|Current events links
Postings are in chronological order, with the most recent entry at the top.
"It's got six legs. What is it?"
"It has eight legs, it's a spider."
"No, it has six! It's gross."
"It has eight. Those two small ones up front are pedipalps."
"I don't care what they are, it has six legs."
"Pedipalps are legs, they're used for eating."
"I don't care what they're used for - I don't want it on the table with my cereal."
This is the sound of Ume and Brulee having breakfast al fresco - camping. I wasn't keen on the multi-peded nasty crawling it's way toward my repast. It was bad enough to have to be flicking mites off of everything every two minutes. *Note
It's a buggy season on the Cape. That's where we were camping - Cape Cod, MA. Drought? What drought? Anyone remember when they were worried about a drought? We're not having a drought, not after all the rain this spring - what we're having is a lot of bugs.
I could tell you all about our vacation - the fun we had hanging out in P-town, the sailing, the reading, the cribbage, visiting the Marconi Station Area, the great food, but I think I'll tell you about the bugs instead.
It's June in New England... it's June most places, I suppose, but in New England it warms up sufficiently for the non-stout of heart, like Ume and me, to venture into the wilds (or the semi-wilds as the case is for us and our camping ventures). We've only been doing this a couple of times a season over the last two years - two fairly dry years - so we weren't prepared for the smorgasbord of insect life that greeted us this time.
We knew something was up the first night when we got into the tent (hastily set up as it rained...) and turned on the light. Within five minutes our quiet semi-wilderness tentdom sounded like it was being attacked by twenty air conditioners on crack. I'd never heard anything quite like this and I grew up in the woods. Being brave hearted, we headed out to the campground facilities. The rain had stopped (it was a brief excitement and the only precipitation besides some fog that we encountered all week). Once in the campground's women's bathroom (a rustic affair, all business, no frills - sinks, stalls, screen doors and windows), we discovered the source of the racket that had broken out on the walls of our tent. We discovered it, much to our amusement..., while trying to use the toilets. Picture, if you will, two urban geeks attempting to relieve themselves while being dive bombed by unreasonably large suicidal May Beetles (a.k.a. June Bugs) and simultaneously waving mosquitos away from their dainty urban rears. Picture that, and you've got a fair idea of how we spent the evenings of our vacation. I love camping.
June Bugs are prehistoric looking things (I brought you one so you could have a gander, click here). They get excitable around bright lights. They fly into walls and knock themselves silly. Or they land on tent walls and flap their wings, making a racket that my neighbor's motorcycle would be hard pressed to drown out. Which was why we had to use the freaky yellow light instead of the bright lantern for the duration of the week. They don't react to the freaky yellow light.
While making myself presentable to the world at large one morning (I was brushing my teeth), I overheard a conversation. A little girl was in one of the stalls talking to her mother in the one next door.
"Mom, there's something on the floor..."
"What does it look like?" Her mother asked.
I waited for the obligatory shriek, squeak or ick noise. I waited...
"It's a bug." The girl answered. "It's... cool."
I nearly laughed at the image of this kid sitting there examining this bug as it crawled passed her dangling feet. Her mother sounded relieved to not have to intervene, she just told the girl to leave it alone. I feel this child has a promising future.
Let's see... there was the carpenter ant that woke Ume when it took a shortcut across her face. There were the insects Ume pestered with her camera, probably trying to get back at that ant... There were a few other incidents to do with drinking before examining the container carefully, but they're hardly worth mentioning. What is worth mentioning is all the time that got sucked away while preparing ourselves for tickdom (a.k.a. walks in the woods).
Some ticks here carry something that causes Lyme disease (trust me, you do not want Lyme Disease), so to walk in the woods you take various precautions. Like you would when having sex with a stranger - or someone who isn't strange, but whose health stats are unknown to you. Only, it's less fun to apply bug repellant and you wouldn't want to apply it before having sex and in any case I didn't mean the very same precautions, but precautions specific to the activity of your choice.
I should probably clarify before continuing in case there are people out there wondering if lesbians apply bug repellent in order to have safe sex. I would have to inform you that none of the ones that I've met have mentioned it. This, of course, does not make it impossible (people do all manner of impractical and unhealthy things), but I wouldn't recommend bug repellant as a safe sex aid or as a way to rate points with your intended partner. Bug repellant is also poisonous if used incorrectly, so no, it's not recommended as a safe sex type aid by anyone else either. Everybody up to speed? Dandy.
Now you're probably thinking, "Why is she talking about safe sex? She was telling us about bugs." But what you should be thinking is this, "Weren't they camping in the woods, not just walking in them?" Yes, we were. So half of the time we're looking at each other before getting into the tent and saying - "Tick check!" Being a communal activity, this should be more fun than it is.
We walked in a lot of woods while we were out there on the Cape. We scampered about on dunes, hiked through pitch pine forest (or what's left of it), we even hit marshland (where I saw a 200plus year old apple tree - so very excellent - and Ume spotted a warbler of some kind...) and not once after being in any of those places did we find a tick. We found one tick the whole week and it was on our very last morning. It was sitting, as bold as you please, on the door flap to the tent.
That's the buggy version of our vacation. I could have wasted your time with tales of the majestic beauty of one of the most gorgeous spots on the planet, but I thought it'd be more fun to gross you out instead.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have eight mosquito bites on my right leg that require my attention and about a gallon of anti-itch gel.
Note: With all due respect, in this instance of bug knowledge Ume was only partially correct (gasp, it's true). Spiders have eight, not six legs plus a couple of pedipalps. While pedipalps are legs that have been modified for eating, they aren't counted in the general leg count. So I don't know what that thing was that was crawling up to my cereal - possibly a spider what lost a couple of legs in an incident (probably nosing after someone's cereal or some such).
Back to the verbiage...
Some good links for the current events that keep happening:
Inside Out is a radio show that does some excellent work and now their shows are online. I thought these shows were especially insightful and full of good information (just try to ignore the tone of the host's voice...):
Inside Out: Empire America
Inside Out: Revolutionary Islam
Also, this Teri Gross interview with terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna (Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror) on the workings of Al Qaeda. click here
If Brazil wins the World Cup on Sunday, my neighborhood will explode. This is what happened the last time Brazil won. If you think people get excited when their team wins the Superbowl, you ain't seen nothin'. They've had to close major thoroughfares to accomodate the revelry that breaks out around here (not to mention the blind eye they turn to the people on top of the cars waving full sized Brazilian flags - oh, did I forget to mention that those were moving cars...).
It's one big spontaneous party. It's kind of fun to watch and preferable to what might happen if they lose... Probably be a riot. It behooves me, in this instance, to root for Brazil...
I don't much go in for absolutist viewpoints, but in the case of blue food, I'm willing to make an exception. Unless it was conceived by nature, blue food is wrong.
Here's a search engine for ya:
Links on that site that were awesome:
A list of gender links: click here
A list of lesbain links (not of names, of sites...): click here
While I'm posting lists of links...(I'm gonna tucker you out):
Both of these sites sent me to some interesting places. All manner of cool stuff to find.
You can view this image in a looping fashion by clicking here. A fact filled educational site, to be sure.
I was applying some stain remover to a spot on a shirt.
Ume happened by and asked me what I thought I was doing (it's always a good idea to ask before jumping to conclusions where I'm concerned).
"Putting stain stuff on this shirt." I looked at the stain and caught a glimpse of the stain remover stuff. That's when I realised I was holding a stick of deoderant - which I had just rubbed all over one of my shirts.
I need a nap... or a brain transplant.
File this under unkind thoughts (and don't go tryin' to extrapolate it beyond the level of anecdote):
Walking through a swank neighborhood recently, I spied a couple (man and woman in their late twenties) walking along. There was a beautiful blond labrador retriever with them. They came to a corner and the man stopped on a dime and, in a clipped fashion, said, "Heel!". The dog sat a couple of feet away and wagged its tail. "Heel" the man insisted (as I'm sure the instructor of his obedience school had taught him). The dog wagged its tail again.
This went on for a minute. I was walking down the street and crossing, so I got to observe a good deal of this behavior. I glanced at the woman, standing still - about a pace behind the guy, off to the side - watching the dog. She was smiling, and while I can't quite describe the smile, there was something smug about it. As if she were saying, "See dog, it's not so hard - I can do it." I guess the guy had trained her on an earlier walk.
I wouldn't have been struck so strongly with this impression had the blond of the dog's hair not been quite so perfectly matched by the blonde of the woman's hair. The guy was a brunette.
Before you go screaming about how mean I am, my first thought after the one above was - I know a woman (also a brunette) with a blond boyfriend who should get a dog like that. Then they could all get together in one of those dog walking gangs that congregate in parks (it's a city thing) and swap notes.
Now - you can go on about how mean I am.
But before you've surfed off in a huff. I'll tell you that I was once saved from a grievous injury by a brunette. She was a marvelous creature, the kind you're lucky to know as a kid. She was a lab with a smidgen of pointer in her - yes, she was a dog. My memory of the event is pretty sparse (I was three), but I have two clear visuals. One is looking up and seeing the dog standing over me growling. She'd knocked me to the ground, but she wasn't growling at me. The second visual is the wide eyed one I got while looking at the pack of dogs she was growling at. They had wandered out of the woods and decided that I looked like a tasty morsel to round out the afternoon with.
"Not so." Said my valiant protector. She was too cool, doing the possessive maternal, "This is mine, back off!" thing. And they did back off. Sigh, my hero.
Now that was some good weather for Pride! Beats the flood a couple of years ago. It was a glorious time - Gay Pride in Boston 2002 - walking through the masses of happy folks. I love watching the excitement, all of those beaming faces - mine included. Pride is such a good time.
My favorite part is watching the parade... uh, march. This year's vote for energy goes to the float of Brazilian guys - yow, they were shakin' it with gusto, right up to the last block. Then there's the enthusiastic woman who flashed the crowd with her crotch so that we could see the word "dagger" scrawled ever so boldly across the seam of her pants. My question is: was she advertising, or seeking? Either way, she was having a marvelous time. And if the screams of glee that nearly deafened me from the women standing behind me were any indication, she probably had an even better time later.
Once the parade had ended, I hung out on the Common (big old green space in dowtown Boston) and listened to the entertainments for a bit. It was a wonderful opportunity to watch folk and enjoy the rays. I'm still amazed at the scale of the youth presence. And hearing the recent high school graduate stand up and give a talk, well... that was totally cool - life's good moments.
After listening to the melodious strains of "Kittykill"... I headed home. On my way down Charles St. to catch the T (subway), I recalled my favorite Pride moment (insert whirly flashback music)...
Leaving Pride a few years ago - I got a block or two away from the Common and the staid, yet lovely character of Charles Street's colonial urban chic replaced the rollicking delight of all the happy queer folk. Imagine my surprise when I glanced up into a shop window and saw two of the lovliest women enjoying a cup of tea in marvelous Dior-esque suits. I near had a fit of the vapors. They were stunning. Everything in the window had been done in off white - their suits, if I remember correctly, were also off white as were their fashionable hats. They were the picture of elegance - the most genteel drag queens I'd ever set eyes on.
I broke out all smiles and waved. They nodded at me in a reserved fashion, maintaining their decorum. I was thrilled. I near skipped the rest of the way to the T. That's my favorite Pride memory.
The world is turning in a curious fashion of late. It's such a difficult thing to unravel the news - all what's going on. I'm muddling through with an odd feeling of detatchment, I'm not able to focus my thoughts - "How can people be threatening to nuke each other? It's such a brilliantly sunny day..."
"Oldie, but goody" find: Prism by Victoria Taylor (1981, Naiad Press).
Good story set in the late seventies about a couple of older women who find each other in a round about way.
It's not in print, but I found a site that sells used lesbian fiction (clovertown.com). I can't vouch for the site, but they might be a good resource for people looking for older copies of books. Or you might try Naiad Press, Inc.
'Tiz the season for... Dorothy Parker.
They say of me, and so they should,
It's doubtful if I come to good.
I see acquaintences and friends
And making enviable names
In science, art, and parlor games.
But I, despite expert advice,
Keep doing things I think are nice,
And though to good I never come -
Inseperable my nose and thumb!