“Improvisation is too good to leave to chance.”
— Paul Simon
Word of the Week
lapidary n. — a cutter, polisher, or engraver of precious stones usually other than diamonds.
Despite her many beautiful rings, the lapidary’s wife pined for one with a sparkling diamond.
Definition taken from http://merriam-webster.com.
Rain, rain, go away,
Come again another day.
Or just leave for good.
Overseen and Overheard
“When is the last time you showered?... No, it was three or four days ago. Go get in the shower.”
— Male student at Gleason Circle bus stop.
Writing a Letter
With the ubiquity of email, text messaging and the rapidly expanding plethora of modern, instantaneous means of communication, we are letting a beautiful art slip through the cracks of our society. The art of letter writing may, by decade’s end, be completely lost to us, if it is not already. While the most basic technique of letter writing is still being taught in grammar schools across the country, all of its art — the beauty and expressionism that has, for hundreds of years, been associated with the act — will soon be lost.
While our modern messaging methods provide all of the convenience of the instantaneous connection, they also allow us to spew out unwashed garbage happens to be floating on the tops of our minds and the tips of our tongues. The act of putting pen to paper forces us to think about what it is we have to say, about whom we’re saying it to, and to what end or purpose. So the next time you’re about to send off another mindless, aloof email, think again; break out a trusty pen, fish around for a stamp and give your words the thought and respect they deserve.
Stream of Facts
The embryos of sand tiger sharks are known to consume potential siblings while still in the womb. While dozens of eggs will be fertilized, the strongest embryo will begin to cannibalize the others for nourishment during gestation.
The longest gestation period of any vertebrate animal is that of the frilled shark, at a whopping 42 months or three and a half years. By contrast, the gestation period of African elephants is a measly 22 months.
Floppy Trunk Syndrome is a neurological disease that affects elephants. Plant diseases or heavy metal poisoning are thought to cause the syndrome, which causes the lower portion of the afflicted elephant’s trunk to suffer from paralysis and can lead to atrophy of the trunk.
Botox, the popular cosmetic drug, causes temporary paralysis of the muscles surrounding the injection site. The drug is derived from a protein botunium, a recognized toxin that is produced by the same bacteria that causes botulism.
A colony of bacteria is currently thriving hundreds of meters beneath an ancient Antarctic glacier. The colony, believed to be millions of years old, is bright red as a result of a high iron content, which led scientists to give it the affectionate name of Blood Falls.