Monday, December 15, 2008

Death by Hot Pink Bug!!!

While I'm on the subject of insects...

Having lived in Africa for nearly two years, I thought I would have seen my share of interesting insects. But this one terrifies me like no other!!! It was discovered last year in Southeast Asia.

I bet you weren't expecting THIS!!!

It is three centimeters long and hot pink!

Don't be fooled by the petite pinkness! It shoots hydrogen cyanide, which was used for genocide in World War II (Zyklon B). In all fairness, hydrogen cyanide is also released from cassava, used to develop photographs, and many other things. The bug is so small it probably only kills other bugs. And considering hydrogen cyanide is a popular insecticide, I'd venture a guess it only wants to kill other bugs.

But still, I wouldn't want to tangle with the 3 cm long Shocking Pink Dragon Millipede!

La Cucaracha

At my house yesterday somebody brought up the song "La Cucaracha" and how it is about a cockroach. I don't speak a word of Spanish and wondered what the cockroach is up to in that song...

Once, on the mission, we were teaching Nqopisa (that's pronounced nn-*click*-oo-pee-sah in case you were wondering), and sitting in a cockroach laden compound in the middle of a ghetto in Joburg. I tried to concentrate on what I was teaching, but the little creatures kept scampering across the floor, walls, and couch.

I did fairly well until one decided to crawl down the back of my shirt. At this point I became very quiet, subtly turned the teaching over to my companion, and spent the next fifteen minutes as still as I have ever sat in my life, with an overly stoic expression on my face while tiny little legs attached to a molting exoskeleton tickled my back. It eventually crawled out.

Having that experience made me think perhaps the song could be about a cockroach crawling around in someone's shirt, which caused them to squirm-dance. It was the only explanation I could think of for such an upbeat tune related to such an odious creature. I decided to look up the lyrics. I was wrong!

Here is the English translation (according to Wikipedia).

The original version.

The cockroach, the cockroach,
Can't walk anymore
Because it doesn't have, because it's lacking
Marijuana to smoke

Okay, I wouldn't have guessed that.

There are a variety of other versions that has the cockroach missing legs or feet, like this one:

The cockroach, the cockroach,
Can't walk anymore
Because it doesn't have, because it's lacking
Its two back feet

Some consider the song political, as certain government figures in the mid to late 1800s were sometimes referred to as cockroaches. Very possible.

One of the verses goes like this:

When a man loves a woman
but she doesn't love him back
it's like a bald man
finding a comb in the street

I bet I could write a book of similes and metaphors used in literature and song to describe the condition of unreturned love. I think it would sell. Don't take my idea! Maybe I will just collect a few and blog about the top 20.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Blogging Away

Despite having created five or so blogs, I am not a very active blogger.

This is perhaps due to the fact that I believe very few people read my blog.

Another big factor is that most of my friends are not blogging friends.

It may also be in part due to a quote I once heard that goes, "Never have so many written so much about so little."

I also thought it was a little odd that people would publish their thoughts for any random stranger to see. I guess I wanted a little more privacy.

Therefore, I generally only posted either about specific projects I was working on, or when I was really really and I mean REALLY bored.

Well, I have shifted my paradigm after finding several blogs of close friends that are fun and intellectually stimulating. I think it is kind of fun to go around snooping inside of people's heads, which is easy to do when their thoughts are published online. So I'll try to return the favor.

Long story short, I hope to post at least a little more frequently.

So stay tuned.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Immortality House

The Bioscleave house in East Hampton New York is a two million dollar home that looks like a cross between a playground and a Ripley's Believe it or Not. It is an experiment in reverse destiny.

At first I thought it must be a house with some kind of bubble around it and highly sanitized and germ resistant furniture, but soon found out it had nothing to do with health.

The house is non-traditional (windows by the ground or above the head so people cannot orient themselves, small bumps all over the floor instead of a smooth surface, a floor that rises and falls like a small eastern Iowa landscape, rooms without doors-even the bathroom, and bright colors such as fireman red splashed everywhere). It kind of looks like a wax house somebody has put a gigantic flame under and partially melted.

The idea is that whoever lives there cannot be comfortably lulled into complacency and traditional ideas (such as death). If one is surrounded by new and non-traditional architecture, and not allowed to move about comfortably, they will purge themselves of traditional but not necessarily true ideas--such as the idea they will someday die.

I hate to take cheap shots at things, but my main reaction after reading this was: isn't there something better two million dollars could be put into? Why do we waste our resources on things like this when there are starving children in Africa? That's all.