January: Happy New Year!
2008 started in a way in which I hope it won't continue. That is, with me sitting a metre away from a pedestal fan, a wet towel around my neck and Drop the Dead Donkey on the video while I worked on some uni business. After a top temperature of 42C at 5 pm, it was still 33C at midnight. It's now a balmy 29C, having dropped 11C in less than half an hour. Woo hoo! Bring on the glaciers.
February: Snail mail
You've probably seen the recent news item about the Polish chap who received a priority mail letter 14 days after it had been sent. The letter had been posted only 11 km away. According to his calculations, a garden snail could have delivered it more rapidly than the Warsaw mail man.
March: Survival of the cutest
[Survival of the cutest] applies to snakes as much s it does to other species.
April: Dam' the snails
It's not one of the more exciting camaenids. It's small and — frankly — a bit dull. (See for yourself here.) But the boggomoss snail has one interesting trait — it is a short range endemic. And that has left it in deep doo doo.
May: The odd couple
Great egret and white ibis on the Esplanade in Cairns, Far North Queensland, late afternoon.
June: I'm back
Only a couple of weeks ago I was wandering around the tropical north, enjoying the scenery, eating sensibly and generally having a good time.
July: July 1858
On 1st July 1858, Charles Lyell and Joseph Hooker read extracts of two scientific works to the Linnean Society in London. The material was not their own. Lyell and Hooker presented it on behalf of the authors, neither of whom could attend the meeting. One — Charles Darwin — was at home in Downe, mourning the death of his infant son. The other — Alfred Russel Wallace — was stuck in Dorey (now Manokwari) in New Guinea. So Lyell and Hooker did the honours for them.
August: Down to the sea again
The tide was on its way in at Shelly Beach, near Portland, when I got there so I didn't spend much time beachcombing. But I braved the incoming Southern Ocean and the squalls to have a brief rummage through the piles of stranded shells. Who could resist? Not me, that's for sure.
September: Skippy the Ripper
Never get on the wrong side of a kangaroo. A jogger in Sunbury (NW of Melbourne) inadvertently separated a male Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) from its mob and suffered the consequences.
October: A musical interlude
I play guitar like this. Oh, wait, I don't play guitar at all. But I do have nails like that. At least, I did before I cut them. Bugger. I suck at this game.
November: Spring at the Snail Shell
For the past few weeks, I've been stuck at home, at work or in the car going between home and work. I know what season it is because the Spring Racing Carnival is on at Flemington (a long stroll or short drive along Ballarat Road from my house). There are also some seasonal clues in the garden. Here's what's blooming at the Snail Shell this week. (Not including the weeds.) This is what's keeping me sane …
December: The editor strikes back
Driven to distraction by (apparently) falling standards, associate editor Simon Heffer of The Daily Telegraph sent a memo to the newspaper's staff. The Guardian, known for the occasional typo*, picked up his email and shared it with the world. Here's a snippet.
* Or very few. You be the judge.