Thursday, June 23, 2005

Take a Bath, Mr. Myers!

Pharyngula: Swatting Creationists Since the Late Triassic Period!

One scorching night in summertime, the hottest of the year--
(I kid you not; it got so hot that every sweetcorn ear
was deafened by a thunder of belligerent reports:
The detonating kernels tearing free from their supports)--

That sweaty night, the waning light crept in a window-crack
And with it crept (and buzzed, and swarmed) a living cloud of black:
A thousand flies of pinhead size, in search of sugared treats,
Of sandwich-crumbs and and jelly smears and ripening deli meats.
They crowded round a sugar-pile, beside a coffee-cup
And ate and puked and ate some more, till they had lapped it up.
They terrorized a pastry-box that once contained a pie,
And circled, Sopwith Camel style, around a chili fry.

That self-same night, and might I add, inside that self-same room
There sat, amid his papers, and amidst the gathered gloom,
A learned gent, all hunchback-bent to navigate a zone
Of footnotes so compelling they had footnotes of their own.
He blinked away contentedly, absorbed in his research,
Oblivious (and gladly so) of any airborne smirch
That dared befoul his tranquil lab, encroaching on his books,
Impinging on his crannies and infringing on his nooks.

It wasn't long before the pong of pedagogic sweat
And spice so old it qualified for senior discounts met
The nostrils of one questing midge, who soon informed the rest,
And down they swarmed upon that scent which midges love the best:
Of insoles drenched with toejam stench, enforced by years of wear;
And underarms, and groinal folds, and flat-perspir├Ęd hair--
And, floating on the current of his steamy sandwich breath,
The midges set about the task of vexing him to death.

He swatted one, and then the next, and then a dozen more,
But midges are ubiquitous, much like the local bore.
They found his sleeves, and crawled inside to irritate his skin;
They buzzed about his nasal bores, then gaily fluttered in.
Whichever way he turned his steps, the midges turned as well
Infecting and infesting him, like Baba Yaga's spell.
The more he killed, the more arrived, attracted by the stink
Of battle joined most bloodily upon a field of pink.

He danced and slapped until he fell prostrate upon the ground,
And there he lay, a thousand flies vibrating all around.
He never rose; he's still there now, and sore proboscis-fraught:
For all his books, I'm sad to say, the poor man never thought
To lower the sash, and stanch the source, and thus enforce a ban,
Or raid their ranks to kingdom come with vengeance in a can.
Although he knew the flies enjoyed the odour of his wrath--
In spite of this, God rest his soul, he never took a bath.


(Moral: Mr. Myers, us PhaWRONGulans admire you no end. However, we feel that this Creationist-swatting of yours has gotten out of hand. Nobody can swat 'em all, PZ, not even you, and not even with the biggest flyswatter in the world. We feel that your wisdom is being lost in a sea of cheap shots. We feel that your cause might be better served by a few drops of judiciously-placed poison than by a thousand stomps with your tackety boots. Ask any exterminator: when you've got roaches, you don't stamp 'em all individually--you'd be at it forever.

Also, we want more science. Feed our curiosity, not our frustration with the world.)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Seussian Genetics

Pharyngula: Exorcising flawed concepts of Hox function

Hox
Pax
Backs
Blocks

Pax in backs.
Hox in blocks.

Hox unlocks the rocks in ox.
Pax impacts what Hox unlocks.
Flocks of facts on Hox we lacks.

Flies with eyes come.
Flies with thighs come.
Flies with unwise thighs on eyes come.

Look, sir. Look, sir. Lots of facts, sir.
Let's do tricks with Pits and Pax, sir.
Let's do tricks with bits of BACs, sir.

First I'll coin a quick-quilled quote quip,
Then I'll try a tall-taled tongue-trip.

Evo-devo cracks that whip, sir.
Now I must relax my lips, sir.