Archive for June 2006

Where the Hell is Matt?

June 30, 2006

MattEvery once in awhile, I see something on the Web that just makes me feel good, for no particular reason. See ‘Best Video Ever‘ on this blog for one example. Where the Hell is Matt? is another. It’s just a video of this geek who travels around the world and takes videos of himself dancing – badly – everywhere he goes. At first, when you watch it, you just think “Well, this is pretty stupid”, but then it starts to grow on you. And you begin to feel good. I don’t even know why. It’s just that this dork has been to so many places, and when he’s there, he just, you know, dances. Sometimes people join in. Sometimes they look at him funny. Sometimes the place he’s standing is just so impressive that you barely even notice the geek dancing. But the overall effect is, as they say, greater than the sum of its parts. Just click the link and watch the video. And see if, at the end of it all, you don’t somehow feel just a little bit better about being human.

Bosco

June 25, 2006

BoscoBosco was my pet dog, and was probably the best dog the world has ever seen. I know, I know, you feel the same way about your dog. I'm sure your dog was nice, but you didn't know Bosco. He was smart, he was funny, and he had a heart of gold.

He also had a funny name. Where did it come from? The only person to ever make a reasonable guess was my friend Bob Lindstrom, who said "Oh, he must be chocolate brown." To which I only stood gape-jawed at how logical that might have been, if it were only the truth. Because Bosco was sable and white.

Truth be told, I had once read that a dog's name was most easily recognized by the dog if it was of two syllables, each of which contained a 'hard' consonant*, and which was not a word you were likely to use in normal conversation. (How they supposedly determined this, I will never know.)

After a little thought, I remembered 'Bosko', who was a politically-incorrect cartoon character out of the Harmon-Ising studios in the 1930's (see picture). I spelled it with a 'c' like the chocolate syrup because, in the inimitible words of Steve Martin, 'I forgot'.

So Bosco he was, and Bosco he will always be. I miss him.

*Which is, of course, reminiscent of the old tale about the early days of the original Star Trek, when the series' writers joked that perhaps all Vulcan names should begin with 'Sp', end in 'k', and be exactly five letters long: Spock, Spunk, Spilk, etc.)

Dice Roulette

June 20, 2006

Dice RouletteEver wish you could play roulette using only a pair of dice? Of course you have! Who hasn't? Well, now you can, using my newly-developed rules for Dice Roulette. Be the first one on your block, etc. Don't wait! Try it today!

Riding the Lizard

June 11, 2006

Gila MonsterFor a few weeks now, I've been injecting a drug called Byetta to help control my diabetes. It was developed when a drug researcher noticed the similarity of the molecular structure of gila monster venom to a blood sugar regulation hormone. Turns out that when a gila monster chews his venom-soaked saliva into his victim (they don't have fangs), it increases insulin production and that's what kills its prey. But under controlled dosages, gila monster venom can actually help regulate insulin production in diabetics.

Not only that, almost all previous diabetes drugs induce weight gain in those who take them. Not Byetta. It decreases appetite and creates a feeling of fullness, or 'satiety'. Diabetics who inject Byetta invariably lose weight.

In other words, lizard spit is the best diabetes medicine there is. Who knew?

I've always been an armchair environmentalist. I drive an economical 4-cylinder car, and hate SUVs. I recycle when it's convenient, and occasionally toss a few bucks at an environmental organization. But this has really got me thinking. Gila monsters only live in the American Southwest. There are so few of them left that they're on the 'protected' list. (They're not 'endangered', at least not yet.) What if there were no gila monsters? Where would I be then?

What if the desert lizard, or rain forest flower, or ocean coral that holds the cure to a disease that you are going to get next year is being driven into extinction right now?

It could happen to you. Just let that thought rattle around in your head for awhile. After all, it almost happened to me.