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In Today’s Issue:

Dr. Kulasekera in the Times
RE: Chinese Rocks
RE: Chinese Rocks

Dr. Kulasekera in the Times
This from today’s issue of the New York Times:


Public Profile: Working Mosquito
Surveillance, Rock Style


ZOWIE! Are those some kind of sunglasses on the city’s ace mosquito
tracker or what? Retro-style Cutler & Gross, with rhinestones, that
her rock ‘n’ roll husband bought her in London. Plus Versace jeans.
Plus anaconda flats, from Bally. Dr. Varuni Kulasekera will not be
wearing those flats when she goes mosquito hunting, she’ll change into
ankle boots, but her outfit still raises the question: Why?

Why, Dr. Kulasekera (pronounced cool-uh-SAY-ker-uh), when your husband
is Brian Ritchie, the bass player of the Violent Femmes and you may be
shopping for designer duds in — where was it you said you had been
the past year? Greece? Australia? Europe? New Zealand? — do you want
to be out here in Wolfe’s Pond Park, Staten Island, on a day like a
sauna, slogging in brackish waters, bagging mosquitoes?

A giggle from Dr. Kulasekera, who was raised in Sri Lanka and happens
to be a serial giggler. “I love my work,” she said. “There are over
3,500 species of mosquitoes. They are a 5 percent vector of disease.”

Vector means carrier.

And what are the disgusting little bugs which are buzzing around us
now? “Midges. They don’t bite. They’re related to mosquitoes in terms
of evolution. Can you believe this is New York City? I can still be
in nature and work in the city.”

The war against the West Nile virus and the mosquitoes that carry it

Staten Island will be sprayed with the pesticide Anvil tonight and
early tomorrow, after 13 infected birds were found, as well as more

Where does the city get the data to decide to spray?

In part — the mosquito part — from Dr. Kulasekera, 43, who has a
Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Maryland. She heads the
four-month-old Mosquito Surveillance Unit of the city’s Health
Department — 22 students and 8 technicians. Dr. Kulasekera makes no
recommendations about whether the city should spray; she did not even
know the city was spraying Staten Island until a reporter told her.

She simply tracks the mosquito population, and that’s what she was
doing Monday, overseeing a group of students taking samples of
mosquito larvae in some woodsy stretches. The ponds had been treated
with larvicide, and at the morning’s sites, there were few living
larvae. The city’s program, Dr. Kulasekera insisted, was working.
Last year at this time, she said, there had been thousands of dead
birds; this year that number is dramatically down. She also says
repeatedly that the public must be educated in mosquito control and
alert the city to infestations.

How — a sociological question here — did Dr. Kulasekera, a former
researcher at the American Museum of Natural History, end up a rock

“I was in the audience at a concert, and we became friends and then

There is a gap in the data.

“I had a CD I wanted to get autographed. One of the crew said, ‘You
are so polite.’ I was not begging, not screaming. I’m an adult, why
should I behave that way? I got to meet the band, and these guys were
different. They didn’t ask any stupid questions. They knew where Sri
Lanka was.”

Down the forestlike path, now, comes one of those members of the
public Dr. Kulasekera so likes to hear from: a Parks Department worker
in a green T-shirt, perspiring heavily. Seeing the mosquito foot
patrol, he unleashes his West Nile anxiety: He’s dizzy, he’s exhausted,
he’s sure he’s running a fever, he’s been getting bitten “a lot,” the
patrol is right now in a patch where there are loads of mosquitoes,
there is an even worse infestation near the bus stop on the other side
of the park where there is stagnant water and garbage.

Dr. Kulasekera suggests that the employee, who does not want his name
used, call a doctor, though she doesn’t think she’s seeing the first
human case of West Nile this season.

Then it’s off to the reportedly afflicted spot, a small pond of water
near the intersection of Luten Avenue and Hylan Boulevard. To the
untrained eye it looks like mosquito breeding ground; there is
garbage, an old tire and the students are enthusiastically scooping
up samples.

Dr. Kulasekera, zooming in for a close look, is skeptical.

“This water has not been here long, it is not too organic right now.”

And to one of the foot soldiers:

“Careful. This is poison ivy.”

The student says, “This is poison ivy?”

The next day comes word that the city is spraying. A speedy call is
placed to Dr. Kulasekera: What happened? Wasn’t the mosquito
population of Staten Island down?

Dr. Kulasekera clarifies. Her teams does surveillance of both the
larvae population and the adult. Last week they noticed the adult
mosquitoes were at their “normal” population previous to spraying.

The Parks Department worker, called for a follow-up, said he still
felt ill and was making an appointment for a blood test. He also said
he had noticed a rise in dead birds and squirrels in the park in the
last few months, but never reported them. He just put them in plastic
and threw them in the garbage.

A spokesman for the Parks Department said this was a violation of
procedure. Workers finding dead animals, he said, had been told to
double-bag specimens, notify the Health Department and send the
specimens to the Department of Environmental Conservation.

War is hard.

Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company

RE: Chinese Rocks
> The femmes cover another Ramones song. Acutally I think the Ramones
> may be covering the song. But, it is definitely done the Ramones
> way. Sort of like most of Rock!!!!.
> The song is called Chinese Rocks.

Well, IIRC, the Ramones (Dee Dee Ramone specifically) wrote the song
originally, and it didn’t fit in with the earlier Ramones material. So
he let someone else have it…I think it may have been ex-New York Doll
Johnny Thunders. Damn, if only my parents hadn’t chucked my copy of
Please Kill Me, I could go check on this!!! Anyway, the Ramones wound
up doing the song and laying it down at a much later date.

-nick reffuse

RE: Chinese Rocks
I have the Machine single as well and I think Gordan is playing Chinese
Rock on a harpsicord. It`s quite comical and I can`t recall right now
what year it was recorded.

Does anyone know if the Femmes are coming to Japan? I`m in Fukuymam
for a year and saw they might be in Australia. Anyone know if their
tour has an Asian leg?