Monday, November 06, 2006

season of the witch

Dad, I just don't want to go to work in your baby food factory. And, I don't want to sell vacuum cleaners. I don't want to sell little toy plastic aircraft carriers. I don't wanna... I don't know what I want.

Chris, I think I understand what you're talking about. A little bit anyway. But these problems are a little bit like going to Howard Johnsons for some ice cream. You can get all kinds of wild, exotic flavors. But somehow, you always wind up with vanilla.

there's always vanilla.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saturday, October 21, 2006

first frost

On Going Unnoticed
by Robert Lee Frost

As vain to raise a voice as a sigh
In the tumult of free leaves on high.
What are you in the shadow of trees
Engaged up there with the light and breeze?

Less than the coral-root you know
That is content with the daylight low,
And has no leaves at all of its own;
Whose spotted flowers hang meanly down.

You grasp the bark by a rugged pleat,
And look up small from the forest's feet.
The only leaf it drops goes wide,
Your name not written on either side.

You linger your little hour and are gone,
And still the wood sweep leafily on,
Not even missing the coral-root flower
You took as a trophy of the hour.

"Life is not so sinister-grave.
Matter of fact has made them brave.
He is husband, she is wife.
She fears not him, they fear not life."
- Robert Frost, "On the Heart's Beginning to Cloud the Mind"

The Sound Of The Trees

by Robert Frost

I WONDER about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?
We suffer them by the day
Till we lose all measure of pace,
And fixity in our joys,
And acquire a listening air.
They are that that talks of going
But never gets away;
And that talks no less for knowing,
As it grows wiser and older,
That now it means to stay.
My feet tug at the floor
And my head sways to my shoulder
Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say,
But I shall be gone.

Monday, October 16, 2006


the leaves and rain are falling. this morning i talked about a movie and this evening its theme song played on the radio. the rain and leaves are falling.

North and South
Elizabeth Gaskell
Chapter 39
Making Friends

"Nay, I have done; you get no more of me:
And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart,
That thus so clearly I myself am free."
— Drayton —

Margaret shut herself up in her own room, after she had quitted Mrs. Thornton. She began to walk backwards and forwards, in her old habitual way of showing agitation; but, then, remembering that in that slightly-built house every step was heard from one room to another, she sate down until she heard Mrs. Thornton go safely out of the house. She forced herself to recollect all the conversation that had passed between them; speech by speech, she compelled her memory to go through with it. At the end, she rose up, and said to herself, in a melancholy tone:

"At any rate, her words do not touch me; they fall off from me; for I am innocent of all the motives she attributes to me. But still, it is hard to think that any one — any woman — can believe all this of another so easily. It is hard and sad. Where I have done wrong, she does not accuse me — she does not know. He never told her: I might have known he would not!"

She lifted up her head, as if she took pride in any delicacy of feeling which Mr. Thornton had shown. Then, as a new thought came across her, she pressed her hands tightly together.

"He, too, must take poor Frederick for some lover." (She blushed as the word passed through her mind.) "I see it now. It is not merely that he knows of my falsehood, but he believes that some one else cares for me; and that I — Oh dear! — oh dear! What shall I do? What do I mean? Why do I care what he thinks, beyond the mere loss of his good opinion as regards my telling the truth or not? I cannot tell. But I am very miserable! Oh, how unhappy this last year has been! I have passed out of childhood into old age. I have had no youth — no womanhood; the hopes of womanhood have closed for me — for I shall never marry; and I anticipate cares and sorrows just as if I were an old woman, and with the same fearful spirit.

"My own interest in you is — simply that of a friend. You may not believe me, Miss Hale, but it is — in spite of the persecution I'm afraid I threatened you with at one time — but that is all given up; all passed away. You believe me, Miss Hale?"

"Yes," said Margaret, quietly and sadly.

"Then, really, I don't see any occasion for us to go on walking together. I thought, perhaps you might have had something to say, but I see we are nothing to each other. If you're quite convinced, that any foolish passion on my part is entirely over, I will wish you good afternoon." He walked off very hastily.

"What can he mean?" thought Margaret, — "what could he mean by speaking so, as if I were always thinking that he cared for me, when I know he does not; he cannot. His mother will have said all those cruel things about me to him. But I won't care for him. I surely am mistress enough of myself to control this wild, strange, miserable feeling, which tempted me even to betray my own dear Frederick, so that I might but regain his good opinion — the good opinion of a man who takes such pains to tell me that I am nothing to him. Come poor little heart! be cheery and brave. We'll be a great deal to one another, if we are thrown off and left desolate."

After the Storm
T.S. Arthur
Chapter XXII. Struck Down.

Yes, Irene had looked for this--looked for it daily for now more than a year. Still it came upon her with a shock that sent a strange, wild shudder through all her being. A divorce! She was less prepared for it than she had ever been.

What was beyond? Ah! that touched a chord which gave a thrill of pain. What was beyond? A new alliance, of course. Legal disabilities removed, Hartley Emerson would take upon himself new marriage vows. Could she say, "Yea, and amen" to this? No, alas! no. There was a feeling of intense, irrepressible anguish away down in heart-regions that lay far beyond the lead-line of prior consciousness. What did it mean? She asked herself the question with a fainting spirit. Had she not known herself? Were old states of tenderness, which she had believed crushed out and dead along ago, hidden away in secret places of her heart, and kept there safe from harm?

No wonder she sat pale and still, crumpling nervously that fatal document which had startled her with a new revelation of herself. There was love in her heart still, and she knew it not. For a long time she sat like one in a dream.

What can I do?"

"Resist the application, if you will."

"But I will not," answered Irene, firmly. "He signifies his wishes in the case, and those wishes must determine everything. I will remain passive."

"And let the divorce issue by default of answer?"


There was a faintness of tone which Rose could not help remarking.

"Yes," Irene added, "he desires this complete separation, and I can have nothing to say in opposition. I left him, and have remained ever since a stranger to his home and heart. We are nothing to each other, and yet are bound together by the strongest of bonds. Why should he not wish to be released from these bonds? And if he desires it, I have nothing to say. We are divorced in fact--why then retain the form?"

"There may be a question of the fact," said Rose.

"Yes; I understand you. We have discussed that point fully. Your view may be right, but I do not see it clearly. I will at least retain passive. The responsibility shall rest with him."

No life or color came back to the face of Irene. She looked as cold as marble; not cold without feeling, but with intense feeling recorded as in a piece of sculpture.

There were deeds of kindness and mercy set down in the purposes of our young friend, and it was to go forth and perform them that Rose had called for Irene this morning. But only one Sister of Charity went to the field that day, and only one for many days afterward.

A Mummer's Taled
Anatole France

Had she been so inclined, she might, with a phrase, with a single word,
with a tiny movement of head or shoulders, have rendered him perfectly
submissive, and almost happy. But she maintained a malicious silence.
With compressed lips and a far-off look in her eyes, she seemed as
though lost in a dream.

He sighed hoarsely.

"Fool that I was, I didn't think of that! I told myself you would come
home, as on other nights, with Madame Doulce, or else alone. If I had
only known that you were going to let that fellow see you home!"

"Well, what would you have done, had you known it?"

"I should have followed you, by God!"

She stared at him with hard, unnaturally bright eyes.

"That I forbid you to do! Understand me! If I learn that you have
followed me, even once, I'll never see you again. To begin with, you
haven't the right to follow me. I suppose I am free to do as I like."

Choking with astonishment and anger, he stammered:

"Haven't the right to? Haven't the right to? You tell me I haven't the

"No, you haven't the right! Moreover, I won't have it." Her face assumed
an expression of disgust. "It's a mean trick to spy on a woman, if you
once try to find out where I'm going, I'll send you about your business,
and quickly at that."

"Then," he murmured, thunderstruck, "we are nothing to each other, I am
nothing to you. We have never belonged to each other. But see, Félicie,

Friday, October 06, 2006

aristippus & asbestos

it's fall.

e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh. . . . And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you so quite new

"What sex is, we don't know, but it must be some sort of fire. For it always communicates a sense of warmth, of glow. And when the glow becomes a pure shine, then we feel the sense of beauty."-- D. H. LAWRENCE

Saturday, September 23, 2006

crow's feet

An excerpt from Kafka on the Shore:

"I was there then."
"Blowing up bridges?"
"Yes, I was there, blowing up bridges."
"Of course."
You hold her in your arms, draw her close, kiss her. You can feel the strength deserting her body.
"We're all dreaming, aren't we?" she says.
All of us are dreaming
"Why did you have to die?"
"I couldn't help it, " you reply.
Together you walk along the beach back to the library. You turn off the light in your room, draw the curtains, and without another word climb into bed and make love. Pretty much the same sort of lovemaking as the night before. But with two differences. After sex, she starts to cry. That's one. She buries her face in the pillow and silently weeps. You don't know what to do. You gently lay a hand on her bare shoulder. You know you should say something, but don't have any idea what. Words have all died in the hollow of time, piling up soundlessly at the dark bottom of a volcanic lake. And this time as she leaves you can hear the engine of her car. That's number two. She starts the engine, turns it off for a time, like she's thinking about something, then turns the key again and drives out of the parking lot. That blank, silent interval between leaves you sad, so terribly sad. Like fog from the sea, that blankness wends its way into your heart and remains there for a long, long time. Finally, it's a part of you.
She leaves behind a damp pillow, wet with her tears. You touch the warmth with your hand and watch the sky outside gradually lighten. Far away a crow caws. The Earth slowly keeps on turning. But beyond any of those details of the real, there are dreams. And everyone's living in them.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

that right is right

it is fall and the ghosts are coming out. my typing fingers are tempted to stray to talk of fall and the haunting months. as soon as the chill creeps into the nights every october passed finds a foothold in my mind. i feel foggy, lost, but oh so pleasantly. i am content to walk in this sort of wilderness, crunching across leaves and staring at moons, waiting to see what might jump out of the darkness. delicious. i like to fall.

but back to the task at hand. i want to talk about a place. of late i think it might be the most fun in the world to spend my time learning everything i can about a single place. every event that has happened there, every person to pass through, every thing. this is a newer passion to me, i think i may have sublimated something. solid to vapor. vapor to solid. so it goes. it reminds me of a line from a movie. the exactitudes escape me right now, but i have a hunch it may have been reese witherspoon in the man in the moon telling the ill-fated jason london that she wants to know him, she wants to know everything about him. oh, did that movie make me sob.

you know, though, even the most ho-hum places turn out to have fascinating stories. for instance, i've recently acquainted myself with a number of interesting facts about ripon, wisconsin. ripon is exceedingly close to my hometown oshkosh, as such i found it very boring for many years of my life. even childhood tours of the rippin' good cookie factory, which does make lovely chocolate pinwheel cookies that you can eat off your pinky finger and a tasty wafer cookie trio, could not sway my lackluster opinion of this town. a brief stint on college break as the receptionist at dickinson's gourmet preserves(owned by Smuckers!) still left me unimpressed. there's never been anything wrong with ripon, it just never excited me.

that changed quite by accident. i cannot ever recall exactly how my staring at the wisconsin state song and the words "champion of the right" brought me to this point, perhaps i simply looked up "birthplace of the republican party" since i knew it to be ripon. and hey ho, here we go:

top ten reasons to read about ripon, wisconsin
10. rabbit holes
ripon was named after the english cathedral town of ripon, yorkshire. and whose papa was a residentiary canon of the cathedral? lewis carroll, go ask alice...
9. the trouble with kansas
from what i can see, the republican party--which ripon claims to have birthed when some folks against slavery went into a schoolhouse and had a conversation--began out of a concern for kansas. note to self, cultivate friendships with newspaper editors before beginning the wendigo party.
8. talk yourself horace
ok, horace greeley isn't directly related to ripon, but he was friends with this guy alan bovay. bovay said those few words which made the republican party pop out of its proverbial womb, they really aren't that exciting and if you search on alan you'll see them because apparently they are the only interesting thing that man ever said. wait, not interesting, noteworthy. what is interesting is that bovay and horace were probably friends...well because they met in new york, but better than that...because they liked utopias!! which is why bovay ended up in ripon in time to utter those noteworthy words, he was hunting utopias...more on that in a bit. meanwhile, horace was part of his own utopia in red bank, new jersey. red bank doesn't appear to appreciate a sense of history as you can mainly only find financial information and "gateway to new york" propaganda. notable citizens: well it's associated with bruce springsteen and kevin smith, no mention of dear horace.
7. the gristly details
a man named david mapes came to the site of ripon in 1849. really this guy seems to deserve all the credit for making ripon - the little town that could. not content with his grist mill and happy little river, mapes was way into development. he gave away land, but in order to get a lot you'd need to build a business in the town square. you had to contribute to the community or build a specific building he desired in return for your sweet little spot of grass. he was a founder of ripon college, but mainly for brochure purposes: "Mapes was a booster, a boomer, who promoted Ripon's growth as a city relentlessly. He saw the addition of a college as a way of attracting desirable newcomers to settle in the town he had founded. Ashley and Miller, p. 5, say that "under his guidance the College never became much more than a promise"used to lure travelers into becoming citizen." he convinced the feds to build a railroad and to move the postoffice from ceresco (ceresco, get a little shiver when you hear it and get ready for more) to ripon. i do not like him. he was ugly and i consider him not nice. his ripon next to ceresco is like america next to canada.
6. classic battle of good vs. evil
what do i mean about america and canada, ceresco and ripon? well before i get to ceresco (shiver), let me explain that bovay (yes that man that said the word republican) was coming to the region to go to ceresco when that beastie mapes convinced him to come to ripon instead. mind you ceresco and ripon were right by each other (they were incorporated into one town when incorporation occurred). bovay was coming to live in the community of a man named warren chase (shiver), but then mapes lured him into ripon just like he seduced the post office. alright, let's drop the seduction motif. but mapes was weird. why the hell did he want to make a town so bad and he didn't even name it after himself? weird. also, he supposedly had a real rivalry with warren chase (shiver)... i mean he came and put his stupid little town right next to chase's (shiver) ceresco (shiver) community and as such destroyed ceresco (shiver), why? he couldn't have moved 20 miles in some other direction? really, the land is pretty much the same around there. trust me. to make things odder, warren chase (shiver) is another co-founder of ripon college. the college's page on its founding cites mapes as the primary founder of the college and remarks that chase "was "briefly" one of the first trustees of the College. His autobiography, The Life Line of the Lone One: or an Autobiography of the World's Child, gives further insights into his beliefs and differences with the beliefs of those around him." it would appear mapes (stalker much) had chase on board just so he could point out how different and odd chase was only to further discredit the man and his community. ceresco had already disbanded, mapes, you won already. you won! leave chase alone.
5. ceresco - that's latin for awesome
ready to hear about ceresco? "On May 27, 1844, the first settlers of the Ripon area reached their destination. They were members of the Wisconsin Phalanx - nineteen men and one boy - who were led by young Warren Chase. Inspired by Charles Fourier's principles of social philosophy, the Phalanx set out from Kenosha to establish a community which was to be an experiment in what we today would call Socialism.They named this community "Ceresco" after the Roman goddess of the harvest, and located it in a valley nestled between two hills. Before long, this was the home of more than 200 idealists. The members constructed several commonly-owned dwellings called long houses, one of which still stands on its original site. For five years the Fourierites prospered to an extent greater than those in most utopian socialist experiments. To this day, this area continues to be called Ceresco." a ripon historical website tells us. the fond du lac public library website tells a more nuanced tale. ceresco disbanded six years after it began, perhaps because of mapes and his juggernaut community of ripon, perhaps not. i'm very interested in learning everything i can about ceresco, it doesn't seem a failure in the way of some of the other communes.
4. free love
knowing that ripon was first ceresco is just a good reason to read up on charles fourier and all of his kinky ideas. strangely enough, wikipedia seems to have lost its entry on charles. it was there last month, really, and he's linked in discussions of the north american phalanx and the phalanstere (his original commune concept). good thing the internet is not simply wikipedia. you can read about fourier here. oh please please do, he is DELIGHTFULLY SPECIFIC...
3. warren chase 2. warren chase 1. warren chase
i like warren chase. i am going to run right out and get "The Life Line of the Lone One: or an Autobiography of the World's Child". without having read his life story, i already know he rose from orphandom and poverty to founding a successful utopian commune. way cool. and, "Chase fought vigorously to enshrine a broad variety of social reforms in both the 1846 and the 1848 constitutions. He was well-liked, even by his more conservative colleagues who regarded him indulgently as a sincere if impractical idealist. Chase was an adamant and consistent opponent of banking, even in 1848.He was a leading advocate of black suffrage and of a broad homestead exemption.He also tried to enshrine a ban on capital punishment in the 1846 and 1848 constitutions." an all around good guy. he became a spiritualist in california before he died. i love me some californian spiritualists!

well, i feel like i started a utopia of exactly 1600 people (complete with a bevy of men ready to console if a lover rejects me) and lived in bliss for six years, only to have some asshole move in next door, build a walmart and mcdonalds, and invite me to serve on the school board with him. i'm pooped and like chase in the end it is time to get back to thinking about spirits and shades.

hope you had a ripon good time!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Saturday, September 02, 2006

food for thought

you'll notice in my exploration of the driftless zone that i suggest a visit to the fort crawford medical museum. the medical museum is now part of the prairie du chen museum. i thank the prairie du chen historical society for maintaining this museum but urge them to go more in depth. is your appetite whet by the following: "The museum boasts more than 50 exhibits in 3 buildings, which reflect the historical society's mission to tell the story of Prairie du Chien with emphasis on Fort Crawford, especially the amazing story of Dr. William Beaumont."? i fear not, and so allow me to share with you the amazing story of dr. william beaumont...

you can read the full story on dr. beaumont on this quite nice genealogy page. but for your digestive ease i shall copy the choicest bits of this amazing story here. dr. beaumont was born somewhere back some time ago. for awhile he resided on mackinac island. mackinac island is pretty neat because i rode my bicycle there once, and once there all you can ride are bicycles or carriages. i also think mackinac island fudge ice cream (an old favorite) gets it name from this island. last but not least, the island boasts a pretty grand hotel:

the hotel was built in 1887. dr. beaumont occupied fort mackinac in 1819. and it is here, on mackinac island, that things start to get amazing! let's dig in.

On June 6, 1822, in the American Fur Company on Mackinac Island, a French-Canadian voyageur named Alexis St. Martin was shot in the upper left abdomen; the musket wound was "more than the size of the palm of a man's hand," Beaumont wrote, and affected part of a lung, two ribs, and the stomach. Dr. Beaumont treated the wound, but he was repeatedly unsuccessful in fully closing the hole in St. Martin's stomach; for a while, the hole had to be covered to prevent food and drink from coming out. St. Martin was now unable to work as a voyageur, so in April 1823 Beaumont hired him as the family's live-in handyman — chopping wood, mowing a field, etc.

The hole in St. Martin's side was a permanent open gastric fistula, large enough that Beaumont could insert his entire forefinger into the stomach cavity. If you want more detail, please see the fine print*.

It was not until August 1, 1825 that Dr. Beaumont — now stationed at Fort Niagara — began his experiments with St. Martin, becoming the first person to observe human digestion as it occurs in the stomach. Beaumont tied quarter-ounce pieces of food to the end of a silk string and dangled the food through the hole into St. Martin's stomach. (The food items were "high seasoned alamode beef," raw salted lean beef, raw salted fat pork, raw lean fresh beef, boiled corned beef, stale bread, and raw cabbage.) St. Martin went back to his household duties. Beaumont pulled out the string one, two, and three hours later, to observe the rate of digestion for the different foods. Five hours after he first put the food into St. Martin's stomach, Beaumont removed the food pieces because St. Martin was suffering stomach distress. The next day, St. Martin still had indigestion, which Beaumont treated.

On August 7, 1825, Beaumont had St. Martin fast for 17 hours, and then took the temperature of St. Martin's stomach (it was 100 degrees) Beaumont removed gastric juice from St. Martin's stomach, then observed the rate of digestion of a piece of corned boiled beef "test-tube" style, while also placing the same-sized piece of meat directly into St. Martin's stomach. The stomach digested the meat in two hours; the vial of gastric juice took 10 hours (maintained at about 100 degrees). The next day, Beaumont repeated the experiments using boiled chicken, which he found digested slower than the beef. The experiments showed that gastric juice has solvent properties. In September, St. Martin returned home to Canada (where he married and had children), so Beaumont was unable to experiment on him further at this time.

In June 1829, Alexis St. Martin returned to the Beaumonts, this time bringing his wife and family to Fort Crawford. Beaumont was busy with his medical work so did not have time to resume experiments with St. Martin until December 1829 through March 1830. One set of observations was to try to determine any relation between digestion and weather. By observing St. Martin on different days and times and in varying weather conditions, Beaumont saw that dry weather increases stomach temperature, and humid weather lowers it (a healthy stomach being 100 degrees).

Dr. Beaumont was busy treating patients with "intermittent fever" during the area's summer flood and fall rains in 1830. In January 1831, Beaumont just observed the normal process of digestion in the stomach. St. Martin would eat a normal meal and resume his work, and Beaumont would periodically take samples from St. Martin's stomach. Another experiment compared what happened to food placed in a vial of gastric juice (temperature not controlled), food placed in a container of water, and food eaten by St. Martin; he learned that gastric juice needed heat to digest (i.e., that cold gastric juice has no effect on food). Beaumont used more variety of food samples while at Fort Crawford; he found that vegetables are less digestible than other foods, and milk coagulates before the digestive process. St. Martin sometimes became irritable doing experiments (it was stressful for him to have food removed from his stomach), and Beaumont observed that being angry can hinder one's digestion. In April 1831, St. Martin and his family left for their home in Canada, traveling by canoe or portage all the way to Montreal.

In late 1832, Beaumont began a leave from the Army, intending to conduct further experiments on the digestive system. He located Alexis St. Martin in October, dropped off his wife Deborah and children in Plattsburgh (where Deborah's family lived), and traveled with St. Martin to Washington, D.C. Beaumont again tried different foods with St. Martin, including raw oysters, sausage, mutton, and "boiled salted fat pork." Beaumont focused on gastric juice, but did not study the importance of saliva on digestion; sometimes, he put food directly into St. Martin's stomach (once, he put in 12 raw oysters). He also observed that exercise helped the production and release of gastric juice. (Another limitation on Beaumont's work is that he could not obtain a chemical analysis of the gastric juice, as chemical analysis was severely limited in the mid-nineteenth century.)

In mid-April 1833, Beaumont went to Plattsburgh, New York, where Beaumont was reunited with his family and began work on publishing his observations in a book, "Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice and the Physiology of Digestion." Dr. William Beaumont's cousin, Dr. Samuel Beaumont, had published a small newspaper prior to becoming a doctor himself (he apprenticed under William), so Samuel was quite helpful to William with the book's initial printing in 1833 (and with its second edition in 1846). Sometime in April or May 1833, St. Martin left for Canada due to the death of one of his children; he expected to rejoin Beaumont by June 1 for more experiments, but as it turned out, St. Martin and Dr. Beaumont never again saw each other.

Alexis St. Martin lived 58 years after his accident. After returning home to Canada for good, he worked as a farmer and itinerant laborer ("chopping wood by the cord," he described it). After the doctor's death, St. Martin did make a brief visit in 1856 to Dr. Beaumont's home in St. Louis, where he spoke with Deborah Beaumont. After Deborah's death, St. Martin frequently corresponded with Dr. Beaumont's son Israel; in 1879, he wrote that he had "been ill for six years...I am suffering a little from my gastric fistula, and my digestion grows worse than ever." His lawyer, Judge Baby of Montreal, said that St. Martin was "very much addicted to drink" in his 80's.

When St. Martin died at age 86 on June 24, 1880 in St. Thomas de Joliette, Canada, his family deliberately let his body decompose in the hot sun for four days and then buried it in the Catholic churchyard in a deep unmarked grave, with heavy rocks atop the coffin, hoping to prevent anyone from examining his stomach or performing an autopsy. Years later, to commemorate St. Martin's contribution to medical science, a committee finally persuaded one of St. Martin's granddaughters to disclose the grave's location; in 1962, a plaque was placed on the church's wall near the grave, stating Alexis' history, and that

"through his affliction he served all humanity."

*St. Martin "was accidentally wounded by a discharge from a musket. The contents of the weapon, consisting of powder and duck-shot, entered his left side from a distance of not more than a yard off. The charge was directed obliquely forward and inward, literally blowing off the integument and muscles for a space about the size of a man's hand, carrying away the anterior half of the 6th rib, fracturing the 5th rib, lacerating the lower portion of the lowest lobe of the left lung, and perforating the diaphragm and the stomach. The whole mass of the discharge together with fragments of clothing were driven into the muscles and cavity of the chest. When first seen by Dr. Beaumont about a half hour after the accident, a portion of the lung, as large as a turkey's egg was found protruding through the external wound. The protruding lung was lacerated and burnt. Immediately below this was another protrusion, which proved to be a portion of the stomach, lacerated through all its coats. Through an orifice, large enough to admit a fore-finger, oozed the remnants of the food he had taken for breakfast. His injuries were dressed; extensive sloughing commenced, and the wound became considerably enlarged. Portions of the lung, cartilages, ribs, and of the ensiform process of the sternum came away. In a year from the time of the accident, the wound, with the exception of a fistulous aperture of the stomach and side, had completely cicatrized. This aperture was about 2 1/2 inches in circumference, and through it food and drink constantly extruded unless prevented by a tent-compress and bandage." [From Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine by George M. Gould and Walter L. Pyle (Philadelphia, 1896)]

Friday, September 01, 2006


if you've visited wisconsin, you might have discovered that there's rather a lot to do there. you might also have noted that some of the things to do are rather strange, bet let's hope you've enjoyed yourself nonetheless while doing them. everyone notices how friendly people in wisconsin are. i think beyond mere friendliness, people in wisconsin--for whatever reason--must simply like other people and perhaps life in general. i think it's with the desire to share any strange little bit of life discovered in one's very own backyard that i feel the most like my statespeople.

the southwest corner of wisconsin was never touched by glaciers and so it has become known as the driftless zone. it's quite geologically interesting that glaciers never touched this land, but please don't let that stop it from touching you. go on, enjoy unglaciated southwest wisconsin:

and there ends our brief tour of southwest wisconsin, can you believe there's plenty more to see! someday soon i'll take you on a virtual tour a little further north to devil's lake (my favorite single spot in wisconsin) and wisconsin dells. but we won't stray too far north until you're better acclimated, it gets scary up there. just check out wisconsin death trip...

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Parity is a concept of equality of status or functional equivalence. It has several different specific definitions.

  • parity (physics): In physics parity is the name of the symmetry of interactions under spatial inversion.
  • parity (mathematics): In mathematics, parity indicates whether a number is even or odd.
  • parity (telecommunication): In this usage, the number of '1' bits in a binary value is counted. Parity is even if there are an even number of '1' bits, and odd otherwise.
  • parity (medicine) refers to the number of times a woman has given birth.
  • In computing, a parity bit is a very simple example of an error detecting code.
  • In economics, purchasing power parity (PPP) is an estimate of the exchange rate required to equalise the purchasing power of different currencies, given the prices of goods and services in the countries concerned.
  • in economic history, parity was the ratio of farm income to farm expenditure with 1910-1914 as a base. Farm interests from 1920s to 1960s wanted federal programs to raise their income to parity.
  • In finance, interest rate parity refers to the notion that the differential in interest rates between two countries is equal to the differential between the forward exchange rate and the spot exchange rate.
  • In financial mathematics, put-call parity defines a relationship between the price of a European call option and a European put option - both with the identical strike price and expiry.
  • In sports, parity refers to engineering an equal playing field in which all teams can compete, regardless of their economic circumstances.
  • In demography, parity means the number of reproductive events (births).
  • Potty parity attempts to equalize the waiting times of males and females in restroom queues by designating or building more women's restrooms, giving them more facilities to use.
  • Parity is a tactic in othello.
rare (adj.1)
"unusual," c.1420, originally "few in number and widely separated," from O.Fr. rere "sparse" (14c.), from L. rarus "thinly sown, having a loose texture," from PIE *er-, *ere- "to loose, split, separate" (cf. Skt. rte "besides, except," viralah "distant, tight, rare;" O.C.S. oriti "to dissolve, destroy;" Lith. irti "to dissolve;" O.C.S. rediku "rare;" Gk. eremos "solitary"). "Few in number," hence, "unusual" (1542). Rarity is attested from 1560, from M.Fr. rarité (16c.), from L. raritas "thinness, fewness," from rarus. In chemistry, rare earth is from 1875.
    1. An article valued for its rarity or unusualness.
      Thesaurus: antique, curiosity, knick-knack, trinket, bibelot.
Etymology: 19c: shortened from curiosity.

    1. Strange; odd.
      Thesaurus: unusual, strange, odd, rare, exotic, queer, peculiar, remarkable, notable, extraordinary, signal, unique, novel.
    2. Eager or interested.
      Thesaurus: inquisitive, interested, inquiring, playful, questioning; Antonym: indifferent, apathetic.
Derivative: curiously
Etymology: 14c: from Latin curiosus full of care.

i've been thinking this morning about my needs and wants. i know that i deeply love familiarity in every sense of the word. it seems preciously rare to me. so deep is my desire for established intimacy and considerable acquaintance that it leads me to wonder which will sustain me more: familiarity or sustainability. such a question only makes any bit of sense at the beginning of things. do i gravitate more toward strangers that offer a sense of the familiar or a sense of the sustainable. having made some familiars and finding that often so hard to sustain, i think i am quite smitten by the people that suggest sustainability. and well, i see what i have just said "which will *sustain* me more: familiarity or sustainability". answers to ones own questions can be so unsurprising. i'd like to sustain relations with people that allow me to ask a lot of questions.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

belles lettres


Does the wind ever feel lonely to you? In the Odyssey, Penelope "cried tears like the snow accumulated by Zephyros (West Wind) and then melted by Notos (South Wind)" as she waited for Odysseus (Roman Ulysses) to come home. The Ulysses Mission has confirmed the existence of solar wind. Before it could get close enough to the sun, Ulysses needed help from Jupiter --"All planetary orbits lie approximately in the same flat plane as that of the Earth ("plane of the ecliptic"), which is also close to the Sun's equatorial plane. To reach a position above the Sun's pole, Ulysses needed to be flung out of this plane, and it did so by first flying out to the planet Jupiter and then using that planet's gravity as a pivot while swinging into the third dimension." Jupiter was one of the most important of the Roman gods, continuously evolving with Roman needs. He first appeared as an agricultural god in charge of sun and moonlight (Jupiter Lucetius), wind, rain, storms, thunder and lightning (Jupiter Elicius), sowing (Jupiter Dapalis), creative forces (Jupiter Liber) and the boundary stones of fields (Jupiter Terminus). In the most impressive movie I've ever seen, The Falls, there is a Boulder Orchard and it has custodians. Boulders have become the custodians of the Point Beach Nuclear Power Plant, they were installed around the perimeter after September 11th as a security measure.

When I was reading that book (the global warming love story) I've been reading on the bus home tonight there was a passage about the narrator's perception of his contracting universe over the course of a day. The day he describes begins with a pre-dawn climb (with his love interest) to the top of a mountain. Reaching the top under the milky way, they watch the sun rise over a vast valley. From the wide vantage, they move to a view of their single mountain as they walk back down, down into a forest where the trees close them in even more, ending with moonless night's ride home lit by the dashboard of a car--a womblike space we all know well. Our ancestors put large rocks in circles, lit fires and came together in the center. Sometimes I just want to sleep inside the rocks listening to the fire and the voices of others, trying not to hear the wind.

I've been writing letters to someone in the margins of books lately. Letters to him and to myself. We went for a ride on a moonless night once and he talked about my eyes in the dashboard lights. We lit a fire but had to put it out because of the fire ban. Whenever wind hits something like water or trees, that lonely sound is lost in the sound of leaves or waves. In the blank spaces of the books, I've put the letters together into words, and some words into phrases: "terrible toos", "robots and aliens - references, references", "moon mirror leak closest friend", "matching red walls", "picture of chris", "wanting favorite person", "falling, etc.", "my machine--about it", "i could make (fashion?) a better man out of bananas -->2 times", "make me young...ending of novel...beginning", "assholes for eyes". We woke up the next morning because of the birds. Caw caw caw.

I wrote those letters in the margins of a Vonnegut book, it may or may not be the one in which he says, "People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say." Have I ever told you about the woman I follow in my neighborhood. She's constantly telling stories out loud. Sometimes I can hear what she is saying, none of the stories are very happy and she isn't aware that I am listening though I know she thinks she is talking to someone. You can tell by the way she gestures as she walks and talks. I watched a movie tonight, the Good Girl, if you must know. After walking home listening to the wind, I'm not in the right state to make any valid decisions on film merits, but have you seen it?

It might not be a good movie, but it told me a true story. It reminded me of motel confessions of first love, deep and desperate and crazy love. The kind that started with a ferryride of telling stories, moonless drives, and all eyes but broke on the first goodbye. In the movie, Tom calls himself Holden and writes himself into the role. This week I dreamt of that motel room, after the shower, and the first I love you and I woke up crying.

Dearest Jupiter, fling me into the third dimension and remind me that a rose by any other name smells just as sweet.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

fish out of water

in the news:

Water labels on food could ease shortages: expert
Tue Aug 22, 2006 2:42 PM ET

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Labeling foods ranging from spaghetti to meat to show how much water is used in their production could help combat mounting pressure on the world's water supplies, a leading expert said on Tuesday.

Typically, a calorie of food demands a liter of water (0.2 Imperial gallons) to produce, according to U.N. estimates. But a kilo (2.2 lbs) of industrially produced meat needs 10,000 litres while a kilo of grain requires just 500-4,000 litres.

"It's necessary that we raise awareness that food requires a lot of water," Anders Berntell, head of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), told Reuters during a conference hosted by SIWI of more than 1,000 water experts.

"Some kind of labeling of food products when it comes to their water requirements could be a first step," he said. "Then people could see for themselves." Labels might, for instance, highlight water needed for irrigation beyond natural rainfall.

A U.N.-backed report released in Stockholm on Monday said that one in every three people lives in regions with water shortages. And it projected that demand for water, led by irrigation, was likely to almost double by 2050.

the day i start thinking about how much water was used to make the food i am eating is the day i will cry. how wasteful am i. having lived in more arid climes, i really shouldn't pretend i don't know how sinful my nightly bath is. i need to live on a mountain with a hot spring to soak in every night. or i could recycle my own bath water, and i have warmed bathing water in a jug hanging from a tree so i am ready to apply these valuable life skills.

life skills are best learned from minutia. you can learn from this information site organized around the film RedFish BlueFish. i lived in idaho. i also saw the pipeline in alaska, and the global warming, more minutia to learn from.

1873, coined by Ger. zoologist Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) as Okologie, from Gk. oikos "house, dwelling place, habitation" (see villa) + -logia "study of." Ecosystem is from 1935. Ecosphere (1953) is the region around a star where conditions allow life-bearing planets to exist.
1665, from Fr. environs, pl. of O.Fr. environ "compass, circuit," from environ (adv.) "around," from en- "in" + viron "circle, circuit," from virer "to turn."

as the world turns

"John Ivanko uses wind power, solar power, and a wood stove to meet the energy needs at his bed-and-breakfast, Inn Serendipity. He serves food from his organic garden and composts the leftovers. Even the bath tiles at the inn were chosen with the environment in mind--they were produced from recycled windshield glass."

i feel a road trip, sigh, a bike trip, coming on...

Friday, August 18, 2006

"things vs. people"

here is how i picture my life in the not so distant future...


by now you might have heard about the aol release, retraction, mirroring of user search histories debacle. if you have not, go here.

once upon a time before this blog was even born i was trying to think about what i'd have to write about every day. you may remember i originally planned to discuss wisconsin news, for instance. i had also toyed with the idea of writing about my web searches. in the end i think i settled on ... hmm ... how would you describe this, gentle reader?

since i cleaned my cache at midway airport, i think it's a fairly palatable amount of searching that's gone on since. and so i share:

  • lyrics+"glow worm"
  • "ALA Conference for students"
  • "Japan"
  • "the church"+imdb
  • "tomorrow's sky"+lyrics
  • ventrella's caffe
  • Pac-Man
  • arcadia
  • donut+news
  • dysphoria
  • extreme homes
  • frausdots
  • planets
  • preternaturally
  • "avoiding whirlpools"
  • "frog eyes"
  • "internet addiction"
  • "simple syrup"
  • "the church"
  • "things vs. people"
  • and in her mouth an amethyst
  • ELO lyrics
  • andco management
  • box office
  • cascade drive-in
  • chicago+band
  • chicago CTA
  • coronado hotel
  • dance hall days
  • dysplasia
  • furbish dictionary
  • glowworm+apples in stereo
  • goonies+setting
  • japan+quiet life
  • luper
  • maps+vancouver island
  • nard
  • notes from the underground
  • rainbo gardens
  • yes in different languages

Thursday, August 10, 2006

notes from the midway

You imagine no doubt, gentlemen, that I want to amuse you. You are mistaken in that, too. I am by no means such a mirthful person as you imagine, or as you may imagine; however, irritated by all this babble (and I feel that you are irritated) you think fit to ask me who I am--

i near my 5th hour in the midway airport. well-meaning children of ill-advised adults have awoken from naps and been given toys that squeak. the children place the toys in their mouths and after a time they begin to squeak as well.

at 3pm i left my bottle of water in a crate with many others, some half-empty and some half-full, outside of the "sterile" zone. no liquids or gels in the sterile zone, effective immediately. the line to check baggage, of course we must all check our baggage when toothpaste can't be carried on and think of the waste and the cavities, snaked into the back hallways and lower depths of the airport. the baggage sticker printer broke right as i arrived at checkin, my photo identification was never looked at. perhaps this is why i do not feel myself. by the time i reached the second line--security--the list of prohibited items had extended from tubed materials to all "lipwear". i now carry illegal lip gloss in the inner pocket of my purse.

the man next to me has developed an entirely human need to shake his leg. should he feel the entirely human need to look aside, i shall in an entirely human fashion feel a bit ashamed.

at 6pm it started to rain lightly. an hour later a downpour took place. shortly before 8pm the lights flicker. unease and excitement ripple down the gates. the terminal across the way, barely visible through the rain, is completely dark. what chaos must be taking place over there, in the dark. surely we are the chosen ones, we are in the light.

myself, and the other passengers of flight something something to san diego do not have a plane at our gate yet. and still some have stood by the window for hours to get a better seat. i am not sure of this first come first serve policy. do people need further encouragement to senseless?

we have just heard that our plane has been sent to land in indianapolis due to weather. we do not expect departure anytime before 10pm. after i get my seat, surely a horrible seat for i have not stood in line, i have a four hour flight. my battery is near dead.

why does everyone in the terminal need to order onions on their hamburgers?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

When I, you and everyone we knew

Could believe, do, and share in what was true...

i have a desire, something fierce, to go back about 100 years and spend the rest of my summer hanging out in the city's outdoor gardens and dance halls, dining with friends and learning a few new dance steps.

jazz age chicago: urban leisure 1893 to 1945 is one of my favorite websites for information on my lovely neighborhood of uptown chicago. i am an uptown girl living in my uptown world. of the old dance gardens, the rainbo gardens is the closest to my heart and home. was, was. it began as a roadhouse! someday i will go on my tour of roadhouses, hopefully on a motorcycle, hopefully in the sidecar. someday.

and in her mouth an amethyst.

pac man fever

there once was a band named arcadia. they released one album: So Red the Rose. wikipedia tells us that "some versions of the album and related singles contained a numeric code in their artwork, though versions in some countries simply used randomized numbers which did not decipher to anything intelligible. The code was a simple substitution cipher, numbering the letters of the alphabet. A=1, B=2, C=3, etc."

Wikipedia has more to say. arcadia the band perhaps took the name from a latin phrase.
"Et in Arcadia ego" is a Latin phrase that most famously appears as the title of two paintings by Nicolas Poussin (15941665). They are pastoral paintings depicting idealized shepherds from classical antiquity, clustering around an austere tomb. The more famous second version of the subject, measuring 122 by 85 cm, is in the Louvre, Paris, and also goes under the name "Les bergers d'Arcadie" ("The Arcadian Shepherds"). It has been highly influential in the history of art and more recently has been associated with the pseudohistory of the Priory of Sion popularised in the books Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code.

The phrase is a memento mori, which is usually interpreted to mean "I am also in Arcadia" or "I am even in Arcadia", as if spoken by personified Death. However, Poussin's biographer, Andre Felibien, interpreted it to mean that "the person buried in this tomb has lived in Arcadia"; in other words, that they too once enjoyed the pleasures of life on earth. The former interpretation is generally considered to be more likely. Either way, the sentiment was meant to set up an ironic contrast by casting the shadow of death over the usual idle merriment that the nymphs and swains of ancient Arcadia were thought to embody.

Due to its remote, mountainous character, Arcadia has always been a classical refuge. So during the Dorian invasion, when Mycenaean Greek was replaced with Doric Greek along the coast of the Peloponnes, it survived in Arcadia, developing into the Arcadocypriot dialect of Classical Antiquity. Arcadocypriot never became a literary dialect, but it is known from inscriptions. Tsan is a letter of the Greek alphabet occurring only in Arcadia, shaped like cyrillic И; it represents an affricate that developed from labiovelars in context where they became t in other dialects. Tsakonian Greek , still spoken on the coast of the modern prefecture of Arcadia, in the Classical period considered the southern Argolid coast immediately adjoining Arcadia, is a descendant of Doric Greek, and as such is an extraordinary and much noted example of a surviving regional dialect of Classical Greek. The capital of Tsakonia is the Arcadian coastal town of Leonidi.

One of the birth-places reported for Zeus is Mount Lycaeum in Arcadia. Lycaon, a cannibalistic Pelasgian king, was transformed into a werewolf by Zeus. Lycaon's daughter was Callisto. It was also said to have been the birthplace of Zeus' son, Hermes.

Arcadia remained a rustic, secluded area, and its inhabitants became proverbial as primitive herdsmen leading simple pastoral unsophisticated yet happy lives, to the point that Arcadia may refer to some imaginary idyllic paradise, immortalized by Virgil's Eclogues, and later by Jacopo Sannazaro in his pastoral masterpiece, Arcadia (1504); see also Arcadia (paradise).

learn more about the proverbial at arcadia(utopia).

secret codes and utopias aside, arcadia is real. but was there ever really a song that went:
I've got a pocket full of quarters
going to the arcade
going to play Pac-Man!
because i used to sing it, and there was a dance that went along.

Monday, August 07, 2006

blame it on the moon

it is just so right outside tonight. there's a hint of coolness in the air, a breeze, pleasant smells and a bright moon behind those wispy clouds that makes the night sky more blue somehow.

the moon tonight does not look like this moon up here, but when i was looking for tonight's moon i found this one. the big orange moon is by far my favourite.

who knows if the moon's

who knows if the moon's
a baloon,coming out of a keen city
in the sky--filled with pretty people?
(and if you and i should

get into it,if they
should take me and take you into their baloon,
why then
we'd go up higher with all the pretty people

than houses and steeples and clouds:
go sailing
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody's ever visited,where

Spring)and everyone's
in love and flowers pick themselves

--e.e. cummings, & (1925)

tonight's moon looks more like that one right up there. still, pretty damn nice. it was a moon like this that inspired one of my father's paintings. he painted a viking ship on a sea under a moon with rows and rows of clouds. it has hung in my parents' bedroom my entire life. horribly framed, with perhaps too vivid color, little-to-no perspective and of an odd-size it's the kind of painting you'd see going for cents at many a garage sale. should it ever pass into my hands; however, i will treasure it always. it is exactly the right painting to hang in the bedroom of the parents of a child whose favourite book is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

with memories of a quite right painting on a quite right night lit by quite nice moonlight, i decided it must be the evening to sit down and search out the picture of perfection. i don't know if i've ever stated it plainly enough, but there is one image that moves me more than any. to my eye, this sight is the picture of contentment, underlit with anticipation and utterly alive with whispers of hope and a strange quiver of longing. it makes my heart ache deliciously, my belly warm, and my mind hungry and full. and i get to see it all the time. here it is:

thank you to jeff werner for taking this photo. it is "Night fog on Doncaster Street, Victoria, as seen through the broken rays of a street lamp behind a tree". wouldn't you just know that my favourite sight was captured in victoria, british columbia.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

royal, illinois

...You need me like the wind
needs the trees to blow in
Like the moon needs poetry
you need me...
--Come Back from San Francisco, Magnetic Fields

i've just come home from amanda and evan's wedding in royal, illinois. my questions on everything aside, i took communion twice today and i witnessed. i always witness thoughtfully at weddings. today i did so for two people i happened to bring together, and i saw that it was good.

i have a lot of thinking about love and god i'd like to do. i've heard told they might be one and the same. i'm interested in finding out if there are others who believe as much in one without searching so hard for the other. or switch the searching with the believing? as the grains of wheat once scattered on the hill were gathered into one. evan delivered the sermon this morning before his wedding. he organized it around the song "signed, sealed, delivered, i'm yours." e pluribus unum. and i saw that it was good.
When we asunder part,
it gives us inward pain;
but we shall still be joined in heart,
and hope to meet again.
--Blest Be the Tie That Binds, Words: John Fawcett Music: Johann Nägeli
on my ride to and from royal, illinois i listened to 69 love songs. cornfields and magnetic fields are like love and god? it's worth listening to all 69 love songs, but here are three:
I Don't Believe in the Sun
They say there's a sun in the sky
but me, I can't imagine why

There might have been one
before you were gone
but now all I see is the night, so

I don't believe in the sun
How could it shine down on everyone
and never shine on me

How could there be
such cruelty.

The only sun I ever knew
was the beautiful one that was you
Since you went away
it's nighttime all day
and it's usually raining too

The only stars there really are
were shining in your eyes
There is no sun except the one
that never shone on other guys
The moon to whom the poets croon
has given up and died
Astronomy will have to be revised
The Book of Love
The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It's full of charts and facts and figures
and instructions for dancing
but I
I love it when you read to me
and you
you can read me anything

The book of love has music in it
In fact that's where music comes from
Some of it is just transcendental
Some of it is just really dumb
but I
I love it when you sing to me
and you
you can sing me anything

The book of love is long and boring
and written very long ago
It's full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes
and things we're all too young to know
but I
I love it when you give me things
and you
you ought to give me wedding rings
I love it when you give me things
and you
you ought to give me wedding rings

You mean it's all been meaningless?
Every whisper and caress?

Yes yes yes it was totally meaningless

like when two fireflies fluoresce

Just like everything I guess
it was utterly meaningless
Even less
a little glimpse of nothingness
sucking meaning from the rest of this mess
Yes yes yes it was thoroughly meaningless

and if some dim bulb should say
we were in love in some way
kick all his teeth in for me
and if you feel like keeping on kicking feel free

Who dare to say it wasn't meaningless
Shout from the rooftops and address the press
Ha ha ha it was totally meaningless

Meaning less than a game of chess
Just like your mother said and mother knows best
I knew it all the time but now I confess

Yes yes yes how deliciously meaningless

Yes yes yes effervescently meaningless

Yes yes yes it was beautifully meaningless

Yes yes yes it was profoundly meaningless
Yes yes yes definitively meaningless
Yes yes yes comprehensively meaningless
Yes yes yes magnificently meaningless
Yes yes yes how incredibly meaningless
Yes yes yes unprecedentedly meaningless
Yes yes yes how mind-blowingly meaningless
Yes yes yes unbelievably meaningless
Yes yes yes how infinitely meaningless
perhaps it's worthwhile to listen to all love songs? i'll be thinking on it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

one step ahead


do you believe the children are our future? i do.

really. and as such i am perpetually astonished and dismayed by many of the people who procreate. if you're really messed up, or you plan on becoming so, or you may divorce the person who you're making children with...could about it a little before you make a new person? please?

everyone i know from a divorce has some issues. almost everyone i know has some issues from their parents. so please consider the WHOLE LIFE of the human being you are bringing into the world before you decide to do it. please.

i myself am enjoying a biscuit and some tatos with gravy (with real bits of meat) from popeyes. tonight i watched some tv and ate special brownies for the first time. fun stuff. i have no plans to make other human beings anytime soon.

split enz is the best band ever to me, right now.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

glow worm

one thing i long to possess that i never have lights.

they make me happy.

when i was younger i used to go swimming and play Sorry! every day at my best friend's house. we'd do pretty much the same thing each day, every day of the summer and it never seemed to get old. shamu the inflatable whale, her sister's poster of robert plant (!?), photos of swamishree, and her glow worm provided additional companions to our endless hours of adventure.

i've always wanted a glow worm too. it would appear i like things that glow.

Things that glow can only be seen at night...

Glow worms are the larvae of a large mosquito-like fly that have a very unusual lifestyle.
In order to survive glow worms build elabourate traps consisting of anywhere between 10 to 50 plus vertical hanging threads of silk studded with sticky droplets of mucous to catch small insects such as mosquitoes, midges, fruit-fly, gnats etc. that are attracted by the light produced by the glow worm.
The pendulous web strands are attached to a lattice-work of silk threads across the ceiling of their lair. In turn the threads support the suspended mucous tube in which the glow worm resides and travels, enabling the glow worm to be attracted to the vibration of trapped insects.

The blue/green glow of the larvae is the result of a reaction between body products and oxygen in the enlarged tips of the lavae's excretory tubes. The light is the result of a chemical reaction involving several components: luciferin ( a waste product ), luciferase ( the enzyme that acts upon luciferin ), adenosine triphosphate ( the energy molecule ), and oxygen.
All these combined make an electronically excited product capable of emitting a blue-green light.
To the average person's sight, up close the light appears more blue than green.
Spectrometer readings show the colour is actually in the green colour spectrum.

Direct moonlight affects viewing of glow worms in exposed area colonies .
Only the brightest glow worms in exposed colonies are visible on full moon nights.
Immature glow worms cannot generate sufficient bioluminescence to compete with bright moonlight and whilst they are in fact glowing they appear not to be.
Glow worms that have their fill of food can shut down the bioluminescent reaction and cease glowing.

The name glow worms is a mis-noma as they are lavae, not worms.
Early settlers from the British Isles probably applied the common name 'glow worm' as a substitute for the English glow worm Lampyris noctiluca (actually beetle lavae, so they got it wrong there also) .

In colonies that are exposed to outside weather conditions , it is not unusual to observe a variety of small spiders sharing areas where the glow worm builds it's web sometimes covering the whole glow worm web area and using the light produced by the glow worm to catch insects. This deprivation of their food source may be a contributing factor to migration as some do of necessity move around finding more favourable locations . Overpopulation of glow worms in the initial hatching areas of necessity causes migration otherwise they tend to eat each other.
Natural erosion of soil areas also causes migration to occur and the patterns of colonies here in the soft earth-bank colonies are constantly changing. The writer has observed a free-fall of glow worms from a height of 8 metres due to erosion in a soft earth bank. The glow worms that were not crushed by the fallen soil survived and re-located.

Approximately two to three weeks later adult flies emerge to re-commence the cycle.
Male flies tend to live longer than females and can live up to four days.
The flies have no mouth parts or means of feeding, they live only to mate and reproduce by laying eggs .
Near fully-developed female flies in their pupal casing have the ability to send a low-intensity glowing signal to male flies at the time of their impending emergence. As a consequence of their signalling it is not uncommon to observe male flies adjacent to the pupal casings of female flies waiting for them to emerge.

The entire life of the glow worm lavae is spent inside a suspended mucous tube with it's head facing the escape route into a crevice or safety haven in the rock or earth wall into which they move at remarkable speed when disturbed.
The mucous tube insulates and prevents the glow worm from dessication.
At night inside the tube it moves back and forth breaking through the tube to repair it's web or to feed on trapped insects.
During the day the glow worm hides inside it's safety haven of a crack or hole behind the web to avoid daylight predators.