Monday, April 30, 2007

Extinction by Choice

I found this article on BBC today. "Lonesome George" is, according to the subtext of the article, more than likely the last Pinta Tortoise that will ever walk the earth.

The reason for this is astounding. Apparently, this octogenarian reptile is a homosexual.

If you didn't click the link and read the article, go ahead and do it now. I'll wait.

It's interesting because there hasn't been a female Pinta Tortoise for probably going on fifty years, if not more. Whalers used to eat them because they were easier to catch. Not that tortoises are hard to catch; it's just that some of them spend more time on the beach.

The fact of the matter is, when you've never really met very many females of your species, your sexuality gets a little messed up. According to genetic testing, they've found a hybrid of George's species and some other tortoise.

Apparently, there's another Pinta that, instead of going all homosexual, has decided to jump the species gap and bang anything that has a shell, creating some sort of unholy union. Apparently, the centuries old feud between the Isabela and the Pinta tortoises has been put on hold, while some youngsters went off on their own to consummate their illicit love and conceive some sort of tortoise anti-christ.

I can just see a screenplay about this. It will be like Romeo and Juliet. Romeo's homosexual grandfather says that he can't be chasing that hot Isabela Tortoise tail because they are from a different species and everyone knows that you don't boff another species.

This can only end in tragedy, of course. As pressure from both families forces the two young tortoise lovers to commit hari kari in protest of their parents' cruel decision. The real tragedy of course, is that the young hybrid tortoise won't be able to find a real home. No one wants a half-breed.

Or maybe this play could have one of those hopeful endings, where it is the crystal clear honesty of the young child's voice that shows the two factions their shame and brings everyone together in a real hallmark, freeze frame ending.

As the credits roll, we are informed that six months after these events took place, the young hero was captured and eaten by a rampaging horde of whalers, the tentative truce between the Pintas and the Isabelas is demolished and a bloody war raged for, well, about half an hour, while the Isabelas lynched Lonesome George, the last representative of his species.

It's a hate crime on so many levels.

Soon enough, without the competition, the Isabelas grow soft and weak, and eat all available resources and there is mass starvation.

In the end, it's always the same. Their brains will be scanned and kept in computer simulation, and their DNA stored in a test tube, just waiting for the day that the tortoises will return and take their rightful place among the reptiles of the Earth.

A doctor can dream, can't he?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

See the cat? See the cradle?

I'm going to try and remember, without looking in the book, the last bit from Cat's Cradle:

"If I were a younger man, I'd write a history of human stupidity. And then, I'd climb to the top of Mount McCabe and lie down with my history for a pillow and take some of the blue-white poison that makes statues of men, and then I'd make a statue of myself, looking up, grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You-Know-Who."

Rest in peace, old man. I for one did actually shed a tear.