Yay, Flags of Many Lands!
Super yay, Madagascar!
Not only is Madagascar almost exactly halfway around the world from Northern California, but just seeing I got a visitor from that exotic isle has put me in a reverie not unlike Proust eating a madeline that makes him remember his childhood in vivid detail.
Don't worry, I'm not gonna write a seven volume novel.
When Matty Boy actually was a boy, he l-u-u-u-u-u-ved the animules! Exotic crazy animules were Matty Boy's favorite tings. Sure, he luvved the dinosaurs, who didn't? But also the exotic living animules and the exotic recently extinct animules, all kinds. The LIFE Nature Library and LIFE Science Library books were full of these kinds of pictures, and he spent many a happy hour sitting in a rocking chair, looking at the pictures and reading the text about creatures from far away places. There were three places in particular that had the most exotic creatures to his young Matty Boy mind.
Australia. The Galápagos Islands. Madagascar.
The little guy in the picture staring out at you... staring into your immortal soul... staring... staring... Wait a second, where was I? Oh yeah, the little guy with the big eyes is a tarsier, native only to Madagascar. He is a small lemur, an infraorder of primates found exclusively in Madagascar and some smaller surrounding islands. I have foolishly put a caption over his super long spider like fingers. I suppose the tarsier should have haunted my dreams when I was a kid, but I got it into my mind that he was friendly, though in fact the species is notoriously shy.
I used to think when I was a kid that creatures described as "notoriously shy" just hadn't met the right kind of people yet. Nobody brought them a cookie, for example.
Besides the odd looking creatures, I also loved the big creatures. In a story reminiscent of the dodo, once found on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius but now extinct, Madagascar had a creature called the elephant bird, a twelve foot tall ostrich that still roamed the earth as recently as the 16th Century. Likewise, there was a supersized ostrich like critter called the moa that lived in New Zealand, that was still around when humans first got to the island.
Edgar Rice Burroughs and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle aren't around to speak for themselves, but I have to think that stories of explorers finding wonderful creatures in strange lands were the inspirations for adventures like John Carter Warlord of Mars and The Lost World.
In my own case, I also thought it possible that some exotic unknown island might be home to a race of giant amazon warriors, but those are smutty thotz for another time.
Friday is Random 10!
While I have already blogged about my wonderful evening at the symphony last Saturday night, and Sfmike has also posted pictures and his thoughts on the events of the evening as well, this was not the only cultural highlight from a week ago.
On Friday, I went bowling!
Actually, it was a get together thrown by the digital art school I work at, where the company rented ten lanes, which they lit in odd ways, with a smoke machine and a TV playing videos from songs almost exclusively from the seventies.
They must think we are really old.
Oh, wait. Some of us are.
In any case, this evening of songs, most of which I could do without, included ABBA's Waterloo, which is a great example of using the triplet to get a driving beat. (BaDUM, BaDUM, BaDUMPA.) It also contains the deathless lyric "That history book on the shelf/ It keeps on repeating itself."
I thought to myself, I have no ABBA songs on my iTunes.
That shortcoming has now been remedied. And from that non-random starting point, we get the Random 10.
Waterloo (English version) ABBA
Eleanor Rigby The Beatles
Sound And Vision David Bowie
Fingertips (Part II) Little Stevie Wonder
As Always You Were Wrong Again UB40
Strange Ones Supergrass
I’ve Got A Feeling I’m Falling Fats Waller
La Bayamesa Buena Vista Social Club
Missionary Man Eurythmics
One Life To Live Teresa Stratas
Lots of great stuff here. Fingertips (Part II) is GIANT! That huge band blaring out behind Little Stevie playing his harmonica, singing in his pre-adolescent voice, the song sounds like it's over and then BAM! He completely crushed that audience, and because it's a live recording, we are part of that audience even today, ready to be crushed all over again.
Everybody say YEAH!
p.s. This is my 500th post. Yay, milestones!
This blog is still alive, just in semi-hibernation.
When I want to write something longer than a tweet about something other than math or sci-fi, here is where I'll write it.