Friday, March 22, 2013

A Spring Poem

Since Spring Break is finally upon us (at least for those of you who live near me), I thought it'd be appropriate to share a springish poem with you. Most of you know this one, and if you do, I hope you enjoy it again. If you've never read this one before, you're in for a treat. :)

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

                    -William Wordsworth


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Grumpy Cat Has Nothing on Bad-Tempered Batfish

The rosy-lipped batfish and her slightly, uhum, friendlier cousin, the red-lipped batfish (come on, we all know what kind of women wear bright red lipstick) are two ladies who don’t let anyone tell them what to do. They break all the rules with an in-your-face attitude that just dares you to say something. For example, let’s look at how they get around. They’re fish, right? And fish swim, don’t they? Not these ladies. They refuse to be controlled by society’s expectations. They don’t swim. They walk! But if anyone tried to criticize them for it, they just might get an earful.

Small fish and other little creatures who live in the ocean have learned to keep their distance from them, especially small shrimp, mollusks, crabs, and even any worms who dare to venture underwater.  They’re lucky to escape with their lives on a good day. (They happen to be the favorite food of our batfish.) They certainly wouldn’t make the mistake of upsetting them.

If you think you’re brave enough to meet such strong-willed women, swim on out around the Galapagos Islands or the Cocos Island off the coast of Costa Rica and say, “hi.” Let us know how you fare.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Door to Hell: Found in Turkmenistan

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

During Dante’s time, the gateway to Hell would be a place to fear and avoid. But today, tourists visit the small village of Darvaz for no other reason that to see the Door to Hell, and of course, take a picture of themselves standing in front of it.

 So, what exactly is this place? Well, as you could probably guess, it isn’t the real door to Hell. It’s actually a deep crater (300+ feet wide by 65+ feet deep) that has been burning since 1971. A group of geologists were drilling at the site when the ground gave way under their heavy machinery. The resulting crater was filled with a natural gas that the geologists feared would escape into the atmosphere. So, what did they do? They set it on fire. They hoped that it would burn up the gas in a few days, but over 40 years later, it’s still burning. And what a sight it is! So, the next time you’re in Turkmenistan, stop by and check it out. Just don’t get too close to the edge. It might not be the real door to Hell, but you still wouldn’t want to fall in.