An opera

Maria, Argentina, Cry, etc. etc.
Everything is better with slugs
an Opera
Mig Living

Scene I
Governor’s Mansion

Rising! Rising! You are a star!
Opportunistic cutthroats all
we drive the nation into the ground
and you are rising among us!
you are a star!


Scene II
Governor’s office. He is alone, typing on computer.


You are glorious!
I hope you understand!
Who needs shrinks???
Did you get my eamils?



Are you basking gloriously?
Are you holding something in the fading light?
Wow, what a rack!
I miss you unbeleivably


(Whom we hear but not see, only her words on a computer screen)

Hi beloved!
You’re a great kisser!
Crisp as new lettuce!
You make me feel like a teenager!
Soft and slimy!

I’am realized now
How it feels to realy love
I dream of embrassing you


My address is (deleted by the State!)
Come to me
You leafy thing
Wet and crisp and tasty!!!

Scene III
In the wilderness

I am most jealous of your salad!
Stuck in world wind tour with family, China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, all that shit
Then hanging with McCain :(((
Oh, the battle scars of life!
Missing your magnificent parts!1!
O sexual details at the steakhouse!
O 2 pathetic figures!


I don’t know if I did understood
Your trips are unworthable, remember
You fullfile me with happiness
I don’t want to put the genius back in the bottle!
Freedom! Freedom!
Leafy, tasty freedom!

Sic! Sic! Sic!

Scene IV
Governor’s Mansion

First Lady:
She’s a what?
She’s a what?

First Advisor:
At least it’s not another woman!
Technically it’s not adultery

Second Advisor:
O shut up! Shut up!
Will you just shut up!

Shut up and let me think!

First Lady:
The man I married
and a slug?
Not even a house on her back?

In my defense, it was dark.
Dark and moist
In the fading night’s light
O was it ever dark


We must spin!
We must spin!
But how can this be spun???

First Lady:
You must confess!
Confess! Confess!

What? What? What do you suggest?

What? Confess?

First Lady:
I beseech you!
Just leave out the slug part!

What? I am confused!
My head, my head.

The idea!
It is brilliant!
You must confess!
Just leave out the slug part!

(etc etc)

The Waste Land (v 2.0)


(from a manuscript recently discovered in the stuffing of a sock puppet)

“Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam
possit materiari?


I take it back, April is not the cruellest month,
But June, breeding
Slugs out of nowhere, geeze
Where do they all come from, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, they say
Not much snow, and April, so hot, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised you, didn’t it, dude?
Everything looked fine, the tomatoes so tall
Lettuce so lush, until, with a shower of rain, we swarmed
And went on in sunlight, into the Salatgarten,
And ate radishes, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Schnecke, sondern Nacktschnecke, echt hungrig.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

What are the roots of that beet, whose branches are
So very tasty? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, devoured beets,
And the dead row of peas gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
This is where we hide, nice and cool, during the day
When your shadow at evening rises to meet you;
We emerge, slimy flashmob, today’s the lettuce’s turn.
Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?
Heulst salzig’ Tränen
Im Salatgarten!
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
“They called me the hyacinth slug.”
– Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Our bellies full, and trail slimy and glittering
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
I thought I would burst
Od’ und leer das Meer.

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
Had a bad cold, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Floating belly-up in Schwechater. Look!)
Here is Belladonna, we’ll skip her
Kids read this blog
Here is the man with saucers, and here the ale,
And here is the desperate gardener, and this card,
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The Hanged Man. Fear death by flat beer.
I see crowds of people, reading about this on Twitter.
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
One must be so careful these days.

Unreal City,
Under the foggy dew of an Austrian dawn,
A crowd flowed over Mig’s vegetable garden, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each slug fixed his eyes upon a saucer full of beer.
Flowed up the rim and down into it, kersplash
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying “Yo, Mig!
“You who planted me the red beets and peas!
“That lettuce you planted last week in your garden,
“Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this week?
“Or have we sudden slugs disturbed its bed?

Careers in Science, IV: Theoretical Astronomy

The theoretical astronomer looks at the sky one night and thinks about watching the tears of St. Lawrence in August and remembers, as every time he thinks about the tears of St. Lawrence falling in August a girlfriend with a birthday then and with whom, one year he broke up on that birthday. As mnemonic devices go, unpleasant yet effective. They were backpacking, and she sang Happy Birthday to Me all the way back to the car.

Maybe it doesn’t sound all that bad, but it’s what the theoretical astronomer thinks of when he remembers what a dick he was. He has done worse, too. But anyway.

The universe being infinite, maybe, he posits a planet somewhere upon which he could make amends for all his dickish behavior. Then he posits another planet somewhere the mere existence of which makes amends unnecessary, as this planet is so special its mere existence forgives him.

In theory.

The theoretical astronomer wakes in his bed and can’t remember having gone inside. His father’s ghost stands beside his bed. The theoretical astronomer posits a planet populated by ghosts posited by another theoretical astronomer on another distant, ghostless planet, and wonders if he, the first theoretical astronomer, is on this planet now.

I’m sorry, dad, he says.

His father’s ghost kind of shakes his head. Don’t waste your time being sorry.

But I am sorry. For being so blind to what you needed and wanted and hoped for, and not asking.

His father’s ghost shrugs, sort of, and says, What we hope for is our problem, not others’.

Yeah, well, I was a dick. I not only failed to try anything, choosing to run away instead, I had a weak character and was afraid, and so on. But worst of all I never talked to you, I elevated you rather than understood you. I never understood you or even understood that this was an option I would have been capable of pursuing.

Don’t beat yourself up, says the theoretical astronomer’s father’s ghost. What is, is. Our bad actions and inactions are our hell. The good ones are our heaven.

I’m sorry you’re in a box by the rubber boots, says the theoretical astronomer.

I’m not in any box, his father’s ghost says. My ashes are. I’m here, now, and wherever someone thinks of me.

I am sorry. I wish I could have reduced your pain. Instead I worshipped you.

And I loved you, says the theoretical astronomer’s father’s ghost. That’s why I let you make your own mistakes and was stingy with the advice.

I mistook it for aloofness.

Another shrug. Maybe it was. I’m not… I wasn’t perfect.

Yeah, well. Who is?

The theoretical astronomer’s father’s ghost faded from view. The theoretical astronomer wished he would have stayed longer.

He always wished that.

Outside, although the sky was bright, stars continued to fall. This the theoretical astronomer knew.

Beverage preference among the common garden slug (Arion distinctus)

A study by Mig Living


Darkness, moisture, sliminess, hunger, thirst: tasting, drinking, drowning. Death.

Brief explanation of the study:

Motivated by a desire to protect my vegetable garden from slugs without the use of toxic chemicals or spending an arm and a leg on tin slug fences of unknown effectiveness, I performed a study last Saturday night to see whether placing beer in containers in said vegetable garden would kill slugs and, if so, which shape/size of container was optimal. In order to test slug beverage preference, I employed several brands of beer and one non-beer beverage.

Containers used:

  1. Catfood cans (both the full-size cans and half-size cans with the same radius but only half as tall.
  2. Plastic flower-pot saucers about ten inches across and one inch deep.


All containers were buried so that the top edge was even with the top of the soil. A total of eight containers were used. Six catfood cans (containers #1-6) were placed in the lettuce patch. Two saucers (containers 7  & 8) were placed two or three meters away, between the red beets and the radishes.

The containers were filled to capacity with the beverages and left in the garden overnight.

Contents of the containers (1-6 are the catfood cans, 7&8 are the plastic saucers):

  1. Ottakringer Helles
  2. Schwechater
  3. Becks
  4. Stiegl
  5. Heineken
  6. Red Bull
  7. Red Bull/Heineken mixture
  8. Mixture of the other 4 beers


No slug preference for beer brand was expected. Some slug drownage was expected on the basis of previous reports. Random distribution of a few slugs per container was thought likely. No slugs were expected in the containers containing Red Bull, although ants were expected to construct a three foot-tall anthill overnight.


149 dead slugs were counted the next morning. Distribution between the containers was as follows:

  1. 7
  2. 36
  3. 11
  4. 7
  5. 2
  6. 2
  7. 42
  8. 42


Container depth plays no role in slug-trapping. Container radius seems to be important. The two saucers, which had much greater circumfrence/surface area, caught more slugs than the cans.

The biggest surprise was slug beverage preference. As you can see from the graph, there is a clear preference among arion distinctus for Schwechater, and their least-favorite beer is Heineken, tied for last with Red Bull (although the theory has been put forward that more slugs may have drunk Red Bull, but then jumped back out of the can afterwards; a second experiment utilizing time-lapse photography is planned once funding becomes available).

Something that has not yet been conclusively interpreted in this connection is the fact that the two larger saucers each caught an equal number of slugs despite containing, on the one hand, a mixture of the most popular beers and on the other the two least-popular beverages. It is possible, although unlikely, since it was only 2 meters away, that a different slug population inhabits the beet patch. It is possible that container size is a more important factor than contents. It is possible that the Heineken in the Red Bull in the saucer made the slugs drowsier and unable to jump back out.

It is also questionable whether the 6 beverages used in this experiment were sufficient – a larger-scale study with more types of beer would be useful.

Further research is necessary before a final conclusion on the beverage preference of arion distinctus can be drawn.



The slugs all have mobile phones and have been organizing flash mobs in my lettuce patch.

Via Twitter, I suspect.

slimy2009 MIG HAS SET OUT SAUCERS OF BEER! PARTAAAYY!!1! #lettucemob

My wife told me she saw a mob of slugs around one of the dishes I’d set out, drinking beer.

I thought they were supposed to get drunk and fall in or something, but they just have a drink and then go eat lettuce.

slimy2009 DUDE I AM SO BUZZED.


My wife thinks I didn’t put enough beer in the dishes. All I have is good beer, though, and I hate to share it with slugs. She also says the cat was drinking some.


mucouslvr @slimy2009 THE CAT?

slimy2009 @mucouslvr HOW’D U NO?

mucouslvr @slimy2009 I’M 3 SLUGZ 2 YR LEFT

My wife thinks more beer in deeper dishes might do the trick. I’m hoping it at least makes them slower and easier to catch.