Monthly Archives: August 2013

I’ll Just Do It By Myself

English: Komodo dragon, Varanus komodoensis (R...

Komodo dragon  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I originally started this blog a couple of years ago, the main focus was on writing. That quickly changed for two reasons.

Number one:  There are only so many articles one can pen on the subject of writing. Even if it was possible, I have published over 100 posts and had they all been on the, “how to’s,” and “why for’s,” of writing, I can only imagine that the mind numbingly dull posts would have put me in a coma and driven my readership down to zero.

Number two:  I thought it best to interject tidbits of writing into a forum that would include interesting, unusual, and everyday oddities serving to entertain and possibly even enlighten. I have managed to acquire a following and I cannot express enough how thankful I am that you would take time to read something that I’ve written. I guess what it boils down to is this; if I can write an article that makes someone say, “hmm,” chuckle or just smile, then I feel as though I’ve made a difference.

 Not wanting to interfere with tradition (even if it is my own) I decided to treat this post as any other by finishing with the dinosaurs of our day.

The Komodo dragon, although a fascinating creature, packs a nasty bite. It kills large prey by biting its victim and then following the meal for days until bacteria from the dragon’s mouth renders the intended too ill to fight or flee. What I find even more fascinating about this large lizard, is its unusual sexual antics.

Case in point: after our wayward female dragon completes her meal which has taken days to obtain, she may decide to start a family in order to help with the meal gathering duties. Perhaps this individual just happens to be a feminist and therefore, refuses to employ a suitor to assist in the family planning. She states in no uncertain terms that “she’ll do this herself.”

Guess what?  She can!

Komodo dragons are able to produce sexually or asexually. Why anyone would want to have a kid by themselves is a mystery to me. I mean, you’re starting out in a rut. You’ve already lost the seven most important words (according to your mother) that you will need during your offspring’s childhood.

That being……

“Just wait till your father gets home”!

One last question:  how many of you counted the words in the last sentence to make sure there were seven?

I must confess.  I did, too.

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Buzz, Chomp, and Plop

I call this a Hummingbird Moth but I don't kno...

Hummingbird Moth  Wikipedia)

You’ve heard the sayings, “stop and smell the roses,” or “stop and smell the coffee.” Ah, the smell of fresh roasted coffee… We are inundated with unique sights, sounds, and smells on this wondrous world God has given us for our home; each one deserving of a novel itself.  Let’s take a few minutes to explore some of the more unusual oddities that may be closer than you think.

First the hummingbird moth:

Also known as the common clearwing, the hummingbird moth is a member of the sphinx family of moths. Their resemblance to hummingbirds is uncanny. Like the hummingbird their rapidly beating wings appear invisible as they hover over flowers, sipping nectar through a long proboscis.

On a side note, the hummingbird has such a fast metabolism that it must achieve a state of hibernation each night to prevent starvation. Their heart rate is around 1,260 beats per minute.

Next the shrew:

The shrew is the smallest of the mammals and like the hummingbird, has an unusually high metabolic rate. It consumes 80 to 90 percent of its body weight in food each day. The tiniest of these creatures is the Etruscan shrew which weighs only two grams. Some species can have 8 to 10 litters a year. The American short tail shrew is venomous, but delivers the toxin through groves in its teeth.

Imagine this voracious animal that must eat its body weight every day. In some cases this animal can be poisonous. The female of the species can bear up to 10 litters a year with male and female alike possessing an all-around nasty disposition. Take this small creature and increase its size to that of a wolf. And oops! Everything from a cockroach to an elephant better look out.

And for the big finish the blob fish:

A native to Australia and New Zealand, this pathetic creature looks like a dissolved rendition of the cartoon character Ziggy. Its pinkish, blubbery body and bulbous nose hang around on the ocean floor just waiting for a dragnet to pluck it off the bottom, driving one more nail into the coffin of extinction. I use to think the monkfish was ugly, but this ball of snot fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down, and it’s not even edible…. But then again who would want to.

It just goes to show ya, hummingbirds don’t eat meat, shrew’s can’t fly and “I’m sorry” is about all I can manage for the blob fish..

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Would You Mind Repeating That? And this Time, in English?

Whether I’m penning a novel, a short story or a grocery store list, I have to wonder about the English language. Nay, what America has done to the English language? I have to wonder when a traveler from another country lands up on our hallowed shores, what is their first inkling? Finally, America “or” I’ve somehow landed on another planet.

United States of America

United States of America (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The clichés alone are enough to send the average visitor screaming back to their homeland. Put yourself in their place. You’ve taken the time to learn proper English. Your late flight lands in Los Angeles. You run for the gate to board the plane that will take you to your final destination, Chicago, only to find that the doors are closed and the plane is backing from the jet way.

The concierge says, “You must arrive at the gate on time; remember the early bird gets the worm.”

You ask, “When does the next plane leave?”

The concierge replies “Just sit tight and don’t kick up a fuss.”

You think, bird, worm, sit tight and don’t kick anything. What have I gotten myself into?

 Finally, you arrive at Chicago, recover your luggage and head for the taxi stand. You notice storm clouds overhead. You hear someone say, “It’s raining cats and dogs.” You run back inside, not wanting to be bombarded by falling felines and canine.

Anyway you get the picture…

Now, for my personal favorite: “phonics.”

The very name,” phonics,” is a misnomer in and of itself. If I were to spell the word “phonics” using phonics, it would look something like this, “fonix.”

And here’s a question that I would really love an answer to. Why are words that start with an “X,” pronounced like they begin with a “Z” such as “xylophone”? Or words that end with an “X,” pronounced like they finish with an “O,” such as, “Bordeaux”? Some would say that’s the French pronunciation. Well, the last time I looked I didn’t live in France.

Why are so many of our words rooted in Latin, when Latin is a dead and unspoken language? I guess you had to be there.

I bet it was something akin to our American revolution (which at the time was not a popular idea.) Many a plan was discussed under the cover of night in the city Taverns that laid the foundation for our independence. Can you imagine the pints that were pulled during these discussions? I imagine that not only would it have been enough to float the oldest commissioned battleship in our Navy, the U.S.S. Constitution, but several modern aircraft carriers as well.

I guess what I’m trying to get at with this analogy is that over the span of many years there had to be an inordinate amount of alcohol consumed to have created the language of these great United States of America.

It’s been said that American English is one of the most difficult languages to learn. For whatever reason, I find that a source of pride. What could be more appropriate than a complex language for such a wonderfully complex nation?

Post Script:  Kinda makes me leery when it comes to writing another novel with all the language faux pas.  Well, I guess if John Hancock can get his stuff published, then I’ll hang in there, too.

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