Re: Overheard

1

"I'm a series of tubes."


Posted by: Vtupyic ned | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:12 PM
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I think I might be.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:13 PM
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1 was my FB status update once, but I think people thought I didn't mean it. I really meant it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:14 PM
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Everybody is a series of tubes, including most (if not all) animals.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:18 PM
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And what is wrong with that? Better than being a cold hole.

Just something the world moves through. Come to think on it, I think that's a line in Another Roadside Attraction

Or, I don't know if it is zen, but read somewhere that on the path to enlightenment, first you're a wall, then a mirror, than a pane of glass.

But I just watched, end credits are rolling, This Uplifting for like the third time, so I'm kinda sappy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:22 PM
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Some animals are basically just one tube.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:24 PM
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Or, I don't know if it is zen, but read somewhere that on the path to enlightenment, first you're a wall, then a mirror, than a pane of glass.

And finally, a block of jell-o.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:25 PM
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Salps, for example.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:25 PM
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Butchya are, Blanch, butchya are.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:33 PM
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7:Stiff prick and proud or it, aren't you, tweety?

So very penetrating.

I got a nice buzz going, and I won't let you kill it. Good night.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:40 PM
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I'm just a bunch of warm asses.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:42 PM
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12

I'm on your side here!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:43 PM
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Which side would that be?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:44 PM
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Vtupyic ned

A bold change, Ned. I like it.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:51 PM
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Cheeky, teo. Cheeky.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:51 PM
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13: well, whichever side mcnanus is on. You can't expect me to specify; one must be reactive in such a case.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:52 PM
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I keep typoing "mcmanus" and not meaning it, but of course he'll never believe that. I don't think you're a Nanus, mcmanus.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-10 11:53 PM
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Someday in the future, reanalysis will do to "an anus" what it once did to "a napron" or "a nuncle" and comment 17 will make sense.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 12:18 AM
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Err, the opposite of what it did to those. Whatevers.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 12:19 AM
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Some animals are basically just one tube.

Oh god, please don't let's talk about the human caterpillar again.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 12:27 AM
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21

the human caterpillar

Cult horror film about a mad doctor who wraps a girl in foil until she becomes pretty.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 12:55 AM
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22

"I'm a series of wormholes"


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 1:46 AM
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21: the rather good if bleak story "Angelic Butterflies", by Primo Levi, published in the collection "The Sixth Day".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 2:40 AM
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20: Centipede! Human centipede!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 4:44 AM
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IT WOULD MORE CORRECTLY BE DESCRIBED AS A HUMAN MILLIPEDE, AS IT HAS MORE THAN ONE PAIR OF LIMBS PER BODY SEGMENT.


Posted by: OPINIONATED INVERTEBRATE ZOOLOGIST | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 4:59 AM
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do the nitpickers really identify using paraphyltic groups?


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:04 AM
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The nitpickers support me in pseudotaxa.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:05 AM
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28

We've got these very fast, long (from one to three inches), multiple-legged things in the basement. I've been calling them millipedes, but maybe I'll look more closely at the leg/segment ratio. The problem is that, when rendered motionless by a good smash, they seem pretty insubstantial. The legs are pretty much all that is left.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:12 AM
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29

28: you're talking about these. They're centipedes.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:19 AM
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30

29: I am talking about those. Thanks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:21 AM
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31

For me, I'm pretty sure this would require sedation.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:21 AM
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32

Also, Stanley, are you sure the speaker didn't say: "I'm not just a bunch of worm holes"? Maybe she was a physicist.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:23 AM
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33

32: Or a corpse.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:25 AM
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"Physicists have worm holes" would make a good t-shirt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:25 AM
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28: "after a while I am becoming such a dead shot that I am able to hit the rat in the left or the right eye, although when you shoot a rat with a .45 it is difficult to say afterwards where you hit it, because you seem to hit it all over."
-- Damon Runyon, "The Lily of St. Pierre"

If they're slow, round, short-legged and plant-eating, and curl up into a spiral, they're millipedes.
If they're fast, flat-bodied, leggy and predatory, they're centipedes. Or blondes from a Raymond Chandler novel.

31: uuugh. Even more horrible when encountered unexpectedly. Never, ever go to the jungle, kids.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:36 AM
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If they're fast, flat-bodied, leggy and predatory, they're centipedes.

That's a scary thought. If they are predatory, what are they eating? As far as I know, it's just them, the spiders, and the odd mouse down there. I'd assumed they were eating old furniture or MasterCard receipts from 1998.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:42 AM
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Vtupyic ned

Speaking of tubes and holes, here's what I find interesting about the hoohole. If you do a Google search on "vtupyic" right now you get one result, this thread. Now it has been some hours, but at times things from here show up very quickly. But do they last? Someone remind me to search vtupyic a year from now as a test.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:42 AM
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31, 35: I lived with ones at least half that size, which were bad enough. I'm not generally jumpy about bug-type-things, but big centipedes trigger a total freakout reaction.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:43 AM
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39

Well, that's all there is left. Clearly they have exhausted the supply of small insects, earthworms etc and will soon begin the long march up the basement stairs in search of bigger game.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:43 AM
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40

39 to 36.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:45 AM
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41

Those centipedes eat small bugs and other arthropods such as every house contains. No worries there.

Most people in our area seem more concerned about stink bugs. I personally like the stink bugs. They're very easy to kill and they produce a nice grassy scent.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:45 AM
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As far as I know, it's just them, the spiders, and the odd mouse down there.

In that case they're eating the spiders. Or each other.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:46 AM
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43

Sorry, old habits.


Posted by: Vtupyic Ned | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:46 AM
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39: I leave the light at the top of the stair on all night. That seems to keep them in the basement. If they didn't stay down there, I'd have an exterminator hired by now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:46 AM
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38: One of many reasons why I have only lived in places where it drops below freezing for at least a few days a year.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:49 AM
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46

Thesis: the superiority of the American horror novel is directly related to the presence in almost every American home of a dark, worrying basement full of dreaded unknown things which may at any time decide to ascend into the light. The British equivalent is the garden shed, which has a lawnmower and an inextricably tangled garden hose in it, or the cupboard under the stairs, which rarely contains anything worse than Harry Potter.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:50 AM
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47

20, 24: I LEARNED IT FROM YOU, DAD! I LEARNED IT FROM YOU!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:52 AM
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48

The British have yet to perfect the hole in the ground?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:52 AM
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49

One of many reasons why I have only lived in places where it drops below freezing for at least a few days a year.

Outside it drops below freezing, but you're probably foolish enough to keep the heat on in your house all winter. So they're living in your walls. Don't worry, though as long as they don't crawl down your throat while you sleep at night, they're mostly harmless.


Posted by: Brock landers | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:52 AM
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Even the original British gothic novels had to be set somewhere on the continent. The idea of something scary happening in a British home is apparently quite stupid (and mocked in Northanger Abbey). But doesn't genuinely creepy shit happen there quite often?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:55 AM
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49: Unless it can open the refrigerator or cabinets, something that lives in my house can't get very big before it starves.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:55 AM
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52

Harry Potter, particularly the later books, was pretty damn awful.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:56 AM
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53

46: Maybe. But I saw something nasty in the woodshed.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:56 AM
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54

Did it see you?


Posted by: Earl P. Neck | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:57 AM
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50: No. It is the green and pleasant and civilised land, unlike the barbarous cultures on the continent.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:58 AM
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53: Did the movie ever establish what was seen in the woodshed? I didn't see the end.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 8:59 AM
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in almost every American home of a dark, worrying basement

Basements are pretty rare in the South, but then we don't keep our horrors hidden away like that. We elect them to the state legislatures.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:02 AM
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We have plenty of holes in the ground, they just don't encroach on Indian Burial Grounds.

@46: What Mrs De Ropp found in the shed

Plenty of very scary and horrid stuff happens in fictional English homes in M. R. James: though he does go to the continent for more of same (mostly Denmark, for some reason).


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:03 AM
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48: successive British governments of both parties have done their best to destroy the once-flourishing British hole-in-the-ground industry.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:03 AM
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60

THOSE PASSIONATE SWARTHY DANES!


Posted by: OPINIONATED DOWAGER | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:04 AM
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61

FROM THIS DAY FORTH LET ALL MY THOUGHTS BE BLOODY OR BE NOTHING WORTH!


Posted by: OPINIONATED HAMLET | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:07 AM
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62

FIRST GO INTO THE CITY OF CHORAZIN, AND THERE SALUTE THE PRINCE...


Posted by: OPINIONATED COUNT MAGNUS | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:10 AM
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63

"I'm not just a bunch of warm holes."

In other words, the whole is more than the sum of the holes.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:14 AM
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64

If they are predatory, what are they eating?

Well, their giant cousins sometimes eat bats.


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:19 AM
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65

And mice.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:22 AM
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61: Thanks son. Just be sure to keep your revenge limited to Claudius. I'm sure neither of us wishes to see innocent people trapped in this.


Posted by: Opinionated King Hamlet's Ghost | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:23 AM
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67

For me, I'm pretty sure this would require sedation.

I woke up with one of those on my face once. I woke up because it was trying to eat my nose. Luckily I slapped it off before I figured out what it was or I might have been more freaked out.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:23 AM
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68

CJB is Clearly James Bond. (In Dr No).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:32 AM
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67: Good thing it was you, because I might never have fallen asleep again.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:34 AM
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Gah. I ended up with a moderately giant centipede crawling on my bare foot once. Total, complete freakout.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:35 AM
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I woke up with one of those on my face once

SO DID I. IT DIED AND FELL OFF AND NOW I'M FINE, I JUST FEEL REALLY HUNGRY.


Posted by: OPINIONATED JOHN HURT | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:36 AM
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If the NRA ever figures out a way to release large numbers of those giant centipedes in U.S. cities, they'll be able to convince everybody to make it legal to buy hand guns in convenience stores.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:37 AM
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@68: the one in Dr No is described as "looking for warm crevices"*, so we're back at topic

*Don't recall exact phrase


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:37 AM
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67: Those live far, far away from the midwestern US, I hope. I can't bear to google for more information. When will capitalism finish destroying nature? When? When?

I am given to understand that in the UK horrible things happen on the moors, or occasionally in the hills in a fog. Old churches in remote towns too, if EF Benson and my recently acquired Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories are to be believed.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:40 AM
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75

I'VE GOT THE BLUES AND I CAN'T BE SATISFIED


Posted by: MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:42 AM
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ACH, YE DOWN WANT TO GOO OON THE MOIRS


Posted by: OPINIONATED YORKSHIREMAN | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:43 AM
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THIS RATHER GIVES ME THE PIP


Posted by: HOUNSLOW JOHN HURT | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:45 AM
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78

What kind of Yorkshire accent is that? It's no wonder you're opinionated, with that speech impediment ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:46 AM
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CEASE THIS INCESSANT OPINIONATION

IT IS APPROPRIATE ONLY FOR STATEMENTS OF STRONG BELIEF, NOT JUST POSTING IN THE GUISE OF A WELL-KNOWN PERSON


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:47 AM
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Those live far, far away from the midwestern US, I hope.

Yes, yes they do. I was in the Bahamas at the time.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:47 AM
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81

The Yorkshireman's accent is actually just what you'd expect; he's merely incompetent at capturing it in writing.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:47 AM
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82

But doesn't genuinely creepy shit happen there quite often?

Haunted houses are as common as muck in Britain, but the ghosts never actually do anything to anybody. Mad farmers/landowners in isolated moorland are much more of a threat - one of my retirement projects is to discover the 19th century antecedent to Psycho, because I'm convinced it's there.

And of course plenty of eldritch doings in the border ballads.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:49 AM
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83

I've woken multiple times to cockroaches crawling on me, and once I woke up with a sticky mess of spider legs on my chest. In those days, I would have been thankful for predatory centipedes.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:50 AM
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84

A think 'e's sayin', "Tha doan't want to go ont' moor, lad"


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:51 AM
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85

re: 82

It's one of the side-effects of living in a country hoaching with the ancient, the ruined, and the moss-covered. Old shit just isn't scary.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:51 AM
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86

Mad farmers/landowners in isolated moorland are much more of a threat

Really much better to let them at the foxes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:51 AM
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87

re: 84

'appen two young gentleman, joost such as y'sel, made to venture out there last full moon, and not 'ide nor 'air of 'em 'as been sin since.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:53 AM
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re: 86

All the foxes live in London these days. Po-mo and I had one walk right up to us a few weeks back.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:54 AM
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88. Yeah, well there's no jobs in rural areas any more. Where are they meant to go?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:56 AM
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90

83 is obviously delivered in a Yorkshire accent. "Predatory centipedes? You were loocky. We used to dream of predatory centipedes. We used to wek oop in morning to sound of giant scorpion battering on window..."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:56 AM
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79: ACTUALLY, MOST OF THE STATEMENTS ABOVE OF WHICH YOU COMPLAIN HAVE DEMONSTRATED STRONG OPINIONS. HAMLET, FOR EXAMPLE. THE YORKSHIREMAN. ETC.


Posted by: DIFFIDENT GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:59 AM
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90: Well, not a scorpion, but I did have a bird force its way past a screen in an otherwise open window to clean out a nest of spiders.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:09 AM
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93

I was trying to see if I could get my apartment to an ecological equilibrium.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:11 AM
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94

I concede I went too far when I brought in the Goliath tarantulas to take care of the birds.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:15 AM
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95

Because if you wanted to say something in the guise of a well known person, you could just say it, and replace the name. That'd be nice.


Posted by: Well known person | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:16 AM
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96

At least you weren't swallowing them.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:16 AM
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97

(Too explicit?)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:16 AM
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98

GOLIATH MUST BE CAPITALIZED.


Posted by: OPINIONATED IPHONE AUTOCORRECT | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:19 AM
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99

All the foxes live in London these days. Po-mo and I had one walk right up to us a few weeks back.

I hope you were polite to her.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:19 AM
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99: I was trying to figure out how to make this joke, and failed. Also, Kobe.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:24 AM
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101

I failed too, I just didn't let it stop me.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:25 AM
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102

I wasn't going to mention that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:26 AM
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103

94 reminds me of the terrible story of the deputy mayor of Delhi, killed while battling monkeys.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7055625.stm

SS Bajwa suffered serious head injuries when he fell from the first-floor terrace of his home on Saturday morning trying to fight off the monkeys. The city has long struggled to counter its plague of monkeys, which invade government complexes and temples, snatch food and scare passers-by. The High Court ordered the city to find an answer to the problem last year. One approach has been to train bands of larger, more ferocious langur monkeys to go after the smaller groups of Rhesus macaques.

FAIL


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:29 AM
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104

I concede I went too far when I brought in the Goliath tarantulas to take care of the birds.

I introduced the tarantula hawks to eat the Goliath bird-eaters. I don't know why I introduced the fly. Perhaps I'll die.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:33 AM
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One approach has been to train bands of larger, more ferocious langur monkeys to go after the smaller groups of Rhesus macaques.

That is fucking ominous.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:40 AM
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105: Only if ominous is a subset of awesome.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:41 AM
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107

88: Why is your wildlife soconfrontational?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:45 AM
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108

Also, Stanley, are you sure the speaker didn't say: "I'm not just a bunch of worm holes"? Maybe she was a physicist.

I'm sure. It was quite clear from context that the speaker was referring to—how to put this delicately—something that involved aspects of physics. ("Bow-chicka-bow-wow")


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 10:55 AM
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109

I see how the chickens will take care of the worms, but I think cows are vegetarian regardless of color.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:00 AM
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110

108: Are you saying you had a good date?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:01 AM
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110: I am not. To the contrary, the speaker seemed to be describing a series of bad dates, far as I can reckon

Also: my brother used to have a pet millipede (like this!), which was creepy (literally!) except for its name, which was something quaint and old-lady-like, like Mildred or something.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:06 AM
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112

"Milldred" would've been funny, come to think of it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:06 AM
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113

108: All reality involves aspects of physics.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:06 AM
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114

Filed away under Things I Didn't Know About Centipedes Before Reading the Wikipedia Article: "Each pair of legs is slightly longer than the pair immediately in front of it, ensuring that they do not overlap, and therefore reducing the chance that they will collide with each other while moving swiftly."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:13 AM
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115

I don't know why I keep clicking on image links in this thread. I just about throw up every time. I know, they're God's creatures too and everything, but they give me the megawillies.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:14 AM
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114: If I can figure out how to hold one without crushing it, I'll trim the feet to a uniform length and report back on how it walks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:15 AM
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117

Since I'm home now and I've checked it and it's funnier even than I remembered, here's the relevant bit of the centipede passage from Dr No:

"... Bond's whole consciousness had drained down to the two rows of softly creeping feet. Now they had reached his flank. God, it was turning down towards his groin! Bond set his teeth! Supposing it liked the warmth there! Supposing it tried to crawl into the crevices! Could he stand it? Supposing it chose that place to bite?"

It goes on for another page and a half. (The exclamation mark on "Bond set his teeth!" is probably a typo, to be fair.)


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:16 AM
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115: God yes. I started reading this damned thread at lunch.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:18 AM
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119

I'm hoping that the italics tags are misplaced and somehow here is being referenced Aspects of Physics--Andrew Lloyd Weber's followup to Aspects of Love starring Susan Boyle and the Large Hadron Collider.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:19 AM
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120

My actual favourite Bond sentence is from Casino Royale: "Bond lit his seventieth cigarette of the day..."


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:19 AM
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121

Weird. If you do a google image search on "megawillies", it tells you:

Showing results for big willies. Search instead for megawillies.

To be fair, the pictures for the former were more interesting than those for the latter (mostly model trucks).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:20 AM
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116: Unfogged: your source for Nutmegger politics and artisanal arthropod torture.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:20 AM
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115: Totally. The one in 31 made me recoil in horror. Like Elbee, I've lived among centipedes half that big; once when I opened to door to my (pit toilet) bathroom, I dislodged one from the top of the door, and it brushed against my face as it fell down onto my toes. The memory of that still gives me spasms and makes my skin crawl.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:20 AM
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Compared to the horrid alternative, I find centipedes and millipedes fine. Whatever. Long and wiggly, but basically a worm variant. I can handle worms.

At least it isn't large and translucent and hideous beyond all words, in the cricket model but far, far worse.

Worms and their ilk, including centipedes? Fine.
Beetles and variants, including cockroaches, which I don't love but don't particularly mind? Fine.
Crickets and their terrible cousins? The end of the fucking world.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:22 AM
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121: Some of us don't have to search for megawillies, apo.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:22 AM
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Crickets? Dude, they're totally benign and non-threatening. Fishing bait.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:24 AM
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125: I've heard that about Charlottesville.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:25 AM
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Long and wiggly, but basically a worm variant. I can handle worms.

A worm with a SHELL and LEGS.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:25 AM
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Dude, they're totally benign and non-threatening

The noise harshes Megan's mellow.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:26 AM
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125: Yeah, we have the archives memorized.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:26 AM
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124: You should get an anole (bug-freaked people: it's a cute lizard; you can click). They eat crickets in an amusing CHOMP-NOM fashion. (Downside: you have to buy or catch crickets.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:26 AM
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In light of 117, the memory of it now makes me want to carry a lit cigar and an aerosol can at all times, so I can deal with centipedes the way Bond did with that snake in Live and Let Die.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:27 AM
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That is a cute lizard.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:27 AM
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Plus, you could say to people, "would you like to come up and see my anole?".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:27 AM
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Maybe where you are. Out here we have giant, underground translucent ones that are spectacularly unpleasant.

The cricket model is way uglier than the beetle model or the worm model at all points on the spectrum.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:28 AM
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Naw, cricket noise is fine. I confess that when I visit the East, I'm surpised and conscious of that ongoing cicada hum that people there seem used to.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:30 AM
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Lovers!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:30 AM
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I don't mind crickets or locusts. We had a plague of locusts in Missouri when I was very little, and fishing was really good that year.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:30 AM
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I've had a close encounter with a thing very much like the one in 31. I would guess it was 8 or 9 inches long, very much in megawillies territory.

We came home from exercising our german shepherd and he went to his water bowl and then backed off, whimpering. Since he was the biggest wimp on four legs, this could have meant anything or nothing, but my father idly kicked the bowl out of the corner it was in and this thing started running across the patio at an unbelievable speed, while the dog started howling like a lost soul.

My father, not normally a quick thinker in a crisis, calmly took off his shoe and beat it to death with the heel.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:31 AM
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That is a cute lizard.

Plus, it dances


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:31 AM
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In London we started seeing teenytiny bright green crickets about five years ago -- at least that's when I first saw one. Not even a centimetre long. They are very cute.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:31 AM
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Of course I mean cicadas. We called them locusts.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:31 AM
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Animals such as Capuchin monkeys have been observed intentionally irritating millipedes in order to rub the chemicals on themselves to repel mosquitoes

Damn, monkeys.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:32 AM
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138: We had a plague of june bugs one year (probably in June). We had a very young puppy who was stupid even for a puppy. He'd eat them until he puked and then start eating them again.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:33 AM
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8 or 9 inches long, very much in megawillies territory

WHATEVER, CRACKER.


Posted by: OPINIONATED LEXINGTON STEELE | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:34 AM
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Lexington Steele could have said that without being opinionated. Perhaps Mr. Steele is a low key, understated kind of guy.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:36 AM
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Mr. Steele and I share a birthday, though I'm a year older.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:38 AM
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Most people in our area seem more concerned about stink bugs

We've got a mini-plague of them in this area. As far as I can tell, they're content to just hang out in the miniblinds until they die, which, hey, knock yourself out. And I've never noticed the smell one way or the other.

They do seem to be bugfuck dumb. I sometimes leave a glass of water out overnight by accident, and it inevitably contains a drowned stink bug or two in the AM.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:38 AM
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141: Not even a centimetre long. They are very cute.

Sure, they're cute now.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:39 AM
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I just looked up June bugs, confirming my theory that the beetle chassis is fine, occasionally cute when brightly colored.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:40 AM
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Our beloved golden retriever used to make pets out of things he found in the yard, like moles and toads and stuff. He'd put them between his paws and gently drag them back when they made a run for it. His favorite was to catch June bugs in his mouth, carefully sneak them inside at night, and play with them in the basement. He was a sweet dog.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:42 AM
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AS ESCAPE IS IMPOSSIBLE, I LONG ONLY FOR DEATH.


Posted by: OPINIONATED TOAD | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:51 AM
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This made me laugh.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:53 AM
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151: Then he went west with a man named George. Came to a bad end.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:54 AM
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"gurl watch out for lady bugs
they thr equivalent of biggie smalls

fat, lady like, red, round and confused"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 11:55 AM
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About crickets: I work on the [high number]th floor of a research building and yet this spring we hear the constant noise of crickets. Even as I type I hear chirping. I'm hoping that this means one of the labs has a grant for a giant cricket project.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 12:02 PM
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156: Me too. I want to see giant crickets skittering about the city even more than I want to see big monkeys kicking the crap out of small monkeys.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 12:04 PM
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I'm willing to throw in with Megan on cricket squickiness with regards to camel crickets. Totally harmless, but man, they are freaky-deaky. (I do however kind of wonder what would happen if some mad scientist somewhere were to retrofit a camel cricket with some Oscar-Pistorius-esque prosthetic super-duper jumpy legs. Because why not?)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 12:11 PM
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156 & 157 remind me: did you know that you can see Them! on YouTube? You can!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 12:20 PM
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We've got a mini-plague of them in this area. As far as I can tell, they're content to just hang out in the miniblinds until they die, which, hey, knock yourself out. And I've never noticed the smell one way or the other.

If you squish them they release the aroma, if they're alive. Or if they're alive and you annoy them without managing to kill them, which is difficult to do since they seem to have no will to live once they get indoors.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 12:33 PM
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It's 'mhole.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 1:50 PM
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And it's anole! I almost want to join the rhyming thread to say that and milliwillies (which I prefer over the mega version because it has more Ls) but instead have to go. Alas!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 3:18 PM
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So wait, crickets gross you people out? Wimps.

Did we have a round of isopod links?

Centipedes are not benign.

Both of these links are really disgusting, unsuited for delicate constitutions; you might spill on your doilies.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 3:33 PM
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Richard Youngs had it right; the sea is madness.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 3:38 PM
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The thing I don't get about the giant centipede, I had thought that the inefficiencies of insect respiration and circulation imposed a pretty small upper bound on landbound body size.

But I guess if you have a really good diet and don't need to move all that fast, you can still get pretty big. Still, an interesting thing to look up.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 3:41 PM
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The thing I don't get about the giant centipede, I had thought that the inefficiencies of insect respiration and circulation imposed a pretty small upper bound on landbound body size. But I guess if you have a really good diet and don't need to move all that fast, you can still get pretty big. Still, an interesting thing to look up.

A) Centipedes are fast.

B) The problem with size is actually a problem with surface area to internal volume ratio so long and slender works because you still have a large surface to internal ratio.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 3:52 PM
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158: My god, the horror of camel crickets. So horrible. I saw one in my mother's house and nearly had a stroke. I googled "cricket spider" --because they look like crickets who are spiders! -- and found half the internet wondering wtf the horrible things were.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 3:55 PM
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A) Centipedes are fast.

Boy howdy are they.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 4:02 PM
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"Also I won't eat bugs just anywhere. I need low lights and high concept while indulging in my vodka martini with cricket stuffed olive. I want novelty married with class when I sip cicada soup. I demand top-notch service intermingled with a fabulous clientele as I playfully nibble on stir-fried crickets with my fashion forward friends."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 4:09 PM
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Locusts are the prawns of the air!


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 4:12 PM
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170: Maybe all the soon-to-be-jobless Gulf Coast shrimpers can go catch locusts instead. (A dessert idea: locustard!)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 4:18 PM
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The thing I don't get about the giant centipede, I had thought that the inefficiencies of insect respiration and circulation imposed a pretty small upper bound on landbound body size.

It's not really an insect, which to my mind just magnifies the horror. A fiercely predatory carnivore with a venomous bite and the ability to walk across your ceiling...it is to shudder!


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 4:29 PM
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171.last: A dessert idea: locustard!

Kinda stupid, but not pointless.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 4:29 PM
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A locustard is someone who never knows where he is.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 4:30 PM
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174 made me laugh out loud. Literaloly.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 4:40 PM
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174 is where 173 wanted to get to.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 5:02 PM
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By extension (or back-formation), a custard says "shit" when he means "damn."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:43 PM
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Shit the torpedos! Full speed ahead!


Posted by: Rear Admiral David Farracustard | Link to this comment | 05-20-10 9:51 PM
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In London we started seeing teenytiny bright green crickets about five years ago -- at least that's when I first saw one.

You could try drinking less.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 2:56 AM
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Here is one on a dandelion*: it is 13 minutes to 11 in the morning here, so I am (at best) slightly merry!

*May not be in England, but this is the fellow I mean. Probably they arrive in banana crates.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:40 AM
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180. They could have just crossed the channel, due to climate change. Plenty of species have, and I know sfa about French and Dutch grasshoppers. I saw a nightingale in Sheffield a year or two ago - they're not supposed to come north of Birmingham.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:49 AM
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They're invading via the channel tunnel! My gran was always very agitated about this -- not human immigrants, which she was admirably unbothered by, but the wrong class of beasts.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:54 AM
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Looks like you've got a case of the Speckled Bush Cricket there. Apparently they're indigenous, maybe they only moved to London lately, chasing the foxes.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:56 AM
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Yeah, I've seen those crickets, I'd always assumed they were native.

I've seen a turtle in the little pond by the building, loads of those parrots that are all over West London, woodpeckers, and various other birds that I don't associate with cities.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 4:07 AM
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loads of those parrots that are all over West London

I've never seen any of those, but I understand that if you go down by the bathing ponds on Hampstead Heath you have a very good chance of seeing a cockatoo.

OK, I'm leaving.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 4:16 AM
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WE WILL BURY YOU.


Posted by: OPINIONATED LONDON WILDLIFE | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 4:17 AM
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Ooh ooh it will be ANT DAY soon in East London

(Hot muggy day, early summer: the giant ants swarm and the roads and pavements are sticky with them, poor sad males who failed to find the queen, landed early, shed their wings and scurry about sadly until stepped on...)


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 4:17 AM
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Heh.

They are fairly big. Green with red beaks.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/3869815.stm

There's a flock that lands in the tree outside our window. They are about the size of a small crow.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 4:18 AM
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I used to own one of these. Very sweet birds.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:02 AM
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Also, related to nothing at all, this shirt is almost enough to make me want to have another baby.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:27 AM
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187: argh, it is ant day many times a year in narnia, worst with the inch-long jungle ants; I feel it is striking evidence of nature's cruelty. the drones' only purpose is the 1 in 10000 chance they will deliver the Y chromosome or whatever, thus they have been put together shoddily and with contempt, their wings dropping off at the slightest contact, their whole bodies disintegrating before your eyes on the bathroom floor where they have heaved themselves in scrabbling clumps of failure, lured in by the light over the toilet. fucking ants. narnia's commitment to hygiene and constant fogging with deadly chemicals has lead to a general and welcome absence of the true tropic crawling horrors, though I am no fan of the giant flying cockroach. just this week we got a ticket for having standing water in a dish under a plant; they took a sample an if there are actual aedes mosquito larvae the fine will be upped considerably. efficient bastards.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:33 AM
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I wouldn't have pegged you as a parrot man, apo.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:37 AM
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just this week we got a ticket for having standing water in a dish under a plant; they took a sample an if there are actual aedes mosquito larvae the fine will be upped considerably. efficient bastards.

I would wholeheartedly support this. Fucking mosquitos.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:39 AM
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We only owned the one, and then I decided that bids weren't really meant to be pets. Flock animals need more interaction than a person can provide, unless you're retired maybe.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:39 AM
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yeah, they're obviously doing the right thing there in having people randomly inspecting your yard. it's our second offense, which makes me feel like a dumbass. there is a huge ad campaign too: dengue: it's your fight!


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:44 AM
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What did you do with it? Don't they live for decades?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:46 AM
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Did you release it near the University of Chicago?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:49 AM
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Never, ever go to the jungle, kids.

Fun fact: There are 18 species of antbird whose entire feeding behavior consists of following army ants around and grabbing insects and other arthropods as they are flushed out by the ants.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:51 AM
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Well, Eliot was really my ex-wife's bird. But eventually she sent it to a bird shelter where it now lives with a bunch of other parrots.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:52 AM
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(196 to say: I totally agree with 194, and feel terrible for the poor neglected parrots sitting in their cages at our house. (Which I've never liked, not because they aren't cute but just because, as you say, they aren't meant to be pets (and are messy as hell), but which my wife really wanted and used to spend tons of time with, but has mostly neglected since the kids were born.) So, acknowledging that getting them was a huge mistake, we can't figure out anything more humane to do with them. (Other than making an effort to spend more time with them, but realistically that's not going to happen.) I've volunteered at parrot shelters, and mostly am really not convinced that's better for them.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:53 AM
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199: Is that the truth or what you told the kids? Because now that I think of it, "squab" seems to be on more and more menus these days.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:53 AM
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200 without seeing 199. That's what we might do eventually, I suppose. I'm sure there are better and worse shelters around.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:55 AM
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(I will say that I tihnk they're a heck of a lot happier together than they would be alone. A solitary parrot is a very sad creature indeed.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:57 AM
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I'm sure there are better and worse shelters around.

My Vietnamese pot-bellied pig shelter/miniature bacon store was notably toward the "worse" end of that spectrum.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:58 AM
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I saw this and scoffed.

I don't know why I keep clicking on image links in this thread. I just about throw up every time. I know, they're God's creatures too and everything, but they give me the megawillies.

Then I actually clicked on the links, and now like the opinionated toad I long only for death.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 7:08 AM
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Is that the truth or what you told the kids?

It's actually the truth! E got the bird when she was in college and living in a house full of people, so there was always somebody around. But then we graduated and moved out to the country and were gone all day, and the bird went neurotic and started mutilating itself. It was still sweet as the day was long, but was pulling the feathers out of its chest and picking holes in its leg. The poor thing spent a year or two wearing one of those funnel collars and taking Prozac from a dropper (seriously).

Once it was somewhere where it could interact with other birds all day, the neurotic behavior stopped and she even started laying eggs, which she'd never done while living with us). Totally shoulder- and kid-friendly, though, and a clown.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 7:25 AM
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Parrots can live to more than 100.

Years ago* I saw a very spooky photo of a parrot -- or some similar bird -- that had belonged to Captain Cook**, and had then lived on into the 20th century. It still had its feathers, but the soft bits had all fallen off, so the feathers were really just spines. It looked like the living skeleton of itself.

*Pre internet: possibly on TV or in a book. I've never found it via google.
**Ofsome famous Brit seafarer of similar era.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 7:36 AM
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Parrots can live to more than 100.

yeah, by the time you can afford one of the big ones, it's almost certain to outlive you. The size bird we had lives 20-30 years on average.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 7:47 AM
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Once it was somewhere where it could interact with other birds all day, the neurotic behavior stopped and she even started laying eggs, which she'd never done while living with us.

Good call. Parrots are scary intelligent - as bright as the sharpest corvids by some measures, which puts them up there with chimps. I think people who get the most out of them basically devote their lives to them.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 7:51 AM
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195: I went on a trip to jungley places with some friends of mine -- after I returned home, they pressed on to even more jungley bits. I was bummed about having to leave early, but they all came back with dengue, so go me! (Two of them had also had malaria in the past and apparently getting both of these things is double plus ungood.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 7:58 AM
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A friend in Prague has a small parrot. They spend a lot of time with him, and he has a huge cage, but I do feel a bit sorry for a parrot living alone. Funnily enough, he likes water, and will accompany them into the shower, where he flaps about and sits on the soap dish.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:01 AM
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211. It probably reminds him of tropical rain (for some vale of 'remind').


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:03 AM
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u


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:04 AM
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Parrots are scary intelligent

Oh, they really are. Absolutely fascinating animals.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:05 AM
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Bird intelligence is really interesting. Totally different line of evolution, and yet the very smartest birds are up there with anything except, basically, us [and maybe chimps].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:11 AM
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We will bury you.


Posted by: OPINIONATED BIRDS | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:14 AM
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I thought crows were the smartest birds.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:14 AM
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except, basically, us

Well, except some of us. To call Glenn Beck a bird-brain is flattery.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:15 AM
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A friend of mine had a budgie that used to masturbate against people's hands. My friend thought this was absolutely not a big deal, but at least one of his friends suffered a paralyzing freak out when the bird ejaculated on his hand. He hadn't realized what was going on and the owner of the bird thought it was both obvious and unobjectionable.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:17 AM
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If Alex hadn't passed away, he could host a talk show.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:18 AM
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217: There's a scientist who studied a particular parrot and was able to teach it a vocabulary of over 100 words.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:19 AM
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217. In some tests, yes. European rooks can develop skills in test environments that they never have to use in the wild, as well, which implies some pretty deep seated intelligence.

However, I've never heard of a crow doing this sort of stuff.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:20 AM
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219: Makes you wonder what types of web sites birds would make if they could.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:20 AM
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I thought crows were the smartest birds.

They are.

"Perhaps the most famous is the Japanese carrion crow that is clearly over the top when it comes to bird IQ. These crows routinely perch at traffic intersections near a university campus in Japan and wait for a red light. When the traffic comes to a halt, the crows fly down and place walnuts in front of the tires. The light changes, the cars move out, crushing the nuts. The crows then dine, happy to parcel out that part of the task to someone else."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:21 AM
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221: If only I could think of that parrot's name, I'd link to the Wikipedia article on him.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:22 AM
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Alex.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:23 AM
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There's an ongoing crow-parrot war in my neighborhood -- we have 3 large flocks of green parrots (nb -- taxonomy skills are weak) that live in the area, but they are battling with the crows for space; there was a particularly noisy fight just over the plane tree in my backyard this weekend. Personally, think the crows have the upper hand and will win, which makes me sad. In my old neighborhood, the crows battled seagulls, and won. Basically, the crows are taking over the city.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:23 AM
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Nevermind. I am very slow and distracted as someone is standing in my backyard having some kind of weirdo conversation with his girlfriend.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:24 AM
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225: See, oudemia is here to help. Maybe you should run your questions by her first, before using up valuable bandwidth here.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:25 AM
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Around here, the crows are routinely harassed by mockingbirds, which have a big maneuverability advantage on the crows in flight.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:25 AM
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227: Get a BB gun. One of those lever action Daisy models, not the compressed air or pump kind. It will hurt and scare a crow, but won't kill them (mostly) and won't put a hole in your window or something if you miss.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:27 AM
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I watched grackles flip through sugar trays at a restaurant, skipping the blue and pink packets and hunting out the true white sugar. I was pretty impressed, but I bet Glenn Beck could do that too.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:27 AM
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My dad is really unhappy with grackles and crows.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:29 AM
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we have 3 large flocks of green parrots (nb -- taxonomy skills are weak)

The most common ones down there are the red crowned, but there's other varieties as well. My parents get a lot of them in their yard due to the pecan tree.

http://www.californiaparrotproject.org/parrot_pages.html


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:34 AM
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Crows* are the kings of tool use. Some of the crows in labs will solve complex 3 or 4 part problems, with no trial and error. They just study the puzzle for a bit, and then do it.

* and those New Zealand parrots which dismantle cars [the kea] and kill sheep.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:51 AM
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New Zealand parrots which dismantle cars [the kea]

They call those things "Kia" here. Given how little they sell for, I'm not that shocked that a parrot could pull them apart.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 8:58 AM
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Apple is continuing its hardware innovation with a robotic bird that helps assemble furniture: the iKea.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 9:03 AM
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Parrot singing The Magic Flute.
Parrot singing the theme from COPS.
Foul-mouthed parrot with a Scottish accent.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 9:04 AM
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I really enjoyed Irene Pepperberg's appearances (here and here) on Fresh Air (even after you deduct the standard point deduction for Terry Gross' presence).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 10:48 AM
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Yeah, deduct the deduction. It's a lot of deducting, really.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 10:50 AM
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By extension (or back-formation), a custard says "shit" when he means "damn."

SUBURBANITES ARE BUSTARDS!


Posted by: OPINIONATED ATRIOS | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 10:56 AM
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Friends of ours were over for dinner last week and told us stories about their parrot. The best one was how he used to lure the owners downstairs whenever he wanted attention by means of perfect mimicry of their cell phone ring tones.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 1:12 PM
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The parrot is calling FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 1:25 PM
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242: Friends of my parents had a parrot that would call "here kitty kitty kitty!" in the woman's voice until the cat came to investigate, and then it would bark like a dog, scaring the shit out of the cat. The parrot would then squawk and do a little victory dance.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 1:33 PM
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244: I had friends with a parrot who would do this exact thing, except instead of barking like a dog, it would throw birdseed at the cat with its beak and laugh maniacally.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 1:50 PM
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A friend in high school used to feed chicken to the family parrot. He was…an odd fellow.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 2:01 PM
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I'm sure I don't know Stanley but for a time we cared for a parrot that enjoyed chicken. He also insisted on having his own chair at dinnertime, and if no one was looking he would bury his beak in the butter.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 2:19 PM
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242-245: That's awesome. I want a bird. I'm still young enough that I can buy one and not expect to outlive it. But then, I'd need to set my cell phone to ring rather than vibrate... and I'd need a cat for the bird to pick on...


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 2:19 PM
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And I could be described as odd.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 2:20 PM
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249: Vegetables have parity?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 2:30 PM
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||

Dammit, the jackbooted thugs I represent seem to have administratively screwed up, and we're going to have to apologize and give the citizen a new hearing. Which, fine, that's the right thing to happen when we screw up (we're kind, decent jackbooted thugs who abide by our own regulations), but I've already done most of the work on the case. Feh.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 2:35 PM
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he would bury his beak in the butter

...and that's not a euphemism.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 2:38 PM
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When peeled by knife they do.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 2:39 PM
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251: Obama: The jackboots now have rubber soles.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 2:47 PM
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My campaign consulting business isn't going well and I can't see why.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 2:48 PM
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It's more a sort of velvet fist in iron glove sort of situation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 2:52 PM
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256: That malapropism was intentional, right? Because if not, it completely changes the meaning.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 2:53 PM
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Doing defense of suits against the government is funny. 90-95% of them, we're completely right in whatever we did, and the person suing is either a crook or a loon trying to keep us from doing our jobs. But that last case is some poor slob who got caught up in the gears of bureaucracy gone wrong, and can't figure out how to make the gov't listen without filing suit. We're pretty good about settling those rather than fighting them, but they're still embarrassing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 2:55 PM
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257: Intentional. We look mean until we figure out that you're right, and then we surrender instantly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 2:57 PM
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So do you get traction with the bureaucracy in fixing the problem (firing people, getting them away from positions of responsibility, whatever)?

If cases cost money, do the relevant departments see the costs in their budget?

I'm asking because in my limited experience, institutional allocation of responsibility is all over the place-- occasionally accurate but informal, sometimes completely broken, but never that I've seen both functional and formalized.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:04 PM
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We look mean until we figure out that you're right, and then we surrender instantly.

The state of NY is a hooker with a heart of gold?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:06 PM
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So do you get traction with the bureaucracy in fixing the problem (firing people, getting them away from positions of responsibility, whatever)?

I think the accepted procedure is to revise the regulations so that the next time it happens, the injured party has no standing and/or cause of action to sue.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:08 PM
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206: It's actually the truth! E got the bird when she was in college and living in a house full of people, so there was always somebody around. But then we graduated and moved out to the country and were gone all day, and the bird went neurotic and started mutilating itself. It was still sweet as the day was long, but was pulling the feathers out of its chest and picking holes in its leg. The poor thing spent a year or two wearing one of those funnel collars and taking Prozac from a dropper (seriously).

I have one of those. It seems somebody stuck a parrot in a dog carrier and left it in an alley. Someone thought it was vulture, so the Wildlife department got hold of it, realized it was a self-mutilating parrot and put it up for rescue. We got it. It's ugly. Looks like the ugliest, meanest vulture you ever met. No feathers on its head at all, and a bunch missing elsewhere. Only the wings are still covered entirely.

Apparently whoever it was that had it abused and terrified it, so it's just mean. Doesn't talk; does whistles that imitate arcade games. I swear it must have spent some time next to a Centipede machine. Also does a police siren, doorbell alarm noises. Very annoying bird. And it gives the evilest evil eye you ever saw.

m, i have satan's parrot


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:11 PM
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Oh about intelligence, where I agree about birds-- part of what birds have is apparently an ability to maintain accurate mental maps. Octopus have this as well, as well as mechanical problem-solving ability. Unusually for intelligent animals, octopus are pretty short-lived, while primates and clever birds are long-lived.

Revising regulations to protect the incompetent would lead to greater power accumulating to systematically incompetent people. Eventually there would be conflict between competing bureaucracies (this happens with the boundary between food safety and public health, for instance), or between bureaucracies and institutions powerful enough to purchase politicians, which in state gov't would be pretty modest. So I don't think that solution scales up, maybe it's something people try at the margins.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:12 PM
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260: Mostly, the cases I see don't involve an obvious gov't wrongdoer, even where we did something wrong -- they're errors and failures of communication. I don't know how good the agencies are at using successful suits as an impetus to fix systemic problems; I've only been here a couple of years, and I haven't run into a case that struck me as diagnostic of a systemic problem rather than just a 'these things happen' kind of error. Mostly, the agencies I work for seem to be really quite good at what they do, and their systemic failures are more of underaggression rather than the reverse.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:13 PM
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So I don't think that solution scales up, maybe it's something people try at the margins.

I was about to be snide and say that lw's idealism is touching, but in reality I can't comment with any authority on the organizational behavior of public sector agencies in this regard. Private companies, on the other hand... every settlement or adverse judgment begets at least one new waiver provision in the Terms & Conditions agreement.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:21 PM
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abused and terrified it, so it's just mean

Dude, mean birds are scary. And they know when you're scared of them.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:25 PM
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267: And they know when you're scared of them.

Like when they're pecking your eyes out.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:27 PM
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266: the organizational behavior of public sector agencies in this regard

Seriously, as someone who moved from representing private companies to representing public agencies, the incentives are different. Once a private company is in litigation, they're fighting to win: the only reason you'd settle anything is risk management. And contracts are drafted to protect the drafter, not out of any abstract desire for fairness.

The agencies I'm dealing with, on the other hand, will fight like hell as long as they think they're right. Once they're convinced that they did screw up, they surrender whether or not they think they'd have a good shot of getting away with it in court. (I'm sure this behavior isn't perfect or universal, but it's a pretty consistent pattern.) And regulations are drafted to protect the public as much as the agency, in a way very different from contracts.

I'm sounding all hearts and flowers about the government, and it's not all smiles all the time, but there is a real sense that the agencies are supposed to be obeying the law and serving the public, and where they've failed to do that, they're supposed to apologize and make good rather than fighting it out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:28 PM
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Just to pick a fight on a Friday afternoon, would anyone here agree that 269 also applies to the police? I actually generally would, in most circumstances and departments, anyway, but I doubt that most other folks here would.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:32 PM
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the incentives are different

Not to dispute your view of things, which strikes me as entirely plausible (not to mention heartening!), but what about the incentive to avoid embarassment? That's not a rhetorical question; I'm really uncertain which way it would tend to cut. On the one hand, from a civil servant's perspective, about the only way to lose your job is to be found breaking the law. On the other hand, the easiest way to avoid embarassment might be a discreet settlement.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:34 PM
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It all makes you wonder how smart the late stage raptors were who, we think, evolved into these creatures. Those things had hands, more or less. And then it's a short ride to becoming David Icke.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:39 PM
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would anyone here agree that 269 also applies to the police?

And prosecutors. Many of them seem to be possessed of an almost Vatican-like conviction that the cause of justice* is best served by upholding the myth of their own infallibility, regardless of the consequences for the victims of their errors.

*also sometimes confused with "their future political prospects"


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:39 PM
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270: The thing is, I don't think it applies well structurally to the police. What I deal with is largely versions of "Hey, gimme my license/permit/registration certificate back!" My clients don't have a lot of opportunity to hurt people directly except by regulating them, and the damage is fixable -- if we realize we were wrong, we can make it didn't happen (usually, they can arrange to be allowed to stay in business during the wrangling, so there's no real harm done in the interim).

When a cop screws up and hurts someone, you can punish the wrongdoer, but you can't make it didn't happen in the same way. The incentives aren't the same as I was talking about in 269.

Now, I'm sure most cops are individually goodwilled people who don't want to hurt anyone, but 269 doesn't work as analysis of cop/citizen interactions that go bad.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:40 PM
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271: Not to dispute your view of things, which strikes me as entirely plausible (not to mention heartening!), but what about the incentive to avoid embarassment? That's not a rhetorical question; I'm really uncertain which way it would tend to cut.

Usually, the person deciding to admit that the agency was wrong is pretty far removed from the person who screwed up, so there's no personal incentive to avoid embarrassment, and on an institutional level, a bad decision from a judge is much more embarrassing than a quiet settlement. We hardly ever lose a case, because we don't fight unless we're sure we're right, and we really really don't want to lose cases.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:43 PM
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I was basically asking whether lawsuits generated incentives-- I guess they do sometimes, though apparently not in LB's area, don't others.

Adjusting the regulations works as long as the entity on the other end is powerless-- works in dealing with individuals, but when opponents are equally powerful, then what? Fighting over the committee that rewrites the rules?

I keep meaning to read up on public choice theory. Has anyone read Niskanen's book? Pepys was a powerful official, but discreet bribery was OK in his day.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:44 PM
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apparently not in LB's area

They might, I'm just not well positioned to see it happen -- I don't have much insight into decisionmaking at my client agencies except on individual litigations.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 3:46 PM
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270: I'd agree, with the proviso that the trend is towards the police as occupying power rather than as public servants.

I think that's mostly because "force protection" has moved to the top of the priority list, and also because the powers that be are picking the wrong sort of person to be a cop. If they're so twitchy they can't distinguish a sleeping 7 year old girl from the object of their hunt they need to find a different job.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 4:20 PM
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Militarization of the police, under the guise of both The War On (some) Drugs and then GWOT (now reflagged as CVE, I understand) is one of the setbacks of the late 20th/ early 21st Century. All for your own good. Don't ask too many questions.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 5:03 PM
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||

Hey, I didn't see the "Insert Coin" button on the Google PacMan thing till just now. Thanks for the free game, Evil Internet Overlords!

|>


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 5:07 PM
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Dude, mean birds are scary.
Indubitably.


Posted by: quietly understated Daphne du Maurier | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 5:28 PM
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TLL! Howdy, yo.

279 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 5:41 PM
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All birds are scary.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 5:47 PM
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All birds are scary.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 5:52 PM
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Howdy back at you, Apo. See how you like it. Whatever happened to the paragon of policing, the unarmed British Bobby? Come back, Arthur Treacher!


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 5:53 PM
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272: It all makes you wonder how smart the late stage raptors were

...and they want their planet back.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:04 PM
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283: As I recall, asilon agrees.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:22 PM
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267: Dude, mean birds are scary. And they know when you're scared of them.

The bird and I have an understanding: I feed her peanuts when she whistles and she doesn't fuckin' cut me. I exaggerate only a little.

m, only biurd I've ever seen with a mohawk


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:44 PM
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and they want their planet back

Of course it would probably still be too cold for them, so they'd first want to encourage us to burn up a bunch of carbon and methane into the atmosphere.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:47 PM
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What kind of parrot is it?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-10 6:49 PM
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IIRC atmospheric oxygen was about 15% during the Mesozoic and it's 21% now. Those returning dinosaurs would be turbocharged, like those Kenyan runners who train at high altitude. We wouldn't stand a chance.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-24-10 2:00 AM
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