the darling birds of may

May 22nd, 2008 | Uncategorized

listening to thrush

As I drove home from the moose’s house in town this morning, there was a story on the radio about bobolinks. Their diet in South America, where they spend 8 months of the year, has changed as the wild grasses of the Pampas are farmed under to grow rice and sorghum. Rice isn’t as nutritious for the birds, and it’s making their 6,000 mile migration a little more dicey than usual.

The moose and I have begun complaining about how arduous it is to spend time in two places–driving back and forth, schlepping work and clean underwear and groceries–but compared to the lives of migratory birds I guess it’s not so bad.

When I got home to the woods and stepped out of my car, I was greeted by hermit thrushes. I’ve been anticipating them for days, and now they’re here. They don’t come from as far away as the Pampas–some of them only go as far south as Arizona–but still, it’s a haul. And here they are, with their clean underwear and groceries, all ready to get to work.

I’m posting this video of their song on Flickr instead of YouTube, for a change. (Please excuse the alarming state of my hair.) There’s a chance this is a wood thrush and not a hermit thrush. I don’t know why I can’t tell them apart. I have a good visual memory but a shoddy auditory one. In fact I often forget what people are talking about halfway through a conversation, and have to draw a diagram.

Can you identify the birdsong?

P.S. I often wonder if it’s a bad idea to mention aspects of my personal life online, like in this case the moose commuting situation. There are all kinds of problems with it. It’s exhibitionistic; it reveals information about another person’s life which they may agree to in the moment but regret later; it seems harmless enough when things are going well, but if we break up or something bad happens, that would be public too, if only by the sudden obvious omission. After making this post this morning, I went to check the news, and there’s a big story on just this topic in the NY Times. It’s about a million pages long, and I’ve only read the first one. I’ll go finish it now.

61 Responses to “the darling birds of may”

  1. ksbel6 says:

    I’m first!! Also, it turns out that if you just live REALLY close, you can do the two houses thing…like less than a block is a nice distance 🙂

  2. Deena in OR says:


    I hope you finish reading that article soon. I’m six pages into it and had to stop so I could get to work. It’s good. Although, as far as I’ve read, if I were you, I’d hold off on too many comparisons to your life. From everything I’ve read, you appear to actually have a solid moral compass and some ethics to guide you. I’m not so sure that’s true in the author’s case.

  3. a lurker says:

    I wonder if the thrushes are being reclusive in this case to avoid Dr. W., who appears lurking in the background:)

  4. Sara/ says:

    I totally get your struggle about what to blog and what to keep off the blog. I’m struggling with some of the same only in an entirely different context (separating from a very long term relationship, with children to boot). The article looks good – thanks for the link. I guess all anyone can do is move forward doing what feels right at the time…and keep talking to the other parties involved (no doubt, you’ve had discussions about this with the bread-making compost-maven moose).

    Great bird video/audio. I love that you sometimes diagram conversations 😉

  5. Anonymous says:

    I just finished the article.

    On the surface it sounds good, but in the end the author is just exhibiting herself as an example of why you shouldn’t dump personal information (your own and others’) all over the internet by — dumping the same information all over a magazine article. Which is on the internet.

    And it’s not that she missed subtle clues; her first boyfriend was only the first person to tell her to knock it off.

    Summary: NY Times writer is a clueless and/or delusional attention seeker. You aren’t.

  6. Andi says:

    Mmmm, thrush song! As a bird nerd, I worship that sound. I first heard it when I worked as a Park Ranger in Glacier Bay, Alaska. That part of Alaska is unique in that it’s the southern-most flyway for the northern birds, and the nothern-most flyway for the southern birds, so you can see just about anything in the summer. Bird nerd paradise!

    Here it Colorado, the hermit thrush sing in the high mountain woods, and it echoes so sweetly through the trees. De-licious. I can’t tell from the video whether it’s a wood thrush or a hermit…Maybe Ellen O. will know. Here’s a cool site where you can hear and see both.

    In terms of posting your personal life online, I think it’s a fascinating question of boundaries and brings up the whole public/private distinction that’s fast dissolving in this age of blogs, Facebook, etc. We’ve read the story of your childhood in Fun Home, and seen the most intimate details of your life. Next year, we get to read about your love life. Does putting it in the past make it less exhibitionist, less intimate, more distanced? Does it feel more confessional because it’s your current life? Do time and distance make even irrelevant junk into valuable antiques? “Hey, here’s a grocery list from the 1800’s! It’s collectable!”

    Seems to me we need to redefine the whole concept of “exhibitionist.” Everywhere I go these days, I’m treated to glimpses of people’s personal lives, including intimate details, because of cell phones. One woman in the post office in Boulder was talking on her phone about a party she’d been to the night before. It was a quiet place, and all of us got to hear the details of her drinking habits. “Man, I was so wasted, I had no idea what was going on. I don’t even know where I woke up…. It was the vodka, you know? I’m really more of a Jack Daniels girl myself…” This woman looked about 50. Not a teenager, just a participant in this culture of public revelation.

    The rules are fast dissolving, and blogs like this one are places where the whole culture of communication is being reinvented at light speed. It’s all an experiment.

  7. sara says:

    I love the way that Alison’s face lights up when she hears the thrush…in a world of really bad news, that joyful smile is a delight!!!

  8. Yeah, god, the world of news is even worse than usual lately. though I’m beginning to gather, in my middle-age, that this is the nature of news: ever-worsening, by apocalyptic orders of magnitude, by the day.

    In the biography of William James that I’ve been inching my way through for nearly a year, he’s all worked up about the Spanish-American war, and how American business interests were determining our foreign policy. He just wrote a letter to the editor protesting the US takeover of the Phillipines after kicking Spain out as “piracy positive and absolute…we are now openly engaged in crushing out the sacredest thing in this great human world—the attempt of a people long enslaved to attain to the possession of itself, to organize its laws and government, to be free to follow its internal destinies according to its own ideals….We are cold-bloodedly, wantonly and abominably destroying the soul of a people who never did us an atom of harm in their lives.”

    That was 110 years ago.

  9. Anne says:

    You should check out the wonderful book Songbird Journeys by Miyoko Chu. I’m just an amateur bird nerd, but I loved reading it.

  10. The Cat Pimp says:

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    I got online in 1986. I posted something cute about my personal life. I went to a party a few months ago and a man who towered over me and was sufficiently creepily older than me quoted something I said in my posting. I never posted private stuff in a public venue again. In my current blog, I post about my work at an animal shelter and zoo. Occasionally, I post about myself (which is when I get the most comments), but it is never about “wink wink” stuff. I’m pretty bashful that way. I do post personal stuff in closed venues where I know where everyone lives and what kind of car they drive.

    Regulate it as you will.

    I don’t think you’re out there whoring for attention like Emily in the Times article. She appears to constantly be displaying herself out there and I have no idea what DSM code is involved with that. I don’t see much of a comparison here.

    Just gauge what you want to reveal and talk to the moose about it to see what she’s comfortable with.

    As for the thrushes, no idea. I get chickadees, towhees, and robins in my neighborhood.

  11. The Cat Pimp says:

    I meant to say, “I went to a party a few months *later*” after that posting in 1986. I’ve been careful since 1987.

  12. Leah says:

    Here in North Texas I hear a bird on my morning walks that sounds like is says “thank you” in a sing song followed by tweet tweet tweet but I have yet to get a glimpse. Any ideas?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Leah, your local library may have or be able to get for you an audio guide to local birds.

    Barring that, if you have an idea (or can get someone local to listen to your imitationa nd give you an idea) you might be able to google bird call sound clips by the name of the bird until you find it.

  14. Andi says:

    Alison, my friend Matthew does this thing where he picks up the newspaper, closes his eyes and holds it up to his head (a la Johnny Carson’s Karnak), pauses dramatically, and then says, “And the world situation is…..desperate as usual!”

    He contends that there is always some horrible crisis in the world, no matter what time or place in history. It’s always the same — plagues, wars, etc. are part of the human condition. Hundreds of years ago people thought it was the worst time in history, the end of the world, etc. It’s always the apocalypse, it’s always gloom, doom, death and destruction somewhere in the world. Seems like the only thing we can control is our response to it all.

    We can tune out, organize, despair, get angry, work for change, etc. It reminds me of one episode of DTWOF where all the members of the collective household are arguing about how to respond to a world situation. Lois wants to protest, Sparrow wants to meditate for peace, Ginger wants to organize, etc. The world situation is desperate as usual, bad news and apocalypse sells, so that’s what we’ll continue to be bombarded with. It is nice to turn away from it all for a while and listen to birdsong, watch kitties in the meadow, and welcome in spring. Thanks for the video!

  15. iara says:

    Do you notice more birds this summer? I swear, there seem to be twice as many just arrived in Philadelphia (over the past month). I am not a bird person, but I am told there are some unusual songbirds among them.

    Regarding the sharing of personal information, I think the NYT article is only superficially relevant to your case. I found it really hard to feel any sympathy for someone so catty and, well, nasty.

    On the other hand, I have been wondering a lot about this, not only from your perspective but from your readers too. Last night I visited the moose blog and was very pleased to learn that you two share another interest of mine: making bread. I even wrote a long comment regarding bread baking, which, regrettably, for some reason did not post (to summarize: stone, steam, do not brush with oil, but egg white works ok, keep the temperature high and a tip to not waste the heat: make yogurt as oven cools). Anyway, something happened and it did not post and I was too sleepy to retype it, so I just went to bed.

    As I was writing that post, though, I felt somewhat ambivalent – is it ok for the dtwof blog people to wander off into her blog and start posting as if we know her? What is the right etiquette for that? Do you just pretend that you are new to commenting on her blog or do you introduce yourself as someone from the dtwof blog? Can I say things like “I hope you and Alison enjoy the bread” of should I refer to you in some sort of code (“she who shall name you Moose”?)? Does she feel stalked if people read her blog in part to find out what you are up to? I hope not! I really like reading about all her projects.

    OK, I know I must be wacky to be even wondering about these things, but I can’t help it!

  16. sk in london says:

    Good point Andi, bad news sells, Alison’s birds arriving, how wonderful to read that also – blogs serve as good news bringers, though my own tends to dwell on the struggling misery of world news and life in London…. but i blame that on my genetics;-)

  17. shadocat says:

    Isn’t this the dilemma all writers face, that is , how much of one’s personal life to write about? I’m guilty of over-revealing myself, although I do use this pseudonym and only a few people know my real name, so I delude myself into thinking I’m protected. But I do occasionally use the real names of friends and family, on my own blog and on, on which I just posted yet another baby picture. Will the baby resent this later? Have I put her at risk (don’t think so, but still). Will her mother be mad at me? (Quite possibly) Should I take it down and stop doing that? Something to think about.

  18. sara says:

    Thanks for the

  19. sara says:

    Thanks for the quote out of the biography of William James – if it is taking you a year to slog through it (not that it is not spell binding), then I will take the quote and use it as a recap of the book! Wow, 110 years ago and the words resonate as if it were today. History certainly does repeat itself – I wonder why we never learn from it?????????

  20. Emma says:

    My two blog lurkee worlds- they are colliding! NY Times article was linked on Jezebel AND here??!!

  21. geogeek says:

    Emma –

    Woudn’t lurkee mean that Jezebel and D2WO4 have lurked at you?

  22. The Cat Pimp says:

    I suspect if you go over to the moose blog, just introduce yourself politely. Bread recipes, eh? I might look for the blog, myself. I have a bag of King Arthur just begging to be yeasted and pummeled.

    On the island where I work, we have birds who say “Ooo eeeee? Tew tew tew tew tew.” I finally found them online – white crowned sparrows.What’s funny is that the dialect the local birds has is different than the ones I found online. I had to actually see the bird singing to make the ID.

  23. emaline says:

    When I played the video at my computer my girlfriend whipped around and shouted “that’s my favorite bird!”. he very into birding.
    Any-hoo- nice video and yer hair looks fine.

  24. falloch says:

    I feel this is incredibly harsh, but I say to the NYT woman ‘get a life, and stop chronicling it until you can make decent literature out of it’. As for you Alison, if you want to , tell us if you’re up or down, but your personal life is just that – personal – if you share it, then people will expect you to keep sharing it, even when you’re feeling a bit miserly every now and then. I’m amused by your comments about ‘the moose’, and have a bit of a chuckle, but fear for the day-by-day reportage. People will start to expect an update, when you actually have no responsibility to let your fans know what’s going on in your life. Your responsibility in terms of your admirers, and just plain readership, is to publish good graphic art, whenever you wish, and nothing else, except what you feel comfortable with.

  25. Deena in OR says:

    Off topic and in the spirit of community…My sixteen year old is at this moment attending her first demonstration. *sniff*…I’m so proud!

  26. Duncan says:

    Geez Louise, I wish the New York Times would pay *me* to splatter myself all over the Sunday magazine like that. But I wouldn’t know how to begin. I’d begun to train myself not to babble too much about who I was doing years ago, though as I’ve long said to people who complain about gossip, “You have no secrets in this town — especially the ones that aren’t true.” Which for some reasons reminds me of all the standup comics who tell jokes about their spouses, their kids, their in-laws, from Henny Youngman and Phyllis Diller down to (and I mean that literally) Margaret Cho. Are all the stories they tell true? Probably not: the spouses are often characters invented by the comics and their writers. One of the first things you have to learn on the internet, too, is that what people tell you about themselves isn’t necessarily true.

    But when I started getting online, I don’t think I talked much about my personal life. I’d written a fair amount of personal poetry, but very little of it was explicit about the people I was involved with — I don’t think most people could have guessed much about them from what I wrote. I did find, though, that when I spoke personally about wishes and mistakes and fears, other people were more likely to identify, to feel that I was writing about them too — which is what I was aiming at. Not to provide fodder for voyeurism, but to give people something for looking at themselves.

    Alison has been much more self-revealing in her autobiographical stories, long before Fun Home, than I think I’d dare to be. What I did do, back in the 80s, was be openly gay online, letting it be known that I was gay, which I consider a public fact about myself, like being married would be. That was enough to startle a lot of closet cases: I had to explain to one that I was out to everyone in real life, so why not in the virtual? But I don’t think that constitutes much self-revelation. What I did and with whom, I haven’t written about much, down to the present.

    What counts for me is what people *do* with their personal stories. Emily what’s-her-name in the Times doesn’t seem to have much to say. On the other hand, Alison and other writers have taught me a lot — Kate Millett, Nancy Mairs, Marge Piercy, Christopher Isherwood — by writing about themselves. And all of them have grappled with the ethics of that exposure.

    I don’t think Alison has been going very far here, though. It seems a bit odd, really, to worry about revealing that she spent the night at the moose’s place, when I consider how much more we already know about her former girlfriends and her family, and will learn when the new book comes out.

  27. Maggie Jochild says:

    What I find shocking is the implicit information that you and The Moose are SLEEPING TOGETHER. Without the benefit of marriage. Which, now that we have marriage options, is of course WRONG. Shame.

    I highly recommend the Waste Free Living blog, and frequently link to it at my own blog. It’s funny, it’s full of zest for life and the natural world and recipes, it’s got good art and great photos. I think when you see it as a link on a blog, it’s fine to follow the link and add it to your circle of blog friends. Just appreciate it for it’s own sake, not as an extension of Alison. It stands on its own.

    As far as ethics about who/what I mention online, it’s different when you are a biographical/memoir writer and/or historian covering an era you lived through. Still, my guidelines are:
    (1) Only say in print (online) what you would say to that individual’s face. This weeds out all but the determinedly rude.
    (2) Online is eternal. Treat your own immortal legend with self-respect, as well as respecting others.
    (3) No names (or clear identification) of children, people who don’t have equal resource to rebut you, or exes without consent. If you can’t get consent from them, that’s your answer. The one exception is: The dead. The dead have no right to an expectation of reciprocity.
    (4) No writing in anger about someone you know whom you feel has wronged you. At least, not for a year. Process your feelings elsewhere. Contrary to how often it is misused in this manner, blogging is not therapy.
    (5) If you are recounting a personal story, admit your biases and definitions up front. Hopefully in a funny, frank manner (self-flagellation is extremely unattractive).
    (6) Your life story is YOURS. You get to tell it as you see it. The consequences of telling it are also yours.
    (7) If you make a mistake about information (anywhere, even in making a comment on another blog) and you realize it, correct it immediately and, if necessary, apologize, cleanly and succinctly. Errors do occur.
    (8) No sexual details, no health or financial information, no lengthy analysis of psychology or cultural background, and no family origin details about ANYONE unless: [a) They are dead; [b] They are a public figure whose actions deserve public scrutiny; [c] You are writing your own biography and the information is essential to understanding your own story; or [d] You’ve gotten informed consent from that individual. Informed consent means they really will suffer no repercussions from saying “no” and they are experienced enough to understand the long-term ramifications of their agreement: It’s rare.
    (9) Instant karma WILL get you.

  28. ready2agitate says:

    MJchild, does this include email? Just curious.

    It’s late, I haven’t read all the posts & article closely, but here’s my 2 cents: I guess I’d gently suggest leaving Holly (mostly) out of this blog. It’s fine to say, “here’s a picture of my gf Holly talking to my bro. before the Ministry concert,” or, “my gf Holly thinks thus and such about bobotails….” but generally, I think it is in your self-interest to let the r-ship flourish off-line.

    Once your next memoir — for cripe’s sake, abt your love-life! — hits the press, there will be loads of interest (by the press & others) in your current love-life (and if it’s anything like Fun Home, you may again be astounded by the level of response that the book garners).

    I can just see a fluff piece now: “Bechdel, who for some reason refers to her current partner Holly as ‘The Moose’ on her own personal blog blah-blah-blah…”

    I agree that what you’re doing is not akin to the NYT article – mindless babbling abt one’s personal life — but still, I would say if you’re starting to feel some discomfort now abt it, follow that intuition. The street sign seems to be saying “proceed with caution.”

    [[[Not that we don’t LOVE Holly & her blog!!!]]]

  29. Maggie Jochild says:

    r2a, i treat e-mail like letters. part of my legacy, but private. (i mean, except for the NSA readers.) i’m careful about what i say, but i don’t feel the need to protect the innocent, or guilty. after i die and they write my biography, it’ll all come out.

    which means, yes, i’ve saved all my e-mail correspondence since 1998, in and out. destined for the lesbian herstory archives.

  30. Juliet says:

    OK, I’m going to briefly change the subject; I’m sorry but I’m also so excited!

    The night before last I went to see the British dance/physical theatre company DV8’s production ‘To Be Straight With You’ which was an exploration of contemporary homophobic violence and discrimination in London and the home countries of many persecuted migrants. It was told using the real life words of the people who had been persecuted and those who did the persecuting.

    It was powerful, frightening, funny…all those things and THEN…there was this incredible scene where they turned a man on stage into a cartoon character. He was behind a stage-sized gauze screen, onto which was projected cartoon strip boxes. The man moved through the boxes (well, in reality the boxes moved, but that was the effect), acting out the scenes in each box while the voice over told the story.

    Omigod, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so cool on stage…except perhaps the ship scene in Kneehigh’s Tristan and Yseult:,,1459226,00.html

    I’ll shut up now and you can go back on track.


  31. Maggie Jochild says:

    Juliet, honey, there is no “track” — what you had to share was exactly right. Thanks.

    I forgot something crucially important about blog ethics, especially right now. (Not on this blog, but elsewhere among women bloggers):
    (10) Don’t steal. No matter what. It WILL be discovered.
    (11) Attribute everything — make links, credit artists and photos (track them down), give credit for ideas, and especially, indicate where your thinking is building on the shoulders of others.

  32. bette says:

    thank you very much maggie for lining out your guidelines for online publication. as an editor of a “wood-media” magazin, i.e. printed matter, I find these are guidelines which have proofed very helpful in my professional life. seems to me, a good one to suggest for copy/paste …

  33. --MC says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing that blogging piece in the Magazine this Sunday .. I have this paper ritual where I read the same things in the same order in the Sunday papers, starting with the front page of the local, and ending with the back page of the Magazine. (The Sunday “Mark Trail” is an integral part of this ritual.)
    A blog friend referenced the Magazine blogging article and included a link to an earlier piece on blogging during breakups and divorces:

  34. Anonymous says:

    Simply put, birds are marvelous. For me, they are all about beauty, renewal and wonder. I just got back from the Great Salt Lake Bird Fest and am thoroughly jazzed about feather, eggs, and such.

    Andi — are you in Boulder? Want to talk birds or find some at Cottonwood Marsh? Email me. I’m at eorleans at earthlink dot net.

  35. KarenE says:

    Allison, your blog is a world…a universe…removed from the one in the NYT article. Reading that article made me squirm.

    On a happier note, a beautiful brilliant Baltimore Oriole visted our deck yesterday.

  36. anonymous says:

    ms.chochild; i hope you have told all who corresponded with you of your intention to save your emails for the archives.
    sometimes it is wise not to save everything.

  37. Kate L says:

    Good to see your smiling face when the web page opened! 🙂 Although, when I first read that you came back from Moose’s house, my first thought was, “Were Moose and Squirell both there?”. That should date me. As should my mentioning The Correspondents’ War, by Charles H. Brown. This book, published in 1967, was once a Book-of-the-Month selection, which is how I came to read it. It details the role of the sensational American press in getting us involved in war with Spain (ring any bells?).

  38. Emma says:

    geogeek, I wish but I suppose you are correct. I was thinking I was the lurkER, therefore they would be the lurkEEs. But semantics shemantics, my brain is fried this tim eof year so who knows.
    Also, thanks for posting that Maggie, useful guidelines to follow
    (or break!).

  39. Anarcissie says:

    I found Emily of the Times’s article prolix and profoundly dumb, or maybe I should say numb — the author seems to have no center, and not much taste about the surface, either. I did get an semi-enjoyable frisson of horror watching her carefully lower herself into hell over and over again, but I have an important streak of sadism. On the whole reading it was a pretty disturbing experience.

  40. Chris says:

    Currently unable to see or hear the film–try affording up-to-date personal technology on a field biologist/co-op drudge’s salary. ;-P I hate to break it to you, AB, but you might have as many as 5 brown thrush species nesting in yer neck of the woods, all with their beautiful thrush-songs. Internet ornithologist’s assesment is that Wood Thrush, Hermit Thrush, and Veery are the likeliest suspects, based on what your woods seem like via photos, but you might be blessed with Swainson’s Thrush and even Bicknell’s Thrush nearby, though they are more coniferous/higher-elevation specialists.

    I very much recommend the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs recordings. Lang Elliott is Godde where audio of N. American wildlife is concerned, and Lillian and Donald Stokes are wonderful teachers; much like Roger Tory Peterson or Kenn Kaufman, they really know their shit on professional level and are also great at telling students what they need to know in clear, simple language.

  41. LondonBoy says:

    The “beautiful, brilliant Baltimore Oriole” that visited your deck yesterday wasn’t Jeremy Guthrie, was it? He’s definitely one of the world’s hotter pitchers…

  42. cd in Madison says:

    Bless you, Alison!

    I have been looking for identification of that bird on the internet for ages! Had tried the Cornell site years ago but their recording at that time just made me more uncertain, although I was pretty sure I was looking for some kind of thrush. This is a birdsong from my childhoom in WI that I treasure the memory of. Sadly, I haven’t heard one for 20 years or more. You have them in the mountains of CO (someone said)? I’m on my way….

  43. Jaibe says:

    The NYT article is great.

  44. Jaibe says:

    I had a tame thrush that used to come hang out with me when I sat in my garden. I especially loved it because it helped eat the snails that ate the plants, but anyway it was a great bird. But it disappeared. So did a lot of birds. Then one morning I looked out into my garden rather earlier than usual and saw a cat 🙁

  45. Aunt Soozie says:

    Crack me up, losing your way in conversation and drawing diagrams.
    I like how you think out loud here but who knows the consequences later.
    and how weird it would be to have to reveal a breakup or whatevah?
    Still… you’re keeping some personal items on the downlow.
    Like, no youtube video of your first date or first kiss, and you know, people are doing that stuff on reality tv everyday. It’s so ho-hum, lah dee dah dah ordinary.
    In the arena of the more things change… just saw, all the way through, for the first time the movie Hair. wow. fun. funky. fresh.

  46. Aunt Soozie says:

    Crack me up, losing your way in conversation and drawing diagrams.
    I like how you think out loud here but who knows the consequences later.
    and how weird it would be to have to reveal a breakup or whatevah?
    Still… you’re keeping some personal items on the downlow.
    Like, no youtube video of your first date or first kiss, and you know, people are doing that stuff on reality tv everyday. It’s so ho-hum, lah dee dah dah ordinary.
    In the arena of the more things change… just saw, all the way through, for the first time the movie Hair. wow. fun. funky. fresh.

  47. Aunt Soozie says:

    oh, and your hair…
    I was gonna say,
    is that bed head?
    or are you going for the trendy faux hawk??

  48. LondonBoy says:

    Um… Actually, Aunt Soozie, the fauxhawk hasn’t been trendy for several years now…

  49. Anonymous says:

    awww but I love fauxhawks…they are still trendy in the midwest anyway….(we’re slow on fashion stuff)

  50. bronislava says:

    hey, check this out! a 12 year old (here in australia) has been allowed to have an ftm sex change.

    (and now we can return to the fauxhawk discussion 🙂

  51. BrooklynPhil says:


    The Emily Gould NYT article was mildly fascinating/disturbing, and has only minor relevance to your blog. I felt her article was navel-gazing about navel-gazing. Maybe I’m irritated by the narrative of young turks, thinking they have it all, being shown, surprise!, that some sense of self-will and identity are important (a lesson I had to learn on my own at age 13, facing my gayness in jr. high).

    I trust you to negotiate that tricky blog-barrier of public v. private with sensitivity and self-criticism. SHould you temporary cross that line, we’ll forgive you. Your many years of revealing your humor, your sincerity and integrity speak much louder than Ms. Gould’s honest but ultimately self-indulgent article.

    Best from Brooklyn,

  52. Elizabeth says:

    I think you have a Wood Thrush, Alison. Looking at the Sonograms in my bird book, your bird’s trill at the end of its song is more Wood-thrushy than Hermit-thrushy. Hermit thrushes have more of a warbling noise at the end, and Swainson’s should have a rising scale that sounds a lot like a bottle of water being filled up. (To confuse things further, Veerys (veeries?) sound like a bottle of water emptying).

    I’m filled with nerdy appreciation for the video bird-calls, thanks for sharing!

  53. mulieribus says:

    Taking a cue from Alison, I tried to make my own cute cat video. Not as easy as it looks. First off it’s five minutes long because I was having an is-this-thing-on? issue. Second, my cats are hardly interested or intersting during the process. See them take an occassional swing at an antenna. Thirdly I entirely forgot that it was also recording sound, so I’m playing really raunchy rap in the background, so stay away if offended by the f word, the n word and the massive sexism all ’round. And since I didn’t know it was recroding sound I entirely forgot to engage in the witty repartee and banter that Alison does to make it more interesting, so a lot of it is my cats laying around doing nothing. My wife and I still find it hilarious for some reason. Our beloved cats I guess.

  54. Pam I. says:

    Blog hijack – Beaver News. They are going to reintroduce beavers to Scotland, then possibly Wales, bits of England….
    Not everyone is happy with the idea. Water company vs ecologists; tourist attraction possibilities seem to have swung the argument.

  55. Anonymous says:

    On an unrelated note, I just saw this review of Fun Home go up –

  56. SW says:

    There were/are two champion fauxhawks on Bravo’s Top Chef this season, one on a straight man and one on a lesbian. Both fauxhawk sporters are under 35. Maybe fauxhawks skipped being “out” and went straight from trendy to ironic-trendy.

    Some birds have fauxhawks, eg cardinals. Isn’t a fauxhawk the same as a crest?

  57. dbd says:

    I guess making comments about the sabbatical is old news now, and I’m sure you’re aware of Cat and Girl anyway, but I still thought this might strike a chord.

  58. dbd says:

    and when I say “this” I mean this:

  59. Cat and Girl is great! Thanks for th’tip!

  60. Perry says:

    You might like to see the latest bird photographs I posted… as well as my new queer postage stamp… enjoy –

  61. geogeek says:

    Another comment about birds: I’m going to be above the Arctic Circle for my second summer coming up, and I found it interesting that even when the sun is up 24 hours (and with surprisingly little variation in the quality of the light for much of July and August) the birds have a rest/wake cycle that includes making a hell of a lot of noise around 4 a.m. Last summer I found that I didn’t need a black-out mask for the light, but I needed them earplugs.

    P.S. Have loved Cat and Girl for a while now – nice to see a link here. Have ya’ll looked at Kate Beaton’s History Comix?