Category Archives: Lore and Legend

The Life and Death(s) of Grigori Rasputin

Alexei Romanov, Tsarevich of the Russian Empire, suffered from haemophilia, a condition of the blood common among descendants of Queen Victoria.[1] Worried for her son’s life, Alexei’s mother the Tsaritsa Alexandra summoned a spiritual healer of some renown to the palace. After the holy man’s visit, the boy recovered. Crediting him with the cure of her son, he became a favourite of the Empress for the rest of his days. In the years following Alexei’s recovery, this monk rose to both fame and infamy through his association with, and influence over, the Tsaritsa.[2] This monk is, of course, “The Mad Monk” Grigori Rasputin, also known as “The Heir of Slytherin.” “Razzmatazz Ras” to his friends. You probably know him simply as Rasputin.

Rasputin’s close association with the Tsaritsa won him few friends; he was seen as a manipulator of the royal family, an enemy of the empire who must be stopped at any cost. Rasputin’s reputation was not helped by his notoriously depraved personal predilections. In short, he had an unhealthy fondness for good food, plentiful alcohol and beautiful women. When he wasn’t hobnobbing with the Romanovs, he was indulging his bacchanalian propensities in St. Petersburg’s taverns of good reputation and houses of ill repute.

Llllllladies...

Our tale, however, does not concern the life of Rasputin, but his death. Or rather his deaths. You see, among the many reasons for his fame, Rasputin was widely considered to be the least killable man in St. Petersburg. In fact, Rasputin was killed no less than twenty-seven times with no success.[3] The Russians even have a phrase[4], колющие монах, which literally translated means “stabbing the monk” but has come to mean “having fun.”

At first, the attempts on Rasputin’s life were fairly straightforward. Once as Rasputin was leaving church, a woman and disciple of one of his rivals stabbed Rasputin in the gut. Believing her assassination attempt successful, she screamed, “I have killed the Antichrist!” Sadly for our would-be killer our would-be Antichrist survived the attack.

After the botched stabbing, the attempts to kill Rasputin were rather silly. His enemies tried tickling him with feathers, they forced him to read Melville, they even fed him Russian food on one occasion.[5] He survived every assault. Inexplicably, they only seemed to make him stronger, more insidious, and strangely, more hirsute.

A weirdy, beardy, magiciany man.

Rasputin quickly gained a reputation for unkillableness, so the plots to kill him grew both plottier and more elaborate. Knowing his predilection for decadent food and beautiful women, a group of nobles, led by Prince Yusupov, lured him to the home of Princess Irina with the promise of a late night tryst. The conspirators told Rasputin to wait for the princess in the basement where they plied him with food and drink. Unbeknownst to Rasputin, it was all laced with poison.[6] The murderers watched as Rasputin ate enough poisoned food to kill five men, yet it had no effect on him. Running out of time to dispose of the body, Prince Yusupov shot Rasputin and left him for dead. The men returned several hours later to dispose of the body.

Among Rasputin’s many reputed spiritual gifts, he was widely considered a prophet (He was also believed to be able to talk to badgers, but that’s neither here nor there). So it can only be assumed that Rasputin had foreseen twentieth century horror movie tropes, because when Yusupov leaned over Rasputin to pick up his corpse, Rasputin’s eyes shot open and he lunged at Yusupov, grasping him about the neck.

He also predicted "The Shawshank Redemption" with eerie clarity.

At this point it becomes difficult for the historian and the verendicompendian to separate truth from legend. So we will err, as is fitting, on the side of awesome.

The other assassins shot Rasputin several more times in the back, saving Yusupov’s life. When they approached the body, Rasputin was somehow still alive, so they clubbed him repeatedly. They then bound him in chains, rolled him up in a carpet, wrapped the carpet in barbed wire, doused the bundle in gasoline, lit it on fire, wrapped the charred remains in yet another carpet, which was subsequently encased in concrete, which was also wrapped in barbed wire, doused in gasoline and lit on fire. Finally, they took the smoldering remnants of the smoldering remnants of the poisoned, shot, and bludgeoned remains of the monk and threw them in the frigid Neva River.

Rasputin, the Satan of St. Petersburg, was finally dead.

…or was he?

Rasputin?

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[1] About 87% of posh European people at the time.

[2] He is also the subject of the song “Rasputin” by the Euro disco group Boney M, a song so obscure, so utterly unheard of, if anything it has somehow made him less famous.

[3] The children of St. Petersburg even made a sport of killing Rasputin. The rules were simple: the first one to kill Rasputin wins. Extra points were rewarded for every minute he stayed dead. Rasputin used to take the long way to the palace just to avoid his own assassination at the hands of an incorrigible young street urchin.

[4] No, they don’t.

[5] Contrary to popular belief, Russians do not actually eat Russian food. They invented it during the Napoleonic Wars in hopes of discouraging invasion. They later used it to great effect during The Cold War as a means of weakening the will of the people of Eastern Europe.

[6] The poison poisson was particularly pernicious.

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Filed under History, Lore and Legend

Switzerland

To many Americans, Switzerland is either a) Sweden, b) a European theme park, or c) not real. To very few of us is it known as a small Alpine tassel adorning Italy’s boot. What we don’t know about Switzerland says as much as what we do know. For example, the fact that we don’t know Switzerland for its rampant gang-related violence – or for producing androgynous Europop stars – is a very good thing. With little to go on in the way of cold, hard facts, many Americans are forced to rely upon stereotypes to fill in the gaps. Now, I would as lief form judgments on a people group based solely on broad stereotypes as the next guy, but even Swiss stereotypes turn out to be vague and uninformative, and sadly, my countrymen go about their lives blissfully unaware of the awesomeness that is Switzerland.

Not from Switzerland

We know from common Swiss stereotypes that they make chocolate, cheese, clocks, army knives, banks and neutrality. In fact, according to a 2009 UN report, Switzerland is the number one neutrality producer in the world, accounting for 43% of earth’s neutrality. That’s more than Canada, Ireland, Sweden and Vatican City combined! But what does this tell us about Switzerland? That they can tell time? That they have currency? And how does making chocolate set them apart from any other European nation? Or for that matter any nation with access to cocoa and sugar? Or any nation founded after the advent of Dessert? We need more to go on!

There’s so much more to Switzerland than what products they export. Like the people who live there. The Swiss people speak four languages – French, German, Italian and Yodeling, reflecting their location between four countries we can prove exist – France, Germany, Italy and Austria – and one we can’t – Liechtenstein[1], as well as their eclectic mix of ethnic groups and lonely goatherds. The Swiss people may come from many different people groups, but they all have one thing in common: they make mediocre post-Cold War Bond villains.

One ethnically ambiguous Swiss banker on the wrong end of Mr. Bond's Walther.

Switzerland is also home of the Matterhorn, which, legend tells us, the last President of the Confederation will blow when all peace is lost in this world, when Swiss neutrality no longer protects them and their borders are overrun by foreign hordes. When the Matterhorn sounds, the last remnant of Switzerlanders will know to flee to the highest mountains to make their last stand.

The Matterhorn at the Annual St. Berchtold's Day Parade

Okay. Look, I’m going to level with you. I may have made some to all of that up. Swiss stereotypes really are all I have to go on, but you see, that is exactly what makes Switzerland so awesome. The less anyone knows about Switzerland, the longer it survives. It’s nearly impossible for a country as small as Switzerland to remain neutral when its next door neighbour is Germany, a nation which tried to take over Europe not once, but twice in the last 100 years. Italy, France and Austria don’t exactly have spotless records themselves. It’s far too risky to invade a country when you don’t know how many weapons they have, what kind of weapons they have or where those weapons might be. It’s even riskier when no one’s even exactly sure where the country is located. Sure, we all know Switzerland’s crammed in the middle of France, Germany, Austria and Italy, but finding it would be like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. The Alps form an impossible labyrinth, not mention the country’s less than twice the size of New Jersey, and I bet most of you couldn’t find that on a map either.

Which one of these is Switzerland again?

If Germany tried to invade Switzerland during World War II, Hitler would have spent half the war digging under the couch cushions of Europe for it. Then he would have yelled, “Eva! Have you seen Switzerland?”

To which she would have replied, “What?!” from her room.

“I said, ‘Have you seen Switzerland?’ I could have sworn I saw it next to Austria this morning, but it’s not there anymore!”

Then Eva would have said, “Have you tried next to Austria?”

And Hitler would say, “That’s what I said! I already looked next to Austria!”

“Oh, well look on Italy!”

“It’s not on Italy! Don’t you think that’s the first place I would have looked?!”

And the next thing they would have known, the Allies would have invaded Berlin, and they would have been on fire in a ditch before the Americans even knew what was going on in Europe.

You see, Switzerland grew up around bullies. Now, I’m a big fan of Germany, Italy and France. They’re our allies and our friends, but let’s face it: they’re bullies. To survive in a schoolyard full of bullies, the littlest kid in school either secretly takes karate lessons after school or he learns to hide really well. I suggest to you that Switzerland has learned to do both. Even if I’m wrong, even if Switzerland has no might to back up its neutrality, its existence is just vague enough to have kept more than one dictator from invading. That is no small feat, and it has earned Switzerland a permanent place in the annals of awesome.

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[1] The last Liechtenstein sighting was on July 27, 1978, in the form of a grainy photograph taken from the Austrian border by Swedish mountaineer and amateur cryptoethnologist, Erik Blomkvist. The so-called Blomkvist Photograph has gained its proponents, but it has yet to be verified by leading cryptoethnologists and is considered by many to be a hoax.

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Filed under Culture, History, Language, Lore and Legend, Ridiculon

The Autumnal Equinox

In recent years, a belief has spread that the Autumnal Equinox is the first day of Fall. This is clearly an urban legend with no basis in truth. Like all such myths, most of the support for this idea is based in tidbits of ‘scientific fact’ gleaned from internet forums and Wikipedia. Its proponents state that the Autumnal Equinox occurs when the axis of the earth is not pointed toward or away from the sun, resulting in roughly equal-length night and day. They also claim that ‘autumnal’ is an adjective meaning ‘pertaining to autumn’ and that ‘equinox’ comes from the Latin aequi meaning ‘equal’ and nox meaning ‘night.’ Such linguistic bamboozlement is a telltale sign of these modern tall tales, and is not to be believed under any circumstances.

Look at this carefully. It doesn't mean anything.

The truth about the Autumnal Equinox is far more interesting, and far older, than the explanation offered by poorly researched chatroom ‘science.’

The Autumnal Equinox is a legendary monster said to live in the ancient forests of Great Britain. The story goes that the  Celts and Anglo-Saxons who inhabited the forests and surrounding farmland lived in peace and security most of the year. But every September, for one night only, the Equinox would appear. The people would hear the ominous cry of the Equinox from the darkest parts of the forest exactly as the sun went down. It was the only warning they ever got. The Equinox would emerge from its secret den to prey upon the human population, gorging itself on the flesh of its victims. And then, just as quickly as it appeared, it would disappear at the crack of dawn, not to be seen or heard from again until the following year on the same night.

The word ‘autumnal’ is believed to originate with the Anglo-Saxon unman, meaning ‘un-man.’ The prefix aut-, from the Greek auto, meaning ‘self,’ was most likely added during the Jacobean period, when it was in vogue to attach Greek and Latin affixes to Anglo-Saxon roots. The overall sense of the word — literally translated ‘self-un-man’ — is of a creature originally human who for some horrible reason has willingly transformed himself into a monster by some agreement with dark forces. You see, the Equinox is no mere monster; it is the worst kind of monster: one that used to be man. It is no wonder, then, that the Autumnal Equinox held a place of special fear for the Celtic and Saxon tribesmen.[i]

The word ‘equinox’ is another example of Jacobean Latin-Saxon pairing. ‘Equi-‘ comes from the Latin equus, meaning ‘horse,’ and ox is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning, well, ox — literally translated, an ‘equine ox.’

A medieval portrayal of an Equinox killing a warrior with its dreaded projectile whatsit.

So the Autumnal Equinox is a monstrous beast — part horse, part ox — that used to be a rational man before he sold his soul to demons and was transformed into a flesh-eating hell beast.

Out of self preservation, the tribesmen started building large fires and holding religious ceremonies in order to ward off the Equinox. Later on a belief arose that if one could manage to balance an egg vertically on the night of the Equinox’s attack, it would act as amulet capable of warding the monster off. The custom continues to this very day.

Eventually, as the population of Britain grew, the forests were cut down, cities spread, technology improved, and the Equinox has scarcely been seen since. The only memory anyone has of it is in the continuing commemoration of the night named after it at the end of every September.

Still, there are those who say that if one is alone in an English wood on this inauspicious night, the ominous keening of the ravenous Equinox can still be heard.

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[i] The only creature more terrible and more feared than the Autumnal Equinox is the Vernal Equinox. ‘Vernal’ here is derived from the same Latin root as infernal, meaning ‘from hell.’

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A Letter of Apology to Labourers

18 September, anno domini 2010

Dear Sir or Madam,

Two weeks ago today I made a promise to you that I could not, as it turned out, keep. In an effort to remove from my back the burden of shame I have borne these many years for failing to live up to my family’s duel legacy of hard work and criminal activity, I intended to write a week-long tribute to outstanding men and women labourers. I could not live up to that promise. The only explanation I can offer you for my actions is that I was engaged in what I hope you will accept as a more fitting tribute to your labours: I was working.  I would like to extend a special apology to the intended subjects of my tribute, Messrs Henry and Heracles and Mmes Riveter and Virgin.

Were it not for you and your hammer, John Henry, the world may not have become aware of the intrinsic evil of machines. We would have been doomed to an apocalypse at the hands of our own creations. Because of you we — and by ‘we’ I mean ‘Hollywood movies’ — are ever vigilant against the machinations of technology, and the world is safe. For now.

Heracles, of your many labours, the cleaning of the Augean Stables stands out as particularly verendic. There are heroes enough in this world to face lions, boars and hydras; but rare is the man who would clean up a 30-year-old pile of whatsit. You stepped in a pile that even Mike Rowe would fear to tread in, and you came out victorious. Stinky, but victorious.

Rosie the Riveter. In Europe’s darkest hour, with the last of the free countries on the brink of collapse, you roused America to action. “We can do it!” you told us, and you were right. Japan may have awakened a sleeping giant when they bombed Pearl Harbor, but it was you who filled him with terrible resolve. The free people of the world owe you a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.

Mary, the only labour for which you will ever be famous might have been over in a matter of hours, but from it you brought forth the Saviour of the human race. The ramifications of this act are so mind-blowing, the whole world is still trying to figure out what to do with it. On behalf of the faithful, I thank you for agreeing to an insane job offer from an angel you’d only just met. We will be marveling in the mystery of the Son you bore  — yet who created you — for eternity to come.

You are all worthy of  recognition for your awesome labours. If the opportunity presents itself, I plan to follow through on my promise and dedicate posts to you in the future. I sincerely hope I have not offended any of you.

Tenderly I remain your verendicompendist,

S. Hamley Bildebrandt

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Filed under History, Lore and Legend, Technology, The Future, Unsung Heroes

Narwhal

Denne er narkval.

Children are inherently magical creatures. What sorcerers, witches and necromancers have always laboured to recapture at the expense of their own souls children have been able to accomplish with no more effort than an irreverent giggle at the dinner table. The veil between the possible and the impossible is very thin for children, and it offers no resistance their exuberance cannot tear asunder. For reasons both many and tragic, most of us lose that ability by adulthood.

As children we were content to sit for hours piling up mud and sticks or packing the latest snowfall into an embankment in the yard. And, as far as our parents could tell, all we had for our trouble was a ruined pair of sneakers and a dirty pair of overalls. But we knew better. We knew the truth of our efforts; that we had populated our mud kingdom with all manner of wonderful denizens. In our kingdoms dwelt that which had once been — kings, princesses and warriors; that which might one day be — aliens, spaceships and newly inhabited planets; and that which would never be — griffins, unicorns, goblins and elves. We knew that our grass was in fact lava and that our lawn must be crossed by climbing the picnic table and deftly swinging onto the lower branches of the nearby tree, shimmying across to the rope swing and flying onto the wagon where we could just manage to jump to the safety of the porch.

But then as we grew, we watched each of our flights of fancy die one by one. The most tragic part of it all is that for many of us our disillusionment was engineered. In a painful and untimely lesson in betrayal, our own parents taught us to believe in the reality of the impossible — in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the bogeyman — and then taught us not to believe in them anymore. Unwilling to be hurt again, most children have chosen to put to death their own imaginations in order to become adults.

As adults we know — as surely as we knew before that magic swords could be pulled from stones — that there can be no such thing as magic. There are no dragons nor were there ever. There are no perilous quests for heroes to set out on because there is no real evil to be vanquished. There can be no such creatures as pixies and trolls because scientific taxonomy has no place for them.

That is, until one discovers the Narwhal, the very existence of which confounds the skepticism of the most hard-hearted naturalist. The reality of the narwhal’s existence must be measured, studied and found to live up to scientific scrutiny. It is, in fact, a real creature, Latin name and all (Monodon monoceros). Yet it cannot be explained away as just another animal. It is undeniably and uncompromisingly magical.

Hvor er narkval?

Actually, the Narwhal is more than just magical. It’s a blitz; an attack from the realm of the impossible on the realm of the possible. While every creature we believed to be real as a child — unicorns, centaurs, nymphs — all turned out not to be in spite of all our youthful expectation, the narwhal is a magical creature that turns out to be real in spite of the fact that none of us expected it to exist at all. In any realm. The narwhal blindsided us with its existence by being even stranger than we could have imagined, and suddenly everything has changed.

Those kingdoms we populated with the inklings of our childish imaginations crumbled into the sand and mud we made them with when we were taught not to believe, and were scattered by the wind. The narwhal is the last glittering fragment of those lost kingdoms. And as long as it survives, the whole world of our imagination can be restored. When a grown man or woman sees a whale with a unicorn horn — an honest to goodness, spirally unicorn horn — sticking out of its face, it becomes more and more difficult to deny the impossible. Simply because the narwhal is even weirder than the things we’ve learned to think are impossible. If the narwhal exists,what other impossible creatures could be out there? A unicorn isn’t that strange come to think of it, not now that we’ve discovered there are actual sea unicorns in the world.

The narwhal is an invitation to wonder again. It is a harbinger of magic breaking in on our dull little world. It is a messenger that seems to shout to our former child selves, “Hold fast the hope ye profess! A new dawn is breaking!” And would we but heed the narwhal’s call, we might yet live to see a day when animals talk, when rings are magical, when mirrors are doors to other worlds. A day when air pirates sail the skies and battle the cloud ninja clans. A day when people live side by side with elves, dryads and gnomes and when Santa Claus never fails to polish off the plate of cookies we leave out for him, no matter how many millions of homes he visits that wonderful night.

Lykkelig liten narkval.

Freakazoid. Possibly the greatest man never to live.(i)

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[i] If you don’t know what Freakazoid has to do with this post, I strongly recommend you educate yourself.

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600

In the second hour of the fifteenth day of the eighth month in the year of Our Lord twenty-ten, A Compendium of Awesome Things received its 600th view. This is a very exciting moment in this awesome-compen-doer’s personal history of bloggery. It took more than three months to reach 200 views, and in the one month since we have reached 600 views. And it is all thanks to you, my beloved reader.

I don’t want to overstate the importance of this moment, but it reminds me more than a little of another significant venture in history involving the number 600. If you haven’t guessed it already, I refer, of course, to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which were finished in the year 600 BC. The crown jewel of the Babylonian Empire, the Hanging Gardens were the apogee of Babylonian architectural achievement, earning them a place among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (along with the Pyramids of Giza, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Colossus of Rhodes, the statue of Zeus at Olympia and the lighthouse of Alexandria), not to be confused with the New Seven Wonders of the World (the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, Christ the Redeemer, Machu Picchu, the Pyramid of Chichen Itza, the Colosseum, and perhaps the greatest wonder of the modern world, Stevie Wonder).

There were purported to be over twenty species of Skittle trees alone in the Hanging Gardens.

Much like this blog, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were a very awesome thing dedicated to the most awesome thing of all: bacon pop rocks time machines kung fu movies love. You see, everyone’s favourite bible villain — the Barbarian of Babylon, the Assyrian Assassin, the Mesopotamian Masochist, the Angry Akkadian, the Schadenfroh Shinarian, the Cantankerous Chaldean — Nebuchadnezzar himself, was conquered by the love of a woman. And so he built the Gardens for his wife Amytis, who was desperately homesick for the lush gardens of her native Media. The Hanging Gardens are sometimes called by the name of another queen — a legendary one — named Semiramis (not to be confused with Sam Raimi).

The legendary Semiramis, seen here in her fabled posture of petulant boredom

Also much like this blog, although the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the marvels of their time, virtually no one alive today has seen them or is even aware of their existence. So in a way, the fact that you read this blog makes you a blog archaeologist of sorts, which is simultaneously exciting and lame. Much like real archaeology.

So this Compendium of Awesome Things is my Hanging Gardens of Babylon and you, dear reader, you are my Amytis for whom I write. But not in a creepy way.

Thank you for continuing to read my blog. It has rewarded me with much joy and inflated my ego like only anonymous internet-based community can.

Nebuchadnezzar with an expression that reads, "Where did I put my pants?"

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Filed under History, Lore and Legend, Milestones

Unsung Heroes: Cool Air

Presumably everyone who reads this blog has skin. If you’re reading this and you don’t have skin, I sincerely apologize.

Unless you’re an android, in which case you don’t understand the concept of remorse. Or contractions, which there have been four of so far, so you’re beyond lost.[i]

But androids aside, I think I have statistics on my side when I say that most of you have skin. So I don’t need to extol to you, O be-dermised reader, the glories of cool air. We all know the refreshing, life-giving feel of a cool breeze on our skin; how it renews body and spirit alike. I could recount for you the many splendours of cool air, but I won’t. Today’s post focuses on an oft-neglected benefit of cool air that, frankly, puts all its other, more obvious charms to utter shame.

We’ve probably all heard some version of the story involving a bush pilot in the Amazon/Congo/Australian Outback/Sumatran jungle/Camden, NJ who swears he saw a snake swallow a cow/water buffalo/bouncer — whole. I’ve never put much stock into such stories. For no other reason, really, than that bush pilots are notoriously unreliable people — blackguards and knaves, the lot of them. That and because if there were snakes that big, one of them would have killed Jon Voight by now.

But there was a time when giant snakes slithered their way across the earth. Snakes so big their midsections would be three or four feet in diameter. Such monsters could easily swallow a cow — and much larger things — whole. Jon Voight wouldn’t stand a chance. And neither would the rest of us.

A life-size papier-mâché replica of a baby prehistoric demon-snake.

Many people like to have pythons and boa constrictors as novelty pets. I’m not entirely sure why, but I think it’s because it gives people a taste of danger without any of the nasty drawbacks like injury and death. Pythons and boas are big enough to kill us, but just a bit too small to bother. We wouldn’t quite fit inside. But if the monster snakes of primordial earth were still around, we’d make a tasty treat. Fortunately for us, snakes have gotten much, much smaller since then.

And to what do we owe a debt of eternal gratitude for ridding the world of voracious dino-snakes? Who is this unknown benefactor of the human race? This shrinker of snakes, this defender of Jon Voight.

Cool air.

Angelina Jolie's dad (somehow). Pre-death-by-snake.

Snakes, we all know (especially you, android), are cold-blooded. Cold-blooded animals can’t regulate their own body heat like mammals can. That’s why lizards are always hiding in the shade and then sunning themselves on rocks. It’s how they keep themselves from hypothermia or overheating. The bigger a reptile gets, the higher the ambient temperature it needs to keep its body temperature at a livable level. For reptiles to be as large as they once were, as in the case of dinosaurs and snakes the size of pine trees, the overall temperature of the earth would have to be much higher than it is now. And so it once was, but it has cooled down a lot since reptiles ruled the earth. It’s the very coolness of the air that is keeping reptiles from getting as large as they once were.

That’s why the farther north one goes in the Northern hemisphere, the smaller the reptiles get. It’s also why all those stories about giant snakes swallowing large livestock come out of tropical climes, not the remote forests of Alaska or Tibet, for example.

In short, the only thing keeping you, me, and everyone you love from a painful, slow death in the belly of a slithering behemoth monster-snake is cool, refreshing air. That just makes me want to breathe in its breezy freshness all the more deeply.

And we’d better all hope and pray there’s nothing to this global warming thing, or else Jon Voight’s days are numbered. And while that might not sound all that bad, allow me to remind you that in spite of the full force of reptilian rage being unleashed against her, J-Lo survives. I don’t know about you, but if I have to live in a world where J-Lo survives, I’d prefer it to be one not dominated by predatory über-snakes.

Our future if we take this global warming thing lying down.

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[i] That makes five.

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