Here at Rust Belt Girl, I consider it my solemn duty to report the top news of the Rust Belt, generally, and my native Northeast Ohio, specifically.

The fact that news outlets such as the New York Times and NPR have already covered this event compels me to make this special report.

Of course, I’m talking about the zombie raccoons of Youngstown, Ohio.

Yep. The zombie apocalypse officially starts in Y-Town, birthplace of the Good Humor ice cream bar and Ed O’Neill from Married… with Children and Modern Family fame.

But I digress. Seriously, the raccoons of Youngstown are losing it, acting all “zombie-like.” As told by city resident and raccoon witness Robert Coggeshall to local news outlet WKBN-TV several days ago:

“He [a raccoon] would stand up on his hind legs, which I’ve never seen a raccoon do before, and he would show his teeth and then he would fall over backward and go into almost a comatose condition. He’d come out of it, walk around and then he’d do the same thing again. Get on his hind feet and show his teeth.”

Such strange behavior in daylight led authorities to investigate these “rogue” raccoons (that’s Smithsonian’s adjective of choice, not mine) and conclude that distemper–and not rabies–is likely to blame.

So stay safe out there in nature. (Humans can’t get distemper but dogs can.) Better yet, stay in and curl up with a good book this weekend.

On my literary plate: revising, polishing, and readying my behemoth WIP for the publishing road ahead; proofing a friend’s novel manuscript; submitting a flash fiction piece to journals; and writing a review of Mike Winegardner’s novel Crooked River Burning for a post right here early next week, when we return to regular raccoon-free programming.

What’s on your plate this weekend?







15 thoughts on “This is how it starts

  1. Sounds like those raccoons have found themselves some good ol’ moonshine, or “poitín” as we call it back home in Ireland. New follower here btw… Weekend will consist of making edits to the latest draft of a feature script, reading Thomas Sowell, doing more research on self-publishing, and possibly reaching out to a few more agents. Yours sounds like a busy one – enjoy!

    P.S. I sincerely hope Ed O’Neill is safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Yes, here’s to a productive weekend! Sounds like you’ve got a busy one as well. I admit I had to look up Sowell–not exactly light reading there but interesting. Thanks for following! I’m following yours–and had to weigh in on your book cover design. Very exciting. I look forward to hearing your decision and reading more.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! Yeah, I’ve started his book ‘Basic Economics’ which is excellent so far. I’ve read another book of his, ‘Economic Facts and Fallacies’ which is very illuminating. But I’ll be sure to sneak in some lighter reading over the weekend; maybe some short fiction.

        Thanks for the follow and for weighing in on the book cover question!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good luck with your publishing endeavors, it is not an easy journey.
    I am working on starting a new category on my blog with book reviews, obviously featuring books related to my themes of choice: sugar, nature, community. Though with a celebration (and a cake to come) there’s not so much time for work. Which is probably for the best, given that my youngest seems to think that 4:30 is a reasonable time to start the day..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Love your idea of a book review category–especially if you provide a few helpful takeaways from the books, for those of us who have too many in our TBRs as it is! Oh, I remember those early mornings. A friend would try to console me by telling me that it was a good sign–smart kids like to rise early and start their days of learning and growth! I still hated it though.


      1. I’ll try to think about that whenever I wake up like a zombie (basically every day)!
        My TBR is huge as well and I have a hard time prioritising, I want to read them all at once! And then it takes me longer because I want to also take notes (a relic from my college years that I can’t shake off), but I’m hoping that at least that will lead to some good reviews.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha Ha – Love this. I have actually seen raccoons do some pretty silly stuff, including standing up on hind legs. There is almost nothing off-limits for these little thieves. My wife and I camp regularly and it is a ritual at night to move anything that the coons can get into. Before we switched over to RV camping, we would tent camp – sitting by the fire at night was always an adventure. We have had raccoons come right up to us in the dark and be within a couple feet of us before we even knew they were there. Particularly in parks where there are always people around, these little turds are not really that afraid to try and steal a bite of food while you’re still sitting there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I kept checking news sources to make sure this wasn’t a late April Fools joke, but no, just diseased wildlife. Evidently, distemper damages the brain and that’s why they acted so strangely. I guess since they often live off of people’s garbage they must get pretty tame. I see a post in your camping-with-raccoons story! Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea–slow weekend at NPR, maybe? And thanks, I need the luck. Best laid plans, and I got a quarter of my weekend literary to-do list accomplished. Try, try again, I guess. Hope you had a productive weekend!


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