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November 22, 2004

Time constraints

I am agonizing through writing a feature on the Bush administration for Earth Island Journal. I would rather be doing almost anything but. It's an unpleasant topic populated by unpleasant people. and my deadline is yesterday.

So I procrastinate by looking at blogs for a minute, and I find that Rana has written a piece on the western regional perspective (and politics, and crayons) that starts the ideas and counterpoints and tangents dancing through my preoccupied little brain, making it all that much harder to pull my mind back to scurrilous individuals such as Gonzales and Imhofe.

It's not fair. I wanna play with the green crayons too.

Anyway, go read what Rana wrote. It's even safe for Republicans this time.


Have you ever picked up a banana slug? They've got this deceptive matte finish, and they look as though they might be made out of a substance similar to rubber or gummi. And then you touch the slug, and it recoils and so do you, because the things are absolutely covered with slime.

It's an impossible substance, both a tenacious adhesive and effective lubricant. The person who synthesizes an artifical substitute will retire rich as Croesus, because you could slather it on a boxcar and push it down the street on its back at 60 miles per hour. And you've got the stuff on your hand.

You wipe your hand off on the nearest fencepost, which doesn't remove any of it, but does transfer some of the fencepost dirt to your hand. You wipe on the pavement: same deal. If you're near a sink, you start the hot water, grab the strongest dish detergent you can find, and scrub it into the banana slug juice with a plastic scrubbie, but that takes maybe a third of it off after fifteen minutes of work. You have to wait for that layer of skin to slough off to get rid of the slime altogether.

That's what it feels like to write about the people in this goddamn administration. Except that the soap doesn't work at all on their slime.

Posted by Chris Clarke at November 22, 2004 04:46 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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greetings neighbor…whatta drag to have to write about those assholes- i can't even bear to think about them. i still get up every morning and watch amy goodman but beyond that i cannot go. must be really hard for a romantic such as yourself-i've been reading yer love letters-to turn from those bittersweet memories to the hateful faithful. if only we could love them to death.

i've been doing a lot of memory wallowing myself since you sparked the buffalo connection. when i went back to wyoming county, where we spent our summers
(and a few winters during the war), i was amazed at how different the landscape was from any place else that i've been. being in the woods there wasn't like being in the woods anywhere out here and it 's gotten me wondering if those woods aren't what i've been wandering around here looking for. maybe that's why i like the desert so much-no chanch of finding the lost land of my dreams there.

well…slog on soldier…soon you'll be out of the trenches and back home with your loved ones. your grateful readers await your return!

regards, sk

Posted by: sk at November 23, 2004 01:11 AM
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I'm laughing about the banana slug slime. When I was growing up, all 5th graders spent a week at a sort of camping program called "Outdoor Ed" and one of the rites of passage was to touch or -- for the daring -- kiss a banana slug. Those who did lay lips to the slug reported another interesting aspect of the slime: it made their lips go numb!

(And thanks for the link.)

Posted by: Rana at November 23, 2004 09:57 AM
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On Sunday at a birthday dinner for my niece, my brother Gordon asked me, "what's the stickiest substance in the world?" And I said with no hesitation, "slug slime." It was a high-five moment as that was his answer, too.

Gordon had carried a slug that got in the house outside rather than kill it. He and I are the soft-hearted kind of people who do this with wandering bugs (except mosquitoes, slap!). And as a result, he had the slime on his hands for a day or so.

I think I've read something about the way to remove it being to put something non-wet onto it, because it just loves water and absorbs it and makes itself bigger and slimier with it than without it.

Aha, here it is:

"You may have noticed a peculiar property of slug slime. It's really difficult to wash off your hands. Field Guide to the Slug explains why: "Slug mucus absorbs water, helping to prevent dehydration -- a serious threat to any terrestrial creature of aquatic ancestry. "This is one reason that slug slime is nearly impossible to wash off. Rubbing your hands under running water only makes it worse; the slime should be wiped off with a dry towel before you wash. Or try rubbing your dry hands together, in much the same way you'd remove rubber cement. The slime can be rolled into a ball and discarded."

At an apartment complex in which I used to live, every rain caused slugs to emerge from the lawn and cross the sidewalk. After seeing a few sad squished slugs, I put up a "slug crossing" sign, complete with slug silhouette, made from the yellow plastic of a laundry detergent bottle. I stapled it to a paint stirrer and stuck it in the ground next to the sidewalk area where they tended to appear. I don't know if anyone even noticed it but it made me feel a little better. And slugs are fun to draw, because of their eyes on stalks.

You'd think that a slug might need a fair amount of room to live in, but at least one hangs out by the barrel planter by my front door, which has no earth adjacent to it at all. It's on a city sidewalk. I see the slime trails when it's recently rained. I guess a few leaves is all it needs to survive, and the plants in the barrel aren't noticeably damaged by it, so all's fair I guess.

Posted by: JoAnne at November 23, 2004 10:01 PM
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