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autobiography Blog

Deodorant: A Life Philosophy

deodorantMy brother always tells me I smell bad, so I tend to use a lot of deodorant. You can imagine how excited I was to find Target selling my brand of deodorant in packages of three. You see, normally I have to buy deodorant one stick at a time, which is incredibly inefficient. Why make a trip to the store to buy just one stick of deodorant, when you can get three? They should last me months.

I had a roommate in college who bought a huge tub of shampoo. That was a really good idea. He told me he wished he could buy a year’s worth of shampoo all at once. That way, he wouldn’t have to worry about running out. I could sympathize. You already know what kind of shampoo you’re going to get, but the hassle is remembering when you need it and then physically going to the store and buying it. Why not cut out the middleman and just have the shampoo all the time, for the rest of your life?
It’s not like I’m going to change my mind about what kind of deodorant I use. My tastes haven’t changed since I was 12. (That’s a slight exaggeration.) There were actually two events that crystallized the brand and type of deodorant that I buy. The first happened when I was 12.
My science teacher, a man who infamously made us run our own multiple-choice tests through the Scan-Tron machine in class (that way, everyone could hear whether you did well or poorly), was also the man responsible for our brief “Health” lessons. This included Sex-Ed. For reasons I’m still unsure of, he decided to tell us all about deodorant. He said you shouldn’t put more than “a fingernail’s thickness” of deodorant on your underarm. Whose fingernail, and how you’d get that much deodorant on in the first place is anyone’s guess. His other major contribution to my learning was stating that the aluminum content in antiperspirant deodorants was thought to cause Alzheimer’s. His advice? “Smell bad now, or lose your mind later.” There was another option, thankfully. Deodorant (without the antiperspirant) does not contain aluminum. You could smell okay (but still be sweaty) and the possibility of getting Alzheimer’s was not increased. A perfect middle path.
I learned years later that my science teacher was full of it. There is no known linkage from wearing antiperspirant deodorant and Alzheimer’s. But by then my tastes were already solidified. No going back now.

The second event that locked in my brand of deodorant was my not wanting to be like my brother. My brother used the same brand of deodorant as I did. He got the “Original” scent. I was not about to smell like my brother, who is, in all honesty, really lame. I got “Pure Sport.” I figured, I liked athletics, and you can’t really go wrong with smelling “Pure.” It is the deodorant I have worn to this day.

(Below is an episode from my college comic strip Atticus and Glen. You can see I’ve done a lot of thinking about deodorant over the years.)

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Blog friday robot

Friday Robots

This robot was caught scrambling through a Japanese Garden.
Pieces of him were flying everywhere.
He had things to do, places to be.
I was lucky to catch a fleeting glimpse.friday-robots-9-19-08

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Why does Jason kill?

jason9For many of us, the urge to kill is something that we can suppress from day to day. Unlike eating, breathing, and sleeping, murder does not fall under the umbrella of daily necessities. Jason Voorhees is not like most people.jason1

Introduced to an unprepared public at the very end of the seminal film Friday the 13th (1980), Jason has since gone through many transformations. In the beginning, he was a tragic drowning victim – a statistic to be filed under accidents that happen at summer camp. Who knew that he would go on to murder dozens and dozens of unsuspecting teenagers in the ensuing years? Certainly not the camp counselors who should have been watching him when he swam out into Camp Crystal Lake’s deeper waters. To their credit, they had better things to do than monitor the safety of their campers. They were humping like cats in heat.

Those camp counselors would not be the ones who paid for Jason’s drowning. It would be the collective burden of every horny teenager that followed (and more than a few adults). Years after his preventable drowning, Jason rose from his underwater grave and began his quest to kill every person he met.

Compounding the problem is the murder of Jason’s mother, Pamela Voorhees. Second-hand sources say that Jason, while still slumbering in Davy Jones’ locker, awoke when he heard his mother fighting with a camper on the shores of the Camp Crystal Lake. He woke up just in time to see her beheaded by the camper. Granted, she had been on a killing spree up to that point, but Jason was unaware of that fact. He only witnessed her death. This anger, the anger of watching your own mother die at the hands of a teenage camper, may propel Jason’s rage.

As to why Jason keeps killing long after it is socially acceptable: it’s anyone’s guess. There are almost as many theories as there are experts. One thing that everyone can agree on, though, is that Jason has passed the normal stages of grief (both for his own death and for his mother’s) and moved into uncharted psychological waters.

Jason’s motives may be unclear, as may his mental state, but his killing methods have been well-documented. Beginning with Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) and extending as recently as 2001 with the release of Jason X, Jason has used an array of weaponry. (An unofficial addendum, Freddy Vs. Jason, exists but experts are unsure as to how this fits with the Jason canon.) Jason prefers knives, throwing people from windows, strangling people with cord or wire, or mangling then killing with shrub clippers and assorted cleavers. Jason doesn’t have a proven track record with guns or larger military-style weaponry; his is a personal war fought at the hand-to-hand level.

Complicating matters further is Jason’s mortality and lifestyle. He has died in nearly all the Friday the 13th movies, yet he manages to return as easily as walking through a door. He is nearly silent – except for a few grunts and the occasional moan, Jason doesn’t have much to say either to his victims or the press. He lives, one assumes, alone. This Spartan lifestyle may suit him, but humans are social creatures. He could use a friend if he is to make any sort of recovery.

There are few cases of killers as compelling and well-documented as Jason Voorhees. Yet for all the talk, all the film showing his complex psyche to the world, we have so much to learn from Jason. What does he want? What are his needs? Why does he kill? Will he ever find happiness? What would he have been without tragedy early in his life? Sadly, we may never know the answer to these questions.

Jason is a unique and tragic figure. Kind of like Marilyn Monroe, except hideously deformed and psychotic. And he is a man. But like Marilyn Monroe, his candle burned out long before his legend ever will.jason4

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what is a javelina?

javelina2 Pam, our perpetual Babe of the Month here at Falling Rock National Park, is a javelina. The photos you see here are of real javelina at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.

But what is a javelina? Growing up in the desert as I did, I was surprised when people would stare at me blankly when I referenced a javelina. Heck, Blogger keeps telling me that I’m misspelling the word “javelina” as I type this post.

One of the biggest misconceptions about javelina is that they are pigs. Not so, says Texas A&M-Kingsville. Javelinas are also known as collared peccary, partly because of the ring of fur around their necks that resembles a collar.javelina3

For a good description of javelina, one cannot go wrong with this, taken from the above-mentioned desert museum:

Javelina meander in loose groups, feeding as they move through an area. They dig up roots and bulbs with their sharp hooves or with their snouts. They eat prickly pear cacti, spines and all, by tearing off bites with their large canines. Because they don’t have sharp cutting teeth, much fibrous material is left on the prickly pear. Javelina chew as they walk, so bits and pieces fall from their mouths, sometimes leaving a short trail.

Javelina live in groups of 2 to 20 animals, the average being about 8 to 12. Each group defends a territory of about 700 to 800 acres, the size and boundaries varying in different seasons and different years; the territories include bed grounds and feeding areas, but they may overlap at critical resources, especially watering holes. An older, experienced sow leads the herd, determining when to bed down, feed, or go to water. Javelina have no defined breeding season; the babies, usually twins, can be born in any month. Not many predators other than a mountain lion will attack an adult javelina, but the babies are also prey for coyotes, bobcats, and other animals.

Javelina have poor vision, relying instead on their sense of smell.javelina1

This link has a good list of differences between pigs and javelina. I even learned something new: javelina can be found in Argentina. Thanks, National Park Service.

My experience with javelina “in the wild,” so to speak, has been limited to early morning sightings along the sides of roads. They travel in packs and you’d better watch out if they decide to cross in front of you. I also saw a pair of javelina when I was out hiking around sunset. They didn’t wander near me, which is fine. They have a reputation for being rather stinky.

I hope this has cleared up a few questions about Pam. With better understanding, we can appreciate her even more.pam-babe-of-the-month