Archive for July 26th, 2009
I once saw this activity at the turtle exhibit at the local zoo, and it didn’t take a biologist to tell me that I was not misinterpreting what I was seeing. These turtles seem incredibly almost-human, even though they didn’t smoke cigarettes afterward. Captured here in living color close-up, I’m posting this video as an animals-in the-wild education video:
Watching this reminded me of watching David Attenborough “Trials of Life” series with my then four-year old daughter. One of these exquisitely filmed Attenborough videos, which was on the topic of animal reproduction, included more explicit animal sex videos than I could ever had imagined, including elephant sex. At first I wondered whether I should be letting the video keep running. While I was contemplating my options, my daughter looked up and asked, “Daddy, what are those elephants doing?” I found myself saying, “Those are elephants having sex.” I didn’t offer any further explanation and my daughter didn’t request one. We quietly watched the entire video and now, 7 years later, my daughter doesn’t seem to be emotionally damaged from having seen the episode.
Oh, and according to doctors polled by the U.K. Guardian, having sex before going to bed is the second-best way to have a good night’s sleep. The winning solution was for couples to sleep in separate beds.
We can’t talk. Or, rather, we can only talk in canned narratives, as Glenn C. Loury writes in the NYT:
[T]his convenient story line is reflected in an all-too-familiar narrative: “Here we are, 45 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with a black man in the White House. And yet, it is still the case that a distinguished Harvard professor, standing on his own front step, can be treated like a common criminal simply because he’s black. Obviously it is way too soon to declare that we have entered a post-racial era … .”
As far as I am concerned, the ubiquity of this narrative shows that we are incapable of talking straight with one another about race. And this much-publicized incident is emblematic of precisely nothing at all. Rather, the Gates arrest is a made-for-cable-TV tempest in a teapot.
Therefore, as many people use the Gates incident to teach lessons about race, the reality is that objective people are left to wonder whether the case was about race at all.
My principle became, roughly speaking, bike in such a way that even relatively inattentive drivers can be expected to see you and know what you’re going to do next. Also: don’t be annoying to pedestrians. I began halting at red lights and stop signs. (Later I relaxed this somewhat, almost to Idaho rules.) I made sure to bike in the bike lane, if there was one (or on the outer edge of it, if biking inside it was going to put me within swinging distance of the opening doors of parked cars). I stayed off sidewalks. And I never, ever biked the wrong way down a one-way street.
Since having this epiphany, “Steamboats” has loosened up a bit, including his approval of the “stop as yield” law used in Idaho.
I admit that I rarely stop at stopsigns such that my feet both come to the ground. At 1 am, I don’t sit there waiting for the light to change. On a particularly dangerous overpass, I ride on a sidewalk for a quarter-mile. On the other hand, I am aggravated by the bicycle riding behavior of many riders because it is so often dangerous, not because it’s a violation of a law. So often, when you see a cyclist violating a law, he or she is simultaneously breaking five laws. The person I have in mind is the wrong-way rider who violates a stoplight in the dark without any bicycle light, while not wearing a helmet, while failing to signal.