Adventures in Ethics and Science

It’s my birthday today.

My numerically obsessive parents opted to mark the occasion by sending me Jack Benny and a Hitchcock film.

My offspring had a different idea about what sort of gift was appropriate:


Yes, a chameleon and a blue lizardy guy with white and black spots. (Can any of you herpetologists give me a more precise identification than that?) Let the record reflect that the chameleon is a “stress chameleon”, intended for squeezing when one is filed with anxiety or rage. The criters are pictured lounging on my shelf of caffeinated drinks, and vessels for drinking same, at work.


In fact, there was some debate about whether I would be allowed to take these critters — my critters, if my understanding of the prevailing conventions regarding gift-giving is still to be trusted — to work with me. My offspring engaged me in an earnest discourse on the virtues of sharing. (It’s interesting that “sharing” is not one of their pet causes when it comes to, say, my stack of papers to be graded.)

i-08486ca6ce56418073ed3e84232afe21-BlueLizard.jpgI dug in my heels and brought my critters with me. The blue one of indeterminate species has a light in its mouth that flashes through different colors. I’m not entirely sure, but I suspect that the flashing light may be useful in stunning insects, making them easier for the lizard to eat. Either that or it’s a fashion statement.

And now, to that stack of grading!


  1. #1 NJ
    February 27, 2007

    And now, to that stack of grading!

    Oh, me thinks that stress chameleon will be getting some use…

  2. #2 skookumchick
    February 27, 2007

    Hey, happy birthday! Enjoy the new friends – maybe they can help you with grading?

  3. #3 chezjake
    February 27, 2007

    The Thirty-nine Steps, widely considered Hitchcock’s first *good* movie, is based on the eponymous 1915 novel by John Buchan. The novel does not include the love interest that’s in the movie, and although Buchan’s empire politics and prejudices don’t fit with modern thinking, he is still considered one of the all-time master storytellers. A number of his books, including The Thirty-nine Steps, are available at Project Gutenberg.

    Buchan was also one of those incredible Brits who seemed to do everything well: scholar, poet, novelist, historian, publisher, politician, intelligence agent, Member of Parliament, and Governor General of Canada, among others.

  4. #4 Jenny F. Scientist
    February 27, 2007

    Happy birthday!!

    I believe your lizard may be a distant relative of the blue-bellied Western Fence Lizard. Perhaps an undiscovered species! It may have mated with the rare Lacerta Coerulea Faraglionensis! The LED must be an adaptive response to the increasing prevalence of automobiles.

  5. #5 Amelie
    February 27, 2007

    Happy Birthday! I’d like to share your lizards, too, they look great!

  6. #6 Oaktown Girl
    February 28, 2007

    Dr. Free Ride –
    I don’t get to blog cruise during my work day, so I didn’t find out it was your birthday until tonight. Perhaps that’s good news for you. Had I known, I would have made a big deal about it on the WAAGNFNP site.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! And have a fantastic year!

  7. #7 Bill
    February 28, 2007

    Happy Birthday, and Many Happy Returns!

  8. #8 Laura
    February 28, 2007

    The blue guy looks like a leopard gecko, only bluer. The light inside the mouth is par for the course for that species.

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