Cons of Laziness

When I was a child, my mother used to tell me that being lazy was more work than work. At first, I did not understand her reasoning and so, as children are wont to do, I ignored her. I didn’t think of myself as being lazy, per se, but rather as being discriminating about how and when I spent my precious energy. I later learned that my idea was simply another example of what Mother was talking about: Using twelve words to describe something when one word would have sufficed. Lazy.

By the time I graduated from high school I had gotten a better grip on what Mom was trying to tell me. I saw my friends struggling daily to concoct innovative methods and techniques for avoiding work. I noted many instances wherein these friends, whom my mother would have called ‘lazy’ and been done with them, spent far more time, energy and sometimes money to avoid doing something they could have accomplished with much greater ease had they simply done what needed to be done when it needed to be done. In the end, the ‘work’ still needed to be done and was usually twice as hard due to the time delay. For example, the grass was taller, the stain was set, the food was dried on the dishes, etc.

Most of the innovative methods my friends and later co-workers used to get out of work involved blaming someone else for causing the work to be necessary in the first place and then trying to invoke the idea of ‘fair play’ as an excuse to pass along the work to someone else in the second place. Unfortunately, placing the blame and then whining generally never worked and more like than not just made the whiner look not only lazy, but petulant. Two qualities not well liked by moms and/or supervisors.

One of the worst examples I saw of the Blame/Whine approach occurred when I worked as a supervisor over an institutional food service department where the workers were seasoned criminals and self-proclaimed experts on how to avoid work. Blame/Whine was always the first impulse and deeply ingrained in the prison psyche as the first line of defense when ‘supervisors’, ‘officers’ or ‘bosses’ tried to get them to do work.

I was having trouble with the ventilation system on the cooks’ floor at the time. The vent hoods above nine pizza-style ovens and five 80 gallon steam pots were not working properly. There were no windows in the area and the temperature was reaching upwards of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. I passed through the area to check the vents and the temperature and make sure the four cooks I had preparing the evening meal were drinking plenty of water and taking breaks.

When I walked into the cooks’ area, I felt as if I had been struck a physical blow by the heat. The four cooks were struggling over two steam pots full of boiling foods. They looked extremely stressed by the heat and I could not believe how hot it was. I was about to shut the meal down and evacuate the area when I discovered that all nine of the pizza ovens were turned on and set at 350 degrees. The ovens were empty and had not been used since biscuits had been baked some three to four hours earlier in the day.

I turned to the cooks and asked them why the ovens were on and were they going to bake something I didn’t know about.

They all shook their heads and answered in the negative. Nothing to bake.

I frowned in puzzlement and asked “why didn’t you turn the ovens off?”

One of them replied quite quickly in a decidedly irritable tone “we didn’t turn them on; first shift did it!”

“Oh,” I said “then I’ll call them back to turn them off. Don’t worry. I won’t let them get away with wasting gas.”

Needless to say, the ovens were off when I passed that way again.bars

Urgent! Update on Water Bear Danger.

The growing threat from Water Bears, AKA Moss Piglets, AKA Tardigrades, has taken a nasty turn. Since I exposed them on my blog for the innocuously insidious creatures they are, they have taken a new direction. It seems that some humans have already been infected, or I should say, Brainwashed! These tiny microbes resemble something created by artistic kindergartners. Some grown people even think they are cute! I didn’t know the incursion had gone so far and was sadly surprised to come under attack as some kind of monster for suggesting Water Bears might actually be plotting to take over the earth. I have copied and pasted a thread from Facebook to illustrate the point. Please pay attention to the fact that there are real cuddly stuffed toys available on the internet meant to introduce/indoctrinate our children to these docile devils.

(Note to reader: Daniel Arenson and the other posters on this thread are mostly friends of mine and I support them in their endeavors — NORMALLY, but in this case, I am deeply saddened and alarmed by some of the remarks. Now, please read on, I implore you.)

Tardigrade in Moss

What the… Water Bear?!

I’ve recently seen a couple of posts on Facebook that are highly disturbing. The photograph, taken through an electron scanning microscope, reveals a creature so bizarre as to cause nightmares in even the most fearsome redneck and/or semi-immortal Scottish alchemist with a golden sword.

As you can see, this creature, commonly called a Water Bear is NO bear I’ve ever seen or heard of (as you know, I do not care for bears and thought the name highly appropriate in any case) also called Moss Piglets (too cute for this monster).Tardigrade in Moss It’s real name is Tardigrade by the fellow who discovered it. It has no eyes and no discernible ears. That means you can’t scare it away by looking mean and it won’t be able to hear you if you scream at it. Having said that, let me fill you in on a few facts about this critter. (And no, that is not Uncle Bob’s sweater it’s crawling on; that is highly magnified moss.)

  • It is the most common creature on earth.
  • It lives under our feet.
  • It can survive in outer space.
  • It can withstand deadly radiation.
  • It can live for decades without a thing to eat or drink.
  • It doesn’t mind deep freeze near absolute zero; nor does it mind extreme heat above the boiling point of alcohol.
  • It can live at the bottom of the deepest ocean under enormous pressure.
  • It likes both salt water and fresh water.
  • It has FOUR pairs of legs that end in four to eight CLAWS.

Let us forget for a moment that this critter is microscopic in size and consider the implications of mutation. Mutation is generally accepted as the engine running Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. According to a great number of people, we are what we are due to a series of mutations. At one time, we were little bitty hominids or ape-like critters living in trees. Now we often grow to astounding heights and weights… but relatively speaking, even a 6’3″ 250 lb. muscle building Viking Warrior is nothing more than a microscopic speck on a dust mite’s butt in the cosmic scheme of things.

Imagine our little Water Bear somehow ingesting something either natural or man-made or extraterrestrial in origin and starting to put on a little weight. In no time at all, the earth would be overrun by the trillions of Water Bears out there looking for a scrumptious munchie to scarf up. I would hate to run into one or two of these mutated to say…. the size of a Mini-Cooper. ‘Run for your life!!’ I could scream, but with only two legs to carry me, how could I outrun something with eight? (Which is another reason to dislike the Water Bear. What else has eight legs? Aha! You got it.  Spiders!)

Refer now, with your full imagination tuned in, back to the photo of the Water Bear. See that little Dixie Cup looking thing stuck in its wrinkly face? Well, that is its mouth apparently and from the looks of it, I would say it sucks up its dinner like a vacuum cleaner. Shudder! Cringe! And if it was the size of a Mini-Cooper, why stop there? Why not a Ford 150? Or a Dodge Durango? That would be a problem, wouldn’t it?

The Water Bear is  a very good reason to hope that Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution was wrong. It is also a good pictorial representation of what the Worms of Sherma that I used in the first book of the Assassin Chronicles might have resembled as they spit acid on bedrock strong enough to cut out building blocks. Eerily enough, I never saw these things or thought that something like them existed until just recently, but I certainly must have imagined them over twenty years ago as one of the most terrifying creature I could dream up. What a shock it was to see one naked and exposed on my Facebook wall.

Oh, did I mention that they are asexual? In other words, one Water Bear goes a long way…

All kidding aside, I was astounded by the tenacity of this creature and equally astonished to learn that very little actual research is being done to unravel its secrets. The Water Bear can actually repair its own DNA. Perhaps, we might be able to learn something from this little fellow about aging and survival if we take the time to research it thoroughly. If I were just starting out now as a Microbiologist, this would be my life’s work I think. It is truly amazing what we do NOT know about what we are walking on every time we go outside.

Image Credit & Copyright: Nicole Ottawa & Oliver Meckes / Eye of Science / Science Source Images

More information at: NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day &  Microbial Life Educational Resources 

Skara Brae ~ What the Hey!

Anyone who has known me at all, knows that I have great affinity for all things weird, ancient and unusual, especially if it has to do with Scotland.

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North of Scotland in a very hostile environment for human occupation, the ruins of a so-called ‘Neolithic Village’ dated to between 3600 and 2200 B.C.E. was discovered in the late 19th Century when a storm tore away the grass on some low-lying hummocks near the shoreline. Known to the locals by various names over the years, the site, consisting of 10 individual buildings made of stone and connected by covered alleys and passageways, Skara Brae is believed to have been occupied for approximately 600 years before it was abandoned.

Now I’ve read a lot of historical stuff, but looking at these ‘Flintstone Houses’ that conjure up images of Fred and Wilma Flintstone; and Barney and Betty Rubble, I am struck by the full impact of what went on in this tiny village in the middle of nowhere in such an unforgiving climate. 600 years! People lived in these structures for 600 years! It’s cold up there, though it is supposedly mild for such a northern location.

Wikipedia says: Orkney has a cool temperate climate that is remarkably mild and steady for such a northerly latitude, due to the influence of the Gulf Stream. The average temperature for the year is 8 °C (46 °F); for winter 4 °C (39 °F) and for summer 12 °C (54 °F).

Still, this is cold to most people with modern clothing, electric blankets, shoes and gloves. I simply cannot imagine living there, raising a family there and dying there… for generations. Certainly, Skara Brae speaks well for the tenacity of the human race in general. But I do have a problem with one thing. As with all archaeological finds, the archaeologists have decided that the inhabitants were religious and they probably were. I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with their ideas concerning some artifacts found in the ruins. They say the items shown below are some kind of religious artifacts as usual, though they are not sure what they represent. To me, their purpose is quite obvious. Fancy Meat Tenderizers!

(Except for the bottom one, which may or may not be a Neolithic dental instrument! Ugh.)

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Exciting New Product for Pet Owners!

Pet Stretcher

Having trouble applying or receiving enough love for or from your cat, but don’t want to increase your pet expenses and responsibilities? Try the new Cat-Stretcher from Ronco! Simply place the Cat-Stretcher on the floor and sprinkle the enclosed packet of irresistible snack dust at both ends; sit back and wait for the fun to begin. Your pet will absolutely love this relatively painless innovative invention that allows you to get the most out of the cat that already owns you. You will automatically produce up to 3X  the surface area almost instantly, creating more to love by providing a much greater petting area. Call now and get your Cat-Stretcher for only three easy payments of $39.95. Cats will sleep longer, purr louder and more easily fit to those tiny crawl spaces without ever actually leaving the room. 

But wait, there’s more. This inexpensive but exciting new way to double or even triple the love without doubling the expenses associated with owning two pets also comes in dog size. Order now, pay separate shipping and handling and get a hamster-stretcher absolutely free!

New Guppy-Stretchers coming soon.

Disclaimer: Pets not included. Should not be used as dryer vents. Use on wiener dogs, ferrets, and pythons prohibited in some states. Store in a cool, dry place when not in use. Keep away from children under six. Not available in NYC. Results may vary depending on moon phases.

Pet Stretcher

(Photo courtesy of Onkar Singh Gujral on GooglePlue)