So there we are, at a hawk watch station, asking for directions to the nearest Aplomado Falcon.
And we got them, but they were Birder Directions, which are a special kind of instructions similar to country directions, only worse and more so. “Go down to the end of the road, turn left at the scary-looking goat, look for a house with a green roof, and there’s a tree in the yard there, and if you wait five minutes, an Oak Titmouse will pop up.” There are directions like this in books.
These were delivered unto us by two elderly gentlemen, one of whom was as sharp as a tack and one of which was a trifle fuzzy, but could tell a hawk from a handsaw when it migrated overhead.
Needless to say, the fuzzy one was the one primarily giving directions, while Tina took notes.
(As I cannot remember the names of the two elderly gentlemen involved, I shall call them Bob and Frank.)
BOB: So you come out of here and you get on the big road…ah…511. 510? Maybe it’s 510. Does it have a number?
FRANK: 511, I think, if it’s the place I’m thinking about.
BOB: Right, right. So you take 511 and you go past the battle.
URSULA: …the battle?
BOB: Ah, you know, the old battle. There’s a marker. Maybe it’s a national park. Can’t think of the name of the battle. They’ve got a marker, though.
FRANK: Palo Alto.
BOB: Right, right. Don’t know why I couldn’t think of that. Anyway, it’s on the left. I think. There’ll be a marker or a park or something. Anyway, go past that.
TINA: Past it. Got it.
BOB: I don’t know how far past…couple of miles, I guess. You should pass Port Isabella Road. Not Port Isabella, though, the road. The old one. There’s a new one, but not this one. Actually, you could just take that road if you wanted…Do that. It’s easier. Well, anyway, so you pass the battle, right? Couple miles, I think. Do you know, Frank?
FRANK: Not that far.
BOB: Right, right. Okay, so then you come up on a road. Named after that fellow. Emerson Road. Is it Emerson Road? Doctor Emerson, that’s it.
FRANK: Thought it was Hugh Emerson.
BOB: Definitely Doctor Emerson.
FRANK: If you say so.
BOB: So you go past that, there’s a stoplight.
FRANK: Two stoplights.
BOB: Four stoplights.
FRANK: I don’t know if it’s that many.
BOB: Anyway, then you’ll see a bridge to nowhere.
BOB: It’s an overpass. You’d go under it, right? Except you don’t. Don’t go under it. There’s a frontage road, right? You know how they love their frontage roads here in Texas. Go on for miles. Every on ramp is like a mile long. They love ‘em.
URSULA: We’ve noticed.
BOB: But not this one. It’s short. Up to the bridge. Which doesn’t go anywhere.
TINA: Does it just…end…?
BOB: Sorta. Anyway, you take the frontage road and then you turn left and go over the bridge that doesn’t go anywhere—
URSULA: *has horrifying visions of the rental car hurtling off a cliff with Tina yelling “DO YOU SEE A FALCON!?” as we plummet to our deaths*
BOB: —and it’ll turn into a gravel road, right? And then you go—lord, Frank, how far is it? A mile?
FRANK: Not even.
BOB: Maybe a mile.
FRANK: Not a mile.
BOB: Well, anyway, there’s a railroad track. The old railroad track, they don’t use it any more. Maybe a mile down.
FRANK: *gazes upward*
BOB: And you go over the railroad track up to the bend in road—is it a mile to the bend, Frank?
FRANK: It is not even close to a mile.
BOB: And at the bend in the road, you stop and look left.
FRANK: There’s a nest box on a pole.
BOB: And a bunch of palm trees.
BOB: Yuccas. Right. Don’t know why I said palm trees. Anyway, there’ll be a falcon in the yuccas.
FRANK: They eat the yucca blossoms, and don’t ask me why a falcon eats yucca blossoms, but they do. It’s very strange. You’ll need a scope.
TINA: *stares at directions in mild dismay*
URSULA: *begins laughing with quiet hysteria*
So we did. We didn’t mean to, but we got lost trying to avoid a toll road and suddenly there was Dr. Hugh Emerson Road, and we passed it and the world’s shortest on-ramp (we had to actually reverse on the highway to get to it, it went by so fast) and the overpass did indeed go to a gravel road almost immediately, and nothing like a mile past the railroad tracks we stopped the car and looked to our left.
Sitting in solitary splendor among the yuccas was an Aplomado Falcon.
So, y’know. Birding.
I interviewed a young anthropologist working with women in Mali, a country in Africa where women go around with bare breasts. They’re always feeding their babies. And when she told them that in our culture men are fascinated with breasts there was an instant of shock. The women burst out laughing. They laughed so hard, they fell on the floor.
They said, “You mean, men act like babies?”
Carolyn Latteier, Breasts, the women’s perspective on an American obsession
It’s important to tell girls that they do not need to be sexual in order to be loved and respected. And it’s equally important to tell girls that as human beings they have bodily autonomy and can do whatever they see fit to do with their own person.
If you give one of these messages and not the other then you’re giving the incomplete truth.
sex negative for life.
I left liberal feminism, because it told me that I was only powerful if my power satisfied men’s needs
not to mention the call for more female CEOs without any criticism of the capitalist oppression that all CEOs perpetuate, and the women who are thrown underfoot for women to rise to the top of the corporate ladder
not to mention “it’s the CHOICE that’s important”
not to mention “feminism is the radical notion that women are people”
not to mention the white savior mentality and anyone who tells hijabis that they are anti-feminist
Feminism that aims, above all else, to be comfortable and accessible does more harm than good.
Comfort and accessibility within a corrupt and broken system does not dismantle the system itself.
Being palatable to the mainstream is not a strength when the mainstream is the problem.
Our cultural canon is built on the backs of young girls.You can’t read about any artistic history or movement — from punk rock to 18th century poetry — without reading about someone’s teenage mistress or girlfriend. Men with big egos and senses of entitlement combined with a lack of boundaries have always chewed up and swallowed emotionally immature young girls.Off the top of my head alone: Edgar Allan Poe married his 13-year-old cousin, as did Jerry Lee Lewis. Elvis Presley was obsessed with 14-year-old girls (like his would-be wife Priscilla, who was 14 when he met her) and lost interest in his sexual partners once they were no longer virgins.Ted Nugent has admitted to a fondness for underage girls, and at one point became 17-year-old girlfriend Pele Massa’s legal guardian to avoid hassle. Marvin Gaye was 33 when he started dating 16-year-old Janis Hunter. The Eagles’ Don Henley was arrested when police found a drugged, naked 16-year-old girl at his house. Salinger dated teenage girls.Iggy Pop allegedly slept with Sable Starr when she was only 13, then wrote the song “Look Away” about her. Starr went on to have relationships with Johnny Thunders of the New York Dolls and Richard Hell, all before turning 17. Chuck Berry went to jail for transporting an underage girl across state lines, and allegedly appeared in in a video urinating on a young girl in a hotel bathtub. Rob Lowe made a sex tape with a 16-year-old girl.Roman Polanski plead guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, then fled to France to escape imprisonment. Cher was 16 when she met 27-year-old Sonny Bono. Jimmy Page had a relationship with Lori Maddox, a 14-year-old groupie he proceeded to keep behind closed doors for years to avoid legal trouble. She was linked to David Bowie a year earlier.Charles Dickens left his wife for an 18-year-old and then publicly slandered his betrayed wife in the newspaper. Fifty-one-year-old Doug Hutchinson married 16-year-old Courtney Stodden. Bill Wyman, the Rolling Stones’ bassist, infamously “dated” 13-year-old Mandy Smith. Mackenzie Phillips’musician dad first raped her when she was 17 or 18.The above are not only just the ones that come to mind quickly, they’re just the ones who got caught. Our cultural canon is built on the backs of young girls.