Photo: Jose Hernandez / National Geographic Magazine

Hernandez: "This is a shot of three eagles fighting over a fish in Homer, Alaska, from March 2008. You can see the fish at the top of the image flying by itself, but it was caught in its fall by another eagle."

This photo won an honorable mention in the "Nature" category in National Geographic's 2008 International Photography Contest (click to see winners in various categories).

Fimoculous: 2008 End-of-Year Lists

Fimoculous gathers links to 2008's end-of-year lists on one page. There are ninety book lists so far, along with lists on everything from advertising to words. I like Tampa Bay Online's 50 Things We Know Now (That We Didn't Know This Time Last Year), which includes links to the stories behind them for more information.

Why reenact wars when you can reenact Far Side cartoons?

by entitee, from the Far Side Reenactment Pool on Flickr. Setting up a shot to contribute might be a fun way to spend a few hours.


Toothpaste for Dinner

I was sick and seeing double most of the weekend--too dizzy to read or watch a movie. The upside was digging around in the Toothpaste for Dinner archives as an alternative to more strenuous visual pursuits. Some favorites so far:


Apostrophe's! Extra apostrophe's! Use 'em for plural's!

There are so many wonderful t-shirt's on the internet that I never buy any, fearing an uncontrollable downward spiral. This, though--this could break the seal:

T-shirt $16 at Sharing Machine (choose "Toothpaste for Dinner" for merch related to the webcomic).
From The Guardian, "Body swap research shows that self is a trick of the mind":

"Brain scientists have succeeded in fooling people into thinking they are inside the body of another person or a plastic dummy.

The out-of-body experience - which is surprisingly easy to induce - will help researchers to understand how the human brain constructs a sense of physical self. The research may also lead to practical applications such as more intuitive remote control of robots, treatments for phantom limb pain in amputee patients and possible treatments for anorexia." (read rest of article)


I went to Oberlin College, but am ashamed to say I never thought to check out the Oberlin Public Library. I see now that this was a mistake:

"OBERLIN, Ohio, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- A public library in Oberlin, Ohio, has a holiday display that features a legless Santa Claus being pushed down the stairs by a sadistic Christmas tree.

Conceptual artist Keith McGuckin, who created the Oberlin Public Library display, created a narrative to accompany the image that explains Santa's legs were destroyed by an alcohol-fueled incident involving power lines, and the tree pushing St. Nick's wheelchair down a flight of stairs plans to visit a strip club with the money he took from Santa's Salvation Army kettle, The Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, Ohio) reported Thursday." (read rest of article, which includes mention of previous Oberlin library displays by McGuckin, including ones with "Nazi gingerbread men and drug-smuggling elves.")

UPDATE: Library director decided to take display down, said it was "becoming too much of a distraction."


Matthea Harvey's excellent Modern Life appears on the NY Times 100 Notable Books of 2008 list. Aravind Adiga's Booker-winning The White Tiger, which I thoroughly enjoyed (but, hey, I still count American Psycho among my favorites), does not. Interesting to note that poetry books appear in the list's fiction section--not in nonfiction, where Dewey puts them.


Sabupuraimu, "Morning Banana," and more--

The Top 60 Japanese Words and Phrases of 2008, brought to you by publishing company Jiyu Kokuminsha and translated by the folks at Pink Tentacle.

"Invisible and Overlooked": Gay Seniors in Newsweek

I missed this 9/18/08 Newsweek article, ‘Invisible And Overlooked’: A growing population of lesbian and gay senior citizens seeks recognition for their unique needs and challenges. It's a worthwhile short read. I've often been frustrated that, while my library does pretty well by GLBT teens--has a decent selection of books there--once a GLBT patron turns 18, we have near-zilch. Those who focus on service to seniors in public libraries should consider their GLBT seniors, too. Sexual orientation: it ain't just for kids.

Some excerpts from the article:

Gerontologists haven't traditionally viewed sexual orientation as relevant to their work—and, according to a study by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, most national health surveys of elderly citizens fail to assess sexual orientation. But gay seniors confront unique challenges: they're twice as likely as straights to live alone, and 10 times less likely to have a caretaker should they fall ill...Many face discrimination in medical and social services, and on top of it all, they're less likely to have health insurance: one survey, by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law, at UCLA, estimates that gay seniors are half as likely to have coverage as their straight counterparts...

...Over the next 25 years, persons in America who are 65 and older are expected to grow from about 12 to 20 percent of the total population, and various estimates indicate that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals will comprise 7 to 10 percent of that senior population...

...For those who can afford it, there are gay-specific retirement communities and free service centers dotted around the nation, mostly in urban areas. But most regular nursing homes give shared-room preference to their married clients, and only a few states require employers to give leave for employees caring for same-sex partners. Inside care centers, advocates tell stories of social workers using gloves to treat only their gay patients, or those patients being shuffled around from room to room to avoid harassment from other residents. In rare cases, social workers say that couples have gone to the extent of agreeing not to visit each other, for fear the staff will treat them differently. And many patients revert back into the closet to protect themselves...

...Financial and estate-planning matters can complicate things further. In most cases, gay survivors don't have rights to a partner's pension plans, and are taxed on 401(k)s and IRAs they might inherit. Same-sex couples must also pay federal estate taxes on jointly owned homes where married couples don't. Sometimes they even have to fight with blood relatives over how to dispose of a partner's remains. To approximate some of the protections of marriage, many gay couples have to set up extra legal frameworks, such as powers or attorney and joint tenancy agreements. "Senior citizens have enough of a challenge just figuring out all the paperwork for health insurance—but gays and lesbians have this added layer," says attorney David Buckel, the director of the Marriage Project at the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a civil rights group. "It can be overwhelming."

Sidenote: Heh heh. In the article, Michael Adams, executive director of SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders), is quoting as having said "not one emoticon of respect." Think he might actually have said "modicum"?


1 minute, 4 seconds in London, 1904

Via Folderol, one minute and four seconds in London, 1904. I love the kid camping it up on the bridge. Metafilter says: Birkbeck College professor Ian Christie rediscovered this footage in an archive in Canberra, shot for a travelogue by film pioneer Charles Urban.

New Anxiety Medications for Coping With Economic Gloom

--a McSweeney's list by Peter Scallion. These look about as good as ice cream flavors right now:
























Toys, Games, Puzzles: Poems?

I like a call for submissions that makes me want to write poems.

It's Jessy Randall that's calling:

I am guest-editing the February 2009 issue of the online poetry magazine Snakeskin. The theme of this issue is ... TOYS, GAMES, AND PUZZLES. Send up to six poems. No previously-published poems. No simultaneous submissions. No attachments -- poems should be in the body of the email. The deadline is December 15. My email address is jessyrandall [at] yahoo [dot] com. I look forward to reading your work!

...and a toy poem I [EL, not JR, though she might, too] admire:

Chatty Cathy Villanelle
by David Trinidad

When you grow up, what will you do?
Please come to my tea party.
I'm Chatty Cathy. Who are you?

Let's take a trip to the zoo.
Tee-hee, tee-hee, tee-hee. You're silly!
When you grow up, what will you do?

One plus one equals two.
It's fun to learn your ABC's.
I'm Chatty Cathy. Who are you?

Please help me tie my shoe.
Can you come out and play with me?
When you grow up, what will you do?

The rooster says cock-a-doodle-doo.
Please read me a bedtime story.
I'm Chatty Cathy. Who are you?

Our flag is red, white and blue.
Let's makebelieve you're Mommy.
When you grow up, what will you do?
I'm Chatty Cathy. Who are you?

Theft of the Magi

Yesterday's xkcd:


Madnight: new album from RIAA

RIAA, the mashup geniuses that brought you Sounds for the Space-Set, have a new (fully free and downloadable) album out called Madnight. Their own description:

Inspirations: dreams, nightmares, Los Angeles noir film and literature, "Lowbrow" and Surreal art, carnivals and sideshows, 78 rpm records, weird old black and white movies, autumnal weather.

Sources listed include Kate Bush, some dialogue from an Ed Wood film, Tom Waits, Jelly Roll Morton, Young MC, Sal Mineo, "Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam," audio from "Children's Fairyland amusement park," a school filmstrip called "Who's Afraid?", Suzanne Vega, Alan Ladd, and many others.

You can listen to or download most of RIAA's albums here.


Exvotos and Retablos Mexicanos blog

I recently found and subscribed to La Gracia de Dar Las Gracias, a blog by Selva Prieto that posts "exvotos y retablos mexicanos y algo mas." Prieto reproduces the text under many of the image scans. I love looking at exvotos (or ex-votos), which I realize means they're probably already listed on the "Stuff White People Like" blog (okay, I just checked. They aren't, yet). Some examples from the blog, with a mish-mash of Google's translation and mine underneath:

My daughter was born with a rare disease that prevents her from receiving the sun's rays, so I had to organize a night life for us. The idea was difficult for me, but, thanks to the Virgin of San Juan, we have gotten used to a paradise of moonlight. Instead of dogs we have cats and canaries. I believe that when the time comes, my daughter will find a sensitive man who does not mind living at night.

Bats invaded Carlota Valdez's house and flew over her bed at nights and they filled her with nightmares and their dreams. She feared they could be vampires and would suck her and her cats' blood and they would be converted into the living dead for all Eternity. Very worried, Carlota prayed to Saint Quiteria for protection. The saint worked a miracle for her, the bats left to live somewhere else, and Carlota gives thanks with this altarpiece.

I was quick to anger and to shout and argue. This affected my husband and therefore my marriage was being threatened. I thank the Virgencita of Zapopan, who gave me the idea of channeling my anger into a pair of knitting needles. Now when I feel that I'm getting angry, I run and grab the fabric and start knitting furiously. I have already knitted sweaters and scarves for the whole family and for cats and dogs, and I am still knitting and weaving. Thanks to this, now I can be sweet with my husband and my family almost always.

Also of interest: Everyday Miracles: Medical Imagery in Ex-Votos
(a 9/08-1/09 exhibit at the National Library of Medicine)


Stop! It's the Claw!

image found at FFFFOUND!

"The Whole World Was Watching"--K.G. Schneider

Karen Schneider of Free Range Librarian was in Australia on the night of the US election. Here's her blog post on watching Obama's acceptance speech in a Sydney pub:

Don’t get me wrong, when it became obvious Obama was winning big, it was fun to be at the Democrats Abroad party at the Slide Nightclub in Darlinghurst, Sydney, waving my pint and shouting as the results came in. It was all the sweeter because it was clear this was no ordinary victory. To borrow an expression, “we beat them like rented mules.”

But the full significance of this election to the world at large swept over me an hour later, in an ordinary pub where a woman with a chihuahua snuggled in her arms sat outside sunning herself, men in the back played video games, and workmen struggled to install one more table near the door.

Lizanne and I had thought it was too early for McCain to concede, and were sprawled on a couch talking about the events of the day, when a screen-scroll announced that regular programming was preempted.

As Obama strode onto the stage, we stood up. This was for practical reasons — we couldn’t see the screen from where we sat — and yet it somehow felt right for other reasons. We were honoring something much larger than a new president.

The workmen put down their tools.
The bartender stopped wiping glasses.
The woman with the chihuahua walked in and stood with us.
The men in the back left their video games and came forward.
People drifted in off the street and stood quietly, eyes fixed on the screen.

No one sat. Everyone stood for Obama.

As Obama spoke, the pub was pregnant with respectful silence. I wanted to take a picture but my hands were wet from wiping away tears.

Obama finished his speech; then everyone in the pub--all but two of us Australians--cheered and applauded.

Life picked up where it left off. The television resumed its mindless daytime chatter, and soon the workmen were making a tremendous racket. The video-game players wandered to fresher territory. The woman with the chihuahua reestablished her post at the prime outdoor spot in front of the pub, her nervous little dog still tucked in her arms. Everyone else either got a beer and sat down, or stepped back into the sunshine of a Sydney spring day to resume their quotidian tasks.

But I felt, at long last, no longer an American with an asterisk, apologizing for a government at odds with the world.


From William Carlos Williams Is a Really Bad Roommate by Mollie Wells for Yankee Pot Roast ("The Journal of Literary Satire, Hastilly Written & Slopilly Edited")

This Is Just to Say

I have eaten
the soy ice cream
that was in
the ice box

and which
you expressly asked
not to touch

Forgive me
it was so gross
I threw half of
it away

This Is Just to Say

I have clogged
the sink
that is in
the kitchen

and which
you requested
I not use
to rinse my silkscreens

Forgive me
my band needed merch
and Bill’s wife
wouldn’t let us do it there

This Is Just to Say

I have restarted
the PlayStation
that was in
your room

and which
you left on
because you
hadn’t found a save point

Forgive me
I skipped my job interview
and wanted
to play FIFA

This Is Just to Say

I have given away
the key
that was under
the planter

and which
you said
my girlfriend
couldn’t have

Forgive me
her sister kicked her out
but she’s quiet
I swear


"Voodoo Macbeth" on YouTube

The Observer has posted a list of the[ir] 50 Greatest Arts Videos on YouTube, among them Zora Neale Hurston singing "Uncle Bud" in 1939 (click to view; embedding option disabled for these videos), Madonna's first stage performance as a recording artist, and Marlon Brando's screen test for Rebel Without A Cause. Many of the post's commenters add links to their own favorite arts videos.

I know I sound like a naif, but YouTube still blows me away. I never could have imagined I'd get to see a scene from the 20th century theatre event I most wish I'd witnessed: the 20-yr-old Orson Welles's all-black "Voodoo Macbeth" from 1936 (not on The Observer's list, but on mine). Scene begins after newsreel-ish bit:

Of less historical interest, but sweet and sad: an affable, genuine Welles at 70 being interviewed by Merv Griffin. He died two hours after the interview was taped.

One more. Welles was a magician and fascinated by all kinds of fakery and sleight-of-hand. In this short clip, he describes his one-day stint as a successful fortune teller:


And you're spinning like a 45

It's good to see Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger win the Booker. Adiga's Balram Halwai is the most seductive and compelling first-person narrator I've read in a while. Always nice when a big prize doesn't go to a bland book.

I've been listening to the new Dar Williams. I haven't found another "Iowa" or "The Ocean," but her version of the sublime "Midnight Radio" from Hedwig and the Angry Inch is lovely. I'm glad she decided to cover it. Someone posted a video of her performing it live to YouTube:


Living With Music: a Playlist by Camille Paglia

I'm bad with saving items in my feed reader "to read later" and then letting months slip by, so it's only now I clicked through to read Living With Music: a Playlist by Camille Paglia, originally posted to the NY Times Papercuts blog in July. I've pasted it below in its entirety. Is the lickin’ stick an antebellum whip or melting phallic candy? Good ol' Camille. I'd know that voice anywhere. Have to admit I adore the Bangles cover of "Hazy Shade of Winter," too.


) Train Kept A-Rollin’, The Yardbirds (1965). An addictive London Mod rave-up epitomizing the accelerating mania of the 1960s, which finally self-destructed. Based on a 1951 song by an African-American musician, Tiny Bradshaw.

2) Ballad of a Thin Man, Bob Dylan (1965). Sinister atmospherics of the garish sexual underground in the repressive pre-Stonewall world. A naive voyeur reporter steps through the looking-glass and may or may not escape.

3) Season of the Witch, Donovan (1966). Nature and society in turmoil, as identity dissolves in the psychedelic ’60s. The witch marks the return of the occult, a pagan subversion of organized religion.

4) 8 Miles High, The Byrds (1966). Shimmering Hindu sitar riffs with jet flight as a metaphor for mental expansion. The song’s ultimate theme isn’t drugs but cosmic consciousness, a now forgotten ’60s goal.

5) Foxy Lady, Jimi Hendrix (1967). Oh, those crazed, strutting, supersonic, wham-bam chords! Their shock on the nerves still excites, more than 40 years later.

6) Lickin’ Stick, James Brown (1968). A deliciously sly exercise in sexual suggestiveness underpinned by Brown’s hypnotic, trademark, heavy-bass rhythms. Is the lickin’ stick an antebellum whip or melting phallic candy?

7) Wooden Ships, Jefferson Airplane (1969). An apocalyptic spectacle of wandering survivors of nuclear war. Male and female voices meet and bond as humanity renounces aggressive nationalism.

8) Bitch, The Rolling Stones (1971). Powerful, jagged, stabbing chords that seize the mind. Is the Stones’ bitch goddess a capricious woman or enslaving heroin?

9) Hotel California, The Eagles (1976). West Coast hippie hedonism meets the new satanism. Staggeringly brilliant double guitar solos ecstatically entwining — men in love!

10) On Broadway, George Benson (1977). The Drifters’ aspirational 1963 hit song tooling along on a seductive Latin jazz beat. Benson explicitly flaunts his guitar as his artistic alter ego.

11) Straight on For You, Heart (1978). The Wilson sisters give a throbbing, sonorous tour of erotic neurology. Phenomenal display of basic, stripped rock rhythms.

12) Edge of Seventeen, Stevie Nicks (1981). The only woman rocker with a majestic orchestral flair. Stevie as Druid seer showering her maternal compassion on youthful romantic trauma.

13) Coming Out of Hiding, Pamala Stanley (1983). Now a gay anthem, this song is actually a soaring assertion of female power. It’s an exuberant war whoop, flawlessly executed by Stanley’s witty, knockout voice.

14) Ain’t Nobody, Chaka Khan with Rufus (1983). A masterpiece of modern popular culture. The passionate lead voice stays cool and low amid the pulsing, swooping neo-African rhythms. This song is a living, breathing organism.

15) Middle of the Road, The Pretenders (1983). Chrissie Hynde at Dante’s midlife crisis. She ingeniously fuses explosive, in-your-face street attitude with rueful reflections on her new role as mother.

16) On the Turning Away, Pink Floyd (1987). Celtic mysticism rising to a grand, Wagnerian finale. David Gilmour’s luminous lead guitar is ravishing beyond words.

17) Hazy Shade of Winter, The Bangles (1987). The best rocking the Bangles ever did. Simon and Garfunkel’s classic aria of angst given a crisp, slamming treatment. The drums are like artillery fire.

18) Black, Pearl Jam (1991). Deep-sea diving in the inky depths of male emotion, explored by Eddie Vedder’s rich, keening, achingly honest baritone. Wonderful interplay with the band’s virtuoso instrumentalists.

19) Un-break My Heart, Toni Braxton (1996). Two centuries of African-American church singing produced the expert dynamics and peaking structure of this elegant display of musical theater. Poignant and devastating.

20) Easy, Groove Armada (2002). An ultra-sophisticated Euro-tech descendant of Giorgio Moroder’s seminal disco collaboration with Donna Summer. Sunshine Anderson (a North Carolinian in a British band) brings introspective intensity to the moody, multi-layered soundscape.


'A Brief History of the 21st Century" (Chuck Klosterman)

Sci-fi authors, people-who-like-to-plan-way-in-advance, and cat fanciers, take note: "A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century" by Chuck Klosterman, for Esquire

Some appealing excerpts:

JUNE 11, 2041: In a matter of weeks, the entire Internet is replaced by "news blow," a granular microbe that allows information to be snorted, injected, or smoked. Data can now be synthesized into a water-soluble powder and absorbed directly into the cranial bloodstream, providing users with an instantaneous visual portrait of whatever information they are interested in consuming. (Sadly, this tends to be slow-motion images of minor celebrities going to the bathroom.) Now irrelevant, an ocean of Web pioneers lament the evolution. "What about the craft?" they ask no one in particular. "What about the inherent human pleasure of moving one's mouse across a hyperlink, not knowing what a simple click might teach you? Whatever happened to ironic thirty-word capsule reviews about marginally popular TV shows? Have we lost this forever?" "You just don't get new media," respond the news-blowers. "You just don't get it."

JUNE 6, 2064: U.S. consumers become obsessed with "expectation entertainment": By stimulating obscure areas of the brain with low pulses of electricity, people can be given the sensation of how it feels just before the actual experience of something they enjoy (a concert, sex, a delicious meal, etc.). By focusing on the anticipation of an event (as opposed to creating the event itself), audiences are never disappointed.

JUNE 5, 2070: Wolves in Canada begin hunting humans at an alarming rate. Shark attacks increase 40 percent. Jungle animals begin successfully infiltrating urban areas; a panther kills at least nine people in downtown Dallas. "I don't know why the animals are getting smarter," says zoologist Eli Sperle-Cho, "but it's definitely happening."

OCT. 19, 2071: An army of panda bears attacks Beijing, killing twelve hundred people and wounding thousands more during a bloody four-day onslaught.

APRIL 5, 2072: Animals are banned from the moon. House cats now kill more people than heart disease.

NOV. 5, 2081: To slow oxygen consumption, moon inhabitants are ordered to remain relatively motionless for twenty hours a day. To compensate, every person is allowed to cerebrally download the complete memories of a fictional lifetime once a week; the populace now spends most of its time feeling nostalgic for things they did not actually do.

(read the rest)


Fibular Hemimelia: Resources for Support

I've noticed that lots of folks are landing at this blog via searches on "fibular hemimelia," entering through a May 08 post I wrote on fibular hemimelia, amputation, and Oscar Pistorius. I thought it might be worthwhile to post some FH-related links on the assumption that those searchers are looking for more than my post offered. I've reviewed these sites, but do not personally frequent them. Like "We're Here, We're Queer, Get Used To It," I'm here, with fibular hemimelia, and used to it. But those landing here may be new to FH and searching for more experience-related info than the FH entry in Wheeless' Textbook of Orthopaedics provides, so here are some friendlier options.

I'll say this, quickly: I have not undergone leg lengthening or amputation as of today, though I had around 20 surgeries for my FH between 1974 (my birth year) and 1998. If your kid has FH and is young and you're wondering if you should undergo leg lengthening, my feeling is go for it. Really, it's not that bad, medieval as that external fixator (and thanks to Ilizarov, an ex-fix might not be necessary) may have looked on Ethan Hawke in Gattaca. I've seen a lot of kids with successful lengthenings in my surgeons' waiting rooms. I was on track to undergo lengthening when I was around 23, but once you're a grown-up with a 40-hour job you need to drive to and a family to help support, it's damn near impossible. Go for it while your kids are young. I wouldn't hesitate if it were my kid (and yes, I have some). I feel confident in recommending the International Center for Limb Lengthening in Baltimore, and especially doctor Dror Paley. I was their patient before they were a "Center"--were simply a wing of Kernan Hospital. I don't have enough close experience to have much of an opinion on amputation, but my May post detailed the ways in which many are now thinking it's a better course (in terms of patient pain and long-term satisfaction) than lengthening.

On to the links. I'll look for and post more as I have time to.

Fibular Hemimelia Support/Discussion Group at Yahoo
This group appears to be fairly active and up-to-date as of 09/04/08.

The description says, "This group is for parents [of kids] and kids who were born with fibular hemimelia. My wish is for this board to provide support, encouragement and hope for those seeking it. Membership requires approval for the safety of our members as well as a prevention to keep spammers away. Photos are allowed and encouraged. Please check out the LINKS section for more info and resources on FH."

"Fibular Hemimelia: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Support"
--article at Pregnancy Today

Help Jessica Walk
--a personal page (donation-seeking, but free to read, of course) by a girl born with fibular hemimelia in 1986 who is finally seeking funds for amputation at age 20 as she begins to feel that the pain/braces/surgeries she's gone through aren't cutting it for her. Her case looks similar to mine and it scares me to read of her pain worsening and some of her mother's comments ("Jessi's condition worsened. Every time she took a step the pain was excruciating. The bones in her ankle were beginning to deteriorate and crumble. Her suffering was such that she begged for her legs to be removed") (Crumble? Shit!), as I've noticed recently that my pain is worsening & function lessening, too: I'm tripping and falling a lot, and my leg aches pretty regularly. Doesn't appear that Jessica ever attempted leg-lengthening. I'm not prepared or expecting (who is?) to deteriorate that badly, but if I do, I can't say I'm jazzed about the thought of amputating at my age (34). I might prefer a wheelchair if that was an option.

Limb Differences
--described as an "online resource for families and friends of children with limb differences," this is a broader site that includes fibular hemimelia and has a Connections/Message Board, fairly active as of 09/04/08.

Hemimelia Support Group (London, UK)

Hope these help.

September 4, 1957

Soul Make a Path Through Shouting
for Elizabeth Eckford
Little Rock, Arkansas, 1957

--Cyrus Cassells

Thick at the schoolgate are the ones
Rage has twisted
Into minotaurs, harpies
Relentlessly swift;
So you must walk past the pincers,
The swaying horns,
Sister, sister,
Straight through the gusts
Of fear and fury,
Straight through:
Where are you going?

I'm just going to school.

Here we go to meet
The hydra-headed day,
Here we go to meet
The maelstrom--

Can my voice be an angel-on-the-spot,
An amen corner?
Can my voice take you there,
Gallant girl with a notebook,
Up, up from the shadows of gallows trees
To the other shore:
A globe bathed in light,
A chalkboard blooming with equations--

I have never seen the likes of you,
Pioneer in dark glasses:
You won't show the mob your eyes,
But I know your gaze,
Steady-on-the-North-Star, burning--

With their jerry-rigged faith,
Their spear of the American flag,
How could they dare to believe
You're someone sacred?:
Nigger, burr-headed girl,
Where are you going?

I'm just going to school.


Del Martin, 1921-2008

Lesbian rights activist Del Martin, who co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis with Phyllis Lyon and finally got to marry Phyllis (after 55 years together) this past June in San Francisco, passed away this morning. She was 87.

Associated Press article


"The Girl's Will; or Optimism" by Judith Hall

I like this poem, posted a week or so ago on the Best American Poetry blog. A cento, I assume? Been meaning to re-post it here. After Hillary's speech feels like a good time to do it.

The Girl's Will; or Optimism

After Alice, Lolita, Candy, Candide, and Alice Again

"Curiouser and curiouser!" cried —
Half-naked, kneeling, turning about on
"Darn Daddy anyway!" she said
Once upon a time.
Something interesting is sure to

Grow large again, for really
The sex interests of children
The heavy breathing of the
Best. For I am infinitely
Growing and growing, and very soon

With a yelp of delight
Stirring in a little girl
Her terrible selfishness, how it
Was an indispensable part of
Thinking I should be free.

"Please mind what you're doing!"
"This is a free country."
The girl was quite excited,
The best of all possible
Riddles that have no answers.

--Judith Hall

More Hall:
"The God that Took the Place of Pleasure" in The Boston Review
"White Bottom Blues" (BAP blog again)
"Poem for the Wheat Penny (1909-1958)"
Three Poems in Inertia Magazine


Joshua Callaghan's graph sculptures

These strike me as better-than-gimmicky--Joshua Callaghan's smart, simple graph sculptures. Could make a great grade/high school assignment, too--students each contribute a sculpture graph--let's say they're doing a unit on a certain war, or Native American history, or labor, or something--and create a sculpture garden-like exhibit for parents to walk through on back-to-school night (or to keep as an installation in the school). Via Waxy.

Military Spending by Nation, painted wood

Consumer Confidence, 2006-07, brass, wood

Very Concerned, Somewhat concerned, Not at All Concerned
wood, paint, 4"x12"x50"


Nele Azevedo ice installation

Ooh, these are great. Via Neatorama, photos of an installation by Brazilian artist Nele Azevedo from October 2006. The piece uninstalls itself, when the last ice guy melts--reminiscent of Laurie Anderson's Duets on Ice.


Breaking Dawn Blood Drives

Via Publisher's Weekly, this is pretty great: some of the book stores holding midnight release parties for Breaking Dawn, the conclusion to Stephenie Meyer's wildly popular teen vampire series, are combining them with late-night blood drives. Powell's is offering blood donors preferential treatment in the book line.



Songza is a site where you can, for free, look up and listen to entire songs when the mood strikes you. They have some neat tools, one of which allows you to send a song to a friend, one to embed a song on your site, one to link to a song, one to post a song to Twitter, etc. Good if you're looking to listen to, but not purchase, a song--or to listen to the whole thing and not just a sample before purchasing. I haven't delved into their collection too deeply, but I was able to find Madder Rose's "Swim", which is not available on iTunes--and unable to find the B-52s' "Dry County," which I had stuck in my mind today on my commute. A quick search on the song I most obsess over, Laura Branigan's "Gloria," also yielded live performances of "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" and "Me & Bobby McGee" by Branigan.

Links to some of my favorite songs of the last year (in pop, at least):
"This Heart is a Stone" by Acid House Kings
"1969" by Montt Mardie
"Toxic" cover by Mark Ronson feat. Old Dirty Bastard
"Blue Motorbike" by Moto Boy

And an oldie to shake your coffee to this morning:
"Bust A Move" by Young MC


Clerihews at the Boston Globe

Rats--found out too late that The Boston Globe is running a clerihew contest (finalists to be chosen tonight, 7/7, then voted on until July 10). Submissions are in the comments and are fun to read through. Some of my favorite entries (I'm disqualifying ones in which the first line consists of anything more than the subject’s name—it’s not a strict rule of the form, I guess, but I’m a hardass like that):

By “A. Nan”:

Jorie Graham
once said, "I am,
I think. Or not.
At least I'm hot!"

Frank Bidart
bent over Art,
called the friction
stuff of fiction.

By “therblig”:

Tim Berners-Lee
Invented HTTP
Thus the world wide web was born
For Nigerian Diplomats and porn

Georg Simon Ohm
Studied physics in his Bavarian home
But after much resistance, he just couldn't fight it
And wrote "Die galvanische Kette, mathematisch bearbeitet "

By “Danielle”:

Joe Orton
Was never too shy to go courtin'.
He spent some time in the slammer
Then got bludgeoned with a hammer.

[Think I'd vote for the Jorie--or Georg Simon Ohm]

Here are the only clerihews I’ve ever written, for a great class with Peter Klappert in '97:

Elizabeth Bishop
buttered the fish up
with homage and versification--
and herbed garlic, post-publication.

Marianne Moore
kept a voluminous store
of quotes that she dug in
case she needed something to plug in.


Museum Staff Cleaning Elephant Skin, 1933

--photo by Thane Bierwert, from an incredibly cool new online exhibit by the American Museum of Natural History: images of exhibition preparations from the 1930s.


Book House in Dinkytown

The June issue of Bookslut features an interview with Kristen Eide-Tollefson, owner of The Book House in Dinkytown--one of the best (maybe the best) used bookstores for poetry & poetics in Minneapolis. Whenever I bring books in for trade, she says "I love your books! I love your books!" It's also a great rainy-day date place (especially if you start a few doors down at Al's Breakfast).


"Gorilla Killings" by Brent Stirton

Amazing photos taken in July '07, when locals and rangers worked together to evacuate the bodies of four Mountain Gorillas in the Virunga National Park, Eastern Congo. One of the gorillas had been shot; all were killed under mysterious circumstances. See more of Stirton's "Gorilla Killings" series here. Via we make money not art.


Fibular Hemimelia & Amputation--

Whenever I see a new search engine recommended, I usually plug "fibular hemimelia" into its search box for my trial run. The condition basically boils down to being born missing a fibula--and often (though not in my case) some toes. Other leg issues, like a shortened femur, missing ligaments, etc., may also be present (as in my case).

"fibular hemimelia" in Wheeless' Textbook of Orthopaedics

When I was born (1974), amputation was by far the most common treatment. The alternative: a lengthy series of surgeries, many experimental, designed to promote tibia growth and counter a leg length discrepancy. My right leg's growth was "stimulated" in a variety of ways including a fasciectomy; my left leg's growth was stunted, and I'm now at a difference of about 3 inches, for which I wear a lift (I may eventually undergo leg lengthening surgery to even 'em out, but I'd need a couple other surgeries first to make my leg strong enough to withstand the lengthening--and as an adult working a 40-hour job, that kind of free time/leave isn't anywhere near as available to me as it was when I was a student or working part-time). I remember feeling very lucky to have been born in a time when (and metro area where) alternatives to amputation were possible, if rare.

Interestingly, what I've found searching "fibular hemimelia" in the last year or so is that amputation is once again the most common (even most desirable) treatment--and that apparently "children who undergo early amputation are more active, have less pain, are more satisfied, have fewer complications, undergo fewer procedures, and incur less cost than those who undergo lengthening." ("Fibular Hemimelia: Comparison of Outcome Measurements After Amputation and Lengthening" in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 82:1732 [2000])

I've grown up thinking of amputation--in regards to fibular hemimelia--as a primitive solution that modern medicine made it possible for me to avoid. The surprise? All the below folks were born with fibular hemimelia, are significantly younger than I am, and opted for amputation. You may have heard of the first one or two.

"Amputee Ineligible for Olympic Events" from the New York Times
"Pistorius, 21, was born without fibulas and had both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old. But in the four years since he started competing, he has set Paralympic world records in the 100, 200 and 400 meters and it was his dream to compete in the Olympic Games."
UPDATE: This was just overruled--Pistorius might compete.

Wikipedia article on Aimee Mullins, model/actress/athlete born in 1976 with fibular hemimelia in both legs, both of which were amputated. "She has been named one of the fifty most beautiful people in the world by People." Mullins at MyHero: "Without her legs, she could still learn to walk with artificial ones. With her legs, she would have been confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life."

Team Ossur Member Jeff Skiba--The First Amputee in History to Clear Seven Feet in the Men's High Jump
"Born without a fibula in his left leg due to a congenital defect known as fibular hemimelia, doctors amputated [the 24-yr-old's] leg below the knee when he was less than a year old."

Oak Park Hockey Player Isn't Held Back by his Prosthetic Leg
"Now a junior at Oak Park, Brown scored seven goals in 19 games this season. That's no small accomplishment for any player, particularly Brown, who was born in 1990 with fibular hemimelia in his right leg...Tonya Brown, Jake's mother, says the family consulted with doctors all over Kansas City, but few had even heard of fibular hemimelia. The early prognosis was that Jake would never walk...The Browns finally found comfort at Shriners Hospital in St. Louis when they met a family from Indiana with a daughter Jake's age who also had the condition. Additionally, the Shriners doctors were familiar with the condition...Unfortunately, the best course of action was amputation."

Racing to the Paralympic Games
"Tyler Carter of Topton is a typical 14-year-old...And oh, by the way, Tyler has only one foot. Tyler was born with fibular hemimelia, a congenital condition that left him without a fibula bone in his right leg. As a result, the leg was amputated below the knee when he was 1, leaving him with what he jokingly refers to as 'my stump.' Despite his disability, Tyler is a competitive skier who often beats able-bodied competitors in races held throughout the Poconos..."

I'm Pro-Coat and I Vote

"Museum Kills Live Exhibit" in the NYT:

One of the strangest exhibits at the opening of Design and the Elastic Mind, the very strange show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York that explores the territory where design meets science, was a teeny coat made out of living mouse stem cells. The “victimless leather” was kept alive in an incubator with nutrients, unsettlingly alive. Until recently, that is.

Paola Antonelli, a senior curator at the museum, had to kill the coat. “It was growing too much,” she said in an interview from a conference in Belgrade. The cells were multiplying so fast that the incubator was beginning to clog. Also, a sleeve was falling off....


Animation Backgrounds

is a blog that posts exactly that: backgrounds from animated movies. Many would make excellent desktop wallpaper (I'm going with one from Mary Poppins, below).

Animation Backgrounds


Why, why does this appeal to me?

Falindrome: The World's Largest (Only) Source of Fake Palindromes!

includes entries like:

Ray, eat a ripe pirate tea. YAR!!


No sass on a livid Advil — Vidal Sassoon


Clay Shirky: "Gin, Television, and Social Surplus"

Two excerpts. Read full transcript here. Video of talk here.


A couple of weeks ago one of my students at ITP forwarded me a project started by a professor in Brazil, in Fortaleza, named Vasco Furtado. It's a Wiki Map for crime in Brazil. If there's an assault, if there's a burglary, if there's a mugging, a robbery, a rape, a murder, you can go and put a push-pin on a Google Map, and you can characterize the assault, and you start to see a map of where these crimes are occurring.

Now, this already exists as tacit information. Anybody who knows a town has some sense of, "Don't go there. That street corner is dangerous. Don't go in this neighborhood. Be careful there after dark." But it's something society knows without society really knowing it, which is to say there's no public source where you can take advantage of it. And the cops, if they have that information, they're certainly not sharing. In fact, one of the things Furtado says in starting the Wiki crime map was, "This information may or may not exist some place in society, but it's actually easier for me to try to rebuild it from scratch than to try and get it from the authorities who might have it now."

Maybe this will succeed or maybe it will fail. The normal case of social software is still failure; most of these experiments don't pan out. But the ones that do are quite incredible, and I hope that this one succeeds, obviously. But even if it doesn't, it's illustrated the point already, which is that someone working alone, with really cheap tools, has a reasonable hope of carving out enough of the cognitive surplus, enough of the desire to participate, enough of the collective goodwill of the citizens, to create a resource you couldn't have imagined existing even five years ago.

[bold mine]


In this same conversation with the TV producer I was talking about World of Warcraft guilds, and as I was talking, I could sort of see what she was thinking: "Losers. Grown men sitting in their basement pretending to be elves."

At least they're doing something.

Did you ever see that episode of Gilligan's Island where they almost get off the island and then Gilligan messes up and then they don't? I saw that one. I saw that one a lot when I was growing up. And every half-hour that I watched that was a half an hour I wasn't posting at my blog or editing Wikipedia or contributing to a mailing list. Now I had an ironclad excuse for not doing those things, which is none of those things existed then. I was forced into the channel of media the way it was because it was the only option. Now it's not, and that's the big surprise. However lousy it is to sit in your basement and pretend to be an elf, I can tell you from personal experience it's worse to sit in your basement and try to figure if Ginger or Mary Ann is cuter.

And I'm willing to raise that to a general principle. It's better to do something than to do nothing. Even lolcats, even cute pictures of kittens made even cuter with the addition of cute captions, hold out an invitation to participation. When you see a lolcat, one of the things it says to the viewer is, "If you have some sans-serif fonts on your computer, you can play this game, too." And that's message--I can do that, too--is a big change.

This is something that people in the media world don't understand. Media in the 20th century was run as a single race--consumption. How much can we produce? How much can you consume? Can we produce more and you'll consume more? And the answer to that question has generally been yes. But media is actually a triathlon, it's three different events. People like to consume, but they also like to produce, and they like to share.


...and then there are the good typos:

Scrap found at the library:

my favorite month is july
because I was born
on that mouth


They got...the mustard...out!

Last night's American Idol with Andrew Lloyd Webber reminded me that I've wanted to post a recent Improv Everywhere mission: Food Court Musical! (below or click link)

In high school, whenever I had a big audition after school, I'd walk down the crowded senior hall waving my arms around like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music singing "I Have Confidence"; there are multiple occasions on which I've burst out with Grease 2's "Cool Rider" (if you are unfamiliar with this Michelle Pfeiffer masterpiece, go see it!) in public, and I unfortunately remember drunkenly singing "Somewhere in my Youth (Or Childhood), I Must Have Done Something Good" (a song I could've sworn I hated) at the top of my lungs at New College the night a girl I'd had a long crush on asked me out. So "Food Court Musical"--in which a bunch of planted food court "employees" and eating customers perform a "spontaneous" musical at a mall--gets me in all the right places.


This week in praise

Less praise than one might reasonably hope for:

Editor of largish poetry press, to me:

"I heard you read at the Loft a few weeks ago. I liked that anecdote you told about American Idol and Million's Poet" [so, apparently, not your poems].

More praise than one might normally expect:

Woman at Preschool Storytime, to me:

"I just wanted to tell you you have an amazing singing voice!" (after I sang "If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands")


Charles Cumming's The 21 Steps

The 21 Steps is a short story designed to be read while following the action on Google Maps. It's actually a lot more interesting (not the story, the experience of reading the story with the map integrated) than I thought it would be. It adds a "sense of immediacy" (in quotation marks because I suspect that's meaningless) I didn't expect. Getting the story in little, delayed bits heightens suspense and clarifies the charm of cell phone novels.

From CNN: "Euthanasia Debate Woman Found Dead"

This story is from France. Here's a guide to assisted suicide laws around the world.

I find laws against assisted suicide even more (far more, really) outrageous than laws against gay marriage. If I could see only one of these--assisted suicide or gay marriage--become widely legal in my lifetime, I'd choose assisted suicide. Especially if more damn places of work, including mine, would make health benefits available to unmarried long-term partners.

Nice Tool: DailyLit, Brijit, and Zamzar


Good news--a huge chunk of Cory Doctorow's oeuvre is now available for free at DailyLit. DailyLit has a brilliant premise: sign up, choose a book or two, and get a shortish segment of the book delivered to you each day (email or RSS). They have tons of free public domain books (and some Creative Commons ones, like Lessig's Free Culture), and more recent books are available for anywhere from $4.95 to $9.95. I'm all about the free, but there are some very useful selections (given the daily way you'll be receiving them) available for pay: language books, SAT review, etc. The poetry section is currently limited to dead, free folks. If you're a poet who makes your books (oop, outside of copyright, owned by you, etc.) available on the web, please consider contacting DailyLit. I'd love to see more poetry selections available.

This said, I have to admit that when I first found DailyLit last fall, I signed up for The Scarlet Pimpernel--available in only 105 parts, which seemed unambitious--but quickly fell behind, felt like I was drowning in backed-up Scarlet Pimpernel emails, and quit.


Brijit reads magazines--both print and web-based--so you don't have to--or, better yet, so you can choose which articles you want to track down and read in full. It's also free. Receive 100-words-or-less reviews/abstracts of articles in Slate, Salon, The Onion A.V. Club, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The Believer, Conde Nast Traveler, The Economist, and so on, by email or RSS feed. Brijit pays writers 5 bucks per article to write the summaries/reviews. Some publications aren't reviewed as frequently or thoroughly as others (I haven't received too many from The Believer). I subscribe to about fifteen and read them in my feed reader. I love this tool, because I rarely read magazines even in waiting rooms (always have a book along), and it helps me get a feel for what's going on in magazine-reader-land. Brijit also offers summaries of a number of TV shows, including The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, and Meet the Press.


Zamzar offers free online file conversion. Convert an ancient WordPerfect doc to a Word doc, a doc to a pdf or docx, a jpg to a gif, etc. Super simple, done in an instant, and very useful to me at the library when someone brings in a document in a format our computers don't recognize. Can also convert music and video files in one format to another.


The VQR blog, which last September gave us a groovy list of the 10 most common titles of work submitted to the journal, now gives us a neat table of poems on cliched topics (percent submitted to and percent accepted by VQR).

The post begins: This was supposed to be a blog entry about how authors submit poetry to us covering cliched topics that there’s just no way we’re going to print. But then I did the math, calculating the percentage of our submissions and published work that contain any of a dozen mainstays of poetic terminology, and found that precisely the opposite is true...As it turns out, our editor is all about those dreaded paeans to cats."

(more here)


"Global Mourning"--Clive Thompson in Wired

I'm just now catching up with the January 2008 issue of Wired, and found this, from Clive Thompson's one-pager "Global Mourning: How the Next Victim of Climate Change Will Be Our Minds," interesting:

Australia is suffering through its worst dry spell in a millennium. The outback has turned into a dust bowl, crops are dying off at fantastic rates, cities are rationing water, coral reefs are dying, and the agricultural base is evaporating.

But what really intrigues Glenn Albrecht--a philosopher by training--is how his fellow Australians are reacting.

They're getting sad.

In interviews Albrecht conducted over the past few years, scores of Australians described their deep, wrenching sense of loss as they watch the landscape around them change. Familiar plants don't grow any more. Gardens won't take. Birds are gone. "They no longer feel like they know the place they've lived for decades," he says.

Albrecht believes that this is a new type of sadness. People are feeling displaced. They're suffering symptoms eerily similar to those of indigenous populations that are forcibly removed from their traditional homelands. But nobody is being relocated; they haven't moved anywhere. It's just that the familiar markers of their area, the physical and sensory signals that define home, are vanishing. Their environment is moving away from them, and they miss it terribly...

[It's a] fascinating new way to think about the impact of global warming. Everyone's worried about resource management and the spooky, unpredictable changes in the ecosystem...sea levels...clean water...species...that'll go extinct.

But we should also be concerned about the huge toll climate change will inflict on our mental health...

[italics Thompson's. Pg. 70, Jan 2008 Wired]


This is a Poem that Heals Fish

PEZ SWEET WORLD--a fantastic gallery of modified PEZ dispensers by ATYPYK.


The book's pretty good, but I'm especially taken with the title of a picture book I came across today:
This is a Poem that Heals Fish


Harriet the Spy: Lesbian Role Model? (NPR)


The Hello Experiment, in which a group of artists attempt to sculpt Lionel Richie's head while blindfolded


Can't write sestinas (me neither)? For their next issue only, McSweeney's is calling for senryu and pantoums.


Interesting: "Babies See Pure Color, but Adults Peer Through Prism of Language" at Wired: "When infant eyes absorb a world of virgin visions, colors are processed purely, in a pre-linguistic parts of the brain. As adults, colors are processed in the brain's language centers, refracted by the concepts we have for them."


Customer (male, mid-late 60s) at my library today, to me: Do you have any videos that show how to do the Hokey Pokey?

Me (searching): Hmm, doesn't look like we have any videos. We have CDs with the song on it, and the lyrics describe how to do it.

Customer: I have the song on CD. I just wanted to see how to do it.

Me: Well, the lyrics kind of tell how to do it--you know, "You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out..."

Customer: I wanted to see what it looks like.

Me: [seeing no real choice, obliges]



Friday, March 14, 7:00 p.m.
Rafael Campo with Emily Freeman and Emily Lloyd

Rafael Campo (poetry mentor) is the author of The Other Man Was Me, which won the 1993 National Poetry Series Award; What the Body Told, winner of a Lambda Literary Award for Poetry;and most recently, The Enemy. He is also the author of a memoir, The Desire to Heal, which also received a Lambda Literary Award. A graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Medical School, he currently teaches and practices general internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where his medical practice serves mostly Latinos, GLBT people, and people with HIV infection.

Emily Freeman (fiction) is completing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota. She recently served as the editor-in-chief for Dislocate, the program's literary journal. She lives and works in Minneapolis.

Emily Lloyd (poetry) is a freelance writer and librarian for Hennepin County. Her work has appeared online at versedaily.org and mcsweeneys.net and in the print journals Court Green, Bloom, Phoebe and elsewhere.

$5/Free Loft members


"Only an expert can deal with the problem."

Reading The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, I was surprised to see no entry in the index for Laurie Anderson--which reminded me I had no idea what she was up to these days. At YouTube, I found this video of a great live performance recorded in May of last year. Also a short 2007 interview clip from a Swedish TV program, in which Anderson mentions that she's lost her taste for the huge multimedia shows she used to put on, now that walking down a city street is a huge multimedia show.


"In her bed she was always Lolita"--Maud Newton

Woolworths has decided to stop offering its "Lolita" girls' bed model, after complaints from parents about the inappropriateness of the name.

Steph at Crooked House offers some new product ideas for Woolworths: the Medea maternity wear line, the Bovary wedding dress, Lady Macbeth gloves (only available in red). A commenter on the post suggests "The Bartleby motivational poster"; I added the Sylvia Oven and the Circe Pork Rub. Surely you have something to add...



In our specially-effected, heavily Photoshopped times, the Sleeveface Pool at Flickr (almost 900 images now) is a great reminder that the most striking effects can simply involve no-tech new ways of seeing:

by esci le foto

by John Roston

by Talbot Ridgway

by unsure shot

Frozen Grand Central

Performance group Improv Everywhere invited 207 people to freeze and hold their positions for 5 minutes in Grand Central Station. Check out the great short video of the event:

Ranks right up there with IE's earlier Cell Phone Symphony.


"Power Crazy Senior General Than Shwe": a call for poems?

Myanmar poet Saw Wai was arrested Tuesday for publishing what appears to be a very bad love poem with a hidden message: it's an acrostic, and read vertically, the first word of each line forms the phrase "Power Crazy Senior General Than Shwe."

Than Shwe is the leader of the country's military junta. If I ran a well-trafficked online lit journal, I'd be calling for a quick "Power Crazy Senior General Than Shwe" acrostic issue (probably have to go with the first letter, not first word, of each line, unless you're writing in a language--like Saw Wai's Burmese--that can accomodate "Shwe" as a first word). As it is, I haven't been writing poetry for a while, and could use an assignment with constraints. I'll be working on a "Power Crazy Senior General Than Shwe" poem today.

UPDATE: Congrats to AJPL for making this chapbook happen.


I'm interested in flipping through David Levy's 2007 Love + Sex With Robots at some point--and cracking up over graphic novel writer Warren Ellis's Three Laws of Robotics, of which this is the second:

Robots do not want to have sex with you. Are you listening, Japan? I don’t have a clever comparative simile for this, because frankly you bags of meat will fuck bicycles if they’re laying down and not putting up a fight. Just stop it. There is no robot on Earth that wants to see a bag of meat with a small prong on the end approaching it with a can of WD-40 and a hopeful smile. And don’t get me started on that terrifying hole that squeezes out more bags of meat.