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QUARTERLY

Spring


a quarterly science, wildlife and nature publication designed, illustrated and written by folks who have no business talking about it in any professional capacity.

CONTENTS Talking Crap by Dave Pellicane p4 Post-Modern Barbaric Yawp by Eric Soder p6 How to Bumaye by Robin Zwizanski p10 I’m Thinking of a Number by Adam Reck p11 Comrmac McCarthy’s Yelp Review by Nick D’Angelo p13 Lifewild Quarterly Contributors pg 15


Talking Crap by Dave Pellicane

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e live in a free country. In Vermont, you can buy a rifle at age sixteen. If you’re lucky enough to attend the University of Mississippi, you can carry a concealed weapon on campus. But if you head to my local park -- Donaldson Park -- carrying a perfectly legal high-capacity assault rifle and blast all the Canadian geese to smithereens, you’d be arrested. Apparently these geese -- who have infested my park and coated all the trails and fields with their runny green guano -- are legally protected. Not only would you be arrested for exterminating these birds, but you would also face the scorn of The Humane Society, who believe that wantonly killing Canadian geese is “wrong.” According to these most humane folks, “it is not ethical to kill wild birds merely because their mess bothers us or we find them a nuisance.” So I would never advise anyone to harm these legally protected animals. But I will say this. If I saw a man, dressed in camouflage, car-

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rying a perfectly legal high-capacity assault rifle, and he were walking towards my park -- Donaldson Park, located in Highland Park, New Jersey at the south end of Second Avenue -and this man wore a Flextone Six-NOne Waterfowl Whistle on a lanyard around his neck, I wouldn’t contact the authorities. In fact, I would help this man build a duck-blind in the reeds at the west end of my park, and I might even give him all the money in my wallet. Not that I’m advising anyone to hurt these animals, as that would be illegal (and you would also face the scorn of the Humane Society). In theory, I am all for wildlife, even wildlife that defecates where our children play, wildlife that uncoils its bowels where our elderly stroll and our families picnic, wildlife that poops where our dogs frolic and our disabled wheel their chairs, because that is nature. But nature is also red in tooth and claw. And these creatures, these beautiful and legally protected creatures -- who could easily fly somewhere less inhabited -- have made my local park inhospitable to all other life, excepting fecal eating bacteria and dung


beetles. They started it. So while I am not advising you to go to my local park -- Donaldson Park, Google it -- and harm these legally protected creatures, I will say this: if I were to see you playing soccer and you kicked a ball in the general direction of a goose’s head, I would not think less of you. Those of you that find this kind of behavior cruel, gauche, and inhumane need to listen to my words. This park is where my children play. This park is where I am forming memories of their pure and precious youth. This is a typical memory of mine: it was the first game of the season, a cold spring day, and my seven year old son was playing soccer. He wore his red jersey, and red cotton gloves to match. The ball rolled out of bounds -- the poop encrusted ball -- and he raced to get it, in order to throw it back into play. He tried to pick up the ball -- the poop encrusted ball -- but it was too slippery for his small hands. He had to remove his gloves to get a better grip. His poop encrusted, fecal-eating bacteria laden gloves. And his red uniform shorts -- red uniform shorts stained with runny green goose feces -- these shorts had no pockets. So he put his gloves the only place he could. In his mouth. That’s what I will remember of his youth. My beautiful athletic seven year old son with goose crap in his mouth. So if you see me playing soccer with my children in the park, and one of my shots veers far from the intended target, directly at a legally protected Canadian goose’s head, you know why. Not that I’m advising you to harm these creatures. But I will say this: If I were to see some sketchy looking

youngsters in my local park (Donaldson park, Google it) racing around in a jacked up car, blasting dubstep music at ear-drum piercing levels, and these youngsters were to race their loud vehicle in the general direction of these flocks of legally protected geese, scaring them to the next county, I would NOT report a noise violation. In fact, I might give them some beer money. If I were to see a large ethnic family, and each and every member were carrying a Mighty Sonic Portable Air Horn -- the kind of air horn that I find classless, annoying, and vile at graduations and sporting events -- and they were to blow these air-horns in the general direction of the legally protected Canadian geese in my local park, I would NOT be annoyed and remark on their lack of class. In fact, I would applaud them, and perhaps even outfit them with more Mighty Sonic Portable Air Horns (which are not cheap! $24.95 each! So for a family of eight, that’s $199.60!) If I were walking in my local park (Donaldson Park) and I were to encounter a treacherous villain bent on revenge, and I saw that he had a poisonous unction that he bought of a mountebank, if he were to “inadvertently” spill some of his venomous concoction on the grass where the geese feed, then I would NOT apprehend this villain. I might even play the stooge in his nefarious plan to poison a (probably) most deserving victim. Not that I’m advising anyone to hurt these legally protected creatures (or to become an accessory to murder). I’m just saying they crap everywhere, and it’s annoying.

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Post-Modern Barbaric Yawp by Eric Soder

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hen Emerson wrote, “To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society,” he could not have meant by “society,” at the time, but would most certainly now be necessary in retiring from one’s chamber, is social media. The image of a man pouring over a philosophical tome by candlelight before retiring for the evening is far different from that of a man whose face is aglow with the plasma light of his tablet, checking to see if enough people “like” his most recent post before he can fall asleep, assured of his place in the Internet. I am not excluded. I am as connected as anybody. But connected to what? Can the bucolic melodies of running an online farm with “friends” make me feel part of something? Can sharing gems with friends to promote breeding innumerable dragons fortify my most intimate friendships? If I like enough photos and comments, some acquaintance from my past may feel my absence more when I’m gone, or just offline. If I craft the perfect status, I may gain more quantifiable, immediate recPage 6

ognition than any story I have ever written. Should I post: “A man said to the Universe: ‘Sir, I exist.’ The Universe did not hit the ‘Like’ button”? I cannot help but feel that some poetry, some depth has been lost. What need I to put into words that which is inexpressible, if by chance, as I am letting my dog out to poop, I catch an awe inspiring glimpse of the moon in conjunction with Jupiter beneath Orion (just above my quivering, grunting dog)—what need I to contemplate, and put down in poetry when I can Instagram a photo, frame it and tint it in Lo-fi to bring out the contrast—what need I to express when I can upload and post it or Tweet it—what need I of more than 126 characters, when I can simply say: “moon in bak yard ☺” and then promptly search Facebook to see if I can find that girl I made out with in Canada in 1991 so I can completely destroy my romanticized version of that memory? …Have I forgotten to attend to my online animal husbandry obligations? As I sat down to write this very article, I stared at the screen and forgot what I was doing. Do you think ear-


ly Homo sapiens ever sat at the edge of a river and asked, “What was I supposed to do?” Did they ever find themselves in front of a bush full of ripe, luscious berries and say, “Why the hell did I come over here?” Did they ever stand over an elk carcass, liver in hand, and forget what they were doing? When mankind used to get fresh water in hollowed out gourds or clay vessels, we were connected with the earth. When gathering firewood, we breathed in the wind and the loam. When we celebrated some temperamental or benevolent creator, we dressed ourselves in wooden masks, feathers, and pelts; and we painted our faces with clay and ash, all the time pounding the earth with our bare feet. When we fell in love, we bedizened our women with turquoise and amber, and we took them on the ground with the kiss of a breeze on our naked bodies. When the moon was up, and shining bright, we sat around and told our children some story of how it got that way; and if in the middle of our tale, our dogs had to go out, they went off and did so of their own accord without our supervision. And when we died, we were buried in a mound or a cave or sent out to sea (sometimes aflame) to return to earth and ether—nothing was artificial. When I die, my greatest fear is that I will be put into a metal casket, drained of my bodily fluids, filled with chemicals, and plunked in the ground, completely cut off from the world around me, sealed away from the worms and roots that would otherwise reabsorb me, bloom, and exhale me. When a child asked Walt Whitman, “What is grass?” he struggled with some strange metaphors before explaining that grass, in its perpetual renewal, is proof of something greater:

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The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it, And ceas’d the moment life appear’d. All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses, And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier. Page 7


I think that is one of the most beautiful ideas ever put to paper. I also think that the child probably slowly backed away from Whitman and told his mother about the crazy, bearded man. But what Whitman is expressing is exactly what I am talking about. We have become so separate from nature, that not even in death are we allowed to return; we have created, based on Whitman’s poem, true death. Or have we? Was Whitman really just a crazy old man who never considered the immortality of a profile? (Ask a random man on the street about grass and see what kind of answer you get.) It seems I will have to accept and even embrace technology; I will live in my cozy house and be grateful for all of the modern conveniences I and my family have been afforded. I will rocket into the future, and ensure my children do so also. I will concede to going out of my way to enjoy the woods and streams. And sadly, I will watch my dog crap by moonlight and resign myself to then going into the yard to pick it up, but if I must live and die a modern man, the least anyone can do for me when I die is put me in the ground in at most, a pine box, and let me rot au naturale—and to increase the chances that this happens, I will post a link to this article for all my Facebook friends— Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! Page 8


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How To Bumaye by Robin Zwizanski

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oday I learned the meaning of the term ‘bumaye’. I arrived home post yoga and decided to indulge in some oatmeal egg white pancakes while perusing Facebook, simultaneously craving a dirty martini. My Facebook feed included a link to a new Major Lazer video premiere for the song ‘Watch out for this (Bumaye)’. I clicked on it and instantly needed to figure out what ‘bumaye’ meant. My mind went wild with possibilities. Did it refer to the anatomical region of the ‘bum’? Was it an amazing new insult? A term of endearment? Urban Dictionary provided me with this definition, literally: “Kill Him” from Congolese “Boma Ye’. Variations in spelling include Bumae, Bumaye, or Bumaé. Come to be used as a cheer or hurrah to express enthusiasm for something. All of this before noon. So much to take in. As we approach the end of Spring, I highly suggest you bumaye at anything that references your various spirit animals. You will literally be killing it.

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YOU WILL BUMAYE YOUR WAY TO THE HEIGHT OF YOUR POTENTIAL. We will make bumaye a verb, noun, and an adjective. I suggest the following outfits for full bumaye effect: 1. Your old sweatpants. The ones that you wear while watching Real Housewives, Game of Thrones, and House of Cards. Pair these with that t-shirt you got for the Autism Speaks 5K and you are in BUMAYE territory. 2. That dress you wear to all the weddings. Pair it with your nude heels and spanx….BUMAYE. 3. Red lipstick. And a dirty martini. BUMAYE. And finally…. 4. Some goddamn animal print. ANY ANIMAL. Leopard. Giraffe. Fish. Kardashian. Put some animal print on and BUMAYEBUMAYEBUMAYE. Cheers. Happy Bumaye-ing.


I’m Thinking of a Number by Adam Reck

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here are only so many numbers. Well, actually, there are an infinite number of numbers, so let’s limit this to a simple proposition: I am thinking of a number from one to ten. I would like you to guess what the number is. This is obviously complicated by the fact that we aren’t in the same room, that you are reading this well after I write it, but still: Guess. Okay, good. Hopefully you got that right. I will reveal my number later. Your odds of being right are pretty good, actually. You have a one in ten chance that the number I was thinking of is the same one you think I’m thinking of. Not bad odds. Not exactly a soul-crusher like losing at Powerball. However, if I were to complicate this interaction of producing a thought and having you guess what it was, the odds of guessing correctly should shrink dramatically, right? For instance, if I were to draw from a larger system, such

as, I am thinking of a state capitol of one of the fifty states, or I am thinking of a four-letter word that starts with a letter from the second half of the alphabet, I’m sure you would have trouble guessing my thought. So, what if I asked you to simply tell me what I’m thinking about? What did I eat on the afternoon of April 16th? The possibilities of correct answers dwindle to nothing. But what if we could cheat? What if we could, instead of communicating via this article, we could share a quiet space, undisturbed by the outside world, and sit across from each other in a proximity that would allow me to “beam” my thoughts into your mind? I could deliberately “send” you the answer to what number I’m thinking of, and you could try to, without really understanding how, become receptive to these thought-waves coming your way. What then? Could you more accurately guess my number, my state capitol, my Page 11


afternoon snack? This idea, that we can communicate telepathically and converse with our minds has been put to another test with the electronic music group Matmos’ new album Marriage of True Minds. The concept behind most of Matmos’ music has always been relatively heady. There was the time they infamously recorded rhinoplasties and other grotesque plastic surgeries and sampled the sounds into beats, there was the tour where they played percussion for Bjork by walking on gravel in a bucket for a live audience, and more recently that album devoted to their gay heroes. But Marriage of True Minds is a science project resulting in musical composition. The scenario: Think of what the album sounds like, telepathically communicate the album to others, record their guesses as to what the album sounds like, record the album using participants’ guesses in the compositions. Hearing that conceit without hearing the music might suggest a myriad of different genre-centric responses. “I hear steel drums and reggae,” one test subject might say, another guessing, “New Wave and Debbie Harry.” Instead, Marriage of True Minds indicates that not only are those interviewed able to establish a connection with Matmos, but that many of them are in agreement with what sounds they are being sent. The overriding consensus is that Matmos is Page 12

thinking of triangles. Not just the shape of a triangle, but different colored triangles, mostly large, and especially the sharp chiming of the instrument with the same name. Another participant notes that he sees a light at the end of a tunnel, but that the light is not the sun. This movement-oriented, geometric imagery is reflected in the percussive electronic compositions, and as the participants’ responses are featured more and more, the more I began to envision the same things as I listened. The skeptic in me wants to think that regardless of what the participants in the study said, Matmos would have crafted their songs in response to their words, instead of vice versa, but the sci-fi nerd in me wants the trick to be true: Human animals, so often holding themselves in superiority to the natural world, achieving a feat of psychic magic that could potentially advance our entire realm of interpersonal communication. To doubt the album’s veracity is unnecessary. Whether we rely on the album’s spoken words or not, Matmos is communicating a complex set of ideas, albeit through their music. The next step will be an inevitable follow-up that contains no physical release, merely an invitation to sit down with them in a quiet place, and to listen with our minds.

Oh, and I was thinking of a 5.


CORMAC MCCARTHY’S YELP REVIEW OF KRISPY KREME

by Nick D’Angelo Cormac M. - Elite 13 Tesuque, NM “Hay salsa?”

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Krispy Kreme Doughnuts 2 Penn Plaza IIIII reviews - Rating Details Categories: Donuts, Coffee & Tea, Train Stations

e left Secaucus. New Jersey a skeletal array of lights in the receding twilight and the sky dead and flat save for black thunderheads piling up black towers above the skyscrapers in the east. The train entered the tunnel at a slow jog. In the stroboscopic glare of the halogen lamps clamped along the wall the passengers appeared frozen in attitudes of docile terror like some wretched hellbound souls. Then the lights went out. An incandescent silent flash and then a highpitched whine and an ozone smell and then darkness. The intercom said, Penn station next and final stop. It was choked in static and faded, like some lost transmission from a long ago passage through this darkness. The train groaned to a stop in the coruscating yellow fluorescence of the sublevel platforms. We rode the escalator up into the mezzanine and walked out into the ruinous tomb of Penn Station. Pa, you hungry? the boy said. Sure, I can eat. Krispy Kreme? he said. Sounds good. Ok. Ok. We walked to Krispy Kreme and I ordered myself a glazed donut and a black coffee and ordered for the boy a glazed donut and a bottle of milk. Can I get a coffee, instead? he said to the girl behind the counter.

Say again, she said. Me gustaría un cafe, también. Ok, the girl said and she regarded him and smiled. Crema y azúcar? Black, the boy said. The girl got the two coffees and the two donuts and put them in a bag and put napkins in the bag and we stood by a newsstand adjacent and we watched the passersby and ate. The donuts were still warm and very sweet. The boy took up the Styrofoam cup and flipped the tab deftly and then fastened it to the tablock and put the cup to his lips and blew into the coffee and sipped carefully. He took the donut and touching it only with the tissue paper he ate it entire not dropping a crumb. Good donuts, he said. Yup. A group of people awaited their track assignments staring intently all of them at a monitor. A man came and walked up through a small crowd to the monitor so close his breath could have fogged the glass. The people behind him sighed or rolled their eyes and some walked away but most contorted themselves absurdly to look around him. None of them said anything. Look at that dummy, I said. I see him. Ragged homeless reclined against the tiled walls or wandered at erratic vectors through the terminal jabbering and oblivious. One man lay Page 13


on a cardboard box naked save for shredded Converse held together by wire and a pair of khakis fouled and stiff-looking as though they had been washed in grease. There was a fastfood bag next to him and newspapers scaled with halfdigested food or something else. A family that was on our train went past. A mother and father with a baby strapped to his chest. A young girl followed behind them staring into a cheap cellphone. The cortege disappeared up the escalators to Seventh Avenue and then to who knows where. We didnt see them again. Much later we returned to the train station. It was near empty. The few people there seemed dimmed, phantasmic. A police dozed at his desk and his K9 lay on its belly, somnolent. She didnt look too good, he said. No she didnt. She’s dyin, aint she? She is. The last train was called. We headed south and the train was empty and the moon hovered over the speeding trees. The boy slept. Soon I too slept and I dreamed. I saw the decaying arcade of Penn Station and it was hell. I saw a woman of shapeless and undulating pink flesh like some sea creature come shoreward devouring a man and I heard him moan or perhaps he sang. I saw a small child fitted about the neck with a collar and leash run out of a sea of legs and behind was his mother and the boy avoided the viscera of the dying man but she did not and slipped and fell hard, pulling the rope taught and catching the boy up and slamming

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him on the goresplattered floor. Lastly I saw a juggler juggling donuts but the donuts were human heads, leering sightless in their ghastly orbit. He dropped one and several men in suits set upon it tearing apart the protoplasmic mass and howling. The juggler rode past on a unicycle and glared at me over his shoulder as he disappeared into a tomb become sudden empty of all other souls living or dead, real or dreamed. When I awoke the train was empty and dust motes swam in the haunting morning halflight. Almost sunrise but points of stars still lingered in the fading dark. Last stop. Must exit the train, a conductor said. My son was gone. I stood on the platform and looked across the vast parking lot at the treeline. A car door slammed somewhere far away. A bell tolled three times in that mournful stillness. The first chemical stains of dawn leaked around the hightension lines silhouetted on the horizon and the drifting reefs of clouds burned orange as if ignited by the rising sun.


Contributors { Writer } Nick D’Angelo writes, paints, and plays hockey in New York City. This is by far the most he’s ever written about penguins. Find his art at nickdangelo.tumblr.com. Follow him on Twitter @nick_dangelo39 { Interior Illustrator } Kelly Murphy is an artist, writer and art educator whose artwork, in metals and glass, reference structures from literal cellular compositions found in nature to more complex concepts like memory. kellyamurphy.tumblr.com { Writer } Dave Pellicane is a funny English teacher dedicated to taking his kids outside and writing one sentence every day. You can read his sentences at sentenceofdave.blogspot.com and gheorghe77.blogspot.com { Photographer } Paulina Pikulinski is an aspiring fashion photographer studying at FIT in NYC with a vast interest in showing the world things they may not have noticed, but portraiture remains a focus. See more at flickr.com/people/beauty-inamadworld { Writer | Editor | Designer } Adam Reck is the author of The Next You. He teaches kids about art for a living. Explore his writing, comix, music, videos, and design at adamreck.com { Cover Illustrator } Mario C. Sam is an illustrator, designer and art director. He lives in Baltimore, MD with his wife and three yr old pup. He loves comedies, brownies, classic rock and clouds. For more info, visit mariocsam.com { Writer } Eric Soder is an English teacher who enjoys brewing meads and writing short stories for children. Once a year he switches gears and writes a twisted, scary story for his friends that he posts on estorica.blogspot.com { Writer } Robin Zwizanski is an art educator and native of Hunterdon County NJ. She loves frozen yogurt and rice cakes. Has a desire to some day become a sommelier. Follow her on Twitter @rezizzle

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a quarterly science, wildlife and nature publication designed, illustrated and written by folks who have no business talking about it in any professional capacity.

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Lifewild Quarterly Volume One: Spring  

a quarterly science, wildlife and nature publication designed, illustrated and written by folks who have no business talking about it in any...

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