A romance for the ages

A romance for the agesIt began simply.

He was out on his morning rampage when he crashed through the front gates of SeaWorld.

She was doing the 10 am show, trying to keep her spirits up while simultaneously pleasing her human masters and keeping the male dolphins from gang raping her.

It was love at first sight; she was drawn to his chiseled good looks and stylish shoes, and he instinctively knew that she would not like fire.

As the crowd fled in abject terror, she knew he would free her from this horrific prison. She jumped into his arms as he approached the tank, and he smiled as he felt the coolness of her scales on his hands, the warmth of her hand on his face.

It all went so well until lunch.

Alltop loves fish too! Thanks to Foxtongue for the pic. Originally published March, 2009.

Ask General Kang: Um, is it time to panic?

Ask General KangYou humans still have primitive brains, so I will try to be understanding about this need of yours to panic.

One of your wisest humans wrote a book, upon the cover of which was the phrase “DON’T PANIC”. This is excellent advice, and the first thing you must learn if you ever hope to:

  • evolve
  • dabble in intergalactic travel
  • keep your portfolio intact in times of irrational exuberance and abject, lower-primate, the-leopard-is-going-to-eat-me moments of dread.

In this period of your insignificant planet’s history, you have given a large part of your economic well being to an institution which (and let’s not gild the lily on this one) runs on the base emotions of greed and fear. So, on occasion, you will have to face the fear. But those of you who rise above it, who listen to the wisdom of your great prophet, shall evolve.

But I suspect that not enough of you will get there before my armada arrives with its legions of ├╝ber-chimps, armed with hyper-kazoos and tutus.

Then what?

Then it’s time for you to panic.

Next time: What does it mean when your cat beats you at chess? And should he be able to levitate like that?

More reasons not to panic here. Originally published in (you guessed it) January, 2008. It’s worth keeping in mind, though.

Thag angry! Teenager bad!

Hunting spear of Thag, Fonzag, et al.Having settled the issue of if the members of the Thunka Grunka tribe had free will or not, Thag settled back into life with his tribe.

For once, it was almost peaceful. He and his new mate, Twigla, were happy. Thag enjoyed the prestige and respect everyone gave him for leading the hunters so well. (Not to mention how they grokked his cave paintings and practically worshiped his beer.)

He and the other decent hunter, Fonzag, were in the process of training a new generation of young men. But they were having problems with Donjuag.

Donjuag was the son of Gnock, whom Thag had been unable to save from cave lions, so he felt even more responsibility. But Donjuag was a moody fellow. Unpredictable. He was also in love with Fonzag’s mate, the luscious Vunga.

“Heyyyyyy,” Fonzag said to Thag, as they walked out to their hunting grounds. “He’s being uncool with my lady.”

“Him not do anything,” Thag told Fonzag. “Him just infatuated.”

Donjuag ran by, his spear held high above his head, whooping with excitement.

“What him do?”

“Thag, that cat is full of energy,” Fonzag explained. “He’s not sleeping well either, at least that’s what his mom said.”

“Him crazy,” Thag said while Donjuag finished his sprint with a forward flip. The young hunter over-rotated and did a face plant. Thag laughed. “Donjuag funny.”

Donjuag, undeterred, got up, and did a back flip, whooping with delight.

Fonzag looked on, worried. Thag slapped his diminutive friend on the back (careful not to touch Fonzag’s ridiculous hair) and said, “Fonzag not worry. We wear Donjuag out on trail. Him too tired to pitch woo at Vunga.”

Donjuag started running again, landing a forward flip this time, and Fonzag grunted. “I don’t know, he’s got a lot of energy.”

New Scientist: Puppy love makes teenagers lose the plot. Photo by esterase. Look here forhumorists with too much energy. Originally published 2007.

Thag do meditation!

cave lions

Cave lion(esse)s, Aurignacian era, Chauvet cave, France

Every morning before they started the hunt, Thag would sit down away from the others, close his eyes, and listen to the wind. It was more than that, but that is what he told the other hunters. Really what he did was sit, and let his mind go blank.

At first it would be filled with thoughts and concerns — mostly about Onga, his mate, and his running feud with that phallus-with-ears shaman, Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother. He would not concentrate on those thoughts, but let them wash away, and eventually, his mind would loosen, and he could hear the wind distinctly; its whooshes and gusts, its whispers, and then the smells would come to him.

This morning ritual heightened his ability to sense the prey.

In stark contrast to Thag, Gnock had another way of preparing for the hunt. This ritual involved a lot of shouting, and banging the shaft of his wooden spear against his head, numbing himself to pain, and more importantly, fear.

Gnock had been doing this since his brother Grunk had been killed by the wooly rhino.

One morning, Thag came back from his meditation earlier than usual, and told the other hunters: “go higher ground, upwind. Smell cave lions. Many.”

“Many hunting us?” asked Vlog, one of the sharpest hunters.

“Un,” Thag confirmed.

This was bad news indeed. Cave lions did not normally travel in groups, and they would not fear the humans if they had numbers on their side.

“Much goodly!” Gnock, who had stopped bashing his melon long enough to hear this news, said.

“You mammoth gas sniffing?” Vlog asked Gnock.

Gnock just grinned insanely, and said, “hunt us cave lion!” Then he started shouting: “here cave lion. Lion, lion, liiiiiii-on!”

“Gnock be quiet,” Vlog hissed.

Gnock ignored the sensible suggested: “Lion, lion, liiiiiii-on!”

Thag had been meditating, but if anything it made his reaction quicker. He used his own spear to whack Gnock on the back of the head, much harder than Gnock had been doing to himself.

The shouting stopped, but the trouble was just starting. The wind stopped blowing for a moment, and Thag heard something. He told the others: “they come. Climb trees.”

Vlog looked at Gnock and said, “what him?”

Thag looked down sadly at Gnock, and just shook his head. “Not time carry up tree.”

Scientific evidence: Meditation builds up the brain | Gene turnoff makes meek mice fearless. Lions image via Scientific American. Other skull bangers here. Originally published 2005.