“The Realm of Possibility” by David Levithan

This book
will save lives.
I don’t have any
exact
numbers, but I’m willing to bet that
Being a gay teenager is pretty hard.

This book
is full of stories about relationships
between blackwhitegaystraightbrothersister…whoever.

Each story gives
the message that it’s ok
to be who you are.

Each story is a
different
kind of
poem.

A different
kind of
flower.

They are the
most
beautiful bouquet
I have ever
read.

Dear Dr. Seuss

Thank you for writing so many great books.
They’re sneaky and fun. They act as hooks.
Kids read them with glee and grab them with greed,
And before you know it, they’ve learned how to read!

I took “Hop on Pop” to a student today,
It wasn’t work, for him it was play!
He ploughed through the book, and asked for more.
His father was stunned as he watched from the door!

We went on to “One Fish, Two Fish”, and the going was tough,
But that little kid couldn’t get enough!
He knows he’ll get better if he keeps on this way.
He learned at least five new sight words today!

So Dr. Seuss, I suppose I’m writing to tell
That your books act like a magical spell.
You’ve fillled a very important need,
By writing the books that teach kids to read!

BC Words…and fish.

I’ve been reading Wet Coast Words, which I unearthed while cleaning up the books in Dad’s attic. Here for your linguistic delectation:

pecker pole: a small tree hardly worth logging.
hoochie: a soft plastic lure with tentacles, imitating a small squid. They come in psychedelic colours and patterns to attract skippers shopping for tackle. Invented in Japan, they were originally named hootchy-kootchies for their resemblanceto Polynesian girls in grass skirts.
MonkeyNote:Damn, I miss hoochies.
shagpoke: Great Blue Heron. MonkeyNote: It sounds dirrrty to me.

And all the kinds of salmon:
Sockeye: Our best-known salmon(Oncorhynchus nerka) have a superior taste and colour. The word is a corruption of a Coast Salish name, suk-kegh, meaning ‘red fish’. MonkeyNote: Sockeye Fever is still what I’m going to call my band, when I have one.
Pink: The Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) also known as a humpie, or humpback, from the humps which males develop in the spawning season. They are the shortest-lived (2 years) smallest BC salmon, and average about 2.2 kg in weight. MonkeyNote: Many people disparage pinkies, but they’re absolutely fantastic fresh out of the water and grilled with a little bit of lemon.
Spring:This species (Oncorhynchus tschawytscha) is our largest salmon, often weighing over 45 kg. They’re called ‘chinook’ on Oregon and Washington, ‘kings’ in Alaska, and tyee. Evidently the name comes from the fact that they have spring, as well as fall, spawning runs. MonkeyNote: I didn’t know that! Cool. Okay, so they come in white and red subspecies. My Uncle Don set up a lucrative market in Japan selling White Springs. Because they were unusual, the Japanese paid more for them. Also, really, really big springs are called ‘smileys’ because fishermen smile when they catch them.
Coho: Known as silvers to Americans, these salmon,(Oncorhynchus kisutch) are second in importance to Sockeye for commercial fishermen. During the spring of their last year of life, Coho are sometimes called Bluebacks because their backs go, well, blue. Coho must weigh under 2.25kg to be called Bluebacks. MonkeyNote: I didn’t know that either! What a great book!
Chum: This salmon, (Oncorhynchus keta) was formerly called dog salmon, prompting oone BC biologist to name his canine Keta. The origin of the word is uncertain. MonkeyNote: I think the origin might have to do with the fact that ‘Fall Dogs’ as they are sometimes known, are not considered to be really valuable fish, and are therefore usable for bait for other animals like sharks or crabs or whatever. Incidentally, it is a little known fact that Chum are the best fresh-cooked fish of all the salmon. I know because Uncle Don once did a test where he got one of each species of salmon except Pink, and cooked them up, straight from Seiner to oven to table. Chum was the best. My dad just confirmed it via telephone interview.

Atlantic Salmon: These (Salmo salar) do not escape from fish farms and wreak havoc on native salmon populations, according to the DFO. They simply cannot exist in BC’s waters without special care from fish farmers. If you see an Atlantic Salmon, you are hallucinating and probably a communist. (If you do catch one, they’re much milder in flavour than BC salmon, and not very good smoked, but pretty good barbecued.) Of course, you couldn’t possibly have caught one, since they never escape from fish farms, and they can’t survive anyway and the DFO knows best so shuuut up.

Thank you. This has been vastly entertaining for me. Any other salmon questions? Feel free to ask. Now that I have this book, the world is so much brighter!

Close to Home

Wow. John, please teach me to link like any self-respecting blogger, because I really want to link to a story in the Mail on Sunday, posted at Majikthise by The J Train while Amanda is helping out in NOLA. It may or may nont be true, but like The J Train, I don’t know why it wouldn’t have happened, despite the grisliness and far-fetchedness. After all, what’s not grisly and far-fetched about the situation anyway?

This story is about doctors in New Orleans and environs having to make the decision whether or not to give patients morphine overdoses and so allow them to end their lives in dignity, as opposed to possibly being victims of looting, squalor and agony-filled desperation while waiting for their lives to end.

This is a story close to my own heart.

My mother had a rocky but fast battle with cancer. She lost. For the last week or so she was in a coma, and Dad and Scott and I sat around reading books and…waiting. In a peaceful, well-run hospital. No threat of terror here (Other than the fear of death, which is pretty universal, really)
But the big scariness was pretty big and scary. Doctors could give us no prognosis, because there was nothing they could say or do. There was no information. The cancer was in her lungs, in her brain. No one knew how long it would take to kill her. We were a family in the grips of intense frustration, as well as shock. And we have never communicated our feelings very well to one another, so we were also a group of people isolated, but held together through the conventional ties of family.

If we’d thought to have some hospice care workers come in, we might have been able to better prepare for the inevitable. Doctors, as they could not ethically give us anythign to hope for, were schtum. Hospice help probably wouldn’t have been. Note to self: The next time someone I love dies, I’m getting all the fucking support they’ll give me.

As it was, my mother died in the early afternoon. I got to the hospital in time to see my brother come off the payphone. “She’s gone,” he said.

In the visitors’ room beside the room my mother died in, the doctor, an internist, spent some time with us. He asked us something. I can’t remember what, but it was something like, “Do you have any questions?”

Um, no. My mother just died there. What was I supposed to ask you? Your play-by-play on her palliative care? What happens after we die? Why you only serve cherry jello here?

I am so sorry for those victims of Katrina that were killed by doctors seeking to give them dignity in death.

I am much more sorry for those doctors, who, looking the Hippocratic Oath in the eye, saw the situation, had no answers, and had to create their own answers.

God bless you.

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