Gender Blender

A Social Researcher named Fender
Mixed HE, SHE, and IT in a blender
But the sample got out
And it spread all about
Now we all get to pick a new gender

* For the record, please refer to me as He, Him, or “Hey You!”

Boswell & Johnson

Back in my days at the used bookstore, we once acquired an estate which included a significant library of Boswell & Johnson related material. While these items did not sell well, we did dedicate an entire shelf section to them for the shear prestige of it.

Here’s a bit I recall reading in one of the books, an exchange between the two recorded by Boswell, I believe. This is retrieved from an unreliable memory, keep in mind. I could not find a reference to it with an internet search.

Johnson, in teasing, asks Boswell about the Scott’s habit of consuming oats. “In England,” he says, “we feed oats to our horses.” To this Boswell replies, “well, that’s why England has such great horses, and Scotland has such great men.”

Anyway, this came to mind after reading Catherine Meyrick’s book review of a novel that casts these two as mystery solving sleuths. Seems like a fun read.

Black Velvet Leatherleaf Slug

Native to South America, the Black Velvet Leatherleaf Slug is by far the most stylish of mollusks. In appearance it is unlike any of our native slugs and is being monitored as an invasive species by the scientists who concern themselves with that sort of thing. It is clearly the Batman-villain of lawn sod and forest leaf mat. Sightings have been recorded in all the US gulf coast states since 2005, when it was first spotted in Florida. This one crossed my path at a nearby park here in Houston, Texas.


The Visible Wavelengths III

When the plastics reach the apex of second half-life they will lose all mass and become weightless misshapen orbs of light, floating up out of the depths of the oceans to disperse and litter the skies, eventually forming a vast blanket around the planet and reflecting the sun’s energy back into space. By this time humans will have devolved into tadpoles incapable of abstraction and the petrochemical winter will blot out most of the higher life forms.

Somewhere, in a self-sustaining cryogenic chamber, one man will survive to fight back against the coming end of civilization. That man will be played by Vin Diesel. No, no. Nicolas Cage.

Cliff Swallow

The bridge spanning White Oak Bayou is a busy nesting site for Barn Swallows, Cave Swallows and Cliff Swallows. This is a couple of juvenile Cliffs waiting for mom to return with some more take-out.

The Real Deal

And—I'll build you pictures
of buildings and houses 
made from pictures of concrete
and lumber and steel

With pictures of landscapes
and driveways and basements
and pictures of neighbors
to round out the deal

I can picture a dog
and a fence and a lawn
some kids playing tag
for that down home appeal 

And—I'll sell you these pictures
for pictures of money
then you'll own an estate
you can picture as real

The very first entry in Merriam-Webster’s definition for the word real is: “having objective independent existence.” Most of the other definitions have to do with authenticity as in ‘not fake or fraudulent,’ or variations to cover real property, or real income, and so on. But the meat of the subject has most to do with, ‘occurring or existing in actuality,‘ and herein lies my minor obsession. Our experience in the world is entirely subjective and all notions of objects occurring or existing in actuality is by way of the great and mighty presumption that they actually do. This is the crux of all the sciences and philosophies, not to mention our everyday experience of just being here. Things being as they are, we really have no choice, do we?

Science tells us that things are made up of atoms and atoms are made up of 99.9% empty space(1). Rectify that when you stub your toe in the dark on the way to the toilet. Things made up of mostly space ramming into other things judged empty by the same measure, but somehow result in calamity. Does this sound right to you? I’d put on my Karen hat and demand to see the manager, except there isn’t one. Okay, God. But when subpoenaed to testify, God will have to say under oath that He didn’t do it. You did. It gets more infuriating the more you think about it.

So if things aren’t justifiably called real, then what do we call them. Unreal? Of course not!(2) That makes no sense whatsoever. It is understandable though that we tend to plaster over these paradoxicalities with word play. What’s a mother to do?


(1) What’s worse is that the .1% of an atom that isn’t empty space is not solid stuff either, nor does it behave in ways that make sense in terms of everyday physics. I don’t know how physicists don’t end up in padded cells. I am grateful for the work they do though.

(2) I just used another from my lifetime limit of exclamation points.

Sue’s Cat

Sue is out of town and in her absence I am to feed her cat, who is semi-feral and unburdened with a name. Sue’s cat does not trust me, but knows I am there to feed him, so uncertainty is the overarching theme of our relationship. I can tell you that making kissy noises and pretending to be incapable of violence has no effect. The cat is full-on no-deal. I snuck up on him sitting on the porch and stole this picture as a kind of “fuck you too.”