Party Pooper

Stool Sample Pigeon

To the Midnight Shitter, please find someplace else to shit. You are now being recorded and will be sorry if you continue. There must be a 1,000 better places for you to shit. Please start exploring your other shitting options. Thank you!

We have been visited twice now, in the middle of night. Always, in the corner of the back porch’s landing that is closest to our bedroom window. After years of neglect, I have been staining said porch. I finally settled upon a lovely colored stain, Sequoia Red. I cannot think, but that these nocturnal deposits are in someway an art criticism. At Anne’s insistence, I have set up a motion activated camera to monitor the situation. Do-do, do-do, do-do, do-do, do-do scat-cam. Film at eleven! She seems to feel that when we go on vacation, we will return to a mountain of dung. I don’t understand why she is so concerned, because she won’t be the one who has to deal with it anyway.

It rained all day yesterday and then again into the night. What ever creature that has been doing it, probably was using the porch as shelter and doesn’t like the stain’s smell. Initially, I thought that it was a raccoon, the first load was relatively small, but now I am leaning towards coyote, because the second one was huge. Anne suggested that it might have been a group effort. Hit it boys! Every party has a pooper, that’s why we invited you, party pooper.

Genetic Triangulation

Binary Sequences

Anne has been researching her ancestry. Using the website Ancestry she has been searching through public records, working her way backwards, looking for her origins. My Aunt Betsy devoted years to this type of research and I have inherited the several volumes of family history that she had compiled. I have a copy of my family genealogy that extends backwards hundreds of years. Most of Betsy’s work was performed before more modern methods were available, like the Internet or DNA testing. Anne is utilizing the Internet, but has not tried any genetic testing. Ancestry is one of this industry’s leaders in this application of DNA testing and has amassed a genetic database of millions of Americans. This is a database of sufficient size to almost guarantee a match, at least on the second or third cousin level, of every person in America.

This fact has not gone unnoticed by another big consumer of genetic testing, law enforcement. Last month, after an investigation that spanned over forty years, a suspect identified as the Golden State killer was arrested. DNA samples taken at crime scenes were entered into a genetic database and using a technique called genetic triangulation, matches were made with relatives of the murder suspect. Detectives used public ancestry records to fill in their family tree and identify the suspect. This approach is being used in other cases, like the Zodiac killer.

DNA testing is still a relatively new technology, but in its brief history, it has made tremendous advances. Even further progress should be expected. We are at a moment similar to the advent of fingerprints in crime fighting. People shed DNA everywhere they go. Unlike fingerprinting, which can be circumvented by simply wearing gloves, it would take a very conspicuous bunny suit to ensure that no DNA is left at a crime scene. Imagine a progression that allows the police to sweep a crime scene for DNA, like they now dust for fingerprints. Capital crimes are the likely first candidate for the expansion of this technology, but as it becomes cheaper to use, its use will become more pervasive. I wonder how all of this will affect American society in the years to come?

Amy Sherald

Planes, rockets and the spaces in-between, Amy Sherald 2018

Painter Amy Sherald stepped out upon the national art scene earlier this year, with the unveiling of her portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama. Ms. Sherald’s first solo exhibit of her work is currently on display at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Her paintings have been described as staged narratives or constructed identities. She paints portraits of African-Americans, many of whom she first meets in real life. She represents the features of each sitter as a master draughtsman of American realism and then decorates her subjects with fantastic props and costumes. The pictured painting is one of two in the show that has never been shown to the public. The artist has talked about her art as an act to “image the versions of ourselves that thrive when extricated from the dominant historical narrative.” “My paintings hold up a mirror to the present and reflect real experiences of blackness today and historically,” she says, “in everyday life and within the historical art canon.” She says that she was inspired to do portrait painting, because an art history book that her mother had, didn’t have any people that looked like her. While, all of her other paintings have the figures staring back, this one has at least one not and the other figure looking back over her shoulder. Probably, my aerospace background also contributed to my choice of this image.