May 14 2009


Eastern phoebe nestlings

It goes without saying that — just like you were when Brad and Angelina had celebrity twins — you have been on pins and needles awaiting the first heartwarming photo of my world-famous Eastern phoebe hatchlings. I’ve turned down lucrative offers from The National Enquirer and its sister publication, the New York Review of Books, in order to bring it to you, the blamer, first. Your forbearance on the whole blurry-thing is appreciated; the nest is about 2 inches from the ceiling of the motor pool garage, and it’s impossible to squeeze a decent camera lens up in that mug. Efforts with the usually inadequate but very skinny iPhone camera get underway shortly. Eastern phoebe nestlings, Cottonmouth County TX, May 2009.

Currently on Twitter there’s a popular timewaster — the clinical term, I believe, is “Trending Topic” — called #whyITweet.

Do not despair. I am not going to tell you why I tweet. I’m not even sure I know what tweeting is. But I know why I blog. Because I get tweets like this:

mizufae @IBlame Twisty, I have lost many potential friends because of you, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Thanks, in general, for being great.

That’s right. I do it for the attention.

Thank you, mizufae, for availing yourself of my free Social Circle Reduction Service.


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  1. rubysecret

    The photo is inspiring me to decorate my next nest with hexbolts. So modern.

  2. Mizufae aka Sarah

    Holy moly, I am famous!
    You are welcome, Twisty. You have honed my asshole radar to a fine point. It saves me heaps of trouble.

  3. Pantsuit Sally

    “You have honed my asshole radar to a fine point. It saves me heaps of trouble.”

    Ditto. The quantity of my friendships has decreased significantly as my radfem sensibilities (and courage to verbalize them) have grown, but the quality of the friendships I do have is much improved.

    I’d like to thank the feminist blogosphere (bloggers and commenters alike), and Twisty in particular, for giving me the words to express all the things that have bothered me for so long but I wasn’t quite sure why. I just remember feeling like I must have woken up in Bizarro World about 95% of the time and feeling like I was just floundering around in it, but now I can see the dynamics underlying everything that sucks about the world and actually articulate it.

  4. PhysioProf

    Wow! Those widdle birdies are some seriously fucking heartwarming nature crap!

  5. Hedgepig

    They look like miniature orang-utans.

  6. admirerofemily

    I third Mizufae aka Sarah and Pantsuit Sally’s comments.

    I won’t go into details, but this blog has radically changed my life.

    Re the loop you seem to have found yourself in – twittering about blogging about twittering on the side panel, I so want to follow you on twitter, but when I click on follow I just get ‘this requires a get’. What the hell is a ‘get’? I’ve tried googling it to no avail.

  7. VibratingLiz

    What are the orange fibers in the nest? Not dodder I hope. Because if it is, you better rent a moving van and get away from there pronto.

  8. jezebella

    Yikes! What is “dodder” and why should one flee from it?

  9. ma'am

    Love the phoebes. Ours just fledged 4 this past weekend.

  10. VibratingLiz


  11. speedbudget

    Yes, Twisty, you have also helped me winnow my friends down. Life is so much better now, and when one of my few remaining girlfriends is complaining about how horrible her life is (usually due to the man she is babying) and I spout off with the actual reason for the high level of crapitude she is experiencing, the friend inevitably giggles like I’ve just told a naughty joke and agrees with me wholeheartedly, and I can see her face change as she considers and files away the information.

    Alas, I haven’t been able to fully convert them. But the fact that they are still here and still listening to me means something.

    Is dodder kudzu’s evil cousin?

  12. MLH

    Group hug! This blog has helped me as well. The problem is that I live with two guys (three, if you count the dog!): my “nigel” and my teenage son. I can’t talk about the patriarchy without seeing their eyes roll. It sucks but they can’t understand, they are part of the system, and indirectly or directly, they benefit from the patriarchy as well. This blog not only educates me, but helps me vent. I also e-mail Twisty quite often about patriarchy shit that I see or read about -that too helps me vent.

  13. yttik

    “…my free Social Circle Reduction Service.”

    I love it! That cracked me up. Yes indeed, it becomes difficult to mingle with the masses and engage in small talk after your eyes are open. I got stuck at the eye doctor reading “women’s” magazines for two hours. Good grief, I thought my brain was going to fall out. I can’t relate to that stuff, I can’t function, it’s demented. Articles about tummy tucks and how to recover from breast implants and how to keep a man satisfied. How to spend 18 hrs a day making yourself desirable, how to starve yourself. It was all just so perverse.

  14. Comrade PhysioProf

    free Social Circle Reduction Service

    This is why I do not understand the Facebook/Twitter/MyWhatthefuckever frenzy for accumulating “friends” and “followers”. Since third grade, I thought friendship was about quality, not quantity. Did I miss something?

  15. SargassoSea

    Comrade –
    I literally just looked at Facebook for the first time trying to please my oldest girlfriend and now I want to puke. Seems I have to do some profile something or something just to even see something.
    I have no time for such foolishness when there is blaming to do.
    On second thought, my nausea may be left over from yesterday’s Dean Foods business?

  16. Jezebella

    It is entirely possible to bring the blaming to the FB, and hook up with other blamers, worldwide. It is also not necessary to have a zillion FB “friends”, but it is nice to know how one’s friends from former lives are faring.

  17. Cathy

    A couple of years ago, I declared war on dodder because it strangled my four o’clocks. The crap comes from the tiniest plants I have ever seen, but I finally pulled every last one.

  18. Twisty

    CPP:”This is why I do not understand the Facebook/Twitter/MyWhatthefuckever frenzy for accumulating “friends” and “followers”. Since third grade, I thought friendship was about quality, not quantity. Did I miss something?”

    I know what you mean. I mean, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about all these followers. Cocktails on the Lido Deck? I think not. Most of them are complete strangers. I’m sure I wouldn’t like at least half of them. There’s this one guy who describes himself as a jet-setting “womanizer” who posts — I mean tweets — about how to “score” and shit. He’s following like 1000 people. What is he doing on my list? It’s fucking weird. Twitter may not be for me.

  19. humanbein

    I love those little fluffballs!

  20. speedbudget

    I use my Facebook to link to feminist screeds and make my friends nervous.

    I linked to the BITCH Manifesto and referenced Shulamith Firestone. That went over like a lead balloon. But I keep at it.

  21. Ron Sullivan

    We have native and exotic dodders her in NCal. I can’t tell them apart; they’re orange and feel oddly fleshy-cool when you touch them. Mostly I see them in pickleweed saltmarshes, where they seem to do no harm. Farmers have differing opinions, of course.

    But over the last five years or so, there’s a scary new invasive dodder showing up—–”Japanese” dodder——that behaves like kudzu on steroids. It swallows whole trees in a trice, and, like other dodders, it reproduces from any little bit that breaks off and floats downstream or gets carried off on someone’s fur or pants. I’ve seen it on a freewayside tree near Sacramento and a street tree in East Oakland; it’s been showing up on wild trees along streamcourses all over too.

    And it’s supposed to be medicinal, and “sterilized” seed is in the alt-med trade, and of course sterilization doesn’t always work. nd, y’know: Grow Your Own. Aaaaarrrrrgh.

    Flickr is treating me shabbily just now or I’d include a picture, but googling for an image of Japanese dodder will get you some scary shit.

    BTW, I think you can block people from following you on Twitter, or from replying at least.

  22. VibratingLiz

    Kudzu is an invasive and often lethal pest, but it’s a climbing vine, not a true parasite. Dodder (Cuscuta spp.) is an invasive and almost always lethal pest that is also a true parasite. It lacks chlorophyll (hence it’s yellow or orange, not green) and relies entirely on the host plant for all nutrients and water. It’s extremely creepy stuff, and very difficult to eradicate. Giant Asian Dodder, which can grow over 6″ per day, is a major problem in Texas. I’m hoping that fibrous orange stuff in the nest is just some kind of lichens or an unraveled sock.

  23. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Gah, and I thought Virginia Creeper was bad.

  24. PhysioProf

    Giant Asian Dodder, which can grow over 6? per day, is a major problem in Texas.

    6″ per day!? Holy crap!

  25. Twisty

    Holy shit is right. I think I saw some dodder in a field here at the rancho last spring. I didn’t know it was dodder, though. I remember thinking “what a weird orange slitherly plant.” I should’ve known it was some agressive invasive occupying force. I’m going a-dodder-huntin’ tomorrory.

  26. norbizness

    Interesting news from the world of those uppity mockingbirds.

  27. Jess

    Well, this blog has not *yet* reduced my friends. None of them have been converted to call themselves feminists yet, either, though there’s 2 “not a feminist, but”s. How long will they take? I have badges on my schoolbag, feminist music on my ipod, and I keep arguing about how gender is a social construct. They’re almost past the stage where they ask what patriarchy means, but I think I’m in for a long wait.

    Any tips?

  28. Jezebella

    You’re in for a long wait. What happens, in my experience, is you end up ditching most of the (many) friends who don’t get it, and making (a few) new ones who do. My tip: don’t take shit from anybody for your beliefs. If your friends don’t respect you as a human being and a feminist, they’re not your friends. Act accordingly. This is probably really difficult at your age (I’m assuming you’re young because of the reference to your schoolbag). Don’t beat yourself up about that. It will get easier as you get older.

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