I used to think squirrels were cute. But when a bushy-tailed rodent scares the birds away from my feeder, rips the bottom out of my finch seed sack, and all but flips me the finger when I knock on the window to scare it away, said rodent is no longer cute. It is intolerable. And it is just asking for it. So after seeing some clips of squirrel catapults on YouTube, I thought I'd make one of my own. It's a modest affair, as is necessary given the limited space on my third-floor balcony. But while it hasn't produced the graceful, long-distance trajectory of some of the larger models--getting it to do so will require experimentation--I'm satisfied that it works fine. So far one squirrel that came here for sunflower seed has left in a way calculated to thoroughly astonish, and its ratty little mind is no doubt still trying to comprehend the experience. It was supremely gratifying to pull the cord and watch the little monster go flipping butt-over-beady-eyeballs toward the snow. I have yet to acquaint more of the local squirrels with my contraption. The bushytail supply isn't likely to run short, and what's particularly nice about a squirrel catapult is that, coaxed by a handful of sunflower seeds in the basket, the ordnance loads itself.