…to take the sausages out of my trunk.
Allow me to explain.
I once saw a program on television that explained that most sentences we speak are unique. I think of this every so often when I hear myself say or think an unlikely combination of words. “Don’t forget to remind me to take the sausages out of my trunk” is one I said today. I’ll send a $10 Amazon gift certificate to the first person who can claim they’ve uttered—or even thought—that sentence before reading it here. (You’ll need to describe the circumstances for me to believe you.)
I guess the point of starting this way today is that so many random thoughts come to mind and it’s hard to find the moment to capture them, let alone write what I’d like about them. I felt that last Friday’s post, in particular, didn’t cover everything that was on my mind that I meant to write about.
I intended to tell you about the wonders of nature that sprout from the ground in front of my house. Oh, right. I did do that last week in Does God Speak through Phallus Impudicus? But no, this is something different. Believe it or not. What a party it is out there.
Each spring, the same snapping turtle emerges from the swamp—excuse me, wetlands—behind my house, lumbers to the same spot, and lays her eggs. It’s not exactly subtle. She’s about a foot long and spends several hours scouting the area, testing the ground by digging sample holes, and then eventually settling on a spot within a short distance of wherever she laid her eggs the previous year. By the time she’s ready to deposit the eggs, my side yard looks as if a nursery school class mistook it for a sandbox.
With her back flippers—which resemble bear claws—she begins to dig. She uses the flippers sometimes as a shovel, sometimes as a mining drill to create an underground cave with a small opening at the top over which she positions her body.
It’s too long a process—10 hours? 12?—to pull up a lawn chair and watch the whole show. It’s intriguing but no Nicholas Nickleby. So I was fortunate to come upon her one year to see, just under her tail, white globes about half the size of ping pong balls dropping out of her and into the pit. I hate to mix my metaphors, but it was very like watching pearls being threaded onto an invisible string in a slow but steady rhythm.
After she finishes laying, she uses those giant flippers to fill the hole, and then she begins her trek back to the swamp.
One year, I saw a baby snapper with an apparently broken compass ambling down my driveway toward the street. (And you wonder why they lay so many eggs.) I quickly walked over to the where the eggs had been laid to see if there were any more babies, but the little guy lost was apparently a straggler; all I found was the abandoned hole with its ghost town below.
But this year…Jackpot! My lawn was swarming with baby snapping turtles heading in various directions. I took a bunch of pictures with my cell phone’s camera.
Here I count five turles out (only one heading in the right direction, I’m afraid) and I two little heads poking out from under the tale of the last one out.
This fellow is heading toward the street. That’s an acorn in front of him if you’re trying to get a sense of scale.
This appears to be a close-up of the earlier shot, where you can see two heads in the hole, and one on top of another outside of the hole.
This was a slightly zoomed out shot so you can get a sense of what a swarm of baby turtles looks like. Six are out and a couple more are in the hole..
This one was cute because the guy that’s coming out of the hole was just hanging out and looking around, enjoying the view while the few that were behind him waited impatiently.
This gives you a good sense of how they climb out. Five out, one coming.
That about covers the turtles.
Something else I wanted to talk about is Sarah Palin. Over the past week or so since she came on the scene, I have been assessing her. In all honesty, I have been very conflicted about the Obama candidacy, because I strongly felt that Hilary Clinton was the best candidate. To my mind, it wasn’t even close. I’m not sold on Obama. In Massachusetts, someone similarly winning in personality and with a compelling story ran for governor. I was inspired by him, and believed in him. Together we can. He won.
But the fact is, as smart as Deval Patrick is, his governorship so far has failed to deliver on its promises, not because he abandoned his principles, but because, lacking political experience, he couldn’t convert his rhetoric into action. I do think he’s finally starting to understand Massachusetts politics, and I still hope he succeeds in transforming the economics of this state, which rely too heavily on an unfairly distributed property tax.
I feel that Obama similarly offers exciting rhetoric with not enough behind it. I’m a lifelong Democrat and dedicated liberal (but not the tax-and-spend kind they keep telling you we are), but my lukewarm feelings about my party’s candidate have me at least listening to the other side. I have voted only once for a Republican, and that’s because the Democrat he was running against was a madman. My voting for a Republican for president is beyond unlikely.
But I have to give the McCain campaign credit. The Sarah Palin selection was brilliant. You can call it pandering or whatever you want, but it certainly caught everyone’s attention. And Palin has energized the party. Furthermore, she’s a female candidate Republicans can get behind. What does that tell you about the brilliance of that selection?
Here’s what I’m concerned about. I have always thought of the Democrats as the good guys. It’s our candidates that get smeared with ridiculous accusations—of being unpatriotic (Obama and his wife), of being a terrorist (that’s Obama again), of being someone who wants rapists and murderers to roam the streets (Dukakis). It pisses me off, especially that they get away with it.
What’s troubling to me is that the same is being done to Sarah Palin. The rumors and lies being spread about her are as bad as any that have been spread about Democratic candidates.
Let’s not be hypocritical; if we want them to play fair, we should play fair.
The Boston Globe today printed a logical, factual rundown of why Sarah Palin is no more fit to be president were McCain to die in office than George W. Bush was (and we know how well that turned out). I’m convinced she is not a person I want to be president, exciting as the prospect of a woman president is. But I waited until the facts were available and parsed before making a judgment, rather than jumping into the mud pit like so many people seem to be doing.
I would like to see both sides show some class and civility. Whichever way you vote, please rise above the trash, listen to the facts, and repeat only information you can verify as true. If you’re not sure, check it out on Snopes (as you should for every “newsworthy” e-mail you get before forwarding it) or just google whatever it is and the word “haox.”
I did have one more topic to cover, but I’ll never get the turtles up if I spend the time editing it, so I will hold off on that fascinating topic until next week.
As always (especially when I’m jabbering somewhat aimlessly), thanks for reading,