Monday, January 26, 2009

There Can Only Be One...Dr Love

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Yesterday, I did in fact decide to brave the snowy weather and my illness to get a haircut. I know you're impressed…but please, don't be. There's this place called Floyd's a few blocks from my house…and I think all the barbers there are female (at least they have been the twice that I went there) and for twenty bucks (with tip included and all) you get a nice haircut, some nice conversation, some nice eye candy, a hot foam shave around the neck with a straight edge and a little shoulder massage to top it all off. Not bad, right? Anyway, couldn't really tell ya much about yesterday's episode because I was just pretty groggy the whole time…but the hair's sheared…and I'm lookin' good…well, as good as can be expected.

It's been snowing pretty good this morning…and again, it's the big fluffy stuff with a little more wind than yesterday…but a lot more snow. Have I mentioned that I love my view? Also, have I mentioned that I love my commute when I go to work? Consisting of about four minutes going down an elevator, through the lobby (where I can pick up some breakfast if they set it up early enough), out the door, around the corner and through a security door. Much better than shoveling out the car, letting her heat up, braving the freeway and all its drivers, in the blinding snow drifts, just to make it to work. Just glanced outside…and it's still coming down pretty good. Sorry, trying not to gloat or anything…but I'm just very appreciative of it. If it makes you feel any better, I can feel the building sway when the wind picks up…which is just about all the time. Anyway, here's some other news…

111 Year Old Daddy - A captive reptile in New Zealand has unexpectedly become a father at the ripe old age of 111 after receiving treatment for a cancer that made him hostile toward prospective mates. The centenarian tuatara, named Henry, was thought well past the mating game until he was caught canoodling with a female named Mildred last March — a consummation that resulted in 11 babies being hatched on Monday. Tuatara are indigenous New Zealand creatures that resemble lizards but descend from a distinct lineage of reptile that walked the earth with the dinosaurs 225 million years ago. An endangered species, the hatchlings born at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery will provide a badly needed boost to the tuatara's genetic diversity, said the gallery's tuatara curator, Lindsay Hazley. Henry was at least 70 years old when he arrived at the museum, "a grumpy old man" who attacked other reptiles, including females, until a cancerous tumor was removed from his genitals in 2002, said Hazley. "I went off the idea he was good for breeding," Hazley told The Associated Press, but once the tumor was removed, "he was no longer aggressive." (Seriously, I'd just try to blend in at that point too if somebody took a scalpel to my junk) The museum now has 72 of the reptiles after 42 hatchings in the past two years. Hazley hopes to use Henry regularly in the breeding program that is helping expand tuatara numbers after they had been savaged by predators. Tuatara are estimated to number about 50,000, most of them living in predator-free sanctuaries, including offshore islands. A male Tuatara takes 70 years to fully mature (don't we all) but reaches sexual maturity about age 20. While there's no scientific data on the life span of the ancient reptiles, "they go beyond 100 well and truly," Hazley said. "They can be around for 150 to 250 years." Also an interesting fact, even then, the only way to kill a tuatara is by decapitation. They are impervious to disease, small arms fire, corrosive acids and have an incredible healing ability that allows them to live so they often prey on each other and try to decapitate one another to gain their strength in a mysterious method known simply as "The Quickening" by scientists. They actually handle swords remarkably well for reptiles. Okay, that last part isn't true…but still, is there anybody out there that doesn't love Highlander? Well, except maybe Highlander II which was just really terrible from all points of view. There is one quirk about this story that would prove that Henry's not a Highlander though. Brownie points to anybody who can tell me what it is. Anyway, congratulation Henry!!!

Dung Beetle Improves Diet - Believe it or not, it's a surprisingly good segway from the end of the last story. A species of dung beetle has ditched its excrement-eating ways in favor of millipedes…and the beetle shows no mercy, often decapitating the leggy insect before devouring it, a new study finds. Called Deltochilum valgum, the dung beetle is the first of its kind to show exclusively predatory behavior, taking down and consuming millipedes rather than eating primarily dung or a mixture of dung and other foods…which is technically, still dung. In the past, scientists had seen the beetle grasping live millipedes…but they weren't sure if the species specialized in exclusive millipede eating…or were just touchy feely. So Trond Larsen of Princeton University in New Jersey and his colleagues set up traps in a rainforest in Peru that were baited with various foods, including dung, live millipedes, dead millipedes, injured or uninjured millipedes, fungus and carrion. (For those who don't know, carrion is dead animal meat…like what vultures eat. Appetizing buffet, huh?) D. valgum was attracted only to the millipede traps, preferring the live, injured millipedes over dead ones. The discovery is detailed this week in the journal Biology Letters. Out of nearly 40 millipede attacks observed, the researchers saw one successful kill and found seven dead millipedes killed by beetles. Three of the killed millipedes had been decapitated. Overall, the beetles tended to take down millipedes much larger than themselves. While a D. valgum is under a half inch, the millipede meals had body lengths of nearly 1 to 4 inches. Here's how the millipede massacre played out: The dung beetle first grasped the millipede's body with its mid and hind legs. The hind legs of D. valgum are elongated and more curved than that of other dung beetles. The beetle wrapped these spindly legs tightly around the millipede's body (Why is this turning me on a bit?). Once grasped, the millipede either coiled up its body or flailed about. When flailing subsided, the beetle chomped into a joint between the millipede's body segments. The beetle then pried upward with its head, while sawing and prying at the same joint with so-called foretibial teeth (aaaaand the moment's gone). During the directly observed kill, the force of such prying severed the millipede's head from the rest of its body…resulting in bolts of lightning and the dung beetle being levitated into the air, releasing a high-pitched groan and then increasing in body mass by roughly 20%...similar to when they observed tuatara decapitation. Okay, maybe I'm beating a dead horse here…but Highlander is awesome…and if you read the article…this is really true…up until the bolts of lightning. Beetles that once were forced to eat crap…are now decapitating animals roughly ten times their size. It's a revolution in the Animal Kingdom. Keep an eye on your household pets. That's all I'm saying. No need to thank me…just pay it forward.

New Tomb Raider? - Word from Spanish news site Europa Press (so it has to be true…or at least sound sexy) says that the Tomb Raider film's producers are considering taking probably the only good thing that worked about those films...Angelina Jolie as lead character Lara Croft...and replace her with "Transformers" superbabe Megan Fox. Fox certainly would fit the shorts well, but as many critics have said that isn't the Achilles Heel of the series, rather the lack of anything approaching a decent script and director. Given the proper pedigree it might be possible to 'reboot' the series in the same way James Bond and Batman successfully shook off the shackles of campy, escapist movies that those franchises descended to at different points in the past. The article also cites a production schedule of 2010 for release in the Summer of 2011…but then again, as you know, most rumors you hear about stuff two to three years from now…is just filler. Why do I mention it then? Because it gives me an excuse to put more pictures on my blog of not only Angelina Jolie…nor merely Megan Fox…but even a few of the video game vixen Lara Croft…which is like a trifecta of a meal that includes bacon, chocolate and a flower that enable you to shoot fireballs. So please…enjoy the rumor mill as I do…

Well, after that, I should ugh…maybe get to a restroom or something and ugh…calm down. Oh…and I've decided that I'm going to visit Filly in New Orleans during Mardi Gras…because it's been weeks since I've had a vacation…and things can change a lot in a year, so this may be my last chance, right? I'd be a fool not to do it. Anyway, I'll keep you posted. Have a great day everybody!!! Can't wait to hand out some of these...

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