February 25th, 2010 | Uncategorized

Last night the power was out so Holly and I had to wade through two or three feet of snow to rescue our neighbors’ snake. They were away and the snake needed to be kept warm. Isn’t she sweet?

178 Responses to “Snakesitting”

  1. Bechadelic1 says:

    I’m not generally fond of snakes, I’m a bit scared of them, very scared actually. But I must say she has a beautiful pattern. What kind of snake is it? Kudos to you and Holly for caring and keeping helping her keep warm.

  2. Bechadelic1 says:

    Arrgh, just meant to type “helping her keep warm” not “keeping helping her keep warm”

  3. Mentor says:

    [Bechadelic: First, my apologies. I’m not sure why some of your messages have been getting though while other (apparently similar) messages get caught in spam-filter limbo. Also, since your repeat messages seem to have got through, I’ve deleted the original. I’ll keep an eye on things and forward your messages if they get caught.

    Second, thanks for the heads up on the “inappropriate” message (which has since been removed). It appears that the sender has since tried to send another message. This will also bear watching. –Mentor]

  4. Aunt Soozie says:

    She’s lovely, adorable… not! Snakes creep me out so better you than me… I have compassion for her, just wouldn’t wanna hang with her… now, back to our Vermont winter here in NJ. Thought of you Alison, as I watched the snow building up on my roof and wondered how long a stick I’d need to get it down before it caused too much damage… and how to artfully pull it down without getting buried under it or impaled by a huge icicle. luckily my neighbor concocted a rooftop snow and icicle remover that was fairly effective… now it’s all gone but we’re at the outset of yet another storm.

  5. Bechadelic1 says:

    Thanks Mentor. I’ve finally figured out that you are the moderator for AB’s blog…talk about being a tubelight here LOL. Well, actually I had to change both my comment name (note the subtle “1” added to Bechadelic) and also had to change my email id in the E-mail box. Now there doesn’t seem to be a problem. Thanks for keeping an eye out for problems and for doing a great job with the moderation. I had no idea how frantically addicted I was to this blog until I couldn’t post and I almost tore all my hair out.

  6. Brigid says:

    Adorable! It warms my heart that you’d go out of your way to help a snake that isn’t even yours. I’m a snake owner myself and much used to non-snake owners reacting with anything from bafflement to disgust when I mention mine or the care (very little, really) she requires.

  7. Alex K says:

    Oh, AB. Does the doctor feel… just a little bit… BETRAYED ? ! ? !

    “Clearly I’m not enough for them. I don’t meet their needs. They’ve had to look outside our relationship. I can’t blame them — but — but, God, it’s tough to get my head around it, they were my everything, and I was… well, I wasn’t theirs.”

    What was it, she’ll be wondering, that made them have to reach out to this…snake? Was it the scales? Poikilothermy? Could I, she’ll be asking herself, really make the shift to being oviparous?

    I suspect that she’s hoping to win you back, considering transition to a cold-blooded alternative. Tell her from me that she should take it slow, one step (one slither?) at a time, ease herself into the experience. For an ex-mammal, and you’re hearing it from someone who’s been all the way there and crawled all the way back, that first visit to the mating pits carries a special tang of regret.

  8. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Aunt Soozie (#4)

    If you ever make it over the bridge to Staten Island, the Staten Island Zoo has a fabulous herpetarium, with an enormous collection of snakes. You can learn to unlearn the fear of snakes. They are beautiful creatures, much misunderstood and maligned.

    (… goes back to snake-checking her boots and sleeping bag …)

  9. Bechadelic1 says:

    @ Alex K # 7
    Ha ha, I didn’t get what you were talking about until I realized you were speaking of AB’s cat feeling betrayed. I have to admit I too wondered about Dr. Winnicott and what her reaction would be to a snake in the house. I know my two would not be pleased in the least and would probably try to attack it as well.

  10. The doctor has no idea there’s a snake in that cardboard box underneath a wooden crate on the shelf that’s just out of leaping distance.

  11. Ng Yi-Sheng says:

    “They were away and the snake needed to be kept warm.”

    As a gay man, I love the potential double entendre.

  12. Acilius says:

    @Alex K #7: I nominate your comment for the prize for Best Use of the Word “Poikilothermy” on a Blog Belonging to a Cartoonist.

  13. Acilius, I second that nomination, Even more, I’d like to hear about that first visit to the mating pits. In detail.

  14. Pam I says:

    Can’t cold-blooded animals just get – well, cold? Or would she freeze solid?

  15. NLC says:

    Answers from My Beloved, the biologist:

    1] “Cold blooded” doesn’t really mean “cold”. Rather all animals need to keep the temperature with a “reasonable” range. The difference is how thy handle this problem.

    That is, a “warm-blooded” animal (e.g. a mammal) keeps its body temperature in a narrow-defined range (both warmer and cooler). However this takes a lot of energy. OTOH “Cold-blooded” animals (e.g. reptiles) still have “warm” blood, it’s just that the temperature isn’t as tightly regulated.

    2] So, a “warm blooded” animal controls its core temperature by doing “internal” things, like either generating heat (or doing something to cool its body like sweating or panting). A “cold blooded” animal has some internal temperature control, but it also to resort to “external” things to try to control its body temperature (like seeking shade, or changing its orientation with respect to the sun, etc); then if it can’t do otherwise it tends to go “dormant” or “torpid”.

    So, the answer is, yes, it could freeze solid. (But would probably be dead long before then).

  16. Feminista says:

    Hmmm,would you rather have a snake in the snow or a snake in the grass?

    (Goes out singing an Oregon anti-sales tax ditty from the 1980s:
    No sales tax!
    No snake in the grass!
    Nooooo sales tax…)

  17. A narrow fellow in the snow
    Occasionally rides
    Except when next door dykes we know
    Wade in to save his hide

    (Apologies to Emily Dickinson)

  18. Aunt Soozie says:

    Hairball… i’ll check it out some time… and Maggie… nice poem!
    HOH… I was an avid checker of the sleeping bag and boots… but not just for snakes… spiders… critters and creepy crawlers of all types made me jumpy!

  19. cybercita says:

    just wondering what dr. winnicott thinks.

  20. Khatgrrl says:

    Many years ago on Prairie Home Companion, they did a skit about warding off “snow snakes”. Ranger Judy informed everyone that you should “cheese your skis”. I don’t remember the rest of it, but it has stuck with me for all these years.

    Hope that your power is back on.

  21. judybusy says:

    I don’t mind snakes. I remember we had a reptile “show” when I was in the 6th grade. I came home and proudly told my famly I handled all the reptiles. My dad’s main concern was if I’d washed my hands before helping with dinner. Uh, no, but I didn’t tell him that.

    Speaking of creepy crawlies, the current issue of National Geographic has a great article about the diversity of life, including in and around the soil line:

  22. Dr. Empirical says:

    Callcack from the previous thread:

    I spent the morning doing some carpentry in my basement. Every time I picked up a power tool, the words of Aunt Soozie’s daughter rang in my head:

    “I’m REALLY butch. I’m REALLY REALLY Butch!”

  23. Pam I says:

    @ last thread

    What IS a toaster oven/ Either they don’t exist in the UK, or I’ve failed my shopping test.

  24. Pam I says:

    /, ?, it’s dark over here.

  25. NLC says:

    PAM I#32

    Think of a toaster oven as a sort of smallish microwave oven, but which were more common in the days before there actually were microwave ovens.

    The main difference is that a toaster oven heated stuff by using hot electric filaments (similar to the way that a toaster for bread works).

    (As far as the joke goes, there’s nothing special about a toaster oven, per se. Rather the joke was the idea of rewarding the winner a cheap-ish kitchen appliance for meeting her “recruitment quota”.)

  26. Pam I says:

    Ah yes, ebay has dozens.

    Lesbians and their appliances, eh?

  27. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Pam I (#23)

    A toaster oven is a small electric kitchen appliance which first made its appearance in North American kitchens around 1968. The original manufacturer was General Electric, their trademarked name for the appliance was Toast-R-Oven.

    Unlike a conventional electric toaster, which has slots into which one vertically drops the bread/bagel/whatever to be toasted, the toaster oven has a glass door, which when opened, reveals a wire rack upon which one places the bread horizontally. The toaster can also be used as a small oven, and in most models, also as a broiler, with the addition of the included broiler tray.

    GE sold the small electric appliance division to Black and Decker many years ago, and B&D still produce various models of toaster ovens. Lots of other manufacturers have joined the toaster oven business, but the GE/B&D models are still the ubiquitous standard in North American kitchens.

    As NLC wrote, in the era before microwave ovens (which in my kitchen was before 2000), toaster ovens were the convenience food heating devices of choice. In my college dorm days, I lived on cuisine prepared on a hotplate and in a toaster oven.

    Here’s a pretty typical Black and Decker Toast-R-Oven:—decker/pe/BD_TRO420/

    Even though I finally acquired a microwave, I still use the toaster oven quite a bit for things other than toast. It cooks more rapidly than the big oven, doesn’t heat up the whole kitchen in summer, and cooks more evenly than a microwave.

    I regularly use the toaster oven to bake fish Provençal (tilapia or flounder, whatever I happen to have in the freezer), it takes longer than the microwave (25 min vs. 6 min) but comes out wonderful, and I bake potatoes alongside the dish holding the fish. Easy dinner, just add salad.

    [Message freed from spam-trap limbo. –Mentor]

  28. hairball_of_hope says:


    Hey! Since when are toaster ovens considered so subversive that my post #27 explaining toaster ovens ended up in blog purgatory?

  29. Kat says:

    Pam I, the best use of the toaster oven is to quickly create cheese on toast without using the big oven (which takes much, much longer).

    The immediate availability of cheese on toast, or, in my house “cheesy toast,” is very important….

    I’m with Aunt Soozie. Terror of snakes here. Incurable.

  30. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#28)

    I’m with you on the cheesy toast, definitely better in a toaster oven. But if I am having melted cheese on challah, I do it in the microwave (30 seconds). Toasting challah takes away from the basic quality of challah that makes it special; soft and eggy. (N.B. Challah is the traditional braided bread of European Jews, it’s very similar to brioche.)

    Also, via empirical experimentation in my kitchen, I can now say with scientific certainty that not only does bread fall jelly-side down (and butter-side down), it also falls melted cheese-side down. On top of my bare foot.

    If you’re familiar with the feeling of burning the roof of one’s mouth on the first bite of pizza, imagine that feeling transplanted to the top of one’s foot. Ouch.

    This little experiment took place last week, when I was retrieving the melted mozzarella-on-challah from the microwave early in the morning. Obviously, I hadn’t had enough coffee in my system at that ungodly hour, and I managed to drop the challah on top of my bare foot. “Ow! Ow!” as I hopped on one foot, shaking the cheese and bread off the other, then I ran into the bathroom to run cold water on my foot.

    Let’s just say it made for an interesting start of my day.

    (… goes back to her glass of Bordeaux as she cavorts with danger in the kitchen …)

  31. hairball_of_hope says:

    Ken Brown aptly illustrates HoH in the kitchen:

    Not exactly true, I really can cook, been doing it since I was in single-digit years, but I do have my share of kitchen adventures.

  32. Kat says:

    Hairball, I disagree slightly on the challah front…like greek Easter bread, I think it’s nice lightly toasted so as to let the outside get a little crisp, while keeping the inside soft and eggy. I also LOVE challah french toast, because the egg and milk mixture makes the inside even softer, fluffier and eggier than it was before.

    mmmm… I want french toast…

  33. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#31)

    YES to challah French toast. With real maple syrup. And butter. And a little cinnamon sprinkled on top. YUM.

    (… goes into diabetic shock just thinking about that breakfast …)

  34. Kat says:

    I’ve started putting the cinnamon directly in the egg mixture. I skip the syrup (I’ve never been a big syrup person) and go for powdered sugar on top. And yes, butter.

    droooool…..sugar shock……drooool

  35. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#33)

    re: cinnamon in the egg mixture

    File this under HoH’s misadventures in the kitchen… true tale from my archives, written several years ago:

    From the “Who Put the Tabasco in Her Oatmeal?” Department, or “Tales from the Crypt, er, Kitchen”:

    This morning I woke up and was really in the mood for pancakes. Normally, I just make coffee and wake up a bit before figuring out what I want for breakfast (and deciding if I’m going out to eat or making breakfast at home), but today I just KNEW what I wanted.

    So, before the coffee was even made (and by inference, before I was fully awake), I was potzkering around in the kitchen making pancake batter.

    “Hmmm…” I thought. “I think I’ll put a little cinnamon in the batter, just like those pancakes I had for brunch a few weeks ago.” I grabbed the familiar plastic spice jar with the red screw top, popped off the plastic sifter doohickey, thrust a spoon into the jar, and dumped a good heaping half teaspoon into the dry mix.

    “Hmmm…” I thought. “That’s odd… the cinnamon seems very red… usually it’s more brownish than that.” I took a deep whiff of the open spice jar. “YEOW!” I started uncontrollably sneezing, tears started running from my eyes, and I started coughing. “That’s not cinnamon, that’s cayenne!” I yelled to the cat, the universe, and to no one in particular.

    Cheapskate that I am, I scraped off all the top layer of the dry mix in the bowl to get rid of the cayennne, added more Aunt Jemima, some real cinnamon, and continued making breakfast.

    Moral of the story: Make the coffee first. And don’t go anywhere near the stove until the caffeine kicks in.

  36. Ready2Agitate says:

    can i share that today i mixed into a bowl the following: fresh ground peanut butter (from Whole Paycheck), tahini (sesame puree), turmeric, hot oil, cumin, sesame seeds, black pepper, a splash of white wine vinegar, a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. Spread onto cracker – yum! (Good Lordess, I am SO totally certain members of the DTWOF clan!) I’ll try serving it tomorrow at our monthly anti-racism contingent meeting and see what my sisters & brothers think of said mixture weirdness….

  37. R2A, it sounds truly delish. I’d want it on garlic crackers.

    HoH, a new yiddishism! Potzkering. Now to work that into a sentence with poikilothermy…

  38. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#36)

    I must confess that when I first saw the word “poikilothermy” I ignored the “kilothermy” part and focused on “poi,” as in the noxious staple of Hawaiian and Polynesian cuisine.

    Poi is a mush made from the pounded taro root, and it tastes like wallpaper paste (to me, anyway). There’s one-finger poi, two-finger poi, and three-finger poi, determined by the goopiness of the poi (and yes, traditionally it is eaten with one’s fingers). Oh, and there’s dessert poi, it’s pink and equally tasteless and vile.

    Good thing there’s wonderful fish, pineapple, and coconut in Hawa’ii; I would have starved rather than eat poi.

  39. Byrdie says:

    Awww! She is indeed quite the cutie.

    I have a soft spot for most snakes (cobras just look terminally pissed, though) ever since a neighbor had a “show off your pet” party and someone coaxed me into touching their pet python. It wasn’t slimy and it didn’t bite me, so I mentally re-filed snakes from being scary to being cute.

    It was lovely of you both to go out in the snow and rescue your neighbors snake.

  40. Pam I says:

    Snakes are cool (!). I used to catch lizards and slow-worms (a legless lizard, tho i have never found out why that is the case) and attempt to keep them as pets.

    We once had a works outing to one of those Community Resource places as we sold their books. They also had a small animals room, including a very large python. After about a ten minute hug, I offered her to my colleagues, saying, I’m being selfish, it’s your turn. They were all pressed against the opposite wall and declined my offer.

  41. Ready2Agitate says:

    snakes – a symbol of ancient female wisdom.

  42. Acilius says:

    @H_o_H #38: Poi is where vegetarian and kosher diets really put you at a disadvantage. Poi alone is no better than you describe. Eat it with some browned Spam, though, and it’s delicious.

  43. Alex K says:

    @42 / Acilius:

    Spam. It’s bacon for when you can’t get bacon.

    Baked beans tarted up with skillet-broiled thick-sliced mushrooms and fuestoelt csaszarszalonna for lunch today. Mmmm fuestoelt cszaszarszalonna. It’s Hungarian smoked bacon, better than which there is not. With fresh strawberries from Borough Market for pudding.

  44. snakes on a plane – symbols of samuel l. jackson’s wisdom

    Alex K, google insisted on changing your spelling above to fustolt csaszar szalonna. I was hoping for an etymology since it looks tantalizingly like something-czar-salami. Alas, all I got were sites in Hungarian or something similar. Google translate gave me Csaszar smoked bacon, so I presume fustolt is smoked and szalonna is bacon (enough like salami that I’ll assume a smoked meats connection.) And of course Csaszar still conjures czar/caesar.

    I don’t have any bacon or spam. I am now seriously jonesing for it. Partly I think it’s that time of year, winter not quite over and our ancestral biologies craving what once, before Monsanto and other government-subsidized enablers, we’d have to wait for a few monts longer — strawberries, cantaloupe, fresh corn. Smoked meats probably helped quell those cravings at some point in our past. Just my theory, anyhow.

    Rick Bayless often wears a t-shirt on his cooking show that says “Bacon is meat candy.” A good allegory, I think. Great food when consumed appropriately and without chemical additions — NO Smithfield Farms products under any circumstances, and wow do they control the American market, 80% of pork products in the average grocery store comes from one of their gobbled up subsidiaries.

    To take another tangent, the perfect retort for those who quote the “abomination” scripture to bolster their gay hate is to ask sympathetically how hard it was for them to give up eating pork in any form. The same part of the bible that harshes on “man lieth with man” (a phrase that gets me a teensy bit horny, I bet it does for them too) also calls eating pig an abomination. Hey, word o’g*d is word o’g*d, right?

  45. P.S. My daughter has referred to my origins as “spam-sucking trailer trash.” Fair enough.

  46. Marj says:

    #43: Ooohhh… Borough Market! I miss London. I heard they are pulling the market down to make room for olympic railway nonsense, and relocating it eventually in some purpose-built monstrosity. Certain death – look what happened to Covent Garden.

  47. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    We started out admiring ALison’s neighbor’s snake and now we’re talking about czarist bacon. In the car on the way to Mahler’s Ninth this afternoon we were talking about my great aunt’s hog farm. I love this blog!

  48. hairball_of_hope says:

    Now the thread is complete. We’ve hit all the requisite blog topics – bacon, maple syrup, critters, music. Oh wait, we haven’t gotten our dose of geology yet… there was a humongous earthquake in Chile yesterday. Any of our resident plaid-covered rockhounds care to enlighten us on the specifics of this quake, and what it might portend for future temblors?

    (… yeah Therry, I love this blog too …)

  49. --MC says:

    For two pins I would undertake a graphic novel illustration of Leviticus, sort of like Crumb’s Genesis. I thought I knew the book of Genesis but Crumb made it into a story that you could read and parse. If one could throw bright light into the corners of the overstuffed warehouse of shalt-nots that comprises Leviticus, it might be harder for bigots and pecksniffs to cherry-pick verses to bolster their outrageous claims.

  50. Ian says:

    At some points in my life I’ve debated following Mosaic law in a casual way that I’m sure isn’t offensive at all in any way shape or form to Orthodox Jews. Although I read that thanks to St Paul, gentile Christians rather conveniently don’t have to follow Leviticus et al. Wingnuts tend to forget that when quoting abominations.

    I do remember reading somewhere, though, that gentiles are viewed as having to conform to the Noahide laws? I got this off Wikipedia so goodness only knows how accurate this is. I believe there are 7 general Noahide laws, although they’ve been parsed into many, many other conditions as well. I can’t remember what it says about bacon and maple syrup though …

    There! Religion AND bacon in one post.

    One thing I’m craving is pancakes. I was staying in an hotel on Shrove Tuesday so I missed the pancake making and now I’m really craving some with lemon and sugar.

  51. Ellen says:

    Alison, your snake friend reminds me of the ribbon candy that’s available around Christmas time. Lovely color and markings.

  52. This blog has been a learning curve lately. Noahide, which sounds like recliner materials, turns out to be some fascinating reading on the web. And pecksniff? Utterly new to me and how have I lived without knowing it. The Urban Dictionary defines pecksniffery as (noun) synonym for hypocrisy and (verb) the act of smelling a man’s penis.

    So, the new creative goal is to come up with a limerick using poikilothermy, potzkering, and pecksniffery in an organic way.

  53. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#52)

    Too many damn syllables to make a decent haiku with them, so I’ll have to try for an indecent haiku (with lots of alliteration)…

    Potzkering pecksniffing putz
    It’s Rupert Murdoch!

    (… goes back to admiring the amazingly bright full moon …)

  54. Alex K says:

    @46 / Marj: Yes, that’s been mooted. I’m not sure what will actually happen — so much comes at one in London that after a while the shoulders go up, the head hunches over, and one beetles about trying not to take in any more information than necessary just to get through the day. But indeed as part of speeding north – south transit via London Bridge station the viaducts over BM are being re-built, one lane of track at a time. At least the market hasn’t been relocated “temporarily”: Refugees often never make it back into what they were forced to leave.

    With new through-traffic capabilities at London Bridge, by the way, comes a decrease in numbers of platforms to serve usual commuter runs into the terminus and out again. There’s talk of establishing a transfer point at Peckham Rye, one train emptying out and everyone inside it scrambling to push aboard another one on the parallel track… Transport for London seem to lie awake at night coming up with ways to make the morning trip into work even worse.

    @44 / Maggie: It’s the best cut of the flitch, broad and thick, good enough for the emperor / Caesar, I suppose. Take creme de cassis and vinegary white wine (“How did they train the cat to sit on the bottle?”), kick it up by using Champagne, kir “royale”. Same principle, I suspect.

  55. Bechadelic1 says:

    Aside: I hope your power is back Alison. I keep reading online about the snow storms in the States and the power outages, etc., etc., it sounds awful.

  56. Ginjoint says:

    Gender Across Borders has a great interview with Alison – lookit:

  57. Hey y’all, there’s a highly-anticipated American Experience special on Dolley Madison tonight, showing at 8 p.m. on my local PBS (right after Antiques Roadshow). It will feature some of the scholarship of Holly Shulman, who is the big sis of our own Liza Cowan and a pre-eminent American expert on all things Dolley-esque. I’ll be watching fersure.

    Here’s a link to a clip about the courtship of James and Dolley Madison that has Ms. Shulman in it.

  58. Acilius says:

    Thanks for the news, Ginjoint & Maggie!

  59. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Ginjoint, Maggie

    Great interview with AB. Lovely accompanying photos, many captured AB mid-laugh, which seems to not be her usual photographic persona. I confess relating to the “college professors manqué” in my life too. Hmmm…

    Bloomberg’s review of the Dolley Madison special was high in praise, containing this interesting quote:

    Eve Best plays James Madison’s wife as a raven-haired, red-cheeked babe with a soft Southern accent and a heaving bosom. She’s also got a tough side, leaving no doubt she could deck Scarlett O’Hara while sipping a cup of tea.

    Sounds like my kind of woman. ;).

  60. Bechadelic1 says:

    Thanks for sharing the interview link Ginjoint 🙂 I loved the interview and the photographs!

  61. hairball_of_hope says:

    Off-topic (so what else is new?)…

    From “The Walrus is Dead” Dept., comes word that Carly Simon has put out a clue about the subject person of her 1972 song “You’re So Vain.” For you young’uns, the two big mysteries of that seminal year were “Who is Deep Throat?” (the Watergate tipster, not the pr0n star) and “Who is Carly singing about?” Not the same person of course.

    Deep Throat revealed himself a few years ago as the former #2 FBI person Mark Felt.

    So only the Carly Simon mystery remains.

    CNN reports the following:

    In a new version of the 1972 hit song from her album “Never Been Gone,” the singer whispers a name during an instrumental break. Played backward, the name is revealed to be “David.”

    Simon, 64, gave an interview to Uncut magazine about the backward whispering, which prompted the U.K. tabloid The Sun to report that “David” is record executive David Geffen.

    But Simon’s publicist disputed the theory.

    “The man’s first name is David,” she told CNNRadio, “but it could be one of many Davids.”

    How does one play a song backward these days anyway? In the “Paul Is Dead, I Am The Walrus” Beatles era, we simply spun the LP in reverse on the turntable. Nowadays, I guess we’d have to have the song in a digital format, load it on a computer, and flip it around in SoundForge or Audacity. Too much work, if you ask me, just to hear the whispered name that could be Michelangelo’s creation.

  62. I remember sitting with a roomful of dykes at TWU in 1973 (or at least they were Lesbian Until Graduation) playing Beatles’ records backwards and finding clues on the album cover to prove the current Paul was a fake. I was utterly convinced — and I was the only one in the room not stoned.

  63. tsin says:

    But what kind of sake is it?


  64. Dr. Empirical says:

    It’s easy to play stuff backwards with a 4-track recorder. Just record onto track 4, then flip over the tape and hit “Play”.

  65. HoH #53: Admirably succinct and well-targeted!

    But I tend toward the long play version, you know, so I wasted my morning on the verse below instead of doing my REAL writing.


    We were potzkering one snow day, listening to La Gaga —
    The weather hospitable only to saxifraga —
    When a call came from absent neighbors: The power had gone out
    And their pet snake needed rescue. Their voices held some doubt
    But we understood the perils of living with poikilothermy
    And having no herpetophobia, nor fear of anything squirmy,
    We ventured forth with pointy caps and weskits Patagonian.
    Finding the day brumal and feeling Dickensonian
    We effected ophidic rescue, returning home to conceal
    Our visitor from Dr. Winnicott, whose name belies her fel-
    Ine propensity to slaughter. We feasted then on beans
    Tarted up with fustolt csaszar szalonna.
    The radio was playing oldies by Madonna.
    We stuck funnels under our shirts and sang “Express yourself”
    Mourning our lost innocence, now that corporate pelf
    And eliminationist groups have silenced even Mo.
    When pecksniffery rules the media, where are we to go?
    Well, ask our striped friend: Warm blood pumps our hearts
    And kindness saves unnumbered lives. Enough to make a start.

  66. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#65)

    From the bottom of my homoiothermal heart, THANK YOU! Brilliant! Bravissima! Now I have to scurry to the dictionary for a few of those choice words.

  67. Alex K says:

    @50 / Ian: Oh, those Noahide laws.

    You got me. I waited a day and a half and then I just HAD to go look them up.

    I don’t qualify, through observance of the NL, as a “righteous gentile”. Self-righteous is the closest that I get.

    Homosexual acts. Yep. That’s me out, then.

    And eating flesh taken from an animal whilst it’s still alive. Oh, I love an hour’s layover in an airport if it has an oyster bar… Strike two.

    There you all go, processing into Heaven, saints about to enter into your glory, palms in your hands and psalms on your lips, up Ararat and — veiled by cloud, but I can see you! — into the cleft in the firmament opened for… other people.

    Well, that’s what religion’s about, isn’t it? Drawing the distinction between the faithful and “other people”. Ah, well.

  68. Feminista says:

    #65: Way to go,Maggie! I can tell you had a lot of fun writing this piece,and so glad you have retained your wit and sense of humor despite all your health struggles.

    Some good news: When I was browsing Our Bodies Ourselves’website for some info on the Pause,I found an announcement about participating in an on-line discussion to help update the book for their 2011 edition. Since I’ve been reading OBOS in its various editions since 1971,I put my name in the hat. (OBOS is a great source of info for all aspects of women’s health,sexuality,reproductive issues,and the American health care system. It started as a collective in 1970 and has maintained its grassroots feminist perspective.)

    Along with 34 other women,out of 200 responses,I was chosen to participate in a confidential on-line discussion over 2 weeks. Our topic is relationships,and we are a diverse group with respect to age,sexual orientation,gender identity,race,body size,and physical and mental health. While most are college graduates,there are others who have a high school education or less.

    The dialogues have been honest,respectful,and in depth; the two moderators from the editorial collective have been supportive and kind.

    Some of our (anonymous) comments will be used in the book,and all of us will be listed in the credits. In addition we each get a copy of the 2011 edition,signed by the editorial collective.

  69. tsin says:

    I mean snake.


  70. Ready2Agitate says:

    Last I was here, I declared snake as the symbol of female wisdom. Come back a few days later, and y’all have proven me correct!!! (yuck yuck) (plus a few of the fellers too).

    (Where’s our resident boot-wearing, flannel-sporting, tool-wielding Kansan geologist, btw?)

    Feminista – I’m jealous (teasing)! What a wonderful thing – and I’m sure your contributions to the new edition will be very valuable. Shout out to the women’s health collective, ‘cuz it’s here in Boston! 🙂

  71. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Khatgrrl (#68)

    There are few revelations in that article for the baconophiles on this blog. Actually, they could have written most of it. More than a few folks here commented that bacon was the one food that had them cross the threshold from vegetarian to carnivore.

    I like the analogy to narcotics from the article:

    Bacon even has the power to lead vegetarians astray.

    Markoff, the chocolatier, was a vegetarian herself when she developed her “baconized” candy bar. As she searched for the right blend of bacon and chocolate, she began to sample her creations, telling herself it was just for test purposes.

    She quickly discovered she wasn’t alone.

    “It’s amazing how many people are in the closet about their die-hard love for bacon,” she said.

    Bacon Salt’s Esch agrees.

    “It’s pretty well known that bacon is the gateway meat,” he deadpans. “That’s how you bring them back in.”

  72. Feminista says:

    @71: Aw shucks,ma’am. Thanks for yer vote o’ confidence.

  73. Ian says:

    @Alex K(67): When I read that Wiki page, it actually said “sodomy”, so you may or may not be off the hook there. As for the oysters, however …

    @MaggieJochild: What a fantastic poem! Thank you for making my subscription to the OED worthwhile, as I’ve now got to go and look up quite a few of those words!

  74. Ian says:

    Oh, I found this cat poem on the web just now and thought it was very charming and would share it with the appreciative audience here, now Maggie’s opened the poetry box.

    My Lion by Heather Downes

    My little lovely tabby is looking rather sweet
    The elegant and tabby tail is curled around her feet
    Expressionless she looks at me with bland and secret eyes
    Assured the plate of sausages was dinner in disguise

    I want to read the paper but my lap is occupied
    A tabby cat is dozing so I’ve put my read aside
    And though it’s really painful as the claws are sinking in
    The sound of cat contentment keeps me tickling her chin

    It’s as if a dozen devils are fighting on the floor
    And a screwed up piece of paper is tossed from paw to paw
    It’s thrown, bit and fought and then chased across the stairs
    Then the tabby runs in panic from a fright that isn’t there

    My cat lies soft in sunlight and her fur is golden bright
    Her eyes are slits of slumber as she turns into the light
    She stretches like a lion sprawled who drowses in the heat
    And dreams of Serengeti mice are twitching at her feet

    My tabby’s meditating and her limbs are all tucked in
    Her head is nodding forward as she draws herself within
    And who knows if she meditates to the fire’s gentle hum
    Her focus will reward her and a lion she’ll become.

  75. Ian, Dinah and I very much enjoyed the cat poem. She claims I put additives in her kibble to keep her from growing to her real “Serengeti” size.

    The legal definition of sodomy in some places (like Texas) I think covers anything not penis-in-vagina, so all homosexual acts are affected by sodomy laws. If I’m wrong on that, I know somebody here will, ahem, set me straight.

    Feminista, you are exactly who I’d pick to interview for OBOS updating. Thanks for your decades of listening, growing, and holding the line. OBOS was THE resource for so long. We gave our daughter her own copy in first grade.

    Love the quote about bacon as the gateway meat. Makes me wonder about what this blog is a gateway to — a magical wardrobe that dumps you out who knows where.

    Did anybody else watch the Dolley Madison special last night and want to have a conversation about it here? It was excellent and raised a lot of questions in my mind. And yowza, Liza’s sister was by far the most dynamic speaker/consultant, expressive in voice and face, a real looker as well as super-brainy and charming (the Cowan family triple-threat characteristic). Acilius, are you perchance going to write an essay about it? Hint, hint.

  76. hairball_of_hope says:

    Continuing on the theme of cat poetry…

    Now that I/we have survived another February (and each year it does feel like survival through that bleak month), and the Canadians have shown their hockey prowess, I offer Margaret Atwood’s ‘February’:

    Margaret Atwood

    Winter. Time to eat fat
    and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
    a black fur sausage with yellow
    Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
    to get onto my head. It’s his
    way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
    If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
    he’ll think of something. He settles
    on my chest, breathing his breath
    of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
    purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,
    not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,
    declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,
    which are what will finish us off
    in the long run. Some cat owners around here
    should snip a few testicles. If we wise
    hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,
    or eat our young, like sharks.
    But it’s love that does us in. Over and over
    again, ‘He shoots, he scores!’ and famine
    crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing
    eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits
    thirty below, and pollution pours
    out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
    February, month of despair,
    with a skewered heart in the centre.
    I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
    with a splash of vinegar.
    Cat, enough of your greedy whining
    and your small pink bumhole.
    Off my face! You’re the life principle,
    more or less, so get going
    on a little optimism around here.
    Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.

  77. Acilius says:

    @Maggie: Our local PBS station hasn’t shown it yet. They’re showing it tomorrow morning at 3. I’m an early riser, but not that early. So I may miss my chance to see it.

  78. Feminista says:

    #76: Thanks,Maggie; ‘preciate the vote of confidence. And I think this blog is a gateway to more writing,laughing and community-building.

  79. Hayley says:

    I really enjoyed Maggie’s poem and all the subsequent cat poems. I will add my own cat poem…the first poem I ever wrote, age 7.
    My cat ate a fern,
    my cat will never learn,
    You just can’t,
    eat a plant.
    I’ve always found it odd that I never delved into exactly why you, cat collectively you, can’t eat a plant and I am pretty sure I am still searching for the answer 33 years later.

  80. Ginjoint says:

    Hayley, there was probably vomit involved. Just a guess. And poems involving vomit usually aren’t very popular, which I think even your seven-year-old self realized.

    And of course Margaret Atwood likes fries with some vinegar! Because she is cool and all-knowing and Smarty McSmartypants. Thanks for that poem, HoH – I’ve wanted to delve into her poetry, and she’s about the only human I can say that of.

    Maggie, your poem was awesome beyond measure. Weskits Patagonian. Your cleverness astounds and tickles me every time. I needed a laugh on this, yet ANOTHER gray day here. Ian, I loved the part about limbs all tucked in and meditating. Perfect.

  81. Acilius says:

    I enjoy all the cat poems too. The comment threads on this site really form a superblog, a collection of online projects interwoven with each other, with Alison’s posts (I originally wrote of them as “Alison’s prompts,” which seems to understate the proprietor’s role in her own blog,) and with the fresh air that comes with each new contributor.

  82. freyakat says:

    Another cat poem offering, by Gavin Ewart:

    “A 14-Year Old Convalescent Cat in the Winter”

    I want him to have another living summer,
    to lie in the sun and enjoy the douceur de
    vivre —
    because the sun, like golden rum in a rummer,
    is what makes an idle cat un tout petit peu
    ivre —

    I want him to lie stretched out, contented,
    revelling in the heat, his fur all dry and warm,
    an Old Age Pensioner, retired, resented
    by no one, and happinesses in a beelike swarm

    to settle on him — postponed for another season
    that last fated hateful journey to the vet
    from which there is no return (and age the reason)
    which must come soon — as I cannot forget.

  83. Kat says:

    so I got all excited about watching the Dolley Madison special on PBS, and cheer for Liza’s sister. Then I checked my local PBS listings, and it turns out that this week is pledge week (which always seems to go on for longer than a week).

    What’s on during pledge week, you ask?
    (you probably didn’t but I’ll tell you anyway)
    “Celtic Thunder: That’s Entertainment”

    yes, you heard it right, a mixture of Riverdance-y crap and tunes from 1950’s American movie musicals……oy. fucking. vey.

    No Dolley Madison for me….

  84. Ginjoint says:

    Maggie, I had fully planned on watching the Dolley Madison episode per your suggestion, but unfortunately zonked out on my couch at around 8 o’clock! It’d been a long day, what can I say?

    Feminista, thanks for your post re: the website for OBOS (and congrats on being chosen for your input!). I too need info on the Pause, and I hadn’t thought of the web version.

    Where’s Kate?

  85. NLC says:

    My humble submission, in an effort to tie together the many sub-threads of this post:

    Snowstorm rescue haiku

         Winnicott meets snake–
    Winnicott-thought: “Cool! Live string.”
         Snake-thought: “Mmmmm, bacon…”

  86. Jen says:

    The story goes that this poem was written on the back/in the margins of a practice manuscript of St. Paul’s Epistles by a 9th century monk. I first heard of it at the Book of Kells museum in Dublin (ref link at the bottom)

    Pangur Ban

    I and Pangur Ban, my cat,
    ‘Tis a like task we are at;
    Hunting mice is his delight,
    Hunting words I sit all night.

    Better far than praise of men
    ‘Tis to sit with book and pen;
    Pangur bears me no ill will;
    He, too, plies his simple skill.

    ‘Tis a merry thing to see
    At our task how glad are we,
    When at home we sit and find
    Entertainment to our mind.

    Oftentimes a mouse will stray
    Into the hero Pangur’s way;
    Oftentimes my keen thought set
    Takes a meaning in its net.

    ‘Gainst the wall he sets his eye
    Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
    ‘Gainst the wall of knowledge I
    All my little wisdom try.

    When a mouse darts from its den.
    O how glad is Pangur then!
    O what gladness do I prove
    When I solve the doubts I love!

    So in peace our tasks we ply,
    Pangur Ban, my cat and I;
    In our arts we find our bliss,
    I have mine, and he has his.

    Practice every day has made
    Pangur perfect in his trade ;
    I get wisdom day and night,
    Turning Darkness into light.’
    –I just grabbed this from the first google result for “pangur ban”)

  87. Wow, the outbreak of cat poetry is stellar, defying all stereotypes. I just copied over Freyakat’s quatrains to FB where a good friend is contending with what is possibly her beloved Bob’s last winter (Bob mails care packages of really good nip to my Dinah). Hayley, your meter and scan is top-notch for a 7-year-old, and thank you Ginjoint for the serious interpretation. HoH, I keep rereading Ms. Atwood’s vinegary lines, with a similar hunger for french fries, sausage, and, well, cupcakes (sadly, that’s a Dolley Madison association.) And NLC, your haiku, far from humble, simply takes the cake. (Cupcakes…)

  88. Acilius says:

    @Kat: Our local PBS station preempted THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE last night too, not for a pledge drive but to show a women’s college basketball game. There was some consolation for missing Liza’s sister’s show in the fact that women’s sports were getting some attention, especially since both head coaches were female. Even more so since the winning team represented the college where I teach, and several of my best students were among the players.

  89. Hayley says:

    Does anyone remember The Ship’s Cat by Richard Adams? I loved that poem and the illustrations in the book are fantastic. I have to dig that out.

  90. Etymology geek has been awakened. Pangur Bán, the above cat’s name, is Irish for “white fuller”.

    According to Wikipedia: Fulling or tucking or walking (“waulking” in Scotland) is a step in woollen clothmaking which involves the cleansing of cloth (particularly wool) to eliminate oils, dirt, and other impurities, and making it thicker. The worker who does the job is a fuller, tucker, or walker.

    So, we know not only the cat’s color (colour for our Brits) but likely adescription of his behavior, either related to grooming or kneading. It was apparently a common name for cats and considered male.

    Here’s a verse of the original Irish:
    Messe ocus Pangur Bán
    cechtar náthar fria saindán:
    bíth a menma-sam fri seilgg,
    mu menma céin im saincheirdd.

    Apparently W.H. Auden was moved to make his own translation which can be found here. Literary queers and cats, an old tradition.

  91. Ginjoint says:

    I LOVE that one about Pangur Ban! Dang, that’s an old one. However, we can’t leave out one of my favorites, “Ode to Spot,” by Data:

    Felis Cattus, is your taxonomic nomenclature,
    an endothermic quadruped carnivorous by nature?

    Your visual, olfactory and auditory senses
    contribute to your hunting skills, and natural defenses.

    I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
    a singular development of cat communications
    that obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
    for a rhythmic stroking of your fur, to demonstrate affection.

    A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
    you would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
    And when not being utilized to aide in locomotion,
    it often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.

    O Spot, the complex levels of behaviour you display
    connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
    And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
    I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.

    Poems about cats. How so very lesbian of us. Sheesh.

  92. --MC says:

    And points up for nobody yet citing that poem by Christopher Smart about his cat Jeoffrey. What the heck is prank anyway, and how would a cat work it in?

  93. cd in Madison says:

    @Hayley #80

    I love your poem the most. Very clever for a 7-year old.

  94. Aunt Soozie says:

    Dr E… you are! You are!! Really, really!

  95. Bechadelic1 says:

    Loving all the cat poems so much. My favourites are still from T.S. Eliot’s ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’ I love Mr. Mistoffelees (hope I spelled that correctly).

    [Freed from spam-trap limbo. –Mentor]

  96. Bechadelic says:

    Loving all the cat poems a lot. My favorites are still from T.S. Eliot’s ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’. I really love Mr. Mistofelees (hope I spelled that correctly).

  97. Bechadelic says:

    Ah, both my comments came through LOL. Mr. Spam Filter does not like me at all.

  98. Ready2Agitate says:

    Hijack: I. Only. Just. Today saw a copy at the library of Lynda Barry’s book — of which much was written here a year or so. Fabulous.

    (Poli & Nellie-boo say “meow!” and “purrr,” respectively)

  99. little gator says:

    Written by a 13 year old friend(a boy who is grown up now)

    With eager eyes
    and a hungry face,
    My cat wakes me up
    And down the stairs with her I pace.

    She’s bursting with anxiety
    as the can opener grinds,
    She’s leaping up high
    On her fat furry hinds.

    She inhales her food
    and then goes to sleep,
    I wonder what she thinks
    in her slumber deep.

    When I come home,
    she’s there at the door.
    She yeowls and meows
    Because now she wants more!

  100. Dr. Empirical says:

    Wait… Alison, are you saying that your neighbor had a reptile dysfunction?

  101. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Acilius (#89)

    Hoopsters taking classics? SEVERAL of them? Whoa.

    That seems a bit surprising, even though the women’s sports teams are normally populated with good students (unlike the men’s teams).

    What are you putting in the water that makes so many want to take classics, or are you also teaching language classes which might be more widely subscribed?

    It’s one of those oddities of Title IX that gets athletic women in the door to academia, but with little to no professional sports options open to them after graduation, they actually go to college to learn something, and perhaps something useful for future employment.

    By contrast, the men’s sports teams are often populated with barely literate thugs who are “helped” and “tutored” (read the work is done for them). I view the big men’s sports programs in NCAA Div I as minor leagues for sports that don’t actually have an (expensive) minor league system to groom players (basketball, football).

    Men’s baseball players tend to be much stronger academically than their basketball and football peers, because they have an option to skip college sports and go directly to minor league baseball out of high school.

    That said, good luck to your women’s basketball team.

  102. hairball_of_hope says:

    @NLC (#86)

    Live string? Clever. I do wonder how long Dr. W will ignore the box on the shelf. She’s bound to hear the snake moving about, and never discount how high a cat can leap.

  103. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Dr. E (#101)

    A reptile dysfunction? You’re in the pharma biz, what med would one take for that disorder? I can only imagine the suggestive commercials that would air on ESPN.

  104. Dr. Empirical says:

    I don’t know, HoH, but I’m worried Alison might get herpetology!

    You’re still in Lower Manhattan, right? My brother’s band is playing at the Bitter End tonight. If you have any rotting vegetables to get rid of…

  105. hairball_of_hope says:

    It’s been so boring on the political junkie scene lately. More dragged-out/watered-down shells of promised change, and even those feeble efforts going down to defeat. The usual boring ethical scandals; an accidental governor (Paterson, NY) who is in hot water for helping squelch the court appearance of a woman filing for an order of protection from one of his aides, a Congressman (Rangel, NY) running afoul (again) of trips paid for by corporate moneybags, a Senator (Bunning, KY) opposing extension of unemployment benefits while kvetching he was missing a basketball game.

    So it comes as great relief to see even FoxNews reporting on the latest fun bit of Republican hypocrisy.

    GOP CA State Senator Roy Ashburn was arrested for DUI after visiting a gay nightclub. Sen. Ashburn is married with four kids, and has voted against evevy gay rights measure in the CA Senate. Sweet.

    Spring is coming, surely there will be someone hiking the Appalachian Trail soon. One can hope.

    (… goes back to her smug schadenfreude …)

  106. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Dr. E (#105)

    Drats. Working tonight, another software upgrade. My squirrel-in-the-wheel existence to bring home the (metaphoric) bacon.

    I’ll throw some rotten fruit at my monitor instead, in honor of your bro. I think I still have an aged lemon in the fridge at work. Hope it’s not fuzzy.

    (… goes back to her own personal teabag party, good to the last drop …)

  107. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Dr. E (#105)

    Here is the Bitter End schedule for today. Which one is your bro’s band?

    Thursday March 4th

    Emma Lov
    Something Heavy
    Ippazzi Band

  108. Dr. Empirical says:

    The middle one. I think they go on around 8:30, but rock clubs are seldom good about keeping to a schedule.

    He’s on vocals, harmonica and keyboards, but I think he tends to wimp out and leave the keys at home. I’ve seen several of his bands over the years, but not this one.

  109. MaggieGrace says:

    I left a couple of comments on the previous blog to whomever.
    Snakes, hate the chit out of them! Am scared to death and will not admit that I like them.
    Sweet, my ass! Not!!!!!
    Am a PA in a doctor’s office, don’t have too much time to myself but have committed to blogging on here and a couple of other places. Need to vent, if you know what I mean.

  110. Renee S. says:

    We now can be married in DC

  111. Anne Lawrence says:

    Marriage is available to everyone in the D.F.

    Hooray for marriage in Mexico.

  112. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Renee (#111)

    Are you proposing?

  113. Acilius says:

    @h_o_h #102: Yes, several. The women’s sports programs are filled with excellent students, and I’m lucky enough to have at least a few of them in every class. In fact, at one point during Wednesday’s basketball game every player our team had on the floor had taken at least one class from me.

    Male athletes are a different story, as you point out. Male athletes in individual sports usually do pretty well in class, though they don’t seem to be as likely to stand out as the women. The men’s teams, ah yes, they are a different story. Male team athletes usually respond well to authority, so as a middle aged white man in a suit all I have to is show that I take the class seriously and they’ll give it a real effort. Even when I get into gender studies, they may grit their teeth, but they do what they can. But teachers who don’t meet the narrow description of “authority figure” that the male team athletes seem to have internalized need actual talent to keep them focused on the work of the course. So it’s very unfair.

  114. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#84)

    I could have used some of that “Celtic Thunder: That’s Entertainment” earlier today. I thought about blasting it at my idiotic noisy neighbor as I was attempting to get some sleep. “Ya wanna make some noise buddy? I’ll give ya some noise!”

  115. Kat says:

    Hairball, I’ll ship you my noisy neighbor, and you can put hir to work against your noisy neighbor. This new addition to our hood insists on playing incredibly bad piano incredibly loud.
    I can tell that it’s a “clavinova” or other electric piano, too, so I feel like yelling “HEADPHONE JACK, STUPID!!!”

    Boyfriend and I actually had to play a white noise CD last weekend, it was so distracting and annoying….

  116. Ellen Orleans says:

    Did you all hear the “Word Is Out” documentary piece on NPR? Neda Ulaby rocks! And so does Whitey!

  117. Oh NOES! The malady has spread! Instead of my usual PBS lineup of cooking shows followed by This Old House today, we have two hours of CELTIC WOMAN 🙁 followed by two hours of “The Welk Stars” — and I fear they don’t mean sea creature celebrities.

    Thank g*d for Hulu. And my own imagination.

  118. --MC says:

    I feel your pain, Maggie. Our local PBS station has gone from showing intelligent and innovative programming to playing mindless moosh for middle Americans who are tired of thinking. I mean look at the schedule tonight. It’s cooking shows all afternoon, then a program on how you can make your brain happier, and then .. WHOA HOSS! “The TAMI Show”! I had no idea! Oh my god, and they’re showing the Beach Boys segment of the film that usually gets edited out! Oh!

  119. Kat says:

    Our PBS stations are quite good, usually. It’s just when they do pledge drives that the programming become evil, obnoxious, mindless dreck. I know I’m not the only one who gives up on PBS for 2 weeks at a time when this happens.

    Surely they’d make more money if they aired really good stuff?? Wouldn’t more people watch, and call in to pledge, if they were showing, I don’t know, something not awful???

  120. Kat says:

    “becomes”…..oops. I suck at preview, as always.

  121. Kate L says:

    Ready2Agitate (#71) “(Where’s our resident boot-wearing, flannel-sporting, tool-wielding Kansan geologist, btw?)”

    I’m right here! 🙂 A woman I knew was deathly afraid of spiders. I was deathly afraid of snakes. At one point, I talked her out of jumping off the Pugett Sound ferry when she split with her partner of 5 years. To this day, I have to stop and think, “Am I the one who is afraid of spiders, or am I the one who is afraid of snakes?”. It’s like we traded part of each other’s soul with each other after such an intense experience.

    Last week, I attended a meeting at the local public library put on by some peace activist nuns. They are of the same order as the nun who taught me my first earth science course in high school. One of them knew my earth science teacher, and told me that my former teacher had left the convent with another nun, and that the two of them live together out west. Wow, you could have knocked me over with a feather! I always wanted to be just like my earth science teacher. Except for the being a nun part.

  122. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#122)

    Hey! Welcome back. Please give us the geo-plaid lowdown on the Chilean quake. Is it related at all to the recent activtity on the Rim Of Fire?

  123. Ready2Agitate says:

    Hey Kate – OK so we had to wait for 50 intervening posts – glad you’re back! – and… that story abt your first grade science teacher rocks! 🙂

  124. Tori Poppy says:

    Hi Kate L,
    Wow, another geek-girl.
    While I’m more like “Steal-toed” work boot, T-Shirt and Levis wearing… (Perhaps it’s a bit warmer on the Cal Central coast?) But do have the tool-belt with the Makita on the left side hung low… and the Fluke Multi-meter on the right (higher up)and you should see my prototype shop. Engine lathe, vertical knee mill, drill-press, sheer, press-break, slip-roller, grinders, router, sanders, saws of several types…

    There are not that many women in the science and engineering professions. Really a shame too. When I was in under-grad engineering in the 70’s it was like; all guys… and then me. The funny think is that the guys I know that do optical, electrical, mechanical design work like I do are all afraid (or too aloof) to actually get out in the shop and prototype their designs. They never really know if their design is bad or if the manufacturing is messed up. Me I can hand management a working prototype. Then it is more like “hey guys… a girl could make it work building it in her own garage? Why can’t you, with your big factory and big $$ in tooling?”

    Just slays them…

    But, yea… tell us about the earth-quakes? Wasn’t there a really rare East-Coast Quake just weeks ago? No damage to speak of so no big news… but just wondering?

  125. Ready2Agitate says:


  126. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Tory (#125)

    Dab a little high-sulfur cutting oil behind your ears, and I’ll swoon too. :).

    I’ll show you my Flukes if you show me yours. My everyday DMM is a Fluke 29 (Series II) in the rubber holster, and an original series Fluke 73 as backup. My analog and digital multimeters go all the way back to a Simpson 260, with various Tripletts and Flukes along the way.

    As for geek girls with tools, forget the Makita. Blue isn’t the color around here (unless it’s Bosch), it’s red (as in Milwaukee). Watch out for Ginjoint, she’s into her Sawzall.

    (… goes back to her Weller ESD soldering workstation …)

  127. hairball_of_hope says:

    Oh damn, typo. Sorry for the misspelling, Tori!

  128. hairball_of_hope says:

    From the “Dense Brain, er, Dustbin” Dept. comes word that UK councils are surreptitiously tagging garbage cans with microchips (dustbins in UK parlance) to simultaneously identify them and weigh the contents.

    While this is ostensibly designed to tax refuse disposal by usage, it is patently unfair for lower-density refuse.

    Landfills fill up by volume, not by weight. So the person pitching a box of rocks (high density, low volume) will pay more than a person pitching a bag of styrofoam peanuts (low density, high volume). I’m ignoring compressibility of the refuse in this example, but you get the idea.

    And of course, there are the privacy concerns. Not sure what the UK laws are concerning trash, but in the US the courts have ruled that people don’t have a right to privacy of their refuse.

    Police, and anyone else who cares to, can rummage through a person’s trash without a warrant or court order. Dumpster diving is a time-honored tradition of tabloids and identity thieves.

    Other nefarious uses of such a microchip… put one in each airline seat, and charge a fee for overweight passengers (don’t discount this one, airlines did propose a weight-based surcharge a few years ago).

    Police already track folks via their cellphones, airlines could uniquely identify each passenger the same way, or via the RFID chips embedded in credit cards, driver’s licenses, and passports, so there’s no escaping the surcharge by changing one’s assigned seat.

    (… goes back to her sub-epsilon existence, complete with soma …)

  129. Anne Lawrence says:

    Women are not in the sciences and engineering because only boys are stupid enough to enjoy integral calculus. That is my theory. Also because society wants women to study the humanities and the nigh-universally male world of science thinks girls have cooties. I acknowledge this is highly stereotypical, but I am a beneficiary of these stereotypes and thus present them positively. (I dislike calculus.)

    I wish the D.F. could extend their marriage laws to all of Mexico instead of winning justice piecemeal. Not unlike the American D.F. which also passed similar laws.

  130. hairball_of_hope says:

    Anne, I think you’re going to find a whole bunch of geeky women on this blog who will disagree with you about calculus, science, and engineering. Chemistry is still my first love, but electronics and computers pay the bills.

    Go back a bit in the DTWOF blog archives, and you’ll read some spirited discussion about women and math (where’s ksbel6 when we need a math geek?). Also, another spirited discussion about factoring polynomials. And we’ve got a few geologists on board, who get to do science and play with hammers on field trips. Tools *and* science. How fun is that?!

    Definitely, some of the sciences, and much of the engineering disciplines, can be less than welcoming to females, particularly during the ritual hazing known as high school and undergrad education. (Read my rant in the archives about teaching the resistor color code as an example.) And of course, there are workplace politics that can play against females too.

    But the nice thing about disciplines that are measurable and reasonably objective such as science, math, and engineering is that a person can more easily break free of the stereotyped role with actual talent and skill. It’s a bit more of a meritocracy.

    As a male former colleague once said to me, commenting on my technical prowess, “I’ve yet to see someone fix a piece of equipment by BSing it.” Knowledge, skill, and ability do get recognized in science, math, and engineering.

    Girls having cooties? Hey, send some of them cooties my way. Tough noogies guys, you have no idea you’re missing. Nyah nyah.

    (… goes back to working on her tax forms, where it seems that the relevant mathematical equation specifies having n-1 dollars available when the IRS insists on getting paid n+x, where x = a big chunk of money …)

  131. Tori Poppy says:

    R 2 A #126; Thanks! *Blush*

    H o H #127: Wow!? Another geek girl? You sound like an EE. (Doesn’t cutting fluid have a very distinct smell! LOL)I recently bought a Fluke 114 for hand-held. My last hand-held that I had for as long as I can remember was killed by my inattention, tried to read 277 volts AC with it still in ohms reading mode. Not the first time I’d been so careless, but this time the fuse wasn’t fast enough and it had to be given up on. Do have a bench meter, but I cheap’ed out and bought a Tenma. Yes, I know… sacrilege!

    My plug-in “shorty” (1/2 inch chuck) drill is a Milwaukee! Does that help? LOL Agreed best tools built. Very low RPM but with a big auger bit if you hit a nail while drilling down through a wall-frame header it’ll throw you right off the wall! (Or break your arm! Yikes!) But the Milwaukee is way to big and heavy to wear on a tool belt! ~_^
    My SO bought me the Makita… guess her dad helped her pick it out. Can’t really replace it till it dies and after second set of batteries it still works? Go figure?
    Anyway, interesting article about the “Dustbins”

    Take care all,

  132. Tori Poppy says:

    Abbey on NCIS is one of the few “geek-girls” positively portrayed on TV. There was the gal on the original Stargate… name escapes me; sorry. Any body else have a favorite geek-girl celebrity “positive role model” that comes to mind?

    I hear ya Anne, know what you mean.

    Glad to hear also H o H that there are other geek-girls on this forum. Guess I’ve got to go back and catch up. Been an AB and DTWOF fan since the 80’s, but am sorry to say I’ve not been too on top of the site or her other work. Just finished reading Fun Home for the first time a couple weeks ago and am blown away…

  133. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Tori (#132)

    Welcome aboard, there are more than a few geek girls here, and plenty of supporters of geek girls.

    “… but this time the fuse wasn’t fast enough …”

    The Fluke does have an internal fuse for the resistance ranges (and another for the 10A shunt range), but if you let the smoke out of the chips, it definitely won’t work. :(.

    Given your geographic location, you get to hang out in Fry’s, which I once described as “Home Depot for geeks.” Envy from the other coast on that.

    Yeah, Tenma and Extech are cheapies that will do the job ok, but it’s all about the TOOLS. If you have a thing for tools, you’ll understand. I have a really cheap no-name tiny Chinese DMM that sits on my desk, and sometimes I toss it in my laptop bag. I use it mostly to test batteries and wall wart outputs, definitely nothing that requires real accuracy.

    277/480 VAC can be nasty stuff. You know those cheap $1 screwdriver neon testers where you put your finger on the metal end to complete the circuit? If the neon glows, the circuit is live.

    We used to use them all the time on 208 3-phase systems to find a dead leg on motor contactor relays, even though they were illegal to use in our workplace, because we were too lazy to carry around our Flukes along with all our other tools.

    Then one day I stupidly stuck it on one leg of a three-phase 480 VAC relay. I got a good buzz. I looked at the screwdriver, and realized the only thing between me and death was the cheap 1/4 watt resistor in the handle of this $1 special. I tossed it in the trash and started carrying around my meter.

    Agree on the Milwaukee, real Jacobs chuck on that thing, lots of torque. I once saw a guy break his wrist on a corded Milwaukee drill that didn’t have a slip clutch. The bit got stuck, his hand got twisted around, and then he got tossed from the ladder he was standing on. Ugly accident report, OSHA CA-1, etc.

    I looked over your lighting designs, and I wondered about the MR16 landscape fixture that sits flush with the ground. I’d be concerned that flammable debris such as leaves, bark mulch, etc. would fall into the can.

    Given that the MR16 quartz halogen reflector lamp is dichroic, it’s only a matter of time before all that IR from the rear of the lamp ignites the debris that collects inside the can, even with that big chunk of aluminum that you are using as a heat sink. To my untrained industrial design eyes, I think that fixture needs a mesh screen, not just the metal lamp grill.

  134. Ready2Agitate says:

    Oh sheesh, Hairball, quit flirting with the new girl already! (teasing, enjoying the banter too, with glazed eyes…).

  135. Ready2Agitate says:

    woman, I mean…. 😉

  136. Tori Poppy says:

    Good point H o H,

    In grade fixtures are sometimes heat problems but I’ve never had one catch fire. Typically the debris that falls in there is wet and moldy, the well is deep and stuff either falls past and decomposes, or hangs out on top of the grill blocking light (and also trapping heat,) but sometimes it does get hot. Portage and TI make little bi-metal thermostats that reliably seem to prevent fires however. If too much light (thus IR) is being blocked, they simply cycle on and off until someone notices the light is “out” and goes blows it out with a leaf blower. Flush-up or In-grade fixtures are often used in hard-scape areas anyway where maintenance is more likely. (And a fixture sticking up is less desirable.)

    Honestly most of the stuff from my IPD site is really old. I designed that MR-16 in-Grade in 1983 and Hydrel sold tons of them over the decades. I started there in 82 and left 25 years later. 7 years after we sold it to Acuity Brands Lighting (Largest Lighting Conglomerate in the world) Hydrel made me a partner along the way and as an owner I had a non-compete clause with Acuity, which I worked through. I left in 06. Check out Hydrel’s web-site for more current stuff:

    After I left Acuity and started IPD, I had much more of my recent Hydrel stuff on there. The lawyers for Acuity came after me however stating that I had kept (and was disclosing) proprietary company information. It was true that I did have tons of CAD information and stuff because I often worked at home. However all the stuff I was showing, anyone could buy the products and see for themselves… but they have many high priced lawyers with nothing to do… and my lawyer told me it wasn’t worth it, so off the website and CD’s into the shredder for anything that wasn’t published and publicly available prior to the acquisition.

    Of course my timing was impeccable, 07, 08 were fantastic years to try to start a new company! *Groan!* So anyway, I gave up on consulting and now am a full time employee of another lighting company Hdqr out of New Jersey. They let me work remote which is cool… and I have a better prototype shop than they do anyway! LOL ~-^

    You are also right about how nasty 480 is. I don’t mind working 120 live, but hate working 480 live. Unfortunately most interior lighting in commercial spaces is 277 (between two of the 3 legs of 480 3 phase)so no way around it. Yes I do remember those neon test screwdrivers! LOL I don’t have one of those anymore but do still have a neon “wiggy” similar idea but two wires for test leads not your finger… *shudder*

  137. Diamond says:

    Happy International Women’s Day!

  138. Tori Poppy says:

    Hey Ready! So what kind of stuff do you like? (Said flirtingly!) ((Ohhh guess that’s not a word?))

    I need to go back and read more posts.

    I do get carried away on forums and such sometimes.

    Am a harmless flirt however… been monogamous since meeting my SO in 81. She’s also now my spouse thanks to CA Supreme Court, (but no thanks to Prop 8 supporters GRRRR!!@&%$#&)

  139. Ian says:

    @HOH(134) and Tori Poppy(137): Can I just say I haven’t got a clue what the pair of you are talking about? I don’t think I’d understand the explanation either …

    To the English geeks out there, is saying “fedish Swood” instead of “Swedish food” a Spoonerism or a Malapropism? I’ve found myself doing this fairly often, but never when I’ve been typing an email before! I left it in the email because I liked the sound of it. And yes, it was prompted by a visit to IKEA.

  140. Dr. Empirical says:

    “Fedish Swood” would be a Spoonerism. A malapropism always implies a double meaning, like “He’s a fine figurative of a man.”

    I’d give you a better answer, but I just found out I’m stupid.

  141. Andrew B says:

    Tori, 133, I don’t know if she can count as a role model, but there’s the teenage girl in the original Jurassic Park — the one who sits at the [workstation or monitor, I can’t remember] and says, “Hey, this is UNIX! I can do this!”.

    There’s also that cable show where the two Hollywood special effects guys run around “testing” urban legends, but mostly finding excuses to blow things up or crash them — they’ve had some genuinely geeky women on at times. (Wow, I’m reaching, aren’t I? I hope others can think of better examples.)

    Happy IWD, Diamond and everybody. (Now let’s get to work on the other 364…)

  142. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Ian (#140)

    Electricity. Industrial strength electricity. Sparks and arcs and dangerous stuff for the unschooled and unskilled. Also dangerous for the absent-minded among those with proper training, which is where Tori and I were comparing notes on stupid things we’ve done in the 277/480 volt AC power panels and lived to tell about. In her case, destroying a digital multimeter. In my case, nearly electrocuting myself with a cheap neon tester.

    Back to language…

    Spoonerisms and malapropisms are both eponymous. Spooner was a preacher who regularly switched syllables of word phrases, as in “It is now kisstomary to cuss the bride” at the conclusion of a wedding ceremony. Mrs. Malaprop was a character in a novel. She used words inappropriately, hence the Latinish word “malaprop”, tacking the “mal-” prefix meaning “bad” to the root related to “appropriate.”

    For a modern-day Mrs. Malaprop, think of Archie Bunker. Or George W. Bush.

    Happy International Women’s Day, y’all. Yeah, let’s work on the other 364.25. (Geek joke)

    Positive images of female geeks are few and far between in popular culture. The NCIS geek girl, while really smart, does bear a physical resemblance to the lead character in “Ugly Betty.”

    I’m still waitng for a socially-adept knockout physical specimen who is also incredibly smart to show up in popular culture. Geek girls are more often portrayed as physically unattractive and socially odd (and perhaps closeted lesbians). Think Miss Hathaway on “The Beverly Hillbillies,” who was an inveterate bird-watcher.

    Read James Watson’s misogynist rants about Rosalind Franklin in “The Double Helix” for a real-life example of male dismissal of geeky females.

  143. hairball_of_hope says:

    Bloomberg has a few stories on IWD today, including this one, titled “Two Cheers for International Women’s Day”:

    Quoting from the article:

    Two out of three cheers for International Women’s Day (IWD), celebrated on March 8.

    My first cheer is loud and enthusiastic: High fives for women’s diversity — all types of women in all types of careers! A 21-gun salute for women rising in the military! Multiple Olympic 10s for women athletes and athletic women leaders who perform high-wire balancing acts, juggling work and family! Let’s raise a glass of vitamin water to womanpower, “womanomics,” and women of valor!

    [… snip …]

    That’s two cheers down, and one cheer missing. That’s because the very idea of having a “Day” is a bit patronizing. It smacks of 364 days of neglect made up for in one grand 24-hour media event.

    [… snip …]

    So I’m cheering two-thirds of the way. I will release Cheer Three when gender gaps close, limitations fade, and there is attention to problems of opportunity and inclusion throughout the year. I’m not holding my breath. But I have a bottle of vitamin water ready for a toast to gender equity, just in case.

  144. grumpy says:

    tsk * spooner was a prof at an oxford college * when his compulsive and intelligent goofisms became known his classes became packed with “auditing” students *

  145. hairball_of_hope says:

    @grumpy (#145)

    We’re both right. He was an ordained Anglican priest *and* an Oxford don.

    (… goes back to SNL “It’s a floor wax, it’s a dessert topping, it’s a floor wax *and* a dessert topping!” …)

  146. Garcia on Criminal Minds is my favorite geek. And the real-life actresses portraying both her and Ms. Hathaway were lesbians, for bonus points.

  147. Dr. Empirical says:

    Grumpy (145): And Sheridan’s The Rivals was a play, not a novel.

  148. Dr. Empirical says:

    Hairball (146): When it’s on the floor, it’s a floor wax. When it’s on a dessert, it’s a dessert topping.

    While it’s still in the can, it exists in a Schrodingeresque quantum superstate- neither floorwax nor dessert topping.

  149. Dr. Empirical says:

    And at the risk of getting a “Slow Down Cowboy” warning (It’s a slow day here at Dr. E’s 3-D House of Science), my favorite girl geek from fiction is Oracle, the superhero formerly known as Batgirl.

  150. geogeek says:

    Favorite geek girl (movies, though, not T.V. – MINOR SPOILER ALERT): the seismology grad student in “Tremors” who picks up the signal of the underground worms. Also great because the seismographs are pretty realistic! Although kind of out-of-date now.

  151. I loved Tremors, watched it several times. I especially liked Reba McEntire with her basement arsenal declaring, after blasting one of the duneworms to smithereens, “Well you picked the wrong damn rec room to bust into, didn’t you?”

    But I’m still hoping for some seismic lowdown about the Chile quake. One thing I read said it actually shifted the tectonic plate a measurable amount — could that be right? What are the implications?

  152. Andrew B says:

    HoH, 143, let’s go to work on the other 364.242374 (really geeky joke).

    Dr E, 149, suppose I drop my dessert on the floor. What state is the goop in then? More important, does my cat die?

    And back to HoH, isn’t it reasonable that geeky girls should be the equivalent of nerdy boys, with glasses taped together and pants halfway up their shins? What I’d really like to see on tv is a woman who’s hot because she’s smart, regardless of what she looks like. But I doubt it’s realistic to expect that from tv, even aside from sexism. It’s a visual medium.

  153. Marj says:

    My favourite from Dr Spooner: “You have tasted two worms, and will leave Oxford by the town drain”!

  154. Points to geogeek for working worms into a snake post thread, and double points to Marj for a spoonerism that also includes worms.

  155. Tom says:

    @hairball_of_hope (#123), @Maggie Jochild (#152):

    Yes, chilean quake is due to activity in southeastern end of Rim of Fire. I’ve just read from France Press that it shifted west the city of Concepción in almost ten feet, Santiago (Chile’s capital) in 11 inches and Buenos Aires (Argentina’s capital) in 1 inch and a half. We felt the quake in high buildings even here in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1700 miles far.

  156. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Dr. E (#148)

    ‘Twas I who goofed on “The Rivals,” not Grumpy. You’re correct, it is a play. That’ll teach me to do this from memory instead of Googling and Wikiing (is that a verb?).

    Also, to you and Andrew B, great job on the duality principle of floor wax and dessert topping. GMTA… I once tutored someone in physics, and used the SNL skit as inspiration, “It’s a wave! It’s a particle! It’s a wave *and* a particle!”

    (… goes off in search of a “Bass-O-Matic” …)

  157. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Andrew B (#153)

    Being smart is sometimes perceived as worse than being out.

    I recently read an interview with Annise Parker, the recently-elected lesbian mayor of Houston, where she discusses an incident during her first campaign for city council 12 years ago.

    “This big campaign supporter pulled me aside and said, ‘Don’t ever tell anyone you’re a member of Mensa; they’ll never vote for you if they find out.’ It’s almost as if that would have been a bigger problem than being a lesbian.”

  158. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Marj (#154)

    Get Dr. Spooner some mezcal. There’s a brand of mezcal sold in México called ‘Dos Gusanos.’ As the name clearly states, there are TWO worms in each bottle. As if one wasn’t enough to gross me out. YEECH.

  159. Feminista says:

    @143 et al. Point taken,but remember March is Women’s History Month in the U.S.

    IWD started in the (sources disagree)1909 or 1910,New York City. With the Palmer Raids,this socialist holiday stopped being celebrated in the U.S.until the women’s liberation revived it in the early 1970s. Russia,China,Vietnam,Cuba have observed this as a paid holiday for women since their respective revolutions/liberation days. Other European countries recognize IWD as well.

    Molly McGregor and others with the National Women’s History Project,based in Sonoma County,CA,
    were instrumental in getting March designated as Women’s History Month.

    Another radical holiday which started in the U.S.,but isn’t officially recognized here,is May 1st,International Workers’ Day. Yes,the powers that be decided that this second IWD had too many associations with **radicals**,which is why we got Labor Day instead.

  160. Tori Poppy says:

    Andrew B 142
    You’re right! Myth Busters has a regular gal on now… she is total geek! Cool!

  161. Tori Poppy says:

    Ooh Mezcal… there is a memory I’d like to forget! *Groan*

    And Feminista;

    Then there is “Equal Pay Day coming up in the US pretty soon also! My BPW LO always noted it. *quotes*

    The next Equal Pay Day is Tuesday, April 20, 2010. This date symbolizes how far into 2010 women must work to earn what men earned in 2009.

    Andrew, gosh I hope your cat is okay! LOL *Grin*

    (From eating “matter in a Schrodingeresque quantum superstate”)

    And it seems your point about being “hot” because you’re smart, not based on looks is the ideal to strive for. And it almost works for the guys… but then there is that ol’ double standard for women. But isn’t Abbey “hot”?? Or is that just me and my left over crush on the “goth” punk rocker older sister of a friend of mine in HS? I didn’t really think of Abbey as being cast as ugly and socially inept. But maybe I’m missing the point and she is being used as satire? (Am I projecting???)

    And thanks Dr. E for the physics quote and Oracle/Batgirl reminder. Can’t wait to drop it in casual conversation with my oldest son who is studying physics… trying to keep a straight face will be a challenge however. ~_^

  162. Khatgrrl says:

    How about any of the “Jeffersonian” women scientists from the show Bones. I would have to say hot and geeky. Although I’m fairly certain that Brennan has some form of Asperger’s.

  163. Ah yes, forgot about Bones. It’s one of the rare ensemble shows where there’s not an automatic preponderance of men, and the women are all very distinct from one another. Even most of the guys — Sweets, Hodgins, Zach when he was still around, some of the rotating interns — are geeky masculine, i.e., as someone once said of Zach, “Your idea of a hot Friday night is reruns of Firefly.” (My idea too.)

    The portrayal of Bones’ character does hint at Aspberger’s mixed with childhood trauma — although the original character from Reichs’ novels, on whom the series is based, doesn’t to me seem to be either Aspbergian or, frankly, nearly as interesting as the TV version of Temperance Brennan.

  164. Hell. italics fail above. At least I turned off the HTML before it slopped over to the next post. Not geeky enough, here.

    [Your friendly neighborhood Mentor at your service.]

  165. Ian says:

    Thanks for the elucidation on spoonerisms. It only happens rarely.

    PS I quite like Without a Trace. There are more men, but it includes very strong female characters who are equal with the men. Although naturally, a man is in charge! *rolls eyes*

  166. Anne Lawrence says:

    I can’t believe nobody has mentioned Ripley yet from ALIEN, played by Sigourney Weaver. A scientific badass, emphasis on the badass, since I don’t recall too much actual science.

    #131 — I understand your concern. I ensured there was a disclaimer. I only wish someone would care that much about homosexuality in Central America, where the Roman Catholic Church and its rulings hold sway over millions of people. The idea of homosexual marriages being performed in Mexico City is a big deal to me. D.F. stands for Distrito Federal, or the Federal District, which is the capital of Mexico and the surrounding area. The equivalent of the District of Columbia in the United States.

  167. Bechadelic1 says:

    *singing raucously*
    “Spiderman, Spiderman
    Friendly neighborhood Spiderman
    Wealth and fame
    He’s ingnored
    Action is his reward.”

    Sorry, was inspired by Mentor above. LOL 😀

  168. --MC says:

    Mentor, Mentor, friendly neighborhood Mentor
    HTML, makes it neat,
    finds a troll and hits delete

  169. Bechadelic1 says:

    @ –MC # 169
    Nice! That’s a clever and funny rhyme 🙂 And so apt for our world wide web slinging Mentor!

  170. WONDERFUL that Mentor now has a theme song! Belated thx, Mentor.

  171. Ian says:

    Have the Brits that read this blog seen the new series on BBC4 about feminism? The first episode is repeated tonight and is on iPlayer should you miss it.

    Here’s the spiel:

    It includes interviews with Kate Millett, Susan Brownmiller, Germaine Greer and Marilyn French. It’s made by Vanessa Engle.

  172. Kat says:

    Mythbusters! Bones! Criminal Minds! The kid in Jurassic Park (but only the movie, in the book the boy got to be the nerd….)! Yay, nerd girls on TV….

    Maggie likely knows this already, but I’m in charge of my mother’s African Gray parrot, Dorian, for 10 days. I’m kind of stressed. He’s seriously pissed off about being stuck in a small cage in a strange place, and is in a bad mood. This morning I was 10 minutes late for work because the little booger refused to go back in his cage.

  173. I keep thinking about how in Sim City, to encourage high tech industry instead of dirty factories, there’s a cheat code you can type in: NERDZ ROOL.

    Yes, I use cheat codes for some games. will you respect me in the morning?

    Kat, good luck with the devilishly handsome fellow. Does he have enough vocabulary, you think, to understand being told she’s coming back — I can’t remember at this instant where your mom has gone or if she is in a place to call him with reassurance. Or maybe that would frustrate him even more.

  174. Kat says:

    She called this evening and talked to him a little. I think he was totally confused! I don’t think his reasoning skills/language comprehension is such that he understands the “coming back later by which I mean in 10 days” concept….

  175. For those of us who either are geeks or tend to swoon in their presence, I’m always looking for blogs with good science-based reading that doesn’t demand advanced study in that discipline. Here’s the ones (in a myriad of fields) that I check out weekly — I can’t give you links because of the limit here, you’ll have to google ’em:

    Acilius’s own Panther Red, of course (The iron blog of rationality)
    PLoS One (Accelerating the publication of peer-reviewed science)
    GeoCurrents Blog
    Language Log
    Strange Maps
    LaVida Locavore
    Polyglot Vegetarian (Grazing through the world of words)
    and Echidne of the Snakes when she reports on a recently conducted study and dissects the incorrect popular interpretation of what it means

  176. Acilius says:

    @Maggie: Gosh, thank you. That’s very select company. I’d suggest one addition, Ed Yong’s Not Eaxctly Rocket Science. It covers a wide variety of fields, including some that are similar to (but not exactly the same as) rocket science.

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