Posted by: bkivey | 27 August 2015

Spiders on the Loose

I’m generally tolerant of spiders. Very few are inimical to humans, and they keep the bug population down. During the Summer around here I’ll walk through webs every time I go outside, but that’s OK. They’re doing what they do, and as long as they do it outside, they can have at it.  I’ve seen some webs constructed by rather ambitious spiders. I do wonder why more spiders don’t build webs in the vicinity of porch lights. Evolution works slowly, but it seems some enterprising spider would at least by accident build a web next to a light, procure food, and so pass the genes along.

As long as they stay outside, I’m fine with spiders.

I’m much less tolerant of spiders in the house. If I find one inside, I’ll make an attempt to return it to the wild unharmed. But lately I’ve seen an uptick in invasive spider activity. I’ve found three of the same species in the house in the last week. I can only identify about a half-dozen spiders on sight, and these aren’t on the list, but appear to be the Giant House Spider (actual name). As the name implies, these aren’t small spiders. Some can have a legspan of four inches.

Last week I found one lounging next to the shower. I used a dustpan to flip it outside. Today I went to grab a mixing bowl, and was quite surprised to find a spider inside. Sorry, but when you invade my cooking equipment, you’re history. Down the drain. A few hours later I was at my desk and noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. Sure enough, a spider was marching across the floor. It ran under the couch before I could get it. Not two minutes later, it scurried from under the couch and ran straight for me. Come at me, bro! Of all the directions it could have gone, it picked the exact wrong one. The spider was terminated with extreme prejudice.

So I have to wonder. Was this a spider seeking revenge for it’s mate? Of course not; that’s anthropomorphism. But still. . .

The Strangest Thing I’ve Seen in Baseball 

Tuesday evening the Seattle Mariners played the Oakland Athletics. Nothing remarkable there, but at one point Mariners switch-hitting shortstop Ketel Marte faced Oakland’s switch-pitching Pat Venditti. I didn’t know switch-pitching was a thing. Apparently the procedure is for the pitcher to hold the baseball aloft with whatever hand he’s going to pitch, and the batter goes back to the dugout to get the appropriate batting helmet. Truly bizarre.

The Mariners

The local MLB team is already looking to next year, The M’s have barely broken 0.500 at any point in the year, and are now well below that mark.  There’s no talk of playoffs or even wild-card. They have good sticks and good arms, just not at the same time. Early in the season the pitching was good but the bats were silent. Now the bats are alive, but the pitching has deteriorated. It’s become common for the starting pitcher to get chased off by the second inning. This has worn the bullpen to a frazzle.

Staff ace Felix Hernandez has run out of gas: a tendency the last several years. Early in the year he’s almost untouchable; at this point in the season, not so much. The position players are solid. Nelson Cruz is a hitting machine, with Robinson Cano not far behind. Austin Jackson is reliable in the field and at the plate, while Kyle Seager has struggled with the bat lately, but regularly turns in stellar defense. Catcher Mike Zunino handles the staff very well, but was used so much earlier in the season that he’s tired, and isn’t batting his weight. His hitting has improved since Mariners legend Edgar Martinez became the batting coach.

The real surprise has been the aforementioned Ketel Marte. He was called up in late July and has made the absolute most of his opportunity. Not a power hitter, he does hit for average and fields his position well. People keep waiting for him to realize he’s in The Show, but he keeps showing people he belongs.





  1. Blair:
    I love your stewardship of our 8-legged friends. I prefer one spider as opposed to a dozen other flying, crawling insects.
    I do the same, trying to preserve spiders whenever possible; as long as they’re outdoors and non-aggressive!

  2. P.S. I will be in PDX next weekend (Fri. eve., Sept, 4th). If you’re not working let me know if you want to meet up!


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