Category Archives: Environment

Caveman sex: a little Neanderthal on the side?

By Bob Hicks

Artist's rendering of a Neanderthal clan, about 60,000 years ago. National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The family tree just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Or the roots get more and more tangled.

This morning’s most intriguing news was the revelation that, yes indeed, Neanderthals seem to be among our ancestors. At least, a team of biologists doing DNA analysis of Neanderthal bones has determined tentatively that between 1 and 4 percent of non-African contemporary humans’ genome derives from that brawny, slope-headed side of the family. Once upon a time most scientists pretty much figured there’d been intermingling. Then they decided there hadn’t been. Now, it seems, caveman sex was pretty liberal, after all.

Several versions of this story are floating around. We like Nicholas Wade’s report in the New York Times, because it’s complete for a general audience and comes with the necessary cautions that more research needs to be done and not all scientists agree that the evidence leads to the conclusion. Even in matters sexual, peer review is important.

Here at Art Scatter World Headquarters we have a longstanding interest in the prehistoric links between culture and biology. We’ve talked about them in relationship to natural selection in the Pleistocene era and celebrated the discovery of Ardi, our 4.4 million-year-old beauty of a cousin. Something’s been making the world go ’round for a long, long time.

We also note with gleeful irony that today’s announcement comes as bad news for the rear-guard intellects of the Aryan Nations: Because this interbreeding hanky panky took place in the Middle East, after humans had migrated there from Africa but before the wanderers had split off into their European and Asian arms, the shared genetic material isn’t found south of the Mediterranean. In other words: If there’s such a thing as a “pure” race, it’s in Africa. Ha!


Illustration: National Aeronautics and Space Administration artist’s rendition of a family of Neanderthals about 60,000 years ago. The extinct animals of the Pleistocene epoch pictured are the Woolly Mammoth, the Bush Antlered Deer, and the Sabre Toothed Cat. Pleistocene animals in this image that still exist are the Eurasian Horse, the Oryx, the Banded Lemming and the Musk Ox. Some of the plant life of the Pleistocene epoch consisted of grasses (which did not exist until this time), ferns, trees, sedges and shrubs.

Art: the Pleistocene made us do it

Komar and Melamid, Most Wanted Painting, United States

Mr. Scatter apologizes for his recent silence. He’s been a little scattered.

One of the things he’s been doing is reading The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution, by Denis Dutton, the philosopher of art who is also founder and editor of the invaluable Web site Arts & Letters Daily.

Denis Dutton, The Art InstinctThe Art Instinct talks a lot about the evolutionary bases of the urge to make art: the biological hard-wiring, if you will. Dutton likes to take his readers back to the Pleistocene era, when the combination of natural selection and the more “designed” selection of socialization, or “human self-domestication,” was creating the ways we still think and feel. To oversimplify grossly, he takes us to that place where short-term survival (the ability to hunt; a prudent fear of snakes) meets long-term survival (the choosing of sexual mates on the basis of desirable personal traits including “intelligence, industriousness, courage, imagination, eloquence”). Somewhere in there, peacock plumage enters into the equation.

There’s a lot to like and a little to argue about in this book, which comes down squarely on the biologically determined as opposed to the culturally determined side of the art-theory fence. Mr. Scatter is an agnostic on this subject, although he leans slightly toward the Darwinian explanation, if for no better reason than that he finds Barthes, Derrida, Foucault and their academic acolytes a bit fatiguing, and he sees no reason why we should consider the analysts of art more important than the artists themselves. Mr. Scatter says this despite his own penchant for analyzing stuff. Besides, The Art Instinct uses a lot of anthropological evidence in support of its argument, and long ago Mr. Scatter was actually awarded (he hesitates to say “earned”) a university degree in sociology and anthropology, although he usually just says “anthro” because that’s the part that seems to have stuck with him in his later adventures in life.

Continue reading Art: the Pleistocene made us do it

Detroit: Garden City, U.S.A.?

Corner of Michigan and Griswold. Great deal of car traffic, large group of people boarding trolley car. Large commercial buildings in background. Traffic tower in middle of street, with person standing inside. Date 	  circa 1920 Source 	  Early Detroit Images from the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library Author 	  unknown

One of this week’s most interesting reads is by Associated Press writer David Runk, published in the Detroit News under the headline Detroit Wants to Save Itself by Shrinking.

The crux: Much of the city has become so bleak and uninhabitable that Mayor Dave Bing and other city leaders want to bulldoze huge sections and start over with something else. What that “something else” might be isn’t fully imagined, but a lot of people are saying: Farms. Gardens. Nature. Imagine: A city, having conquered the land, agreeing to a unilateral withdrawal in order to save itself.

What does this have to do with Portland and Oregon, which pride themselves on their planning and rural-to-urban connections, even if both have flashpoints of read-guard insurgency?

For one thing, looking at places like Detroit and the Bronx and declining Rust Belt cities is a healthy reminder of how comparatively easy Oregon has it in this area: We simply don’t have to contend with the issues of massive urban deterioration that plague other parts of the country. (Our own, much smaller, issue is the spread of large suburban nowheres without centers, with little to define them but car culture and small-scale speculation.) It’s easy to be smug about our “greenness.” How green would we be if we faced the problems that so many other places face?

Second, though: Can ideas pioneered here be adapted to the catastrophic conditions that Detroit and other cities face? Can an American urban-sprawl landscape be transformed into something like a 21st century medieval landscape, with tight urban gatherings fed (perhaps literally) by closely surrounding farm and rural areas? And can such projects be undertaken without the kind of massive governmental direction and support that is already under relentless attack nationally in the battles to reform health care and counter the effects of the Great Recession?

Continue reading Detroit: Garden City, U.S.A.?

Penny dreadful, part 4: DIY port-a-potties

An ancient Roman public toilet. Wikimedia Commons

E-mail to colleague first thing: “I won’t be at the office this morning. I’m getting new toilets.”

And just in time. The hard-to-lift boxes had to get out of the Large Smelly Boymobile before Dungeons & Dragons Dad picked up six Large Smelly D&D Players.

Sound familiar?

The last story started there but veered to pants. And kilts.

Mr. Scatter pointed out in a baffled, you-gotta-be-kidding voice, “You don’t talk about toilets again?”

Mrs. Scatter: “Uh … no.”

Mr. Scatter: “What happened to the toilets?” (As if he personally doesn’t know how the story ends and what’s in our bathrooms.)

Mrs. Scatter: “Uh … I ended up talking about pants.”

Mr. Scatter (in the same incredulous voice): “When are you going to finish talking about toilets?” (As if this were a perfectly normal question.)

Mrs. Scatter: “Uh … in another post.”

Let’s refresh the story so far – including the wayback blog parchment days ago:

Which somehow brings us to chauffeuring toilets all over town.

An 1800s Dutch bidet with Chinese porcelain. Wikimedia Commons

  • On a sunny Sunday afternoon, two muscly guys lifted two heavy big boxes full of spanking new toilets into the Large Smelly Boymobile.
  • The two boxes were way too heavy to get back out of the Large Smelly Boymobile.
  • The two boxes were way too big to leave around the house.
  • The two heavy overbig boxes were left in the van.
  • I called a plumber and left a message.
  • I drove the two heavy overbig boxes to the office.
  • I started to worry when I didn’t hear back from the plumber.
  • I drove the two heavy overbig boxes to a meeting with a lot of colleagues.
  • I drove the two heavy overbig boxes to a board member’s house.
  • The plumber called, and we made an appointment for Thursday morning.
  • Thursday was perfect, I thought. Just in time to get the hard-to-lift boxes out of the Large Smelly Boymobile before Dungeons & Dragons Dad picked up six Large Smelly D&D Players.

Sound familiar?

The plumber arrived. He made a bunch of noise in the bathroom and then said, “Where do you want the old toilets?”

“Great,” I said. “I was afraid you were going to say that.”

I opened the back of the van and realized a chunk of my day would be shot getting rid of crappy porcelain.

The plumber’s boss arrived.

We got two new toilets that flush and don’t wiggle.


After the plumbers left, I zeroed in and got a bunch of work done. The clock ticked away. It inched into the afternoon. Long past lunchtime. And then I remembered. I had old toilets in the back of the van. I had to drive to the recycling center in the hell-and-gone suburbs and be back in time for D&D Dad to take the van. It was either that or he would have to chauffeur six Large Smelly Boys while two toilets clunked around.

I had a deadline. I had to scoot. As one of the plumbers said, “Be careful around the curves. That bowl can go flying.”

To be continued … one more time.

— Laura Grimes


Illustrations, from top:

An ancient Roman public toilet: The group approach was perhaps the rise and fall of the Roman Empire … going … going … gone. Wikimedia Commons

An 1800s Dutch bidet with Chinese porcelain: A creative mix and match elevates the idea of crappy porcelain. Wikimedia Commons

Portland Open Studios: what’s behind the gallery walls

Portland loves process — a politician here can barely duck out for coffee without holding several public meetings first to thrash out which coffee shop she should hit in which geographically underserved corner of the city — and that extends to its arts scene.

Mar Ricketts, master kitemaker and fiber artist, in his Southeast Portland studio.Lectures, tours, workshops, open rehearsals: If it’s a behind-the-scenes peek, we’re there. It’s not enough just to see the finished project. We want to know how it got there.

What was the idea? How was it built? What were the stumbling blocks? Was getting there really half the fun?

In the visual arts, something else kicks in, too: sweet reassurance.

Galleries and museums intimidate a lot of people. They don’t know the language. They might know what they like, but they suspect the cognoscenti would laugh at them. In galleries, they think they’re getting the once-over (and in a few, they are): Is this person a potential buyer? Does she count? Is she worth my time?

It’s not so much that people are afraid of wrestling with tough ideas, it’s that they’re afraid they don’t know the rules. They’re not specialists — and in the minds of the many, the art world has become the province of the anointed few. (In certain rigorously theoretical cases, of course, this is true.) Add to all this the sense of mystery — the popular idea that with artists, something magical happens, beyond the ken of mortal souls — and it’s little wonder that fear keeps people outside the gallery doors.

In fact, the actual making of art is usually a tactile, pragmatic, hands-on thing; down-to-earth in a sometimes literal sense. For all the metaphorical calisthenics in writing about art, artists themselves tend to be practical problem-solvers: What is this thing that’s wormed inside my head, and how can I work it out? Most artists grapple with chance and improvisation more than most of the rest of us, but the good ones do it with method and structure. In spite of C.P. Snow’s famous lament in The Two Cultures (or maybe in support of it), the worlds of art and science aren’t all that far apart, at least in a rudimentary sense. Both involve hypothetically based searches for truth, and in that search both find beauty.

Andrea Benson, weaving yarns in encausticSo let’s take the pressure off and take a relaxed look at how this art stuff really works. That’s part of the idea behind Portland Open Studios, the annual fall tour of artists’ studios across the greater Portland area. In its 10th year, the event includes 100 studios (they’re juried in) and runs the next two weekends: October 10-11 and 17-18. Most studios are open both weekends; the Web site has details.

It’s always fun to see where other people work. I visited three studios before the kickoff, and each represented a different approach to the artist’s workspace.

Bonnie Meltzer‘s studio in North Portland is a storybook sort of place, a small building steps away from the back door of an old farmhouse on a double lot that also holds gnarled fruit trees and a pretty terrific vegetable garden. The studio strikes a balance between orderly and cluttered, with all sorts of tools that a home handyman would be comfortable with, and a motley collection of globes destined to find their way at one point or another into her mixed-media works. A deck outside the studio is set up for sawing and bashing at big pieces of stuff.

Encaustic artist Andrea Benson works from a small studio at Troy Studios, a big brick former commercial laundry building in industrial Southeast Portland that’s home to about 25 artists. She can bike or walk there from her home, and likes having a separate space. A few blocks away, Mar Ricketts, whose fabric pieces range from aerodynamic kites and mobiles to temporary structures for big outdoor events, works in a big single-story space that allows plenty of floor room for laying out his sometimes gargantuan pieces. His studio isn’t a recycled industrial space: It is an industrial space.

Continue reading Portland Open Studios: what’s behind the gallery walls

Nice to meet you, Ardi. See you at the family reunion.

Meet the family: Ardi, or Ardipithecus ramidus, in the flesh. Illustration: Jay Matterns, Science magazine

Meet the family: Ardi, or Ardipithecus ramidus, in the flesh. At 4.4 million years old, she’s our REALLY great aunt. Illustration: Jay Matternes, Science magazine

As we all know, modern life seems to be zipping around us at something approaching light speed: Whole trends and movements sometimes flower and die before we’re even aware of them. Whatever happened to the New Kids on the Block?

Thank goodness for science, which tends to take a longer, more measured view of things. It was a pleasure to look at the front pages of my two newspapers this morning and make the acquaintance of Ardi, a distant relative, and welcome her to the sort-of human family.

Ardi — short for Ardipithecus ramidus — is our newest oldest relative. At about 4.4 million years, she’s roughly a million years older than our old friend Lucy, who clocks in at 3.2 million. Ardi and Lucy grew up not too far from each other, about 45 miles distant in what is now Ethiopia. (A couple of even older specimens, Orrorin tugenensis and Saheanthropus tchadensis, might stretch the old family tree back to more than 6 million years, but apparently their fossils are too few for paleontologists to make a definitive case for them.)

Ardi stood about 4 feet tall and weighed a muscle-bound 120 — almost a foot taller and twice the weight of Lucy, according to John Noble Wilford’s typically lively and graceful story in the New York Times. (Brian Switek also has an interesting discussion at But although Ardi was bigger, Lucy was more advanced in most ways we think of as typically human, including walking. Lucy was much more of a stand-up gal. Despite the drawings, Ardi was likely in climbing mode most of the time: Note the stretched-out arms, huge hands, and relatively short legs.

Ardi’s first bones were discovered in 1992 and scientists have literally been piecing together her story since. At long last she’s having her debutante ball, and — speaking of speed — already she’s a star: Television’s Discovery Channel will air a two-hour special about her, Discovering Ardi, on Oct. 11. She’ll be dressed up in fur for the big event.

This morning, before he left for school, I showed Ardi’s picture to the Smaller Large Smelly Boy.

“She lived 4.4 million years ago,” I said. “That’s pretty old.”

“Yeah, but not as old as you,” he replied. “What was it you were doing on the day of the Big Bang?”

For the record, I was trying to take a nap.

Time Line of the Universe  Credit: NASA/WMAP Science Team; Wikimedia Commons

Time Line of the Universe, with Big Bang. NASA/WMAP Science Team; Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday morning hot links: Get ’em fresh here

John de Andrea, The Dying Gaul. Portland Art Museum.One of Art Scatter’s favorite blogs is Fifty Two Pieces, on which the erudite Amy and LaValle write about specific works at the Portland Art Museum and then let their minds wander into those strange and fascinating places that great art tends to nudge active minds. The blog is called Fifty Two Pieces because its authors declared from the get-go that they would write for one year only.

Time’s running short, so get your fresh links while they’re still hot off the grill. Amy and LaValle began their excellent adventure on New Year’s Day 2009 with a consideration of John De Andrea‘s fabulous hyperrealist sculpture The Dying Gaul.

Chaim Soutine, The Little Pastry Chef. Portland Art Museum.Their latest consideration is another of my favorites at the museum, Chaim Soutine‘s charming, red-and-orange-soaked painting (it reminds me of cinnamon) The Little Pastry Chef. It’s inspired, among other things, this delicious musing on Fifty Two Pieces:

According to the encyclopedia of gastronomy, Larousse Gastronomique, as early as the Neolithic Age, prehistoric man made foods based on honey, fruits, seeds, and maple or birch syrup. It’s thought that Mediterranean baklava and filo are the original pastries, made in Assyria on special occasions and for the rich. Medieval crusaders to the Middle East brought the recipes for these sweet treats back with them upon their return to Europe. Over the next century, according to, French and Italian Renaissance chefs perfected puff pastry to an art form, adapting these original recipes to create Napoleons, brioche, éclairs and cream puffs.”

Today the blog considers the similarities between The Little Pastry Chef and Morris GravesPortrait of Bill Cumming, which hangs nearby. Soutine and Graves aren’t names you’d ordinarily through together in the same beret, but there you go: Art loves strange hatfellows.

LaValle, by the way, has been gadding about Berlin lately, and recording her impressions on her own blog, Two to Europe. She’ll be back. In the meantime, Amy’s holding the fort just fine.

A few other things we’ve enjoyed reading lately:

  • Grant Butler’s interview with James E. McWilliams, author of the new book Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly, in the FoodDay section of The Oregonian. Butler and McWilliams bring some welcome nuance to the whole question of eating locally (McWilliams suggests not making it a religion) and raise the issue of feeding a hungry world, not just our little agriculturally blessed corner of it. The story brings up the work of Norman Borlaug, the “green revolution” pioneer who died this month at 95 (his New York Times obituary is here) and whom Art Scatter wrote about last year in a long piece that began with Leo Tolstoy.
  • Stephen Holden’s review in the New York Times of the “vaudevillian spark plug” Jason Graae’s new cabaret act. Holden’s running series of pieces on New York’s cabaret scene and its link to the Great American Songbook is a pure pleasure. Graae is apparently a mischievous sort, and Holden reports straight-faced on his closing number Slasher Medley: “It was a surefire piece of special material that stitched together revised quotes from Broadway standards: ‘Gray skies are going to clear up/Carve up a happy face’; ‘If ever I would cleave you, I’d start around the elbow.’ My favorite: ‘When you walk through a storm, hold a head up high.’
  • Jon Michael Varese’s impassioned argument in The Guardian (via Arts & Letters Daily), Why Are We Still reading Dickens? The old Victorian cliff-hanger specialist has had his critical ups and downs, but no matter what the fashion of the moment, he keeps hanging on — and we keep hanging on to him. For extremely good reason, Varese argues. Dickens, he concludes, is “shining a light on who I am during the best and worst of times.”

Or would you rather swing on a star? Taming the ornery mule in Oregon high country

The Wallowa Mountains in summer as seen from the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area/Wikimedia Commons

Muleskinner Blue Skies: The Wallowas in summer as seen from the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. Wikimedia Commons.

While all you young buckaroos are heading into cowboy country for the 99th annual Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Pageant starting Wednesday, Mr. Scatter will be stuck inside of Portland with the Round-Up Blues again. I’ll be missing the roping, the trick riding, the bronc busting, the prodigious after-hours cheap bourbon guzzling, and all those other enduring arts of the untamed West.

So last weekend, on a trip to Enterprise in the Wallowa Mountains — 100-odd miles east of Pendleton, which put me really into ranch country — I compensated by heading for the Wallowa County Fairgrounds and the 29th annual Hells Canyon Mule Days.

2002 Grand Marshall Merl Hawkins, wife Carol and daughter Jenny. Larry Waters driving his mules Bert & Ernie Yes, Mule Days. As in Harry S Truman. As in Francis the Talking. As in 20 Mule Team Borax. As in stubborn as a. As in Bing Cosby’s tune about “an animal with long funny ears” whose “back is brawny and his brain is weak” — a gross misrepresentation of this hardworking beast, which is indeed brawny but is anything but weak-minded: It’s much too smart to give in to a mere human being without a fight.

Sitting in the grandstands and watching the curious backward dance of one unhappily saddled pack animal, I got the very strong feeling that mules are not meant for racing. And I reached the inescapable conclusion that, whatever else the mule’s multiple virtues, there is something inescapably comic — Sisyphean, even — about trying to coax it into performing the sort of rodeo tricks that seem like catnip to a horse.

This particular beast was a stocky, handsome, muscular white specimen of the species, and I have no doubt that when called upon it can haul its weight in moonshine over tricky terrain. But when its rider tried to coax it to the white chalk starting line for the pole bending competition, the mule instead shied from the bit and stepped back, back, backward, arching its neck and tossing its head in protest, until it rammed its rump into the rail that separates the field from the track. Minding its so-called “master” was not on its agenda on this Sunday afternoon.

Oddly, I admired the beast.

Mule Days here in Enterprise,  in the gorgeous high country of far northeastern Oregon that is still rightly lamented by the Nez Perce Indians who were run off their land 130 years ago by the U.S. Cavalry, offer a lot of other attractions. A Dutch oven cooking competition. A quilt exhibition. Cowboy poets. Hand-tooled saddles and other western gear for sale. Unending country music over the loudspeakers. All the fairground snacks your stomach can handle.

But people, keep your eyes on the main event here: galloping mules!

A team of beauties at Hells Canyon Mule DaysThis is not the Sport of Kings, with sleek beauties like Secretariat to give an aesthetic gloss to the gambling and occasional gore. This is mules, the sterile offspring of male donkeys and female horses, who are strong and capable but also awkward and funny-looking, with heads too big for their bodies and ears too long for their heads.

And from what I saw on Sunday, you don’t coax a mule. It more or less decides on its own whether it feels like playing the game on any given day. Understand, I speak from base ignorance. Mrs. Scatter and OED, our Older Educated Daughter, have seen me in the saddle, and after 20 years they still snicker at the memory. There are intricacies and even basic principles about these animals that I simply do not understand. So, muleskinners and other animal handlers, please forgive my misinterpretations of the muling life. And bear in mind that of the many skills tested during Hells Canyon Mule Days, pole bending is the only competition that I witnessed: For all I know, when it comes to the full-tilt boogie the mule is more beautiful than an Arabian, more skillful than a quarterhorse. But this is what I saw.

Continue reading Or would you rather swing on a star? Taming the ornery mule in Oregon high country

Boll weevil blues: Singing the heat wave away

What makes your head so red?
Tell me, what makes your head so red?
I been workin’ so long in the hot hot sun,
it’s a wonder that I ain’t dead.

My father used to sing that sometimes, sleeves rolled up, shirt open at the collar, head tilted back for the high notes. Just a snatch of a song, I always figured, part of something bigger, but that was the part he sang. So do I, now, when it sounds in my head, a short burst that makes me think of high heat and hard work in fields that I have rarely known.

Hot enough for ya?Today, in the throes of an infernal Pacific Northwest heat wave that has the thermometer rattling up toward 107, that red-baked head is on my mind again. Kind of blue, kind of hot, an oddly triumphal moan, mixed of resignation and endurance and somehow coming out on the sweet side of things: I ain‘t dead.

I come from a singing family. (And a whistling family, too, for that matter.)

My father tended toward old country-style things, like “Goodnight, Irene”:

“Sometimes I live in the country,
sometimes I live in town.
Sometimes I take a great notion
to jump into the river and drown.”

Or “Froggy Went a-Courtin'”:

“Without my uncle Rat’s consent,
I wouldn’t marry the president!”

On rare occasions he’d pull out his old battered guitar and strum. More often he’d just start to sing.

My mother had a pretty, Jo Stafford sort of voice, and her songs were more from the pop charts, often with a ’40s derivation, definitely pre-rock ‘n’ roll:

“Shrimp boats a-comin’, there’ll be dancin’ tonight!”
“It was fiesta down in Mexico, and so I stopped a while to see the show …”
“Your Daddy’s rich, and your Mama’s good-lookin’ …”

My father is 93 now, and my mother is 89,
and they don’t sing much anymore: The old vocal cords just aren’t what they used to be. But for most of my life I remember singing as an utterly casual yet plainly important part of their lives. They had seven kids and not a lot of money and precious little time to themselves, but singing they could do. Singing was a pleasure, and to most of their children they passed it along. To me they even passed along a certain taste. I’m much more likely to start singing “Hey, good lookin’, whatcha got cookin’?” or “If I’m gonna marry it’s the butcher boy for me!” or even a rollicking old church tune than anything by the Beatles, much less Madonna or Cheryl Crow or Smashing Pumpkins.

Our town was surrounded by dairy and berry and bean farms and it rained a lot and in winter we got silver frosts with icicles hanging like troll-knives from the eaves. Summers were short and warm and grew things that got us out in the fields, rustling through strawberry bushes to earn clothes money for the coming school year. The music in the fields tended toward the tin beat of transistor radios and pop-40 tunes: “Call my baby lollipop, tell you why, his kiss is sweeter than an apple pie …”

People made their own music. That’s always been and always will be, despite the corporate push to turn us all into spectators for carefully controlled musical spectacles. (Karl Marx called religion the opiate of the masses; apparently he never saw MTV.) People made music at church. They made music on the porch or in the back yard. Kids gathered on sidewalks and chanted their proto-raps: “Made ya look, ya dirty crook, ya stole your mother’s pocketbook!” “Miss Suzy had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell, Miss Suzy went to Heaven, the steamboat went to Hello operator, please give me number nine  …”

Continue reading Boll weevil blues: Singing the heat wave away

Scorching temperature: The long and the shorts of it

Desperate times call for desperate measures.Here in the Art Scatter sauna we wouldn’t stoop to wearing a muu muu, but we have fantasized about it.

Are we the only ones to pitch all decorum in this stifling heat? One of the large smelly boys* walks around in boxer shorts and the cat sleeps on the dining table.

I know. Gross. But I don’t have the heart to discourage it. The cat knows where to find the best air flow.

But back to the boxer shorts. They remind me of the mom who once told me that they have a rule in their house.

“If the blinds are up then everyone has to wear at least underwear.”


“And that goes for everyone.”

— Laura Grimes


*Identity has been blurred to protect the guilty.