Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by RickAgresta, Oct 10, 2007.
< enter headache, stage left >
At the risk of TMI, I'm all for sharing showers given the right company.
Dang.... Looks like it would have been a nice discussion. But I've been caught in the return leg of my field trip since noon today. Still too far from home, caught in heavy traffic. And hungry, perhaps not enough to ponder the practical implications of cannibalism, but enough to refrain from adding to the argument.
'Soil Your Undies': Farmers plant crop of tighty-whities, hope for the best
In between rows of corn planted at James "Jay" Baxter IV's farm fields on the outskirts of Georgetown, there is a unique crop hidden beneath the surface: several pairs of brand-new underpants.
“If we can get our underwear to grow, I think that could be more lucrative than growing corn,” said Baxter, a fourth-generation Sussex County farmer who has wholeheartedly accepted the “Soil Your Undies” challenge.
Growing new pairs of tighty-whities is not the point of this peculiar planting. The challenge was proposed by the Sussex Conservation District to demonstrate what should happen to something organic — like a pair of cotton briefs — when soils are healthy.
The idea is that during the garment’s brief stint underground, the microbial organisms living in the soil will do what they do best, break down the organic material.
When the undies are uncovered next month, they should be largely decomposed. If the briefs are intact, that means the soil is not healthy enough to support the bacteria, earthworms and other creepy-crawlies that should be wriggling below the surface.
“It’s something fun to get people talking, something you can really see,” said Debbie Absher, director of agricultural programs with the Sussex Conservation District. Absher said soil health practices, such as the use of cover crops alongside no-till or minimal till practices will reflect in partially decomposed underwear — a signal of good soil health.
Sussex County farmers are participating in the "Soil Your Undies" challenge, which revolves around planting cotton tighty-whities to see how much biological activity is in the soil. (Photo: Courtesy of the Sussex Conservation District)
“We need to show folks what the farmers are doing for the environment and conservation,” Absher said.
In early July, Baxter and his 10-year-old son spent the morning planting a few pairs of tagless Hanes briefs in between their young corn crop, and also had the chance to goof off a little by donning fresh underwear hats.
“He’s a big fan of the Captain Underpants books, so it works really well for us,” Baxter said. “The [Sussex Conservation District] said they had bought me some brand-new underwear, so I couldn’t pass that up.”
In between the jokes, though, Baxter said the project is a meaningful experiment that will show whether his efforts to keep his soil healthy have paid off.
“My soil is my legacy, and just as my father and uncle and grandparents were able to conserve in the best way they knew how so they could pass it on to me, I hope to do the same with my kids,” he said. “And I want the average person to realize that farming is very technical. As ironic as it is that we’re burying underwear in the field, there’s a purpose behind it, to quantify the microscopic life in our soil.”
If the underwear emerges nearly unscathed? Then that means Baxter’s efforts to avoid tilling his fields and his use of cover crops in between plantings may not be working as well as he thought.
“It could be that we’re mistaken and we’re going about it wrong,” he said. “Then we’ll have to figure out what we need to change to make it better.”
Jay Baxter holds a handful of dirt, which he says crumbles effortlessly as an example of healthy soil. (Photo: Jay Baxter)
Some panties have been planted at Baxter's farm, where he uses cover crop and no-till or minimal till practices, while others have been planted at another Sussex County farm that relies on tilling the soil between crops, as well as one backyard.
"It's kind of a neat, funny way to show what's happening in the soil," said Jayme Arthurs, a resource conservationist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service in Delaware who also helped plant underwear last week. "It’s really a visually striking thing when you hold up a pair of extra-large tighty-whities and look at the difference between them. What’s more fun than a pair of big tighty-whities? It brings some fun and levity into the whole process."
This Retirement Home for Older Cats Will Inspire You
by Shayla Thiel Stern, nextavenue.org
July 2, 2018
(Editor’s Note: The Atlantic released an extended video featuring Bruce and Terry Jenkins’ Cats Cradle that is worth watching.)
In retirement, Bruce and Terry Jenkins of Lutz, Fla., knew they wanted to do something that made a difference in the lives of others, and they had an idea that the next chapter for them meant their life (and acreage) would literally go to the cats.
The Jenkinses opened Cats Cradle Cat Sanctuary and Hospice — a space that can only be described as the most amazing sanctuary (and retirement home) for older cats in crisis — cats who are over age 10 and beyond the typical shelter’s adoption age.
“I would like to tell folks that when they retire, as we have, taking care of creatures is a wonderful purpose,” said Bruce. He and Terry currently have 25 cats in their sanctuary, which is housed in the same acreage where they live.
Their backyard, which once was filled with a Western-themed playset built by Bruce in 1992 for their now-grown children, has become a feline senior center including waterfalls, ponds and cat-sized bridges, high perches for lounging and catnip gardens. Although the couple started taking in cats in crisis in 2008, the sanctuary was completed more recently. They continue to raise money for expenses through donations and a GoFundMe campaign.
Often, they said, the cats come from older pet owners who have been diagnosed with dementia and can no longer care for them or from the adult children of cat owners who died before their pets. The couple retired from careers in business and see their work as a labor of love that they intend to keep improving and growing.
As you can see from the following slideshow using photos contributed by Cats Cradle, the Jenkinses’ sanctuary may be a paradise for an older cat — not to mention an important connecting force between human and pet that extends beyond its grounds:
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Link to the Atlantic video page (there are other interesting things on the page):
‘This world is a better place without her’: A family’s savage final send-off to their mother
The obituary is short and decidedly unsweet, a grand total of 105 words spread over five increasingly savage paragraphs.
It starts with the birth of Kathleen Dehmlow (nee Schunk) in the winter of 1938 and her marriage to Dennis Dehmlow 19 years later, all in the tiny Minnesota city of Wabasso. Two children came from that marriage: Gina and Jay.
But the death notice quickly fast-forwards to 1962, apparently a pivotal year in the soap opera of Kathleen Dehmlow’s life — and her children’s.
“In 1962 she became pregnant by her husband’s brother Lyle Dehmlow and moved to California,” the obituary reads, spiraling. “She abandoned her children, Gina and Jay who were then raised by her parents in Clements, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Schunk.”
By the fifth paragraph, it is clear what her children feel about their mother — and her chances in the hereafter:
“She passed away on May 31, 2018 in Springfield and will now face judgement. She will not be missed by Gina and Jay, and they understand that this world is a better place without her.”
“Gina and Jay” could not be immediately reached for comment. It’s unclear what motivated them to write the scathing obituary or to publish it in the Redwood Falls Gazette, the paper of record of Dehmlow’s hometown, a 0.8-square-mile patch of Minnesota with fewer than 700 people. If the five-paragraph obituary provides a window into Kathleen Dehmlow’s life, it is a jaded and incomplete one.
It’s not unheard of for aggrieved family members to use the last words written about a person to get the last word, said Susan Soper, an expert on obituaries and the creator of a workbook that helps people write their own. Others have used obituaries to shed light on the damaging addictions that consumed their loved ones. The motivations of family members can be as simple as they are powerful: catharsis, bitterness, anger.
“People don’t generally speak ill of the dead,” Soper told The Washington Post. “In fact, sometimes they will … put the best possible face on a person in the obituary and overlook whatever the misdeeds or characteristics that might be unpleasant.
“But not always,” Soper continued. “There are plenty of obituaries that have been very honest and truthful about the hurt that someone has caused — or the misdeeds they have committed.”
[The hysterical obituary that made strangers miss a man they never knew]
For example, Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick’s daughter outlined many of her mother’s sins in a 2013 death notice.
“Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick born Jan 4, 1935 and died alone on Sept. 30, 2013,” the obituary read. “She is survived by her 6 of 8 children whom she spent her lifetime torturing in every way possible … Everyone she met, adult or child was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity, and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit.”
Perhaps even more scathing than the words in the newspaper was the essay Katherine Reddick wrote in XO Jane, explaining why she wrote it.
According to her daughter, Johnson-Reddick beat her children during hours-long tantrums, routinely hurled whatever was in reach at them, and also encouraged them to steal from neighbors, beat each other and sleep silently on the kitchen floor while she worked as an escort. On weekend nights, she would go out on the town, drugging the younger children so they wouldn’t cause trouble and forcing the older ones to subsist on dog food.
Reddick, said the obituary “expressed authentic and heartfelt reflections about a woman who never resembled a mother…
“For myself, it took her death to no longer fear her sudden and unexpected rants of abuse,” she wrote.
“Even though I am older, happier and much gentler, I’ve never felt a greater sense of peace or relief than the day my brother called me singing ‘Ding, dong, the witch is dead.’ ”
The family of Leslie Ray “Popeye” Charping, of Galveston, Tex., was similarly elated at his passing last year and maintained no enduring concerns about speaking ill of the dead.
According to CNN, they posted a scathing obituary on the Carnes Funeral Home website, shortly before cremating Charping and unceremoniously placing his ashes in a barn.
“Leslie’s hobbies included being abusive to his family, expediting trips to heaven for the beloved family pets and fishing … With Leslie’s passing he will be missed only for what he never did; being a loving husband, father and good friend.”
Obituary confessions are, of course, not always so morbid.
For example, in 2012, Val Patterson, a scientist from Salt Lake City admitted in his mostly lighthearted obituary that he didn’t have a doctorate in engineering — and that he hadn’t even graduated from college:
“What happened was that the day I went to pay off my college student loan at the U of U, the girl working there put my receipt into the wrong stack, and two weeks later, a PhD diploma came in the mail. I didn’t even graduate, I only had about 3 years of college credit. In fact, I never did even learn what the letters “PhD” even stood for.
For all of the Electronic Engineers I have worked with, I’m sorry, but you have to admit my designs always worked very well, and were well engineered, and I always made you laugh at work.”
Link (washington post, there may be a paywall up for you)
I am a firm believer in not sugar-coating a "review" just because the subject of said review has passed on. The catharsis of being able, at long last, to tell the unvarnished truth can be a powerful aid to letting go of old pain and abuse and if it helps the survivors, I say more power to them.
Sad news. Zsa Zsa, the 'World's Ugliest Dog,' died.
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Awwwww. Liked that you posted, not that it happened.
Separate names with a comma.