Some of my time wasting has produced the following masterpieces:
Thanks to Hemant for this.
Jen posted a photo on her blog taken at a Chinese zoo.
As I mentioned almost a year ago in my post on What’s wrong with Pandas? the bear relative is an embarrassment. These tiny cocked failures in natural selection will soon die out, leaving an evolutionary niche to fill for most ridiculous large mammal. Arguable humans could take this role but we’ve proven to be quite successful with our opposable thumbs and clever minds. After pandas, who is even close to being the mammalian species of scorn? Who will nature next select for the rubbish dump?
An obvious choice is the manatee. Like pandas they are, shall we say, plump. Unlike pandas this is an advantage in the water than they live in and their shape allows them to move swiftly through the water in search of prey. Admittedly their prey happens to be sea grass, algae and mangrove leaves. An environment that we humans are quickly destroying with pollution and building on the land that provides for mangrove trees.
We humans are also adding to the destruction of manatees by running them over in our speedboats. Sensitive skin and blubber may protect them from the aquatic elements and those few predators who risk attacking the large mammals but it’s no protection from the cutting blades of a rotor.
Sadly for the manatee, little children like to cuddle toy pandas but the sight of the foam filled leather sack of a toy manatee will just make your kids hate you.
The fabled armadillo is another popular choice for the evolutionary waste bin. Although heavily armoured and equipped with strong claws for digging these creatures are generally peaceful. They tend to eat a variety of grubs and insects unlike the crap pandas who eat only bamboo and happy thoughts. Leeching the latter right out of the hearts of small children until they reach their teens.
Some armadillos live in borrows which protects them from predators while others flee from them into thorny undergrowth, using their plated hides for protection. Sadly it is humanity again that threatens these gentle creatures. Not only to we encroach on their environment but we make use of armadillos in experiments to study leprosy since they, along with mangabey monkeys, rabbits and mice (on their footpads), are among the few known non-human animal species that can contract the disease systemically. We also use them to test different diseases and cures as they reproduce four genetically identical quadruplets in each litter.
What about our cousins on the evolutionary tree: the great apes, specifically the gorilla? Unlike humans these creatures are rarely violent and prefer to keep to themselves.
Despite sharing 98% of their DNA with humans they are very different from us socially, preferring a simply life of foraging. They are capable of complex communication, even learning sign language to communicate with humans. Why they’d want to is beyond me. I’m human and I barely want to communicate with most other humans.
Once more it is humanity that threatens this mammal. We destroy their habitat and hunt them for their body parts. We even expose them to our diseases, wiping out thousands of the gentle creatures. Perhaps it is the fact that they remind us of ourselves that makes us destroy them? Pandas at least have the error of being ridiculous, while apes have only the error of being related to us.
It would be easy to list tigers or any of the great cats as evolutionary dead ends but these magnificent animals engender so much sympathy that it is hard to imagine us allowing them to become extinct. Besides which the only real reason for their decline is human over hunting. All we need to do to allow them to thrive is leave them alone.
Who’d want to mess with anything that could bite your arm off anyway? Pandas can barely manage to sit on someone as their method of defence. The big cats are dangerous.
Tigers are so… very… pretty. They are just too pretty for God to let them die. Huh?
So, which mammal is doomed next? Should we do anything about it or let nature take her course?
You know how young children repeat the same argument over and over when they don’t get their way, haranguing and harassing their parents in an effort to get what they want? They refused to accept the decision but have no new arguments to present.
It seems that some people never grow out of this, even when they get jobs and become parents themselves. You’d think that after more than a quarter of a century some people would get it through their thick skins that it doesn’t work. It rarely works for children and it has even less chance for an adult.
Pouting doesn’t work either, it just makes me laugh at you.
I saw this on Charlotte’s Web nearly a week ago. The original authors of this exercise are Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, and Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.
Bold the true statements. You can explain further if you wish.
1. Father went to college
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college
4. Mother finished college
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
As far as social class goes I don’t really pay much attention to the distinctions. We all had to work for a living so we must all be working class.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
9. Were read children’s books by a parent
The Old Dear used to read to us every now and then when she wasn’t working.
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
Judo, golf, swimming, athletics, all the physical stuff. The Old Man wanted a sports star for a son.
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.
I wear casual shirts and jeans at home or a suit at work. Everyone dresses like me on the telly. I get positive and negative portrayals here.
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
I wish I didn’t now.
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
I finished paying my student load a few years ago.
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
16. Went to a private high school
17. Went to summer camp
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels
We rented a cottage in Cornwall a couple of times.
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
25. You had your own room as a child
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course
Not relevant for a non-American but we didn’t have any sort of exam prep courses when I was a wee lad.
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
I went skiing with my school once and we flew out to Geneva airport
31. Went on a cruise with your family
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family
Although I only got 7 I still think I was very lucky growing up. Much luckier than most people on the planet and even in this country.
(from my old blog nearly two years ago)
Oh ye of little faith who have told me year on year that dragons are fantasy creatures that do not really exist read this. Oh yes, see. A dragon has been seen. Watch out for the Ninki Nanka and the sofa sized pig.
I must say that my daughter Cake Worm is chuffed to bits at this bit of news as her love of dragons is as great as my own.
Do shop owners offer a course in “How to annoy your customers”, I wonder. I dislike shopping at the best of times but an efficient and friendly (even if they’re faking) staff can make the experience bearable. One recent development that reflects government green policy is particularly galling. The dreaded plastic carrier bag has become the red headed step child of shopping.
The government and hence the shop argument goes something like this: Plastic bags are bad for the environment. We should use less bags or the same bags more often. If shops don’t reduce shopping bag use then the government will tax the bags in an effort to force then to be more environmentally conscientious.
The supermarket response to this is to sell “bags for life” and canvas bags and (this is the bit I hate) reduce the quality of the free bags and offer less of them. This leaves the shopper with a bag that splits before you get home or the option to double bag everything thereby increasing bag use. A split bag cannot be reused so it will add to the environmental damage. I don’t know about you but I use my carrier bags for bagging up rubbish before it goes in the bin, for cleaning our the cat box and various sundry tasks that need a bag. I don’t just throw them straight in the bin.
Coupled with the lower quality bag is the new policy that shops seem to have adapted of not providing or offering bags unless you ask for them. I don’t like asking for bags and I don’t like people packing for me. They do it wrong. I want to be given enough bags to pack my shopping properly and I don’t want to talk sacks to the poor checkout girl or boy. I’d rather talk about the weather or the state of the economy or holidays or some crap other than plastic bags. I don’t want to feel like I’m asking for something that should be provided for free.
I have a solution though. An environmentally sound, low cost solution for everyone. Shops should provide reinforced paper bags with card handles, the paper from sustainable forests of course or bags of another material that degrade quickly. Better yet, they should carry the shopping home for me and stop being so annoying.