Web buzzing

Just wanted to share some cool things I found recently!

INSECT-RELATED FUN

Amazonian ants apparently adore Tetris – ’tis a tee from Threadless Tees.

Cartoon with a green background, the upper half with five army ants on a branch, carrying pieces of leaves cut into various Tetris shapes. Below, the crowned queen ant awaits by a Tetris-shaped stack of pieces. (Unfortunately, she's about to get a square and won't have a place to set it!)

and,

NPR has a short episode with guest comments by the inimitable entolomogist and highly entertaining author, May Berenbaum,

There has been a worldwide proliferation of urinal flies, observed May Berenbaum, head of the department of entomology at the University of Illinois in her new book The Earwig’s Tail.

You can listen to the episode and/or read the transcript, “There’s A Fly In My Urinal”.

realistic black and white fly decal

and,

Jessica (the painter) and James (the author) of Project InSECT have a couple of books out, How Mildred Became Famous (book I and book II).  Mildred is a mantis, and one of the many gorgeous, large paintings that Jessica has done.

Detailed painting of Mildred, the praying mantis, plain chiaroscuro background

GARDENING / NATURE

A brief video:  One year in 40 seconds. Eirik Solheim’s gorgeous time-lapse of Norweigian woods.  Suitably short for the ADHD brain or a coffee break.  (Alas, I’ve tried several ways to get this URL embedded so it will display from this post, but WordPress is being funky.  So you’ll just have to copy-paste it to get to the YouTube page directly.)

youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmIFXIXQQ_E

and of course, a bit of geeky

ACCESSIBILITY


A dismotivational poster with the image of a Dalek (robot from Dr Who show) stuck in a concrete room with only stairs as a means of exit; its word balloon says, "FUCK". The poster caption is, "LIMITATIONS everyone has them"

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Occupational Hazards

No matter what your job, there are some frequent questions or comments from the general public that get, shall we say, a tad tiresome.

I thought it would be interesting to make up a brief questionnaire and select a few nominees.  If you would also like to join in, please do!  Just post your answers below, or put a link on your blog to this post.

Q.: What term or phrase from your job/occupation do people mangle?

A.:  Entomology often gets changed to “Ant-o-mology”, as though we only study ants.  Not even Edward O. Wilson is an “antomologist”; he is (among other things) a myrmecologist.

Q.: What broadly erroneous assumption do people make about your preferences and your career choice?

A.:  That I love all insects.  Really, I don’t. (Although I will be quick to point out that only 1 % of the insects are pests.)  I do find grasshoppers to be kind of gross, especially after scrubbing their encrusted remains off my automobile windshield, and spending hours driving a riding mower and having them bounce off my face.  Blech.

Q.: What trivia challenge do people pose when they hear about what you do for a living?

A.:  “Wow, I bet you know all the bugs!”  No.  There are over one million species, mostly beetles, and I’m more familiar with butterflies.

Q.: What basic fact about your job/occupation do people rarely understand?

A.:  That insects are animals.  “Yes, they are.  They’re not plants, not fungi, not single-cell organisms.  They have organ systems and behaviors, and are not photosynthetic.”

Q.: Did you always want to be a/n  ___?

A.:  “Huh?  Sorry, distracted watching this bug.  Look here at what it’s doing–“

Q.: You musta been a weird kid, huh?

A.:  Yeah, but now I get paid to teach the other weird kids.

Q.: How did some totally unrelated previous job prepare you for your current occupation?

A.:  I went from doing behavioral observations of insects to behavioral observations of students with severe emotional and behavioral problems.  There are more similarities than you’d imagine.

Q.: So what do you do for a living?

A.: Do you mean my daytime, evening, or weekend job?

I would love to hear the answers from Dave Hingsburger, Bug Girl, Dean Dad, Wheelchair Dancer, and YOU.

Schrödinger’s snack

It’s Christmas and of course we’ve been eating all day, but for some celebratory reason, we’re always hungry anyway.  Come evening, my son-in-law stumbles blearily downstairs, through the living room, and into the kitchen.

“I thought you were taking a nap?”  enquires my baby-bouncing daughter.

“I am.  I can get something to eat, can’t I?”

Fridge door opens, shuts, man lurches back upstairs to bed.

I nodded to her, “You-know.  It’s like the physics cat … he can either be asleep or awake, but you don’t know until you ask him.”

Goldfish resting by an open fire

What a day!  There’s nothing so “fun” as grocering the day before a holiday, especially when the meteorology report is dire.  Guess what I found while stocking the doggy chews?

Yes indeedy, The Bad Goldfish were back, undeterred by the possibility of ending up as frozen fish from the weather.  Planning for their Christmas, they had picked up a couple bags of fresh chestnuts, but once again, got distracted and left their produce behind.

“Ooh, look!  Oyster-shell treats!”

Bags of chestnuts, abandoned in front of a packet of oyster-shell dog chews.

Merry Christmas to folks, and don’t forget to remind the kids, “Now remember, put your things away, lest The Bad Goldfish come and steal them!”

Your irony for the day

My knees hurt from stocking arthritis medication.

Grandma’s Counting Book

(not suitable for an embroidery sampler)

1  Pair of shoes that fell apart, plus

2  belts that did as well.

3  Pairs of sad slacks with stains.

4  Part-time jobs I’ve worked this year, for

5  people whom I’m supporting.

6  Pairs of raggedy undies and

7  pairs of holey socks I tossed in the trash.

8  Hundred is a great credit score,

9  hundred is a mortgage payment,

10 days since I’ve applied for a mortgage in just my name, and

11 months I’ve paid the mortgage on my own.

12 Kitchen cabinets & drawers that are falling apart, plus

13 year old stained carpeting and gouged vinyl need replacing.

14 Days after applying, the letter will follow the phone call that said Grandma doesn’t make enough money to get her mortgage.

The Goldfish are back!

So today when I was stocking groceries, I found some more evidence of malfeasance.  This time it was not a compromised package with the seal broken or contents used, but rather, groceries abandoned in odd places.  (Thankfully, not perishables, like lunch meat stuck behind cookies, or yogurt tubs amongst the baking tins, ugh.)

This time, it was a russet potato and a couple of yellow potatoes left on the bottom shelf underneath the peg racks of razors.

“Must be them Bad Goldfish again,” I mumbled to myself.   Apparently they thought you could peel taters with a disposable razor!  Stupid goldfish.

So why were the potatoes left there?

Because goldfish have short memories, of course.

Music to Bounce By

My five-month old grandson, AKA Tigger or Mr BoingBoing, has loved to bounce from the get-go.  Even when he was in utero, my daugher remembers how the sonography technician ended up sighing when she visited, because the baby was so mobile that it was hard to get a measurement.  Later on, the mom-to-be said that although the baby book bore the reminder to make sure that the baby moved each day, she never had to bother to check.

“I hope he learns how to sit for half an hour by the time school starts,” I mentioned, with ADHD concerns hanging unspoken in the air.

“He does have a great attention span.  I just hope he starts sleeping better soon,” added the proud but perennially tired mom.

“There are some children that never do sleep much.”

“But I don’t want one of those …”  The idea of spending the next decade or more taking turns sleeping was almost too much to contemplate.

“No one ever does!”

Thankfully, the lad loves his doorway bouncer.  Not only has his bouncy seat just been retired because he can he roll over and out of it, he’s even started getting on his hands and knees.

In my familial role as Bouncy Lady, I put together an iTunes playlist of “Music to Bounce By” for bouncing him on our knees, as babies love music, it’s generally more entertaining for all, and slightly less tiring for the adult if they don’t have to sing.  We want to expose him to a variety of music.  Right now, “Wipe Out” by the Ventures is a favorite.  (I’ve included links to a couple of pieces that are not well known, but are worth checking out.)

  • Good Vibrations    The Beach Boys
  • Ticket To Ride    The Beatles
  • Will It Go Round in Circles    Billy Preston
  • That’l Be The Day    Buddy Holly & The Crickets
  • Superstition  Stevie Wonder
  • Working In The Coal Mine    Devo
  • Satin Doll    Duke Ellington and His Orchestra
  • Crocodile Rock    Elton John
  • Think    Aretha Franklin
  • Sing, Sing, Sing    Benny Goodman
  • Mouse Jigs    Flook
  • Barracuda    Heart
  • Tijuana Taxi   Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
  • Immigrant Song    Led Zeppelin
  • Dancing On The Ceiling   Lionel Richie
  • Another One Bites The Dust    Queen
  • Burning Down the House   Talking Heads
  • Shake Your Tailfeather    Ray Charles
  • Four Sticks    Sones de Mexico Ensemble
  • Pride And Joy   Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Wipe Out     The Ventures
  • Hawaii Five-O    The Ventures
  • Linus And Lucy    Vince Guaraldi

Every few songs we have something a bit less frenetic, to keep from getting too fatigued.  And of course, we never get through the whole list in one pass; just a few songs at a time.

At least there’s one thing that he’ll sit still for:  watching Star Trek!  But that’s a story for another day …