Carpenter Ants devour Losing Lakers’ Swiss Army Knife

It seems like yesterday that the Lakers won the NBA championship. But, here we are, a few months later at the very beginning of new basketball playoffs — which are typically scheduled to take place after a relatively meaningless ‘regular season’. The Lakers have been plagued with injury…

“In a
COVID year, Dan, ‘plagued’ is a poor word choice,” Nazy interjected.

… p
lagued with injury, eh, beset by an unlucky sequence of calamitous biological trauma. In short, their playoff chances were dim.

Dim, Dan?” Nazy asked.

“Comparable to winning the lottery, my dear.”
tom tiger arrow at lakers May 2021

“But I might win.”

“Sure,” I said. “
And I might be struck by a meteorite made of $100 bills.” I thought.

Tom, Arrow and Tiger were, of course, undaunted by the odds. Moreover, Tom was able to find tickets at Staples Center for a playoff game. He took the boys and his Dad and a younger brother. They had a great time — even though the Lakers lost.

A couple of days later, the Lakers lost the elimination game. They are out of the playoffs.

“There are people,” I explained to Nazy, “who refuse to believe the results.”

“But the game is over.”

“I know. But the
Lakers fans in the red coats want to audit the results.”

“But the game is over. The Lakers lost. The
other team got more points.”

“But this
team could be reinstated in August.”


“An audit may show that the basketball wasn’t round, the net was made of organic cotton not ague-mandated (but inferior) 100% polyester with polypropylene. The referee was a biped and a lot of people wanted the Lakers to win. Reinstatement is just an insurrection away.”
“That is delusional.”

“And unhinged. But because they believe it, they are convinced that it is true. And, if there isn’t an August reinstatement, some supporters will change the rules for next year’s game.”

“Change the rules? How?”

“The referee will wear a Lakers shirt and if one of the Lakers leaves because of an injury, then the crowd can injure a player on the other team. And the other team can’t have players who score more points than the Lakers.”

“I don’t think that willl…”

“And if the other team doesn’t like it, the venue will be stormed and Laker fans will spend the next four years pouting.”
nazy and wine May 2021

While we await Darius’ arrival, Nazy and I took Arrow and Azelle to the beach. Nazy has become really good friends with the waiter as you can see from the photo — when she couldn’t decide which wine she preferred, the waiter brought …

“… all
three?” I queried.

“He said I could taste them and decide,” Nazy replied.

“And did you decide?” I asked. “
That’s not a tasting size,” I thought.

“Yes! I like them all,” Nazy concluded.
arrow and azelle beach sand May 2021

“I’ll drive home.”

Azelle and Arrow had a great time digging holes in the sand and running away from the waves.

Nazy and I, aware that things are opening up, drove, via the Chumash Highway, to Los Olivos for a Sunday stroll. The weather was beautiful and Nazy made new friends in many shops. We both really like the garden shop in the downtown area….

which is now crowded with wine tasting venues,” I thought

“And hat stores,” Nazy noted as she showed me
two hats that we simply had to have.

Darius, Christiane, Leandra and Auriane will arrive in California for a quick visit shortly. In fact, we’re driving to LAX to collect them while Mitra and Stefan will drive to Santa Barbara for the week. While they are here, we’ll have a joint celebration of Mitra’s, Leandra’s and Tiger’s birthdays.

When Darius arrives, I’m planning to show him (among other things) his collection of localized Monopoly® games, his Atlas collection (a stack higher than the Atlas Mountain range in Morocco), his chess medallions (from the chess club in The Hague) and his foreign coin collection (which weighs more than our car).

Nazy actually thinks that Darius will take some of that stuff home to Bellingham.

Recently, we’ve had bad luck with local handymen. Both the window cleaner and the electrician forgot agreed appointments. When the electrician finally showed up, he didn’t have the right parts so he promised to come the ‘next Friday’. He went camping instead. Getting things done reminded me ….

Flashback: Hanover, New Hampshire

Half way through a renovation project, the kitchen looked like it had been hit by an avalanche. There was a giant hole in the house where the sun room was (purportedly) going to be installed. The floor was a shambles and the general contractor was generally annoying…


“… you have carpenter ants,” he explained. “You need to fix that problem before we can close up.”

“Why does exterminating carpenter ants mean that you’ll complete the sun room and remove the tarp that’s been covering the hole in my house for the last six weeks?” I asked rhetorically.

I called a local exterminator who sent a new recruit to the house. I explained the problem and the fact that he’d have to crawl through..

“…. the crawl space to get to the ants.”

“It’s yucky down there,” he replied accurately and pointlessly.

“That’s where the ants live. Your job is to make them die.”

“But the poison I use is unhealthy and those ants are living in a ..”

“Those ants are living.” I interrupted. “That is the problem that you have to fix.”

“The chemicals I have are dangerous and not good for my health. Maybe you should get some Daddy Longlegs. I think they eat carpenter ants.”

think? I think you’ve chosen the wrong profession,” I said deciding to switch to a new provider.

End Flashback

In contrast, ‘here’ in Santa Barbara, the window washer and the electrician are both competent and capable. The problem? They are not actually

The visit from the Bellingham Martins is the opening act of a busy summer. In July, we’ll join Melika, Tom and the local grandchildren in the Bahamas and when we return will celebrate our anniversary in Paso Robles (complete with
wine tasting and a view of the field of light. In August we plan to visit Alaska.

[Our original, pre-pandemic plan was to visit either East Africa or Southeast Asia. for obvious reasons, we decided to bypass ‘south’ and ‘east’ destinations. ]

And, finally, a Federal Judge in California has voided the state ban on assault style weapons with the observation:

nazy in Los Olivos May 31 2021

"Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment,"

I have lived in Switzerland and I know that the AR-15 is like a Swiss Army Knife the same way a bulldozer is like a jellyfish.

Luckily, everyone is in good health, the grandchildren are all learning to swim, Spring is making way for summer and the wine, even when opened with the corkscrew on a Swiss Army Knife remains delicious.

P.S. Mainstream Media reports that the Lakers have been eliminated. It is claimed that they lost simply because the other team scored more points. This must be fake news.

For last week's letter, please click here

Arrow swimming underwater

arrow underwater swimming

Azelle on the beach

azelle at miramar with shovel May 30 2021

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