This being a university department, after all, an answer was arrived at before lunch. These surging worms, it turns out, were actually maggots: gnat larvae. They were engaged in a mass migration, probably due to all the recent rain, and apparently we were pretty lucky to see it (it's kind of rare). Here is a photo of one of these migrations, with the attractive file name "maggot stream."
Friday, July 31, 2009
A colleague discovered on the Press's driveway this morning an organism she at first mistook for a snake. Looking closer, she discovered it to be thousands of tiny worms. This created a small stir in the office almost on the level of when someone brings a box of Spudnuts in.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Just now, on our almost-always-worthless local news, I just came across an intriguing new concept--the burn building. This was new to me, and fairly new to most of you, too, as it does not even have a Wikipedia entry, so there you go. This thing is managed by a fire department or fire academy and is constructed solely to be lit on fire for training in fire fighting and evacuation. Some of these buildings use actual burning wood or hay, while other have gas-jet systems. They have their own particular architecture (many have towers, for example). Some are steel, others stone; some are even portable.
So, a correct use of the term burn building: "The firefighters trained all day in the burn building."
And an incorrect use of the term: "After church, we'll all meet out at the burn building."
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I'm told by my Dutch wife (knew that marrying her would come in handy for something) that the native name for the painting that lends its name to this blog might be De Tijd die den Nijdt Doodt. But this is not yet confirmed.
The elusiveness of this hardly-obscure work (it hangs in the Royal Palace in The Hague) is a little baffling. Image searches for Jordaens' work turn up nothing, and searches on the title in English turn up only the original reference (from John Rupert Martin's excellent book on the baroque) that introduced me to this painting in the first place. Which brings us to this disturbing question: did Martin make it up?
As my readers know, I began this blog (about, oh, six minutes ago) with a complaint about the number of characters allowed by the Google empire in a blog title, forcing me to hang a badly abbreviated sign outside this little shop. I just found that, through the editing option, this limit can be trumped. So we now have the complete, overblown title I always intended.
Full title of my blog was supposed to be "Time Mowing Down Slander and Vice and Death Strangling Envy," an allegorical painting from 1605 by Jacob Jordaens--and the title of the first draft of a story of mine that, rewritten years later, actually got published in a good magazine. Pretty darn angry at Blogspot or Google or whoever for limiting the word-count on titles and thus castrating my blog right out of the gate.