Duct tape is like the Force

“It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together.”
  — Oprah Winfrey

Toxic alert sign

Maine is big on signs

Duct Tape References in the New Testament, Duct tape as a Cure for Warts, Paralytic Shellfish Toxins, Red Green in Narnia, Prom Gowns, the End of the World and Apollo 13. Betcha don’t see a blog entry like that every day. OK, every other day.

evacuation route“Those living and traveling in coastal Maine may notice a new informational road sign along some state roadways. The Maine Emergency Management Agency, working under a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has designed a system of evacuation route signs to help people move safely away from coastal areas when a severe storm threatens. This is the standard design used along the East Coast...”

— Bangor Daily News

Driving past the Pine Tree State’s border outposts at Jackman, Calais, Forest City, Houlton, you will indeed discover that Maine is not only “Tough on drunk drivers,” but the “Way life ought to be...” There are green highway signs that say this. I ponder on this whenever I go across the road to admire the sign the State of Maine gave me personally. Well, I didn’t actually catch them at it, but only a government agency is funded at a level where it can turn out broadsides for the carnivorous whelk community. A Marine Patrol detail must have slipped up in the middle of the night. The rationale behind night sign-posting is if the wardens can get past a native Mainer, a carnivorous whelk will be a pushover.

The signs went up just as the prediction of the Rapture, the Christian belief about humanity’s final days, was all over the news. Jesus may have missed His connection, but it is a comfort that the evacuation routes were well marked for the Mayan “Long Count” to the Next Age of the World in 2012. Drat! Missed it again.

Maine is not so tough on the alexandrium algal blooms that bring red tide, killing our native filter-feeders: clams, mussels, quahogs, oysters, carnivorous whelks and the occasional snail out for a night on the town. The Maine Marine Patrol first came by my little house on the Pennamaquan oh, twenty-two years back, and stapled a predecessor to this this sign on the woodpecker-riddled power pole across the road. I walked over. Yep. They were right; the Pennamaquan stank to high heaven. Nobody killed, but a few knocked down amongst us higher life forms. I recall being warned against accepting gifts of mussels and clams until things cleared up. That was in 1988. Things didn’t clear up and the pole, weakened by woodpeckers, went down and with it my Internet. Bangor Hydro put up a new pole; the State of Maine put up a new sign.

Maine is big on signs. As I have written elsewhere in this blog, in Maine I live on a fjord, a fresh water river that connects with the sea — the Bay of Fundy, eventually the Atlantic Ocean — and turns brackish twice a day as the tidal surge backs things up just as when Hurricane Sandy serenaded us in Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal basin. A porpoise was stranded and died a day later, hardy Brooklynites afraid to touch the doubtful waters where Dutch colonists had farmed oysters 400 years ago. I moved to Maine 25 years back and missed the Gowanus’s designation as a Superfund site. [In the interests of full disclosure, we have two Superfund sites here in Washington County, Maine — Harry Smith’s toxic waste dump on the Airline (Rte. 9) and at the former site of the Boat School at Broad Cove in Eastport. The Mearl Corporation, a manufacturer of iridescent paint from fish scales, gets the blame for that baby.

Super Hero Time

Clearly, posting a quahog and carnivorous whelk notice in metro New York would not make the open Atlantic its own appointed limits keep. Looks like a job for...

Cap'n Brooklyn

“One of the filthiest canals in America, the Gowanus is full of mercury, pesticide, typhus, and something called black mayonnaise — as well as the occasional extremely lost (or just very unfortunate) waterborne critter. What follows is a comprehensive chronicling of the unlucky life forms that have found their way in (and, less frequently, out) of one of America’s skankiest waterways. So dive into everyone’s favorite super-fun Superfund site, and rest assured that we don’t mean literally.”

Hannah Frishberg

“He’s not a cape-and-tights kind of guy. No cute little booties.” Tieri explains how he comes about his powers. As he said, “He winds up in the Gowanus Canal. You wind up in the Gowanus, either you end up with a terminal disease or superpowers. In Vinny’s case, he winds up with superpowers.

“The comic will appear as a three-issue limited series [Marvel and then Image Comics groups] and will focus only on the borough, with some stops in different neighborhoods. Should it be a hit, Captain Brooklyn will return to check out more of the city and to wreak havoc in various places. It’s a love letter to Brooklyn. It’s the second main star of the book.”

— co-writer Frank Tieri

“Humans are amphibians — half spirit and half animal... As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time.”

— C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Got warts?

In 1492, Columbus discovered the New World; one year later, the Old World discovered a new disease. And what a disease it was, starting with “...painful pustules on private parts spreading to body and face, rashes, ulcers, buboes, black pustules, carbuncles, agonizing and swollen joints, lassitude, fever, rotting flesh, blindness and death, the symptoms lingering for years in survivors.” In graphic detail, Nicolo Leoniceno (1428 to 1524), a professor of physic in Ferrara, Italy, thus portrayed syphilis, the first international sexually transmitted disease.

 —  from New England Journal of Medicine, “Sexually Transmitted Infections and AIDS in the Tropics.”

In the 21st Century we may inject antibiotics, have topical creams and balms, unguents to apply to the affected areas, plus the ever-popular music therapy as recommended by The President’s Council on Melody in American Life:

There was a young man from Dulut’
with warts all over his root.
He used acid to cure ’em
so when he passed urine
he fingered the thing like a flute.

Why are sexually transmitted diseases not mentioned in the Bible? If carnivorous whelks can be spoken of openly on my power pole — well, really. Is this a conspiracy of silence, or what? In the early 20th Century the reverence for New Testament miracles had yet to extend to a dose of the clap. Egypt had its plagues, but that was Old Testament stuff. Clearly duct tape had been invented in Atlantean times and hence banished from God’s revealed word, an easy cure for weenie rot being seen as a contravention of God’s pronouncements concerning wandering in the desert, slavery and starvation. All the good stuff plus all sorts of Levitical ordeals. Syphilis, a New World (and not a New Teastament) complaint, had yet to arrive.

But wait...

Common warts (verruca vulgaris) are a common problem among patients who present in family physicians’ offices. Although a significant number of warts will spontaneously resolve over two years, patients frequently request treatment to clear their skin of the lesions. Treatments such as cryotherapy, acid preparations, laser therapy, heat, and tape occlusion have been used in the management of warts, with cure rates ranging from 32 to 93 percent. However, most of these therapies are expensive, painful, or labor intensive. A few small, nonrandomized trials have studied the use of tape occlusion in wart treatment, with one study reporting cure rates of approximately 80 percent. Doc Focht [Dr. Dean “Rick” Focht III of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.] and associates compared the effectiveness of cryotherapy with duct tape applied to common warts.

The Clap in Damascus

Alexandrium algal bloom...? Nonononono, not a character in Ulysses — an unlikely source for a duct tape omnium gatherum — but the Writer’s Guide to Poisons, a reference title more evocative of things otherworldly, a spiritual portmanteau, kiddie-safe. Jesus, if not invoked outright, should be at least hanging in the rafters, on standby for the wavering faithful. Things are proper and all right side up by implication. If we don’t deny the existence of the Pentecostal Triumvirate (or duo plus dove) outright, we are already jelly-legging it on shaky enough ground. And Red Green. And C.S. Lewis.

Strange rafter-fellows? I thought so. Lewis, the very Catholic author of That Terrible Strength and Perelandra, with the convictions of his adult conversion, has his protagonist Wormwood, the merchant-adventurer junior devil receive a caution against getting all clapped-up from his Uncle Screwtape. Wormwood is polluting souls while on holiday in the world of humankind. A book recommendation: The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, a source book for any and all venereal warts. Keep it bent for Lent.

“Yeah, he’s a real person,” [Supreme Court Justice] Scalia explained, but “it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore. [...] Have you read The Screwtape Letters?”

— The Devil You Know, a 2013 New Yorker interview

The Duct Tape Prom Gown

Duct Tape Prom GownIt is just phenomenal to think that these gorgeous creations are made from the same tape you use to hold together your bike seat or to keep a cardboard box from falling apart. If you have never seen a duct tape prom dress you are really missing out. There are contests around the nation to make a duct tape prom dress and tux and see who can be the most creative. You will just be blown away by the duct tape prom dresses and coordinating men’s outfits on this website! With colors like purple, maroon, pink, neon green, silver, camo and clear you are limited by only your imagination. The design of a duct tape prom dress is something that can be as individual as you are. A couple of tips on the design and wearing of a duct tape prom dress:

A Brief Checkoff List

A Duct tape first line of defense

Here’s a way to keep safe in the backcountry, bring along the Outdoor Bible

Oops, this just in...

A boy and a girl who keep themselves pure until marriage and remain faithful after marriage are a separate island. They never come in contact with the cesspool of venereal diseases that are passed around from person to person by immoral people.

According to the law of the Old Testament, Israel would be kept pure because those who committed fornication or adultery were stoned to death. The word ‘fornication’ refers to all kinds of sexual intercourse outside of marriage, and adultery is fornication that violates a marriage.

Forgiveness is possible under the New Testament on the basis of remorse and repentance. If you have committed fornication or adultery, you can repent and be forgiven. Your soul can be purified by the blood of Christ. You can determine that from now on you will keep yourself pure.

This also means that you must be extremely careful whom you marry. Try to find someone who has the same high moral standards based on faith in God that you have. It can still happen that one is deceived or betrayed, but we must do the best we can and be very careful whom we marry.

Now that we understand that STDs would not exist if people obeyed God, we can continue with the question: Are HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections punishment for sin?

These diseases are not always a punishment for personal sins. There is a distinction between the innocent and the guilty. Some are victims and others are perpetrators.

Those who have contracted an STD through their own immorality, however, are — to use Paul’s words — ‘receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due’ (Romans 1:27). The disease is then a direct consequence of their own sin and, as such, is also a punishment for their sin. And when an immoral person has given an STD to his spouse or children, he must bear the added burden of knowing that because of his sin an innocent person has been given a terrible disease.

Roy Allen Davison (Rev.)

We see conventionally. It is not only that we think and act and speak and dress alike, because of our surrender to social attempt at Entity, in which we are only super-cellular. We see what it is “proper” that we should see. It is orthodox enough to say that a horse is not a horse, to an infant — any more than is an orange an orange to the unsophisticated. It’s interesting to walk along a street sometimes and look at things and wonder what they’d look like, if we hadn’t been taught to see horses and trees and houses as horses and trees and houses. I think that to super-sight they are local stresses merging indistinguishably into one another, in an all-inclusive nexus.

— Charles Fort, Book of the Damned Chapter XIV


The Prom Gowns
Ulysses (James Joyce) Project Gutenberg
American Academy of Family Physicians.
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
Duct Tape Prom Gowns through the ages
Captain Brooklyn picture comes from The New York Post via

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