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September 12 – 16, 2016
Autumn is almost here, which may be a relief to Helen, who suffers through sultry weather in Washington, D.C. (a place which “does not do summer gracefully.”) But never fear, she’s come up with a list of recommendations to get herself through future summers. In 2017, no matter the temperature, you may see Helen outside, in a kayak, out of town, or walking home from work–and she will not be wearing pants.
Jennifer has focused her career on animals and conservation—but wrestles with what that means at the meat market: Once, a snotty 10-year-old kid at a talk I was giving asked if I was vegetarian and, when I said no, he chided me for this conflict of interest. (Really, kid? I could just hear his mother’s voice coming out of his mouth. This was in Seattle, after all.) I was annoyed and kind of wanted to punch him in the nose. But he was kind of right that I was mixing my messages. Love and respect animals, I was saying, but steak sure is tasty.
Erik provides a short primer on how to read ancient Mayan: What is amazing is that there were rules and from one city to the next, people used roughly the same complex written language. And so can we. Though admittedly it would be infinitely easier had the Spanish missionaries not decided that Maya writing was Satanic and burned the thousands of Maya books including, I assume, one about grammar.
People write to Craig to ask what they should do with artifacts they’ve collected: When the woman wrote me about her feather-like arrowheads a few days ago, I took her query more pointedly than at other times. My house had just been broken into. . . Along with river gear, crampons, a chainsaw, and artwork, the one thing that got me was the contents of a small, 1950s greeting card box. The box had held potsherds, arrowheads, clay pipes, and a couple fetching, polished Desert Archaic pendants.
Cassie tries to harvest her tomatoes and gets bitten instead: Mosquitoes are the worst. They spread malaria and Zika and dengue. They suck our blood. They drive people batshit crazy. So why not wipe them out?
Photo and drawing by Helen Fields