Archive for April, 2011


I’m back from St. Louis, and I really do want to recap the goings-on from my weekend in DC, but there’s a very pressing issue at hand.

I was visiting a friend who lives in an old farmhouse, and he is very tastefully outfitting it in a charming, antiquey style. Behold.

We spent some time at antique malls and flea markets, and, well, have a look for yourself.

Hm, that’s ugly.

The glitter! My eyes!

Now it’s hard to tell, but I’m pretty sure they dragged a sea urchin into the fray here.

Ouch. Was the carving really necessary?

I’m not even sure how this one works, plug-wise.

This is just the pièce de résistance, isn’t it? Words other than “Parrots? Really?” fail me.

I can’t stand idly by. I’ll call it the Society for the Prevention of Seashell Atrocities. These are all “antiques,” but something tells me the desecration of perfectly lovely seashells for profit is not an activity only done in days of yore. Who will join me in the fight?

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Sneak Preview

I just got back from a whirlwind and very mollusk-filled weekend in DC. I have lots to talk about, but I’m flying off to St. Louis today for my spring break vacation on my friend’s farm. I’ll give you a little glimpse into my weekend, though…



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Banana slugs!

I love this video. The earnestness of the interviewee is incredibly charming, in addition to the fact that banana slugs are just. so. cool.

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I love the art and poetry in the subway. The art seen on the subway trains basically always depicts the subway somehow, but usually in a more fantastical way. This one I’m rather fond of features a train of submarines using eels as the third rail. And of course there’s an octopus at the controls.

I was also at the Prospect Park Zoo recently (baby baboons are hilarious, take it from me), and I saw this octopus topiary, or octopiary as I’m now calling it. I’m hoping to check it out this summer and see if they fill it in. It’s frankly a little menacing as is, not to mention a bit of a nonsequitur considering you have to go to the Aquarium if you want to see an octopus.

Spring is certainly in the air here in Central Park, although it hasn’t really been warm. There are still some signs, though.

Trees have been greening.

Daffodils springing.

And rocks turtling.

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Consider the Oyster

You may have seen the news earlier this year, and I was remiss in not talking about it when it was happening, but wild oysters are functionally extinct. This news, of course, is terribly depressing.

I’m a New Yorker, and New Yorkers have a history with oysters. In fact, there’s a whole book about the relationship between NYC and oysters. They thrived here, they fed us, now they’re decimated. But as is the way of New Yorkers, we are hustlers and we don’t give up on things easily.

A recent TED talk gives some big ideas regarding oysters and rehabilitating the malodorous superfund site also known as the Gowanus Canal. Incidentally, if you’re ever in Brooklyn and looking to get a beer, the hilariously named Gowanus Yacht Club is a great place to go. This video is well worth watching. It’s an awesome vision into the not-too-distant future, and it’s not made of space-age materials and mythical power sources; they knitted some yarn and built reefs for oysters, in turn cleaning up the waterway, increasing biodiverity, and building shelter from waves. Refreshingly doable.

So doable, in fact, that it’s happening on a smaller scale right now. The River Project is inviting citizens to become oyster gardeners in the Hudson. If I can figure out how to find a safe spot on the stretch of Hudson nearest to me, you can bet I will be farming some oysters!

Perhaps my favorite thing I learned from the video is that baby oysters are called spats. Here’s what spats look like.
Oyster Hatchery, Grand Isle, LA 07.19.07 086
(photo: Lousiana Sea Grant College Program)
These of course aren’t the only spats you can see in and around New York. Come for the St. Patrick’s Day parade and you can see some of these:
Leatherneck Spats
(photo: Alan Strakey)

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