14 November 2008

Sorry, Ralph.

I admit, I did at least look at Ralph Nader's spot on the ballot. He was pretty far down from the top (the top two of course being the two most powerful political parties in the nation: Reps and Dems). Then, once I'd made my peace with not voting for the best candidate, I filled in the bubble for Obama Biden.

Sorry, Ralph. I respect you.

I can understand why most people get all worked up when I say I'm a Nader supporter. After all, he stole the 200 election from Gore. (Or was it W. that did that?) I also understand that voting for Nader just because he's not a Rep or a Dem is equally shallow. It's as shallow as voting for any one candidate based on one issue (Ralph's issue being the sad state of election affairs in this nation, where one must become an entirely different person so as to puppet for one of the big two and their corporate supporters).

But what if I wanted Ralph Nader to be President because he'd focus on issues like everyday life? What pisses me off most about the anti-Nader (or anti-Nader-voting) conglomerate is their often ignorant attitude toward a man who has devoted his life to confronting corporate greed and laziness. The effect has been a long career of making every American's life safer and more respected. Because of Nader, seat belts are standard in your automobile. Because of the non-profit organizations inspired by his work, you now know what's in the food you eat. You know that nuclear energy has some drawbacks. You know that water and air should stay clean, and that forests may be important to us. Granted, the respect corporations have for us and our ecosystem are by no means genuine, but thanks to Ralph Nader, at least this respect is required on some levels.

Once more, sorry, Ralph. I know it's been said before, but this country truly does not deserve you.

And I've come to decide that Obama may not be a terrible substitute. His victory speech brought some moisture to these eyes. And who knows? Maybe Obama will be wise enough to throw Nader a cabinet position. The only thing to know about Nader is that he only does things his way, meaning that Obama will have to approach him with all his morals in check. If Nader smells even one hint of corporate money, he's gone.

Sounds like the kind of guy I'd like running my country.

28 October 2008

Florida voters

To dispel some of the myth surrounding Sunshine State voters, I share with you now Obama's deep understanding of the important Floridian vote:

When I read the words "MY VOTER PLAN," I assume that means I'll have spaces to jot notes about the state and local amendments. Not so. In case you can't read them, the flyer asks me to plan my vote by checking one of the boxes:

[ ] Before work
[ ] During lunch
[ ] After work
[ ] Other

So, basically, I'm a Floridian heartbeat. I know this because my vote-able heart beats with glee when I cast my eyes upon the other side of the flier:

Cant'cha just feel the chipper birds singing the sunny-shade tune of Obama's day out with a perfect nuclear family?

Don't get me wrong. Neither McCain nor Palin is an option. I'm only wondering whether I should feel insulted by Obama or terrified by American expectations. These sorts of mailers smell like wasted money to me. Do candidates still deem this sort of bullshit necessary, or worse yet, is this the clincher for some Floridians?

Of course now I'm talking about those Floridians whose voter plans consist of checking a box so they can remember when they might be able to fit the foundation of democracy into their work schedule. Let's see. Do I wake up early, vote instead of eating, or get home late?

And what of the "Other" box? To tell the truth, I was considering voting Nader--or "not voting" as the sound-bytten mass public calls it. Maybe Barack Obama believes so strongly in democracy that he wants me to write in another candidate there, or jot some notes on amendments, etc. Given the theft of 2000, I'd me more inclined to believe this Obama flyer was dispersed by a radical covert branch of the conspiring evangelical Republicans of Florida, and they included the "Other" choice and blank line so heathens like me will realize that not voting is an option too.

I actually considered all this until Emily checked today's voice mail messages. We missed a call from Matt Damon, who contacted us on behalf of Barack Obama's Florida Campaign for Change. He wants us to vote Obama too, because "the issues are too important to sit this one out." Now I figure maybe I can check the "Other" box and write in the blank line next to it: Preferably conscious, but not required, as long as I vote for Barack Obama so Nader doesn't steal another one for the evangelicals.

01 October 2008

Academonic Times

I am convinced the academy is sucking the life out of me. I just told Emily today that I feel like a degree in creative writing is actually making me less creative. Just look at the lack of snazzy metaphors and e-prime verbage thus far in this entry.

In the last month, how many blog postings have gone undone, despite the strong desire to rant and rave on some topic? Must finish thesis, that thing for which I have no time because I teach (only) two freshman composition classes. Must finish degree before I know whether or not I can be a writer. Although I suppose if I were a true writer, I'd say fuck the stupid degree and just write right now. (Still, I feel this process of getting a master's is teaching me how to compile a large project, which probably counts for something.)

How're everyone elses' days?

19 September 2008

zimdog's syntax secular

In an essay my students and I read for class, the author writes "Gilbert and Sullivan" as something of a punchline. I understood the reference, and even chuckled at its use, but what I was thinking about most was the use of "and."

For some years now, I've wondered what the difference is between "&" and "and." There may be an accepted usage for each, but since I prefer to speak with ignorance on rational matters I have decided free of external influence, I shall now state how I think the usage differs. You let me know if you agree or disagree. Honestly, I'm getting much better at talking about absolutely nothing for a really long time. I learned it from one of my professors.

My decision, from this moment forward, is that I shall use "&" to join two commonly/closely-related entities. The syntactical purpose is to eliminate confusion in sentences that have lots of "and"s in them. For instance:

Civil War history teaches us the dynamics of color like black and white and blue and gray.

Pretend I have just descended in a UFO and learned English, but I know nothing about the American Civil War. How do I know what color dynamics my non-alien self just wrote about? How do I know the "black and white" refers to races of people and the "blue and gray" refers to the clothing of warring sides. I say, think of the aliens (or anyone else who may encounter confusion from lack of context). Use more &s.

Now try the same sentence on for size, using &s:

Civil War history teaches us the dynamics of color like black & white and blue & gray.

... or perhaps this other example, which also uses &s to establish which "and" joins two choices and which "&" joins one word & another:

When considering the creators of musicals, I like Gilbert & Sullivan and Rogers & Hammerstein the least.

True story by the way...

10 September 2008

'Tis bureaucracy, m'lord. Simple, hog-rotting bureaucracy.

A few minutes ago, I checked my Broward College e-mail account. I tend to do this at work when I get hung up on a project. It's one way to take a mindless break from the constant thinking that non-pleasure writing requires. Normally, these BC e-mail excursions do not last very long. I do a quick pan with the eyes, followed by a vast sweeping highlight before I purge the inbox of the many college-wide e-mails that have gathered since my last work day.

Today was different. I saw all these e-mails about polo shirts, so I'm thinking to myself I can understand college-wide e-mails about Hurricane Ike or maybe phishing scams and other notable scandals, but polo shirts? I had to read them...

Here's the seed crystal e-mail, sent 9/9/2008 4:22:24 PM:

I have had a couple of inquiries about who is eligible to receive a shirt...any full-time employee of the college can have a shirt.


And the downtrodden respond:

1. Jillian, I truly believe that the college was remiss in not offering the shirts to those of us in Adjunct positions. Some of us have been serving (and successfully so) the college for a significant number of years. I have just begun my 17th year of teaching at the North Campus. The tenure of many of the Adjuncts far exceed that of the relatively-new or recent full-timers.

We have heard at almost every one of the Adjunct meetings and seminars over the years that the college would not be able to function effectively without us.

Why then, are we now being snubbed?


2. I would agree. I have just begun my 18th successful year as an Adjunct.


Fortunately, there is hope:

1. Good Morning! Never shouldl 'anyone' should be slighted, after all we are a 'TEAM' and Together as a TEAM we make BC.
This is not much, however, I would like very much to donate my Polo shirt to the adjunct community.
Thank you,

2. I second the thought. Adjuncts, feel free stop by my office, Bldg. 71, Rm. 121 (south) for a medium T-shirt. I am guessing I will have it in a few weeks. First come, first fitted.


The most recent e-mail, from Gary, was sent 9/10/2008 12:49:51 PM. In the course of less than a day, I have borne witness to the tension brewing at Broward College: the uprising of the masses, having found their issue upon which to declare their equality, and whose pleas do not go entirely unheeded, for they find sympathizers in positions of power who are quick to dismount their full-time horses, seeing it as their duty to offer alms to the adjuncts. The revolution has been avoided.

Or has it? I will keep you updated when I know more about the Polo Shirt Situation of 2008. After all, I'm at work. What else should I focus on?


Since I posted this entry, two more e-mails have come along. Now I actually look forward to checking my work e-mail!

This e-mail is directly addressed to a previous participant, Steve, whose heated reply (cited above) opened widespread debate on the topic of a college's moral obligation to provide polo shirts for adjuncts. In his reply to Steve, James aligns himself with the adjuncts using Bill Clinton's famous message of 'I feel your pain':

I believe it is generous to offer workers free garments, but if there aren't enough to go around, and that prompts exclusion, then maybe it is something to be re-thought. I often hear that BC is a family. Does this mean adjuncts and part-timers are its stepchildren? I certainly hope not. I know and work with many adjuncts and part timers who are some of the most dedicated people in this college, and that I have ever had the good fortune to work with, and also believe they should not be treated as second class citizens. Suggestion: If there aren't enough shirts for everyone, perhaps they should be donated to a charity that feeds and clothes the needy. If my words come across as soaked in umbrage, perhaps it's because I was a stepchild myself who was often overlooked during gift-giving occasions -- so I know the feeling. I think what you guys do make BC the wonderful institution that it is, and know you will continue to do so, freebee or not. Another suggestion: A shirt only for Adjuncts and part-timers that reads: "Unsung Heros," or better yet: "Backbone of the College."
Just a thought.

One thing's for sure. If the college does make "Unsung Heros" t-shirts for adjuncts and part-timers, I say leave the misspelling of heroes. I think it means something.

Next, the most recent e-mail wins the Hypocrisy Award, considering I received it:

And so it begins.

Please stop with the 'reply all' snarky comments.

Just. Please. Stop.


Will more Broward College employees enter the e-mail coliseum to do battle wearing only their perspectives on the issue of polo shirt distribution among faculty? As we approach the 24-hour-versary of the Polo Shirt Situation of 2008, I vow to do my duty as news correspondent to remain fair and balanced in these trying times....


Your humble reporter is back on the case of the Polo Shirt Situation of 2008: A Symbolic Debate for Equality. Since I last did any news corresponding, only two more e-mails have been sent campus-wide.

In the first one, Shirley writes to Barbara and Gary, those humble souls who previously announced a humble willingness to donate their rightfully earned polo shirts to desiring adjuncts:

Thank you so much for your generosity. I am an adjunct who would love a polo shirt. Unfortunately, though, I would need a Large!
Any other kind soul out there with one to spare?
Thanks in advance!

As you can see, the plot thickens. We discover that generosity is not always enough. For selfless giving to meet a practical outcome, the right people must express generosity to fated counterparts. Otherwise, generosity will see none who can benefit.

The second polo shirt e-mail proves that campus-wide e-mails function based on synergy. From the generosity of full-time staff members willing to acknowledge the broader base of adjuncts beneath them, a new hope for the future of these polo shirts has come to being. As if on cue, the next e-mailer brings the light of Christian love into the discussion by illuminating the greater sense of urgency for generosity.


For the past couple of days I have the read various e-mails about these POLO SHIRTS for faculty and whether the adjuncts should be entitled to them, as well. As I read each e-mail I thought to myself, "Would it not be a GREAT idea that these BC POLO shirts be put to better use? Why not donate them to those that REALLY need them. How about those victims in HAITI, CUBA and the TURKS and CAICOS Islands?"

Well, just my humble thoughts and opinion.

God Bless,

Yes, Andrew. God bless indeed. Thank you for being the voice of reason--and for reminding us that state institutions such as Broward College run on the fuel that is the love of the Christian God. If only God had thought to send those shirts directly to those in need, all this squabbling within the BC family--um, er, TEAM, might have been prevented.

I wish I could tell you more about the end use of these much-debated polo shirts, but it seems the faceless institution of bureaucracy has stepped in to bring our polo shirt democracy to an end:


The preferred method of group discussions at Broward College according to policy is the college forums at: https://forums.broward.edu//. Please consider not using the collegewide distribution list (BCC) for group discussions.

Thank You

Technology Support
Information Technology

If only this entity, this "Technology Support/Information Technology," had not stepped in to make a soft-worded suggestion for us to [p]lease consider not using the collegewide distribution list (BCC) for group discussions, we might all get to know a little more about how free clothing influence us all. It now seems clear that the distribution of swag polo shirts speaks to more than just job title. The question of who gets a free polo shirt is a deep one, and one better left to the higher powers, like God Himself.

I now see the error in my ways, blaming God for not distributing these BC polo shirts to those in need. He wanted us to learn the lesson our way. One can only assume these humble humans of Broward College made the right choice. Via God's loving hand, they have made the first hesitant step toward ensuring that their unwanted polo shirts make it to those ravaged by the very storm that God Himself invented.

To those who followed me through the many days of this emotional story, I wish only to say, God bless you, and God bless the institutions of America. And God Bless America, and all those who live here. And, I guess, God bless those upon whom we wish to bestow our charity and polo shirts (even though God obviously doesn't like them, because why else would He send Hurricane Ike their way).

In closing, I have only one more thing to add:

Please Note: Due to Florida's very broad public records law, most written communications to or from College employees regarding College business are public records, available to the public and media upon request. Therefore, this email communication may be subject to public disclosure.

29 August 2008

zimdog's words of wisdom: birthdays

Two weeks ago, trying my best to conjure some clever wording for inscription in the birthday card of a planetarium boss, I decided the following:

"Birthdays are like stars: the more you see, the grander life is."

Maybe I can sell it to Hallmark.

27 August 2008

ACV: A Political Matter?

For a few months now, I've been doing daily treatments of apple cider vinegar. Anyone who knows my mom knows she keeps all sorts of interesting reading material in the most reader-supportive room in the house, the b-a-t-h room (for those faint of sensibility). One b-room book was a supermarket checkout-sized booklet on apple cider vinegar. Apparently, there's always (or for hundreds of years has) been an awareness of apple cider vinegar as a helpful daily treatment. I've only been privy for a few months, but it seems to do me some good. I've also noticed that I feel the effects of the tonic more when I use the extra-natural stuff: raw, unfiltered, organic, and unpasteurized. As the booklet also suggests, I mix ACV with honey, but molasses or fruit juice are apparently just as acceptable. These add-ins do not alter or enhance the effects of ACV. They're there for their vitamins and minerals, and also to mask the "unaccustomable" flavor of ACV. And yes, I made that word up.

Taking apple cider vinegar daily (with or without the add-ins) is "rumored" to have various positive health effects. Here's a pretty standard list as found on a HomeRemediesWeb.com page. (The first section of the page describes ACV; the second section lists its "known" benefits.) Even WebMD admits to similar benefits, although the WebMD page immediately follows these claims up by saying: "While the results of these studies are promising, they are all preliminary. Many were done on animals or on cells in a lab. The human studies have been small. Before we will truly know whether vinegar has any health benefits, much larger studies are needed." Bogus or not, there exists a massive population of people who think apple cider vinegar is a miracle treatment. The booklet I looked at listed many, many everyday uses for ACV, both health and cosmetic. I started taking it as a daily tonic because I understood it would help the arthritis developing in my knees. But then WebMD tells me ACV can "cause low potassium levels and lower bone density" (same link as above). Another site tells me ACV contains a whole lot of potassium. Who do I believe? And of course, nevermind that folk medicine has been treating with vinegars for hundreds of years, because all that came before the scientific revolution, which has rendered instinct and unscientific observation all but useless.

I read one account of a doctor selling a product called "Jogging in a Jug," which was a simple mixture of ACV and various fruit juices. The FDA fined him because the label of the product made unproven claims about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. Could this be one more example of government hypocrisy? The FDA hasn't taken much time to study the effects of apple cider vinegar, but they are quite skilled at reminding people of government authority. Nevermind that they don't have any answers for why they can say no. If the FDA is ignorant on matters of ACV, perhaps it could use its authority to... oh I don't know, STUDY APPLE CIDER VINEGAR. Given my cynical perspective on government corruption and the myriad inefficiencies of bureaucracy, my guess is that apple cider vinegar hasn't been studied because, as a homeopathic remedy, it is cheap and readily available to those that might benefit from it. Often times, lobbyists don't much care for these "communist" substances.

I say, whatever. I'm drinking the shit. Until the FDA and our nation's medical practitioners can prove otherwise (or until ACV meets federal prohibition), I'm going to trust what my body tells me, and so far my body tells me it wants me to keep up what I'm doing. My knees feel better than they have in a long while, and combined with the honey, I feel more energy from an ACV drink than I do from coffee. And it's that wholesome energy, not the nervous kind that makes me feel plugged into the wall.

I'm by no means saying everyone should try this treatment, but have a look around on the Internet and decide for yourselves who's telling the truth about apple cider vinegar. Who knows? Maybe this blog entry makes me one of the "crazies" trying to pollute the population with another one of Nature's toxins. Or maybe I'm just trying to rid my own body of the man-made toxins I encounter on a daily basis. Apple cider vinegar is supposedly good for that too, but you'll never know for sure... at least, not if the FDA and friends have anything to say about it.

27 July 2008

Our Endangered Oceans

As a bystander, the debate on global climate change is so annoying to listen to. The red fights the blue on the playing field. Meanwhile, the real destruction takes place on the sidelines. And most of the commentators are fucked in the head too. Whatever media has been commercialized and sensationalized for business interests has also been "bought" by either/or face of the bickering political machine. It's much easier to trust science because true science, like nature, gives deconstruction no attention. Valid science says, a fact is a fact. The only trouble is, it's a real shame science has to give money and politics a thought.In this world of truth gone mad, non-profit organizations seem most effective.

A bunch of non-profits undertook something called the Blue Project to study our endangered oceans. I read of the project in this weekend's Parade, a media name that probably triggers anti-liberal or anti-conservative sentiment. I wouldn't know. I'm too busy caring about the health of my ecosystems. The earth is more than just another news grabber or a political hot button. The oceans are our oceans, and they're very real aspects of our existence. We all know the human body can't function and replenish itself without healthy blood. When toxins are systematically pumped into our blood, we can survive for a time, but not indefinitely.

Turns out the same is true of our oceans, which are something like the planet's life blood. No matter who's right, the politics of the debate over global climate change cannot distract me from the SCIENTIFIC FACTS. The seas have risen, warmed, and acidified worldwide. Those changes, combined with overfishing, have caused 90% of our big fish to disappear [...] Pollution has led to almost 26,000 U.S. beaches being temporarily closed or put under advisories [...] and nearly 90% of our wetlands, the nurseries for fish, have vanished due to development. The oceans are in crisis. Quoted above is Leon Panetta, co-chair of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative. Regardless of who he makes promises to for his money, Panetta's is a title I can get behind. I don't care what McCain or Obama think about the oceans. They don't study them for a living.

Even if the two 90% statistics in the quote are off a little either way, any significant reduction in big fish and wetlands means something, whether it's coming from a liberal or a conservative. Ecological problems create tremors in the food web. When the big creatures begin dying, it's a very clear sign that the things smaller than them have already been affected, severely. We could blame development, but that only gives each and every one of us a reason not to blame ourselves.

The bottom line: News stories about the planet's well-being can affect us for a moment, at least until the next news story comes along to change our moods. Well, I plan on letting news stories affect me very much, especially if they suggest a major ecological problem. Who cares if that next strip mall gets built? What I wanna know is, what will the effect be?

Reinstating Cosmic Order with Rocks 'n Crap

A friend and I hiked the Old Loggers Path in Central PA a few weeks ago. Along the trail, I couldn't help noticing some rock stacks left behind in the middle of a stream. Someone passing through took the time to stack flat rocks, making miniature rock monuments that stood out amongst all the surrounding chaos. A week or so later, Emily and I were driving somewhere. In the passing scenery, I saw another such rock stack in a stream nowhere near the ones I passed on foot. Hundreds of miles and one week apart, the events brought to mind the work of Andy Goldsworthy, whom I admire greatly for his close connection with nature on a daily basis. I learned of his work years ago from a professor (and fellow Blogspotter). Goldsworthy's art reflects time spent to establish cosmic order using natural objects. I find it so interesting that a man would use naturally-existing objects and financially-valuable time to make structures that would not otherwise form in the natural order of things.

Man has, for the most part, taken this premise to appalling lengths. I mourn those who died from the collapse of the Twin Towers, but I do not mourn the towers themselves. I see no beauty whatsoever in the proposed Freedom Tower that will replace the Twin Towers, but I see lots and lots of beauty in structures like Stonehenge.

We are all lucky that men like Goldsworthy exist to bring humans closer to something like humility. He returns us closer to the builders of ancient rock structures, who, like Goldsworthy, built structures to bring cosmic order to the earth.

I do not choose to ignore the self-interest in such construction projects. In its days of use, the grounds of Stonehenge were a place of selfish human sacrifice. Our morals have evolved since then. Nowadays we only sacrifice each other in non-lethal ways. The skyscrapers of the modern age act less like examples of cosmic human order, and more like the economic excesses of a rich minority. The proposed Freedom Tower will become one such place where the rich minority can create more debt for the poor majority. (I know what I believe, so you'll have to ask yourself if you feel like your quality of life is being sacrificed for the benefit of others.) The difference I see between Stonehenge and skyscrapers is one of man vs. nature. Man's existential system, society, is based mostly in beliefs and inter-relationship. Nature's existential system, balance, is based mostly in science. We can deconstruct beliefs and the nature of relationships, but there is no deconstructing nature. Nature operates as it does, and that is that.

From now on, I plan to devote much more of my own deliberation to issues of ecology, and I think my blog of late is proof. From this moment forward, I offer the chew toy up as a sacrifice to the planet I love. Here, I will engage in deep consideration of ecological caution, because I consider anything else immoral support for continued ruination. My spirit demands that I make this extra effort on behalf of others. I take great pride in being blind to "unnecessary" caution. I don't mind that others speed on, blissfully ignorant of the impact they create. Most of all, it's their loss. They pay no mind to the beauty they help to destroy, nor do they recognize the ways they're wasting their own existences paying attention to useless crap. I do admit though that I often wish I could force hyper-capitalists to nurture the planet as much as they take advantage of it.

But I know I can't force anyone to realize something, and it would be morally wrong to do so if I could. For this reason, I am saddened a little by the realization that I may already have chosen for at least one person. In recent months, I've been very seriously owning up to the responsibility of the child Emily and I have on the way. The world of that child is in jeopardy, because of decisions made by me and those around me. I have no choice but to enter a new era of questioning everything I do, even more so than before, which poses a real challenge given the obligation I have to recognize when I should ease off from making decisions for my child. In the meantime, our newborn will be unable to make choices for him-or-herself. Newborns create increased ecological impact, which is where I can make a difference on my newborn's behalf.

For its own benefit, the market economy promotes a parenting of convenience. Unfortunately for the market, that c-word sets off alarms all over my conscience. Convenience, or ease of human living, only creates dis-ease for the planet. The convenient living we've established is as good as ignorance. While ignorance may be bliss, it's also ignorance, and I don't want to be an ignorant parent. For the time being, I will accept all responsibility for myself and my child. In those times when I have to throw away a baby food package, I want to feel the act in my gut. In those times when I find it convenient to use a plastic disposable diaper, I want to feel the smelly plastic choking me like it chokes my planet. My hope is that these pains will make me a more conscientious parent and a less admired consumer. Reduce, reuse, recycle means getting creative, so that's what I plan to do. I don't need to heed the parenting crap blasted at me by TV commercials. Companies can't tell me the easiest way to raise my child. To be a good parent, all I need to do is take a deliberate role in raising my child, and I simply do not see what there is to learn from wrapping his or her poop in a disposable diaper and removing it from sight as soon as possible. Disposables are easier, but if I really want to know my child, I'll share an existence with him or her through very deliberate acts--like scraping poop out of a cloth diaper and washing that diaper in a pail. (Hey, it's just poop. It's not like cloth diapers support terrorism or anything.) The very deliberate act of using cloth diapers will remind me that easy isn't necessarily good. Sometimes, easy runs on lacking creativity.

I often hear parents talk with concealed joy about the many physiological nasties their children produce. "Oh, I see all sorts of stuff shooting out of little Sammy," they might say with a restrained chuckle. They're unaware of the cosmic order they create by spending the time to move something "nasty" away from their children. This cosmic order hits a sudden roadblock when parents wrap their child's poop in a disposable diaper and ignore it from that point forward. They ignore the potential energy that fecal matter has to offer the immediate ecosystem. Poop can be returned to the planet through the dumping of a diaper pail. Instead, it sits preserved like a corpse, wrapped in plastic for the many kajillionz of years it takes disposable diapers to biodegrade.

(stolen from www.greendiary.com/images/disposable_diaper.gif)

Meanwhile, detritus cycles continue cycling without that fecal matter. The turning detritus cycle of any given ecosystem constitutes an overwhelming majority of that cycle's energy. The amount varies from one ecosystem to another, but when I say "an overwhelming majority," I mean the detritus cycle checks in at somewhere near the 90-th percentile of energy in a given ecosystem.

What does all this have to do with the rock structures I've seen lately? As our ecosystem adjusts quietly to slow human self-destruction, I'm sensing a real nervousness among people. More unsettled, I think people are becoming less content with the way of things. Whether they realize it or not, the skeptics of destruction perpetuate a message as toxic as their irresponsible practices. When we can quiet our own agendas, it's quite easy to see that global destruction is being proven by science. (See a later, smaller post.) It's not some agenda. It's the fate of the entire world. The only way to re-establish cosmic order on this planet is through very deliberate and loving acts of nurture. Building rock structures takes this sort of disposition.

Let me end by saying I feel no guilt at all for my place on this planet. I'm not telling others not to use disposable diapers. I'm saying I don't want to, because I see the importance of the hard work it takes to maintain cosmic order. This existence is about making choices that affect the ecosystem of which we're a part, and I strongly question the abilities of most people to know what a relationship with the planet feels like. From where I'm standing, they aren't living their lives. They're spending them, one dollar a minute. Well, I favor a debt of a different kind. I don't want my life owned by corporations and banks. I'd prefer to make daily payments to the nature that gave me a loan in the first place. That way, when the big day comes, I know I'll be able to pay back the loan. The only way I'll get there is by making a daily effort to pay back pieces of the debt, one deliberate act at a time.

Do you think Stonehenge was easy to build? No, the people who built it spent many years and performed "miracles" to get the stones of the Sarsen Circle so perfectly aligned to the summer solstice sunrise. Ancient people didn't make rock structures because they were bored, or because they were easy to make. True, they did it construct them to slaughter someone for the benefit of everyone else, but the point is, those who built Stonehenge made personal sacrifices to construct the monument. They took valuable time out of their survival schedules because they saw building the rock monument as time well-spent.

I saw no sacrificed animals splayed out in front of the rock stacks that started this entry. Nor were those monuments aligned to cosmic events in the sky, as far as I could tell anyway. So what purpose did they serve the people who made them? I saw no clear and practical purpose, other than that they enjoyed the deliberate act of making them. It is my dream that someday the majority of people on this planet will come to understand the wisdom of its ignored minority. For those who built the rock stacks I saw, know that I understand why you did what you did, whether you know or not. I share that love of existence, and I plan to go on living my own "foolish, tree-hugging" existence until the day I die, when I get to make one giant re-entry into the detritus cycle.

05 July 2008

Second trimester!!!

Emily told me today that she and baby z have entered trimester number two. Emily's body has formed the placenta, and the little one is learning to hear the world. More on all the neat stuff happening when I get a chance to catch up on the reading Emily has done. It's tough being a married couple in two different states.

04 July 2008

Deconstructive Spoiler Alert! (>>>) Declaration Oil Alert! - the bad news first

Note: This blog entry is more a miniature essay than a blog entry. If you want to skip the pessimism and get right to the optimism, click here.

Once more, around to me on the natural wheel comes the realization that the human conceptual system is deeply metaphorical. From early human to surviving human, evolving to aging, life makes more sense the more we think about how simple it is. On my recent drive from FL to PA, I entered a deep state of highway thought somewhere in the Carolinas. In a numb state of one-directional travel, I realized I wasn’t following the road and ignoring the trees so much as the road was leading me on to distract me from the trees. It’s a simple realization, but one reached in deep thought. In 150 years of industrial revolution, life seems to have become less simple, but really life has gotten more complicated because we've made it more complicated. Like me driving the car, we're ones driving the industrial revolution, but like the road, the industrial revolution is showing us a straight-forward path and we're not thinking much about anything but. The complications of the industrial revolution sure make modern life easier day to day, but these ways just might kill us, and I think we are refusing to admit it. We’re stuck in the same old industrial revolution, except now it controls us. But what happens when the gas indicator light comes on and illuminates our need to worry? Will we have trouble admitting it then?

In this blog entry, I’ve decided to ignore altogether the debate over global climate change. There are folks who believe global climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the modern-day Chicken Little conglomerate. Chicken Littles that they are, the other side believes the sky is… not so much falling as getting a whole lot more dangerous to live under. The angry bickering of media hand puppets over whether or not GCC is a hoax only distracts us. Instead of trying to decide what damage fossil fuels are doing to our earth, could we possibly cut right to something more immediate?

I saw a film recently called Crude Impact that does just this by examining the effect we create with our demand for fossil fuels? From the film’s website: Peak oil is the point in time when the quantity of oil extracted from the earth begins to irreversibly decline. The United States reached peak oil in the early 1970s. Predictions vary, but global peak oil is anticipated as early as the year 2007. What do oil suppliers know that they’re keeping from us? Where are we in relation to global peak oil? Could it explain the current trend in oil prices that has now begun bleeding seriously into more than prices at the pump? Supply and demand says rising prices mean increasing demand and decreasing supply. This would fit the scenario of peak oil, and the current trend in prices.

One eventual outcome of passing peak oil is eventual war for resources. If/when we pass peak oil, nations that depend on oil will start eyeing up what's left. The U.S. will bump chests with other nations over oil. Like Crude Impact suggests, I strongly believe it will be China vs. the U.S. Both sides will take the sides of other countries in scrambles for remaning oil. Sounds a lot like World War III to me. Considering modern methods for warfare, I’d rather not see that.

What I appreciate most about Crude Impact is its honesty. Yes, oil companies share the blame for capitalizing on hyper-consumption (and other things), and yes, certain nations share the blame for hogging world oil, but where the film quite clearly points the finger of blame is at us, the mega-consumers. We can’t blame more powerful forces because we’re the ones supporting them. We’re the mega-consumers. The products we consume share so many ties to oil that if a product doesn’t contain oil, it probably sees oil somewhere along the way: operation, manufacture, and/or shipping. One great outcome of the bitter debates over GCC is that people have begun discussing plastic, nylon, pesticides, paint, vinyl, and most every other thing around us at this moment. Who’s to blame for supporting these products steeped in oil? Point an accusative finger at us, the U.S. With 5% of the world population, we the people of the United States are the leading global consumer: 25% of yearly oil consumed.

I’ll admit previous generations had little reason to question the industrial revolution making life easy. I’m sure they loved it. Gone were the humble days of surviving when oil emerged to keep them comfortably numb. Now we have the four basic needs all covered in oil use: food whenever we want it, temperature-controlled shelter wherever we go, more clothing than we actually wear, and water in disposable plastic containers. Add in the luxuries and time-saving devices, and you see how our demand for oil keeps growing, and growing, and growing. Nothing outlasts a hyper-energized nation, except maybe the half-life of plastic.

More so than mass consumption, inefficiency is the kicker. Food companies expend an average of ten calories to supply consumers with one food calorie. Crude Impact puts this inefficient energy transfer in deeply simple perspective. In Nature, when creatures make a habit of expending ten calories in order to eat one calorie, they turn into dead creatures. Virtually no creature in Nature self-destructs on purpose, but humans are doing a pretty good job.

Over the course of compiling this blog entry, I surfed the film’s website and e-mailed a contact address with questions about alternative energy sources. The director, James Jandak Wood, replied the next day. He made efficiency a clear theme in his reply: I believe the message you heard from several of the speakers - that the need is to reduce energy use, not replace our current use - is the right message. Dr. Bill Rees said in the movie that all of the alternative fuels in the aggregate can't possibly replace fossil fuels. This is a controversial statement, but I think the possibility that this is true should drive us toward reduction. I think reduction of energy will also help the wealth imbalance, create greater peace and justice in the world and much more. Sounds like a big statement, but I believe it to be true.

I respect Mr. Wood’s “better safe than sorry” mode of thought, and his focus on improved efficiency, but as one interviewee notes in the film, a major problem with the way environmentalists promote conservation is as I paraphrase here: If you ask someone to make a sacrifice for the environment, they won’t. This is problematic, because consumers constitute the majority of oil consumption. Sure, we can make energy-efficient cars, but what happens when the gas indicator light comes on? We can slow down to a more gas-efficient speed and we can coast down hills, but we’re still delaying the inevitable. At what point do we choose between self-sacrifice and global self-destruction?

In other words, I disagree somewhat with Mr. Wood’s e-mail reply. I think he asks too little of the American people. We’re the ones over-consuming, so we should be the ones to make sacrifices as well, and this simply will not happen fast enough. Companies should still provide more efficient appliances, cars, etc., but Americans probably won't take these efficient tools and become more responsible with them. Call me pessimistic, but I just don’t have faith in Americans to suddenly turn hard-core environmental, because we are overlooking the every day addictions of Americans. Most addictions are only troublesome when the addictive substance is taken away. As a culture today, we are addicted to—among many other things—electricity, packaged foods, television, and automobiles. As long as these are readily available, we don’t notice our addiction. If one—or all—were taken away, we would immediately exhibit the classic symptoms of addictive withdrawal. (See the next entry for this quote's source.) Humans no longer live the brute animal life, but we certainly retain our animal-like selfishness, which just happens to go hand in hand with addiction. Using fossil fuels more efficiently will not save us from the refusals of people who do not wish to “devolve” their lives.

I am the opposing hand puppet to Mr. Wood’s optimism, but I’m not all downer. I promise. I know natural energy will get us somewhere sustainable. I believe in wind, solar, and some forms of water power, because they are in constant supply. However, these energy sources still require conduits (wind turbines, solar panels, and hydro-structures), which require fossil fuels to make. The wind, solar, and water power technology then allows further efficiency, but the foundational ingredient is still the same: fossil fuels.

Ethanol, a natural alternative of a different sort, seems smart in theory. Corn renews itself faster than trees, and much faster than fossil fuels, but as one fellow Blogspot-er recently expressed, ethanol is, in practice, a waste of time, space, money, and hope. Ethanol is the right idea, but corn’s best use is still to “get in my bellyyyy.”

For the good news, please continue with the next post (>>>).

Deconstructive Spoiler Alert! (>>>) Declaration Oil Alert! - The good news

By far the greatest alternative energy source I’ve learned of to date is industrial hemp, which has the potential to spark an energy revolution--if only a fear-filled public can consider the benefits of a plant that, in recent decades, has only had its drawbacks magnified in the spotlight. The Reason [Foundation’s] study says the Drug Enforcement Administration's inability to distinguish between industrial hemp and marijuana is irrational and ignores scientific fact. The report states, ‘Marijuana cultivated for drug value contains between 3 and 10 percent of the active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Industrial hemp typically contains 0.3 percent or less of this active ingredient-as a result, it has no value as a drug.’ (taken from U.S. Hemp Ban Hurts Environment, Economy). While it cannot become the sole substitute for our energy needs, combined with intelligent use of efficient technologies (i.e. hybrid cars, solar/wind/hydroelectric energy), if our stubborn government can humble itself enough to at least give back industrial hemp, then I believe Mr. Wood's sense of optimism (detailed in the previous post) would have an excellent chance of becoming an oil reality. I am certain as never before with alternative resources that industrial hemp could make a HUGE impact, for all nations (including the poor ones we don't pay attention to).

In the previous post, I quote Peter McWilliams as follows regarding unrecognized addiction to everyday things: Most addictions are only troublesome when the addictive substance is taken away. As a culture today, we are addicted to—among many other things—electricity, packaged foods, television, and automobiles. As long as these are readily available, we don’t notice our addiction. If one—or all—were taken away, we would immediately exhibit the classic symptoms of addictive withdrawal. It is from McWilliams's book that I received most of my education on industrial hemp: Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in Our Free Country, by Peter McWilliams. If you’re interested, the entire text is available online. The book quotes part of an ABC radio presentation by Hugh Downs: The reasons the pro-marijuana lobby wants marijuana legal have little to do with getting high, and a great deal to do with fighting oil giants like Saddam Hussein, Exxon, and Iran. The pro-marijuana groups claim that hemp is such a versatile raw material that its products not only compete with petroleum, but with coal, natural gas, nuclear energy, pharmaceutical, timber, and textile companies. It is estimated that methane and methanol production alone from hemp grown as bio-mass could replace 90% of the world’s energy needs. If they’re right, this is not good news for oil interests, and could account for the continuation of marijuana prohibition. The broadcast was recorded early in the 1990s, so the 90% statistic may no longer be accurate (considering the exponential consumption increase since then), but shit, even if it’s down to 70%, or 60%, that’s huge.

There’s a reason I post this entry today, America’s Independence Day. Not only were early drafts of the Declaration of Independence written on hemp paper, but our nation has a long history of hemp that, curiously enough, we seem to have forgotten. I remember learning in fifth grade about tobacco trade in the early colonies, but I don't remember hearing any of this before:

- Marijuana was one of the primary agricultural products in this country for more than 250 years;

- George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew cannabis on their plantations;

- Marijuana was one of the few painkillers in colonial America. George Washington, who had dental problems his entire life, writes of its medicinal use in his journal;

- Benjamin Franklin started one of America’s first paper mills with cannabis. This allows America to have a free colonial press without having to beg or justify paper and books from England;

- Cannabis hemp was legal tender in most of the Americas from 1631 until the early 1800s;
- You could pay your taxes with cannabis hemp throughout America for over 200 years;
- You could even be jailed in America for not growing cannabis during several periods of shortage, e.g. in Virginia between 1763 and 1767.

Lately, W. and others have been going on and on about establishing independence from foreign oil. I ask you, what supports more independence than plants? If a nation has soil and the right climate, industrial hemp would establish some sense of energy independence for that country. Industrial hemp would also establish some sense of energy independence for any persons that have the climate to grow it on their own land. For this reason, the fight to reverse hemp prohibition will be very difficult. Big business will want a piece of the pie. They've played middle man for citizens’ energy needs for a long time. Why would they stop for the sake of reason? As two major players did in the 1930s, today's mega-corps will jump in to ensure continued hemp prohibition. More on the shameful origins of hemp prohibition in a future blog entry. I've gone on too long as is, and I haven't even mentioned the amazing benefits of industrial hemp.

Some of my favorite reasons for making a switch:

Highly renewable – Whereas trees take decades to renew, hemp renews itself each growing season. In warmer climates, hemp can even see three harvests per year. And in addition to growing quickly, it grows almost anywhere. There’s a reason they call it weed, you know.

Clean – As a plant, hemp would help offset the greenhouse gases released by its use, unlike fossil fuels, which already did their share of respiration millions and millions of years ago.

Versatile – In addition to making paper, clothing, and medicines, we could also use industrial hemp to make some pretty surprising things: plastics, paint, varnish, even dynamite. We could even run our cars on hemp.

Our fucking cars! From the Hugh Downs broadcast: When Rudolph Diesel produced his famous engine in 1896, he assumed that the diesel engine would be powered by a variety of fuels, especially vegetable and seed oils. Rudolph Diesel, like most engineers then, believed vegetable fuels were superior to petroleum. Hemp is the most efficient vegetable. [...] By volume, 30% of the hemp seed contains oil suitable for high-grade diesel fuel, as well as aircraft engine and precision machine oil. Henry Ford’s experiments with methanol promised cheap, readily-renewable fuel. And, if you think methanol means compromise, you should know that many modern race cars run on methanol. An efficient vegetable indeed....

After hearing every non-oil energy source slammed in the media, this proclamation of industrial hemp probably sounds too good to be true. I know every other alternative energy source I’ve learned about has fizzled out in one way or another. They all reach a point where “too good to be true” becomes “there’s just one thing.” But what if industrial hemp really is a viable possibility? I say, why not enter “better safe than sorry” mode and just think deeply for a moment about the simplicity of it all: a versatile plant that grows wild to abate some of its own greenhouse emissions, all while replacing so many of our everyday needs. It sounds like the beauty of Nature to me. If you still don’t believe the benefits of industrial hemp, at least check in for my next blog entry, when I unravel the drug tangle and follow money trail that led to the prohibition of industrial hemp. That ought to feed your cynicism.

I for one really believe in the possibility of industrial hemp, more than I’ve believed in any other cause for quite some time. Knowing what I’ve learned in just a few days, I plan to make awareness of industrial hemp a common priority in my life. I’ll be doing as much research as my spare time allows, so that I can know the drawbacks and dispel the myths. Ladies and gents, I tell you I’m extracted, revved up, and ready to go in circles on methanol power. And this time, I won’t mind if the resource leads me.

Oil company footnote

Crude Impact taught me that the Exxon Valdez clusterfuck (usually considered a major oil disaster) was hardly the beginning. Now I’ve taken a different stance on Valdez. At least it was an accident. The film offers video documentation of the cost-saving “disposal” methods Texaco used during an extraction project in Ecuador. For what they made a conscious effort to do—because there were no laws to prevent them, never again will I fill my gas tank at a Texaco station. Shell Oil gets called out pretty hard too for doing nothing to stop Nigerian executions that benefited operations in the Niger Delta. Shell Oil representatives literally sat watching as Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni activists were tried, convicted, and executed… so Shell Oil’s extraction project could “proceed smoothly.” I think those were the words in the memo. I greatly appreciated the film’s education on these matters. Somehow I never heard about this before. (Sshhhh. Don’t make too much noise. I think the media is sleeeeeepinggg.)

27 June 2008

Quote by Bertrand Russell

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

Ergo, the zimdog asks you,

Have you questioned yourself today?

20 June 2008

The Surprises of Cat

Those of you who know Dr. Dalloway Muffintop Snatchworth Riff-Raff von Kittenheimer are those of you who knew the coolest cat of the modern era. She had a great sense of humor...

...whether she wanted to or not. This still is my favorite thing about her. She loved me unconditionally, despite the silly dress-ups or her reluctant adventures as Spider-Cat. Despite her vehicle, she was pretty much a dog in cat form.

Well, yesterday, the cat I knew threw some pretty enormous surprises my way.

Surprise #1
Her was a him, but regardless what the vet said, I decided after the fact that he'll always be a she to me.

Surprise #2
She was a very sick cat.

Now resting in peace, free from my antics...

Dr. Dalloway Muffintop Snatchworth Riff-Raff von Kittenheimer, or Kitty

After the comprehensive exam, the vet told me cats hide their illness well. Kitty is proof of this. While visually emaciated, the weight loss came on slowly enough over the past few months that, too busy with all my human bullshit, I hardly noticed she was living off her body fat. Even in her anemic, frail form, she managed to hide a mass the size of a key lime. There it was, right next to the tangle in her intestinal tract where the vet thinks she was bleeding out. I never thought any different of her health. Her ingestion and out-gestion showed little change from usual. I seriously thought I was just taking my cat in for yearly vaccines. An hour later, I left the vet's office without Kitty.

The vet offered me some options. Even the optimistic options were not promising (not to mention being well beyond my financial means), but I still asked for a few minutes to think it all over. The unmanly crying commenced as soon as the vet and his assistant shut the door. As I sat there in catharsis, hanging out with Kitty, I gave her the usual routine: some quick-shine shoulder blade rubbing; cradling her on her back while I rubbed her face; and holding her up by the armpits, dangling her above my head. The last one she always seemed neutral on, but that one was for me because it always made me laugh. And of course she put up with it, because I was her favorite human.

When the vet returned, I asked him to put my cat out of her misery. Prior, I was one to consider euthanasia unnecessary. Even minutes before making a decision, I wondered why shouldn't I just let her die naturally. Euthanasia is always selfish with pets, for no animal would choose death over life, but using my unique human perspective in the moment, I made a decision for Kitty. I figured she'd want her last minutes to be good ones spent with me. After the fact, I still felt my decision was right, and surprisingly, I was relieved when the anesthesia overdose struck her. She tightened, died with her eyes open, turned soft, and like that, my sadness was gone. I'm no expert biologist or philosopher, but this seems to me like evidence of unseen, unconscious chemical communication between life forces: feeling relief from relief.

The vet asked me if I wanted to feel the mass. Once I had a sense for it, he tried to explain why he asked if I wanted to feel it. I don't remember his reasoning, but I remember my stupid reply: "I have some biology background, so it's interesting for me." God, what an idiot I turn into around death. I become as distracted as I am humble. There is something to this though. When I arrived at Emily's house after her grandmother died, that was the first thing Emily's mom asked: Did I want to touch Grandma Millie's hand? Maybe it's knowing the rest of the being has moved on, and it's only a physical vehicle left in front of me, or maybe it's just to confirm what denial tries to avoid. Either way, being alive and touching the dead brings some sense of comfort I'll have to consider more.

I wanted to blog about this last night, but I was fighting a headache. Today, the house seems that much emptier, so perhaps doing this now provides therapy when I need it more. I already miss her retarded meow, and the way she'd follow me around the house for minutes at a time. She certainly leaves a bigger void than the 5 pounds of mass no longer here.

This one's for you, Kitty:

03 June 2008

Dogs on Dixie

A couple weeks ago, I got pulled over by one rather large waste of money in a uniform. Speed traps are not only insulting to drivers. They also reduce the policemen working them to traffic machines. Were I not one of only five cars on Dixie Highway at the time, I might agree that they were doing something to benefit other drivers. Clearly, the event was more a fundraiser for the city than a declaration of road safety. Unfortunately for me, I was the guy paying more attention to the road and less attention to my speedometer; as a result, I am penalized for...accelerating to pass another car.

The police"man" stepped into the road to direct me over. In an alternate universe, I plowed straight through his ass. Luckily for him, I'm a safe driver in this one. As he cited me for "unlawful speeding," I complained to his partner in legal crime. The partner listening to my loose mouth claimed he's never been pulled over since becoming a policeman. Maybe he was telling the truth. Maybe he wasn't. Either way, he will probably never know how I felt in that moment. And he'll certainly never know what it's like to pay an exorbitant amount of money so Chief Hog can meet the monthly quota.

It's a funny thing about Dixie Hwy. Going north, the speed limit is 35. Going south, it's 40. Guess which way I was going. Yep, 52 in the 35. Like I said, I wasn't on constant speedometer watch (because I prefer to watch the road, you know, that direction my car is headed). I can't honestly say whether I hit 52 or not. I probably did. What I refuse to believe, however, is that 35 is a reasonable speed limit for Dixie Hwy. The wide, grassy median sports a north-south train track while industries and establishments line the road sides. Where's the residentiality that would warrant 35, or even 40mph going the other way?

Traffic cops know where to put the speed traps. They put them where the speed limit seems inappropriately under-set. Then they suck in their stomachs against the shaded side of a building and wait for the fastest of the few to come along. I was only trying to go somewhere and be productive. I'm not against policing Florida drivers. I'm just curious why the traffic police can't focus their authority on the drivers like the ones cutting me off with a fist in the air or the ones tailgating me with a phone in their ear? It is counter-logic to only penalize someone for driving over a certain speed. Seems to me, it's not necessarily how fast I drive; it's how I drive. I don't think radar guns can detect when I have both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road.

Did you know it is illegal to refuse signing a traffic ticket? When the issuing cop handed me the ticket for my signature, I was fuming fucking mad, so I took the clipboard and drew a fast line as my signature. He informed me I was required by law to sign as it appears on my license. I told him it didn't matter if I did, like it doesn't really matter what you do on a credit card line. In excited motion, he opened my door and ordered me out of the car, threatening me with arrest. I think I actually saw semen seeping through his pants.

I knew anything that followed would not proceed my way if I got out of the car. Fighting hollow citations is far more effective than fighting power-hungry humans.The badge on his shirt gives him the power to do almost anything he wants. If he saw me as angry (which I was), he has the authority to tase me, shoot me, beat me, or do whatever he deems necessary. And then he'll charge me for "resisting arrest" and whatever official name they give "not signing a traffic citation." If I'm lucky he will forget about the "unlawful speeding" offense. I don't agree with this fact of law, but I recognize its unfortunate presence. so in an amazing moment of sudden humility, I told him, "Fine. Give it here. I'll sign your bullshit."

Most everyone I know is nice to the police who pull them over, but I'm telling you, you are making a mistake. Think about the long run. Any courtesy you show them only adds to the power they feel. And they are not just doing their jobs. I'm vomitingly tired of hearing that line. If someone doesn't want to feel the wrath of the people, then that person should not take a relatively comfy job in public service. They work for us, so they should be able to listen to our heart-felt criticism without retreating behind their authority.

Nuff said. Obviously this is a sore subject for me. I had to get the good news out about baby z before I could handle these emotions. In closing, I'd just like to say to traffic cops all over the land...

Get a job, buddy. What you're doing now is not work. It's robot-ing for an organization that steals the other kids' lunch money. Now, if you get out there and focus solely on dangerous drivers, then you will have earned my respect.

29 May 2008

zimdog's z-word series: zygote

the zimpuppy that formed from my birds getting busy with Emily's bees

Here's a picture of our l'il zimdog(ette). Look on the right edge of the dark spot. It's the weird clump of stuff that looks like a black-eyed pea. The zimpuppy is not a total surprise to us. As a married couple, we have God's permission to... you know, do that thing where I move my index finger in and out of a tunnel Emily makes with her hand. Maybe this is God's way of rewarding us for finally trying that missionary-style.

From the moment I knew I had helped make something so cool, it was pretty much the most exciting thing that had happened all month... or maybe a little longer than that. Let me tell you, everything changed when the baby doctor stuck a magic wand up my wife's vagina, and I got to see a six-week-old heart beating. I'm hooked.

I can't really top this z-word, so zygote may very well be the last in the series. Oh, and I'm a lazy blogger. From here on, expect more blogs about zimdog's zimpuppy series instead. Also, visit Emily's page for regular updates: Story of a girl...or boy