rodent composting, iowa

April 27th, 2009 | Uncategorized

Here’s a little movie I made the other day. I had smelled something terrible the previous night, which I traced to a skiboot on my basement stairs. Tucked inside it was a dead chipmunk. I dumped the sad little thing into the weeds, but Holly suggested that a much more respectful and practical solution would be to compost it. So I did. Warning–contains footage of cute dead rodent.

Also, I just got a phone call from my friend Ruth. She was at the gym this morning, watching CNN. They were showing footage from a Christian Broadcast Network report on the gay marriages happening in Iowa today. For a second, she saw me and my ex Amy Rubin on the screen, getting married on the steps of City Hall in San Francisco five years ago. The Christian Broadcast Network? What were they doing at my wedding? It reminded me of this panel from a cartoon I once did about lesbian-specific phobias.


Since the chipmunk incident, I have put a collar with three bells on the cat. So far this has stemmed the tide of wildlife that had been flowing into the house.

152 Responses to “rodent composting, iowa”

  1. Acilius says:

    I remember that cartoon!

    Poor chipmunk… (sniffles)

  2. Ian says:

    Life imitating art, huh?

    I can’t watch the chipmunk. Residents in our street have been suffering from a mouse problem and I’ve recently had to carry three cute dead rodents out of the house in one go (shudders).

    Was it Dr Winnicott who left you the chipmunk as a present? Where you’d be sure to find it?

  3. Kate L says:

    My oldest brother’s cat would catch mice, carry them gently in his mouth, and release them in the house!

  4. Ruth in RI says:

    Actually, CNN wasn’t showing the CBN footage. CBN was. My gym has a bank of 12 TV sets tuned to different stations. I was watching CNN, but the monitor four over was tuned to Pat Robertson’s “500 Club,” and I caught a glimpse of you out of the corner of my eye. When I turned to look, there was a beautiful close-up of you and Amy in your matching black shirts, smiling and laughing.

    Then the segment ended and they showed Al Gore giving his global warning testimony. I mean, global warming.

  5. AndreaC says:

    Are you composting the boot, too? EEWWWWWWWWWWW!

  6. ksbel6 says:

    As a northeast Missouri resident I can tell you that there is much ado being made about gay marriage in Iowa. The Right Wingers are out in full force…prayer vigils and what not. Pretty weird. It still just amazes me that people think that marriage (as a law) has anything to do with religion.

  7. Acilius says:

    @Ruth: It’s interesting how propagandists depict the people against whom they want to stir up hostility. An anti-same sex marriage broadcast like the 700 CLUB shows its targets with images that you can describe with the three words “beautiful… smiling… laughing.” My first thought is, the Robertson-ites have obviously lost, if The Face of the Enemy is AB at her most adorable.

    My second thought was that they might be trying to appeal to a segment of the population for whom beauty, smiles, and laughter are not among life’s goals, but among its burdens. H. L. Mencken said that “Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere might be happy.” Maybe Robertson & co. heard that line, missed the sarcasm, and decided to be “Puritans.”

  8. --MC says:

    Prophecy is a hard skill to wield, esp. if your prophecy comes back around to get you. Here’s hoping that you are spared a scrape with dormalinguaphobia.

  9. Ruth in RI says:

    700 Club: Right. Shows how often I watch it… The Robertson-ites *have* obviously lost. It’s just going to take a while before the rest of the world figures that out.

  10. hairball_of_hope says:


    In other countries, the legalities of marriage are strictly civil, and completely separate from the religious.

    In Germany, for example, civil authorities (clerk, judge, I’m not sure which functionary) sign the paperwork to marry couples. Clergy have nothing whatsoever to do with the legal marriage; they are free to chant whatever incantations they feel appropriate over the couple, but presence or absence of the magic deity-inspired ceremony has no bearing on the actual civil marriage.

    We ought to do that here, especially considering that this country was supposedly founded on a principle of separation of church and state. Religious authorities have no business getting involved in a civil matter, IMHO.

    Also noteworthy is the absence of religious authoriies in obtaining a civil divorce in this country. Why would we let clergy get involved in one end of the marriage contract but not the other?

  11. hairball_of_hope says:


    I like the idea of the 500 Club. They are a few bricks short of a full load. 😉

  12. Amy Rubin says:

    CBN made it to the wedding, aye? … and still no gift.

  13. Khatgrrl says:

    We had a similar problem with a chipmunk in a rollerblade. Never managed to remove the smell. Had to dispose of the rollerblade. Chipmunks play dead when they are caught. They spring back to life when the cat drops them. We know this all too well having chased two of the little beasts around the living room. Allie, the mighty hunter, doesn’t always manage to finish them off. They aren’t so cute after 2 hours and 1000 laps around the house.

  14. MaryE says:


    I like your insight on the absence of religious authorities in obtaining a civil divorce… but dating a Catholic girl has taught me that is not always true. Her sister got divorced and the church was very much involved in the whole thing, or so I’ve been told…

  15. Aunt Soozie says:

    Amy… that sucks… no gift. How gauche! Have they no manners?

    I couldn’t tell, in that tribute to the chipmunk, if Dr W was looking chagrined or proud. Also wondering about using that compost on your veggie garden and if the composting process would cook out, say, rabies or some other gross nasty.

  16. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Mary E

    There are a few religous affiliations which have rules/regs on divorce, but they are strictly within the context of religous marriage (at least in the US).

    For example, Catholic teaching prohibits divorce, so there are all sorts of hoops one must jump through to annul a prior marriage so one can be married in the church again and receive sacraments. But if the divorced parties have no interest in remarrying in a Catholic ceremony or receiving the Eucharist, they are not REQUIRED to jump through those hoops.

    This leads to strange grounds for annulment, particularly with respect to long-term marriages. There’s the case of Rudolph Giuliani’s first marriage, which was annulled because he married his cousin. Huh? If that was a problem, why did the church marry them in the first place? I don’t recall the grounds for the annulment of Ted Kennedy’s first marriage, but to an outsider like me it all seems hokey.

    In Orthodox Judaism, the parties are required to obtain a religious divorce (called a “get” in Hebrew) from a rabbinical court (Beth Din) in order to be divorced religously. Predictable sexist rules say that the man can refuse to grant the woman the divorce.

    It was quite common that men refused to grant the get via extortionary tactics in the civil divorce (unless paid X amount of money, receiving certain property, visitation rights, etc.).

    So in one of those odd civil-religious crossover laws, NY State has a section of the legal code, (Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act Section 307) which empowers the civil judge to order and coerce the man to grant the get. Canada has a similar legal statute.

    IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer) and IANAC (I Am Not A Clergyperson), so consult your local barrister abd religious shaman if you want out from your civil and religous yokes.

  17. julissa says:

    haha. fundamentavouyerismphobia. love it. i didn’t know you got married?! that’s weird.

  18. Aunt Soozie says:

    Cat Pimp! I love that contraption! My cats are housebound. The vet says it’s healthier and the birds and local critters agree. But, if they weren’t… I’d have one o’them there computerized cat doors installed. That would have been an appropriate wedding gift for Amy and Alison.

  19. ksbel6 says:

    That cat door is amazing!

  20. Pam I says:

    Blog hijack – the temporary-since-January world’s only out lesbian prime minister is now elected bona fide head of state – Iceland’s election at the weekend has endorsed the left-green coalition that has booted out the old rightwingers who have mis/ruled for aeons. See nice pic in the Guardian of Johanna Sigurdardottir, Bit of a poisoned chalice of a job tho.

    Actually I don’t know if she is head of state – does Iceland have a president? I quite fancy a holiday there, maybe I can get to go over and do some photos…

  21. Calico says:

    Well, AB, I feel for you.
    Our next door neighbor’s cat (A huge male Maine Coon who comes and goes as he pleases into our home) hates “les taupes”…aka moles.
    He offed several last year and this year already he’s bagged four in our backyard.
    I always bury the cat-kills in a local park, so gave the poor things a mass burial on Sat. AM., with a pinecone on their grave.

  22. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Cat Pimp

    That is a brilliant cat door. My vet also says that cats live a lot longer and healthier indoors. In the big city, there are prey indoors to catch, torture, and then plop on the floor half-dead as a sign of affection for one’s human. “Lookit what I broughtcha… whassamatter, you don’t like waterbugs?”

  23. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Ha ha, I love the boofy 80’s hair on the chick on the right! (As I type this under my own Belinda Carlisle c. 1986 coif….)
    BTW Alison, I picked up a copy of _State by State_ as a Mother’s Day present, and I finally got to read your cartoon essay on Vermont. Its really great, and when I got to the part about your time in Minnesota, I laughed pretty hard at the panel of you stepping on crack vials in front of a church advertising a hot dish supper! Just in case you get the strange urge to move back to the flatlands someday, Minneapolis is no longer known as “Murderapolis” in popular parlance, and we’d love to have you back. (Hey, you can’t blame a girl for trying!)

  24. Therry and ST. Jerome says:

    We have a hatch from the outdoors into the basement, and all kinds of creatures end up in the basement, there to be preyed upon by various resident cats. After Renita, the Nimrod of the lot, passed three years ago, they pretty much had the run of the house, but after Angel went to the great cat litterbox in the sky, St. Jerome has taken up the task and has been delivering most of a dead mouse on a fairly regular basis. But I’ll never forget the time Renita brought us a partly eaten snake. Goddess, that girl was a killer!

  25. coolmama says:

    To Hairball_of_hope — you’re right about many European countries’ granting of civil marriage licenses. But you can go to your local Justice of the Peace and get a marriage license here too, no church involved. And just like same-sex couples can do that here in some states but not others, the same is true in Europe. (They can’t in Germany.) Check out this map for the situation in Europe:

  26. Renee Stokley says:

    When I told my elderly aunt that I was gay…
    She said, “fine with me, just don’t be showing your ass in those gay parades…..”

  27. C. says:

    Maybe you and Amy could ask the network for the tape as a keepsake…

    Anyone wants to dig through and get a screenshot.

  28. C. says:

    No– wait it’s! That’s screwed up, but not in a surprising way.

  29. C. says:

    Here’s a link:

    I didn’t see Alison on it, so it may not be worth it…

    Probably wasn’t worth it in the first place, anyway

  30. C. says:

    Oh, and birds I kinda understand, but Chipmunks? Dr. Winnicott is interesting.

    Btw, that cartoon is availble in The Indelible Alison Bechdel, which is unfortunately out of print.

  31. C. says:

    Sorry, but…

    The “mute” and “fast foward” buttons were quite helpful in finding this…

  32. Renee Stokley says:

    hmm I tried to look at that video and it kept freezin up.
    Wonder why.

  33. Jan says:

    Our neighborhood has been suspiciously devoid of chipmunks since the neighbor started letting her 2 cats out. Life around here seems particularly fraught with danger for chipmunks. One got into my basement a few summers ago. I heard an animal making noise down there, and I thought it sounded big, like maybe a badger. In time it became clear that the misguided chipmunk and a friend had been lured to the deaths by the flap on the vent to my clothes dryer. Now I have the kind of vent cover that’s 3 slats that pivot open only when the dryer is on. I thought by getting that kind, I had made the neighborhood safe for chippies, and I had until the cat started hanging out near the bushes. Nature read in tooth and claw and all that.

  34. Ready2Agitate says:

    I recently read an acquaintance’s blog (“ethical society”), where she writes abt end of life issues, including “green burials” — e.g. tossing yerself into the ground sans box, or heck, just into a giant heap of compost! Enjoy.

  35. Ready2Agitate says:

    ps An excerpt if you don’t like to click:

    “Thinking about more ecologically sound ways of approaching the disposition of a body after death not only involves changes in thinking about the burial, but also, how family and loved ones might be involved in caring for the body of somoene who has died. I tend to think that greater involvement around death is a good thing, even for children, but there is something in me which resists the thought of having my loved ones bury my body in a simple shroud or having to do that for someone I care for.

    “I never expected by body to be buried. I’ll have to think about that. But reading the facts on the cover of Grave Matters – that the average cost of the standard funeral and bural runs $10,000 and a typical 10 acre swatch of cemetery ground contains enough coffin wood to construct 20 houses; nearly 1,000 tons of casket steel; 20,000 tons of vault concrete and enough toxic embalming fluid to fill a backyard swimming pool, makes me know I have to learn more. I’ll be reading Mark Harris’ website as one way of learning more.”

    Yipes – big leap from a deceased chipmunk to us eventually-to-be-deceased humans, but nonetheless, the post, when I read it, made me think of Holly Rae Taylor :).

  36. Pam I says:

    R2A, that embalming thing is a weird americanism to us (Brits) – no-one here seems to do it except royals. What’s the point anyway? – and the thought of all that stuff leaking into the soil and watercourse is most alarming.

  37. @Cat Pimp! The image-recognition-cat-flap-closer is amazing. The things people get up to! If the bells on Dr. W’s collar ever stop working, I’ll be installing one.

    @C, I can’t believe you spent all that time on CBN, but thanks for finding that shot.

    @Julissa. It WAS weird getting married. But cool, too. Sadly it didn’t work out—which I imagine would come as no surprise to the Christian Broadcast Network.

  38. Ready2Agitate says:

    …or to Beth Farkins-McLaughlin et. al, eh, AB?

  39. Ready2Agitate says:

    HAHAHAHAH! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    @Renee Stokley: Funny… When I told my elderly aunt that I was gay… She said, “fine with me, just don’t be showing your ass in those gay parades…..”

  40. Hmmmmmm says:

    So did you ever get divorced? Or did fickle California do that for you?

  41. Ginjoint says:

    Cat Pimp – I am so forwarding that site to several people I know. Oh, to be that smart.

    CBN made it to the wedding, aye? … and still no gift.
    We had a similar problem with a chipmunk in a rollerblade.
    I’m STILL laughing over this.

    R2A: I thought about donating my body to The Body Farm, but that idea was laid to rest, as it were, by my mother when she found out. (“You mean you just lie there?! And ROT?! Out in the OPEN?!!…NAKED?!!”) So now, I’d like to be donated to a medical school. Of course, that puts one at risk of being treated ignominiously by some dickhead med student, but whatever. If that happens, I’ll come back and haunt him.

    Speaking of bodies, thanks to a short procedure last week, I now once again have nipples! Wheeeeeeee! Oh nipples, I didn’t realize how much I missed you. On a somewhat related note, I had a long lunch today with my crush, and boy howdy, damned if those spanking new lil’ nips didn’t…um…respond to her presence. (TMI? So sorry. I’m full of wine.)

  42. Aunt Soozie says:

    oh yay for your nipples Ginjoint! Not too much info for this dyke to watch out for… in fact, I was going to say to Renee.. well, your grandma only said don’t show your ASS in those gay parades… so, you could still show your tits.. right?
    I think some cultures embalm because they have burial/funeral rituals and they want to keep the body around for awhile for viewing, etc… so, they do that to preserve it.
    I don’t much like the idea of burial but if i had to go – i’d rather be buried in the ground – not in a box in the ground. ashes to ashes and all…

  43. Aunt Soozie says:

    I’m fairly certain that in Israel you can be buried right in the ground… wrapped only in a shroud. Also, no embalming fluid, even for American Jews if they are observant. Jewish law says there should be nothing preventing the body from returning to the earth… if you use a coffin it has to be constructed of wood only and should be a plain pine box. Okay, maybe this is getting too morbid but it started with Alison’s chipmunk and I’m still wondering about the chipmunk compost in your veggie garden so maybe I’ll go ask Holly…

  44. iara says:

    Maybe the Compost Maven can take care of all our remains – chipmunks, birkenstocks, and throw in any of our used body parts after they have served their purpose in medical school – which makes me wonder: what happened to the real Fun Home? AB, is it still being run by your family? This could count as a merger of operations.

    @Ginjoint, congratulations on the nipples! This is going to sound really weird, but this morning I somehow got the phrase “The importance of having nipples” stuck in my head. I was sorting through the laundry and was feeling a growing irritation at my 14 yo daughter’s obsession with eradicating any evidence of the existence of nipples by wearing the armor-like victoria secret bras that make her look like she has these perfectly spherical smooth lumps on her chest. I know, I know, I can find better things to worry about, but still, it was really weird having this thought and then seeing your comment tonight.

  45. Ready2Agitate says:

    My friend just had nipple reconstruction after bilateral mastectomy, so we’ve been talking nipples too! – weeeee! You go girl. Now I hafta go look up The Body Farm. Huh.

  46. Ready2Agitate says:

    ok I just watched 2 YouTubes of The Body Farm – bodies decomposing and what-not. Wow. Comforting in a way. And creepy in another. OK – time to get back to… what was I doing? Oh yeah, being alive. Cya!

  47. Ginjoint says:

    Iara, that is so wonderfully freaky. I guess I should rein in the thought waves, huh?

    R2A – yeah, so you can see why my mother put the kibosh on that idea. I mean, yes, I’m a grown woman and God only knows I don’t run my life according to her wishes, but sometimes, you know, ya gotta bend a little. (And…um…it kind of scared me too, but I wanted to look tough and all. So, thanks, Mom!)

  48. Alex K says:

    @Aunt S: Rats move into our compost bin once or twice a winter. We ignore some aspects of prescriptive composting. The feet of the roast chicken, and, after the carcass is picked, and simmered for soup, and picked again, the bones, crunched into inch-long bits with the garden secateurs, go into that bin. Going after them I suppose, so does an occasional rat. Re-arrangements of the tails and tops from yesterday’s leeks. Tunnellings. A whisk of grey fur and a scrabbling noise when I lift the bin lid. The clues are not difficult to interpret. I sigh, dump the night before’s salad trimmings into the bin, shift the emptied yogurt pot to my left hand, and walk back to the house and into the kitchen. I bend down to check beneath the sink — yes, we still have rat poison. And I reach in, take out the container from behind the washing-machine detergent box, and walk back out to strew a quartercupful of blue-grey oats over the top of the bin contents. No scrabblings or whiskings the next day, and the parsnip parings stay undisturbed.

    Never have I found an identifiable bit of rat when forking over the bin contents, and even the claws on the chicken feet seem to disappear. The cyclamen and delphiniums thrive, that’s for sure…

    @Ginjoint: Would your bones, or what was left of them, at some point have been gathered and tidied away? So Zoroastrian! My grandmother’s parlour had a copy of a book with a colour engraving, point of view looking up to a hillcrest, that illustrated a squat, brooding Tower of Silence at hilltop, vultures circling overhead. I used to sneak in, and take the book down from the shelf, and sit there cross-legged on the floor, tracing the text with one finger and looking at the Tower as I admired the horrible idea of abjuring the pollution of earth, fire, and water by returning the dead, courtesy of those vultures, to the air… The same bookcase also held A Child’s Stories from the Bible, with another image that held me rapt and terrified — Moses and the brazen serpent. That phrase still makes me shudder inside, just a little bit. “Brazen serpent”! The words themselves hiss and slither.

  49. Chris (From Massachusetts) says:

    If one is of a morbid collector frame of mind, one buries the tiny corpses of mice, chipmunks, etc, in an anthill for a few months. The end result is a tiny skeleton, picked clean of all soft tissues. The bones may be a trifle out of position, however. Assembling and mounting the bones can be quite challenging.

    As for the disposition of my mortal remains, I have made it clear to anyone who’ll listen, that I am an organ donor. Whatever can be used, shall be used. What’s left is to be cremated. Perhaps these leftovers could then be used a plant fertilizer.

  50. Chris (From Massachusetts) says:

    Speaking of Iowa…

    Photo Gallery from Iowa, on the first day of issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.

    TinyURL in case the huge original URL gets munged.

    Lovely pictures. So many smiles! So much love!

  51. Ready2Agitate says:

    Likewise, Chris – take my organs, return the rest to the earth – in a simple white sheet, thanks. (As Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead sez – he has a donated liver – “if you think that given the option of receiving a donated organ or death, you’d choose the donated organ, then fair is fair: ya gotta give one, too.”

  52. Ready2Agitate says:


  53. Maggie Jochild says:

    For me the burning question is: Was it Chip or Dale?!!!

  54. hairball_of_hope says:

    Or was it Alvin?

  55. falloch says:

    My friend’s mum was a dedicated gardener, so when she died, she was buried in a wicker coffin, decked out with flowers and ribbons. It was beautiful (and very compostable). Normally the centrepiece of the funeral service is this big dark wooden edifice in the centre aisle of the church. But this light airy flower-bedecked object as the centre of attention completely changed the atmosphere of the ceremony.

    Re: cats and Bells. Yes, bells are good for foiling feline hunting efforts. But I don’t really think it’s good for a cat to have such a constant jingling noise so close to their very sensitive ears. I suppose deterrence depends on Dr Winnicott’s attitude towards hunting. When I first got my cat, he used to bring me ‘presents’; I didn’t shout at him, but didn’t praise either, just picked the victim up and put it in the trash. Eventually Gus realised how ungrateful I am, and doesn’t bring me ‘gifts’ anymore. Now he just rolls over and shows me his huge stripey belly instead.

  56. Maggie Jochild says:

    If it was Alvin, I bet the little wool sweater is compostable, too.

  57. Caro says:

    Boy, was I surprised to log on and see the Fundamentavoyeurismphobia cartoon frame on the website! I have it hanging on my wall behind the computer. It still raises the occasional eyebrow from visitors (including handymen and termite inspectors) as does the next frame of the cartoon Dormalingaphobia.

  58. Antoinette says:

    My cats are housebound and only capable of catching centipedes. They deliver them to me in a yucky half-alive state. Mostly, their idea of hunting consists of hanging around the kitchen and vocalizing. There is a rather large owl in my neighborhood who keeps the rodent population in check.

    As for last rites, I’ll be glad to return to the earth minus reusable parts in a white sheet. For music, I want “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and CCR’s “Lookin’ Out My Back Door”.

  59. Ginjoint says:

    Jochild, you crack me up.
    I am listed as an organ donor, so I have to find out if after I’m “harvested,” (sorry), they can use whatever’s left at a med school. Not every use is for anatomy class, so there’s definitely a good chance of still being of use. My grandmother, who passed last November, donated her body. She lived to the age of 94, sharp as a tack, with no history of cancer or any disease; she especially wanted doctors to have a body and brain to examine to hopefully see anything that kept her from the common infirmities of old age. We’ll get her ashes in about a year, I’m told, Alex K.

    Or, if one would like to contribute to the well-being of living creatures after one’s death, there’s always sky burial. Unfortunately, you have to be in Tibet for it. Here’s the Wiki link:

  60. Acilius says:

    @iara: “bras that make her look like she has these perfectly spherical smooth lumps on her chest. I know, I know, I can find better things to worry about”- I think that’s a perfectly good thing to worry about. It would be sad if your daughter disliked her nipples. I’m glad you’re keeping an eye on her body image.

    Maybe it’s time to rehabilitate nipples. Someone could write a set of NIPPLE MONOLOGUES. It would be great, men and women could participate equally.

    Nips! Nips! Nips! Nips!

  61. Maggie Jochild says:

    Now see, Acilius, maybe it’s a combination of being post-menopause and having been a child in the 50s, but when I read “Nips!” I think instantly of Nik-L-Nips. A candy I could never get enough of.

    My mother was converted by Jessica Mitford to an anti-funeral-extortion crusader, and insisted on cremation for her own burial, which upset the Babtists a fair amount. But it was truly a blessing for me and others who loved her body as dearly as we loved her mind and spirit. When I woke up in paralyzing grief during the middle of the night in the weeks and months after her death, I knew she was not preserved in some box, in ghastly arrested decomp — she was ash and air. It helped a lot.

    I, too, am an organ donor but at this point, with all my physical issues, I doubt anything except corneas will be harvested. I decided against body donation because, frankly, I’ve heard from friends who went through medical school that the treatment of fat people, especially fat women, in cadaver rooms is dehumaninzing. Yeah, I won’t be there, but I like this old carcase of mine too much to release it to hateful male gaze after the fact.

    I like the Hopi method: Wrap me in cotton and stuff me into a niche at the side of a mesa. Let the birds and small things cart me away bit by bit, as the sun and heat dissolves all my womanly juices.

  62. Aunt Soozie says:

    wow… so much to comment on but I have to get off to the office…
    before i do just want to take a minor turn off track and ask this of all of you…
    My Friends,
    Please take a moment today and write to Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee on behalf of Roxana Saberi. A “real” letter is best but if you can’t do that an email is better than nothing. Roxana is on a hunger strike and according to her parents is weak, not doing well and stating she either wants freedom or death. Please let your voice be heard for this woman!! Thank you!

    info below is from the website:
    Officials in Iran need to know your concern for Roxana Saberi and your desire to return her home, and while she is in Iran to have a fair appeals process.

    Write to:
    His Excellency Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran
    622 Third Ave.
    New York, NY 10017

  63. Aunt Soozie says:

    my comment is awaiting moderation… mentor? moderators? it contains two links, perhaps that is why. thanks! Soozie

  64. NLC says:

    Continuing with the current topic:
    I must admit to a certain fondness for the answer given by George Carlin:

    “I want to be blown up.”

  65. NLC says:

    More seriously, to make an obvious point: If folks are planning to do _anything_ out of the ordinary you have to have it in writing. And you really need to make sure everyone who might be involved is aware of your plans/wishes.

    Setting aside purely legal issues, here’s a personal example.

    During that last several years of his life, each time my wife and I would visit her father at least once during each visit he would take her aside and explain that 1] he wanted to be cremated and 2] he wanted his ashes scattered at a certain location. (My wife’s mother had been dead for several years.)

    (He did this in his best, endearing grumpy old man style, swearing that he would come back to haunt her if she “failed him”. But, as I say, I –let alone my wife– must have heard him say this a dozen times.)

    Anyway, when he died, his mother [that’s another story] announced that she just “assumed” that he (my wife’s father) would be buried beside her and her husband. (Her story –and that of much of the family– was that my wife’s father had clearly been “just joking”, and that my wife, presumably, was too upset –or too dumb– to understand that.)

    There was never any doubt that my wife would follow her father’s wishes to the letter (which she did, of course). But needless to say there was a lot, well, “tension” that ensued.

    In short, wills (and other such “plans”) are uncomfortable to deal with. But as a lawyer-friend once explained to me they will be of their most use at a time when everyone involved is pretty upset and has many other things on their mind.

  66. ksbel6 says:

    I’m an organ donor. I feel good about the idea that someone else will get to live because of me…that sounds more selfish typed out than I mean it to, but you get the point. I also like the idea of being cremated. The only reason I have the occasionally cigarette is to light my Zippo…I just like to make fire. I’m one of those evil children that used to light ants and leaves on fire with a magnifying glass.

    @Ginjoint: congrats on the nipples. It must be good to feel like your body is coming back. I still have my fingers crossed for you on the crush!

  67. Dr. Empirical says:

    First of all, congratulations to Ginjoint on her nipples, but more importantly, thank you, Ginjoint, for giving us all the opportunity to type such unlikely sentences as “Congratulations to Ginjoint on her nipples!” Wheee!

  68. hairball_of_hope says:

    I’m an organ donor too, and I had one of those revelatory moments about how one’s wishes would be carried out (and by whom) last year, as I filled out piles of paperwork while sitting in the emergency room with medicos scurrying about trying to hook up an IV and calling various specialists on duty to take a look at me.

    Note to self: You know you’re in trouble when each white-coated person in the ER looks at you, says “Oh” followed by yet another white-coated person higher up on the medical foodchain who also says “Oh.”

    I don’t recall any of the forms asking if I was an organ donor. That info is on the back of my driver’s license, and I really doubt anyone would be looking at it at until I was long gone.

    Then there were the various questions about all that damn paperwork I had been meaning to get done… medical power of attorney, various forms of life support I would agree or refuse, who was empowered to make decisions for me.

    Hell, I was even stumped on some of the emergency contact questions… which friend was geographically close enough to get the call and most likely to be a good advocate for me. I definitely didn’t want family listed, and the person whom I trusted most lives many hundreds of miles away, too far to be an effective advocate.

    Not surprisingly, the most important questions for the ER folks was what type of insurance I had. By law, they have to treat anyone who shows up in the ER, but it’s pretty clear you get a bandaid and two aspirin if you have no insurance, and a team of specialists crowding around you if you have decent insurance. I should put “decent” in quotes, all the medical stuff cost me a small fortune last year, and I had to pay for a ton of physical rehab out of pocket because of insurance limitations. The US system of health care SUCKS.

    The medical situation was resolved, but the questions remain. And then there’s the burial issue. As Aunt Soozie noted, Jews (and Muslims) don’t get embalmed, and with very few exceptions, the burial must take place within 24 hours. Cremation is not an option for the observant.

    For that reason, many Jews own burial plots far in advance of actual need. My parents and their siblings/inlaws received theirs in a family plot as a gift from my grandparents. Sounds odd, I know, it’s a Jewish thing.

    Family feuds and decades later, there are empty spaces in the family plot, but I have no way of getting through all the paperwork with the few remaining living relatives to even think about using one of the spots. Not that I’m sure I’d want to.

    And while I’m currently not attached, the issue of being in a relationship opens another set of issues… non-Jews can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery (and that assumes that a potential partner wants burial in the first place). So, I’ve put off dealing with this for a few decades, but I think I need to get off the pot and do something about it.

  69. hairball_of_hope says:


    Congrats on the nipples. I’m really impressed that they responded, good work by your surgeons to preserve nerves. That might be a mixed bag on a cold day in the City of Big Shoulders, however. 😉

  70. Kate L says:

    When my older sister and I were kids, she had a doll as big as I was called “Betty the Bride”, complete with bridal gown and veil. My sister would insist on marrying me to Betty over and over again. Marriage? Been there, done that! 🙂

  71. Ready2Agitate says:

    @Aunt Soozie – I will write in support of Roxana Saberi – thanks so much.

    @H_o_H – I’m sad to hear of your trials last year and hope your health is doing much much better now – you’ve added a lot of mirth, knowledge, fun, and zing to this dykely chat space!

    Also, my Boston area shul, which is “non-affiliated in the Conservative tradition” not only recognizes bilateral descent (a Jewish parent of any gender makes the kid Jewish), and does not require adoptees to go the additional step of conversion (the kids feel different enough from other kids), but they recently allocated a plot in their cemetery for mixed faith couples/families. I’m betting this will become more and more common, and it is a relief to me (who is in an interfaith couple).

  72. Jan says:

    Perhaps I owe the neighbor’s cats an apology. A fat chipmunk just hopped balletically over to the sunflower seeds that had fallen from the bird feeder.

  73. little gator says:

    A very good friend of mine is at The Body Farm now. They will take you for free if you are within 200 miles of their location in Tennessee. Gerry wasn’t, and used up most of her tiny estate on having her family take care of sending her there, packed in dry ice.

    Afte a year they remove you. I’ve heard that what’s left may be returned to your family, or mayu be kept in their research archives.

    The Body Farm’s goal is to study decomposition in all kinds of situations with an emphasis on crime solving, so anyone who goes there might or might not be naked. I’m proud of Gerry for being there. She might be stuffed in a car trunk, buried in a shallow grave, in a pond, or just lying on the ground. I’d rather not know the exact details, not that anyone’s offered to tell me.

    The only thing better would be if she was still alive. In her last weeks she’d bragged she’d been accepted to the school that runs the place.

    Organ donation is mostly for the young. with the possible exception of retinas. No one wants your parts if you’re too old, and I’m not sure where the boundary is.

  74. hairball_of_hope says:

    Tiny blog diversion… Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Spector has just announced he is switching his party affiliation from Republican to Democratic. Assuming that Al Franken is finally confirmed as the Democratic winner in Minnesota, that would give the Dems a 60 vote majority in the Senate, which makes them fillibuster-proof. Wheeee!

    One of the talking heads commented how Spector’s having battled cancer may have changed his views on the GOP.

    I can imagine Spector’s GOP issue checklist as he dealt with our FUBARed medical establishment… Stem cells? No. Single-payer health insurance? No. Big Pharma, AMA, and for-profit hospitals/insurance companies running the show? Yes.

    And consider that Spector, like all Federal employees, has what is considered some of the best health insurance coverage available. Of course, what the FEHB plan really boils down to is a choice of hundreds of insurance plans, all of which suck, but each of which sucks in a different manner, so you get to choose which is the least sucky for your likely set of ailments.

    On another note, the Senate confirmation vote on KS Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as Sec’y of Health and Human Services will be in the midst of the current swine flu pandemic hysteria. I wonder if/how that will affect the vote. GOPers are trying to block her confirmation.

  75. iara says:

    This body farm sounds like a good place to go decompose, but I have no problem with all the other options, except for the environmentally unsound. So, if my body can bring some comic relief to some stressed med students that have been pulling all-nighters, I say, hey, I’ve had plenty of laughs over this body, be my guest! I heard that a favorite game is to chase each other around with a cut-off arm, pulling at the tendons to get the hand to make clutching motions, like a marionette.

  76. Acilius says:

    The discussion of funerary practices reminds me of the second conversation I ever had with my girlfriend. Why we were talking about our funeral plans I don’t know; we weren’t even on a date. My office was between the wheelchair-accessible entrance and the elevator she had to use to get to class, so she was sort of trapped into making conversation with me.

    Anyway, we did talk about funeral plans. We each had similar plans- donate our bodies to a medical school for use as cadavers. Each of us had a school in mind that cremates the cadaver when they’re done and gives the ashes to the survivors free of charge. She mentioned that she wanted her ashes scattered in the ocean. I told her that I wanted mine shot out of a cannon, Hunter S. Thompson-style.

    That conversation was 2 1/2 years ago. In the interval it’s become clear to each of us that the other was perfectly serious. We trust each other to carry out those last wishes; we trust each other pretty thoroughly, in fact, which is why we’re getting married two weeks from today.

    Of course, once we are married we’ll draw up wills so that it won’t just be the one who dies first who gets the correct funeral. For my part, I’d be sad enough to have outlived her without having to fear that whoever winds up as executor of my estate will refuse to rent a cannon.

  77. Kate L says:


    Oh, wow, for years I’ve been telling people that I wanted my body shot out of a cannon after I die, and it turns out to be a line from Hunter S. Thompson, one of my favorite authors! I must have read that in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, or the Great White Shark Hunt, etc. Hunter S. Thompson was also one of my father’s favorite authors. Which should tell you something about dad.

    And, yes, I have been steering away from this thread’s discussion of health and mortality. I have some issues of my own, and I keep telling myself that if I don’t talk about them, that somehow makes them less real…

  78. hairball_of_hope says:


    Mazel Tov! That’s wonderful news. I wish you and the SO all the best.

    I suppose if one’s ashes can’t be launched into space like Gene Roddenberry’s, having them shot out of a cannon is a good second choice. You might want to think about an environmentally-friendlier alternative to the cannon (greenhouse gases from the black powder). How about a trebuchet?

  79. judybusy says:

    Ginjoint–hooray for nipples! I’m also amazed they responded so nicely!

    As for the teenager wanting to cover up the nips, I totally get it. When I’m lifting at the gym I’m always paranoid the guys are just checking them out, but since my eyes are glued to the mirror (Has that muscle gotten bigger? Are my abs engaged? OMG, my nipples are SO obvious today!) I really don’t know….

    Surprised it wasn’t mentioned, but Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers is a great read, often funny. I believe The Farm gets its own chapter.

  80. geogeek says:

    Re: nipples: this has recently become a weird question for me: apparently I have very “active” nipples, which I never really thought about until last summer, when I was having a conversation with a woman whose nipples were very pointy (i public, fully clothed, etc.) It was a little distracting to me, not hugely so, but enough to realize that one doesn’t see other people’s erect nipples very often. Then I started noticing that mine are pointy much of the time. THen I started noticing that my students in the back giggle and poke each other. Then I got paranoid and wondered if my nipples behave weirdly in class. Now I’m wearing a fleece vest most of the time to teach in.


  81. Anonymous says:

    Life and death,rodents and people. I guess bacon & maple syrup are passe…

    I have good news:I have a new granddaughter! Giselle Janet (pron.Yanet) was born on 4/13 (9 days early). She’s doing well,and brother Joaquin,20 months,seems to be accepting her.

  82. Feminista says:

    Oops,I’m the happy abuela above.

  83. Jessica Bessica says:

    HOH beat me to it, but holy shnikies!

    Senator Spector Switched!!!

  84. Hazel says:


    Did you see the review of DTWOF in the March/April issue of Women’s Review of Books? It is very favorable.

  85. hairball_of_hope says:


    The Nipple Monologues! That’s a great idea. Next up, Cindy Toledo’s art installation, ‘The Breakfast Party’. Lots of sunny side up eggs and pancakes with nipples on them.

    Gee, has it really been 30 years since I first saw ‘The Dinner Party’ at the Brooklyn Museum? It’s now a long-term installation at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum.

  86. hairball_of_hope says:

    Bloomberg is reporting that Kathleen Sebelius has been confirmed as HHS Secretary:

    I guess it’s a bittersweet day for Kansans, but it’s good for the rest of us.

  87. Renee S. says:

    @ R2A glad to have made you laff
    @ aunt soozie …Or I could show both at the same time…T&A

    Holy Shit! Spector has changed sides? my prayers have partially been answered….

  88. Pam I says:

    My wishes for my ashes are on my website for all to see: , with a nice snap of the dawn cityscape from Waterloo Bridge which is one of my favourite London spots, not least because it is everchanging with big skies. Whoever gets the job will have to decide on the day whether to toss them upstream, towards the political centre, or down towards the sea via the money city. I guess it will depend more on the prevailing wind. The Thames is tidal at that point so I could end up halfway to Wales.

    Since my mum died, I take comfort in her ashes being buried in the grounds of the village church, in what’s fortuitously a beautiful country graveyard, with horses in the field next door. We also brought some soil from the very anonymous cemetery grounds where my dad’s ashes had been scattered, so both their names are on the stone. I even find myself thinking I wouldn’t mind mine going in there too – this would be most amusing to those who hear me rant about godbottherers….

  89. meldyke says:

    @ Maggie Jochild:
    You are SPOT ON about the way medical students treat fat cadavers! I was horrified when one of my favorite medical students (a brilliant Smith graduate, at that) posted to her blog about how gross the fat on her (female) cadaver was. I’ll never think of her the same way again. As for me, donate me to people, to science (but not medical students!), to the compost – just don’t embalm me and put me in a box. I’ve spent too much of my life in one already!

  90. Ian says:

    @Feminista: you could be right about maple & bacon syrup being passe. The last discussion was torture, music, the holocaust and knitting so we seem to have got away from that one!

    Congrats on the new grandkid. Since I gained an unexpected nephew I’ve discovered the joy of spoiling los ninos as well as the schadenfreude of handing them back to their parents tired, cranky yet pumped full of sugar and E numbers. *wicked laugh*

    I’ve not decided whether to be burnt or buried as they say round here. I was a bit freaked out when I went to a recent cremation and was stood outside. I looked up at the smoke coming from the chimney and I realised, as I’d not before, that the smoke must contain part of my friend that had just been cremated and I was watching her stream through the air towards the centre of town.

  91. lurker-no-longer says:

    Just a couple of comments, because I know a tiny bit about these topics…. for odd reasons. But, first, Ginjoint, let me join the celebration of your new nipples! I actually had no idea that reconstructed nipples could respond… that is so amazing.

    Little Gator: “Organ donation is mostly for the young. with the possible exception of retinas. No one wants your parts if you’re too old, and I’m not sure where the boundary is.”

    My ex gf used to work as a tissue recoverer, and organ “harvester”. She would get a call about a death or an impending death, and would go to recover all sorts of body parts; retinas, skin, tendons, bone lengths…age really was not so much a factor. Vital organs (hearts, lungs, etc.), of course need to be harvested in the hospital.

    H-o-H: “I don’t recall any of the forms asking if I was an organ donor. That info is on the back of my driver’s license, and I really doubt anyone would be looking at it at until I was long gone.”

    I’m on our volunteer rescue squad as an EMT-B. If we (tragically) are called to the scene of a MVA (motor vehicle accident), and the patient is severely injured, one medic on site always looks at the driver’s license to see if the person is a donor, and we take it to the hospital with us. So even if we can see that saving the life of the patient is unlikely, (though we’re not allowed to actually make this call) medics work hard to keep a heart beating all the way to the hospital, in the hope that organ donation can be an option. Continued oxygenation is the key. Not that the medics don’t work hard to keep all patients alive, but that is what is going on in our minds.

    One last thought, and I really don’t mean this to be upsetting, but I know it was to me when I first found this out. When my mom died we had her cremated. I was shocked when the crematorium (?) director informed my siblings and me that they don’t build a fire for each individual person, that they sort of “save them up” and burn several bodies at a time, and that the ashes that we received were likely not only my mom’s.

    I love the wicker box buried in the backyard idea…. I think I’d opt for that. Though I have to say I love the visual image of the King Arthur type “burial”; being sent out to float on a raft covered with flowers, with a band of archers shooting flaming arrows from the shore to set me aflame.

  92. Acilius says:

    @h_o_h: Thank you! We’re excited.

    Good for Spector! The senators from Maine must be getting lonely…

    @lurker-no-longer: I knew that about crematoria. It doesn’t really bother me. After all, shooting the ashes out of a cannon means they’ll be scattered widely and lose all distinctness. It would be different if you wanted to keep them in a jar or spin them into glasswork.

  93. hairball_of_hope says:


    After a scandal involving a pet crematorium about 20 years ago, NY State issued a bunch of regulations for pet crematoria and cemeteries. Under the regs, a pet crematorium must place the pet body in an individual container for cremation such that the body and cremains remain separate from other bodies and cremains, if that is the type of cremation service requested by the customer.

    Interestingly, I haven’t found equivalent regulations for humans. I’m hoping they exist.

    As for reading the donor form on the driver’s license, once you’re in the emergency room, if you haven’t arrived by ambulance (assuming you are critically ill or injured), they will cut your clothes off and dump them in a plastic bag labeled ‘Patient Property’ or something like that. I doubt someone is going to dig through the bag looking for the license in the wallet in the back pocket of what were formerly someone’s pants hoping to find organ donor info, but maybe I’m wrong on that.

  94. hairball_of_hope says:


    There are often local regulations on the scattering of ashes on land. I stumbled upon this set of regs for the scattering of ashes at sea. There’s a form to fill out (naturally), and burial at sea of a body or ashes must take place no closer than three nautical miles from land.

  95. Ready2Agitate says:

    Happy engagement, Acilius! May you have many wonderful years together! <3

    And re: deposition of human remains, referring back to the blog post on ‘green burials’ that started this conversation, the writer says this:

    “I’ve always expected that my body would be cremated, as were those of my parents, as they wished. I’m going to have to do some more research and thinking about that, having a new understanding of the energy resources required for cremation, and the potential pollution. I can tell you that one option Mark Harris presented, incorporating a person’s ashes into structures that are then lowered into the ocean to create reefs doesn’t really appeal to me.”

    I’m guessing the book she mentions explicates why cremation isn’t so green….

    Oh, and Cat Pimp – you are such a cat pimp! 🙂 That vid was amazing. Holy cripes!

  96. Anonymous says:

    Thanks,Ian. Brought dinner to the tired parents tonight.

    Congrats to all who deserve congrats.

  97. Aunt Soozie says:

    Ian, I’m familiar with pumping kids fulla sugar but what are E numbers???

  98. Ali says:

    I have loved this discussion – it has made me think and laugh and wonder. I don’t know in the over populated UK whether burial will be an option soon – even rural graveyards and cemeteries are nearly full. So ideal would be the wicker option and even though I’m scared of burning – I guess I won’t know about it. What is important to me is the memorial – I would like a tree planted at the site of my burial be it ashes or body. Probably a cherry so my nutrients may burst into life twice a year for the cascading beauty of the blossom and the glowing autumn leaves. I just feel that even when every one living had forgotten you some of the energy and beauty would remain – live on touching people’s lives. I guess I am incurably sentimental (or just mental) – What would you like for a memorial, after the decomposition, burial, scattering or cannon shot!?

  99. Pam I says:

    Apparently wicker coffins can creak. So the congregation would need a GSOH.

  100. Maggie Jochild says:

    Kathleen Sebelius has been confirmed. I just put up a post about it at Group News Blog and gave this blog a little plug at the end. Wahoo!

  101. Ian says:

    @Aunt Soozie: Here’s a list of the dreaded E numbers:

    Quite a few are natural ingredients, but it includes all the artificial colours, flavourings, preservatives etc food manufacturers insist on pumping into our foodstuffs. There’s been quite a bit of controversy in Britain about them as parents have noticed that they can make some children very hyperactive. Within seconds of ingesting.

  102. Aunt Soozie says:

    ah… thank you!

  103. Ian says:

    Oh, and I don’t know if you’re fed up of me posting things from the BBC but given the nature of this blog how could I not? A town in Kent has its own library cat!

    Fidel, an eight-year-old black cat, turns up at Deal library almost every day while his owners are at work.

    He spends the day on his favourite blue chair, only leaving the building when he sees his owners arriving home.

  104. Acilius says:

    @R2A: Thank you! I knew she and I were meant for each other when I introduced her to DTWOF and she didn’t immediately laugh and suggest I start wearing a Utilikilt at the first sight of Stuart.

    @h_o_h: Yes, many places have regulations about ash-scattering that might interfere with my funeral plans. Aspen, Colorado almost ruined Hunter S. Thompson’s own funeral- he wanted his ashes packed into a pyrotechnic shell that would burst at a height, but the town wouldn’t allow that. The loose ashes had to be poured into mouth of the mortar. As a result, the discharge wasn’t very spectacular. In the video below, Thompson’s ashes are fired from a mortar in between a bunch of pyrotechnic cannons firing regulation fireworks. So if you wonder what that gray stuff is that comes belching out between the cannons at about 1:34, that’s the last appearance of Dr Gonzo.

  105. Timmytee says:

    Ian, what a nice little story about Fidel the library cat. Thanks!

  106. Ginjoint says:

    First, congrats to Acilius and Feminista! Have you registered anywhere, Acilius?

    Next, thanks to everyone for the well-wishes re: my nipples. (And yes, Dr. E, it is most fun typing a sentence like that.) However, I’m afraid I was a bit misleading. What happened was this: Had lunch with the crush. Talked and talked. Bliss. She had to go back to work, and I had a little time to burn before an appointment. So I wandered into Nordstrom Rack (ha!) to do some shopping. But, I couldn’t concentrate on clothes – I was still too jazzed from connecting with the crush. And…I have an active imagination.

    Soooooo, one *ahem* erotic scene after another kept playing out in my head, as I sifted through hangers of clothes, trying to look casual. Then…I felt that lovely, lovely WHOOSH! feeling one gets when in the beginning throes of love in the springtime. No, NOT an orgasm! (God, I hope not. The headline: “Local woman brought to ecstacy by discount clothing.” Hm. Actually, I think I’ve had that happen.) Anyway. Instead, I’m talking about the WHOOSH! that starts at your clit, buzzes through your uterus, ripples through your belly, and makes both your boobs and your heart feel like they’re glowing. But it’s not so much with the erotic thrust of orgasm, though it’s definitely erotic, but more…hm…happiness. Make sense?

    I hadn’t felt that in a long time, and I was really worried that my new breasts would never connect with my psyche and my nethers (love that word!) like that again. As anyone who has had any kind of surgery knows, nerve endings take a long time to reform and reconnect. So, I was thrilled to find that whole loop was still intact. It just took a woman in a pinstripe suit to reignite it.

    Ian, I too loved the story about Fidel.

  107. Acilius says:

    @Feminista: Congratulations!

    @Ginjoint: Thanks very much! Congrats on your refurbished anatomy, and good luck with your pinstriped sweetie!

    No, we’re not registered anywhere. Well, we sort of are. We have two households worth of stuff, so the last thing we wanted was another truckload of things. Of course, money is always welcome. So we set up a special bank account. The invitations went out with a note saying that we would rather no one gave us anything, but that if they felt an irresistible urge to give us something, they could deposit some money in our account. One advantage of a bank account is that deposits can be made anonymously, so that friends of ours who can only afford to give us two dollars can do that and not worry about what anyone else thinks. So I guess we’re registered at Chase Bank.

  108. Ginjoint says:

    Since I’m finding it very hard to gracefully segue from the topic of love in the springtime to decomposing remains, I’ll just get right to it. Lurker-no-longer, you bring up an interesting point about about the mass cremation. In the suburbs of my city, there’s a pet cemetery that handles a lot of the cremations for local vets. When my two elderly cats passed, I was given the option of having them cremated along with other cats, for one fee; or having them cremated alone, for a slightly higher fee. (Do you have to ask which I opted for?)

    If that option is available for cats (though really, how could I tell? I could’ve easily been had), I’d be very surprised if it wasn’t for humans. Maybe you had a cheapskate crematorium director?

  109. ksbel6 says:

    @geogeek: I teach at a high school and one of my fellow teachers happens to have what I would consider to be large nipples. They are often quite pointy and the kids do talk about it (but so does the staff, they are just that obvious).

  110. --MC says:

    I am working on my postmortem plans, based on an idea I got from “Rocky Dennis’ Song To The Blind Girl” by Jens Leckman.

    someday I’ll be stuffed in some museum
    scaring litte kids
    with the inscription “carpe diem”
    something I never did

  111. iara says:

    Oops, I see now that I have been rather insensitive with regard to teenage nipple stealth!

  112. JoVE says:

    The advantage of not having a cat flap is that the cats can’t bring their dead (or half-dead) rodent playthings into the house. Not that they don’t try as documented back in January:

  113. Ginjoint says:

    Hey, ksbel, can you tell me (yet again) the name of that PDA that you like? Is it good for making lists, or posting reminders to oneself?

    I love Blitzen, Jove!

  114. ksbel6 says:

    @Ginjoint: Motorola Q9c. It has a Task Organizer, which I don’t really use, so I’m not sure how well it works. I’m big on just setting the alarm on my watch and assuming that when it goes off, I will remember where I’m supposed to be. I love the phone for its internet connection and music storage capabilities. When I coach we have long bus trips (our closest trip is 60 miles) and having tunes and surfing ability makes that time go much faster. If you really need the Task Organizer, you may want to look for reviews.

  115. Ginjoint says:

    Danke schoen, my friend. Off to read reviews…

  116. Anonymous says:

    @Acilius and Ginjoint,appreciate the congrats. Now I have to figure out how to deal with my daughter’s ridiculing basic recycling and my offer to give grandson Joaquin a lovely cloth male doll. To quote Pat Nixon: “I don’t understand these young people.”(1971)

  117. Alex K says:

    I love this blog.

  118. ksbel6 says:

    Me too!

  119. Aunt Soozie says:

    I know… didya ever? cat flaps, nipples, orgasms, motorola Q9cs, death, dying, decomposing bodies, rodents, knitted villages, cats who visit libraries… I think I am reading dtwof… aren’t I?

  120. Acilius says:

    @Aunt Soozie: “I think I am reading dtwof… aren’t I?” That’s interesting, it’s as if the strip has come back to life in thread form.

  121. susan irene says:

    I caught a chipmunk in the house by leaving empty brown paper bags around the room. (When I tried leaving boxes around, she was able to escape from the boxes before I could close up the ends.) Before I did catch her, I found that she never returned a 2nd time to a place (box, bag) she had been caught in once before.

    I seem to have stopped (so far) the cats from catching birds by keeping them inside in the early am and especially at dusk (as well as by belling them). And during migration periods, when birds land here famished and tired, I try to keep the cats in most of the time for that short period. This has worked quite well for the last 2 years.

    But the cats do lose a lot of breakaway collars at first. Later they seem to figure out how to wear them without losing them.

  122. Ted says:

    @Soozie and Acilius, just like sitting in the living room with your old friends you never know what topic will come up.If this blog had mostly male posters it wouldn’t be near as much fun. “How abut those Red Sox?” would be about it.

  123. Kat says:

    Are you sure that the style of bra is intended for nipple concealment? I ask because I’ve got small-to-average sized breasts, but a very narrow ribcage. I wear the smallest band-size that’s available for adults, and the only style of bra that seems to exist is at the very least “lined” (meaning that it’s got foam padding).

    I have no particular interest in concealing nipples, and none at all in appearing to have larger breasts than I do, but I’ve only ever found 2 bras that were my size and not “enhancing” in some way. And both were from expensive european companies.

    A propos of nothing: I’ve been enjoying (strangely enough) reading about all these burial plans…..

  124. Renee S. says:

    well, I guess we could always cut holes in the bras to enhance nipple-age.

  125. hairball_of_hope says:


    Hey! How ’bout them Red Sox, eh? Swept the Yankees at Fenway, pummeled them, actually. And Jacoby Ellsbury stole home, for Pete’s sake. What’s not to like?

    (My secret is out… el béisbol been berry berry good to me)

  126. Claire says:

    I used to work with this sexy Iranian lesbian. Her relatives from the old country telephoned her to say they saw her on the evening news carrying the Iranian flag in the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade. She thought it was pretty funny, but I bet she hasn’t gone back for any visits since then.

  127. Ted says:

    @HoH, My late uncle played for the Boston Braves in the 40’s. As an Angel fan it is my duty to hate the Red Sox.

  128. Aunt Soozie says:

    a colleague of mine who is sports clueless said she just says this (with deep serious sincerity) when she meets up with any sport fan…. “the injuries are killing us”. she says it works every time…
    and while I’m on the topic… yeah, Kat… it’s so annoying. My daughter is about that size too and I shopped all over and there is no such thing as an unpadded bra in her size. They all have some kinda foamy lining at a minimum.
    Oh wait, there’s this company, I wonder if they’re still around… they make all cotton bras and they’ll custom make your size and style for you… I think they were called the un-bra company. I’m gonna go see if they still exist.

  129. Aunt Soozie says:

    okay, I knew it was some kinda opposite thing.. it’s called Decent Exposures.
    here’s the link
    check them out Kat… you’ll like ’em.

  130. Suz (Bklyn) says:

    Renee, you can even buy fake nipples if yours don’t stand out enough on their own:

    (Why do I know this?)

  131. Ready2Agitate says:

    H-o-H (& Ted) – will you be seeing “The Lost Son of Havana” (about Cuban Sox pitcher Luis Tiant) and “Sugar” (about the DR and beisbol) playing in a movie theatre near you? (Lost Son I think is just playing in film festivals.) I don’t give a hoot abt baseball (I only figured out where fenway park was after living here for 15+ years – I mean I SAW it, I just didn’t make the connection… tmi), but I do have respect for its influence in America Latina.

  132. an australian in london says:

    @Aunt Soozie: I think I am reading dtwof… aren’t I?
    Kind of. There’s a similar array of familiar characters, whom you feel you know but who don’t really exist – not under the names we use here, anyway. A similar selection of issues covered. A sense of community that exceeds that found by reading a comic book. But I’m afraid it’s just not as funny as DTWOF!!!!!

  133. hairball_of_hope says:

    Hmmm… don’t know why my comment is being held up in the Moderator’s holding pen. It only had one link, usually it takes two links to be in blog purgatory.

  134. hairball_of_hope says:


    Eventually, my comment about the Luis Tiant film will get released from the holding pen. I hope.

    In the meantime, you really should make the pilgrimage to Fenway at least once in your life. It’s a great ballpark. You’re so close to the field that you can hear the players talk and smell the grass.


    I grew up a Mets fan. Went to my first baseball game ever in 1964, right after Shea Stadium opened. My grandfather took me to the game, and I was hooked for life on baseball.

    Many New Yorkers who were devastated by the twin defections of the Dodgers and Giants in the late 1950s for the West Coast embraced the Mets, despite their spectacularly awful level of play.

    Most National League fans wouldn’t be caught dead rooting for the Yankees, partly because they were American League, and partly because they were perceived as the uppity patrician team. The Brooklyn Dodgers were the average-Joe’s working class team.

    My father, however, was the exception. A lifelong Dodger bum, he never forgave the O’Malleys for moving his beloved Dodgers to LA. He played semipro baseball before the war, and even had a tryout for the Dodgers as a pitcher. But no amount of Dodger nostalgia, not even Gil Hodges as a 1962 Original Met or as the winning manager of the 1969 Miracle Mets could change his mind. “The Mets stink!” he would tease me.

    My logic of course was that if my father liked the Yankees, then the Yankees were the enemy, and therefore any enemy of my enemy had to be my ally. Thus, I rooted for the Red Sox in the AL. I had to choose sides for the 1986 World Series, and I chose the Mets. Poor Bill Buckner, he deserves better than to be remembered as the guy who let Mookie Wilson’s grounder to first base through his legs.

    I did see some spectacular games at Yankee Stadium during the Bronx Zoo era of Billy Martin, including Dave Righetti’s no-hitter against the Red Sox on July 4, 1983, so I have been known to root for the Yanks at times.

    These days, I’m mostly just a baseball fan looking for a good game, I don’t have the fanatic part of the fan in me anymore. I’ll go to a minor league game as readily (or probably more readily) as a major league game. I hone my béisbol Spanish listening to the winter games on local radio.

    Now for a related story: At my father’s funeral, the funeral director asked me if I wanted to privately view his body in the casket (Jewish funerals are closed casket, there’s no viewing). When he opened the lid, I stared at the body and laughed out loud. Sure, my father was wearing the traditional tallis (prayer shawl), but he was also wearing his beloved Brooklyn Dodgers warmup jacket and a Brooklyn Dodgers jersey!

    This was sister-in-law’s idea. When the funeral home had called asking for a suit for him to be buried in, both she and my brother said, “A suit? He hated suits and ties!” So they decided, unbeknownst to me, to dress him up as a Brooklyn Dodger. Perfect.

  135. ksbel6 says:

    @hoh: I was an avid Kansas City Royals fan growing up, but the strike in 93 made me so mad that I totally quit watching and haven’t been in a pro-park since. I’m quite sure that making less than $40,000 as a teacher, and hearing about folks like Roger Clemens making $10,000 per pitch keeps me away. I still love George Brett, Frank White, Amos Otis, etc. though. They all played for salaries that were reasonable, and they played hard. I was at the 85 series vs. the Cardinals and loved every minute of every game. Can’t stand it now though! Instead I go watch our high school kids…they know how to hustle.

  136. falloch says:

    Hairball o’Hope
    My dad took me to the very last Brooklyn Dodgers game! I was about seven and had never been to a baseball game, except for watching Little League. We were late getting there and by the time we got in, the crowd was going insane; as we came up into the stands, the crowd burst into a terrible roar, and I burst out crying and couldn’t be consoled. My poor dad had to take me out of the stadium – I don’t think he ever forgave me.
    It wasn’t until I was a grown-up that I went to another major league game – a Mets game, with some friends from school. I found it so exciting that I ate two hot dogs with everything before I remembered I’d been vegetarian for ten years.

  137. hairball_of_hope says:


    Yeah, I think some of my passion for the pro game died after the 1993 strike, but not so much because of the money as for the patently obvious manipulation of the game with juiced balls and steroids.

    The little baseball don Bud Selig should be hanged in effigy. His miserable stewardship of the game is a crime. He winked and looked the other way while the ball was juiced and steroid usage became de rigueur, because of over-emphasis on power and home runs. He’s no Judge Kenesaw Landis. He’s an owner who runs MLB as if it were his own personal satrapy.

    And then the baseball powers that be have the chutzpah to banish Pete Rose from the game and deny him Cooperstown honors. Whatever Rose’s transgressions (mostly stupidity, arrogance, and then arrogantly lying about his stupidity), they didn’t affect the outcomes of games and statistics like the androgen-enhanced stats of Bonds, McGuire, Sosa, et al.

    Selig’s reaction to steroid usage reminds me of the scene in “Casablanca” where Captain Renault exclaims, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

    Yeah right.

    The extortion of taxpayers by sports teams to build pricey new venues backed by tax abatements and tax-exempt municipal bonds is aided and abetted by the revenue-sharing rules of the major sports leagues. I think MLB should lose their antitrust exemption.

    Unfortunately, I won’t be seeing any games at the new Yankee Stadium or Citi Field. $75 or $90 for a seat in nose-bleed territory, $5 for a bottle of water (they don’t let you bring in your own), and $4 for a bag of peanuts just isn’t worth it to me. I can see the game better on radio than from those seagull-level seats. And if I want to watch the game, the beer and food are better at my local Irish pub.

  138. hairball_of_hope says:


    Sad that the Brooklyn bums freaked you out as a kid. I’m sure my father wouldn’t have forgiven me either.

    Unfortunately, the Dodgers and Giants left NY before my time. Judging from the stories I’ve heard, and the photos and films I’ve seen, I probably would have been a Dodger bum too. The fans were just as much a part of their game as the players on the field, including wacky folks like the Sym-Phony.

    I thought about the Brooklyn Dodgers Sym-Phony the other day when it was announced that the Brooklyn Philharmonic was canceling the last performance of this season and all of next season, due to money woes.

    Losing sports teams and cultural organizations kills communities, even ones as large and diverse as NYC. It’s so hard for cultural orgs to keep ticket prices within a normal person’s budget and not have the organization go broke.

    I have an acquaintance who sings in the Amato Opera, and he will be singing in their last performance, “The Marriage of Figaro” in May. Sad. City Opera is still in disarray, and I don’t have the time/fortitude to wait forever on the Met Opera rush ticket line hoping to catch an affordable ticket.

    So I listen to opera on the radio. And baseball. Both seasons overlap a bit, and I mark the coming of autumn and spring by having to chose between opera and baseball for my afternoon listening pleasure.

    Recommendations for your baseball reading list… “The Boys of Summer” by Roger Kahn, “You Gotta Have Wa” by Roger Whiting, and “Wait Until Next Year” by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

    I know there are some super-duper librarians out there on this blog… any recommendations for other great quirky baseball memoirs by non-players?

  139. Anonymous says:

    Growing up,my family wasn’t into pro or college sports,and proudly went to arts events or read books instead of football and basketball games at nearby Big 10 Mich.State Univ.

    During one of our Bay Area visits,however, my brother-in-law invited my late husband and me to attend a minor league baseball game in San Jose,CA. I found the scene too loud,overly commercial and overly patriotic (lotsa flag waving). But the teams were predominantly Latino,and out for fun more than the big buck$.

    I enjoyed the movie A League of Her Own,about the real-life 1940s era all-women’s baseball team; it starred Rosie O’Donnell, Geena Davis,Tom Hanks and Madonna. Davis as the 6′ ace pitcher was outstanding.

  140. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Anonymous (is that you, Feminista?)

    That film gave us the great line, “There’s no crying in baseball!”

    Geena Davis is something of a jock, she was working on making the Olympic archery team a few years ago, she came up just a few points short.

  141. ksbel6 says:

    A couple of corrections here (I hope I don’t offend)…the movie is “A League of Their Own” and Geena Davis did some pitching, but was better as a catcher and that was where she played most of the time (I’m sure they were trying to emulate a pitching rotation by having her pitch occasionally). The ace pitcher was actually Davis’s little sister (in the movie) played by Lori Petty. She is an amazing athlete. Anyway, Madonna is also in the movie and steals the show for a major dance scene when the players sneak out for a night on the town. That movie was the start of rumors about O’Donnell being a lesbian as supposedly she and Madonna had a fling.

  142. hairball_of_hope says:


    Two words that will surely rile up a longtime KC Royals fan…

    Pine tar.

    I wonder if that bat is in Cooperstown?

  143. Renee S. says:

    @Suz (Bklyn) wonder if they come in flavors?

  144. Acilius says:

    Major League Baseball lost me in 2002, when the All-Star game was called off at a tie in 11 innings. At the time I suggested a headline to a sportswriter friend of mine, “MLB continues ‘Hate America’ campaign.” The Palestinian kids who danced in the streets when they heard about 9/11, them I can understand. I know what their grievances are. But what have we as a people ever done to Major League Baseball that they hate us so much? Anyway, my friend replied that he doesn’t write the headlines.

  145. Feminista says:

    Yeah,I was the Anon above. My handle used to appear automatically,but now for some reason it doesn’t,but I haven’t adjusted yet.

    Re: chalk vs. markers. I’ve used both,and I prefer the markers; they do require lotsa hand washing. Overheads always gave me a headache,but the fancy new stuff takes some getting used to.

    Re: paper lists vs. electronica. Paper,recycled of course. Love checking items off as they’re completed.

  146. Ginjoint says:

    I am a third-generation Chicago Cubs fan.

    So, pardon me whilst I go ram a stake through my forehead. It’s the only thing left to do.

  147. hairball_of_hope says:


    Oh, I am so sorry. Thrice-cursed team… the black cat, the goat, and Steve Bartman.

    But at least you have a great ballpark in which to watch them.

  148. ksbel6 says:

    @Ginjoint: My grandparents are huge Cubs fans (they live in Urbandale, IA and watch the AAA team) and then turn around and watch them again in the pros. Fun stuff being a Cubs fan…for that, you have to be tough!!

  149. ksbel6 says:

    @hoh: I LOVE GEORGE BRETT!! He was my hero growing up. I started off playing baseball (and was switched to softball later). My first few years I played 3rd base and wore #5. I was the only one on the team back then that could make the throw. I’m pretty sure that my trans side comes from the fact that I was just positive I would grow up to be George Brett’s replacement.

  150. Ginjoint says:

    hoh, I live mere blocks from said ballpark. It is a thing of beauty, but I worry that it won’t last. I fear that it’ll be the players who ultimately push for a new ballpark. They go to places like Milwaukee and New York and see the posh accomodations, and Wrigley is so old-school and small by comparison. Carlos Zambrano has already said several times that he wishes for a new field.

    Anyway, I’m still quite pissed at them for their craptacular play during the playoffs last year. Bums. But…I just can’t quit them. And I adore the sport of baseball.

  151. Kat says:

    thanks, aunt soozie! I forgot to check back in…..