the dog-peter gnat.



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