These two cats are roughly the same age. The only difference I know of is that the big 15 pound hoss on the left was found when he was about eight weeks old, (a month after the little 9 pound guy on the right, who was an itty bitty four or so weeks old when we found him in our bushes.) So when we found Walnut, Momo was already eight weeks old and they were roughly the same size. There are a lot of unfixed cats, with new litters every year. I can think of two homes right now the road that seem to have new kittens every year, so it’s not even out of the realm of possibility that they are related, since I found them both in spitting distance from my home.
I suspect despite my best efforts with the kitten replacement milk, that those four weeks are a huge part of the reason for their size difference. 💜 I just hope Momo didn’t suffer any developmental issues with his organs. Heart problems are already very common in cats, and is what took at least two of my last the kitties. As any cat lover can attest to, loving cats is a crapshoot. You never know how long you have with them. Not three months before we found the first of the kittens, we had adopted Newt from our local shelter, through Petsense. Initially she was sweet but very…bitey. Easily overstimulated. My poor kid was in tears because she got mauled every time she tried to love the cat. But when Momo came to live with us, that changed a lot. Newt took to “motherhood” with gusto, alternately grooming the little guy and kicking the crap out of him, and Walnut fit right into the little family when he came along. It was like suddenly, she had a place for all her…excess energy. They all love one another.
And the really cool thing about these cats is they each seen to have at least part of the personality of our last three. Walnut is the most like my beloved Methos. He’s big and pushy, super loveable, and delightfully weird. He’s figured out how to work the ice dispenser on the fridge and he plays fetch with the ice. Momo is my standoffish, skittish little puker, like our Bengal, Chloe, was. We had her nine years, from the time she was 3 years old, and she only really started to chill out enough to seek out our company in the last 3 years of her life (she’d had a rough start to life, passing between several owners, one of which had declawed her, to my horror). And much to my constant irritation, she was forever looking for the most inconvenient place to puke…like the Playstation for example. And Newt, the oldest, the one adopted from our local Petsense, is the most like Evangeline, my first cat as an adult living on my own. I lovingly refer to her as “my old lady cat.” You know, grouchy but dignified and generally loveable. Each of these new cats have brought joy to our lives, and having then around has been like having a little bit of our dearly departed kitties still in our daily lives. Sometimes I say it’s like we got the same three cats, only reincarnated. I’m half joking but it’s a comforting thought. Either way, I love them for both who they are and who they might be.
So I just came off a three day ban for this post. Facebook called it “hate speech”. oh the irony, that one of the very people that I was talking about in the post, privileged people that complain about cancel culture whenever other people are caught being racist or sexist or otherwise inappropriate,( you know the same ones that call everyone else snowflakes) was probably who reported me for this post. So they were trying to cancel my post about cancel culture? 🤣 That part’s kind of funny, but what really pisses me off is that for the last four and a half years Facebook has made money off of allowing White supremacists and ALT right news to proliferate on their site. They’ve done fuck all to curb it, or the blatant racism feed lies these groups espouse, and in the past have allowed that outright violent rape threats did NOT violate their TOS (I know this from personal experience, and I know other women who have experienced the same) and they’re part of the reason we ended up with Trump in office. Now-NOW -they’re trying to shut the Barn door after the horses are already out, and they’re censoring people for mild shit like this if some butthurt snowflake reports it. Convenient FB should cover their asses now by stifling people like me, who actually demand culpability for hate speech from those who defend it by making excuses like ” cancel culture.” My best guess is because my post said “white” people, although I don’t consider holding a demographic responsible for their privilege the same as hate speech; it’s just a fact that Cis white people have privilege in America that people of color and other minorities don’t, so what others view as consequences, people of privilege view as “political correctness” or “cancel culture.” It’s a refrain that I, as a privileged white person myself, I’m tired of hearing, so I know that other people born with less privilege have to be tired of hearing it too. For my part, I’m going to keep trying to be an ally to the marginalized and use my own privilege for any good I can, and I’m thinking to try to be humble when someone calls me on my own unintended slights. In sorry, I am going to keep being my loud, outspoken, pain in the ass self, Facebook mods be damned.
TW: This article refers to discussions and allegations of sexual abuse
Given my love of Marilyn Manson, which I’m sure I’ve expressed at some point on this blog over the years, I thought I’d make a short statement, forever whoever cares to read it. An open letter, if you will. I don’t intend to speak on the specific allegations themselves. The details are out there for anyone who wants to dig them up, but I did want to briefly address my own feelings on the topic.
I used to LOVE Manson when I was younger. Still love his older music. Portrait of an American family and Antichrist Superstar were a huge part of the soundtrack of my formative years. So I can’t tell you how disappointed I am since I learned of all these allegations. He definitely has had his “extreme” moments in the past, some of which you might have seen if you had ever watched the video from the Dead to the World tour, or read his supposed biography The Long Hard Road out of Hell. Reading that, it was clear he himself had endured his own trauma and abuse as a kid. Once he broke into more mainstream notice, his music was raw and angry, his persona seemingly carefully cultivated to antagonize the status quo. But I always defended him to my parents, and his other detractors, as an intelligent, evocative, but generally misunderstood artist. Maybe he used to be. Now it seems he’s just the garden variety dirtbag everyone always thought he was, and that fucking sucks.
Obviously most of my sympathies are saved for the women that had to endure any abuse at his hands, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel sorry for fans like myself, because his music meant a lot to us. After all, how can you identify with someone railing against the status quo, when they just end up being another abuser and oppressor themselves? Some of us are completely able to compartmentalize and separate an artist from their art, but for many of us, we feel like we get to know a piece of that person and we identify not just with their message, but with the feeling that they’re saying it out of a sense of genuineness. In short, we have someone to commiserate with, someone with a real voice, whom we feel understands what we’re feeling inside as well. This news and these allegations chip away at that feeling of genuineness that Manson had.
I’ve also read interviews with Trent Reznor regarding Manson. Reznor produced/worked on some of Manson’s earlier albums, Portrait of an American Family, and Antichrist Superstar. He said that at the time Manson was not like this, but was rather very driven, and once described Manson as “the smartest person in the room”, but that later on he became a “malicious guy who would step on anyone’s face” to get ahead, and that drugs and alcohol had turned him into a ” dopey clown.” Reznor himself cut ties with Manson some 20 years ago. Given the conflicting stories of people that have dated him and worked with him, I’m inclined to think that the fame that he worked so hard for, coupled with the drug and alcohol abuse, corrupted him and brought out his darker tendencies. It’s really a shame, honestly. But it’s even more sad for the women that had the unfortunate luck to be in his path of destruction.
Some of Manson’s exes, most notably Dita Von Teese and Rose McGowan, have come out with statements in support of the victims, but have also denied that Manson was ever abusive during their relationships. They acknowledge that has no bearing on the abuse allegations, but rather were attempting to assuage their own fans’ concerns for their well-being.
My hope for the people that have been affected by his behavior is that they find peace and healing and that Manson faces some accountability, whether it’s personal or legal. My hope for Manson himself is that he has a personal reckoning, and not only realizes that his behavior in the past decade or has cheapened his once important message, but that he needs counseling to find himself again. I further hope he does the right thing, sacks up, and take responsibility for whatever he’s done, and that he finds it in himself to seek forgiveness and make amends to those people that he hurt.
And just in case it’s still not clear throughout this whole article, I stand with Evan Rachel Wood. I believe women. I just wanted to address my own personal feelings on the matter, as a relevant as they may be to those in this situation, I know that there’s got to be other people feeling the same thing, the disappointment, and acknowledge the fact that scandals like this by influential celebrities and artists have far-reaching consequences, as Manson’s finding out now after losing all of his contracts and gigs.
Since the writing of this post I have read further accounts of alleged misconduct; that’s really not even strong enough a word, but again, I don’t intend to go into details here, because the allegations themselves aren’t really what I’m trying to convey. What I read dated back to incidents in 1995 and potentially occurred with minors. I am so disappointed and so disgusted. He has apparently always been a damaged person, which is really not so surprising given his lyrical content, however, I used to believe his turmoil was expressed THROUGH his music. Obviously given the breadth and variety of types of music, I would never say you could judge a musician solely by lyrical content. I have heard people make remarks regarding Manson’s victims like, “What did they expect, if they ever listened to his music?” Aside from being a particularly shitty example of victim blaming, it’s a ridiculous fallacy. Lyrics are expressive, sometimes literal, but more often hyperbolic. Manson’s lyrics were often very evocative and definitely hyperbolic, but they also betrayed truths about him. More than once, he made not so oblique references to childhood trauma he had suffered.
“Toys all smell like children And the scab-knees will obey I’ll have to kneel on broomsticks Just to make it go away,” Kinderfeld, Marilyn Manson
These lyrics were a direct reference to the punishment he often incurred from his grandparents if he broke any rules.
I don’t bring this up to defend him or in any way excuse what he did. My only point is there is often symbolism in music and listeners can never be sure whether they are hearing a evocative symbol used to express a theme (heartache, betrayal, pain, etc) or an actual event.
Regardless, I feel silly saying this but I’ll say it anyway because I know in my heart I am not the only person who feels this way. I am mourning my loss of who I thought he was, of the extremely nostalgic emotions his music evokes for me, of his decency. Mostly I am afraid I will never be able to fully enjoy his music again. Maybe that sounds selfish in light of what his victims have gone through but I’m not the kind of person who feels like painful experiences are a competition. I don’t see anything wrong with acknowledging the effect music, and by extension musicians, have on some people. People have long mourned deeply the loss of musicians that meant a lot to them, even the flawed ones (and some were more flawed than a lot of people realized.) John Lennon, Patsy Cline, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, and far far too many more to mention. Obviously I’m not mourning a literal death, but it’s still a loss. Even if it’s just the loss of enjoyment of the music of one artist, it feels a little like I lost a piece of my past.
I feel lighter than I have in…four years. And I’m trying to be ready to just dismiss all the conspiracy theorist, Cult 45 nutbags, and stop allowing them to bait me, to stop trying engage them with logic they clearly don’t care about. Because for the next four years at least, I no longer HAVE to acknowledge them. They can scream their displeasure into the void for all I care. That said…
I keep seeing comments and posts from conservatives, Trumpers specifically, talking about all the awful hateful things they hope for Biden voters now, how they hope we lose our pensions or our homes, or whatever, now that Biden’s in office. These are the same people that expected us to accept Trump as president. They spent four years calling us snowflakes, libtards, and saying fuck our feelings. But as shortly as a few days, ago after the attack at the Capitol, many of them were calling for unity, and yet now I’ve already seen the phrase “not my president” in regards to Biden. The thing about Biden is, you don’t have to like him, but he’s not going to waste 4 years of his presidency trying to only help himself, trying to rile up his base, or pad his pockets and the pockets of his lobbyist friends. Biden’s going to implement programs that are going to benefit the environment, education, international policy, and everybody, Democrat and Republican alike, and try to undo some of the damage Trump has done to our country and its reputation in the world stage. But the fact that there is so many supposedly grown ass self-proclaimed Christian adults walking around telling people that they wish bad things for them is disgusting, and it’s ubiquitous. I’ll admit, I initially felt that way when Trump got elected. I was angry, but NOT because he was a Republican. It was his character, or lack thereof, because I knew what it would mean for the US, specifically minorities, if he got elected. And here four years later we’re ALL reaping what Trump voters sowed.
But honestly, I’m just glad that he’s finally gone, and I want all of us to move forward and benefit from Biden’s tenure. The worst part is no matter what good Biden does in office, these people will never see it, because they’ve never been capable of admitting the damage that Trump did. You know what I wish? Now the only people I wish to suffer for what happened the last four years are Trump and his predatory enablers in Congress. And what I want for them is ACCOUNTABILITY with the law, in full view of the public. I want accountability for the media that fed lies that encouraged and resulted in the capital insurrection. Finally I suggest if you have any friends that are saying hateful things like this that you reevaluate your friendship with them, because clearly they’re bitter and mean spirited. It’s highly probable that after they cool off in a few weeks or months they might go back to being the semi-normal people you thought you knew and they’ll try to downplay their role in this divisiveness. I can’t speak for you but while I won’t say I wish them hardship, I sure as shit am not going to forget how they acted, and what they allowed to happen.
*Edit: I have nothing but respect for people who can grow and learn and realize when they’ve made a mistake. For anybody looking to leave hate and extremism behind, here’s a resource a friend shared with me.
Sorry I’ve been AFK for so long. The past four years with President Dumpster Fire, and all the increased loud mouth, fact-denying bullshit that has come with it has been pretty overwhelming for me, and being a clinically anxious person already, sometimes my thoughts are just too chaotic to try to sift through. But I do want to put this out there. I do want to be one more person who says that, unequivocally, black lives matter.
￼ Or we get justifications and excuses that protesters were in a gated community, or on private streets. I even had one person defend these numbskulls by claiming “they didn’t know their (the protesters) ‘intentions.'” Well, shit. I don’t know the intentions of half the people who walk down my street, but I don’t wave my gun at them. (And if I feared for my safety, the first thing I’d do is get my ass inside and call the police. )
When POC are involved, the same apologists and defenders of crazy white people usually offer something like, “he should have followed rules.” And “blue lives” don’t seem to matter as much when angry white men are being categorically disrespectful and aggressive to police. Let’s be real. You’re lying to me and yourself if you claim black men could have gotten away with a display such as the one seen in the Michigan capitol.
Now, before anyone gets pissy, let me state, in case it is ambiguous for some, or you are tempted to build a strawman argument, I am NOT saying Blue Lives don’t matter. But no one is BORN “blue.” Conversely, black people, especially men, are unfairly profiled and targeted for simply being the color they were born. Citing such tidbits as “more white people are killed by police than black people,” is simply a diversion, a statistic without context*, when you consider two facts;
1) Police are using lethal force in situations where it is not called for, nor necessary. I don’t give a shit if he stole something, or has outstanding warrants. That man was not threatening him, he was fleeing, and aside from the fact that bystanders also were in peril, no one deserves to be shot at for shoplifting. If you think that’s okay, you need Jesus or therapy or something, and you are part of the problem.
2) It is clear to anyone paying attention to multiple news sources (not just Faux news or even one single left -leaning media outlet,) that different unspoken rules seem to apply to whites and POC, not only in how they are approached by police, but how they are reported in the media. Often black victims of police violence are shown in mugshots to engender mistrust and a feeling that “he deserved it” because he was a “criminal.” Again, I ask, when did it become the police’s job to execute suspects without benefit of trial for petty shit?
Again refer back to the couple who waved their guns around outside their home in St. Louis. This was after the mayor doxxed BLM protesters online. So we can’t overlook the media’s role, particluarly right wing media, in attempting to paint all protesters as terrorists. In point of fact, the male lawyer in the above video link, seen clutching his rifle like a security blankie, claimed he was the victim here (naturally), having been harassed and “assaulted,” although I have seen zero footage to corroborate an assault, and the couple didn’t seem fearful to me, so much as belligerent. To be clear, I don’t care that the protesters were in a gated community. Civil disobedience has always been a party of peaceful protest. The lawyers could have called the police for trespassers, and had the protesters come into their yard or attempted to damage their home, then I would say they had every right to try to scare them off. But in the videos and photos I* saw, it was the home owners who looked combative and aggressive. I don’t even care that according to the Missouri law, these people may have been within their “rights.” (And nevermind neither of them look like they know how to handle their firearms, which is a whole different mess of bullshit in America).When did it become okay for citizens or police resort to resort to lethal force FIRST?!
Now let me drop some context for those aforementioned stats on you.*
Government officials, academic researchers and media outlets launched data-collection projects around that time to better understand the frequency of police violence and the risk factors that contribute to it. From these growing data sets come some disturbing findings. About 1,000 civilians are killed each year by law-enforcement officers in the United States. By one estimate, Black men are 2.5 times more likely than white men to be killed by police during their lifetime1. And in another study, Black people who were fatally shot by police seemed to be twice as likely as white people to be unarmed2. (source) <—–(additional sources in the article)
Don’t worry, I’m just about done here. AT this point, many people have dug in their heels, and no amount of facts will dissuade or persuade them. And that’s unfortunate…and frustrating. Because much like Covid -19 is surging here in the US because we can’t all get on the same page about, you know, demonstrable science, and reasonable precautions, (not to mention the value of individual lives when balanced with our economy-and I can’t believe I even have to type that shit,) people will keep dying until we institute change.
If you want to help but don’t know how, even something as simple as using your own privilege to speak out. Call out your friends and family when they try to lay the usual bullshit excuses on you. Having privilege does NOT make us, as white people, bad. That’s not what privilege means, nor does it mean we’ve had an easy life. It just means our lives haven’t been made harder by our skin color. Use your privilege to help instead of hinder.
“We get dirty looks for wearing our red hats in public…waahhhhh!” (originally a typo had that saying “red hates,” instead of hats, and maybe I should have left it because it was ALSO accurate.)
“Liberals are so judgmental! Waaaaaahhh!”
“No one wants to be our friend! Waaaah”
In essence, the people who coined the term “snowflake” are, not surprisingly, the worst snowflakes of all. They want, demand, their “freedom” to refuse service to gays, refuse help to refugees, force prayer in schools, deny certain healthcare to women, and the list goes on. But then, when people don’t want to associate with them, because these things, these “opinions,” are abhorrent to us, they cry about how judgmental liberals are.
Here’s another common claim that gets bandied about:
Because they believe they have the right to vote YOUR rights away and still call you “friend.” After all, they are “entitled” to their opinion.
But thankfully, there are plenty of people with common sense who realize, yes, you ARE entitled to your opinion…and we’re entitled to think your opinion makes you look like an asshole. Now reap the consequences. And they fixed the meme for us.
Before I go, because this could get extensive if I let it, let me just say one more thing. Before the rise of Trumpism, never have I EVER cut ties with someone over who they voted for. I hated Mitt Romney (who would have guessed he’d be the only Republican with sack enough to vote FOR conviction in Trumps’s impeachment, and I’m sure he had his reasons,) but I never argued with friends or family who voted for him. I never “unfriended” Bush supporters. But this is NOT politics as usual. This is hate and lies allowed to permeate our daily existence. Support of Trump IS support of belligerent defense of ignorance and hate, of bullying, of corruption and obstruction, and deliberate attempts to grind minorities under a white jack boot. And if you support that, I don’t support you. IF that hurts your feelings, own it. You chose it, and by refusing to speak out for what’s right, you choose it every day. Don’t give me some bullshit about Obama or Hillary. Nothing excuses what is happening now. Whether you are full on drinking the kool-aid and support racist policies and OBVIOUS, pathological lying, or are simply okay with these things “because the economy,” own your choice and own its consequences.
To break it down as simply as I know how, if you supported a President Puppy Kicker, liberals would be perfectly within our rights to say, “That’s fucked up. Go play in traffic,” and probably no one would bat an eye. But refugees and the poor are accorded less grace by Trumpers than furry animals, so there’s that. I wonder now though if Trump claimed to kick puppies, how many of his supporters would say “But the economy is so ‘good’ and it serves the puppy right for coming here anyhow.”
Stop deluding yourself that he cares about farmers, the working class, the veterans. He doesn’t. Because even IF Trump were boosting the economy, (and when all things are considered, he is most definitely not helping anyone but the already rich and powerful, while his supporters cheer him on like THEY won the lottery) NOTHING excuses how he behaves. And NOTHING excuses lying, cheating, and stealing, and hurting others to get what you want. I thought that was something all our parents taught us as children. I’ll even bet most of us teach THEIR kids this, (Republicans included, while voting out the other side of their mouths.) It’s a shame so many people have chosen to forget.
But some of us remember, and if we don’t want to be your friend because you don’t, go cry to someone else. And die mad about it.
“You can’t judge all gun owners by the actions of a few bad.”
They also be like:
“You can’t let those Syrian refugees in here! One might be a terrorist!”
“We can’t take any more immigrants, one might be member of a drug gang!”
Trump’s Republicans be like: Six people died from vaping, so we need to outlaw flavors.
They also be like: “How dare Michelle Obama try to force healthy school lunches on our kids?” and “You can’t outlaw Super Big Gulps and cigarettes! It’s our choice if we wanna risk getting cancer or getting fat!”
Modern Republicans be like: “You can’t ban guns! Ban’s don’t work! Just look at the ‘war on drugs!'” and “Criminals don’t follow laws,”
But then: “We need to ban abortion to protect the unborn babies!
And THEN: “If they outlaw guns, I’ll become an outlaw!”
And also like: : “If they don’t want to lose their kids or see them in cases they shouldn’t have broke the law”
And like: “Sanctity of life!”
But also like: “Why didn’t he do what the officer said?!”
Modern Republicans be like: “Any guns we want in any volume is our second Amendment right!”
But also: “A woman gives up the right to privacy and to make decisions to her own body (14th Amendment) when she gets pregnant!”
And: “OUR Freedom of Religion allows us to violate other people’s rights to not be discriminated against, and to refuse service to people whose lifestyle we don’t agree with.
But: “It’s not fair that we get harrassed for wearing our Trump hats and expressing our political ideas!”
And after all of that, they turn around and try to paint the left as melodramatic, pushy, “politically correct” hypocrites. Yeah, okay.
I was intrigued by the different narratives going around about “who” the majority of mass shooters in the US are. Essentially there are two camps; the “most mass shooters are middle aged white men” camp, and the “no they’re not”, for lack of a better name, camp. The main source for this is an analytic three part series by Benjamin Radford of the Center for Inquiry, an online journal that “strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.” Radford also includes links to other data sources within the body of the article. Below is my interpretation and analysis* of the info, and source info links (many of which can be found in Radford’s article as well).
The table below is sourced from an original research study by Emma Fridel and includes a lot of unvarnished and non-contextualized data. But in the chart (and the portions of the article by Radford), there is general takeaway, which are that mass shooting data varies based on the type of shooting event. There are three categories; “Family” (family annihilators), “Felony” (this is usually referencing drive-by and gang or drug related type shootings), and “Public” (which is what people generally think of when they think of a “mass shooting.) The other takeaway, noted in the body of the article, seems to suggest that, for those arguing whether or not mass shooting is a “white male” problem, that this largely depends on the definition one is using for “mass shooting”. If Felony or Family mass killings are included in the data, white men are not overly represented. However, if we are only discussing PUBLIC mass shootings, then, yes, non-hispanic white men technically are the majority of mass shooters.) Typically, although Family and Felony killings fit the technical description of mass killings that I learned in my criminology courses (3 or more fatalities in a single event/episode of killing), they are not in fact what most people think of when the words “mass shooting” are used.
The New York Times noted (also quoted in the above referenced article, and worth mentioning,) noted that “As convenient as it would be, there is no one-size-fits-all profile of who carries out mass shootings in the United States. About the only thing almost all of them have in common is that they are men. But those men come from varying backgrounds, with different mental health diagnoses and criminal histories.”
And of course the media plays a big role in which events garner coverage, and the narrative that plays out around the events.(IV)(VII) And “the media” is of course, not one big conspiratorial entity. Which version of events you are served depends on the source, and all bets for “truth in reporting” are off since the revocation of the FCC Fairness Doctrine. (VI) We are told mass shootings are not as common as we are lead to believe, and whether or not a given shooting garners attention often has to do with the “pitiability” and perceived “innocence” of the victims. Victims of a gang-related mass killings, for example, are generally viewed as less deserving of sympathy and less “marketable” by some news outlets (even if they are innocent victims caught in cross-fire), than, say, a bunch of hapless church or movie goers, or children in a school.
So to sum up, the who of mass shootings may depend on the definition one is using of “mass shooting”, and what’s more, the usefulness of any analysis of what leads a person to become a mass killer or the “causes” of mass shooting events may be limited unless we can all agree on context.
*7/30-Hey blog family. Sorry I haven’t posted much content lately. Honestly, social media in the age of Trump has just really taken a toll on my desire to blog. It’s weird…the more irritated I get by the cutthroat, Dunning Kruger attitude of hardcore Trumpers, and the more I engage in arguments on FB, the less energy I have for the longer , thought out, research supported arguments on the blog. Really, I can’t wait until this Drumpster Fire is extinguished and I can go back to blogging fiction and FB posting about my cats.
So for tonight, I started to post this as a FB blurb, but then thought I’d share on the blog instead…and now you can see it developed a life of its own, as my posts usually do. But anyway, instead of more venting and frustration, here’s just a little something that has brought me bit of joy this past week. (And I know not everyone would agree with my assessment of this circumstance as “joyful,” but here goes…)
For the past seven nights, the highlight of having to take Malachi outside to pee has been this big brown orb weaver camping out by my driveway. (Attempts to capture her on digital camera were inadequate, but there should be a certain entertainment value in seeing a short, pajama clad woman taking flash pics of spiders at midnight.) Anyhoo, she sets up shop in the same spot on the east corner of my house, after it’s dark, and then patiently sits in the middle (looking like she is hanging in thin air) to catch dinner. And every morning her web and any trace of her is gone. She deconstructs and eats the old web sometime before day…and creates a new web each night, where she patiently sits like a giant, scary, patient, amazing work of art.
I know. Spiders… not so magical to most people. Big “nope” to most. They’d squish one as soon as look at it. Well, I hate killing things for no reason. When I find spiders in the house, unless they are venomous, I usually catch and release, or in the case of the teeny, tiny ones, ignore them until they go away. Plus, “Charlotte‘s” outside. Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t want to share a bed with her, or anything. But she stays in her spot, and I appreciate the creepy-crawly, ginormous miracle of nature she and her web are (“a given weight of spider silk is five times as strong as the same weight of steel” (source)) from a safe distance of several feet away on the sidewalk. We don’t bother one another, and I actually look for her in her customary place when I take the dog out after dark. And part of me is even a bit sad knowing that, like her namesake, one day she won’t be there.
She’s still there, just as big and beautiful. She was even out there last night in the rain, scurrying down the web. Twice, I saw what looked like a smaller, less bulbous version of her up in a corner. Male visitor perhaps? Wonder if she ate him after she was done with him. Spider version of Netflix and Chill? lol
Well, Charlotte is entertaining more guests in her web tonight. The male kind I think, not the food kind…At least, that was my interpretation of it. SO naturally then I had to Google what was essentially spider sex (click it, you know you wanna) and confirmed.
Sure enough, Char has her own little Garden Spider Dating Service going on out there. She’s set up a little Pheromone Tindr profile and luring males in to vie for her attentions.
Male spiders are generally much smaller than females in their species, making them easy prey. The male has to signal to the female that it is a spider of the same species, not food or a potential predator, and that it intends to copulate.
Once the female recognizes the male’s courtship behavior, she will position herself for sex, signaling to the male that she is receptive, or she will make it clear that she is not receptive. If the male is desperate to mate, because all the females in the area will soon lay their eggs, he may proceed anyway, with full understanding that the female might kill him.
Both the male and female reproductive organs are at the rear of the abdomen, but spiders don’t mate by coupling these organs. Instead, the male deposits some sperm onto a small web and picks it up on the end of his pedipalps. When the female is in position, the male deposits the sperm in the female’s genital opening. The female stores the sperm in receptacles near the ovaries. When she is ready to lay her eggs, months down the road in some species, she uses the sperm to fertilize them.
Well…turns out spider sex sounds kinda disappointing for all parties involved.
Anyway, I’m glad to see her still out there strutting her spider stuff or looking for dinner or whatever it is she’s doing. I think I may have gotten attached to her.
Final Update: The last night I saw Charlotte was the last night I ever saw her. I don’t know if she moved on or if she had her eggs and died, or what, but I’m glad we got to share a tiny corner of the planet for a couple weeks, because nature really is amazing, even scary nature ❤
This. I hate that “feminism” has a acquired a taint because of a few militant feminists. When people make the argument “why is it called ‘feminism’ and not ‘equalism'” (or whatever name they think is more appropriate) if it isn’t skewed towards women, it’s because HISTORICALLY, all the rights women have now are relatively new (DUH!). We never started on equal footing, so the movement to give us the same rights men have always had probably did seem female-centric. The beginning of feminism is basically when we started sticking up for ourselves. And a lot of rights we now enjoy, we take them for granted because we have lost touch with the women (and in some cases, probably a few men) in our history who had to fight for us to get those rights.
It bugs me that even today, some WOMEN refuse to identify as feminist. It’s sorta sad, because it shows not only a gross misunderstanding of what feminism is, but also that in some ways, that the old social patriarchal programming is still in some ways in tact. They actually DISDAIN “feminists.” To me that’s like a mother of many, who hates kids.
And speaking of kids, what if you’re a woman who doesn’t want children, and especially not before you’ve had the chance to finish school…or go to college.
or marry the person you love instead of someone who is chosen for you by family or religion or politics…
Thanks to feminists, you have access to birth control. You also have the right to divorce and leave a marriage that isn’t healthy or is not working out.
If you are assaulted, you have the right to accuse your attacker. If you have been impregnated by a rape, you have the choice to terminate your pregnancy.
You even have this option under normal circumstances, if you are just not ready or willing to have a child…you get to make decisions about what you put your body through. And there are people who want to take away that right, in the name of “religion” and their morality. Personally, I don’t see anything moral about taking rights away from a living, breathing, autonomous woman, and giving them to an nonviable fetus.
The point is, as woman in America, we have access to tons of things we haven’t always historically been “allowed,” all because of feminism, and yet, sadly, in this country as of late, we are seeing a push to deliberately regress in social progress. And not just for women, but for minority peoples, people of color, non-Christian people, immigrant people, and queer people (who are STILL fighting for all their rights.) But all people are people, and they deserve the basic amount of respect and freedom to live their lives if they see fit. We can NOT afford to be silent or apathetic to what is going on now. Not to us, not to our other marginalized brothers and sisters, and not to our planet (because Mother Earth is suffering at the hands of the plutocrats too.)
I know I sound wacky, (and that’s what the people in power want you to think, because that narrative makes me the bad guy) but let’s be real… We all want comfortable lives, but more than that, we want comfort and happiness for future generations, specifically our kids. OUR children, and America’s children. But before we can get back to that, we have to reconcile our own fears and insecurities. I know you’ve probably heard it before; Equality is not a pie. There is not less for you if you share it with others. We have to get over this competitive adversarial attitude towards our fellow Americans. We can care about our own interests without feeling like other people need to suffer for it, but we need to start asking the right questions.
There are a handful of very powerful and rich people in the US who only want MORE. They want to have obscene amounts of money and power- to acquire it and to grip it in a death spiral, only the death isn’t theirs…it’s ours, it’s our future’s, it’s our planet’s. I am sure I could expound upon this all day, but I will wrap up by suggesting you watch this short non-partisan video on corruption in America. This video not only details some of the failings in our system, but ways we can start to address them I say “non-partisan,” but my guess is the people in power see it as very partisan; Us VS Them, and they use fear and insecurity to bait us into blaming each other instead of them so they can stay in power. But it doesn’t have to be Us VS Each Other. It is so hard, so,so hard, when we’re surrounded by bad news and hate and strife every day. I am just as guilty as anyone of feeling angry and adversarial at times. But I want to try to do better too. Let’s do better together. Blessed be.
Edit: 3/16 I mention American a few times in here, us needing to be unified, etc. I’m not trying to push any sense of overblown nationalism or “America First” BS here. It’s just that this is where I live and I feel like under this administration, we’re actively imploding as a nation. I don’t feel like we should be at odds or ‘comparing’ and competing with hardships of anyone, including refugees, immigrants, people of other faiths, etc. All suffering matters and I just wish the people most likely to trot out the ‘all lives matter” phrase would start SHOWING it in their actions and their voting choices.