>> In response to Friday’s note about Gaga’s “cherry pie, cherry pie” . . .
Richard Factor: “Mondegreens. Did you know that’s what misheard lyrics are called? My own personal favorite is my mishearing of the semi-mononymous Elvis’s lyrics in Jailhouse Rock: ‘Everybody in the whole cell block…’ I heard as ‘Everybody in a wholesale frock…’ ”
>> In response to Friday’s note about Macklemore’s “Same Love” . . .
Tony Ksander: “Here’s a a way better version.”
☞ Yes! A lot easier to make out the words.
>> In response to yesterday’s post on the creatures of Amazonia . . .
Kathryn Lance: “To put the perils of the Amazon in perspective. Tarantula hawk wasps are also found in the southwestern US of A. They prey on tarantulas, not humans. Which is not to say it is a picnic to be stung by one, but they are only dangerous to tarantulas, which they sting and then drag into a hole, where they lay their eggs in the still-living but paralyzed tarantula. As for bird-eating spiders, did you know that here in these United States (and many other places, of course) praying mantises prey on HUMMINGBIRDS? It’s not uncommon to find a mantis hanging out above a hummingbird feeder, or near hummingbird flowers. The mantis catches the hummingbird, rips open its throat or other parts, and eats it. I’ve never seen this happen, but there are videos of it on the Internet, and I have seen a mantis lying in wait and grabbing for (but, luckily, missing) a hummingbird in my own front yard.”
☞ Okay, now I’m afraid to visit your front yard. Listen: I’m still scared to stay overnight in the Hamptons 40 years after reading Dan Greenburg’s (possibly exaggerated) account in New York Magazine. (“Spiders the size of dinner plates.”) I will visit during the day, but that’s it.
Tom Foley: “Umm, yes, so I thought it would be a great idea to take my 25-year-old god daughter on an ‘Amazon Adventure.’ So, this just in, it’s hot there, like really hot, and buggy, and did I mention hot? As we trundled through the rainforest (jungle), soggy, gooey, slippery, ridiculously dangerous (clearly no personal injury attorneys in that part of the world), we crossed over death-insuring plummets via a single 2′-by-8′ without ropes, railings, or harness. We did this a lot, over and over, as electrolytes leapt from our bodies in a sort of suicidal final effort at meaning. Much of this frolicking took place on (and I am totally not making this up) Anaconda Island. Eventually, we found our way to a rehabilitation center for local cuddly creatures, where I stood in the shade, only about 110, and heard the instructions for what to do . . . ‘in case a monkey jumps on you!’ It was that precise moment, just then, when I wondered out loud what the hell I was doing in the Amazon. By the way, you know what to do when a monkey jumps on you? Nothing. Well, that’s not true. First, you put your arms at your sides, then do nothing. Wouldn’t trade the experience with my god daughter for the world — she loved the trip — but I’ve felt better after car accidents. Anyway, rent the movie. Thanks for triggering the PTSD, you’ll be hearing from my people.”
☞ It seems that in addition to the stuff about jumping monkeys, Tom also “learned about rodents that are only slightly larger than [his] Golden Retriever guide dog.”
His . . . WHAT???
Turns out Tom is blind. Deputy Director of the World Institute on Disability, no less. “Scared the heck out of the poor guide for the first day or three, but that always happens.” He left his Golden Retriever home. “I was afraid something might eat him, and guide dogs are hard to replace.”
>> In response to the Republican outrage over the Benghazi tragedy, against which more precautions should certainly have been taken . . .
Peter Stolz: “Have you seen this?”
☞ It tallies the 10 embassy attacks under George W. Bush.
TOTAL DEATHS: 60
OUTRAGED REPUBLICANS: 0
Listen. I’m fine with breaking precedent when it’s broken in a progressive, constructive way. The first voluntary papal resignation in 719 years? I like it. Seems Eminently sensible, verging on modernity. But the unprecedented Republican Hagel haggling over Benghazi? And, more broadly, the unprecedented explosion in filibusters?
The country faces serious challenges with at least some obvious solutions (for example: crumbling infrastructure + millions unemployed eager to repair it + near-zero borrowing cost to finance that investment = a pretty obvious solution) but the minority party blocks those solutions — in the Senate, by the filibuster; in the House, by controlling the gavels even though fewer Americans voted for Republican House members than for Democratic members. Okay, that’s the way it is. But the solution to that is to work toward such massive Democratic turn-out in 2014 that, despite all the gerrymandering, we take back the House; and retain the Senate (and then, finally, require Senators who wish to filibuster actually to do it — at the very least — as in the movies).