there is water underground.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What's In A Name?

I kinda forgot how much fun this was. It's like I played an album dozens of times and got sick of it, shelved it for a while... and then came back to it a few months later.

Anyways, seems the scientific community has to get its kicks somehow. It was announced today that a new species of beetle was named for Roy Orbison because (and I'm quoting here) "it almost looks like it's wearing a tuxedo."

Sure, okay. Gotta love it, right?

This got me thinking (and considering my most recent post, it seemed obvious that some 'twaining' was in order). I started wondering what other celebrities had their names associated with animal species, and what the reasoning was. My first thought took me back to the Far Side, one of the bestest cartoons ever - I vaguely recalled reading somewhere that Gary Larson had something named after him. Turns out I was right (and the scientists loooove the Far Side); there's a biting louse named after him. Lice aren't really the prettiest creatures around, but he said "I considered this an extreme honor. Besides, I knew no one was going to write and ask to name a new species of swan after me. You have to grab these opportunities when they come along."

So I started doing some "research" today... and I found out some interesting stuff.

1. Each member of the Beatles has a species of (you guessed it) beetle named after him. These beetles apparently look a little "shaggy" and therefore have the mop-top look. Kind of a stretch.

2. Not to be outdone, each member of the Ramones, the Rolling Stones, and the Sex Pistols also has a beetle species named for him. Same dude from the Beatles' beetles did the naming. Never let it be said that geeks have bad taste in music.

3. While doing field work, a paleological team was listening to the Dire Straits while unearthing fossils, so they named a species of dinosaur Masiakasaurus Knopfleri. That's pretty awesome.

4. Agathidium Bushi, Agathidium Cheneyi, Agathidium Rumsfeldi. Slime mold beetles. No kidding.

5. The mite species Funkotriplogynium Iagobadius is named for none other than "Iago Badium," Latin (?) for "James Brown." Come to think of it, the name sounds like it should be a P-Funk album.

6. Don't know why Laurel and Hardy have cicadas named after them, but they do (Baeturia Laureli & Baeturia Hardyi). Guess you can't choose what your fans study.

7. There's a moth species that - as part of its wing coloration - appears to have a second head. Go figure that it's called Erechthias Beeblebroxi. (lost? this guy has two heads.)

8. This is my favorite. There's a wasp that - as a larva - manipulates its host animal to giving it more nutrients. It's called Metallichneumon Neurospatarchus... that second word apparently translates to "Master of Puppets." Nice.

9. Dicrotendipes Thanatogratus is a roach. Thanato = dead (Greek), Gratus = thankful (Latin)... is it kinda ironic that there's a roach named for the band most associated with smoking pot? Anyone? ...Bueller?

This kind of stuff gives me warm fuzzies. All these scientists, knowing that only a handful of people will ever see the names they give these species (and even fewer will care or get the references). The geeks shall inherit.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Huh. Been a while.

So I’ve been thinking: there are several rules about monster movies that one should always keep in mind when viewing – or perhaps acting in – such a film. The ones I’ve noticed are as follows:

1. If you get bitten by a creature, you won’t make it. Period.
2. The more attractive you are, the better your chances of survival… but note that your chances of dying in spectacularly gruesome fashion (relative to the chance of dying from ordinary monster carnage) increase exponentially.
a. Corollary: If you’re attractive but are a bitch/asshole, you’re gonna die and it’s gonna be nasty.
3. When given the choice of taking a tunnel or a bridge to escape New York, take a bridge.
a. Corollary: If the monster is really large, consider taking a tunnel. Large monsters like attacking bridges.
4. It’s okay to break the law when necessary.
5. Your phone/car/whatever might work, but no one else’s phone/car/whatever will. Be prepared to defend your phone/car/whatever.
6. Small monsters want to get inside you. Large monsters want to get you inside them.
a. Corollary: If you have a monster inside you, kill yourself.
i. Subset: If you are incapable of killing yourself (whether due to physical reasons or due to being a wuss), it is acceptable to ask another cast member to kill you.
7. If someone asks you if you’re a god, you say “yes.”
8. Injuries that might kill a minor cast member (e.g. impaling, helicopter crashes) will not kill the stars.
9. If you are in love with another cast member, s/he will die. If you’re lucky, you might die together.
10. If you have a brother/sister/parent/aunt/uncle/relative/best friend and they have a smaller role in the movie, they’re gonna die.
a. Corollary: If you are protecting a child/niece/nephew/adoptee/dog/future leader, you’ll probably make it.
11. No one who needs to be rescued ever lives on the first floor.

And in case you’re wondering what the heck “Twaining” means (and no, it’s not Elmer Fudd talking about kiddie bike wheels), Mark Twain once said: “Why put off until tomorrow that which you can just as easily put off until the day after tomorrow?” So… there you go. My new term for procrastination. Twaining. Yippee.