Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘sperm’

Recommended Reading

LastConception-CoverReview of The Last Conception
Onely: Single and Happy
13 September 2014

“To my mother. To my wife. To my husband.” Authors commonly dedicate their books this way. Nice, but boooring. (To everyone, that is, except the mother, wife, or husband.) Gabriel Constans dedicates his book The Last Conception “To Love, in all its manifestations.”

We here at Onely are interested in all aspects of the single experience and particularly like to learn about single people from different backgrounds than ourselves (Lisa and I self-identify as white, upper-middle-class, agnostic, heterosexual women). The beginning of Constans’ novel allows us into the world of single scientist and first-generation Indian-American lesbian Savarna, whose parents–still unaware of her sexuality–have been pressuring her for years to marry and give them a grandchild. Any unmarried, child-free reader whose parents have pressured them in this way will wince along with Savarna as her parents become increasingly fervent in their matchmaking–all while Savarna is trying to figure out her relationships with two different women. (I refer to her as “single” because initially she is not part of an “official” couple.)

Appropriately, as an embryologist, Savarna spends her working hours manipulating eggs and sperm to help women conceive. She herself, however, doesn’t feel the tick-tock of her biological clock. If she did, this book wouldn’t exist. (Or it would be very boring.) We have several layers of tension going on throughout the story. Savarna the happily child-free woman vs. her grandchild-wanting parents. Savarna the American vs. her Indian parents. Savarna is not religious, but her parents who travel to India once a year for some ceremonious gathering that Savarna has never attended and vaguely considers cultish.

Through the course of the book these subtle battles wage, peak, resolve and eventually weave together into an ending so satisfying I really wish I could share it here. I’m afraid to say much more because I don’t want to put out any spoilers. Let’s just say that ultra right-wing conservatives would hate this book, especially the conclusion. (All the more reason to read it!) One of our favorite words here at Onely is amatonormative, which means the normalizing of a few specific kinds of love relationships while marginalizing all others. The Last Conception kicks amatonormativity in the ass.

Which is why it gets one thumb up from our blog. The other thumb is busy turning the pages for a second read-through.

–Christina

Read entire review and more at Onely: Single and Happy.

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These Whales Need Help

sperm_whale_pod_mailingDear Gabriel,

Sperm whales are family creatures
. The endangered whales travel in pods with their relatives and spend years raising their young. But the time they spend carefully raising each child means that it will take a very long time for these creatures to replenish their numbers and rise out of endangered status.

And while we wait for their numbers to grow, healthy sperm whales are having their lives cut short by drift gillnets off the coast of California. Drift gillnets are mile-long walls of nets that are left out in ocean waters overnight to catch swordfish and thresher sharks. But these nets also catch these endangered whales. We need your help to save them.

You can help stop the unnecessary killing of sperm whales. Donate today to help meet the $50,000 goal by May 15»

Southern California’s deep waters are home to an abundance of squid—a sperm whale’s favorite snack. And while pods of whales are swimming in these squid-rich waters, they may find themselves facing a wall of nets.

In 2010, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) estimated that 16 sperm whales became entangled in drift gillnets off of Southern California. For Pacific sperm whales, which take so long to give birth and which have such a small population, those 16 whales were irreplaceable. If we continue to allow drift gillnets to kill these whales, their future is at risk.

Sperm whales can grow to over 50 feet long and weigh 40 tons. You would think these massive creatures would not have much to fear, but a mile-long net wrapped around their fins or tail can keep them from swimming, cause lethal injury, and even trap them underwater. A sperm whale can hold its breath for a long time, but if it’s held underwater overnight in a drift gillnet, it will drown.

It’s time to stop this practice. Oceana is working to convince NMFS and the state of California to phase out this deadly gear type and replace it with cleaner gears, but we need help to keep up the fight.

Give by May 15 to help us protect endangered whales and the world’s oceans»

Your support will help us fund our work to protect ocean ecosystems off the California coast and across the globe. Our work has resulted in great victories in these waters—from establishing a protected area for leatherback sea turtles to stopping an expansion of these deadly drift gillnets—and now it’s time for us to continue the fight and end drift gillnetting in California altogether.

Thanks for all that you do.

For the oceans,
Rachael Prokop
Oceana

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