I generally try to stay away from writing anything informative or newsworthy. You might think that’s odd, considering I work at a newspaper. But the way I have it figured, there are a lot more people around here who do a lot better job of being informative and telling you about the newsworthy stuff.
Where I shine is babbling on about things that don’t matter too much, and seeing if I can string sentences along so much that the reader loses interest—or even falls asleep—before getting to the end, making it possible for me to say pretty much anything I want, without fear of retribution or dire consequences.
Still with me? Rats—I really thought you’d doze off on that last one.
I’m glad you’re still reading, because I actually have something to tell you that borders on both informative and newsworthy.
If you look around Canadian these days, you might notice something—particularly on empty lots or unkempt lawns. At first, you might think it’s just clumps of dead, yellow grass, or weeds that got too hot and are drying in the sun.
If you look closer at some of these clumps, you’ll realize your mistake. That yellow stuff? Not dead.
That’s a vine called the dodder vine, but it goes by lots of different names. Let me run a few of them by you, so you can get an idea about what kind of a plant we’re dealing with, here: devil guts, witches shoelaces, strangleweed, and hellbine. Are you starting to get the idea?
(Sidenote: it also goes by the name “love vine,” but I’m pretty sure that one was added by some scientist who had just gone through a really painful break-up, and and he was trying to convince himself that being alone was way better than being in a relationship.)
The dodder vine is a parasitic plant that feeds on other plants, you see. It doesn’t really have leaves (although, apparently some types do have little leaves? I don’t know, this is why I hate writing informative posts. If you’re so interested, go look it up on your own), and it doesn’t root in soil. Instead, it sends tendrils into host plants, sucking out nutrients until the host is dead. Meanwhile, the vine reaches out, looking for its next victim.
It can be spread through seeds—or in some cases, parts of the vine—and from what I’ve read, it can grow up to 3 feet per day, if conditions are right.
And guess what, everybody: conditions have been right. This stuff is popping up all over town.
I noticed it in my yard earlier this summer, and my initial thought was that it was a bit of dead grass. The second day I saw that it was much larger, and went over to investigate. That’s when I saw that it was intertwined through the vegetation (aka weeds) that make up most of my lawn. I had never seen anything like it, so I took a couple pictures and asked my coworkers about it.
There are very few things in the world you can’t learn about in the offices of The Canadian Record, but dodder weed was one of them. Nobody knew what this was, which worried me a great deal—if Cathy Ricketts doesn’t know about a plant, I figure it’s an alien species, here to take over the world. I began Googling, and found that although it wasn’t an alien species, it sure looked like it could easily take over the world.
Pretty much everything I read talked about how awful this stuff is, killing entire crops in California, murdering groves of trees, and being nearly impossible to kill.
Most of the advice I found was along the lines of, “You can’t get rid of this. Kill everything it touches, and if that doesn’t work, move.”
Almost as scary as the plant itself were the extreme measures people had to go in order to rid themselves of it. I half-expected to find someone had performed human sacrifice in order to sate the angry plant (so far, I haven’t come across that, but I’m still looking).
One post I read, the guy started out by saying, “Burn it.” He went on to say you might try other things, but none of it had worked for him, and he had eventually just set his property on fire.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to go that far. Since most of my yard is weeds, I just took some Round-Up to it, and wiped out everything living in the area.
Once I was aware of the dodder weed, however, I noticed it everywhere. Patches growing along the highway, on an empty corner lot on Main Street, and several yards around town.
So I guess what I’m saying is, watch out. This stuff is bad news, and I’m pretty sure it’s only a matter of time before it develops a taste for human blood.
If you would like to read more about the dodder vine (stuff that’s probably way more accurate and way less dramatic), here are some links:
My brother recently sent my sister and I a picture of his new baby. There’s not much you can say about a new baby, except to acknowledge the fact that it’s cute.
And let’s be honest—most new babies aren’t cute. Most new babies look like something out of a science fiction movie—the part when things first start going wrong, and all the scientists realize they got way more than they bargained for when they parked their space ship on the creepy planet with way too much wind and the horrifying little pink screaming creatures.
That said, my brother’s baby is actually pretty cute (which is good, because I never lie about babies being cute—you show me an ugly baby, I’m going to cringe and pat you on the shoulder, maybe offer some words of condolence, such as, “Don’t worry—maybe it’ll look better once it stretches out some and isn’t so scrunchy.”). So that’s what I texted back: “Cute.”
I didn’t feel like I was pulling my weight, conversationally speaking, though, and I decided to send him a picture back.
I don’t have a baby of my own, so I sent the next best thing: a picture of the dinosaur note-holder I keep on my desk.
Since then, I have decided that Dinosaur quote of the day should be a daily thing. I also decided that I should share some of them on this blog, because I’m always looking for an easy way to keep content fresh, and I don’t always feel like writing long, rambling posts about nonsense.
So that’s what I did.