Wednesday, October 27 2004
Those of you who are sick of hearing about the slab project will be delighted to learn that it is finally completed. Here's a chronicle of its progress over the past few days. Remember, it measures ten feet by sixteen feet, a little larger than the footprint of my old Shaque:
My hands were ruined by the end of the day. They seemed as if they were on fire whenever I tried to do anything the slightest bit menial with them.
Today was a little warmer than it's been, and there were insects out and about. Most of these were large assassin bugs looking for crannies into which to crawl for the winter, although there were a few smallish yellow hornets that gave me a little too much attention. The most annoying insects belonged to a tiny species of bee. They were only about an eighth of an inch long, but they buzzed just in front of my face like mosquitos and I had to kill them to get any peace. Despite the fact that we've yet to have a frost, the last of the mosquitos have all disappeared.
On my drive home from a Woodstock housecall today I heard about the remains of tiny Homo erectus-era humanoids discovered on an island in Indonesia. This is the biggest, weirdest story to come out of Historical Anthropology since Darwin. The island-effect dwarfism of these newly-discovered humanoids isn't nearly as interesting as how recently they walked the earth, only thirteen thousand years ago! That's practically in historical times. I used to fantasize about what history would have had to say had a race of Marsupial humanoids (large-brained, tool-using, human-like bipeds descended from kangaroos) been discovered when westerners landed in Australia. But these little island humanoids have a potential for nearly the same amount of intrigue. What if they'd been living when white man landed? Would they have considered them human? (Probably not; in those days Pygmies were being displayed in zoos.) Would we consider them human today? What if they were incapable of speech? The cusp of humanity is already an ethical minefield even in the places where it doesn't matter. Luckily for today's ethicists, our ancestors made a good show of exterminating all the ambiguous cases.
Obsessively checking the latest tracking polls and political news is something I can't keep from doing in these, the final days of the most crucial presidential election of my lifetime. Invariably I find myself reading some article about the extreme measures being taken by Republican operatives to suppress the vote and it makes me want to go on a one man riot. With passions as high as they are and shenanigans increasingly desperate and transparent, I'm wondering if we'll see any polling place violence on Tuesday. Will there be fist fights? Gun battles? I guess it all depends on the extent to which we've become a banana republic. Speaking of which, Gretchen needs to take me clothes shopping very soon. I've destroyed all my trousers.
Gretchen and I both went outside briefly this evening to see the lunar eclipse. Thin clouds streamed over its dim honey-yellow disc. Ho hum, this particular astronomical event happens so regularly that it barely merits a mention. I still feel a little embarrassed about the time I initiated a crowd's applauding of a lunar eclipse atop Mont Real in Montreal (August 16th, 1989).
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