Sunday, June 29, 2008

More than you ever wanted to know about FLEAS

A flea and a fly flew up in a flue,
said the flea to the fly 'Oh what shall we do?'
Let us flee said the fly
let us fly said the flea,
so they fluttered and flew up a flaw in the flue.

...and then went to hang out at Kristen's house...

Hey All Ya'll (the plural for Ya'll!) -

Here is some disturbing and interesting stuff I found out about fleas after doing a google search, as i continue to fight the Bruya War on Fleas in my new house. My landlord hired yet another exterminator today (who is going to do a number of repeated treatments over the course of the next few months), and so I'm practicing and hanging at the hall today, as I allow another batch of chemicals to infiltrate the war zone. This blows. For the remainder of my days here in Nashville, before heading out to Boulder, I will be a vacuuming FOOL - YAAAAAAAAAA! I just love vacuuming - makes me feel like a real woman - doing the work that real women are meant to do. Anyhow, my landlord is paying for all the treatments, and is also cutting my rent in half for july and aug ----as he should ---- I wish he could come over and vacuum the house for me every day..........but it's a small place anyhow and doesn't take long. I got some white knee highs to wear around the house so that I can stop mistaking the various moles and freckles on my legs for fleas - not to mention delaying any biting that might happen. Hope you enjoy the reading material below.

Love
KB Fleabags

The adult male flea is the sexual marvel of the animal kingdom and possesses the most complicated genital armature (sexual organs) of any known animal.

Fleas are highly specialised bloodsucking parasites belonging to the order of insects called Siphonaptera, which means 'wingless siphon'. They have a formidable reputation of claiming more victims than all the wars ever fought, as a result of the 'bubonic' (Black Death) plague they spread throughout the world in the 14th century causing the deaths of over 200million people. Now, these insects are better known for their irritation and pest status worldwide.

On average, a flea's lifespan is two to three months. However,pre-emerged fleas (not living on a pet) can survive undisturbed andwithout a blood meal for more than 100 days. Adult fleas are very small insects (up to 1/8 inch), so it is difficult to see a number of the characteristics used to describe them. These reddish brown to black, wingless insects are compressed from side to side so that they look like they are walking 'on edge.' They have piercing-sucking mouthparts through which they obtain blood meals from their hosts. Flea larvae are tiny (up to 3/16 inch long), hairy, and wormlike with a distinct, brownish head, but no eyes or legs. Fleas are excellent jumpers, leaping vertically up toseven inches and horizontally thirteen inches. (An equivalent hop fora human would be 250 feet vertically and 450 feet horizontally.)

The biggest flea in the world is the North American Hystrichopsylla schefferi which is about 12mm long.

The largest flea in the world,
Hystricopsyllaschefferi, is only known from collections made from mountainbeaver and their burrows, and grows to 9 mm (over 1/3 inch) in length!The coevolution of these two organisms has never been investigated but,given the ancient lineage of mountain beaver, may provide someinteresting insights to both.

Depending on environmental conditions, it can take between two weeks and eight months for flea eggs to reach adulthood, although the average is three to four weeks in most homes. While you may think the fleas are dead today, in as little as two weeks, your home and your pet could be re-infested with hungry adult fleas. (In just 30 days, 10 female fleas under ideal conditions can multiply to over a quarter million different life stages.)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Hats Off!

This is a proud moment for our country.
Congratulations Barack Obama!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Interview with Mike Mansfield

I just found the following journal entry that I wrote on February 4, 1996 about my visit with Senator Mike Mansfield.

I have just passed my 23rd birthday and this is my first entry of this new year.
On Friday, I traveled to Washington D.C. to meet Mike Mansfield. It was a one-day trip--I left Sarah Lawrence College at 4:30 am to arrive in D.C. by 11:00 am. Perhaps it was all of this travel time that lead me to expect a great "meeting of the minds" for my trip to be worthwhile, but of course I would have expected this anyway.
What I really expected to find (or maybe to get) was some sort of great wisdom from a man who has spent his lifetime in politics, shares my love of Montana, and has nine toes in the grave, as they say. I expected him to be willing to pass on the baton, in whatever capacity, to a younger person.
In retrospect, maybe he did--but it wasn't the answer I wanted to hear.
We sat down, he offered me some Sanka with creamer and sugar, and his secretary brought in some chocolate chip cookies. I presented him with a copy of We Are Missoula which he thumbed through and then set aside. He seemed to be expecting a question from me and I had one ready for him:
"You have helped me a great deal, through your Foundation, to produce this book. With our shared love of Montana, is there anything that I can do for you for Montana?"
I suppose this is a difficult question to answer on the spot, but what surprised me was that he really didn't address me at all. He talked about Montana and then when he had finished, said "next." As in, next question.
He did this at the end of every question, as if I were a reporter. He even asked me where my tape recorder was. We really didn't have a conversation except at one point when I had asked him what parallels he noticed between the cultures of Japan and Montana. He said he didn't really see any parallels, only comparisons.
Then he asked me what parallels I saw, and I mentioned that I found it interesting that Japan and Montana share a similar chronology. Japan started "Westernizing" in the Meiji period beginning in 1865, about the time that Montana was first being settled and developed. I suggested that although the cultures are quite different, as are the economies, attitudes of the people, etc., I felt that they are both experiencing periods in their history where their identities are being challenged by outside influences.
"But Montanans have a strong identity," he argued, and we left it there.
Before I left, I asked him if he had seen the Vermeer show at the National Gallery, thinking that he might like to go with me. "I'm not much of a Veneer man," he said. "I'm a Charlie Russell man, myself," adding that he used to deliver groceries to Charlie Russell.
A veneer man.
I thanked him again for his help on my project, adding that if he ever needs my assistance in any capacity, and especially where Montana is concerned, I am at his service.
His last words--and maybe the only words of the kind of wisdom I was looking for--were, in effect, "It's up to you. You and your generation are responsible for the future."
He walked me to the elevator and as I entered, he said, "I am going to give you a Japanese farewell." He took a deep bow with his arm outstretched above his forehead as the elevator doors closed.