Category Archive: Varmint Center

The spinster aunt's adventures with critters wild and domestic.

Apr 15 2009

All-girl ant species sends shockwaves through ant community

Having undergone a BBC news feed relapse, I discover some South American ants who live in “a world without sex.” But the BBC exaggerates for comic effect, because of course the ants do not live in a world without sex. They live in a colony without males. The article claims that these ants are the …

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Apr 12 2009

Molly Ivins, Memory Lane, Maypearl; what more could you want?

The butt in question. Maypearl enjoys aiming it at both cameras and equine massage therapists.

Behold the antidote to my two consecutive posts ripping on asshole women: Molly Ivins, vintage 1991, ripping on Camille Paglia. As bloggers who are too lazy to write an actual analysis always say, go read the whole thing. Far less forgivable is Paglia’s consistent confusion of feminism with yuppies. What does she think she’s doing? …

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Mar 21 2009

Non-Radical Feminist Patriarchy-Blaming Blog of the Week

Raccoon skull (adult); providing me with these is one of Chuck's chores

El Rancho Deluxe employs, part-time, a strong-willed, eccentric rancho hand named Chuck. Chuck’s job description is “do chores.” To my mind, “chores” are activities like splitting logs, making piles, digging holes — pretty much anything involving backbreaking labor that is not directly related to spinster aunting. In Chuck’s mind, “chores” means arguing with me about …

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Mar 07 2009

Field notes from the Equine Behavioral Studies Dept.

Stella, genius

My young grey mare Maypearl looks like a benevolent little porcelain unicorn, but she has fearsome intellective powers, which powers she unfortunately inclines toward the service of evil. Her practical jokes include bucking me off, terrorizing the other mares, throwing her rubber feed pan in the air, kicking down stall boards, and, the latest addition …

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Mar 04 2009

Spinster aunt acknowledges that the blog looks different


In our continuing efforts to bring you the most enjoyable blaming experience possible, the Twisty Web Development Department has implemented a couple of changes to the blog theme and upgraded the WordPress installation. I rely on the Blametariat to complain about these changes in the comments. I will probably regret asking, but please leave feedback, …

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Mar 01 2009

Gray tree frog of the week


This just in! The gray tree frog brings the grand total of tree frogs spotted at El Rancho Deluxe up to 1. Hyla chrysoscelis or Hyla versicolor, who knows which. Cottonmouth County, TX, February 2009. When Mungo, the big-ass computer nerve center here at Spinster HQ, went belly-up a few weeks ago, it took Photoshop …

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Feb 08 2009

Giant centipede of the week


Here at the Twisty Arthropod Lab we have a particular fondness for centipedes. As famed arthropod scientist J. L. Cloudsley-Thompson remarked, “centipedes seem to exert a weird fascination on the morbid appetites of the hysterical and insane.” [cite] This is Scolopendra heros, the Giant Red-Headed Centipede. It is a formidable entity, as venomous as it …

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Feb 07 2009

Women’s Sexuality 2.0


As is my custom of a Saturday morning, I was just settling into a bell hooks essay [1], an aerosol waffle by my side, admiring from the corner of my eye the noble drooling countenance of my golden retriever Bert, when suddenly — But wait a second. bell hooks has reminded me that I was, …

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Jan 09 2009



It’s always a pleasure to see an armadillo that isn’t smashed on the road. Fun armadillo facts: they are related to sloths and anteaters, and are the only species of this order in Texas (or in all of North America for that matter). They can inflate themselves to cross bodies of water. 15% of armadillos …

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Dec 16 2008

Spinster aunt has aromatic neighbors


When I’m not swatting adorable bluebirds out of my eyes or forcing deer to pose with garden implements, I’m partying with these bad boys. Mephitis mephitis striped skunk (short-striped version), Blanco County, TX, December 2008. Will I ever blame the patriarchy again? Sure! In fact, at this very moment, brewing in the stinkpot down at …

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