Jen Bingham

Writer

Month: March 2014 (page 1 of 2)

Your Sunday Comic

Okay, this is kind of not a comic, in that it isn’t a comic at all. But it is a music video? No, that doesn’t work. Okay, it’s an animation, which can probably be stretched to be included as a comic? If you’re not picky.

It is completely mesmerizing and the music it’s paired with, by Danger Mouse and featuring Jack White, is super awesome as well. I’ve watched this thing a number of times since I found it, often in a row, and I think I finally figured out what happens. It’s by  Anthony Francisco Schepperd, a dude I have never heard of before. The music is “Two Against One” from the album Rome.

Anyway, you should watch it. Go!

Oh Hello, I Didn’t See You There

cobweb mouse

Is what this harvest mouse said in a really fake way, because he totally knew he was being followed around and photographed. Here he’s caught in action on some canary grass by French photographers Jean-Louis Klein and Marie-Luce Hubert.

They spent a year (one year!) taking pics of harvest mice doing various stuff and things and the results are pretty goshdarned amazing. Did you want to see harvest mouse with babies, or hanging from each other’s tails? They got it. Did you want to see harvest mice posing with poppies? Again, they can meet your needs. All this and more (including fun facts about H to the M aka harvest mice) can be found on the Internet in a gallery called The Secret Life of the Harvest Mouse. Check it out! If you dare.

 

Your Sunday Comic

This definitely captures the feeling of staying in a relationship as your soul is slowly eaten away. Not that I would know anything about that!

From the always on target Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

yup

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.

empty mansionsSo there’s this old lady. And even though she’s not sick, she lives in a hospital room in NYC. And she writes checks for FIVE MILLION DOLLARS to her nurse. And even though she’s alone and being swindled, she is probably pretty happy, because really all she wants to do is buy expensive dolls and play with them and not have anyone fuck with her. And her dad, like, invented Las Vegas, and made hundreds of millions of dollars, and bought a senate seat and was kicked out of the senate back in the day. And this shit is true!

Verdict: Thumbs up.  A real page turner.
Genre:  Nonfiction

Can an animal that eats its own young also be cute and appealing?

Does this look like the face of a baby eater?

Does this look like the face of a baby eater? Well, it is.

The Washington Post certainly stresses the appealing aspects of slothbears in its article about a baby-eating slothbear mama named Khali.

But sloth bears are highly intelligent animals, who keepers say have complex emotions — including fear and outrage — and vibrant personalities, and who enjoy watching videos.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa. They like watching videos? Tell me more! WHAT KIND OF VIDEOS?

But

The first cub was eaten by the mother 20 minutes after it was born. The second was consumed Jan. 6, and the third was “pulled” from the mother a short time later.

Awwwwwwwwwwww. That’s no fun. The cubs were sick and the mama bear ate ’em.

The Daily Mail, UK’s classiest newspaper, also makes an odd attempt at combining the cuteness and the eating of babies:

Warning: Cuteness overload! Baby sloth bear is being raised by humans after mother ATE her first two cubs 20 minutes after giving birth

Which part of that is cute, Daily Mail?

Even-less-fun facts about slothbears:

They are often captured for the dancing bear trade and for “bile farms,” where their gall bladders are tapped for bile used in traditional medicine practices.

Motherfucking human beings.

Even though I like zoos, my stupid brain couldn’t help but think about Beloved. Maybe it’s better to eat your young than let them live with creatures who would tap you for bile. I got kinda worked up about this slothbear tragedy but then realized slothbear mama was probably not making that kind of decision.

I do believe (based on observation and reading actual science, albeit layperson science) that animals have as many emotions as we do. I doubt they have existential crises and kudos to them. I would be interested in knowing whether eating the babies was just a run of the day, eating a snack kinda thing or if it involved any regret/angst or any of the complex emotions cited by the slothbear zookeepers quoted above.

Photo of rescued cub.

Photo of rescued cub.

But anyway, to answer the question, yes an animal that eats its own young can still be cute. And appealing.

Slothbears are just like you! They ride bikes.

Slothbears are just like you! They ride bikes.

Insert Pug Pun Here

What’s the point in trying to write something that would do justice to this photo? It just is. It probably always has existed in a wonderdome of which we can only dream.

EDIT FOR BREAKING NEWS: They live in an antique store in Texas, which is even more amazing? Blackbird Antiques. I need to find out more.

beths house

Tim

This sheep reminds me of Tim.

tim the sheep

Jim Zuckerman

You know, Tim.

tim the enchanter

 

Tim the Enchanter

Notes from a Grammar Socialist

I am generally a descriptive rather than prescriptive grammarian, which means I prefer to go with common usage instead of getting enraged over the fact that language changes or people use words in new ways — sometimes even when the new ways seem wrong. I love the fact that language changes. I’m excited when “twerking” gets added to the dictionary! I am coming to terms with the way the definition of “literally” is changing. Frankly, I just try not to use it and to discourage others from doing so, but I will be okay given time.

marx happy

A terrible graphic I created using a public domain photo of Karl Marx and Paint.

I’m far more annoyed by flabby language or incomprehensible jargon than a missed comma or even the grocer’s apostrophe. But of course I do have opinions.The following sentence type is an abomination.

One must always state the desired size of their beverage before their desired additives.

UGH.

I see this usage occasionally, which is too often. If you do this from time to time, don’t tell me, just quit doing it and delete it from all your files. And maybe punish yourself in some small but painful fashion. What’s wrong with it, you ask?

  • First of all, just don’t use “one” as a pronoun unless you’re Oscar Fucking Wilde.
  • Second, don’t switch pronouns around like this in one sentence, or at all. Go with your stupid “one” or use the incorrect-but-increasingly-accepted-so-who-really-cares “their” to describe a single individual. Or just rewrite it to not be terrible.

Please note that I brought Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage to the car wash today to check in on why this usage is wrong (apart from the fact it annoys me) and chuckled over Mr. Fowler’s thoughts on the matter while I waited for the folks to wash my car’s windows. This makes me seem like Andy Rooney or a very old English professor! Cool.

I will leave you with a quote on the subject from James Thurber:

The indefinite “one” is another source of trouble and is frequently the cause of disagreeable scenes. Such a sentence as “One loves one’s friends” is considered by some persons to be stilted and over-formalized, and such persons insist that “One loves his friends” is permissible. It is not permissible, however, because “one” is indefinite and “his” is definite and the combination is rhetorically impossible. This is known as hendiadys and was a common thing in Latin. Rare examples of it still exist and are extremely valuable as antiques, although it is usually unsafe to sit or lie down on one.

 

Your Sunday Comic

Everyone loves Kate Beaton! And probably with good reason, because her Internet persona seems very charming.

She has an amazing webcomic called Hark! A Vagrant and a Tumblr called Hark! A Vagrant: and a book called, um, Hark! A Vagrant. She probably does things that are called other things too, but I don’t know a lot about that. Some of her work is about historical subjects, which she makes approachable and fun. Some are seemingly about her life; often her family. She is Canadian, which may account for why everyone loves her so much.

In regard to this comic she said “This is how my cousin Allan and I found out about life and how it… starts”

miracle of life

One Weird Old Trick to Rid Closets of Bad Chi

I have this weird old closet that is similar to a weird old tip to get rid of belly fat, except the closet is useful. However, it has historically been a point of bad chi in the house. Energy tends to pool in that location, by which I mean I just chuck stuff in there and never look at it.

Actual photo of weird old closet

The skeleton is standing on my closet.

It’s a big closet, although weirdly shaped because it’s located under the stairs  to the second floor, which isn’t in much use since it consists of a “bonus room” and a cathedrallike attic space. (Another reason for the chi situation.)

When the pipes froze this winter (did I mention I hate my house?), I cleaned out and organized the terrible areas under my kitchen and bathroom sinks.  And that, my friends, was like a butterfly flapping it’s wings in South America, except it related to storage in my house. Because after monkeying with those horrible undersink areas, I had stuff that needed to move into some cabinets in the kitchen, which meant I had a box of stuff I needed to put into the weird old closet. It’s been sitting around on my nice midcentury buffet that I got for an incredible price at Goodwill. It’s been staring at me. Mocking me. Flexing its bad chi in my direction. So today, I started sorting through the closet.

Things I found:

  • Bag full of door knobs that was in my house when I moved in and which I have somehow not been able to part with.
  • One of those insulated grocery bags to keep groceries cold that my mom got me and I never used, but which I thought I’d gotten rid of . I recently found myself longing for it. As soon as I saw it, I realized I hate it. However, I’m still not sure I will be able to get rid of it.
  • An absurdly large amount of window insulation tape. Like 8 rolls. I made a little pile.
  • Bucket that once held the contents of a For Dummies branded wall repair kit. It was very useful and I like the bucket so I filled it with tiny paint samples and decided to keep them for several years.
  • Two litter box hoods that I’ve been keeping for unknown reason. I don’t use tops on litter boxes b/c they can create litter box aversion, which is not a thing I’m in favor of.
  • One of those Jiffy Garden Starter Mini Greenhouse things. Those things have fooled me so many times! But, like the Who, I “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” I have already been tricked too many times by my own enthusiasm. Seedlings inevitably die at my hands. I am finally accepting it. I am trying not to think of this as a metaphor for who I am, though.
  • Many picture hanger kits.
  • So many extra screws and nails that I’ve carefully saved. I have an entire tiny cabinet for them and yet I NEVER LOOK AT THEM when I need another screw. I go to the hardware store, where the tiny drawers are organized and labeled instead of just a jumble of junk
  • Three old timey suitcases. They are sitting by the door. I was ready to donate them and then I saw a photo of a friend’s house. She has an entire stack of suitcases sitting in a corner. It’s so artistic. I should do that!
  • Several empty jugs of laundry detergent, awaiting the day when I finally heed the siren call and begin to make my own laundry detergent.
  • A Roomba that doesn’t work.
  • A Scooba (Roomba’s friend) that I bought at a thrift store and have never even tried to use.
  • A metal box that used to hold a respirator. It belonged to my grandfather, who was the most organized hoarder of all time. It has several labels in his handwriting, marking the changing nature of its contents over the years. I was very happy to see it, although it made me think mortality-related thoughts. Right now it has a few sockets for a socket wrench set that I don’t know the whereabouts of .
  • Three removable/rechargeable drill batteries that I wasn’t able to find when I needed a drill, so I went and just bought a corded drill  which is kind of a piece of crap.
  • A wet vac that I’ve only had a couple years but which broke already. I felt like I was going to be able to fix it, but I’ve tried a couple times and nope. (NOTE RELATED TO THIS AND PREVIOUS BULLET: Maybe don’t shop at Harbor Freight Tools?)
  • A cardboard box full of keepsakes. I was so excited to see it! I think there are some love letters to me in there, some old photos, stuff my niece Lexi has made for me. Who the Hell knows what else? It’s been at the back of this closet for awhile. I was all atwitter to go through it and then slammed my head on the low ceiling of the weird closet so hard that I wondered if I was okay. “Can you get a concussion from hitting the back of your head?” I wondered. For some reason, a concussion has always been associated with fronts and tops of heads, which I realize is dumb. Internet says: YOU CAN TOTALLY GET A CONCUSSION FROM HITTING THE BACK OF YOUR HEAD.

I’m fine, by the way. And my closet is clean. Ish. The trick to ridding closets of bad chi is to clean them! Thank you for clicking.

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