Amoeblog

Rats the size of cats

Posted by Whitmore, September 12, 2009 08:47pm | Post a Comment

Rats
the size of a cats and fanged frogs were discovered by Smithsonian Institution biologists working with the Natural History Unit from the BBC in the remote Southern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea in the Mount Bosavi Crater, an extinct volcano. The huge crater, measuring two and half miles wide and rimmed with walls nearly half a mile high, appear to have trapped these creatures inside the isolated crater’s rainforests and they possibly have never been seen by man before.
 
Among the discoveries is a woolly silvery gray rat, weighing nearly 3.5 pounds, and measuring 32 inches from nose to tail, that’s almost three friggin’ feet long! I think I just soiled myself...
 
The Bosavi Crater rat would be one of the largest rats in the world. Most surprising to the BBC documentary team, the rodents were completely tame, a sign that animals were unfamiliar with humans. The rats live on a diet of leaves and roots, and probably build their nests underground beneath rocks and tree roots. A member of the genus Mallomys, these rats have yet to receive their formal scientific name. More than 70 species of rats and mice are found on Papua New Guinea. (And I don’t think I’ll be vacationing there anytime soon.)
 
Altogether, some 40 new species were discovered by the crater expedition, including approximately 16 species of frog, one species of gecko, at least three new species of fish, 20 species of insects and spiders and one new species of bat, plus what may be a new subspecies of tree-living marsupial.
 
The BBC and Smithsonian teams found these previously unknown species while filming a documentary about wildlife of Papua New Guinea. The film, Lost Land of the Volcano, is a three part series which started airing this week in the United Kingdom on BBC One. Below is some footage.

Hey! It's National Biscuit Month

Posted by Whitmore, September 10, 2009 09:14pm | Post a Comment

It’s September, which of course everybody knows is National Biscuit Month. But wait, what’s a biscuit without a little gravy? Probably dry and sawdust-like, unless you’ve lived a charmed life amongst bakers. Well, not only is it National Biscuit Month, but the second week in September is always observed -- and religiously so in some circles -- as National Biscuit & Gravy Week. So for the next few days, add a little flavor to that otherwise boring brick biscuit. This celebration is obviously not for the weak of heart; participants must of course be cleared by a cardiologist. But B&G week is more than permitting credence to an angio-edge life style, B&G week is here to help us remember good old fashion homemade fixins’. And since cooking at home has gone the way of indoor smoking, Betamax, pull tabs, floppy discs, and glaciers, take some time out in your marathon commuter mornings, hit the local diner, whether it’s a Denny’s or a faux-bohemian hipster dive or a Mom & Pop’s greasy spoon off the health department’s radar, sit down to a breakfast of hot biscuits & gravy, a cup of coffee, ignore your cell phone, leave the laptop in the trunk, and read an actual morning paper, and not a Weekly ... a real daily newspaper with real smudgy newsprint. And as long as you avoid the articles on American politics, you won’t regret the respite!
 
Biscuits and gravy was once just a popular breakfast dish in the South, but its popularity has spread nationwide and is now served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Think about it, a buttermilk biscuit covered in a piping hot thick "country" or "white" gravy made from the drippings of cooked pork sausage, a little white flour, milk, with bits of real sausage, bacon, or ground beef, flavored with lots of black pepper. I’m heading out right now, and just to keep a balance between my health and my bent for ruin, I’m biking to my favorite greasy spoon. Biscuits & gravy ... live on the edge!
 
Sausage Gravy Recipe
8 ounces breakfast sausage
2 tablespoons shortening or lard
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups milk
salt and pepper, to taste
dash cayenne pepper, optional, but damn good
 
PREPARATION:
Cook sausage in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring and breaking up with a spatula. With a slotted spoon, remove the browned crumbled sausage to a paper towel-lined plate. Add 2 tablespoons shortening, vegetable oil, or lard to the drippings in the skillet.
 
Add flour, stirring until blended and bubbling. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups milk; continue stirring and cooking until thickened and bubbly. Add the crumbled sausage. If too thick, add a little more milk. Taste and add salt and pepper. Stir in a dash of cayenne pepper, if desired.
 
Serve over hot split and buttered biscuits.

A little 999 on 09-09-09

Posted by Whitmore, September 9, 2009 08:35pm | Post a Comment

I know it’s officially Beatles Day across this great rock and roll landscape, but I can’t resist posting a couple of video’s from a great band from the 1970’s, 999, on this day -- 09-09-09. Named after the UK’s emergency telephone number, they were formed in London at the onset of the punk scene in 1977. 999 charted five Top 75 singles between 1978 and 1981, though only one made it to the Top 40; that track is the classic "Homicide" / "Soldier," released in October of 1978 on United Artist Records. Other great mad romps include "Nasty Nasty," "Found Out Too Late" and "Emergency." One early review complained they were “histrionic, the music embarrassingly simple, the instruments turned up to full volume and the production almost absent;” yeah, that sounds just about perfect in my book.



The Dutch Rock Conspiracy

Posted by Whitmore, September 4, 2009 11:15pm | Post a Comment

All those conspiracy theories about how we never actually went to the moon, how NASA along with the Defense Intelligence Agency staged everything on a huge soundstage in the Nevada desert and how the three astronauts were actually just in Las Vegas boozing it up and living large while undergoing ‘guilt therapy’ lessons to lie better and feel good about lying better and how this entire madcap moon adventure was a 30 billion dollar swindle to defraud the world and convince everyone, especially the Russians, that we kick ass, just may have gotten a bit of a boost.
 
A moon rock collected from the first manned lunar landing on July 20, 1969 and given to former Dutch Prime Minister Willem Drees as a private gift from then-U.S. ambassador J. William Middendorf, who accompanied the Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, Jr. on a visit to The Netherlands has been analyzed and appears to be nothing more than petrified wood.
 
This treasured piece went on display at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum Museum after Drees died in 1988; at one point the rock was insured for around $500,000. A new estimate suggests its value to closer to about $70.
 
Recent tests have proved that the moon rock is a fake; Geologists from Amsterdam's Free University said they could tell at a glance the rock was not from the moon. Needless to say NASA and U.S. officials have no explanation for the Dutch discovery.
 
Rijksmuseum Museum spokesperson Xandra van Gelder, said the museum will keep the artifact as a curiosity. “It's a good story, with some questions that are still unanswered,” she said. “We can laugh about it.”
 
Former U.S. ambassador Middendorf in an interview last week said he didn't recall presenting the rock to Drees, but does remember the astronauts visiting the Netherlands as part of their "Giant Leap" goodwill tour. Another odd unanswered question is why Drees would have been given the rock in the first place. In 1969 he would have been 83 years old and had been out of office for over a decade, though he was a national hero who helped rebuild the Netherlands after the Second World War.
 
My favorite lunar spin so far is that the plaque doesn’t actually claim the rock is from the moon, it just says it’s a gift from the astronauts who went to the moon ...

Etch A Sketch tribute to Michael Jackson

Posted by Whitmore, September 3, 2009 11:10pm | Post a Comment

It’s been awhile since I last wrote about George Vlosich III, one of the most unique artists working today. The medium he works in, more often than not is the Etch A Sketch. And yes, it's the same plastic, red-framed Etch A Sketch kids everywhere play with for a while before cracking it open to see how the hell it works.
 
Since ten years of age, Vlosich has been Etching. At eighteen he was commissioned by the Topps Trading Card Company to produce a series of Etch-A-Sketch drawings for their 1998 baseball card collection. Since then he has been commissioned to Etch many an athlete, musician and celebrity. 
 
I still can’t get my head around the technique or the amount of patience someone has to have to complete one drawing. And all of it is worked out to such perfection; unfathomable to an Etch A Sketch hack like myself. Most of Vlosich’s original work takes between 70-80 hours to create. Some, like George’s newest masterpiece, Michael Jackson, took 150 hours! That’s a full time job for a month! The details are insane. The images are spot on. And remember, an Etch A Sketch drawing must be done in one long line ... one continual unflinching, unforgiving friggin’ line! Legendary artist Paul Klee once described his own work as simply taking a line for a walk; yeah, but it ain’t nothing like George Vlosich’s trek. Once finished, the piece is then preserved to stand the test of time -- I hope! -- every drawing is unique and cannot be duplicated.  
 
George is hoping to use this Michael Jackson piece for charity, possibly blowing it up to extra large size and then having the performers at the September 26th Michael Jackson Tribute Concert in Vienna autograph it. The concert, which was announced a few days ago, will feature some of the world's top entertainers performing MJ's greatest hits on a crown-shaped stage being constructed outside the 17th-century Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna. The tribute will be broadcast live and is expected to draw an audience of one billion.
 
Check out George and his brother Greg’s website.

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