The Galapagos Tortoises in Their Relation to the Whaling Industry — Charles Haskins Townsend, Director of the New York Aquarium

    The sizes attained by tortoises of the Galapagos were probably as great as those recorded of tortoises taken from islands of the Indian Ocean, one of which, now in the BFitish Museum, had a weight of eight hundred and seventy pounds. They may have been even greater, but the weights of the monsters described by whalers in the following pages were estimates only. In the matter of length we are better informed. There are specimens in European museums in which the straight length of carapace exceeds four feet and in American museums, three and a half feet, Porter describes the taking of tortoises on Indefatigable Island in 1812 “of an enormous size, one of which measured five feet and a half long.”



    And over Leda she had made a Swan his wings to splay.

    Ovid, Metamorphoses, VI.134

Germaine Greer on the literary worth of old wives tales | Books | The Guardian

    Even a tale with a male hero, such as Jack and the Beanstalk, is centered in the female world. Jack’s most important relationship is with his mother, who resorts to violence to discipline him, without success. His climbing the beanstalk can be seen as an attempt to escape to the superior masculine world, which turns out to be the realm of an ogre, whose wife is Jack’s only ally. The world at the top of the beanstalk is a mirror image of the world below, except that it is dominated by a destructive male who is eventually made to crash to the ground when Jack cuts down the beanstalk. The old wives who first told the story cast themselves in the story in two familiar roles, the bad mother (Jack’s lone parent) and the good mother (the brutal father figure’s gentle wife).

Last typist refuses to switch to laptop, gets boot from Writers Room in Greenwich Village

    “In the event that there are no desks available, laptop users must make room for typists,”

Cute Dog Rides Turtle

    I disagree with the title, which is obviously meant to make us forget history. I suggest “Stupid bourgeois dog rides on oppressed proletarian turtle.”

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    I’m trying now to imagine a world looking back into history at a time when discussion about human rights were commonplace. Where practically the entire land surface of the planet, plus so many miles into the oceans, belonged to the territory of some government. And the movements and rights of individuals were tied to whether or not those governments could claim you as a citizen before assuring you of those movements and rights.

    I’d like to believe the future will be more sensible. That anyone can live wherever in the world they desired as long as they agreed to obey the laws of that place. That the full rights described by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights would be accorded without question, and not limited to those who were citizens of that place.

    Perhaps this world would look at the concept of citizenship as just another exclusionary rule of suppression. I wonder what the people of the future will think of us and our rules on citizenship? My guess is that we will be perceived the same way people of today perceive slave owners in Virginia in 1861.

    Image: Japanese Latino family being moved into an internment camp