Monday, July 7, 2008

10 Reasons Why I'm Not Going to Do a Top 10 List

Now that I'm writing regularly for three media outlets (, Coastal Woman, and Santa Barbara Homeowner), I have to come up with a lot of ideas for stories. Each has a very different readership and I need to use, as they say in the writing world, a different "voice" for each. So it would be easy to fall back on the tried and true top 10 lists: Billy's Favorite Plants; My 10 Favorite Garden Tools; 10 Ways to Get a Rabid Badger Out of Your Britches, etc. But here are 10 reasons I refuse to take that course...

  1. If I tried to list 10 favorite plants, my brain would explode. There are too many and it would give the plants I left off a case of low self-esteem (yes, I'm anthropomorphizing).
  2. I'm not fond of the number ten. I've always thought that if humans had four fingers on one hand and three on the other, we wouldn't be celebrating 100 year anniversaries, septi-sesqui-octo-centennials or any of that other base-10 crap. It's just a fluke of the universe that 10 is so damn important to us. I refuse to bestow any great significance on the number 10!
  3. TEN are the initials of The Erotic Network, and this is a family show.
  4. "Ten is the second discrete biprime (2.5) and the second member of the (2.q) discrete biprime family." Someone actually wrote this at Wikipedia. That's strange enough, but the amazing thing is it also means something to someone else. I wouldn't know where to begin deciphering that sentence. I still count on my fingers. I'm so embarrassed, I want nothing to do with that 'T' number. I'm not worthy.
  5. I went to Home Depot yesterday trying to stimulate my story-writing lobe and could not find 10 plants I would willing use in a landscape design. I'm fed up with same frigging impatiens, petunias and lollipopped Marguerites I sold when I worked in nurseries in the 70s.
  6. That's all I can think of...see, I told you I couldn't do it.


Ross said...

Thats a good tenet,

but I would like to hear the 10 Ways to Get a Rabid Badger Out of Your Britches...

Mother Nature said...

Hey Billy,
I've been reading over your blog. I especially liked seeing the Flickr Fotos and you web page galleries of your work. One plant combination I found striking was the Amercan agave and licorice plant.

ilex said...

I second Ross's request.

Garden Wise Guy said...

Okay - the masses have spoken (all both of you) so I guess I'll address the rabid badger query. I wasn't aware it was a problem for others - I guess that's reassuring. I see that I've mistakenly given my readers credit for figuring out the most basic stuff on their own, but I must be overestimating their willingness to put on their thinking caps, so here goes.

How to Rid Your Britches of a Wild Badger... P.E.T.A. is not going to like this)

1. Off it snacks through the fly in the britches (experiment with wild berries and bits of road kill) and gradually coax it out far enough to grab it by the scruff of its neck. Then pull firmly but cautiously.

2. Depending on the exact location within said britches, beat it with a stick. Let you own threshold for pain be your guide.

3. Go white-water body surfing. We all know that badgers have an aversion to fast running water.

4. Fire (when used in moderation) can stimulate a badger's curiosity. I've found, through somewhat hit and miss experimentation, that charcoal brickets plucked from a Weber grill in their last stages of life, can be held against the outer surface of the britches and used to repel the offender to move toward the opening at the cuff.

5. A PowerPoint highlighting the advantages that living "on the outside" would present to this creature. Key points to emphasize would be fresh air, ability to exercise and stretch, expanding travel opportunities, more balanced diet than the crumbs that fall from the table, take it from here.

6. Since badgers SHOULD be living in burrow, dig a deep hole and have someone bury you at least as deep as your chest. The badger, now realizing that it's instinctive living environment is underground, will gleefully exit and set up housekeeping. Presto...

7. Purchase a Badger-Be-Gone attachment for your shop vac. Nuff said.

8. Invite other badgers over and hold an intevention. Stress the need for your guest to take charge of it's own life, "get off the couch" (so to speak) and build a meaningful existence.

9. I don't do lists of 10. Take what I've offered and go away.

ilex said...

HAH! Wow. Now, that's an exlempary piece of pre-8AM humor. I humbly bow to your greatness and wish to make a plant offering at your altar.

*offers impatiens and petunias*

Sorry, all I could find in a pinch.

Benjamin Vogt said...

10 seconds to list what is wrong in suburban landscapes?

Garden Wise Guy said...

Ben - nothing like a little pressure. Now how do I do this without using an profanity? This is one that gets my blood boiling, so I'll take a few snorts off my flask of single-malt ether and see what I can do...(don't time me)

1. The suburbs themselves are most of the problem - the layout and use of land defies logic or respect for natural processes. Water is the enemy and must be sent off-property post-haste, to flow into gutters and be whisked away.

2. Garden magazines and books continue to push images of gardens that are frequently regionally inappropriate, but due to their need to mass market throughout the country, we all buy into it.

3. Front lawns (or lawns in general)- unless your use your lawn as an essential recreational surface, it has no business being there, unless you can maintain it without any additional resources or spewing of pollutants (chemicals, exhaust, run-off, etc.). If you can grow it in a purely Darwinian, survival of the fittest manner, have at it.

4. Scotts

5. Miracle Gro

6. Vigoro

7. Monsanto

8. Plant janitors (I refuse to call them gardeners)

9. That fact that if the U.S. had been settled from Sonora, Mexico, instead of Plymouth Rock, all those folks in the Adirondacks would be trying to grow seguaro cactus in their lawns.

10. I refuse to create a list of 10s.

This was a bit slap-dash, but, hey, I can only type 2436 words per minutes.

Claude said...

informative... of course, I don't have badgers here... but I'm assuming that these rules could be adapted to armadillo?

Garden Wise Guy said...

Claude - whattaya tryina dootahme? You some kinda wise guy? Of course it won't work for armadillos. They're eyes are set 12-degrees wider than badgers, so tempting them with road kill is completely out of the question. I may be dumb, but I ain't stoopid.

Sue Swift said...

Look folks, badgers get a bad press - they're not all rabid ...

EAL said...


You should just bend to the pressure and join all the rest of us hacks as we create our lists. But I like to vary it. Actually an odd number list is better. 7 is my favorite.

Garden Wise Guy said...

Sue - I appreciate your comment about not all badgers being rabid. It was not my intent to paint them all with the same brush. I'm sure the Hairless Albino Northern Italian Balcony Badgers are quite docile.

eal - I think I sort of did that when I stopped at 8, which isn't odd, but is less than 10. I'll explore the ramifications of 7.

Anonymous said...

I'm loving these lists, Billy, whatever number you decide. Made me smile this muggy Monday.

kate smudges said...

The comments were as much fun to read as the post ... now I'm wishing there was a badger nearby. I might have to settle for a gopher.

I've got it now - no more lists from you, although I do say you're good at creating them! I'm still waiting to hear if you've tracked down a jade plant for the garden.

Sunita said...

Exactly what I was going to say, but Kate beat me to it.
I dont know which made me laugh more, the post or the comments.
I dont know anything about badgers ... dont have them in India... but I know a bit about badgering kids, neighbours, the local festival fund guys. Believe me, they're impossible to get rid of.

Garden Wise Guy said...

Sunita - No badgers in India? Oh my, what you're missing out on! They're closely related to ferrets, weasels and otters. They can be ferocious and have been known to take on much larger carnivores, such as coyotes, wolves and even bears (thanks, Wiki!).

So it would be a somewhat kinky contest to determine which you'd rather have messing around in your britches, but I'd say the local festival fund guy should not be put on the guest list. On second thought, let's keep the kids and neighbours out too. People would talk.

I don't know if it works on badgers, but the three you list can be effectively controlled with an ether-soaked rag and a handy pocket-taser set on "Debilitate". Good luck.