Just when I was feeling all smug and satisfied with myself in dealing with the squirrels, Mother Nature gives me a healthy dose of humility. I had this crazy notion that I was in control of the squirrels and the bird feeder, but it quickly became apparent to me that they were able to circumvent my barriers with absolutely no problem and devour all of the seeds. It wouldn't be so bad if they weren't such greedy little buggers, they clean the seeds up in a very short time.
Not being one to give up once my OCD kicks in, I'm thinking I may have to elaborate on my initial plan, but am not sure what my new course of action will be. I noticed that the squirrel can still get to the feeder either by reaching down from the branch or jumping from the tree trunk. I have seen him jump from the feeder back to the tree and it seems to be no problem whatsoever for him, which I guess makes sense; he's a squirrel, after all. This could be a good place to start.
We'll see if my new plan has any effect. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Doug Brown for the pic.