LAWTDB

A few weeks ago, it was a beluga whale swimming 60 miles up the Delaware River to, of all places, Trenton, N.J. Yesterday, it was a bunch of buffalo on a tennis court in Maryland.

Buffalo_1

I love these stories.

This is a whole category of news: the Large Animals Where They Don't Belong story.

Yes, yes, news as infotainment is a terrible thing. And the shrinking news hole in most newspapers really can't afford to sacrifice more column space for "human interest" chuckle-stories.

But, come on, there are buffalo on a tennis court! I mean, look at them –

Groupshot

– they obviously don't belong there. This is newsworthy.

LAWTDB stories play as silly little distractions, but they may mean something, too. They remind us that we are neither alone, nor completely in charge, and that the boundaries we construct and take for granted are really only porous, flimsy things.

So go ahead and build a private tennis court. Post signs and enlist the local police to keep out the riff-raff. Arrange your life so that you never have to see or acknowledge the existence of such people. Pretend that nothing — not God, or nature, or chaos, or other people in need — can intrude on the little dominion you've created for yourself.

Do all that and, one day, you will still wind up with a black bear going through the garbage in your gated community, or a moose at your mall, or a herd of buffalo on your tennis court.

  • cjmr’s husband

    Herd of buffalo? Yes, I’ve heard of buffalo…

  • informis

    Typical media bias. They take photos of the dozen buffalo at their anti-tennis protest, but they don’t show you the ten-thousand pro-tennis llamas down the street. Bastards.

  • informis

    Typical media bias. They take photos of the dozen buffalo at their anti-tennis protest, but they don’t show you the ten-thousand pro-tennis llamas down the street. Bastards.

  • patter

    they obviously don’t belong there
    They look embarrassed, as well they should be; their court time wasn’t for another 2 hours yet.

  • ol cranky

    they obviously don’t belong there. This is newsworthy.
    are you kidding? of course this is newsworthy! The top pic shows very highly seeded players after winning a match, I look forward to seeing them at Wimbledon later this year.

  • Edward Liu

    Howdy,
    If I were an extreme animal rights activist, I might argue that the LAWTDB in question are the ones who built the tennis courts and gated communities. Luckily, I’m not an extreme animal rights activist, so I can just point and chuckle when I see a herd of buffalo on a tennis court.
    One pic at the New York Times coverage shows a bewildered buffalo knocking down a police officer, which makes me a bit less inclined to laugh, but only a little since the cop wasn’t hurt. I can’t imagine the dinner table discussion he had with his wife. The Times ostensibly contains video as well, although I’m not keen to see if it’s true at work.
    Meanwhile, toads are exploding in Germany and nobody knows why. Is this the ADSTS (Animals Doing Something They Shouldn’t) variation?
    – Ed

  • cjmr’s husband

    Good thing that wasn’t a skating rink.

  • Emma Goldman

    You people are demented.
    And funny.
    Which is why I visit over here.

  • Maximus

    Some of the most sublime and surreal scenes from Terry Gilliam’s “Twelve Monkeys” consist of Large Animals Where They Don’t Belong (roaming the deserted, ruined streets of post-apocalyptic Philadelphia).

  • Riggsveda

    It wasn’t that long ago that a horse visited a local strip mall in Bensalem and had to be convinced to take his leave.
    I really wanted to do a piece on the bison but didn’t have time..I’m so glad you did, and raised the important issue of encroaching on habitat, as well (though how the Delaware valley encroached on the habitat of an arctic-going whale I’m still brooding over).
    But my favorite stories are still the ones where cabbages and hamburger can be counted on to predictably blanket the Schuylkill Expressway at rush hour. Remember Firesign Theatre? “And there’s hamburger all over the highway in Mystic, Connecticutt”.

  • http://www.sushiesque.com/adorablog/2005/04/lawtdb.html adorablog

    LAWTDB

    Slacktivist takes a break from the political posts and page-by-page analysis of Left Behind to address what’s really important: “This is a whole category of news: the Large Animals Where They Don’t Belong story. Yes, yes, news as infotainment is

  • Andy

    When I saw this pic in the NY Times this morning, it totally made my day. Just give the Pulitzer to the guy who took the pic of them leaping over the net now. Priceless.

  • Dan Lewis

    Don’t forget the elephants in the restaurant in Korea. One week ago today!

  • Roberta

    My favorite of these was the tiger grown from a cub in the public housing apartment in New York City. A police sharpshooter armed with a tranquilizer gun had to repel down the side of the building to get to the right window, and after his first shot, the tiger became very upset and let out a roar that had everyone’s knees buckling. The picture from that one was the tranquilized tiger being carried to the ambulance, his dinner-plate-sized paws showing over the blanket. A TIGER in NEW YORK CITY!

  • Shag from Brookline

    The buffalo jumping over the net may reinstate the once customary leap over the net by the match winner. Or perhaps the buffaloes roamed for a Love-in with mixed, or perhaps unmixed, doubles in mind. Now, a chorus of “Oh give me a home ….”

  • Shag from Brookline

    The buffalo jumping over the net may reinstate the once customary leap over the net by the match winner. Or perhaps the buffaloes roamed for a Love-in with mixed, or perhaps unmixed, doubles in mind. Now, a chorus of “Oh give me a home ….”

  • jesse

    Bah. Nobody ever said a buffalo herd can’t play tennis. Now, if Roger Miller were rollerskating through the middle of the picture, THAT would be newsworthy…

  • R. Mildred

    Is the little inflatable pool in the first picture there simply to give us a sense of scale or did the buffalo bring it?

  • theophylact

    Reminds me of toros-piscine…

  • eRobin

    I heard the whale is in the Schuylkill now.

  • Rebecca Allen, PhD

    We get bears in towns around here. My condo is just above a gully, and deer periodically come up onto the street (we chase them back before a car hits them). We also get the occasional orca who wanders into one of the many arms of Puget Sound. Then there’s the elk of Banff town, the polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba, and the bears that get into my brother’s garbage in Fairbanks, Alaska. I enjoy these stories too; as you can see, I collect them.

  • Rebecca Allen, PhD

    We get bears in towns around here. My condo is just above a gully, and deer periodically come up onto the street (we chase them back before a car hits them). We also get the occasional orca who wanders into one of the many arms of Puget Sound. Then there’s the elk of Banff town, the polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba, and the bears that get into my brother’s garbage in Fairbanks, Alaska. I enjoy these stories too; as you can see, I collect them.

  • none

    Just wanted to note that “buffalo” is a noun, a verb, and an adjective (a color, to be specific). So the sentence “Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.” is perfectly grammatical. (As in, “brown buffalo push on other brown buffalo”.)

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    LAWTDB


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