May 31 2009

Spinster aunt, having moulted Twisty’s skin, resumes blogging about spiders as though nothing ever happened

Striped bark scorpion

Does anything say “For the lovagod douse this flame of heartwarmth before I self-immolate!” like a pair of striped bark scorpions caught inadvertently in a spider trap under the frigidaire?

The great romantic tragedy of this tableau: it is likely that these two were in the throes of a heartwarming courtship ballet when their tender young lives were snuffed out by the passive but brutal intervention of the newly implemented Bunkhouse De-Sicariidization Program. Which Program sickens the spinster aunt, but dammit, my hands are tied.

It would probably have ended badly for at least one of the participants, with me or without me; scorpions are one of those orders of arachnids where the female eats the male after copulation, fanciful anthropomorphized interpretations of which perfectly reasonable behavior have been implemented by dudely poets immemorial as hackneyed metaphors describing the fictitious sinister wiles human women wield over men. A propos of a recent Blametarian discussion on PG Wodehouse’s vicious female characters: quoth Jeeves to Bertie Wooster: “The female is the deadlier of the species, sir.”


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  1. Comrade PhysioProf

    Those are some seriously horrifying scorpions! Thank fucking god there aren’t any fucking scorpions where Comrade PhysioProf lives!

  2. XtinaS

    I cannot but stare at that.  Staaaaaaaaaaare.


    Yall, that ain’t right.

  3. mary

    Glad you’re staying, Jill.

  4. Deanna

    Yeaaahhhh. I’m very glad I don’t live anywhere that I might find scorpions under my fridge.


  5. Notorious Ph.D.

    Scorpions. Brown reculuse spiders. Massive centipedes. I just don’t get it. I’d be out of there in a puff of cartoon dust.

    Also, headline: pro-life gunman slays doctor in church:


    I blame the patriarchy. And the NRA. And the sector of organized religion that endorses killing for the glory of any god.

  6. liberality

    That is seriously some scary stuff! The critters belong outside and that’s final. Once they cross that threshold called my living space it’s either removal time or time to die if they won’t leave peacefully, and I don’t want to kill the critters, no way, no how.

  7. BMS

    Jill, your photos are almost as good as Twisty’s!

  8. sonia

    I can’t believe you’re not scared to die.

    I’m going to go look up remedies for scorpion bites. I have a feeling Texas people already know. But valley girls don’t, so here I go.

    are you wearing house shoes?

  9. sonia

    Texas people probably also know that scorpions sting, not bite.


  10. Frog Princess

    If you are stung despite your efforts at eradication, here is a recipe: http://www.travellersinegypt.org/archives/2004/12/recipe_for_the_bite_of_a_scorp.html

    It is a little bit old, and there might be more up to date treatments available.

    I hope you can rid yourself of those pesky things. They don’t appear to have much sense of humor, and a home is so much nicer when you can relax and play around a bit with the inhabitants, vertebrate or invertebrate, without fear of poisonous barbs.

  11. Squiggy

    Jill, what about blocking the block-heads? It’s your party (blog) and you can invite, block or dis-invite all noodges. Can’t you? Won’t you?
    As a reader I don’t enjoy the nastiness commenters spew. Put ’em right through the trap door.

  12. Larkspur

    First rule of Scorpionville: shake out the house shoes vigorously before putting them on.

  13. Notorious Ph.D.

    Larkspur, that’s a good habit for Brownrecluseville, too — one that I was happy to unlearn when I left for less buggy climes.

  14. thebewilderness

    That heartwarming nature crap is so not for the faint of heart!
    My skin is about to crawl right off my body.

  15. Susan

    This might be a touchy subject (and I understand your unhappiness btw, because I like spiders), but after you catch them, what’s the next step? I’ve always wondered that about those sticky mousetraps, too. Maybe I don’t really want to know.

  16. rainie

    My mother spent her teen years in Texas. She talks sometimes about my grandfather going on a rampage to eradicate tarantulas and scorpions from around their house. She said that he doused them with gasoline, lit them on fire, then beat them with a shovel. As a kid, I thought that just might be for the sake of completeness. But you know, there might be another reason. Perhaps, after dousing them with gas and setting them afire, they took off running in flames. Ok, imagine, dry dry Texas grass and a flaming arachnid, running off willy nilly. Oops-a-daisy. Hence the chasing and the shovel. Imagine this being done by an angry little man who sounds like Ross Perot. Hilarity ensues.

  17. Hedgepig

    So the female really does eat the male after copulation? I always assumed that was hysterical patriarchal apocrypha. I also always assumed that if it were true, the males must be smaller than the females. But these two look quite similar in size. Maybe she leaves the head.

  18. Ron Sullivan

    Wow. Impressive!

    Can’t stand up now; my toes are curling under.

  19. BadKitty

    Yeaaa, northern MN isn’t looking too bad right now. We have the occasional brown recluse but no scorpions and our centipedes max out a manageable size. It may get to -40 here but at least we’re safe once we’re indoors. Yikes.

  20. buttercup

    I remember living in west Texas and having to shake out shoes and check bedclothes for critters. Much less horrifying bugs here in Pennsylvania.

  21. Jessie

    Susan- the best thing to do with mice caught on sticky traps is to take them outside, miles from your house to an open field (they can find their way back if you don’t get the out far enough) and pour oil on them. This loosens them from the trap and in seconds they’ll run off. I swear it works.
    Or you can buy the no-kill traps, but I’ve had mixed results with them.

  22. JenniferRuth

    I’m so glad I live in the UK where our animals are about as scary and dangerous as a wet cloth.

  23. PandanCat

    Thanks for the warning in the title. I covered the picture with my hand until I read the description. Then I allowed myself a two-second glance before scrolling down.

    Gory tales and photos of some friends’ recent 11-foot python barbecue? Hilarious. Live cobras at a roadside snake oil show? Heeby-jeeby. Shiny cockroach terrorizing my classroom? Nauseating. Pictures of scorpions on the internet? Nightmares for weeks.

  24. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Funny how the female humans are accused of being deadlier. The stats do not bear this out.

  25. speedbudget

    The world would be a different place if human females ate their mates. I would prefer us to be the kind that eat the mate while mating.

    I bet those men would be on their best behavior then.

  26. Linda A

    “The female of the species is more deadly than the male” is a Kipling poem. http://www.potw.org/archive/potw96.html and is there some sort of lizard in Texas that will eat scorpions that you could have as sort of a house guest, more or less?

  27. speedbudget

    The world would be a different place if human females ate their mates. I would prefer us to be the kind that eat the mate while mating.

    I bet those men would be on their best behavior then.
    Sorry… forgot to say great post – can’t wait to read your next one!

  28. ElizaN

    Awww, the one on the left is doing the butt-dance!

  29. Ginger


  30. yttik

    I like bugs, spiders. Don’t even mind scorpions and bees unless they sting me. It’s snakes I can’t deal with, especially harmless snakes. Don’t ask me why, but I have stared in fascination at a rattler coiled up about 20 ft away and than ran screaming from harmless garden snakes. It’s completely irrational, I’m well aware.

    The patriarchy is kind of funny, girls are supposed to be scared of creepy crawlies, men are supposed to rescue us. Don’t fall for it, it’s often a bunch of nonsense. I’ve lost count of all the screaming men in this house, squealing for a shotgun, some mace, tear gas, anything to save them from the big bad spider that’s sent them scrambling up top the toliet seat or kitchen table.

  31. witchy-woo

    Is the one one the left Twisty by any chance?

    Deeply disapointed here.

  32. buttercup

    Apropos of nothing, I’ve opened a savage death island outpost in my work cubicle.


  33. Comrade PhysioProf

    Apropos of nothing, I’ve opened a savage death island outpost in my work cubicle.

    Looks like that plant is aiming to rip the whole fucking cubicle down.

  34. PandanCat

    Apropos of the ‘girls should be scared of creepy crawlies’ that yttik brings up: A very gay coworker informed me today that being scared of roaches proves that he’s very gay. Manly men (y’know, the kind who do the hoochy-koochy dance with girls) are not scared of bugs of any sort. I suggested that we find the manliest man we can, bury him to the nostrils in cockroaches and see what happens. Alas, he either stopped listening or didn’t get what I was saying.

    Or we could just mate with said manly man and then eat him.

  35. speedbudget

    JILL! Someone logged into my name and edited to add a fucking SKIN CARE AD!

    WTF is going on here???

  36. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    “Forget religious fanatics: the greatest threat we face today has eight legs and is hiding behind my telly.”


  37. Glass Cleaner

    Dear Jill,

    I looked and looked but could not find your e-mail address.

    I thought you might find this article interesting:


    The Frontiersman is the local newspaper in Sarah Palin’s hometown.

    I found the juxtaposition of the following two sentences very telling:

    From a lost perspective, the reason sex sells, pornography is profitable, and prostitution is “the world’s oldest profession” is mankind’s desire of women. From Christianity’s position, it is part of the glue for the bond of marriage and the propagation of a godly heritage. But homosexuality does not regard this — in their unbridled lusts they burn for their own gender.

  38. larkspur

    “But homosexuality does not regard this — in their unbridled lusts they burn for their own gender.

    Well, yeah! And for the cover art, one could do worse than selecting from the delightful pulp fiction archives over at http://www.strangesisters.com/a-z/images/

    From the comments, it seems much of Wasilla is not amused by the article (entitled “Will The Anti-Christ Be A Homosexual?”). It’s refreshing. Like this one:

    Nita wrote on Jun 1, 2009 10:32 AM:
    “This is truly the most syllogistic piece of nonsense I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Thank you. I never laughed so hard.”

  39. ambivalent academic

    Apropos of nothing (or perhaps not), this morning I discovered a brown recluse spider cooling its eight heels in the plastic bag I use to keep the rain off my bicycle seat.

    I was not amused.

    That spider was made to feel very unwelcome and then made to feel very dead. While I’m sure the spider was using the bag to keep the rain off its head (a need for which I cannot blame it), it could have found another place to do so. I am glad that I discovered it before seating my tuckus on said bicycle seat. I do rather enjoy the butt-dance, and would enjoy it less so if there were a big necrotic dent in my butt from said spider.

    I am wondering if Twisty is amusing herself from afar at our expense by raining down arachnids upon us, biblical plague style. Or perhaps she is feeling genuinely vengeful over all the lobe-blowing criticism. Or maybe the sudden influx of arachnids is not Twisty’s doing at all. The world may never know.

    Brown recluse spiders aside, I think those scorpions are rather charming. I would surely feel differently about them if they were behind my own fridge though.

  40. rainie

    mankind’s desire of women.
    Ok, so if I’m to buy into the term mankind being inclusive of both men and women, this is saying that both men and women desire women.

    — in their unbridled lusts they burn for their own gender.
    And that phrase is just plain hot. Romance novel stuff. Unbridled lust. Burning.

  41. buttercup

    Ambivalent Academic, were the cooled heels stiletto heels?

    I like to think of Twisty gazing down on us benevolently, head cocked like the odd lady but with a lot less hair product.

  42. ambivalent academic

    Ambivalent Academic, were the cooled heels stiletto heels?

    You know, I didn’t pause to check. They might have been, but it was hard to tell amongst mangled spider remains. They could just as easily have been spider steel-toed work boots. Given the promise of imminent necrotic butt-dent had I let cooled heels linger where they were, neither stilettos nor work boots would have dissuaded me I have to say.

    Who’s the “odd lady”?

  43. buttercup

    The odd lady, on my screen, is below the comments to the right of the page. She’s got a fetching updo and a wandering eye and she’s saying she doesn’t want nice guys ™ or MRAs in her car.

  44. ambivalent academic

    Oh yeah, that odd lady. I do love her up-do, but dang it must take a lot of Aqua-net.

  45. Laughingrat

    Jessie, thanks and props to you for the “how to free a mouse from a sticky trap” advice. I had no idea there was a humane method. Of course, if people just wouldn’t use the blasted things, so much the better, but it’s nice to know there’s a way to help an animal that’s gotten stuck.

  46. Jezebella

    I’d like to pretend the odd lady’s hairdo is a piece she just slaps on every morning, so she doesn’t have to fuss about with rat-combs and vats of aquanet.

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