The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is excited to announce the May 23rd birth of a Pallas’s Cat kitten. The kitten’s birth marked the second live offspring ever produced with artificial insemination in Pallas’s Cat.
Columbus Zoo's Pallas’s Cats breeding pair, Manda and Paval, were observed mating in the winter. However, the Zoo determined that the female, Manda, was not pregnant. Animal care staff and veterinarians worked with the Carl H. Lindner Jr. Family Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical garden to conduct an artificial insemination procedure in mid-March, near the end of the pair’s winter breeding season. The subsequent birth of the Pallas’s Cat kitten is the first offspring produced by Manda and Paval.
“CREW scientists have been working in collaboration with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Pallas’s Cat Species Survival Plan (SSP) and the Columbus Zoo for several years to apply reproductive sciences, such as semen freezing and artificial insemination (AI), to improve Pallas’s Cat propagation and conservation,” said Dr. Bill Swanson, Director of Animal Research for CREW. “We are pleased with the results and look forward to continuing to build an understanding of our role in the preservation of this threatened species.”
Animal care and animal health staff have only recently determined that the kitten is a female. While the kitten and her mother are venturing into the habitat, father, Paval, will not be back on view with Manda again until the kitten is ready to be on her own at around nine-months-old.
The Pallas's Cat (Otocolobus manul), also called the ‘manul’, is a small wild cat with distribution in the grasslands and mountains of Central Asia.
Since 2002, the species has been classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is negatively affected by habitat degradation, predation from species (including domestic dogs), poaching, and secondary poisoning from farming pesticides and rodent control.
The Pallas's Cat was named after the German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas, who first described the cat in 1776 under the binomial Felis manul.
Hello Captain Awkward,
I have an ongoing issue that I hope you can help me with, perhaps in the form of a script. I have been married for 24 years. Our marriage is far from perfect but we have worked out some of the major kinks. So here is the issue.
My husband is an introvert, I am an extreme extrovert. We are both ok with that. He doesn’t mind if I socialize and I do not care if he takes a pass on 99% of the invitations sent our way. He is fine with family events and hanging with a few close friends. All good. The problem is the rest of the world. We get invited to a lot of events that the majority of the guests are couples. Neighborhood parties, extended family stuff, work events etc. Again, my husband hates, I really enjoy. People are ok if I attend one or two events solo, but begin to get awkward and insulted beyond that. There are just so many “Husband is sick” “Husband is working on a project” excuses I can make before it becomes obvious that he is just not going to be showing up.
I have no idea what the right approach is to this is. Do I just say to everyone ” Hey husband hates parties and hanging out and makes it a misery for me til we finally just leave early”. I have started to just not attend things myself which makes me sad and resentful.
Any thoughts on how to make this less awkward?
Somebody at the party will probably always ask you that question because curiosity is human and they think enquiring after a person’s spouse is a routine & polite thing to do. You can’t change their behavior, but you can try to approach your replies with more “IDGAF” and see if they get better at taking cues from you.
The biggest recommendation I have is: DON’T LIE ANYMORE. You may think you need to tell white lies to spare the host’s feelings, but that’s part of why you feel resentful about the whole thing. You don’t actually owe the hosts any explanations, and being forced to lie is uncomfortable, so, let it go and tell the truth. He’s not sick, he’s not at work, he’s just not here.
Scripts, which nearly all come with “+ [a subject change]!” after them:
- “Oh, he’s at home.”
- “He’s doing something else today.”
- “He’s not a party person, but I am!”
- “Oh, I like to come by myself, and he likes the quiet time at home. Everyone wins this way!”
- “We have a mixed Introvert-Extrovert marriage, so, you’re stuck with me for the rest of time.”
- “Oh, I can almost never never drag him out of the house for parties! He really loves his solo time, and I love being here with all of you.”
You say people are getting insulted, like, they might feel like your husband doesn’t really like them. That’s awkward, but at the end of the day, so what? It’s not your job to be his neighborhood friendliness ambassador. He’s not hurting anybody.
Your marriage is just fine, and their opinion of it doesn’t matter, so the worst thing I can come up with is that if they are obsessed with even numbers and couples, some people might stop inviting you to things. That would sting, but it’s not something you can actually control. Or, they might awkwardly ask, wait, doesn’t he like us? And you can say “I don’t know, he’s certainly never mentioned anything about that to me. After 24 years I do know that even when it’s his very best friends or family, big gatherings aren’t his cup of tea. It’s not personal, and it’s never gonna change! Good news, though, you’re never getting rid of me, ’cause I love it here.”
I’m gonna end with a compromise suggestion specifically for neighborhood gatherings, specifically for things that are walking distance and don’t require dressing up. Once a month or so, could your husband wander over and say a 10-minute hello to the hosts as a favor to you? Would it, like, crush his fragile spirit to drop in and say “Hey, bud, looks like a great gathering! My wife’s been looking forward to it all week! You know I’m not a party person but I wanted to stop by and say hello for a minute.” Then, he can leave whenever he wants to and you can stay all you want.
He certainly doesn’t have to do this (invitations are not commands, the neighbors are not owed 2 guests just because they invited 2 guests), but one thing I see is you doing a bunch of emotional labor around this and him doing zero. I used to think I hated “small talk” and only wanted to connect over deep truths but it turns out SMALL TALK IS AWESOME IT GREASES THE WHEELS OF THE SOCIAL CONTRACT AND ANYONE CAN DO IT FOR A FEW MINUTES, YOU WON’T DIE OF A BRIEF EXCHANGE ABOUT LAWN CARE OR THE WEATHER INSTEAD OF YOUR INNERMOST THOUGHTS.(See also: IT’S OKAY TO BE A LITTLE BIT BORED/BORING AS LONG AS YOU ARE KIND).
Your social life and relationships with the neighbors are important to you, so if him going for a few minutes would make you feel less awkward and smooth your way, I think that’s an okay thing to ask him to try out this summer.
I am howling at this story of Jenny Slate’s terrible blind date.
Like, lmk when you get to the phrase “[metal clanking noises]” if you’re not ded of laughing by then.
It’s very funny and well told, because she is funny and a good storyteller (and because it doesn’t end with her being called ‘Milady’ in a murder basement for the rest of her short life), but it’s also a deeply cautionary tale about how women are socialized to be nice at all costs and how some dudes have not heard “LOL, Nope!!!!” coming from the woman-shaped hole in the nearest wall as their date flees the scene nearly enough in this life.
Today I had a (very polite, yay) discussion with someone on Twitter about the potential companion choice. It was sparked by a thing I quoted and RT'd about getting a female companion (and the fact that I want it so much), and the person on Twitter (we'll call him Dave) pushed back about why a male companion is important. I don't think he's entirely right, but he had some reasoned arguments and I can understand his view point.
He's concerned that young boys will be put off by an all-female cast (I disagree there--they're only put off if they're told they should be) and that young boys need a male role model to identify with. I disagree with that, too, but that's coming from a position of always being told that I should be able to identify perfectly well with an opposite-gender hero, thank you, so there's no need for a woman Doctor (or a woman Jedi, or a woman Star Trek captain, or...). Of course, my feelings on this can be easily dismissed as a bit of tit-for-tat going on, which is why I didn't use that argument.
My big concern with casting a male companion as the only companion (note, I have no issue with this in a mixed-gender multiple companions team) is that it would very easy for the companion to end up being seen as the hero/leader/authority figure just because of gender. Ask any woman who has had their less experienced/less senior colleague viewed as "the authority" (i.e. all of us, particularly in technical fields) and you'll know how often it happens and how frustrating it is. I don't want to watch that onscreen every week.
Dave's big concern is that boys need to see a male companion respecting the Doctor and treating her well, but without making him weak or lose authority in front of the young boys. Because boys will turn off if he's a weakling. And...I kind of get where he's coming from, but I also rather gathered from his comments that he and I will never agree on what that looks like. He feels that the male non-Doctor regulars have been poorly-served and one-dimensional. I thought Rory was written well, with complexity, and I enjoyed his role in the TARDIS. Jack is...Jack. We haven't had any other prominent regulars. For Dave, Rory was written as weak and a bit subservient and, er, Jack is queer so he probably doesn't count.
Dave also wanted the male companion to be a little in love with the Doctor, maybe, and still able to show respect without ever being weak or allowing the Doctor to dominate him. As an example to give, Dave wanted to see a relationship like Ten and Rose but with their gender roles reversed.
Which, uh, no. That is definitely *not* a healthy example to give. And something like that would be the opposite of what I think would be good for anyone. I have a feeling Dave and I were watching with very different glasses on. If he wanted to use any example of that dynamic, Nine and Rose might have been better, IMO. But still no.
Having a man as the only companion is a potential mine-field. It would have to be cast very, very carefully (which is why this morning's touting of Kris Marshall as the main contender made me scream and shudder) and the writing would also have to be done very carefully. Frankly, I think it's a balancing act they're going to fail on no matter what they do.
If they write the usual Doctor-companion dynamic, with the Doctor given lead hero/authority status and companion asking questions/pushing plot forward by interacting with aliens-of-the-week/being the cipher for the Doctor's solutions, then a certain group of fans are going to complain because the male companion seems "weak". He's not a good role model for the young boys. Etc.
They'll claim Doctor is an aggressive and over-assertive you know what, even though she's doing exactly what she's always done.
If the writers make those roles close to what that group of fans think of as 'equal', all the women watching will cringe at the way the Doctor is overruled, spoken over, and not listened to until her male companion reframes her plan in his words. We'll be questioning why the Doctor suddenly isn't the hero solving everything with her brain, why it's the companion's solution that saves the day 70% of the time. She won't be the Doctor we recognise.
If the writing is amazing and incredibly clever, they could highlight the way women's contributions are dismissed and their male colleagues are automatically assumed to be in charge. It could challenge that. But it would require some very careful writing and I suspect it would make that first group of fans so uncomfortable that they would make very loud ructions.
Making the solo companion a woman would get past a big chunk of that problem and still give some of the writers a chance to throw shade at the way women are treated in these situations. I loved the way they pointed and poked at racism and white-washing and so on through Bill. I'd love to see them do the same with gender assumptions.
(But as with season ten, it's a theme best used carefully and not every episode, or it gets wearing for everyone.)
(It might also be able to do a bit of heterosexual assumptions highlighting, because I can easily see people moaning about the lack of possibility for companion/Doctor shipping and...dude, femslash exists, okay?)
(Is it shallow that I'd kind of love to see a companion/Doctor combination that I could throw my heart into shipping, for the very first time? I'm slightly confused about this whole thing where the Doctor is suddenly attractive to me. Is this what my friends went through with David Tenant?)
Giving us a TARDIS team of one man and one woman would give us the benefits of both options and, I think, negate a lot of the potential downsides of a solo male companions. Are there still going to be fans crying out because the women are "dominating" the narrative? Absolutely. No matter what happens, they'll shout about that. But the combination would give fans like Dave a male role model to look up to, and it would give the rest of us a hope for a dynamic we can watch and enjoy, without bracing ourselves for something cringe-worthy.
Of course, it all comes down to casting and writing. It always comes down to that. They could cast the perfect combination and kill it with bad writing. They could make casting choices that we all loathe at first and then the writing could prove us wrong.
But I am feeling very wary about the possibility of a solo male companion, and Dave's comments have actually made me more worried about that. For me, it's the one option I really hope they don't go with.
(I'll still watch it if they do, of course. And judge loudly if they get that wrong. And possibly write fic of how the episodes should have gone, if Bill had continued as companion. Doctor Who is the one show I can never stop following.)