Animal Husbandry

It was the Smithsonian headline that got our attention: “The American Bumblebee Has Vanished From Eight States”.

One of them was our ancestral home, Oregon. So we posted the story to Mark Zuckerberg’s Living Hell. Upon which an ancestral homie mentioned that he saw a bumblebee in Eugene last summer.

Yeah, well, anecdotal exception. But we couldn’t let it go. So we did what we do, and dived in.

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There’s not much to say about horse dewormer, not really. The absurdity of it, the metaphorical potential, is built-in. Reality superseded satire years ago; we’re all living in a comic wasteland now.

Everything’s been spinning out of control for what seems like forever. Not one, but two extinction-level events threaten us, not to mention a third that’s been hanging over our heads since 1945, before most of us were even born. That all three are of our own making shows that we don’t need to wait for a meteor to finish the job.

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  • Spring is bustin’ out all over!
  • Those new Marvel series are a lot of fun!
  • Everyone lends a hand when someone is beset by crippling medical expenses that could easily be addressed by a national healthcare system!

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We watched Jungle Book the other day, the first time we’ve seen it since it came out more than fifty years ago. We’re deeply familiar with the soundtrack — we wore the grooves off the album as a kid — but the movie itself, just two viewings, bookending our life to date.

A lot has happened in between.

So much so that Disney+ felt compelled to post a content warning before the movie started, saying not only that some character depictions were less than salutary, but the creators should have known better at the time and did it anyway.

That got our attention.

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It’s pointless, really. Everybody knows that. The last British monarch to exercise significant power — even then, slight and declining — was Queen Victoria. The British Empire, once counting a quarter of the world’s population as its subjects, has been whittled back down to the UK itself, and there’s no telling whether that will hold together after Brexit. The monarchy is just a show, now, available on Netflix.

What? Why, yes, of course we watched it. We’ve watched that movie as well, twice. Got up in the middle of the night to watch the wedding — sardonically, mind you. Happened to stumble onto CNN when the Paris news was breaking, and there went that weekend.

No excuses. We can’t help paying attention.

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There was a time in our life — we can’t remember when — when it was considered naive to think politicians could be bought.

It wasn’t so simple, we were told, not so obvious. You don’t just hand over a bag of cash and order a vote. No, it was far more subtle — the ability to make a call or walk into an office and command attention, a degree of access unavailable to a mere constituent. You’re buying influence, not action.

And that may have well been the case. Just like it was once the case that MTV played videos. Or that our nation once celebrated what we called “democratic norms”. But whatever world may have existed a generation or two back, it no longer exists today.

You might think folks would notice.

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Our mother recently discovered a photo of our grandfather’s high-school basketball team. This in itself was a surprise, since we had no idea Grandpa played basketball. Or, for that matter, that he was once young, because the eternal role of grandparents is to seem unbelievably old to their grandchildren.

Douglas High School won 12 of 16 games that year, almost doubling their opponents’ points, then went on to take the league championship.

The year was 1923. Douglas was, and is, in Juneau, Alaska, where both our mother and godmother grew up. Close friends, they would leave for college together, and eventually raise families within a short drive of each other. We watched the first Moon landing from our godparents’ house.

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