Late Night Open Thread: Good Riddance, #Tax Day

Watch Giant Isopods Eat An Alligator


This video is from one of my favorite science blogs, Deep Sea News. They have a lot of great photos of sea animals, including a few bit players in this one. They dropped an alligator in the Gulf of Mexico to see which animals showed up to eat it. The giant isopods are relatives of roly-polys, pillbugs, wood lice, whatever you care to call them.

Open Thread!



The 2nd Plague Comes Early This Year: Florida Toad!

ABC News has the details!

A Florida suburb is being plagued by thousands of poisonous toads.

Experts say the amphibians are bufo toads, also known as cane toads. Residents in the infested Palm Beach Gardens neighborhood worry toxins secreted by the toads will harm their pets and children.

News stations broadcast images of the small toads clogging pool filters, hopping en masse across driveways and sidewalks, and lurking in landscaped lawns.

Resident Jennifer Quasha told WPBF her family first noticed the toads Friday. She said hundreds of them were in her swimming pool.

Mark Holladay of the pest removal service Toad Busters told WPTV that recent rains coupled with warm temperatures sent the amphibians into a breeding cycle.

Holladay said even more toads are likely to spread throughout South Florida in the coming weeks.

NBC 6 South Florida has the video!

Open thread!

* I know I promised a post on the President’s executive order regarding the Golan Heights for tonight. I got behind working on something and will endeavor to get to it tomorrow.

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Happy National Puppy Day!

Of course, isn’t every day Puppy Day, in our hearts?

Meanwhile, this is me, trying to keep up with the news:

Spent Friday evening seeing the Russian National Ballet perform SWAN LAKE (highly recommended, especially by the Spousal Unit, who’s the knowledgeable one). We’re talking about going to see HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD (if we can stand two such exciting excursions in one weekend; yes we’re old and introverted).

Who’s got plans for the weekend?

Roadside Attraction: Tales of Terror

Fellow jackal lamh36, aka @psddluva4evah on Twitter, highlighted a thread on a little-discussed childhood trauma — being terrorized by monkeys at Florida tourist traps:

I should say up front (as the author of the tweet thread acknowledges) that the true victims of these tales are the captive monkeys. It’s perfectly understandable that they’d want to terrorize children herded into their prisons by human captors.

But that doesn’t make the terror of those children any less real. I know; I was one of them.

My tale begins at a local tourist trap with my kindergarten classmates. It was a field trip, and a dumb one since all of us had seen everything at that nature-themed roadside attraction before with our relatives, so it wasn’t educational. Maybe the principal was getting a kickback from the person who owned the place, who knows.

Anyhoo, the way it was supposed to work is that tourists would board a boat that would chug slowly around a lagoon and series of canals to see animals, including a bored hippo, some manatees, flamingos and other exotic birds, etc.

One of the draws on the tour was Monkey Island, a spit of land inhabited by feral spider monkeys. The boat would motor past — not too close! — and the monkeys would screech and fling shit at the people gawking at them from the boat.

Well, on this tour, the boat broke down just as we were approaching Monkey Island and started drifting toward it. The monkeys, perhaps sensing that something was amiss, screamed even more loudly, showed their teeth and flung poo with greater force the closer we got.

It was like a slow-motion scene in a horror movie, the monkeys’ rising hysteria as we drifted closer and closer, matched by the increasingly terrified screams of the children. As we ran aground on the island, the monkeys swarmed the boat like an invading horde of hairy pirates, swinging from the bars that held up the canvas roof and screaming right in our faces. Utterly terrifying!

I crawled under the bench seat, curled up in the fetal position with my face pressed against the hull and apparently went into a catatonic state. I don’t really remember much after that, but was told later we were rescued by another boat and there were no physical injuries among monkeys or humans.

Anyhoo, decades later, I saw that island again. It still has a handful of monkeys on it, but it’s part of a nature preserve now.

My father says my memory of the field trip incident is ridiculously over-dramatized. I know he’s right because I was shocked when I saw the island again as an adult.

I remembered a much larger island teeming with dozens of angry, screeching, revenge-seeking monkeys. The reality is a little clump of rocks and vegetation occupied by few desultory primates who aren’t at all interested in passersby.

That’s the thing about growing up. Reality scales down the remembered terrors. It diminishes the sense of wonder too, I suppose, but I’ll take that bargain. I bet most folks who were terrorized by monkeys as children would too. And don’t even get me started on hissing, angry swans!

Open thread!