2. Star Trek: Discovery – I’m intrigued enough to want to see more, and it will be nice to have some new television-style Star Trek. We don’t have CBS All Access, but I’m sure it will be available on Blu-ray eventually.
3. Ready Player One – I know a lot of people loved this one, but for some reason, the book just didn’t work for me, and the trailer seems to be following suit. The trailer looks pretty, but it doesn’t grab me.
4. Justice League – I don’t know. DC’s cinematic universe has let me down again and again…but then they did Wonder Woman, and I started to hope again. This looks like it could be fun. Or it could be a mess. I’m withholding judgement for the moment.
A modern AU in the world of books and business. Mr.Darcy Sr. and Mr.Bennet has a past connection. Fitzwilliam Darcy blames George Wickham for ruining his life. Catherine de B. thinks herself as the mother of manipulations. How does it all connect ?
After the Nashville Predators lost in the Stanley Cup Final to the Pittsburgh Penguins, a few things gained clarity.
Like the fact that Nashville was the envy of other hockey towns, with an ever-expanding fan base of catfish-chucking party people (and it’s a great place to live!). But mostly, that their Western Conference championship could be a warning shot across the bow of the NHL, because with a core of players entering — or on the cusp of — their prime years, the Predators are theoretically going to be in the mix with teams like the Edmonton Oilers for several years of Stanley Cup contention.
The challenge for GM David Poile was making shrewd financial moves to ensure that core remained together, not only for another run or two with Pekka Rinne in goal but for the future.
To that end: He now has Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg, Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis signed for a combined $20.5 million cap hit through 2019. Which is rather incredible.
He got Josi (2013) and Ellis (2014) inked before the Predators actualized as Stanley Cup contenders. He signed Forsberg to a six-year, $36 million contract in June 2016 – post-Ryan Johansen trade, but two days before the P.K. Subban trade.
He’s coming off a 31-goal, 30-assist breakout season over 80 games last year, having gained just 16 points in his previous 62 NHL games. It’s no secret how that explosion happened: He clicked with Forsberg and Johansen, creating a dominant top line for the Predators. He scored 12 of his 19 even-strength goals last season with Johansen as his center.
Which is why this contract is a huge win for Nashville, and potentially a blown chance for Arvidsson.
His ask in the arbitration hearing with the Predators, that preceded the contract settlement, was one year at $4.5 million, according to Elliotte Friedman. Nashville was asking for two years at $2.75 million each.
There’s every reason to believe that he’ll be back on that line next season, and there’s every reason to believe they’ll be great again. Locking into a $4.25 million cap hit for seven years, from a player standpoint, would seem to cost him millions, considering what Arvidsson does and considering his current status in the lineup.
A bridge deal of some sort boosts his baseline price, gives him more time to build a stats case he might not be able to make over just one productive season, and extends out into (more) UFA years the Predators would have to buy up to keep him. All of that adds up to more than $4.25 million annually, a.k.a. “Craig Smith money,” for a guy that just popped 31 goals.
But I guess there’s something laudable about Arvidsson giving away money and taking term with a team that could contend – health and goaltending willing – for the next seven years. And again, give Poile this: He’s got everyone under contract for next season and $14 million in space to get Ryan Johansen and Austin Watson under contract and, maybe, figure out how to replace those James Neal goals.
The only thing that gives you pause if you’re Nashville with this contract is the way Arvidsson has played away from Johansen, but at $4.25 million and term that’s a problem you can correct via trade if it turns out he’s only a product of that line.
(Although it should be noted that Arvidsson had a better Final, post-Johansen, than did Forsberg.)
Hey, maybe if you’re Arvidsson, you take the chance to snag term while the numbers are high, rather than take the gamble that another year with RyJo increases your price tag. But wouldn’t that be an indictment of your own potential?
I'm 1700 words into my Captive Audience story. It's not due until 2 September, but I can already tell that it's likely to be long, so I guess having that time is good. I think this one will flow better during the writing than the second Pod Together story did. I might still hit a snag, but I'm hoping not.
My period finally started today after almost a month of off and on spotting. On the plus side, this makes having one on the 7th of August when I go in for the uterine ultrasound a lot less likely.
Scott's going to be working third shift this week and, probably, next. He originally thought that next week was his vacation, but I pointed out that that's actually another week further on. The only reason they didn't tell him to work third shift next week was that he told them he'd be on vacation. He emailed his boss to tell him of the error as soon as I told him (Scott didn't have access to his calendar right then). Third shift is down to four out of seven employees, and two of those left are supervisors who aren't supposed to run machines apart from covering for lunches and breaks. At other times, they move from machine to machine, making sure that everything's going okay and helping with whatever problem they judge most urgent.
Neither our nephew nor our niece were at the family gathering yesterday, so it was Cordelia and six adults. She retreated to the basement after dinner to read her book in isolation. I think she felt that four hours of being polite to adults was plenty.
I ended up sitting in the living room with Scott's father while Cordelia was in the basement and everyone else was out on the sun porch playing Ticket to Ride Europe. I didn't think it would be a good thing for us to sit in silence, so I initiated conversation, and we talked until the folks playing the game came back in. At that point, it was 9:00, and we were all ready to go home.
Finished my two-week employment marking papers for a National Exam for Visual Arts. It was a good experience to gain as an Educator in the field, but not one I'll be repeating any time soon. Way too tedious having to mark the same couple questions over and over for what felt like THOUSANDS of students. Plus it took up the entire first two weeks of summer vacation. So glad I am done! \o/ And now my vacation can truly begin! \o/
I've been avidly following the SDCC tag on Tumblr since Thursday, and it's amazing seeing so many fandoms converging in one spot. The superstars are all there, the new trailers are out, the fans are delighted like kids at Christmas, and there seems to be so much *JOY* everywhere. It's been such a treat, waking up the past couple days wondering what new delights await. :D
I also noted (via Tumblr) that in the midst of all the glee, the Supergirl fandom is going through an Actors-related Thing. Which, my sympathies, Supergirl slash fans. More than anything, I know that it's the disrespect and disregard for what you hold dear that hurts. The complicated relationship between Kara and Lena, and their chemistry, was one of the few things to pique my interest in the show. Apparently I have a type. :b As a longtime Super-Luthor shipper from the olden days of Smallville, I feel your pain of loving your ship even when knowing it's never ever gonna be validated or respected by TPTB. It brings back so many memories... *___* Hey, at least they're honest and don't falsely pander and queerbait like some. *side-eyes a certain wolfy show*
Anyway, speaking of Lena Luthor, and Katie McGrath (who I adore ♥)... I'm thinking of doing some BBC Merlin fanart for this week's drawing challenge at drawesome. We're supposed to draw an object from two different perspectives, and I'm thinking some kind of important artefact, like King Arthur's Excalibur.
There are a *LOT* of Significant Objects in fandom to choose from. Stuff like weapons - Thor's hammer Mjolnir, Cap's Shield, Harry Potter's wand, Wonder Woman's lasso, the Doctor's sonic screwdriver, Wynonna Earp's colt. And then there's vehicles, like Stile's jeep and Dean's Impala, and every sci-fi spaceship ever... *g*
We'd known the Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum would be popular and we'd booked in advance; just as well, as advance tickets have now sold out, and day tickets had also sold out when we arrived. There were long queues for the museum as a whole now that the bag search has become ubiquitous - having a pre-booked ticket allows you to fast-track through some elements of this, but it's still hassle. Sadly it's an arms race of security theatre - if one place does it, they all have to do it for fear of being left behind, a softer target. It's job creation all right, but I rather doubt these are quality jobs.
We had allowed plenty of time and wandered through the free, smaller exhibitions of British Watercolours, which was a mixed bag but had some interesting pieces by Paul Nash, his brother John Nash, Ravilious and others, and Pacific North America, marking the 150th anniversary of the foundation of Canada in a possibly rather awkward way, but at least acknowledging the indigenous culture.
The Hokusai exhibition itself was very busy, essentially a slow-moving queue from end to end, which didn't make for the best experience, but it was worth it to see the range of works, starting with the summoning of a dragon, proceeding through many views of Mount Fuji (including the Great Wave itself), but also flower and bird paintings, a few portraits, and two unusual aerial views of Japan and China. It was interesting to compare with Hiroshige's slightly later paintings of Mount Fuji; on the whole, Hokusai was more monochromatic, frequently using (the then novel) Prussian Blue for his main colour scheme. At the end of the exhibition there are also one or two works by his daughter; sometimes these were passed off as by Hokusia himself in order to increase their value.
Look at the women you have named as heroes -- not at their actions, but at the qualities of character that propelled them to do these actions. What are the core -- deeply held -- values behind what they did?
Why do these resonate with you? What in you responds to them?
You are a hero also. Your life may not be as dramatic as theirs, but it contains heroism. Which of your own core values match those of your heroes?
(I'd love to read your comments; you need not address all of this in them.)
Three of my squash plants have produced/are producing actualfax squash. This is very exciting! (I suspect I will feel differently later in the summer, since I am already starting to have "oh no, I need to think of something to cook with all of them..." forebodings, but for right now let me revel in the squee, yeah?)
Tan is not fruiting since, as mentioned in my last gardening post, its central stem was destroyed by squirrels before it could set and open more than three or four flowers, and it's currently engaged in regrowing that.
Meanwhile, the Lazarus pepper is not only continuing to grow a very nice bell pepper fruit, its other branch is working up toward flowers. And pepper F1 (of my eighteen grown-new-this-year plants) looks ready to open a bud within the next few days -- a few of the other new peppers are also growing buds, but they're all much smaller and nowhere near ready to open.
4. the Lazarus pepper 5. the Lazarus pepper - new buds!
42. Blaze of Memory, Nalini Singh (read aloud w/Steve) 41. The Wrath and the Dawn, Renée Ahdieh 40. Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So: A Memoir, Mark Vonnegut MD (e) 39. The Rule of Luck, Catherine Cerveny (e) (arc) 38. The Cat Who Saw Red, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve) 37. The Girl with Ghost Eyes, M.H. Boroson (e) 36. Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve) 35. White Hot, Ilona Andrews (e) 34. The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life, Tom Reiss (e) 33. Mouse and Dragon, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (e) 32. Caszandra, Andrea K. Host (e) 31. Lab Rat One, Andrea K. Host (e) 30. Stray, Andrea K. Host (e) 29. The Cat Who Turned On and Off, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve) 28. Apprentice in Death, J.D. Robb (e/l) 27. The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve) 26. The Face in the Frost, John Bellairs (e) 25. Hanged for a Sheep, Frances and Richard Lockridge (e) 24. Xamnesia, Lizzie Harwood (e) 23. Convergence, C. J. Cherryh, (read aloud with Steve) 22. Rock Addiction, Nalini Singh (e) 21. The Stranger in the Woods, Michael Finkel 20. Etched in Bone, Anne Bishop (e) 19. Rider at the Gate, CJ Cherryh (re-read) 18. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve) 17. Silence Fallen, Patricia Briggs (e) 16. The Cold Eye, Laura Anne Gilman 15. The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve) 14. Memory, Linda Nagata (e) 13. Bonita Faye, Margaret Moseley (e) 12. Burn for Me, Ilona Andrews (e) 11. Snuff, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve) 10. A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (e) 9. Some Danger Involved, Will Thomas 8. Thud!, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve) 7. White Tiger, Kylie Chan 6. The Hanging Tree, Ben Aaronovitch 5. Trading in Danger, Elizabeth Moon (e) 4. The Wolf in the Attic, Paul Kearney (e) 3. The Cat Who Saw Red, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve) 2. Inside the Texas ChickenRanch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse, Jayme Lynn Blaschke (e) 1. Sand of Bone, Blair MacGregor (e)
The Ashley reservoir is now one of my go-to places to take people when they visit. I took my old college friend and her husband there, and learned that the water-loving plant that I had thought looked very mangrove-y is buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), which grows up and down the Atlantic coast and as far inland as the Mississippi, and is indeed a species in the mangrove biome!
Yesterday I took osprey_archer there (and we read aloud to each other--so much fun), and lo and behold, the buttonbush was in bloom! I didn't have a camera, so she obliged me with a photo:
So while we already have a few recs to look forward to in August, it would of course be awesome if we had some more recs. There is still plenty of opportunity for you to jump in and volunteer to rec next month (or to convince your friends to do some reccing). And many cheers for all of our members who volunteer to rec, especially if you rec regularly. Your valiant repeat efforts keep the comm alive.
Looking even further ahead so far NO reccer has volunteered for September, so that month definitely still needs some love (and recs! *g*) too. So please consider reccing in a fandom of your choice, whether small or huge, and comment on the sign-up post and volunteer for August, September or even further ahead if you are so well organized, that you know your fannish interests and time commitments in advance. It's only four recs as a minimum, and you can rec any genre or rating. Or promote us to your friends or in your favorite communities so others do the work.
Open Rec Posting
The monthly open reccing period for all members starts now and lasts until the end of July. Since the general prompts don't seem to work as inspiration, I've decided to stop adding them, but to keep the open reccing period in case anyone wants to slip a rec in, without having to come up with three others for a fandom. However the recs do still have to conform to the usual rec format and follow the rules for what is allowed to be recced here.
(Comments here are disabled, because I want to bundle volunteering in the sign-up post so that nothing gets lost, and you can see the list of claimed slots there too.)
We had a lot of catching up to do with J: she has been house-hunting, she has been on holiday. So we invited her to dinner last night, and to stay the night, so that she could tell us all about it. As a result, durham_rambler has spent the morning searching the internet for information about the property with which she has fallen in love, and I have been looking for information about Trieste, which sounds like a good place to visit.
J didn't come empty handed. She brought me a blue shirt, passed on to her by F., and not quite right (there was a reason, but I've forgotten it): it is a shade of blue which always makes me think of GirlBear, so it may not have reached its destination yet - we shall see. Also the last remains of a putizza, a characteristic cake from Trieste and Slovenia which combines innocuous looking panettone with nodules of concentrated essence of Christmas cake, to which chocolate has been added. And half a panettone, which we didn't touch last night, and divided up this morning. I shall make bread-and-butter pudding tonight (without the butter).
It’s time for another Lesbian Duplex thread! If you have a link or article or interesting thought that’s not relevant to an ongoing thread, you can share it here. If a conversation on another post has turned entirely off topic, you can bring it here also. Every so often, as the number of comments on a given Lesbian Duplex post becomes unmanageable, I put up a fresh post.Click through to read more!
I'm excited by Justice League, but not by Thor: Ragnarok. The word 'bloated' came up in a description of the MCU franchise in a review last year (or possibly this year, when comparing Wonder Woman with the current crop of superhero movies) and 'bloated' perfectly describes the trailer of Thor: Ragnarok.
Spiderman: Homecoming has good enough reviews that I might actually watch it (sometime), and I will be there to watch Black Panther with BELLS ON. But I might pass Thor: Ragnarok in much the same way that I passed on Thor: When Dark Elves Attack The Dark World. I eventually watched it and enjoyed it, but it wasn't All That. (Then again, I feel like the Thor franchise is one of the weakest ones in the MCU storyline.)
I haven't even looked at the trailer for Stargate: Origins, although if it's Catherine Langford's story, I will almost certainly give a looksee.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti had no particular connection with Birchington (near Margate) except that he was staying there when he died. He hadn't wanted to be buried with his wife- Lizzie Siddall (whose grave he'd unromantically dug up to retrieve the poems he'd romantically sealed in her coffin) and he was too rock and roll for the Abbey so they buried him where he dropped (so to speak)- by the south porch of Birchington church. The monument- which features the figures of Dante and Beatrice- with whom Rossetti had a life-long obsession- and St Luke, patron saint of painters- was designed by Rossetti's old mentor and mucker in the Pre-Raphaelite movement, Ford Madox Brown.
The heat and humidity here have been making my headaches much worse as well as making a lot of my old injuries hurt--my left ankle, the return of pain in my left shoulder and upper arm, my right knee, the scar on the back of my head--and seriously sapping my energy. This is the worst summer has been to me in a while. I actually ended up just paying for the renewal of AVG anti-virus because I couldn't get my brain, spoons, and self together enough to research other options then schlep my laptop to the library early enough during its operating hours so I could use their wifi to download new software. Uninstalling the AVG would be challenging in my current state as well.
At least I was well enough Friday night--at least it's a bit cooler at nights, though Friday was about 88 degrees Fahrenheit/30 Celsius--to do some driving in Manhattan. The window displays were still seriously lacking, not enough to bother parking and running for (it was too early at night to be more confident about the police not showing up), but I hit upon a tribute mix of Linkin Park songs on 92.3 Amp radio. It's appropriate it was aired on 92.3, since back in the day when it was K-ROCK, an alternative station, Linkin Park was such a common play on it that I'd hear a song or two of theirs every time I drove somewhere and didn't need to buy Hybrid Theory. (I didn't need to buy Tool albums either for similar reasons.) Amp plays a lot of rap and hip-hop, so their mix included a lot of songs from Linkin Park's collaboration/remix project with Jay-Z, most of which I never heard before. It was a trip.
I was in Manhattan earlier at night than usual, 8:30 pm through 11:30 pm, which meant traffic but also reminded me of the joy I get when I outsmart and outmaneuver other drivers in the city.
On the way back, roadwork closed down several exits of the LIE that included mine, so since I had to get off a few exits down the line I decided that Somebody wanted me to get ices at the Lemon Ice King of Corona. Besides, I've been so dehydrated lately. As I sat and ate my banana-flavored ices in a park nearby at 11:45 pm, I watched some locals play bocce, not that I can follow the game intelligently. Some barber shops across the street were still open at midnight.
Nine Inch Nails' new EP, Add Violence, is available as an MP3 album or streaming even though a CD won't be released until September, but I'm holding off on purchasing it until it's been around enough to get more reviews. The review that used the term "laidback" gives me pause, since I don't listen to NIN for "laidback."
Fandom: Guardians of the Galaxy Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Peter Quill, Yondu Udonta Content Notes/Warnings: some blood Medium: digital Artist on DW/LJ: n/a Artist Website/Gallery:rej11 on Tumblr Why this piece is awesome: Most of the pre-canon art about Peter and Yondu focuses on a really young Peter, so I like this one because Peter is in his mid-to-late teens. I love how this piece tells a whole story in one image, and the details are fantastic.
Fandom: Wonder Woman Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Wonder Woman Content Notes/Warnings: none Medium: digital painting Artist on DW/LJ: n/a Artist Website/Gallery:GiannaRoseH on DA Why this piece is awesome: It's a marvellous strong portrait of Diana on the horse, from near the end of the movie, wrapped in a fur-trimmed cloak and looking every inch the warrior princess. Also I love the colours. Link:Wonder Woman
Needless to say I did not have a camera handy... It was hauling several carriages and for some reason there was a diesel engine at the tail end of the train, I suspect to provide a backup if it broke down or ran out of coal or something. I'm guessing that the summer steam excursions in and out of Paddington have started again - and it turns out to be The Cathedrals Express, on the route Paddington-Westbury-Yeovil Pen Mill, Weymouth-Southampton-Paddington
He had heard about it in prison when he was still a child. He had heard about it from the women on the streets. Whispered like a secret. Quiet and unknown by most people. The story about a young maiden and her one-side love for a soldier. The tragic death caused flowers that filled her lungs. The disease called "Hanahaki" , the illness born from unrequited love where the patient throws up and coughs flower petals when they suffer from one-sided love. In order to fully recover from the disease, one’s love must be fulfilled. You can die from this disease by the flower petals that would eventually block your airways and restricting respiration.
Incredibly wet day today, especially for Perth. Managed to get some exercise anyway, half of it without being rained on, when I went to see whether the Swan River had burst its banks yet. Answer, just about; it's lapping over the usual edges and creating some very large puddles. I'd put a photo but despite busting my brain, haven't worked out how to do that here yet.
Apart from that, spent most of the day doing stuff around the house/messing online. I think I have managed to break Facebook, which is now showing me ads both for gay tours of New York and dating websites so that I can find the right woman. I also got a junk (?) email from somebody offering to be my slave.
Organising for trip to Finland is done, I'd say. Today I got the info enabling me to pay for the tour to visit the Oikiluoto nuclear power plant on the day before Worldcon and also print out the bar code I'm supposed to present at the con when I get there. Everything so far has been incredibly well organised on their part; most impressed. I work next week as normal, then the Monday and Tuesday following, then I leave on the redeye flight Thursday night.
Went to see a friend on the other side of the city yesterday - ate too many carbs I'm not supposed to eat and had a good time laughing at youtube videos. Afterwards, on the train home, I watched the Winter afternoon sun setting bright across the city, even as the lights at the G were already on, striking silhouettes against the dark clouds. I got home and did nothing, no writing, no book reading, no cleaning house, but today I finally watched two DVDs I just went out to send back.
Hell and High Water - I didn't always pay 100% attention to the story, switching between it and browsing DW on my phone, but I don't think I really needed to. Every time I looked up was another lovely vignette about a landscape and what poverty settling in has done to the inhabitants of it. Gorgeous cinematography by Giles Nuttgens; I loved the colours and framing of every shot. Great mise-en-scene. Simple, and largely unsentimental. That bit toward the end where the guy's bloody brain matter was left behind in the hat when his body was moved was especially striking.
Some really great acting, too; Ben Foster's character was thoroughly obnoxious, and Bridges' racist ranger was nearly as annoying, but they were capably done; Chris Pine was great and surprisingly sympathetic; I always enjoy seeing Gil Birmingham's work, even if a lot of the things he's been in make me cringe.
Moonlight is uncomfortable and disorienting, and I am probably the last person on the planet to watch it. As beautifully done as everyone said. I'm impressed at how each actor playing Chiron at different stages of his life evoked that sense of striking awkwardness. Obviously, the whole cast is amazing. Suffused with melancholy. Excellent use of sound.
Anyway, I clearly can't turn any of that into coherent thoughts at the moment because my entire right side hurts right now, but I'm glad I watched both.
As everybody reading this knows, the most curative thing during recovery is binge-watching a television show. Recall my earlier brief notes on iZombie Season Three? One down; four to go: The 100 (still on Netflix, I hope); Orphan Black; Killjoys; and Wynonna Earp.
I looked at the latter two and chose Wynonna Earp. Why? Guess I was feeling Western rather than Westeros, feeling like two sisters as the leads rather than two brothers.
I just looked at the Schlock Mercenary comic for tomorrow, and the sound effect for firing the Very Large Gun that was introduced a storyline or two ago is making my vibrate and clap my hands with utter glee.
It works well as a standalone strip even if you're not familiar with the comic, too, so I'm going to make you click through to see it rather than spoiling it.
I took this picture on the train station on my daily commute. There are four problem species in the picture: Asian bittersweet, Japanese knotweed, bamboo and Concord grapes. Of the four, only the grapes are native.
For us, this year is a particularly bad one for bittersweet. We’re finding it everywhere. The Gypsy moths, which seemed to like everything, leave bittersweet alone. We’re finding it pretty much anywhere there’s any kind of shrubbery.
Different vines use different methods of gaining a foothold. Grapes have tendrils that curl around a base. Poison ivy—one of my particular favorites—actually bores its roots into the barks of the trees it parasitizes. I don’t know if it actually vampirizes the tree but it’s creepy to watch a poisonous plant stick itself right into the bark like some snarling alien.
Bittersweet is just as nasty. It grows around whatever it’s based on, encircling and eventually strangling it. It’s quite prevalent up here in the northeast. I’ve driven sections of highway where both sides are covered in rounded mounds of bittersweet, their searching tendrils sticking out like triffids.
The good news is they’re non-toxic so you can pull them up by hand—and you have to pull them up. They’re like Hydra: cut off a limb and two more shall take its place.
But these are just the visible aspects of a larger problem. The US has a real problem with invasive organisms. In large part, it’s a self-inflicted wound.
This goes back to the very beginning of the United States. Earthworms were not native to the northern US since the last ice age. The result was deep beds of leaf litter and a rich understory. Enter the lowly earthworm brought over by English colonists in their fruit trees. Notice the lack of deep leaf litter in the area.
Not to mention sparrows and starlings. Sparrows were at least introduced here in an ill conceived attempt to control the linden moth. Ah, but the starling, a relatively ugly bird with noisy habits, was introduced because the American Acclimatization Society thought the USA should have all of Shakespeare’s birds.
There is also the Burmese python. Who would have thought it would have thrived in Florida? I used to have a Burmese but I, like a lot of other people, found it got too big and so I gave it back to the guy I bought it from. He had a 23 and 24 foot pair. They lived in the first floor of his house. These were big enough to eat him.
But my own personal favorite is pampas grass—which you can still buy! Up here if you drive by a marsh that should have an abundance of native grasses and cattails, you’ll see unbroken pampas grass. Nothing eats it. Nothing nests in it. It’s the Styrofoam of the plant kingdom.
It’s interesting that we in the New World seem to get the short end of the stick with invaders. It turns out that the New World has a significantly shallower evolutionary history than the Old World. See here and here.) I’m not sure why that is. When I read the original article I didn’t see an explanation. Could it be that the New World is the site of the Cretaceous meteor extinction event? Is it size—the Old World has Europe, Asia and Africa. We have North and South America connected by a fragile thread. Not clear.
Invasions are rarely pleasant for the invaders. For example, the brown marmorated stink bug destroys fruits and vegetables because it can reproduce without problems. Why? Because back in China, the bugs original home, there’s a parasitic wasp that lays its eggs on it. The larva hollow out the bug like United Fruit did Central America.
This is a pattern. Species get transported here and do well because they do not have the same predators they did back home. Birds and turtles will eat Gypsy moth larva but with the numbers produced, they can’t keep up. Thank you, Étienne Trouvelot.
Sometimes, I find this sort of thing discouraging. Okay, we’re poisoning the planet but putting out CO2, methane and mercury introduces passive problems into the system. Sure, it’s bad. But the CO2 molecules don’t go out there and make more CO2 molecules. Starlings and pythons are active agents. They’re the equivalent of Von Neumann or Berserker machines.
But from bittersweet to buckthorn to bullfrogs, human beings are one of the most successful couriers in biological history. We’re just going to have to live with it.
I was going to write about the Eastern Washington channeled scablands, but this article from National Geographic says it all; how they were formed and the scientific squabble over how they were formed. Also the photos accompanying the article are Nat Geo spectacular.
I could also write about Mount St Helens, one of the other catastrophic events that re-shaped 200 square miles of landscape in a few minutes, also featured in a National Geographic issue that I still own.
There is Crater Lake, formerly Mount Mazama. The Klamath tribe observed and recorded the explosive eruption that collapsed the volcano about 5600 years B.C.E. as an epic battle between the god of the underworld and the sky god.
Our house is situated on the Duwamish River, the blue-collar end of the Green River where it becomes a working water-way. We sit between two ancient Mount Rainier lahars. The Green originates at the foot of the mountain, and will send a wall of water, timber, the houses of Orting, and boulders down our valley when it goes off.
Not all that far away lies Yellowstone, a supervolcano, or rather a caldera formed by multiple volcanos. Just thought I should give it a nod.
But there is nothing like the scablands. I’ve seen a lot of western drylands, from Death Valley to Canyonlands, where natural forces worked to fashion landscapes into the twisted and vast: salted plains, carven hoodoos, sandstone arches, golden canyons. But Dry Falls, Pothole Coulee, and Palouse Falls are eerie. To imagine walls of water channeling ancient lava deposits, smashing them to chunks and carrying these chunks hundreds of miles to spill into the Columbia basin and hurl them out to sea is just about impossible.
No evidence of human habitation has been found in or around Glacial Lake Missoula or the scablands, nor in my quick research for this blog, did I uncover a Native American explanation of what caused the massive floods. But I can only imagine that it was quite a fight.
And yes, I have traveled to all of these catastrophic aftermath locations.
Didn't I already do this one? Like, twice? Wait; this list has both "preteen years" and "childhood" songs - am I supposed to consider those as two separate, distinct categories? Does "preteen" mean 10-13 and "childhood" mean before that? If that's the case, then I messed up the "preteen" thing, because from where I am now, that's an awfully narrow slice to try to sort out. I mean, there are plenty of online lists that could help me put songs into the before-and-after 10th birthday groupings, or whatever it intended, but I'm really not going there.
But okay; I do actually have a playlist of "early childhood" songs, so I can grab a few from there. Even though several of them are TV show theme songs.
...omg, there's a whole generation who doesn't understand how nerve-wracking it was to watch them never get off that damn island.
Tom Dooley | I Wish I Was a Teddy Bear | Ballad of Gilligan's Island | Seasons in the Sun | Welcome Back | Queen of the Silver Dollar | The Aba Daba Honeymoon | Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow