A nice partial panorama (just 5 shots stitched together) of the beach at Sanibel Island - Dec 2010.

Des Informations, des Idées, et des Opinions Suspectes - rarement mises à jour et de qualité douteuse.

Customer Service and ducks

This is a Billy Idol (Muscovy) duck from our site. Provincial parks are certainly not what they were 10 or 20 years ago, yet interestingly they enjoy much more popularity now than they did back then. Perhaps it is this single fact that has contributed the most to the Provincial parks' decline. Or then maybe it's simply because of the filthy facilities, the disinterested teen-aged staff, the myriad rules and posted threats you must navigate for a successful stay, or the sandy/muddy campsites themselves. But lately I've figured out that private parks actually have something that provincial parks don't: customer service and ducks.

For the last few days, we've been out camping at Rideau Acres near Kingston.

Riiiideau Acres is the place for me. Farm livin' is the life for me. Land spreadin' out so far and wide. Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside...

Sure the site was small and not private, but what am I doing that requires all this privacy exactly? But it was practically on the beach, there was a great lookout trail, a pool, a wicked playground for the kids, and friendly, helpful staff and fellow campers. It was also super-proximate to Kingston, Ontario (the birthplace of the least genetically diverse university students on the planet; their practically British royalty...), had an excellent park store, hydro, water, the cleanest bathrooms EVER - certainly many, MANY, times cleaner than our bathroom at home has ever been - a fact my wife was thrilled to hear about - seventeen times...and did I mention the ducks?

New York is where I'd rather stay. I get allergic smelling hay. I just adore a penthouse view. Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue.

The park had lots of ducks, and even some peacocks. Apparently ducks must eat their weight in mosquitos each and every day because provincial parks have no ducks and many, many mosquitoes, and our park had all these ducks and not a mosquito to be seen or felt! We even had a resident duck at our campsite and who my kids imaginatively named "duck" though I named him Billy Idol because he had a sort of Mohawk that made him look a little like Mr. T from the A-Team.

Our duck was extremely friendly and stuck around the whole time we were camping there, but it was just about the ugliest duck I'd ever seen which is really an allegory for life, isn't it? You either go for the pretty ducks for a short time, or have long-term relationships with the friendly and smart-with-good-personalities ducks...Ours had this kind of red rubber covering most of his face...like a duck/chicken/rooster cross but I guess it's actually a breed of duck in its own right. "A Muscovy duck with large red warty caruncles above the beak and around the eyes." Believe me, looking at this duck, it can't be that popular a breed.

...The chores. ...The stores. ...Fresh air. ...Times Square

Moving on, my family and I were sitting around the picnic table, with the duck, wondering about exactly what kind of duck it could be and I, seeing a once in a lifetime opportunity, said: "Well, a German duck is called a Guck, and a Hungarian duck is called a Huck, so a French duck is called a..." And my 6-year-old daughter (whom I knew couldn't wait to answer) promptly yelled out the correct expletive at the top of her lungs, and upon hearing hearing it from her own mouth (rather than her father's for once) assumed an expression of such utter mortification, and she clapped her hands over her mouth "Home Alone-style" so comically...well, I'm still laughing about it days later.

You are my wife. Good bye, city life. Rideau Acres we are theeeere!!

So later, again with "Billy Idol duck" present and allowing this line of discussion, and as I am wont to do while camping, I asked my wife what a duck's natural predators would be. Because ducks really aren't that fast, and a duck's quack is not exactly on par with the arsenal of say, a skunk - skunks which I believe do not naturally exist in Sweden... but I digress. I reasoned a bear would eat ducks, for the only reason that I could literally picture a bear sitting on its haunches eating a duck, which to be honest made me a little hungry.

My wife suggested that the only predator for ducks would be foxes and human hunters, which got us both thinking about the pride a hunter must feel at first tracking, and then bagging the elusive and ferocious duck. It actually got us laughing pretty hard as we came up with things the hunter would say to his wife as be brought home his kill-or-be-killed prey..."Honey, it was either me or him!" and "Honey, it just walked right up to me!" and "I just put the gun on the side of it's head and pulled the trigger!" I fear I will never get to experience the duck hunter's pride after acting on those atavistic urges...

Conclusion: Ducks really like Corn Pops.

Customer Service and ducks

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Maybe read No Big Deal, a story I consider to be the very best thing I ever wrote.