Thursday, March 20, 2008

Signin' up for a Challenge

Debi and Annie, my wife and daughter, respectively, have joined the Once Upon a Time challenge, and I have decided that I can't stand to be left out. I have been intending for quite some time to read Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, and with the movie coming out, and Annie wanting to go see it the day it comes out, could there be a better time to read it? Somehow, I think not. So, I will be a joiner and do the "Journey" and sign on to read this book, about which I have not heard a discouraging word.
My son and I have been reading Ms. Funke's Ghosthunters series and we love them. The family and I also read When Santa Fell to Earth and loved it. Can't believe Inkheart will disappoint.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Weird Science

I love being a biologist, even if I do more teaching of biology than actually doing biology these days. Call me if I can clarify that last sentence. At any rate, biology is easy to make fun for my students because there is no shortage of fascinating and weird stuff to bring in to the classroom (figuratively). I was just goofing off online and came across a paper, summarized at, that found a single mutation that caused a family to have a host of strange symptoms including shrinkage in certain brain parts and most interestingly, the inability to walk bipedally (on 2 feet). These folks walk on all fours (with palms down in a plantigrade fashion, as we nerds call it rather than on fingers, or digitigrade). Actually, there are 2 families that have these symptoms and researchers found two simple mutations that are the cause. Each family has a different mutation, both of which are simple single base pair mutations. This will make my discussions of mutations much more fun this least for me.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Scotland, PA. One Great Film

I do love a dark comedy, and last night, we watched a doozie. Scotland, PA is basically Macbeth set in modern times. The story revolves around a Diner in town, Duncan's (owned by a guy named Duncan), and two employees, the McBeths. You can figure out the rest I'm sure. Andy Dick was apparently overlooked for an Oscar for his role as one of the witches/warlocks. Another one of Hollywood's great injustices.

If you liked Raising Arizona, I Love You to Death, and other offbeat, dark comedies, this one can't be missed. I give it two thumbs up, 4 stars and a mighty strong recommendation to boot.