One of the typical sights on my early morning runs around Seattle is that of urban raccoons. These city critters are nothing like the truly wild cousins I grew up seeing on our farm. There we knew raccoons brought with them distemper and other pesky ailments that often enough made the infectious leap over to other animals. When they were infected, they could be nasty. Otherwise, they'd generally disappear like smoke. The city version of this critter is an altogether evolved version of nuisance. Half the time I expect them to be wearing a headlamp and/or carrying cutlery. At least they also usually scamper off when I happen upon them. I couldn't help but notice an attitude shift in two of these masked bandits in a face to face to face bit of randomness earlier this morning. These suckers wouldn't budge when I clomped on by. They even seemed to weigh and measure me. The only thing missing was one of them stroking his or her chin devilishly. A frozen frame reaction surely isn't unheard of when it comes to such encounters. Not like this, though. These winter-fattened and fully-wooly varmits stood their ground. Maybe they were suffering from a sort of diabetic coma due to the discarded bushels of Halloween candy I imagine they're rooting around in. Or maybe they've taken to heart yet another "La Nina" year weather forecast for the Northwest. If so, they've got wetter, wilier issues to worry about than some dood running by more focused upon his iPod than any intention of harming them. Still, is it wrong to wish these nasty ringtails were at least a little more country and a little less rock 'n roll? Sorry, Donny and Marie - just trying to make something of a convoluted point here.