Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dino-Musings

I know I have been sort of remiss in posting lately... but I have been writing, I swear!

About a month ago, I had a piece published in the Hartford Courant about my latest addiction, the online quiz site called Sporcle. You can check out the piece here.

And today, I had a piece published on a cool site called The Faster Times. Described as "a new type of newspaper for a new type of world," The Faster Times attempts to redeem the dying art of great journalism. Really, an impressive site, with a great mission and some great content.

This week, the Faster Times folks were generous enough to publish something I wrote, a piece entitled "When Did Studying Dinosaurs Get So Complicated?" You can check out the article (and my goofy mug) here.

The "initial shiver of inspiration" (Thanks, Nabokov) for this article came from my nine-year-old son, who has long been a huge fan of dinosaurs. Not that that's particularly remarkable: he is a little boy, after all; he has to love dinosaurs. (I think there must be with some kind of dinosaur chromosome or something.)

Personally, I know I was fascinated by the things when I was his age. But as I read his dinosaur books along with him, I realized something strange has seemingly happen in the past thrity years: we have new dinosaurs.

Hey, I know, I know. How can there be new dinosaurs? They've been extinct for, like, six gazillion years. Then how do you explain all these new-fangled dinosaurs that appeared in my son's books-- dinosaurs I had never heard of before?

Parasaurolophus. Coelophyses. Troodons. And others whose names I couldn't even pronounce. (My son, of curse, had no problem with the names: I remember stumbling over a particularly prickly name while reading a book to him, and he said, slightly exasperated, “Daddy, it’s Compsognathus!”)

So I asked myself, "Where did these crazy things come from, anyway?" When I was a kid, there were maybe five dinosaurs: Tyrannosaurs Rex, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and Pterodactyl. That was it--except for maybe an occasional reference to Diplodocus. Are paleontologists inventing new dinosaurs, just to mess with us?

All that dinosaur angst ended up inspiring the piece that eventually became the one currently appearing in The Faster Times, which is less about terrible lizards and more about the loss of childhood innocence. But I had some other dinosaur-related observations, ones that I ended up cutting from the piece, that I thought I could re-print here. (Ah, praise be the junk-heap that is the blogosphere!)

First off, while writing the piece, I found myself wrestling with one of those overwhelming questions: Why doesn't anyone talk about Brontosaurus anymore? Are you telling me they've not only added dinosaurs, but they've taken one away?

Well, I did some research (i.e. I checked Wikipedia), and apparently, the Brontosaurus was a grown-up version of Apatosaurus, which had been discovered first; thus, the name “Brontosaurus” became extinct.

That Bronotsaurus tangent got me thinking about Fred Flintstone, who loved nothing more than his Brontosaurus Burger after a tough day working for Mr. Slate. Then I started thinking about the Flintstones' bizarre longevity. I mean, they still make Fruity Pebbles cereal and Flintstone Vitamins-- despite the fact that most kids, I'd wager, have never actually seen a Flintstones cartoon.

Think about it: Magilla Gorilla, Captain Caveman, Snugglepuss-- they've all faded from the cultural consciousness. But as long as kids eat breakfast, the Flintstones will live on. Capitalism rocks. (I can't decide if that's a pun or not.)

Final observation that never made it to the final piece: about fifteen years ago, I went to the Museum of Science in Boston and saw a new exhibit for a dinosaur named...Ultrasaurus. And I distinctly remember thinking, “Oh, come on. Now they’re just getting ridiculous.”

I mean, honestly: Ultrasaurus? Doesn’t it sound like a Marvel Comics cartoon super-lizard or something? “An asteroid is careening toward the planet to wipe out dinosaur life as we know it. This looks like a job for—Ultrasaurus!”

Anyway, check out the articles. Till then, enjoy the Bronotosaurus Burgers.

37 comments:

身材維持 said...

thank you for you to make me learn more,thank you∩0∩ ........................................

carzy said...

Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.............................................

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奎峰 said...

志不立,天下無可成之事。........................................

彭志文 said...

貧者因書而富,富者因書而貴。......................................................

BertR25596 said...

Nice Post~!!!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

509DevonG_Carreras0 said...

Good Job!!......................................................................

巧生 said...

看看blog調整心情,又要來繼續工作,大家加油........................................

劉claren0812ceb_brunette said...

生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。...............................................................

韋于倫成 said...

偉大的致富萬能之鑰,正是幫你充分掌握自己心志所必須的自律自制..................................................

清民 said...

灰心是動搖的開端,動搖是失敗的近鄰。 ..................................................

致遠致遠 said...

生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。...........................................................................

burtong said...

一個人最大的敵人常是自己。 ............................................................

reeselane said...

君子立恆志,小人恆立志。..................................................

SadeRa盈君iford0412 said...

I guess I will need a lot.................................................................

則惠 said...

感謝您費心的分享您的生活!讓我也感同身受!

EulaliaS_Bro仁豪 said...

在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」.................................................................

LaneA_Rub智文 said...

Poverty is stranger to industry.................................................................

嘉玲 said...

人生是故事的創造與遺忘。............................................................

雅莊王edgd春2蕙婷余惠其 said...

Hello~安安唷~很高興見到你哦!!............................................................

JasonBirk佳琪 said...

有用的才華若不用,便如同日晷儀放在陰暗之中............................................................

新順 said...

來塊巧克力吧~~心情會好哦~~............................................................

宜潔宜潔 said...

我們老得太快,卻聰明得太遲。..................................................

江淑如 said...

玩遊戲玩到累,還是逛逛文章休閒一下!!輕鬆自在最舒服~~..................................................................

潘凱花潘凱花 said...

做好事,不需要給人知道,雖然只是一件微不足道的事,但我相信,這會帶給我快樂。..................................................

文郭ss華賴ss添卉顏俊s任 said...

做好事,不需要給人知道,雖然只是一件微不足道的事,但我相信,這會帶給我快樂。..................................................

陳佑發 said...

快樂,是享受工作過程的結果............................................................

夏瓊陳詩蓁富 said...

傻氣的人喜歡給心 雖然每次都被笑了卻得到了別人的心..................................................................

洪志源 said...

一個人的價值,應該看他貢獻了什麼,而不是他取得了什麼....................................................

恩宛玲如 said...

好的部落格,希望您能繼續堅持!!!..................................................................

文王廷 said...

It is no use crying over spilt milk.......................................................................

老陆 said...

人生中最好的禮物就是屬於自己的一部份............................................................

1615 said...

生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。..................................................

said...

在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」..................................................

璇陳陳陳竹 said...

路過~很有趣吶...............................................................

huihuiai said...

支持大大~很有啟發性......................................................

王雅俊 said...

時間就是塑造生命的材料。......................................................................