Generational differences in gift selection.

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!


More like this

Lizards Bask In The Sun For A Vitamin D Boost: Keeping warm isn't the only reason lizards and other cold-blooded critters bask in the sun. According to a study published in the May/June issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, chameleons alter their sunbathing behavior based on their need…
Back to the real deal!
Folate is a cofactor, or a small molecule that is involved in the function of an enzyme. It's involved in a number of enzymatic reactions; perhaps the most important relate to the biosynthesis of DNA. It's amazing to think about the fact that we've only known about its existence for seventy-odd…
See also: yesterday's entry on folate. Methotrexate is a mimic of folic acid. Shortly after we discovered what folate was, we started looking into what else we could do with it. During the 1940's, George Hitchings and Gertrude Elion started work on a number of nucleic acid-related compounds that…

And now, to that stack of grading!

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

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.

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!

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