Sunday, August 03, 2008

Today's Sermon: The "Willard" Sisters, The Rats & The Book Of Revelation

Two 78 year old twins have been feeding thousands of pounds of dry dog food to thousands and thousands of rats (and not the cute-looking ones in Ratatouille, either) inside their Palisades, CA, home... for several decades.

They claim that The Book Of Revelation inspired them to begin this... um, ritual.

It was far more important to Marjorie and Margaret that they continue to do the lord’s work, hastening the second coming of Christ one rat at a time. Marjorie says shetold Liz, “If you’re afraid of a few rats, read the Book of Revelation.”

Nobody who knows the Barthels — not their nephew Jeff Luks, to whom the Weekly spoke, not friend Rene Robinson, not their former lawyer, Adam Rossman — can say what strain of Christianity they follow. Perhaps just a really paradoxical interpretation of the Though Shalt Not Kill commandment. (Paradoxical because the sisters aren’t vegetarians. They love chicken.)

“To ask them to kill animals is to ask them to do the worst possible thing you could do,” says Elizabeth Stein. Robinson tries to explain what the two women believe in sympathetic terms: “They really have a very strong feeling as far as all creatures are pretty much fair and have a right to live and exist. It’s their religious belief not to harm anything — God’s creatures.”

The neighbors in the $1.8 million dollar house next door, however, fear for their child.

“I’m standing out there with my 4-year-old son, and there’s this giant rat standing about four feet away from us,” he recalls. “Just looking at us in broad daylight, as if it were a pet.”


By the end of their first long weekend in the Palisades, Liz was stressed out, peering at shadows. The more she peered, the more rats she saw. Standing in her own master bedroom, she found herself at eye level with a group of rats who clearly had a routine, slipping methodically in and out of drains and cracks on her neighbors’ outside wall.

She saw three rats squeeze out of a roof drain in a precision, shoulder-to-shoulder group, Ratatouille-style. Another rat pack traveled along the dusty, reeking hedge on the property line. The hedge was a rat highway, and it swayed under its commuters’ weight.

And local government officials are ambivalent toward the "neighbors' dispute."

Read about the rats and watch the videos of the rats' "neighborly" behavior.

“That’s definitely one for the books for us!” declares Richard Gentles, of that city’s huge animal-control bureaucracy. “This is the first time I’ve heard of someone living with that many rats. We don’t have problems to that level.”

The agency charged with stopping them — the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health — visited repeatedly, saw rats through the windows of the sisters’ home and did virtually nothing to end the threat to the public, the neighbors or the sisters themselves. Nor did the office of City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo act without weeks of foot-dragging and buck-passing.

Now, sisters Marjorie and Margaret Barthel are in court, facing a lawsuit filed by neighbors Scott and Liz Denham. The Denhams were forced to exact their own form of vermin justice in the civil courts after discovering that multiple agencies, from Los Angeles County to City Hall, allowed a Westside rat boom to reel out of control — until the Denhams acted to put a stop to it. While the scenes were straight out of Willard, the message is that in Los Angeles, much of local government is broken.

What would you do?

Personally, I'd be calling this guy...

... and asking him to get the job done, no matter what it took.

Thus endeth today's sermon.

Go forth today and consider how much rat poison and how many rat traps (or large snakes) it would take to deal with such vast numbers of invited... houseguests next door.

And consider the local government's delicate treatment of the "Willard" sisters.

Just think about it.

I mean it, damn it!

Number of days since Donna Brazile promised to leave the party if superdelegates decided the Dem nominee:

Donna has known for a long time now that superdelegates would be necessary for any Dem candidate to win the nomination this year. Ask Donna when she intends to keep her promise.
Don't hold your breath awaiting a reply.

"For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are."
-Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)

Best bar bet in the world: Delilah didn't do it.
Judges 16:19-- and and


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