Tuesday, December 31, 2013

This Has Not Been a Good Year for Blogging

Scaly Distractions will only have 25 posts on the books for 2013, as opposed to 30 in 2012, 26 in 2011, and 55 in 2010.  That might not seem too bad, but the summer was abnormally low, redeemed only by high posts counts for January and October, and for the first time I had a month where I didn't post at all (June). On the positive side, I did start my new blog, The Wandering Archives, but that's kind of like running in place, because it only reposts blog entries that I wrote in 2006 through 2008.  

Blogging didn't work out too well this year because I decided to concentrate on doing some other things instead.  Unfortunately, most of those other things didn't work out either. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I Don't Know What Happened Here, but It Involved Christmas and Motorcars

I get very tired this time of year.  I am, as anyone who knows me can attest, tired in every season, but the tiredness gets to its worst around Christmas.  I attribute the phenomenon to the fact that the last week of December occurs between the darkest day of the year (December 21) and the coldest day of the year (on average around January 15) in the Northern Hemisphere.  And that's why I see December's end as a good time to try to get a nice long rest.  

At work on Friday I was feeling this tiredness, and somehow my mind drifted toward upper-class England in the Twenties. First I considered Downton Abbey.  (Although I probably have a fairly high genetic tolerance for Britishness, I can only watch Downtown Abbey for about ten minutes at a time, because it consists mostly of people disapproving of one another.)  Then for some reason I started thinking about a similar show, Brideshead Revisited, which I never watched, but saw advertised on PBS when I was younger, and checked the show out on Wikipedia.  

As the afternoon wore on, I began to more and more seriously consider the option of traveling back in time to become an aristocrat in England in the Twenties, where I would live in a vast country house and spend my days disapproving of people and driving around in a motorcar.  As far as I could reason, the biggest barrier to this plan would be operating the motorcar, which at that time would likely have been controlled via an odd assemblage of levers and cranks.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Turtles Influence Our Culture, in a Particularly Odd Way

Let's say that someone told you that turtles are divided into two groups, two overarching evolutionary lineages. What would you guess that these two groups are?  Most people, I imagine, would think that it's the sea turtles versus the land turtles.  In reality, though, the two groups are Cryptodira, which bend their necks vertically, and Pleurodira, which bend their necks horizontally.  (By the way, all the turtles native to the United States are members of Cryptodira, so, for most of the people who read this blog, the next time that you come upon a turtle, you needn't worry about watching it to see how its neck bends.)

Several weeks ago at work, I needed to find a reference explaining Cryptodira and its included groups.  When I checked the internet, I was surprised to find that "Cryptodira" is also the name of a progressive death metal band from Long Island. In fact, six of the first ten websites to come up on a Google search refer to the band, not the turtles.  

I can only assume that the band chose the name from an association with "crypt", which of course is a tomb, which is the sort of thing that death metallers would enjoy.

The music and videos of Cryptodira are available on the internet, but I feel no compelling desire to listen to any of it.  

And please keep in mind that Cryptodira is not just a death metal band, but a progressive death metal band, which means that it appeals to the more intellectual and musically sophisticated death metal fan.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Failed Scary Pumpkinhead Dude and Other Halloween Musings

After I saw a Buzzfeed feature on old Halloween postcards featuring pumpkin-headed people, I was inspired, in the tradition of my previous holiday artwork, to use my limited computer graphics resources to draw a scary pumpkin dude.  

I had a terrible time drawing it, and what I ended up with was less of a scary pumpkin dude and more of a lame and uncertain pumpkin dude.  I think that my biggest mistake was trying to give him an evil smile, rather than an angry frown.  Also his bodily proportions look wrong somehow.  

He carries a glaive, which is intended to make him more scary. (Also he wears a broad-brimmed pumpkin hat.) The glaive is a Medieval polearm weapon; like many polearms, it was developed from a farming tool.  This agricultural connection reinforces the concept of the pumpkinhead as a scarecrow-type figure come to life.  We are, however, on shaky ground in combining the glaive and the pumpkin, because the glaive was a weapon of Medieval Europe, whereas the pumpkin originated in North America, and was unknown in Medieval Europe.  But then, we are on shaky ground in accepting the existence of a pumpkin-headed humanoid in general.

In case that picture was too scary for you, here is a slightly different view of the pumpkinhead dude.  

He is collecting for UNICEF. 

*   *   *   *

I get a certain feeling that Halloween is already over.  It dawned on me that this year most of the Halloween parties, and probably at least some of the trick-or-treating, occurred over the weekend.  (To me, if Halloween is on a Thursday, the logical day for a Halloween party is the following Friday.  But most people's minds don't work that way.)  Perhaps the time will come when Halloween will be celebrated not on October 31 specifically, but rather on the last Saturday of October, whatever that date might be, in the manner of Thanksgiving and some other holidays that are not tied to a specific date.  

*   *   *   *

The Washington area was earlier predicted to get some heavy rain late on Halloween night (but now the rain is predicted more for the daytime on Friday). I am thinking that Halloween rain might be kind of cool, as long as it holds off until the trick-or-treating and other festivities are over.  A midnight thunderstorm could provide some nice scary ambiance, when everyone is home safely in bed, and the streets have been ceded to the real goblins and ghouls—and pumpkinhead dudes.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Revisiting the Pumpkin Days Concept

In a recent blog entry I put forth the idea of the Pumpkin Days, a sub-season comprising October and November.  

At the same time that I was writing that entry, I was also assembling content for my new blog, The Wandering Archives, which collects my old blog entries from the Wandering Army site.  

And now I notice that in an introduction to one of my 2006 posts, Wandering Army publisher Marc Brush wrote the following:

Now cast your mind back to the pumpkin days of October . . .

And so it appears that I may have unconsciously plagiarized the term "pumpkin days".  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Meet the New Blog, Same as the Old Blog

I am introducing my new blog, which is actually my old blog.  It is called The Wandering Archives, and it collects my posts from 2006 to 2008 on the old Wandering Army site.  (Wandering Army was an online literary journal run by Marc Brush, that went out of existence in early 2009.)  As of now, I've put up an introduction and the first five posts, from late 2006 and early 2007.  Over the next few months, I hope to gradually get all the old posts back online, because for some reason I think that a permanent record of my internet writings from five to seven years ago is what the world needs.  

As I like to say, check it out.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Orange Glow of the Pumpkin Days

October is half over,  and we find ourselves in what one might call the Pumpkin Days.  The Pumpkin Days are a sub-season of autumn, consisting of the last two months of the meteorological season, October and November, during which our lives are defined by the presence of pumpkins—first  the decorations for Halloween, and then the pies of Thanksgiving.  

Halloween is approaching, and as always I am itching for something cool to happen.  And, as always, nothing cool will happen.  I'm not even sure what kind of coolness I want, but recently I have been leaning toward dancing zombies, along the lines of the "Thriller" video (but without Michael Jackson, because some things are just too scary).

And speaking of things meant to frighten us, as a resident of Virginia, I am spending the month suffering through television ads for the state's gubernatorial race.  The rest of the country is enjoying a break from electioneering right now, but for some reason Virginia elects its governor in off years.  Whenever one of these ads comes on, I silently yell "No!" in the manner of movie cop trying to push his partner out of the way of a bullet, and reach for the remote control.  

I have some minor new endeavors in the works, which I hope to get completed in the next few weeks.  Maybe they will come to nothing, as often happens, but maybe they won't.  

And soon the Pumpkin Days will be over, and the orange of pumpkins and leaves will be gone, and nothing cool will have happened for Halloween, and I'll be wondering how I missed out on walking around in the beautiful fall weather, but that's the way that life goes. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

My Flickr Page Turns 100

My Flickr page hasn't really turned 100.  I only started it in 2010.  But it has reached 100 pictures.  And I also took the time to give all the old pictures titles, which for some reason I had never done.  

I once had the idea of cross-posting my Flickr pictures on this blog, but it proved too hard. 

I feel a little bit silly posting pictures to the internet, because in recent years digital photography technology has gotten so good that everyone can take pictures of outstanding quality, even with camera phones.  But then again, not everyone bothers to actually do it. 

Anyway, check it out.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On the Upcoming Season of Saturday Night Live

I watch Saturday Night Live.  I will admit that nobody over the age of twenty-two has any business watching Saturday Night Live.  But, really, what else am I supposed to do at 11:30 on a Saturday night? 

The show has never again been as funny as when I started watching it around 1990, when SNL was ruled by colossi like Dana Carvey, Mike Meyers, Phil Hartman, David Spade, and Chris Rock (and when, unbeknownst to the world, Conan O'Brien lurked behind the scenes as a writer).  However, in most of the intervening years, SNL did manage to produce one or two things worth watching. 

The three recurring elements that have been worth watching in the past few years have be the sketch "The Californians" (starring Bill Hader and Fred Armisen) and the characters "Stefon" (played by Bill Hader) and "The Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation With at a Party" (played by Cecily Strong).  Now Hader and Armisen have left the show, eliminating "The Californians" and "Stefon", leaving only Strong's character.

This brings us to "Weekend Update".

Since the turn of the millennium, the "Weekend Update" segment has undergone a sort of stepwise downward progression:

Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey were fairly funny.  

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were less funny.

Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers were even less funny.

Seth Meyers by himself is not funny at all.  

Meyers will probably leave the show at the beginning of next year, when he begins hosting a (presumably unfunny) talk show in the 11:35 pm weekday slot on NBC.  But it has been announced that, before he does, Cecily Strong will join him as "Weekend Update" co-anchor.  And this, I'm afraid, will spell the end of "The Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation With at a Party".  The character has previously been performed by Strong during "Weekend Update", and she can't perform a character during "Weekend Update" while simultaneously acting as an anchor on "Weekend Update".  And so it seems that the show may have inadvertently killed off its last remaining bit of comedy.  

No matter what, though, I will continue to watch Saturday Night Live.  I am not necessarily confident that Saturday Night Live will continue to produce worthwhile comedy in the future.  But I am confident that I will continue to have nothing else to do at 11:30 on a Saturday night.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Blogging Again

It's time to blog again, even though I don't really have the time or energy to write anything. This summer I've been too busy doing other things to do much blogging, plus there have been some technical problems.  There are many things about which I want to blog, but I never seem to have the energy or the opportunity.  There are things from 2010 that I still want to write up on the blog.  But I think that I've said all this many times before.  

The end of summer always makes me feel sad, and a little bit desperate.  I guess that it's a leftover feeling from when I was in school, and I didn't want summer vacation to end.  And the feeling works the other way, too.  In the winter, I still find myself thinking about all the things that I want to do in the summer, when I finally have some free time. And then I remember that I am an adult, and I have to work all year, so I don't get any more free time in the summer than in any other time of the year.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


It's hard to believe that it's been two months since my millipede entry.  I have a huge number of topics about which I want to blog, but not much time or energy to actually do the blogging.  I do feel that I should put up at least one post every month, though.  Since life is full of questions, I thought that I would make my sole June post about important current questions.  (Unfortunately, I couldn't post this on the last day of June due to technical difficulties, and now it is almost July, and I thought that I should finally make myself post this.)  

1. What are bitcoins? Should I know?

2. Am I expected to make a statement on the current Paula Deen controversy? 

3. What did we learn on the show tonight, Craig? (Okay, this is more of a question for Craig Ferguson from his cat.)

4. Do I look like the kind of person who would have a cigarette?  Last month I was in Virginia Beach, and I was walking down the street at night, and these three teenaged boys ride by on bicycles, and the the first one says, "You got a cigarette?", and I think, "Is this the prelude to a crime?", and say "No".  Then the second teenaged boy rides by, and then the third, and the the third says, "You got a cigarette?"  I look like the kind of person who would have a calculator.  But I don't think that I look like the kind of person who'd have a cigarette. 

5. Do I look like the kind of person who would have bitcoins?

Friday, May 31, 2013

Big Black and Red Millipede

I haven't been in the mood to blog recently, but I suppose that I should get something on the books for May.  

May be I'll throw this millipede out there. 

On Wednesday I was at Algonkian Regional Park in Loudoun County, Virginia.  These millipedes were all over the place in the wooded part of the park that I walked through.  I probably saw ten live ones, and another ten dead ones.  And they were gigantic.  Well, okay, maybe not big enough to eat a car, but they were three or four inches long.  

I'm thinking that they were Narceus americanus or something related.  

Friday, April 19, 2013

What's Going On With All These Barred Owls?

I've been watching birds since middle school.  I can't say that I'm very good at it, because being a good bird watcher requires a lot of patience, which is a trait that I don't have.  Also, it helps to get up early, which I'm not really big on. In fact, I'm not really big on getting up at all.  Anyway, in all my years of watching birds, I had never seen or heard an owl in the wild until about four years ago, when I saw the above Barred Owl (Strix varia) here in Alexandria, Virginia. 

Since then, I've seen more of them, and heard their calls all over in Alexandria and Fairfax County. (The Barred Owl says "Hoo-hoo hoo-hoo, hoo-hoo hoo-HOO", with added enthusiasm on the final hoot.)  I find it odd that I never noticed their calls before, but I suppose that it's possible.  

Then this year a Barred Owl showed up on the campus of my alma mater, Yale University, as reported by both the Yale Daily News and the Yale Herald.  (There weren't any owls when I was there.)

And finally I came across an article in the New York Times which begins with the writer describing "a frigid, star-salted night spent tromping through the Alexandria woods with David Johnson of the Global Owl Project, and listening to the stridently mournful cries of wild barred owls that remained hidden from view".

(On a geographical note, there is very little forested land in Alexandria, and in order to spend a night tromping through the woods here, one would have to tromp in a very tight circle.  A more likely location is the 1452-acre Huntley Meadows Park, which is in Fairfax County, but has an Alexandria postal address.)

And so, what is going on with all these Barred Owls, which seem omnipresent? Is it just a coincidence, or are Barred Owls undergoing a population surge?  It's not unknown for bird species to undergo a large increase in numbers . . . or a decrease.  When I was young, I used to see Hairy Woodpeckers (Picoides villosus) all the time, but I haven't seen one in fifteen years or more.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

For the Sake of Clarity

For the most part, no one reads this blog.  The only people who normally read it are people whom I know, after I specifically ask them to read it.  Occasionally I will get a weird influx of views from somewhere like Russia or Germany, but that's probably some spam-related thing.  

But just in case someone should read this blog who doesn't know me, I would like to make clear that, although I am William Robertson, I am not this William Robertson

Friday, April 12, 2013

Late Night Warfare Continues

Last week it was decreed that Jimmy Fallon would be taking over hosting duties at The Tonight Show in early 2014.  This development surprises me, as I had expected Leno to stay on The Tonight Show until he literally died on stage.  (And when I say "literally" here, I literally mean "literally", and not "figuratively", in that I expected Leno's heart to stop beating while he was on stage at the NBC lot in Burbank.)  I am also surprised because I remember the infamous Conan Debacle of 2009 to 2010. 

It feels to me that the Conan Debacle happened just yesterday.  Yet it began almost four years ago.  Someone who was in eighth grade when Conan assumed command of The Tonight Show would now be getting ready to graduate from high school.  Funny how time flies, as Tears for Fears said at the end of one of their songs in the Eghties.  (This is not the first mention of Tears for Fears on this blog, but it's been almost three years since the last time that I mentioned them, so, once again . . . funny how time flies.) 

History makes me think that this new Tonight Show experiment won't work.  In 2009, people didn't want funny Conan, they wanted unfunny Leno.  And I have to expect that in 2014 people won't want funny Fallon, they'll want unfunny Leno.  (This isn't to say that Fallon is as funny as Conan, but Fallon is definitely funnier then Leno.)

As for me, I'll probably keep watching Jimmy Kimmel, because although Kimmel isn't nearly as funny as Letterman was when Letterman was funny, Kimmel is funnier than Letterman is now. 

And then there is Craig Ferguson.  Ferguson is funny, and possibly the smartest of the late night hosts, but while Jimmy Fallon's show feels like a party, Ferguson's show feels like what one would expect to see on television at 1:00 am—a man alone in a dimly-lit room with a robotic skeleton.  

I am reminded of an odd thought that I have been having recently, which is that the Celts dominate late night.  Ferguson is from Scotland, Conan describes himself as "110% Irish", Leno is half Scottish, and Fallon is half Irish.  I don't know if it's coincidence, or if there is some cultural reason for it.  Back in 2009, it even caused me a little confusion between Conan and Fallon—two tall, thin Irish guys from Saturday Night Live, both hosting late-night talk shows on NBC.  Of course, talking about matters of ethnicity like this could lead to trouble from the perspective of political correctness, but as long as I stick with discussing freakishly pale northern European-derived people like me, I should be okay, and I won't need to record a country-rap crossover song about being an accidental racist.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

There's Plenty of Room

On the same day that I learned about the existence of a certain Lovecraftian microbe, I also came across another apparent pop-culture-related name in a scientific  discipline–a Paleolithic archaeological site in the mountains of Spain called Hotel California.  This is presumably a reference to the famous Eagles song of the same name.  I haven't been able to find out why the site has that name, especially since most online discussions of it are in Spanish.  My only guess is that, assuming that you're one of the skeletons there, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.  But that would be true of any archaeological site.  And I don't even know whether Hotel California even has any human bones.   

I should perhaps point out here that I have never been a fan of the Eagles, nor am I much of a fan of the solo music of Don Henley, with the exception of the Building the Perfect Beast album, which was an unaccountable work of genius, and a major force in my middle school musical life.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cthulhu Is Real!

I have not blogged for a long time.  There are a lot of things that I want to do, including blogging, but spending most of my days at work makes me too tired to do much of anything else.  But now I have come across something that roused me from my torpor.      

I have blogged in the past about organisms being given scientific names that honor rock stars and other celebrities.  

I have also blogged about my enjoyment of the gothic horror stories of H. P. Lovecraft.  

And now the two elements have come together.  In a recent paper in the online journal PLoS ONE, a group of biologists have named a new species of parabasalid (a type of single-celled eukaryote) after Cthulhu, the otherworldly entity who is the defining character in Lovecraft's fantasy universe.  The new organism, Cthulhu macrofasciculumque, lives symbiotically in the digestive tracts of termites.  (Normally I restrict my blogging about biological nomenclature to extinct organisms, but I ventured out of the realm of paleontology for this one.)

The paper describes the derivation of the genus name as follows:

The name is based on the fictional many tentacled, cephalopod-headed demon found in the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, specifically The Call of Cthulhu. The tentacle-headed appearance given by the coordinated beat pattern of the anterior flagellar bundle of Cthulhu cells is reminiscent of this demon. The name is supposedly impossible to pronounce as it comes from an alien language, but currently it is most often pronounced “ke-thoo-loo”.

Lovecraft scholars might quibble at the description of Cthulhu as a "demon".

The scientists also named another genus of parabasalid, Cthylla, after a daughter of Cthulhu created by author Brian Lumley in a Lovecraft-inspired story.  (I was not aware that Cthulhu had any children.)  

What is most surprising to me about all this is not that it happened, but that it didn't happen a long time ago. Given the popularity of Lovecraft's fiction among smart, nerdy people, I would have thought that "Cthulhu" would have been made a genus name thirty or forty years ago.  And I also would have thought that the name would have been used for something more impressive than a protist that lives in the gut of a termite.  (What is is that they say about real estate–the three most important things are location, location, location?)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Lives of Birds

I don't normally like to just post links to things without adding some substantive commentary of my own (although I did do that some in the early days of the blog).  But I can't help sharing a fascinating site that I came across a few days ago.  (I found it fascinating; other people might not.)  It presents the maximum recorded lifespans for all species of North American birds, as derived from bird banding data.  

Say, for example, that you are wondering how long a Barred Owl (Strix varia) can live.  Simply go to the site, select the species, and find that a Barred Owl was recorded to have lived an astounding 24 years.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Super Bowl, Again

The Super Bowl was Sunday.  I am not a sports fan, and thus I did not watch it.  I used to try to watch it just for the commercials, but the commercials were never all that great.

I once read that "Super Bowl" was the best term to generate hits for one's blog.  I can believe it;  the pointless and very silly blog post that I wrote on the spur of the moment about the 2011 Super Bowl has received 57 page views, more than twice the number of any other individual post on my blog.  

From what I can remember of Super Bowl history, which covers maybe the last thirty years or so, the game has gradually become more of a holiday than an athletic event.  I wonder how many people who watch the Super Bowl have no real interest in the game itself, and instead just want to go to a party, eat too much, and then spend the next day complaining about having eaten too much. 

But then, that's probably not a profound or novel insight on my part.  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Prehistoric Polchaete Rock

I've blogged before about prehistoric animals named after rock stars, specifically the dinosaur Masiakasaurus knopfleri, named after Mark Knopfler, and a set of trilobites named after various Eighties alternative musicians.

Now I've learned of two new instances, thanks to a December article in the Washington Times.  In 2006, paleontologist Mats E. Eriksson named Kalloprion kilmisteri, a Silurian polychaete worm, after Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead.   Then in 2012, Eriksson named another Silurian polychaete, Kingnites diamondi, after King Diamond.  

(This is just my personal opinion, but I think that naming something after King Diamond is taking things too far.)

Anyway, here is a video of Lemmy and Mark Knopfler, in their pre-fossiliferous days,  performing (along with many others, including David Gilmour) in a BBC comedy sketch. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ornithological Notes on The Hobbit

I finally saw The Hobbit, despite my earlier difficulties.  One thing that stood out to me was the use of CGI songbirds, particularly in association with the wizard Radagast the Brown (who, I found out in researching this post, is also the seventh Doctor Who).  I thought that I would share some ideas on the identification of these birds, although in all likelihood someone somewhere else has probably done a better job of this already. 

The birds that live under Radagast's hat looked like House Sparrows (Passer domesticus).  I also seem to remember that they were both males, but I'd have to watch the movie again to be sure.  

The bird that alerts Radagast to the location of the Necromancer is very clearly an American Robin (Turdus migratorius).  I found it somewhat disconcerting to see such a characteristically North American bird in the setting of pseudo-European Middle Earth.  

And the bird identified as a thrush that flies to the lair of Smaug at the end of the movie actually is a thrush, though I couldn't identify the exact species.  

Radagast the Brown's talent for communicating with birds was acknowledged in the world of paleontology in 2002, when his name was applied to Paraortygoides radagasti, a fossil bird from the Eocene.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Remembrance of Dragons Past

My friend John alerted me that there is a new website where one can purchase pdf downloads of out-of-print Dungeons & Dragons publications.  As a former D&D player, the site generates a great deal of interest in me.  Part of it is nostalgia for items that I remember from my younger years.  But a bigger part is curiosity about all the things that I have never seen before, because evidently there was a lot more published for D&D than what I could find at the local Toys R Us when I was in sixth grade.  

My attempts to play D&D never seemed to work out the way that I wanted. (Playing a full and enjoyable D&D campaign remains an item on my bucket list.)  In my experience, the problem with Dungeons & Dragons is that, in order to play it in a satisfying manner, one needs both maturity and free time, which vary in inverse proportion over the course of one's life.  I started playing D&D in middle school, when my friends and I had lots of free time to play, but very little maturity; as a result, our games tended to fall apart or break down into pointless arguments.  I played some in high school, when people were more grown up, but it was harder to find time to play And I even played a little in college; at that point, the other players and I were mature enough that I felt that I was finally playing the game the way that it should be played.  But the responsibilities and opportunities of college life took up too much of our time to allow for much D&D; our gaming group only got together two or three times.  

I wonder if, in thirty or forty years, we'll start seeing people in nursing homes playing Dungeons & Dragons, in the way that today's nursing home inhabitants might play bridge.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

As Always, Blogging Is Hard

There are a lot of things about which I want to blog—The Hobbit, ornithology, The Hobbit and ornithology, Christmas, paleontology, Dungeons & Dragons, the Beatles, and probably some other things that I can't recall at the moment.  Unfortunately for the last few weeks I haven't had the energy to write any blog entries.  I am going to try to post of these entries in the next few days, but there is a very real chance that I will fail.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Slimy Distractions

My friend Josh e-mailed me a while ago saying that I should change the name of the blog to Slimy Distractions and make it all about slugs.  This was because of all the pictures of slugs that I had posted.  I actually hate slugs; I only posted the computer-drawn pictures because slug pictures had worked out well in my post about how to get a slug out of your house.

I like almost all animals, with a few exceptions. The animals that I don't like generally fall into two categories.  

The first consists of slimy terrestrial invertebrates, specifically slugs and earthworms

The second consists of animals that want to drink my blood, such as ticks and mosquitoes, or otherwise bite me in a way that will leave me itchy.  

And then there are the leeches, which combine elements from both categories. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Christmas Season Wrap-up Part I

Christmas and New Year's Day are gone, but I notice that even at this late date some people still have their Christmas lights up.  It seems to me that at this point Christmas lights are essentially mocking us.  Before Christmas, Christmas lights remind us of all that we have to look forward to, the presents and parties and time off from work. And during the period from Christmas to New Year's Day, the lights are part of the fun that we're having.  But after January 1st, when most of us are back at work or in school, Christmas lights are a reminder that we don't have anything to look forward to, because the holidays are gone, and they won't be coming back for a long, long time.