October 21st, 2008

sideview, obamame_sideview

Writer's Block: Reconsidering Children's Books

Have you ever gone back and re-read a book you loved as a child only to find it incredibly disturbing now that you're an adult? Like The Giving Tree, for example: a terrifying tale of self-sacrifice or a reassuring story of maternal love?

MOST of the books I loved as a kid are rather disturbing but I liked them them and LOVE them now. I was always especially fond of strange drawings, dreary rhymes and violent plots.

Example: Struwwelpeter, which not only has harsh, sadistic, scary moral tales for kids, but freaky drawings!

Example drawing

Verse (Translation):
But ah, the flame it caught her clothes,
Her apron, too; and higher rose;
Her hand is burnt, her hair's afire,
Consumed is that child entire.

And Mintz and Mountz wild crying,
The while the child was frying,
"Come quick !" they said. "O Sire.
Your darling child's afire !
Me-yow ! Me-yo ! Me-yow ! Me-yo !
She's cinders, soot, and ashes, O!

Now one book I CAN think of that I now find disturbing, in a bad way, is The Little House. It's a classic and I used to love it, but nowadays it reads to me like a metaphor of white flight and suburbanization.
Nomi 2, Disgusted

Product Rec - Poison-Free Roach Traps

I've been having a roach problem (and a fruit fly problem, what a combo!) and have found something that works really well and involves no sprays, plastic traps, crystals or anything else I wouldn't want around me or my pets:

Victor Poison-Free Roach Traps / Insect Magnets*

* The link goes to Natural Abode but you can get them other places online or at natural food / goods type places.

The things come in a twelve-pack and are basically little cardboard boxes, closed on three sides with an open end and an open hole on top. On the bottom inside is a piece of really sticky tape and on the top is a patch of roach/insect hormones. The things get lured into the box and get stuck!

I've gone through my first dozen and just ordered more. Really nice because it's a no-chem solution and cheap, too. Re what kind of critters I've caught, mostly it's been small roaches (German roaches) but I've also caught spiders and a bunch of unidentifiable little beetles and bugs. I don't have any Palmettos* but I think the traps would work on them, too. I'd definitely say my overall roach population has gone down as more and more breeders get stuck in the traps. I think my record catch was like 10 with one trap.

On a related note, I never encountered roaches anywhere ever until I moved down here. They scurry around everywhere outside -- parks, sidewalks, walls, sides of buildings, and duh, inside. Didn't even see them in untidy roach-friendly environments like my parents' kitchen. Which reminds me -- this weekend I kept cleaning up their kitchen and thinking "Thank God they don't have roaches here..." They don't know what they're missing...

* Giant roaches, found outside and inside. Like an inch long usually and apparently very productive when they want to be. Caleb has tons of 'em living out in his patio garden and in his cats' litter box, but the popular has thinned out -- not by traps but by his kitten Phoebe, who hunts and eats them with a passion. (They are like mice, pretty much.)