Sympathy for Pigs?

I have no idea who took this photo. I have only a general idea about when and where the photo was taken. I have no clue as to the identities of the two kids in the photo, never mind the swine.

But first, let me say why I like the photo. The photographer clearly focused on the kid wrestling the pig; that was to be the center of whatever the photographer meant to convey. But in that grand old theatrical tradition of scene-stealing character actors, it is the obvious distress and anxiety of the spectating kid that really deserves your attention. Was he rooting for the boy who had maybe met his match? Was he perhaps thinking that this was a bit too much for any pig to experience? Or maybe he was thinking: I’m up next in the ring…

The pig is greased, you’ll notice. Wrestling greased pigs seems to have been something of a thing for rural county fairs and maybe still today. Why? I’m clueless though maybe it was regarded as a useful skill for future farmers in the Midwest. The photo dates from the 1960s and at that time some of the collar counties in the Chicago metropolitan area were still pretty rural.

I can tell you that the photo is from the 1960s because in 1968 or 1969 some friends of mine and I decided to run a pig as a candidate for student council president, just as Abbie Hoffman and the “Youth International Party” had run a pig for President of the United States. We never did much of anything about our student council candidate and I expect that almost no one outside our small circle even knew about it, but a callow note on the backside of the photo shows I was thinking of the photo as a nice propaganda item. I don’t even recall voting in that election. Or even who the other candidates may have been, never mind the victor. It doesn’t matter.

But I do wonder about that anxious boy watching from outside the ring.

“Nasty Magic”

Every year for the past several, Pecos Hank has been compiling an anthology of his year’s storm chasing, all accompanied by his own music. I’ve come to look forward to these about as much as I once did Judith Merril’s Year’s Best anthologies.

Here is Pecos Hank’s 2022, including some great shots of tornado genesis in drought-dry Texas fields:

“On anticipated big days, A storm chaser might drive all the way to Iowa and only see some rain. Then turn around and drive all night back to Texas and only see some rain. A storm chaser might drive all the way to Montana only to get a sun burn. And sometimes a storm chaser isn’t expecting to see anything and they find a monster.”

Beach Blanket Bingo


Just like the movie did, the title of this post promises lascivious scandal and delivers… grasshoppers? Well, the movie had Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon… and Buster Keaton but rather less sex and more prurience than this post has… from one day at Leone Beach Park:

dinner & date. Photo by Roman.
do you mind? Photo by Roman.


Arachnid in the Bathtub!

And what kind of name is “Shelob” anyway?

Photo by Roman.

For this I beg your pardon. Some will object to the image quality. Meh! The lighting was poor that morning. Some will object to simply being presented with a spider. Eek! But the spider is now dead and I wish to present its image to all and sundry because I killed it out of fear. Although, when it appeared in the tub that morning, it was warned: You have six or seven hours to leave.

Centipedes heed this warning more often than not and are gone by then. If not, it is removed, scoop and toss, leaving it perhaps a bit less fit but still alive and able to do what it does so well: Hunt other bugs.

The spider remained in the tub and was whacked with a sandal. Yes, that is a double standard for rescues. Centipedes are reliably venomous and are far more alien-creepy than any spider could be and they move real fast. Using alarm as a standard, centipedes should die on sight. But centipedes seem to listen whereas spiders have a cold just-business-nothing-personal affect even though they may be harmless and shy. I lief leave spiders be when they’re not in the way. Otherwise…

So this is my apology to the spider. It was entirely personal. You were not even food.