Monday, December 9, 2013

The Milipede

The invasion of the millipedes. Every year at this time they appear, seemingly out of nowhere and really with nowhere to go as they cross a wide open space of floor that to a human being would be any number of miles. The Greeks call them forty-legs (sarandapotharousa) but however many legs they might have every time I see one I have been fascinated to know more about them, in particular what they eat. So finally, my curiosity getting the better of me, I looked them up on the internet. According to BBC Nature millipedes are a common class of anthropoids with over 10000 named species! Wot! Ten thousand? Wikipedia says 12000! Millipedes, centipedes, sow bugs and pillbugs tend to move into houses during brief periods in the spring or fall. By the way, if you’ve never seen what a sow bug looks like, look  ‘em up. You have never in your life seen such a weird nightmarish looking creature. No science fiction writer has ever described one I shouldn’t think and one (giant and menacing of course) has never as far as I know appeared on “Doctor Who.”
Millipedes eat decaying leaves and dead matter which again raises the question why do they come into the house where they are hardly likely to find any dead leaves or decaying matter? Millipedes are slow moving and can be easily distinguished from the somewhat similar and related centipedes which move rapidly, are carnivorous, and have a single pair of legs for each body segment. The scientific study of millipedes is known as diplopodology, and a scientist who studies them is called a diplopodologist. Imagine you’re at a swish cocktail party and someone asks what you do for a living and you tell them you’re a diplopodologist. That would bring the conversation to a sudden stop.
Some millipedes are considered household pests, including some which infest thatched roofs in India. Other species exhibit periodical swarming behaviour which can result in home invasions; crop damage, train delays, or even train crashes and derailments. Millipedes also appear in folklore and traditional medicine around the world. Many cultures ascribe millipede activity with coming rains. In the Yoruba culture of Nigeria, millipedes are used in pregnancy and business rituals, and crushed millipedes are used to treat fever, whitlow, and convulsions in children. In Zambia smashed millipede pulp is used to treat wounds, and in the Cameroon millipede juice is used to treat earache. In Malaysia millipede secretions are used to poison arrow tips.
With certain Himalayan tribes, dry millipede smoke is used to treat haemorrhoids. Now there is something to make the mind boggle. Don’t lose your balance whilst squatting over the fire or the results could be painful. Baked balls, barbecued scrotums are not to be laughed at. So there you are; a short essay on the millipede and its manifold uses.
These last few evenings we’ve been having a delightful time watching one of our very favourite soaps, “The Golden Girls.” Just as funny, warm, and true as it was when we first saw it, how many years ago? 1985. With quite an amount of sexual references not all that usual for the time, I wonder how it went down in the Bible belt back then. I have to admit I’m not a great one for soaps or half hour comedies. I probably watched four or five “Eastenders” not with much enthusiasm, a number of “Emmerdale” but that was because, living in Yorkshire, I was hoping to write for it: a forlorn hope. Loved “Steptoe and Son,” have never seen a single episode of "Coronation Street," programmes like "The Army Game" were simply appalling and more up to date we really enjoy“Ugly Betty” and “Two and a Half Men,” though it tended to go off the boil slightly when Sheen left and the beautiful Ashton Kutcher took his place. Absolutely loved Jon Cryer’s performance and there was real chemistry between them all in the original cast.
How about someone producing a soap based on the WestBoro Baptist church? It could be titled “Gays the cause of every calamity,” or "Friendly Faggot."

On a New York street a woman dressed in a frock of rainbow colours stands holding up a large placard reading “Gay marriage killed the dinosaurs.” Are people really this crazy?

1 comment:

Lewis said...

Well, something killed those dinos.