Thursday, April 30, 2009

If you give the control room mouse a cookie...

Prebles Meadow Jumping Mouse

Image Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service
Those of you who follow my Twitter feed know that I haven't been alone in the control room on this observing run, I've been sharing it with a mouse. The mouse has been running back and forth most of the night each night, getting into the garbage can and scrounging for crumbs. I am not afraid of mice, but they are dirty, carry disease, and like to chew on things like computer wires. So, I told the mountain staff about the mouse. They said they knew about it, and that some of the observers even feed it. No wonder it doesn't seem too scared of me.

Next visit, I'll bring my cat. But, for the time being, I penned a poem about the mouse, stealing the title from the popular children's book:

If You Give The Control Room Mouse A Cookie

If you give the mouse a cookie
Like the kind you'd leave for Santa,
The mouse will give you droppings
And a virus we call "Hanta".

If you give the mouse a pretzel
Or some chips or popcorn,
Under three weeks later
More mice will be born.

All those baby mice will grow
And after food inquire.
And what could be more tasty
Than the dec motor's wire?

Then your telescope will break,
and you'll have to call Dave Doss,
Who when he hears you fed the mouse
Will be a little cross.

Then you'll lose your data,
And your papers go undone,
And without those publications,
The NSF won't fund.

Without funds there's no tenure,
And the bank will take your house.
So please clean up all your crumbs,
And do not feed the mouse.

Poetry like this means it's just a matter of time before I become the U.S. Poet Laureate. Probably just as likely as becoming a Nobel Laureate.

(FYI, the "dec motor" is the motor that moves the telescope north and south, and David Doss is one of our fine observing support staff here at the mountain)

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