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Coelastamps!
"Old four legs," komessa, raja laut--the Coelacanth was one of the first major species to be "re-discovered" after being considered extinct to the modern world. Recently popularized in a Volkswagen advertisement comparing it's rare longevity to the "extinction" of spare tire room in the trunk of cars, the coelacanth was found off the coast of South Africa in 1938 by fishermen, and then again in Indonesia, being sold in a fish market. Most recently, a suspected population of these ancient fish has been spotted, and money is being raised to research these creatures, again, off the coast of South Africa.

First entering our fossil records over 360 million years ago, the coelacanth was thought to have suffered extinction about 80 million years ago, around the time our beloved dinosaurs blew this join. Belief in their assumed extinction up until the few spotty sightings in the 1970s was largely aided by the fact that the coelacanth are nocturnal cave-dwellers, making them virtually undetectable by equipment and techniques of the era.

With adults averaging around five feet in length and around 120 pounds in weight, the coelacanth has little economic value, as the meat is considered undesirable among fishermen. Plus, their filmy eyes and ugly mugs, don't make them the hottest commodity to anyone other than scientists.

But as evidenced by the large number of stamps designed in celebration of this dinofish, the coelacanth captures a larger percentage of my mystical imagination, more so than the discovery of the Australian stick insect. Along with such fantastical and rare creatures as the giant squid, it really makes you wonder: What else is out there? [paul]
Wednesday, February 14, 2001 * 04:33 p.m.

Gentle Giant
When I was eight years old I received a free copy of the 1977 Guinness Book of World Records, the spoils from a next-door neighbor's unsuccessful garage sale. I was hooked. I read it day and night, in the car, and under the covers at night with a flashlight. My favorite entry? Not the ones that most kids raved over -- the largest twins, the man with the longest fingernails, the smallest woman. My favorite was Robert Wadlow, the World's Tallest Man. Born in 1918, Wadlow lived a short, sad, and tragic life, hitting 6'2" and carrying his father, the mayor of Alton, IL, up the stairs at the age of eight.

Wadlow died at the age of twenty-two because of an infection developed from ill-fitting shoes. He had big feet. There's a homage to him in his hometown, plus a statue erected for the hero at the campus of Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine. His skeleton is on display, as is his grave.

These kids built him out of paper. But thinking about Robert Wadlow when I was their age made me profoundly sad. What if you were the tallest man ever, only to die because you couldn't get shoes that fit you right? I even made a song up for him, and I would sing it and cry. When I swam in the town pool we would play 1-2-3-Shoot at the eight-foot dock and I would think: "Robert Wadlow could be standing right here, but his head would be above the water." [ lisa ]
Thursday, July 27, 2000 * 06:22 p.m.

Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository
language is one of those most amazing things. like how was it created, how does it become formalized, and how does it differentiate itself and keep it's own proprietary symbolism when surrounded by so many similar, near, and competing languages and cultures?

i've been pointing almost everyone i know to one of the greatest books i've read in such a long time (well, i don't really read books, so this is not an unqualified statement) is guns, germs, and steel by jared drake. (by the way, i've been realizing how anal i am, and noticed that i had put the "u" inside the "a" tags, and then tried to ignore it, but just couldn't... because the link belongs around the link, not around extra tags that have nothing to do with the link and the linked text. since the defining property of the link is the "a", it should be closest to the actual text that it possesses.)

guns, germs, and steel speaks towards the development of languages in world cultures. pretty amazing shit. it's all based upon a level of speculation, but it makes sense, and whether it's "true" or not ('cuz there really is no such thing as "truth" or "fact" in history), it's totally interesting and helps you think about and form tentative answers on, or place building blocks beneath, greater questions you've been wanting to answer about people, geography, culture, and nature. such cool shit. [paul]
Thursday, July 13, 2000 * 09:57 p.m.

The Rain
Hey, hey baby how ya doin'. Come on in here. Got some hot chocolate on the stove waiting for you. Listen, first things first, let me hang up the coat. Yeah, how was your day today. Did you miss me? You did? Yeah? I missed you too. I missed you so much I followed you today. That's right -- now close your mouth 'cause you cold busted. Now just sit down here, sit down here. I'm so upset with you I don't know what to do. You know my first impulse was to run up on you and do a Rambo. I was about to jam you and flat blast both of you. But I didn't wanna mess up this thirt-seven hundred dollar lynx coat. So instead I chilled. That's right. Chilled. I called up the bank and took out every dime. Then I cancelled all your credit cards. I stuck you up for every piece of jewelery I ever bought you! Don't go lookin' in that closet 'cause everything you came here with is packed up and waiting for you in the guest room. What were you thinking? You don't mess with the Juice! I gave you silk suits, blue diamonds, and Gucci handbags. I gave you things you couldn't even pronounce! But now I can't give you nothing but advice. 'Cause you're still young, yeah, you're young. And you're gonna find somebody like me one of these days . . . Until then, you know what you gotta do? You gotta get on outta here with that alley-cat-coat-wearing, punch-bucket-shoe-wearing crumbcake I saw you with. 'Cause you dismissed! That's right. Silly rabbit, tricks are made for kids, don't you know that. You without me is like corn flakes without the milk! This is my world. You're just a squirrel trying to get a nut! Now get on outta here. Scat! [ lisa ]
Friday, June 23, 2000 * 10:58 a.m.

Dry Farming
"[F]or in the conquest of the nonirrigated and nonirrigable desert are offered as fine opportunities as the world has known to the makers and shakers of empires." -- John A Widtsoe.

Searching for more information on eels and lamprey, I came across the eelworm and then some classic texts on holistic farming, i.e., methods of raising mass quantities of food in an ecologically conscious manner, to the greatest health of the consumer. My interest was peaked, since I was also researching the arena of agricultural commodity futures, due to the recent drop in soybean and grain prices caused by drought-threatening weather reports.

Recently, most dialogue on the status of world-wide farming practices have focused on the boom in biotechnology, the loss of the family-owned farm, and improving the state of third-world agricultural growth. Organic produce and farming methods have also been a hot-topic in the news. But most of the seminars, classes, and pamphlets that I've seen produced concentrate on the use of organic fertilizers, natural pesticide solutions, that is, nothing on a large-scale level, beyond the grasp of baby boomer settlers barreling into their gardens for fancier variety of mixed greens.

Academics, scientists, and (what I will call) futurists from the old days such as John Widstoe and William Hoard (more notorious for his policies of English-only schools as Governor of Wisconsin) spent their lives, and the generations of their antecedents refining their practices scientifically, as well as spiritually within their bonds to their land and crops' sustenance.

OK, I know this has been sloppy and fragmented and weblogs aren't the place to rant about the state and future of global agriculture, so I'll get to the point: If the capitalist-driven technology markets continue to control the research, methods, and practices of the agricultural establishment, then with the growth and power of companies such as Archer Daniels Midland and Monsanto, I wonder if the holistic approaches to farming the "eco-system" and not just the cash crops will disappear, and we'll just turn the bread-baskets of every country into wasteland. [paul]
Wednesday, June 7, 2000 * 01:23 p.m.

my kind of town
in the wake of giuliani's decision to drop out of the senate race, there have been some interesting things to ponder about my current hometown. you may ask yourself: does the squeakyclean times square really need a restaurant sponsored by the NRA? you better hope for some bad inspections on that one if it ever sees the light. speaking of which, it's kinda disheartening that most of my lunch spots were cited for some violation or other. now i fear seeing vermin when i buy my breakfast bagel.

in any case, i'm skipping town tonight. although the new york-versus-boston debate has plenty of manifestations, boston is definitely growing on me. i'm not sure if i could live there, though. [lisa]
Friday, May 19, 2000 * 03:52 p.m.

Mr. Collection
howie green. sometimes i wished i was named howie green. first off, there's the "howie" part. not "howard," or "ward," or "frank," but "howie." like, "howdy, howie!" or, "hiya, howie!" "howdy, joe," or "howdy, mo' fo'" just don't hack it for me. i like howie. we all like howies.

and then to have a last name that's a color. like "green." like "red green." or "tom green." or "luke green." or "mr. green." plus, i love the color green. it's definitely my favorite color. how about "blue?" or "red?" eh, not so much. well, no "blue" is OK, but definitely not "bleu." or like "adrian blew," or "pope john paul the third bloo." "purple?" eh, not so much. i could deal with "yellow." or "cyan," though i thought that i was just going to stick with primary and secondary colors. "cynthia cyan." or "paul yellow." or "paul green." "green!" i like "green." [paul]
Wednesday, May 17, 2000 * 03:53 p.m.

stinkymeat
this man planted a steak, a package of ground beef, and a coupla hot dogs in his neighbor's yard, and is currently documenting the day-to-day demise. so far, it appears said neighbors have not taken notice. we're on day twelve now, and the pictures are making my rethink my meatball lunch. look at them maggots. uck! yack!

i have a horrendous phobia of rotting meat and dirty bathrooms. also, dead pets (especially birds). i'm sure the rotting meat phobia stems from an experience in my childhood, when my family came back from a two-week vacation in august and immediately smelled the wafting odors of a freezerful of steaks and chops baking in the midsummer aftermath of a power failure--rotting meat-scented ice cubes and popsicles for a long time after, not to mention a phantom smell.

many of these phobia can also be found here. [ lisa ]
Friday, May 12, 2000 * 02:45 p.m.

The Warrens
reuters recently announced a zogby american poll, where nearly 40% of americans surveyed admitted to believing in ghosts. that means that if you look at one other person, and if they don't believe in ghosts, then you probably believe in them (sucker!). no, but ghosts are one of those things that you can just never be too sure about.

if you believe in a spiritual god, then some will argue, you must also believe in the realm of spirits, which would include both those of the "good" and those of the "evil" persuasions. if there is a supreme spiritual god who has a religiously-justified "magic," and there is a spiritual anti-god who battles against the forces of good for claim of your soul, then how can s/he do so without his/her own religiously-justified "magic?" let's take the Bible, for example, where you have angels and demons, God and Satan. if angels can fit on a pinhead, and wine can be turned to water, then demons can sit on your shoulder, and Satan can appear out of thin air to tempt Jesus. and if there are manifestations of God's power in the modern world, wouldn't there be manifestations of Satan, also?

but then there are those who believe that there are spirits who exist outside of the spiritual battle-field for the souls of man. if you believe in the concept of the human soul to be something that exists apart from the flesh (for example, the re-incarnatable, multiply re-inflatable soul), then you also have some belief in the "world of spirits." where do the souls go? do they go to alpha centauri? do they sit near the core of the earth? do they go to a different "plane?" or do they stick around in new jersey? maybe they just chill out at home and have fun. that would be cool. i'd go to bermuda, and i wouldn't have to worry about sunburn. and i'm sure there're a buncha other kool kats hanging out there, waiting for the new kid to show up. and if i were tormented and vengeful, maybe i would stick around and pinch people, rattle shutters, and leave bags of burning doo-doo on porches. steal pens and move sets of keys.

at least i'm not named smurl, i geuss. [paul]
Wednesday, May 10, 2000 * 08:25 p.m.

robotstories.com: stories about robots
i love you, robot. I LOVE YOU!!!

wow, this iced coffee is like liquid speed. i am so giddy, it hurts. in any case, this site made me want to take a rocket and blast off into space. so i could hang with the robots. fyi: in my new apartment, there will be robots in the bathroom, the kitchen, and the bedroom.

i need to go outside and play now.

one addendum: if you read just one thing online today, i beg for it to be the desparate fan letters on this web site devoted to former robotchild star tiffany brissette (small wonder). actually, please read two things online today and check out this woman's sad little homage to brissette, which details their one time "friendship." i am embarrassed by these people, especially their fevered longings for some kind of contact from brissette, who has since left hollywood to find god. [ lisa ]
Tuesday, May 9, 2000 * 11:51 a.m.

Introduction of Tacos
i don't know what made chef ichi the god of taco-nology, 'cuz i'd really think twice about excluding crunchy-shelled tacos out of the taco family. but he does build quite a decent taco page. next time i find myself with a taco, i'm going to have to remember to whip out the camera and pose so that i can be a member of the taco club!!!!.

i agree that tacos are wonderful, wonderful food items, but i think that this list of reasons goes too far (though i know it's silly but if you replace "taco" with "ginderbread men" it kinda makes sense (hee hee hee)).

so this is all because i was trying to describe to lisa what my parents call the "korean taco." DOGGARNIT! my feet stink! and now i'm using netscape 6, and it's fast, but i'm still a bit uncomfortable with the javascript support and the way netscape's pre-settings hog my screen real estate. [ paul ]
Monday, May 8, 2000 * 03:41 p.m.

Derek's Big Website of WalMart Purchase Receipts
this site appeals to me in so many ways: the meticulous filing and detailing that goes into it (three years' worth of receipts!); the voyeuristic pleasure we as site viewers feel as we peek into the purchases themselves (dri-bottoms and cat treats?); the intense purchasing loyalty he has for his local walmart (nine trips in april alone!); the obnoxious reader comments and subsequent followings ("manager matt krieg has the greatest fan-base amongst the readers of this website"). i admit also to a perverse sense of admiration regarding its diligent upkeep, although i really do not have ocd. [ lisa ]
Thursday, May 4, 2000 * 03:31 p.m.

Space Weather: The Sargasso Sea
the sargasso sea is cool, man. it like really rocks. it's like the eye of a tornado, with the gulf of mexico currents hitting from the left and sweeping up, and then the canary currents taking it around on the south, and the middle is the sargasso sea, where like nothing moves. it's not bounded by land, but by these currents, but it's just like a sea 'cuz it's got like nothing to do with the current around it. and they say that eels migrate there every year, but they say that without knowing if it's like freakin' true or not. some people even think there might be sea turtles there, too. but the coolest thing about it is just the way you have pelagic "islands" of seaweed that form like literal jungles, their own freakin' ecosystems and shit.

eels and sea turtles are really cool, too. it's like they live in the sea, but they're so weird in it, like there's really not many other things like them there, and they got earth counterparts like snakes and land turtles. crazy shit. [paul]
Wednesday, May 3, 2000 * 02:52 p.m.

What's up, ABC?
the (temporary?) disappearance of the network, courtesy of warring factions time-warner and disney, would have been unthinkable just ten years back, in the days of the big three (CBS, NBC, and ABC). too bad new yorkers, sans station, won't be able to catch this week's episode of making the band, not to mention the already bloated who wants to be a millionaire. meanwhile, bunim/murray, the "documentary producers" responsible for MTV spawn the real world and road rules (as well as making the band) is launching a new project for ABC--a reality series that will "follow a group of media entrepreneurs as they set out to create a start-up internet magazine in new york." (see site for more details.) if anybody in the universe was still unconvinced of the new media industry's utter public saturation, be skeptical no more: "as their respective assignments thrust the staff into a world of celebrity and glamour, the true drama will primarily unfold from their personal relationships with one another. over a period of several months, the cameras will follow these men and women from the workplace to their homes as they contend with office politics, deal with their personal relationships and romances and strive to work together as a team to make their magazine successful." casting calls are happening now, for web-experienced journalists who just happen to look like models. black plastic-rimmed glasses required. (it's "as real as it gets!") we can only hope that the network will be back on air for the premiere season. [ lisa ]
Tuesday, May 2, 2000 * 02:38 p.m.

Marilyn is Wrong!
last night, we wondered why "colonel" was pronounced "kernel." and so i looked, and found a quip from old cecil adams, the obsessive genius with a cheap cigar and a tattered bathrobe, explaining the etymology. he could be right, i don't know, but i've been burned by trusting him before. i say, "good enough," but i'll keep an eye out for the contrary.

while looking further on a completely unrelated topic, i found this "Marilyn is Wrong!" page. though i may already have predilections of distaste towards self-proclaimed geniuses, this spackle of proof ("on the drywall of truth") adds to the pile of nails i've readied for the coffin.

trust us all to be geniuses; it doesn't hurt until they find out that you're not.
[ paul ]
Monday, May 1, 2000 * 06:24 p.m.

vanillaice.org
"they blog for van winkle." my question is, does vanilla ice have enough of a web presence to support an endless supply of fresh content? we shall see. but for those whose curiosity was whetted by the recent vh-1 behind the music special, perhaps your quest for the latest robert van winkle news can be satisfied here. i, on the other hand, felt nothing but a profound sense of sadness upon hearing that he was performing a few years back in some hartford, connecticut "club," having reinvented himself into a hard-rocker-rapper boy to go with the times, but having not produced any more new material other than a version of "ice, ice baby" reinterpreted as a bad imitation of rage against the machine. but pity those (hi, milli vanilli!) who we can never let live anything down. [ lisa ]
Monday, May 1, 2000 * 11:03 am