Archive for June, 2007

Sexual Inter Course

20 June 2007

Hmm, perhaps they’re looking for something in which to enroll?

I thought, at first, that I might have this contest locked: fully most of my search traffic involves sex whether of the human, vampire, cartoon or even the seemingly oxymoronic ‘furry reptilian’ variety.

Which says something, about the internets or my weblog, or both.

But, in fact, Matt sets the bar quite high, I don’t think even my worst sicko reader can compete with “cats as sexual partners.” Well at least not this week….

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Death Throes pt. 1

14 June 2007


Deceased White Pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos, on the north shore of Great Salt Lake.

About 100 meters from Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty”, I once stumbled across this pickled pelican. Interestingly, others have noted (1, 2) a scattering of dead pelicans around the large earth and rock spiral artpiece which juts out from the north shore of the Great Salt Lake. In fact, there are even Flickr photos of what appears to be a different individual. Large colonies of nesting White Pelicans on nearby islands are the presumed source of the dessicated cadavers, which might float some distance across the lake until being left high and dry by receding waters.

These salt mummies are oddly appropriate accents to an art piece concerned with time and permanence. In fact, Smithson’s 1970 film about Spiral Jetty even includes a sequence with the ‘Trachodon mummy‘, an exceptionally preserved 65 million -year-dead hadrosaur fossil discovered by Charles Sternberg in 1908, which you can see for yourself. In the just barely under-the-top scene1, Smithson uses a spooky blood-red filter to turn the natural history museum into something out of Hostel part II.


Smithson’s intent would seem to be to forge a direct link between the silent testimony of the fossil and his own attempt to reify time (that’s right, I said ‘reify’). I wouldn’t give either the pelican or the jetty good odds at sticking around for 65 million years, although in retrospect, who could have said the Edmontosaurus would?

Smithon’s construction has undergone several briny baptisms which have left an aura (or perhaps crust is a better term) of agedness that belies the fact that it was constructed, geologically yesterday. The pelican, conversely, has been preserved in a state of arrested decay, spared the instant deconstruction fated most no-longer metabolizing clots of nitrogen and carbon.

Both strike the addled visitor as rather insignificant blemishes on the gleaming crystalline flats. But in a sea of uniformity, blemishes catch the eye.

Wait a minute, didn’t I promise a ‘sciencey’ post? Don’t worry we’re getting there…maybe.

1 – Actually, I haven’t seen this film since college. It might not even be Sternberg’s ‘trachodon’ in the movie, but it’s something like it. There is a clip on youtube. It’s not the hadromummy scene, but one with a vaguely chilling foreshadowing of Smithon’s death in a plane crash while surveying another piece in Texas.

effing immediacy

13 June 2007



 So, I promised a real post for yesterday.  And…it’s still not ready.  In the meanwhile checkout the hollyhock weevil threesome.  I know, not a great angle, but if you have hollyhocks blooming near you I can virtually guarantee the same antics are going on right under your rostrum.


We’ve tried this before.  Truly, there is nothing new under the sun.


Crazy illustrated mashup of Robert Smithson+opisthontonicity+pelicans on its way…

Multimedial Allegoriganza

11 June 2007


It rarely gets more ‘meta’: watching a slide-show about lava tubes inside a lava tube. Was that pop the sound of your head exploding? If not, try the movie version: Read the rest of this entry »

iz in ur flower gathrn ur pollenz (or, ‘Apis-mania 4’)

10 June 2007


Decimating Birds: Episode VI – To Tell a Titmouse

8 June 2007


Let’s set aside strange phallic flowers and take up small gray birds with snicker-inducing names.

So, here’s most beautiful bird #6, the celebrated Lava Beds Titmouse, Baeolophus something-or-other. To many, it may be be a dicky bird. To William Gambel it would have been a plain-old Plain Titmouse, which was good enough until 1996. For the contemporary birder, it’s something of a headache.

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What’s that sucking sound?

3 June 2007


Snowplant, Sarcodes sanguinea, you can read more about it here.

Apologies for all of the accumulated leaf litter around here.  I’ve been spending too much time enjoying nature and not enough blogging it.  New material will be popping up soon…