Monthly Archives: October 2005

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Tom Tomorrow speaks for me

Via the perspicacious Patrick Nielsen Hayden, the intellectual father of everyone’s favorite left-wing penguin lays it on the line:

“I’m really sick of hearing the liberal-hawks-turned-peaceniks claim that they supported the war only because of Colin Powell’s breathtaking performance before the UN, and are shocked and saddened to learn they were lied to. Bullshit. You supported the war because you didn’t have the courage to buck what you perceived as mainstream opinion, didn’t want to align yourselves with all those dirty hippies marching in the streets. As it turns out, of course, the dirty hippies, i.e. citizens from all walks of life, turned out to be a lot more on the mark than you were. Colin Powell made those remarks on February 5, 2003, and if you were out there reluctantly arguing the case for war before that date, as most liberal-hawks-turned-peaceniks were, then shut the fuck up about Colin Powell and admit you were as wrong as it was possible to be.”

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Black and white

I once saw a young woman, mowing grass
on the wide Albert Mortuary lawn.
Lithe she was, and supple, clad in black
knit top: an Oakland summer’s morning fog
still played among the tops of redwood trees
and I-580’s slabs. She did not smile,
but flexed her arms to push the engine back
and forth across the lawn. I named her Death,
and longed for just a moment there to trace
my fingertips along her subtle ribs;
to taste the morning’s sweat upon her mouth.
Instead, my eyes cast down, I watched her mow
each blade of grass cut off at the same height,
her sickle growling sharp as I walked past.
Some of the awns had grown ambitiously;
others lagged, and curled over themselves.
She cut each one the same nevertheless.
Her eyes were fiery dark. Her hair was dark
and hanging in her eyes. Her skin was pale
as Oakland morning fog.

Fifteen years on
the egret lands, all elbows, in the pine
and settles in to watch me as I pass,
neck craned, and hers at me. Her supple white
and languorous feathers beaded wet with fog.
Her eyes were fiery dark. I felt a fish,
a small fish, hardly worth the shrugging thrust
and final toss. Shake me until I’m lank,
head limply angled down behind her tongue,
and with a swallow send me safely home.

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Zeke, a mouse

Our attached garage is off the kitchen, through a firedoor and down a couple of steps. One of the tasks still remaining in the kitchen remodel is replacing the firedoor. The kitchen is open to the garage, a hole of frame and plaster between the two.

I was getting ready tonight to fix the the feet on the god damned wobbly washing machine — again — when I looked at the spot on the floor where I was about to lie down with the wrench. A mouse lay there, dead on its side.

It’s been a few years since we’ve had a mouse in the house. We set out snap traps and warfarin — I think the person who invented sticky traps for mice should be tossed onto a ping-pong table thickly spread with that horrible adhesive — and I sealed the entrances to our crawl space with galvanized mesh.  That solved the problem for a few years, and the mice were restricted to the compost pile.

In our last place, there were dozens of mice. Hundreds. An elderly man a couple houses down moved to a convalescent home, and his granddaughter called the contractors in to renovate the house. I’d always heard that mice and rats refused to live in the same house at the same time: Mr. Connor’s house disproved that rumor. All those rodents were displaced. They had to go somewhere.

When Zeke first came to live with us we had pet rats, whom he loved as pals. It was surprising to me, therefore, to see the ruthlessness with which he set to killing Mr. Connor’s rats. Within three or four days he had killed half a dozen, jumping on them and snapping their necks then bringing me to the scene of the kill. The rest of the rats made themselves scarce.

But the mice were more persistent. Over the next few months Zeke spent a lot of time in our old garage, hunting. One day early on Becky came home and found the garage torn apart, stacked cardboard and paper recycling strewn all over. She punished Zeke. The next day she saw Zeke near the recycling, delivering a stiff-legged pounce to a suddenly dead mouse. He killed probably twenty mice in the next month, as many as we did wiith traps. For several years I could not turn the compost without Zeke jumping between the pile and the fork, excited at what game I might turn up.

Of course that was years ago, when Zeke was still agile and energetic. Tonight, I looked the mouse over. It seemed intact, as if it had died in its sleep. In the kitchen, Becky and I wondered what had done it in: a stash of warfarin left over? One of the neighborhood cats, sneaking in while I had the garage door open? A mystery. I heard footsteps come through the living room. Zeke wandered into the kitchen still yawning from his nap.

“Hey Zekie,” I said, “where’s the mousie?”

Zeke finished yawning, then looked at the garage door.

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Comment tally view

The best thing about this blog is the quality — and frequency — of the commenters that visit. A year ago or so I tallied the number of comments received here, and — because to my knowledge, Movable Type has no automated way of doing so — crunched the numbers on which folks were commenting most frequently.

As of right this second as I write this, we have 4725 comments here on this blog. The all-time most-commented post on this blog was March 23, 2005’s Life and Death, with 152 comments. The Zeke versus Cody contest got 55 comments, many of them pledges that are still unpaid.
This post got 52 comments.
This one got 47. This one got 33.
This one got 31.
And Lurker Day got 69 comments, though I suppose when the whole point of the post is to ask for comments it’s sort of cheating.

Since January, a number of new regular commenters have come by and ensconced themselves, brightening this place (and my life) considerably. People who’ve made more than ten comments since this blog started in May 2003 are listed below, in order of number of comments:

10 Alex
10 CMD
10 Jim McCulloch
10 Limesalttequila
11 Phil
11 Fred
11 Charles Jones
11 Doc Rock
11 Lauren
12 Alice
12 Alphabitch
12 Handdrummer
12 jamie
12 Norbizness
13 Amanda Marcotte
13 peacebug
14 ae
15 Bellatrys
15 Nikki
15 paperwight
16 SneakySnu
19 GrrlScientist
20 Mike Anderson
21 Desert Donkey
22 Robert
23 Nina
25 Sara
27 Hungry Hyaena
28 Doghouse Riley
30 PZ Myers
31 Kathy R.
31 Rita
33 leslee
35 Miguel Alondra
36 Carrie
36 eRobin
37 carpundit
39 Rurality
40 Rexroth’s Daughter
42 Space Kitty
44 Hank Fox
46 Jarrett
46 Vicki Robinson
49 butuki/Miguel
50 Kathy A.
52 Paul Tomblin
53 Siona
54 Murky
55 Susurra
59 Roxanne
64 Allison Ruth Clarke
65 Carl Buell
66 Dale
69 dread pirate roberts
82 Anne
88 Kathy Flake
88 Ron Sullivan
89 Pica
91 Dave Bonta
96 The Bone
107 Stephaniequinox
125 Craig
137 Beth
151 Tost
251 Rana

And me, I’ve made 651 of the damn things.

But what do all these commenters think? I figured the best way to gauge that was to download the comments database, and take each sentence I found that began with the words “I think.” So here you go, in found poetry form, below the fold.

Continue reading

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Note to self:

stop reading blogs with large numbers of right-wing trolls. You have enough useless stuff to get upset about.