Monday, August 22, 2011

Rock Snot

It's ooey. It's gooey. It's heading for a rock near you.


You don't believe me? Check out this photo from the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources:

Scientifically know as Didymosphenia geminata and often called "didymo," this diatom, which is a kind of single-celled algae, can form large mats on the bottom of lakes, streams, and rivers. It's not dangerous to humans, but can kill fish and threaten rivers and streams by smothering native algae and and aquatic insects.

It's easy to transport and can multiply rapidly. In fact, it can multiple in a single drop of water. Apparently, it's on the march again, clinging to the bottoms of felt-soled fishing boots. Maryland has banned such boots, and other states plan to follow in short order.

Here are a few more randoms about this little menace:

1. Didymo are unique for their silica (SiO2) cell walls.

2. They live primarily in cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

3. If you knowingly transport didymo in New Zealand, you could face up to 5 years in prison.

So, get out your gigantic hankies, and avoid that goo on the rocks.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Harry Potter

I only recently saw HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PT. II. I waited until my eldest child returned from camp to see it with her. I'd just re-read the book, which means that many of the scenes and plot lines from the book were fresh on my brain. My daughter with her encyclopedic memory was just as fresh with the details. That meant we spent way too much time whispering in the back of the theater about differences between the book and the movie.

That said, we loved the movie.

In honor of the latest HARRY POTTER, here are a few wizarding world randoms:

1. So many fans visit King’s Cross station, where Harry and his friends catch the Hogwarts Express, to take pictures of platforms 9 and 10 that the station management erected a sign that says “Platform 9 ¾.”

2. There's a picture of Gandalf the Grey in the Professor Dumbledore's study in HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS.

3. The Hogwarts school motto is "Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus," which is Latin for “Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon.”

You can find plenty more Harry Potter trivia on the web -- if you have a few hours to kill.

Monday, August 8, 2011


This weekend, I heard about a new craze -- owling.

Apparently, "planking" is so two months ago, that a new trend is in. (For those of you who are as clueless about "planking" as I was -- it involves lying flat on your face as straight as you possible can (i.e., in a plank position) and having someone take a picture of you).

Eh -- don't try it, you'll be far too out of style. Try owling instead. Owling involves crouching in a perched position, generally in an unusual place like the top of a refrigerator or a statue, and staring off into the distance, in imitation of a perched owl, and having someone take a picture of you.

Want to see how it's done? Check this out =>
And, if you decide to try it out yourself, post your photo on-line.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

-- Norman MacFinan