{ Under The Bluegums }

A personal blog with craft tutorials, reviews of books, films, and music, parenting advice, and opinions on society and politics.

April 24, 2009

Kermit

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When I was a little girl (not that I'm not still little!), I had one favourite soft toy that stands out in my head more than any of the others.

My dad came home one day, and told me a long sad story about this frog that was left on the side of the road, all alone, who had no one in the whole world, and begged to come home with him. The story goes that he brought him home as a friend for me.

To be honest, there is not much that I remember about that doll - just that I loved it a lot, it was green, was a Kermit the Frog doll, and that he had long dangly legs.

I can picture myself walking into the shopping centre that day, clutching him to my chest, long legs dangling over my forearms, head resting on my shoulder. I probably promised to look after him, as my parents probably warned me that I would lose him, and I probably demanded to take him with, as most little children do sometimes.

I think I keep finding myself standing in front of the chocolate stand because that's where I lost him - I left him there and when I came back he was gone. So I keep returning to the chocolate shelves, looking for my long lost toy, and leaving, clutching instead a chocolate.

If I had not lost him there, would I need chocolate as much as I seem to do!? (".)

April 23, 2009

Circular

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I was washing the dishes the other night and listening to the script of Style Her Famous and it occurred to me that everything about these makeover shows and about the entertainment industry in general is so circular!

The point of a makeover show is to give you confidence, so they proclaim. But the only reason that these women, and a lot of women out there, have a lack of confidence in themselves is because of the fashion world.

Everywhere we look we are bombarded by women who are "perfect", but we all know that we can look just as good as them with some Photoshop techniques applied to our "flaws" or some professionally-done make-up. And of course, a stylist who knows just what outfit will flatter us the most.

Just look at how beautiful normal girls look when they are pampered and preened as the celebrities of today are every day. Just imagine if we were not constantly exposed to this false beauty, and had real people to look up to.

How different would all women feel and be?

April 8, 2009

Lessons in Love

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Although humankind's courtship rituals might seem a little strange to some (count giving a woman flowers that will die, or chocolate that will make her fat, or something "for her kitchen"), these habits are nearly as strange as some seen in the animal world!

I found an old magazine article covering lessons that we humans might try to use during courtship and mating, and thought I'd find some as well. Do you think they'll work?

- The male Bedbug pierces a hole through his female's back with a spike on the front of his penis. He releases his sperm into the hole, and they have to swim in the female's blood until they reach her ovaries.

- Male beetle mites don't particularly care whether the spermatophores make it to a fertile female or not: they simply deposit large quantities of their sperm on the ground, and if a female happens along, she'll pick up some of these growths, which resemble fungi, and deposit them in her own reproductive organ.

- The male garden centipede is also a ground depositor: the substance is then found by a female, who takes it into her mouth and stores it in a special cheek pouch. When she feels she is ready, she places every egg into her mouth and smears some of the stored sperm on it.

- Male flatworms have a multifunctional penis (?). It is equipped with spikes and poison glands, and besides having a sexual function, it also catches prey (yikes! :) )

- Indian cobras take part in a mock fight before they mate. The female struggles violently, until they are eventually side by side with their heads and necks raised from the ground. The female will indicate her submission by placing her head on the ground, and, once the male has this signal, he brings one of his two penises into contact with her reproductive organ.

- The sex organs of octopus never touch - they look each other right in the face while the male ejaculates onto one of his tentacles, which he then uses to introduce the sperm to the female's reproductive organ.

- The fire salamander uses Rohypnol-like pheromones to intoxicate his quarry.

- The female grey whale must be gently rubbed between two males before she is aroused enough to mate. Only one of these males will be lucky enough to mate with her, while the other holds her in place.

- The female scorpion fly will copulate in direct proportion to the gift received by her mate.

- The fruit fly's sperm is four times its own body length and he offers it to his female of choice with a lilting melody of wing beats, which is unique to every fly.

I think the fruit fly's story sounds the sweetest!

Have you any strange courtship rituals to share? Human or non!?

April 3, 2009

To club or not to club...I don't know if it's really a question...

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As long as I can remember, human rights activists have been trying to stop the slaughter of seals. It is expected that as many as 338 200 of these gentle animals will be heartlessly clubbed to death in the snow.

Peta is once again calling for people to take action against this "tradition", particularly as Canada is preparing to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. It is hoped that this attention on the country will bring greater scrutiny, and hopefully instil a desire to become a positive example for the world.

What is the worst thing about these massacres are that, despite the idea of culling, the seals' skins, once their skulls are crushed or they are shot, are used for "fashion". Apparently, the sealers often hook seals in their sensitive areas to avoid damaging the pelt, and they don't usually check to see whether the seals are unconscious.

I don't really know how effective these pleas for petitions and action really are, considering that so many are made and yet so many animals are still savagely killed for their fur.

I'm not really sure why I keep writing about these stories; perhaps I liked their logo against the clubbing.

If you want to join the cause and try to stop the powers that be, you can do so here.