My old toadfish, Jabba, died this week. We replaced him with a new specimen, who will hopefully live as long as Jabba did.
As any pet owner can attest to, sleeping dogs exude an odd odor that I’ve never been able to figure out, and it seems to vary from dog to dog. After four years I’ve finally nailed down the comparison. When she’s sleeping Ngazi smells like Smartfood.
Twelve years ago I found about two dozen rare brittle stars and added them to our marine life collection. This past month they have been dying off on us for no apparent reason. It seems we have discovered the life span of a brittle star. I mentioned this to some of the marine researchers at Woods Hole today and they were pretty stunned. One of them was nice enough to give me a dozen young ones to replace our aged population.
I made a chocolate cake with white chocolate. Then I took it to a potluck. I stood in line for some cake. They said, "Do you want white cake or chocolate cake?" I said, "yes". -- Steven Wright
Public Service Announcement:
During last year’s primary election they moved my regular voting station from the fire house to the high school. No signs on the door, no letter in the mail informing me of the change. I had to go to a different voting place in town and ask the officials there where I was supposed to vote. You can avoid all this hassle by using this site. (via Hoffmania)
Animal of the Week: Harbor seal. Now that the water is getting colder, it's about the time the harbor seals should start arriving from Maine and Canada. When I was a kid it was unheard of to find them in Narragansett Bay. Now they're a pretty common sight. In high school I did an internship at Mystic Aquarium working with the seals and other marine life. At that time one of the seal residents was Andre, who died in 1986 in Rockport, ME and was made famous by a lame movie in which Andre the harbor seal was played by a sea lion. Every week I used to feed THE Andre. Cool or what? The NOAA Aquarium in Woods Hole, MA, who were nice enough to donate two dozen baby chain dogfish to Biomes last year, keeps some in their outside pen. Here's more on them. And more.
When a group of you are out at a Chinese restaurant, here’s how to decide who takes the leftovers home in those little folding boxes: Each person takes a fortune cookie and reads how foolish they are. Then turn the fortune over and add up the “lucky numbers”. Highest total gets the goodies.
Quote of the Week: The Big Dog’s answer to the question “Is there anything you have in common with President Bush?”. "In eight days and 12 hours, we will both be former presidents."
Search Results: Apparently when you picture-search AOL for the term “biomes Highlands”, one of the first results is the second picture on this entry. Odd.
Tomorrow is my 40th birthday. Which means if I’m lucky, my life is half over. Yay.
Health Tip: If you have a headache and decide to take some aspirin, don’t mistakenly down a full dose of your dog’s anti-seizure medication. My apologies to anyone I may have called last night complaining about sea urchins crawling all over me, or some such nonsense.
Watch President Gore's speech from the other night here. Yeah it’s long, but it is very, very enlightening.
I can remember the first time I had to go to sleep. Mom said, "Steven, time to go to sleep." I said, "But I don't know how." She said, "It's real easy. Just go down to the end of tired and hang a left." So I went down to the end of tired, and just out of curiosity I hung a right. My mother was there, and she said "I thought I told you to go to sleep." -- Steven Wright
Dept. of Educashun: The Statue of Liberty timeline.
Animal of the Week: Oyster drill.
This small snail feeds on bivalves (mainly mussels and young oysters) and barnacles by drilling a hole through the shell and sucking out the soft body inside. It combines mechanical and chemical means to invade the shell. First it secretes an enzyme which softens the shell, then uses its sharp tooth (called a radula), to scrape bits of shell away. It alternates scraping and enzyming (I made that word up) until a perfectly round hole penetrates the prey’s protective shield. Here’s more and more and my fact sheet here.
Apparently someone wanted to read the Biomes Blog in French and google translated it. Maybe that’s real common, but it’s a first for me.
It looks like this.
As the weather gets colder we’re getting down to crunch time for capturing marine animals for the center. Today we stocked up on shore shrimp, american eels and some more fresh water fish for our mill pond exhibit. Also, we replaced some of our young lobsters which keep dying off on us because of this new “shell rot” disease running through the population.
We had a clam bake at my sister’s wedding this summer and I noticed nearly every lobster served showed signs. It seems to get worse in captivity, perhaps because of the slightly higher temperatures we keep them at encourages the bacteria. Here’s more.
Now we’re cookin’: Falafel.
This is a 30 minute Charlie Rose interview with Jon Stewart. Go here.
Today's Biomescenter hit counter:
Movie Review: Snow Falling on Cedars.
This was nothing like I expected. Set in the 40’s pacific northwest, during the dark days of Japanese-American internments, it’s mostly a courtroom drama that is stolen by a great performance by a very old Max Von Sydow. Highly recommended. 4.4 out of 5 starfish.
I also received my dvd copy of F 9/11 from Amazon yesterday afternoon, tore the box open and threw the disc into the computer. Just as good as I remember it being when I saw it on the big screen. 5.0 starfish out of 5.
Here’s my latest DailyKos screed, which seemed to scroll off the diary page within minutes.
Why dogs bite people.
This is a Rhodesian Ridgeback. They originate from South Africa and were bred to track and hunt lions. They can go days without food or water and can run for 12 hours straight. They can corner and trap a lion eight times their weight without backing down. It is one tough breed of dog. You do not dress up a ridgeback as a daisy.
In a poll of people named George Bush, John Kerry and Britney Spears, Kerry wins in a landslide. Also, my son Graham informs me that his ninth grade class at the Met School held a mock election. The results were: Kerry: 14 Bush : 0 Nader: 1
Smart bunch. It was secret balloting so that no one would beat up the lone Nader loser.
Animal of the Week: Cobia.
We caught two of these very rare tropical strays. I last saw one about 15 years ago. They are only about four inches long, but they grow quickly and reach nearly six feet in length. Here's the scoop on cobia.