castor canadensis shots

August 20th, 2007 | Uncategorized


You people–male, female, et al.–crack me up. I was totally kidding about Sydney being pregnant. Someone had made a joke about the possibility in a comment on Episode 511 and I was just following up on it. However, some of you made rather persuasive arguments for how and why she might be….jeez, now that I think of it, maybe she is pregnant. What the hell do I know, especially now that I’m only writing one episode a month? God knows what these people get up to when I’m not looking.

Anyhow. I’m sorry I’ve been AWOL. I’ve been off defragging. But here, I made a new Wild Kingdom installment. Castor Canadensis Slapping its Tail. My friend the Queer Theory Professor and I visited the beaver pond yesterday. She was telling me about a game she plays with another academic called Theorize This! where you have to spontaneously generate a queer theory of whatever–tennis, was the example she used. I didn’t think to ask her to formulate a theory of lesbians visiting a beaver pond. You can have a go, though, if you like.

P.S. There’s no beaver in that photo, that’s just their lodge.

61 Responses to “castor canadensis shots”

  1. April says:

    wow that’s amazing Alison… seeing as we don’t have that sort of thing in Australia (beavers that is, not queer theory) I get all googly about creatures, yay. You guys know about platypus, right? Well they’re not so visible.

    Ok, theorizing the beaver lodge stranded on a stump when the dam breaks! Hmmm… too many jokes there…

  2. jayinchicago says:

    well, you’ve been cracking me up for at least ten years, so it’s good we could return the favor.

  3. friend of bean says:

    The multidimensional layering of self and other in the case of a lesbian in the company of a lesbian, is complicated in this case by the context in which that layering occurs. As we see in the case at hand, the dual identification / mutual inter-constructedness of identity is flavored by its proximity to a castor canadensis engaging in primitive and unselfconscious symbolic communication. As the tail slaps the water, the intentionality of the castor canadensis to signal to others in the community that danger lurks nearby is transfigured by the presence of lesbians who highlight the play between the creature’s common nomenclature—American beaver—and the always-already embedded object of lesbian desire. This is further redoubled by the ironic deployment of binomial nomenclature which derives from a language (Latin) whose fixed and unchanging nature, yet persistent existence, denotes the patriarchal cultural identity which is eroded by the dyadic nature of the lesbian presence. Thus, the desiring and desired potential of the presence of two lesbians in that context calls our attention to its perceived, but not actual, threat to traditional male/female binary pairings and highlights the fact that the playful and creative reimagining of gender identity and the repositioning of sexual desire represents no real threat to those who intentionally choose or mechanically default to received gender identity and heterocentric norms.

  4. Jain says:

    Holy cow.

  5. Josiah says:

    Or, indeed, holy beaver.

  6. Ellen O. says:

    Whoa. I believe I saw a beaver myself today during a sound-collection walk. At first I thought it was a muskrat, but it was too large. I heard, but didn’t see, the slap of water. Watching this timely video, I’m now 90% sure it was a beaver. Thanks for the public service.

    (Next time, I bring the binoculars. Those orange teeth would confirm it.)

    Fun beaver facts:
    The beaver’s ears and nose have special flaps that seal out water during dives.

    A beaver’s eyes have nictitating membranes–clear membranes that close over the eyes. Rather like underwater goggles.

  7. Shelby says:

    dammmmmn, girl. you look flyyy.

    that’s all i got. hehe. i’ve been passing around Fun Home to my friends throughout these islands, and everyone is loving it! keep keep keep goin’, lady!

  8. Perugga says:

    When I was at my neighbourhood supermarket a few months ago, I saw a man wearing a T-Shirt that said “Men like a well-shaved Beaver”. He even had his girlfriend with him…
    Sadly, that´s the first thing that comes to my mind now when I think of beavers.

  9. leighisflying says:

    We are so lucky to have the happy beaver as our national animal here in Canada. Two years ago at Xmas, I cut out an ad from a store advertising “Beaver with bowtie” and laughed like silly as I sent it out as my Xmas card (I’ll let you all imagine the photo I attached). It didn’t help the humour situation that I was a lesbian working as a bush pilot at the time. Theorize this! – Hilarious.

  10. Maggie Jochild says:

    I watched this video twice and Aunt Soozie, I can’t make you out at all. Give us a pointer, will ya?

  11. R says:

    I play that game with my students…get them to come up with the Sociology of coffee, tea, trainers, chocolate (yeah items of my shopping list) we then draw it all together with traditional/classical sociological theories. I could get them to have a go at Alison’s suggestion but i fear the immaturity of my students will result in too many sexual innuendo’s about beavers…..english sense of humour!!!!!! PS the beaver was my University mascot (LSE).

  12. Pam I says:

    @ friend of bean, spot on but you missed the possibilities of the purgative effects of castor oil. You demonstrate perfectly why I’ll never be an academic – I can understand this but could never originate it.
    And a message to those who have been breathlessly following the progress of my degree for the past eight years – I handed in the dissertation last thursday. So it’s done. Strange vacuum now, to be filled in the short term by shopping.

  13. Berkeley Expat says:

    Pam I — Congrats! Sounds like you did the rational thing and finished your dissertation _before_ starting your next job (unlike me). Enjoy your period of decompression!

  14. Pam I says:

    I’ve been working throughout, which is why it took eight years to do a four-year course. But mostly it’s because I’m a disorganised slob.

  15. Cate says:

    I wonder what friend of bean would make of the fact that I, formerly identifying as a dyke for 20 years, and now in a relationship with a decidedly straight male, was repeatedly awakened in the night while on a camping trip last weekend by a distressed beaver.

  16. Wow, friend of bean. Well played.

  17. Ginjoint says:

    Friend of Bean, now THAT is classic.

  18. Josiah says:

    Felicitations and congratulations on your dissertation, Pam I!

  19. Alex K says:

    The felling of trees, the removal of the vegetably phallic with reshaping of the land- and waterscape (flattening, moistening); castor canadensis, phreudian phobia, vagina dentata…

    Castor canadensis is the beaver in the pond
    Beaver is the animal of which we all are fond
    Castor ate, or beaver ate? To that one must respond —
    My God, you do run on!

  20. Dr. Empirical says:

    There used to be a Beaver College in suburban Philadelphia. They finally heard one joke too many, and changed the name to Acadia University.

    Before the name change, if you were thinking of taking a class there, and googled “beaver college” at work, you had to be VERY careful what link you clicked!

  21. Jennifer says:

    Two lesbians walk up to a beaver dam. Beaver sticks his head out and says, “What is this, some kind of a joke?”

  22. Kat says:

    Jennifer, that’s hysterical!
    I can’t pass this one up, but I’ve promised myself that I will finish a certain other commenter’s novel before I do anything else.
    back later!

  23. DW says:

    Sorry to be so completely off topic but Fun Home got reviewed this morning on WDEV, AB’s local AM station.

  24. born-again rhetor says:

    Cate–it sounds like you’re being bothered by a metaphor–peskiest of rhetorical tropes, especially in the wild.

  25. Butch Fatale says:

    Friend of Bean, that was inspired, and Alex K, I do so enjoy a bit of witty verse! Can we next get someone to do a symbolic visual piece? Perhaps employing a tryptic? We’d be well on our way to creating our own multi-media queer studies anthology.

  26. LondonBoy says:

    “There was also a beaver, who paced on the deck,
    Or would sit making lace in the bow,
    And had often, the Bellman said, saved them from wreck,
    Though none of the others knew how.”

    So maybe the point about beavers is that they work in inscrutable ways.

    By the way, does anyone else here remember “Beaver Hateman” ? Now that’s a name you’d have difficulty getting into a children’s book nowadays…

  27. Ann S. in Madison says:

    Pam I, although I myself have not climbed Mount PhD, I have often observed your present mindset in others. I call it “Post Dissertation Stress Disorder.”

    Seriously, don’t laugh. It’s a rocky, unsettled and sometimes deeply disturbed state. You have my permission to cry without apparent cause.

    Hugs and blessings.

  28. Ann S. in Madison says:

    But if I HAD done a PhD, it would have also taken 8 years and come out a lot like this. Opening nationwide September 29.

  29. sunicarus says:

    Pam I,

    Congratulations! Like Ann, I have not “climbed Mount PhD”. In fact, I’m just now climbing knoll MLS. As a non-traditional student, I may be at this for sometime as well.

    I wish you all the best.

    Be Well,

  30. sunicarus says:


    Brava! on your Phd. (aka your “Philm Dissertation” ;o) I look forward to seeing “The Hollywood Librarian” at the Central Public Library here.



  31. Pam I says:

    Whoa now, this was just an ordinary BA molehill, done for fun (as I had to keep reminding myself at 4 a.m.). One day a week for four years was the plan in 1999. Thank goddess* they’re so flexible these days.
    *That’s the goddess of parking, the only one I subscribe to. She’s never failed me yet.

  32. Jana C.H. says:

    The goddess of parking is known as Squat, as I recall from my neo-pagan days. Her name rhymes with “parking spot”.

    Somewhere or other I read the following, which, though not addressed to Squat, should do the job. I did not learn it at church; I was raised American Baptist.

    Holy Mary full of grace,
    Help me find a parking place.
    Holy Mary and St Peter,
    One with money in the meter.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith JcH: Those who can’t write poetry write prose; those who can’t write prose, write free verse; those who can’t write free verse use emoticons.

  33. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Ah ha! Alison, your disclosure of your queer theory professor friend helps to explain your almost uncanny ability to endow Sidney with such perfect academic babble- whenever I read something like “Gender, Race, and Minigolf” in your strip I always laugh until tears come to my eyes. Then I keep crying. For like, an hour. (J/K!)

    As for you, Friend of the Bean-

    Ahhhhhhh, stop it, I don’t wanna go back to school yet!

  34. sunicarus says:

    Pam I~ Looks like your sense of humor has not been diminished by your dissertation marathon. Thanks for posting the polyamorous beavers! HAAA!

  35. LondonBoy says:

    Jana, surely you’re thinking of
    “Hail, Asphalta, full of grace
    Help me find a parking place”
    from “Found Goddesses” by Morgan Grey and Julia Penelope ( I think ), beautifully illustrated by a certain Ms Bechdel.

    I can confirm from extensive personal experience that
    “Hail Transportia, full of grace
    Please bring a taxi to this place”
    works almost dangerously well. Don’t say it indoors, or a taxi may plough through your front-door in enthusiasm.

    ( Asphalta is the goddess of roads, I seem to remember, and is invoked by drivers, while Transportia covers publicly-available transport. )

  36. Deena in OR says:

    Re: beavers/colleges/states (of mind)
    How many of you knew that Oregon’s official state animal is the beaver? Or that the beaver is the mascot of Oregon State University?

    And you wondered why there are so many lesbians in Oregon…

  37. pd says:

    We have a beaver dam next to our house. The beavers themselves were removed by the town a few years ago because the beavers kept blocking up culverts and threatening to cause major road washouts. (The pond was on town property.)

    The dam is now in disrepair and the pond has turned into a stream. (But I have pictures.)

    Those beavers were pretty noisy at night. Lots of squeeking. I wonder what they were up to. Many trees in the back part of our 7 acre property have tooth marks.

    On another note, I used to know a lesbian in Oregon.

  38. Aunt Soozie says:

    Maggie, I also had a hard time finding the beaver in Alison’s film.
    Friend of Bean…brilliant.
    Pam I…Great photo montage!
    I’d love to see more Beaver footage…close ups next time!

  39. Ginjoint says:

    I know you’re standing by a pond, not a lake, but I keep thinking of the Tom Tom Club song “Lesbians By the Lake.” (It’s off their “The Good, The Bad, and The Funky” CD.) It’s an instrumental that combines an Asian-sounding kora with deeply funky, gyrating grooves by the everlastingly sexy & smart bassist, Tina Weymouth (a.k.a. the bassist for Talking Heads.) A great song to listen to while lying naked on a sun-bleached, deserted beach on some remote Pacific island. While formulating theory. With a naked woman at your side.

  40. Jana C.H. says:

    Speaking of modern goddesses, I wrote an article for GREEN EGG magazine many years ago about Secunda Mana, goddess of yard sales, flea markets, rummage sales, and second-hand stores. She is, of course, a Roman goddess because the Romans got all their culture second hand from the Greeks. I wrote a prayer in verse as an example of how you might ask Secunda Mana to find an object for you– in this case, an antler for your altar.

    Secunda Mana, help me find
    The very thing I have in mind:
    An antler, or a pair, or three,
    From deer or moose or wapiti,
    For really cheap or maybe free.

    I’ll track down that article and maybe I can reprint it the next time I’m Diva of the Week on Maoist Orange Cake.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Will Cuppy: I forget exactly who Rome fell. It was probably just one of those things.

  41. Maggie Jochild says:

    In San Fran, during the 70s-80s, we invoked the parking goddess Shirley Kramer. Since city revenue depended hugely at that point on parking fines (there was one legal public space for every six cars in the city during work hours), taking a car someplace was often out of the question. However, I was known to have an “in” with Shirley, and I’d usually be asked to cram four others into my tiny Honda. I never worried about it, just drove there and whammo, there’d be a spot on the block. I think the key was that I never worried about it — Shirley doesn’t reward control freaks.

    I once owned a Dyke t-shirt written in sorority-style Greek script. I wore it often. On the way to Michigan one year, while packing up our overnight campsite in the public park at Avoca, Iowa, an elderly woman from a nearby Winnebago wandered over to chat up the four of us traveling together in my Honda. She looked at my shirt and said uncertainly “Dyke? University?”

    My companions froze, but I glibly said “It’s not a four-year program.” She said “That’s in Nebraska, right?” “Lincoln” I answered (one of my best friends was from there). She smiled hugely and said “I’ve heard of it.”

    After she wandered off, we lost it. Lost it even more when we saw her return to her husband, fussing about the back end of the Winnebago, and obviously tell him about Dyke U. He stood bolt upright, said a classic “What?!!!” and turned to stare in our direction. We were ready to go by then — waved at them, and drove away.

  42. Anne says:

    With this much beaver being discussed, here’s an Canadian’s interesting insight on the nation’s mascot:
    And if you’re in the mood for karaoke:

  43. Alex the Bold says:

    Ahhhh! Blair Witch Project. Blair Witch Project.

    Omigod! Is that Sydney summoning Dark Forces? Way in the back of the photo, down near the Grassy Knoll.

  44. So UN-pc says:

    Did anyone else notice the careful placement of the “you people” versus the “you guys???” Given the uproar a few posts back, I hope this is not indicative of our fearless leader buckling under the social pressure.

    On the beaver note, after looking for some neat beaver facts on Wikipedia, I learned that the Roman Catholic Church actually made a ruling that beaver meat was considered fish for purposes of keeping with the “no meat on fridays” thing.

    Apparently, Catholics couldn’t go one day without eating beaver. *ducks*

  45. bean says:

    maybe it wasn’t that she “buckled under.” maybe she just didn’t care enough to continue irking the people the use of “you guys” irked.

    i don’t happen to care that much one way or the other about the whole “you guys” thing, but i certainly understand why others do. so, it doesn’t especially bother me that people spoke their minds on this issue.

    in fact, i’m not sure when speaking you mind on the dtwo4 blog became social pressure.

  46. judybusy says:

    Maggie, loved the Dyke U story!!! Way to be thinking on yer feet….

  47. Al et al. says:

    “You guys”, “you people”, I’m just happy to have been singled out….

  48. Revcat says:

    Ah, but there is a Dyke College. I think it is/was (it may have changed its name) in Pennsylvania. My friend MargaretAnn used to go to their bookstore and buy mugs and pencils to distribute to her friends when she passed through town. I need to go Google this to see if it still exists…

    I treasured that pencil for years.

  49. Revcat says:

    Okay – just Googled it. Changed its name sometime before 2000 to David N. Meyers College. It’s in Cleveland. There was an article talking about how both Beaver College and Dyke College had changed their names….

    Now where baby dykes go to learn it all…..?

  50. Butch Fatale says:

    Smith College.

  51. shadocat says:

    There’s a Dykes Library at the University of Kansas Medical Center…

  52. calamityJ says:

    learned from a very intense, very German film theory prof. in college after seeing beavers on IMAX:

    “You know, beavers are the only other animals that mate face to face…”

  53. Kat says:

    beavers are the national animal of Canada….School children frequently color pictures of beavers, study them in school, etc…..

    I find this hysterical. Canadians often wonder why I’m busting a gut…….

  54. Kat says:

    you sure it wasn’t a Winnedyko??

  55. Jeez, you guys. I didn’t even notice that I said “you people.” It must have been my inner censor at work.

    Oh, and Butch Fatale? Excellent comic timing with the Smith remark.

  56. shadocat says:

    Well, at about $34,000 a year, only the rich baby-dykes can go there to learn it all…

  57. Maggie Jochild says:

    Oh, Kat, you made me laugh out loud.

  58. Kat says:

    eggcellent maggie, I do try…..

  59. berlina says:

    Who the hell can afford to go to Smith College?

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