ABC African Animal Book   Leave a comment

Hey lookit me I’m on BuzzFeed!

But seriously though, check out this totally sweet book I wrote and illustrated and presented at the ‘96 Viola Rand Elementary School Talent Show.

BuzzFeed: “ABC African Animal Book” By A 7-Year-Old

When I was in first grade, I wrote and illustrated a book which I read aloud at the school talent show. [Ed. note: This spectacular book is part of keepsake show and tell]

Dik-diks happen to be the most painfully adorable antelope ever.

After I’d finished about half the drawings, I started to get bored with rote depictions of animals in their natural habitats, and my illustrations started to get a bit more … creative.

Here, for example, we have an ibis who’s apparently just locked a bad guy in a cage or prison of some sort, and is also dressed to attend a birthday party. Or maybe he’s some kind of rather flamboyant wizard? I can’t recall.

These nyala are apparently sailing to France in the year 1731. Because, sure, why not?

Can you see the ostriches? There’s one in the middle of the page, who’s just punted Scar over a waterfall with a kick of one of his mighty ostrich legs.

Depicted here is some sort of epic battle, featuring ostriches, chameleons, hyenas, characters from The Lion King, and a large arsenal of missiles on both sides.

Boring.

Now that’s more like it!

This image features, among other things:

  • a lemur with a police badge on his chest and a sign saying “Lemur” taped to his forehead
  • two chameleons gesticulating angrily at some warthogs
  • and a gray character who appears to be either rudely mocking someone, unhinged with fury, or perhaps both simultaneously

Urotriorchis macrourus is the scientific name for the Long-tailed Hawk, and was the closest thing I could find to an African animal whose name started with a U.

“Macrourus” is from the Greek for “long tail”; “uro” is Greek for “tail” and “triorchis” is from the Greek meaning “having three testicles.”

I was unaware of that fact at the time.

So, since this is an alphabet of African animals, you all knew from the beginning that the last animal was going to be “zebra” OH SNAP NO IT’S “ZEBU”!!!

The zebu is a type of domestic cattle originating in South Asia that has been raised in Africa for hundreds of years. It’s pretty obscure; you probably haven’t heard of it.

Oh man, I totally had you fooled! I even tricked you by decorating the “Z’s” with black and white zebra stripes.

This is the back cover. Here we have, let’s see:

  • a white chess piece knight on a checkered path of some kind
  • a bunch of hyenas (they had haunched shoulders and gangly hips in The Lion King,features which I depicted in a manner that makes them look the twin humps of Bactrian camels)
  • and a grey hyena who is A) apparently a good guy, or at least disguising himself as one, B) sporting a purple bandana and cape, and C) also maybe some sort of cyborg, with mechanical spider legs – and maybe that cape is actually an exhaust pipe?

And God only knows what this poor bugger’s deal is.

And finally, my performance at the Talent Show (with assistance from my mom).
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Gay marriage comes to Maine   Leave a comment

Portland Press Herald: Maine same-sex couples begin license process at 12:01 am

The legal barrier dismantled by November’s vote, same-sex couples line up to “make it official”

By Kelley Bouchard

PORTLAND — Michael Snell and Steven Bridges emerged from City Hall early Saturday and stepped into history, as the first of at least a dozen gay couples across Maine who exchanged wedding vows on the first day for same-sex partners to marry.

Forty-four couples obtained marriage licenses in the 10 or so communities from Portland to Bangor that opened their clerk’s offices as early as midnight for the special occasion. Fourteen were married almost immediately in city or town halls, while a few others were planning private ceremonies Saturday.

Bridges and Snell had been united in a commitment ceremony six years ago, so when a reporter asked them if they felt “more married” after the wedding, Snell responded, “No, it’s just official.”

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Michael Snell and Steven Bridges of Portland wait in line at Portland City Hall to be the first gay couple in Maine to be married on Friday, December 28, 2012.   Photo: Carl D. Walsh

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The first five same-sex couples who arrived to get marriage certificates walk up the steps of Portland City Hall.   Photo: Gabe Souza

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Steve Bridges and Michael Snell, both of Portland, kiss after being the first couple to be married at Portland City Hall on Saturday morning, December 29, 2012.   Photo: Gregory Rec

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Katy Jayne gets a kiss from Lauren Snead after they obtained their marriage license.   Photo: Robert F. Bukaty

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Steven Jones and Jamous Lizotte wear laurel wreaths as they arrive at Portland City Hall.   Photo: Robert F. Bukaty

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Mary Parker, holding Grace, 22 months, becomes emotional as her partner for seven years, Becky Roak, fills out paperwork for a marriage license at Brunswick Town Hall Saturday morning.   Photo: Tom Bell

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Donna Galluzzo and Lisa Gorney leave the Portland City Clerk’s office after obtaining their marriage license.   Photo: Robert F. Bukaty

Posted December 29, 2012 by benjaminsapiens in cool, News, politics

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Mayan Apocolypse   Leave a comment

The world is ending. Or maybe not. There’s been talk over the past couple years about how the Mayan calendar predicts that the world is going to end today, December 21, 2012.

In the ancient Long Count calendar used by the Maya and other Central American cultures, dates are measured by their distance from the date of creation, which was 3114 BC in our years. The largest unit of time was the b’ak’tun, a length of 144,00 days or 394.25 years. We are currently in the 13th b’ak’tun, which will end on 12/21/2012, at which point the 14th b’ak’tun will begin.

mayan-long-count-calendar

Now, according to one account of Mayan beliefs, our universe is the fourth one that has been created. The first three were imperfect, and the gods only created men after the fourth creation. The thing is, the third creation lasted for exactly 13 b’ak’tuns, and the current universe was created at the start of the 14th b’ak’tun of the third universe, which became year 0 for the fourth and current universe. Some have concluded, therefore, that at the start of the 14th b’ak’tun of the fourth universe on December 12, 2012, our world will extinguished and another will take it’s place.

There are two problems with this theory. First, the third cosmos was a failure, unlike ours, so there’s no reason to believe that our universe will be replaced after the same period of time. There’s no mention of an apocalyptic event on that date in Mayan writing, and experts say there’s no reason whatsoever to believe that the Mayans thought the world would end at that time.

Secondly, the Mayan religion is mythological and not actually true. I can’t stress this fact enough. The universe will not be ending today.

Stay classy, gun nuts   Leave a comment

Since the horror at Newport on Friday, the NRA has done what it always does after gun massacre: keeping silent and out of sight until talk of the tragedy dies down.

But some gun rights organizations are a little more shameless.

Check out this little gem of an ad that appeared on Facebook yesterday:

National Association for Gun Rights

I’d never heard of this group before, but I just had to check out their Facebook page. It was as awful as I expected.

Here’s what they posted on the day of the massacre:

more guns less crime

And here are the words of wisdom that one gun lover had to share with the world:

they shud make a law where everyone over15 thats not mentally ill or a violent felon, mandatory to have to carry a gun. That would put an end to rapes, robberys,and mass shooting. Maybe people would think twice, if they knew everyone was packing. plus we wouldnt need to wait for the cops to show after a tragedy has happened, it would be stopped rite then an there.

And while the NRA may respond to their sudden unpopularity in the wake of two dozen teachers and young children being slaughtered by gunfire by silencing its Twitter feed and deactivating its Facebook page, the National Association for Gun Rights took the opportunity to offer a “weekend membership special.” I wish I was kidding.

Membership

I don’t think they could possibly be any more shameless and vile, short of, say, announcing plans to travel to the elementary school to “sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment,” as the Westboro Baptist Church did.

But who knows, maybe eliminating gun control laws really is the solution to reducing violent crime. After all, if everyone was packing, rapes, robberys,and mass shooting would be stopped rite then an there.

Thanksgiving   Leave a comment

Family Portrait

Aunt Barb’s birthday

Matt’s spending Christmas in Germany again this year, so Aunt Barb gave him his present early. She actually bought him that knitted beard hat you always see ads for on Facebook.

Posted November 25, 2012 by benjaminsapiens in personal

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Gloucester   Leave a comment

Mom and Dad and I took a weekend trip to visit Gloucester.

We got to see my incredibly adorable little cousins.
The little one was born just after our visit last year.
Her sister we’ve seen a couple times before, but this visit the two of us became buddies.

More photos here

Posted November 15, 2012 by benjaminsapiens in personal, photography, travel

Halloween ’12   Leave a comment

I went trick-or-treating with Circle K collecting change for UNICEF’s Six Cents Initative, so I grabbed some of Dad’s old turnout gear from the basement and went as a firefighter.

The mustache is my own, enhanced with some mascara.

The jack-o-lantern is meant to show that this is a Halloween costume, and that I’m not, y’know, actually a firefighter.

Posted November 1, 2012 by benjaminsapiens in personal

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