An Absence of Sun

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Welcome friend, it’s come around again, we have officially entered the seasonal shift when morning light has attained a later state of being. These days, when my alarm sounds out, and I battle to pop my peeper’s open, I am greeted by a dungeon-like darkness. The only thing missing is the shackles. And to be truthful it’s not the pitch-black mornings which bothers me the most. It’s the possibility that crude creeping creatures might be hiding in the lightless space. That idea quickly ignites my imagination and brings to life the horror of unexpected slippery touches, bony grasping fingers, and weird grunting noises… And then I remember, my husband is away at work.

And so it begins, the return to the dark and dismal rise and shine time. The absence of the sun has throttled the very breath out of my fun loving demeanour. I find myself prompted to drag the life size skeleton, Mr. Bones from our garage and have him sit beside me on the couch. We lean in towards one another, fleshy humerus to naked humerus and listen to the top ten hits of funeral music. We silently mourn the death of my chirpiness, although to be frank, Mr. Bones seems quite unsympathetic to my current state of being.

I glance out into the blackness of the early morning hours, and summarily decide the stars are grieving too, as they are veiled by a thick coverlet of clouds. The only light in the room is the orange glow from my Himalayan salt rock. I could turn on a real light but that would interrupt the mood. And in all truthfulness, I’m not quite miserable yet, I’m simply setting the scene. I figured I may as well wait and see what happens, after all, misery loves company. I ruminate for a while longer, and soon realize it’s not coming. Misery has snubbed my overture. I drag Mr. Bones back to the garage, and set him on his sled with his sunglasses positioned over his empty eye sockets. His day won’t get much worse than it already is, and at that bright thought, I feel myself smile.

Mosquitos Suck

mosquito biting on skin

Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

The deadliest creature alive probably munched on you this past summer. This dastardly winged creature has been responsible for the death of up to 2.7 million people every year, far more than any weather-related fatalities. These blood-sucking demons are nature’s most efficient carriers of deadly viruses. They are responsible for transmitting Malaria, Dengue Fever, Yellow fever, Encephalitis, Chikungunya, West Nile, the Zika Virus, and even heartworms through their saliva. That, is quite the résumé,  little insect.

Perhaps, even more interesting is that only the females of the mosquito species suck blood from living creatures, the males only consume flower nectar.   And do you know why the females have an insatiable need for blood? It’s to enable their reproductive cycle to succeed, our liquid life is an essential ingredient to enable the creation of mosquito children. That’s right, the most irritating insects in the world uses the protein and iron pilfered from mammals to bring bouncing baby mosquito eggs to life.

These dastardly demons of the insect world would give you the chills if you saw them up close. How many nasty needle-like proboscises do you think the heinous little beast has to gorge on your blood? One? Two? Three? Nope. And the buzzard sounds— Six, in a single mosquito bite, six needle-like components enter your flesh. First, the two outer mandibles saw into your skin, then the second set holds the tissues apart as the hypopharynx drips saliva into the jagged opening. The saliva prevents the blood from clotting. Lastly, the labrum siphons up the crimson liquid by joining up with the hypopharynx to form a straw. Slurp, slurp, slurp. The female strives to fill her abdomen space up to the maximum capacity with red blood cells. To accomplish this,  while she is extracting the blood from the mammal, she is separating the water from the iron-rich beverage, and squeezing out the excess water in the form of pee. So not only is she stealing your blood, she’s taking a whiz on you at the same time. How horrid is that? Do you feel violated yet?

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Did you know that the word mosquito, is Spanish for little fly? Yet a mosquito is entirely different than a Spanish fly?  A Spanish fly was an aphrodisiac formulated by grinding up blister beetles, and when it was consumed, it was supposed to provoke extreme sexual arousal in men. Alas, a common side effect was death. So, I surmise from that tidbit of information that, a Spanish fly and a mosquito are actually quite similar in that they can both cause an unexpected demise.

Did you know a male mosquito lives for five to seven days? Yet the female can live up to a month. I find that fact oddly satisfying.

Now here’s an oddball but curious question. How many mosquitos would it take to drain an adult human of their blood? Amazingly enough, it would take approximately one million mosquitos to bleed you dry. However, that particular fact is irrelevant, because you would be dead before they finished with you. The human defence system would release such a massive amount of histamine into your body that you’d go into shock and die long before your veins were emptied. Histamine is a chemical that is released when foreign pathogens are detected in your body. The saliva from the female mosquito is what produces a histamine release, and then in turn, is what causes the insane itching at the bite site.

Let’s wrap it up with the most grisly question of all, how large does one mosquito need to be to bleed you dry? Although the answer can’t be proven, some scientists say, in theory  a mosquito should be the size of a large dog in order to have the ability to slush puppie you dry, but then again, once you take into account the monstrous size that the outer saw-like mandibles would become, it’ll be more like the magicians trick of a person being sawed in half without the revival. I think I’ll stick to the tiny blood-sucking mosquitoes I can smack.

Are you looking forward to winter yet?

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A world without mosquitos.

 

 

You Matter

photo of gray sneakers

Photo by Shane Kell on Pexels.com

I try to be positive about life, typically if I happen upon a pile of poop, I think, “Oh look fertilizer.” However, this time, I wasn’t looking where I was walking, and I accidentally stepped into the foul mess. I soon realized it was dog poop. The brown goo clings to my shoes, and it stinks, oh Lord, does it stink. I attempt to scrub my shoes on the grass, and soon find has it only makes matters worse. It’s hopeless, the only thing I achieved was to grind the brown goop into my teeny tiny sneaker treads. My shoes reeked. I momentarily thought I should throw them out, but no, I couldn’t do that, they are practically brand new. Would you throw them out?

And on that note, have do you ever wondered why so many people make purchases on a mindless whim? You would think we should all be aware that the middle-class are being played for fools. The sad fact is that we are all contributing to pollution with our brainless buying. The big corporations have the people of North America right where they want them, a population of easily influenced customers. Massive corporations use manipulative advertising inserted into several different forms of media every hour of the day. They do it to activate the desire in people to run out and purchase the latest and greatest gadget.

The cities, with their growing populations exist as the big-box stores most valuable crop of shoppers. These sprawling megalopolis area’s contain a captive audience, in which companies plant the many seeds of need for new and exciting items. In this fertile ground, one person buys the latest advertised product that might do everything but wax your moustache. And then that brainwashed buyer returns home and promptly shows off their new purchase to a friend or neighbor. Then the covetous friend or neighbor will also buy the stupendous new gadget. Pretty soon, everyone owns the new device.

Six-months pass and now most people have lost interest in their product. The next thing you know a newfangled contraption has exploded onto the advertising sites and captured people’s attention… and their wallets. Before you know it, the secondhand stores are inundated by donations of that same fantastic plastic product that was all the rage not long ago. No one wants yesterdays glamour. These former pieces that had gripped peoples greed are now relegated to the out of sight and out of mind place, where all trashy products go. The majority of the once-popular items will be tossed into the landfill, or even into the ocean. It is the final resting place, and there, the junk retires for several hundred lifetimes before it crumbles away.

It’s not an easy thing to to do, to wake up and realize you’re being manipulated into an idea that buying stuff will bring you happiness. It takes maturity and wisdom to truly understand that happiness is an inside job. There is nothing you can buy, that will bring you joy, or satisfaction, for more than a day or two. Happiness, and more importantly, spiritual fulfillment can be attained by feeling grateful, and from expressing personal creativity, and from actively engaging with the world. A joyful existence manifests from making a conscious attempt to experience your life with a sense of love rather than desire and excess.

There’s no doubt that adjusting to a new way of buying can be challenging, but why don’t we start by supporting smaller companies where we can purchase quality products that will last. Why don’t we use our beautiful minds to consider our reasons for spending hard-earned money on something new? When you are contemplating a purchase, imagine where the new item will eventually end up if it gets broken, or worn, or despised. Where do your cast-offs go? Are they made with durable materials so someone else can enjoy them a second time around? Or are they made brittle plastic and paints that fade or chip?

I met a man a while back, and we were discussing recycling, “Yeah,” he said with a wave of his hand. “I used to recycle everything. Then I watched a documentary on garbage and pollution.” He paused, and his face tightened as he shook his head. “We are so screwed. The way I see it, it doesn’t matter what I do. I’m not wasting my time recycling.” Wow! My jaw dropped, I looked like I took too many benzos. Now, I’ll admit it won’t be a straightforward event to clean up a planet, but how about we try. Don’t be the guy who gives up and waves his white plastic flag shouting, “I surrender.”

The middle-class people are the prime target market for big companies because the middle-class people make up the largest group of consumers. You matter. We support the Billionaires whose supper, cost more than the average monthly mortgage payment. So, that being said, consider the idea that it is actually you, and I, and all the other middle-class folks that can create the change for quality products by refusing to buy crap. You matter, you are not invisible.  Corporations, in general, don’t look at anything else but the number of items sold, positive digits in the form of profit. Therefore, if the masses decide to buy quality over quantity, the change for more durable products has to happen. We, the citizens of the extensive middle-class, can make an enormous difference. You matter. As an individual, you have the final say on how you spend your cash. The choices we make together as consumers will have an impact on our kids, our neighbours kids, and all the future generations.

Stepping in dog crap can be a nasty experience, especially if it’s a monumental turd from a Great Dane. The initial thought after stumbling into a mound of feces might be to toss your shoes into the nearest garbage bin, out of sight and out of mind. But is that truly the answer? What if everyone took the easy way out? If the shoes are quality, a person could simply drop the putrid footwear into a sink of warm soapy water, snap on a pair of rubber gloves, and scrub the shoes clean.