Yeah Nah Part II

When my wife read the last bit of “Yeah Nah” in which I said that I was laying on the references to Australia in a shameless bid to get more readers Down Under she was horrified and insisted I make amends.

I do want more Australian readers and I need to make sure that the good people of Australia know that I have the highest regard for them and I just want to make them laugh. Here are some of my reflections on Australia:

In 2006, I was invited to lecture about hormones at a conference on the Gold Coast. This allowed me to ignore signs and also work out from first principles how to swim out of a riptide. For this I am grateful.

My wife and I took our first and only (thus far) hot air balloon ride in Australia. We also went to an outback rodeo where I acquired an excellent authentic Bush Hat. I defiantly wear this hat during the Calgary Stampede. Note: I bear no particular malice toward the Calgary Stampede. Or its Chuckwagon Races. Or PETA.

Australian football players are tough as nails. They wear mouth guards but no padding. I don’t watch much football but I appreciate toughness when I see it.

There are some gracious and first rate thinkers in the field of Analytical Biochemistry in Australia. One is Peter O’Leary who was at the Biochemistry Department at the Royal Perth Hospital. He may still be there. I don’t know. A paper he wrote in 2000 challenged me to rethink everything I knew about testing of hormones in saliva. For this I am also grateful. He promptly wrote back to me when I emailed him years ago about that paper. This doesn’t always happen in the cutthroat world of Analytical Biochemistry.

I listened to ABC Melbourne whilst driving to and from work for several years. From this experience, I know that there are many, many goodhearted and witty people in Australia. I’m not holding any of them responsible for the rabbits and cane toads. Sometimes foolish decisions get made by well-meaning individuals who lack the common sense of a 6-week old puppy. Many of them are civil servants and/or wealthy aristocrats.

Cane toads were introduced to Australia from Hawaii in the 1930’s by well-meaning government researchers at the Bureau of What Could Go Wrong?/Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations in an attempt to control the grey-backed cane beetle, detrimental to sugar cane agriculture. They (the toads, not the researchers) bred like rabbits and overran large tracts of Western Australia. It didn’t end well.

Florida cane toad in a bad mood because it wasn’t mentioned in this post

In 1859, an aristocratic English settler and hunting afficionado named Thomas Austin imported twenty or so English rabbits and plopped them on his private estate in order that he and his buddies could fire lead projectiles at them. (Note to all hunters: I have nothing against hunting!!) The rabbits bred like rabbits and overran other large parts of Australia. That too, didn’t end well.

Thomas Austin, thinking about hunting and bearing an uncanny resemblance to deceased comic genius, Robin Williams

I just hope that no one took me seriously when I mentioned culturo-linguistic appropriation. No offense was intended. You just never know how people are going to take things these days.

And I honestly do love the Australian accent.

I’ve said enough, I think. Aboot time I ended this post, eh?

Yeah, Nah

The weather is a common topic of discussion here in Calgary. Calgary is near the Rocky Mountains and is conveniently located in Alberta, which-for the time being is conveniently located in Canada. Due to all this convenience and proximity, not to mention Chinook winds, the weather in Calgary can be erratic. You will often overhear people saying stuff like: “If you don’t like the weather in Calgary, wait five minutes.” or “It can snow any day of the year in Calgary.” You’re more likely to hear this if you actually live in Calgary but that’s a side issue. You shouldn’t be listening in on other people’s conversations either but that’s a different side issue.

If you are a Calgarian and if your spouse happens to have spent many years in a warmer climate whereas you -as it were- didn’t, the issue of when exactly Spring has arrived will come up fairly frequently: at least once a year and usually before Easter. Coincidence? I think not.


Patrick Mahomes Is Definitely A Highly-Evolved Honey Badger But I Still Think Tom Brady Might Be An Immortal Humanoid Alien From The Future

Full disclosure: I watch one Pro Football game a year. That would be the Super Bowl. This year, I was swept up in a tide of confusion trying to figure out if the NFL had missed the class on advanced Roman Numerals, back in Grade Whatever.

All of us who passed Grade Whatever know that LIV is fifty-four in Roman Numeralese, right? So why did the NFL make the Super Bowl Fifty-Five logo so that it looked like it was the logo for Super Bowl Fifty-Four? And since you brought it up, why did they go and stick that football-on-an-obelisk thing in the logos for Super Bowls Fifty-One, Fifty-Two, Fifty-Three and Fifty-Four?

People have been walking around in early February for each of the last five years, scratching their heads and saying, “What the hell Super Bowl IS this, even? That dang logo doesn’t make any sense. Is that pedestal thing supposed to be the letter “I”? Is it one of the Silver Surfer’s high school football trophies? Or what?”

Mrs. Norrin Radd, spouse of Silver Surfer:

“Norrin! Put that trophy in the garage right this century! If I’ve asked you once I’ve asked you MMDLIX times! It’s been like 500 million years since you went to high school. Just because you’re an immortal humanoid alien who can throw a football several parsecs through space with pinpoint accuracy, it doesn’t mean you can leave your old crap lying around everywhere for the rest of eternity. And why are you even in the kitchen right now anyway?”

Norrin Radd (aka Silver Surfer):
henpecked immortal humanoid alien football star/defender of the Galaxy

There’s No Place Like Laniakea

Here in the Department of Keeping Tabs On The Universe we note that there’s a lot of stuff going on: gravity waves, stars that explode and jet out opposing beams of pure iridium, planets moving in and out of conjunction and now, rays of light that are shooting up from the sides of the reflecting pool in the National Mall in D.C., rays that are regarded by at least one commentator as “extensions of President Joe Biden’s arms” shooting up to metaphorically embrace America.

Read on. Don’t Say I didn’t Warn you!

Richard And Gunner vs the State of Florida

Back in 2019 I threatened to answer the following question in an upcoming post:

What the heck is the Florida Man game?

Sadly, I immediately forgot all about answering that question. Months went by. But then, a few weeks ago, I ran across an unusual headline emanating from Florida. Happily, the headline jogged my memory about the Florida Man game. Sadly, I soon forgot all about the unusual headline and also my failure to write about the Florida Man game. A couple of weeks went by. I happened to gaze at a map of Florida. Happily, I suddenly remembered the unusual headline and my failure to write about the Florida Man game. But sadly, I had forgotten about an appointment I had to go to. Happily, I made it to the appointment, remembered where I lived, was able to return home where I immediately recalled the unusuaI headline, my inability to write about the Florida Man game and the fact that since my last post was on November third I needed to get my ass in gear. I began to type feverishly…

to find out what I TYPED FEVERISHLY, read on

DIY Hobbies For People With 20:5 Vision

About a year ago I was leafing through a Signals catalogue (Motto: “Gifts that inform, enlighten & entertain” ) and I came across these DIY Miniature House Kits made by a company called Robotime. (Somewhat Opaque Motto: Fun time together. Best hobby forever.)

Thinking that pretty much everyone needs a hobby these days and that pretty much everyone wants to be informed, enlightened and entertained and because I didn’t have any better ideas for a birthday gift for my daughter, I went ahead and ordered the “Sam’s Study” kit.

hobby kit
Innocent-looking Sam’s Study kit

Little did I realize…


Owl Duets: Part II

Alert readers will recall that I was blathering on recently about Blakiston’s Fish Owls and their haunting, low-pitched, flute-like duets. There were some details about the haunting, low-pitched, flute-like duets that were still bugging me so I got in touch with Jon Slaght PhD. Dr. Slaght literally and figuratively wrote the book on these somewhat shaggy owls and their musical proclivities.

I was curious about the sequencing of the hooting so I put this question to him via email:

Some sites are saying that for the call, the male issues one note that is answered almost simultaneously by its mate and then the sequence repeats for the “answer”. I feel like the mate punches out two hoots, then the female answers those with her two hoots. What sayest thou?


Never Mind Flying Under The Radar. How About Flying Right Smack Dab Into The Middle Of It?

In the aviation world, trying to avoid detection is called “flying under the radar”. We did this in school all the time when we didn’t have the faintest idea what the answer was, to the question the teacher had just posed to the class. We would basically sit there immobile, trying to look as nonchalant and inconspicuous as possible, hoping to be mistaken for a store mannequin or maybe a piece of furniture. Or maybe even a young woolly mammoth that was somehow flash-frozen by a super-hurricane like the ones in that cool (!) movie: The Day After Tomorrow.

Super-hurricanes aside, in a sublime moment of cosmic quirkiness, an ordinary housefly barreled fearlessly into the heart of the storm that was raging in the Vice Presidential debate the other night. The first thing I thought to myself was “Holy Kadoda! This is the Chuck Yeager of flies!” (Chuck was an iconic, fearless test-pilot profiled in that old astronaut movie: The Right Stuff.) Anyway, this fly bee-lined (!) directly for Mike Pence’s head. And stayed on it. For quite a long time.


Please Don’t Leave It To Beaver

Spoiler alert: the featured image is highly misleading. That thing staring at the cat is a Cambropachycope, a sea-dwelling arthropod which lived hundreds of millions of years ago. Housecats, on the other paw, arrived on Earth about 3.4 million years ago, from a distant star system but by that time the Cambropachycopes were long gone, having evolved into bureaucrats. Plus, at 1.5 mm, they (the Cambropachycopes, not the bureaucrats) were basically teensy. Not to mention underwater. So there’s no way a Cambropachycope could have gone compound eyeball to eyeballs with a cat. I just put that image out there to get your attention.


The Skinny On Ketogenic Diets (With No Apology to The Moody Blues)

I have to confess that I was going to entitle this post: The Ketogenic Blues. Then I starting thinking that I should add The Ketogenic Blues to my list of suggested names for bands until I realized that it sounded too much like The Moody Blues (which is a real band-as approximately half of my 27 readers know). But I overcame my reluctance and added The Ketogenic Blues to my list just the same. Here is the up-to-date list:

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