Tag Archives: nintendo

Friday Fungus! Full-Figured Fungi

Back by popular demand (upwards of 3 people), it’s the return of everyone’s favorite quarterly, mushroom-focused series! Today we’re talking about fungi that are big, beautiful and fabulous.

Pop Quiz: Do you know that the largest living organism on earth is? If you would have asked me this last week, I would have guessed blue whale, a redwood tree, or maybe something like a giraffe riding on a blue whale. All would have been incorrect; as I’ve learned this week that the world’s largest living thing is none other than a fungus! Fungi never cease to amaze!

In the Malheur National Forest in Oregon lives a full-figured fungus so large it is hard to comprehend. Apparently the extensive ‘honey mushroom’ mass covers an area of about 3.5 miles, or more than 2,200 acres. Most of which is underground but my mind is still blown. (I was way off on my original guess. You’d have to stack an incredible amount of giraffes on top of a blue whale to come close to matching this formidable organism.)

In other large fungus news, just this week a real beauty was discovered in China’s Yunnan Province. Coming in at a whopping 33 pounds, this glorious heavyweight has over 100 caps; or according to my calculations, enough to complement 500 dishes of General Tso’s.

There are many more big & tall fungi out there that deserve recognition. The Fomitiporia ellipsoidea species can grow up to 35.5 feet long and weigh 800-1,000 pounds, while the Giant Puffball’s not so shabby either. We could go on for days but let’s go ahead and call it here to allow time for reflection.

I encourage you all to spend some time this weekend and marvel at how great fungi are. Especially the large ones! I don’t know about you, but I haven’t thought about how awesome huge mushrooms are since level 4 of Super Mario 3. I’m grateful for this reminder today.

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Five Fluffy Animals

I want to start with an acknowledgement that fluffy animals are not the sort of manly thing we usually discuss around here. But if having a daughter has reminded me of anything, it’s that fluffy animals are indeed delightful. I don’t care who hears me say that.

We’re gonna take this even further… Not only are we presenting a list of 5 of the world’s fluffiest animals, we are ranking them according to snuggle-ability; meaning the animals we’d most like to snuggle.

Of course this is a bit arbitrary but those are the parameters as set by my lil’ pumpkin – who you DO NOT want to cross.

Without further ado let’s continue the time-honored art of making arbitrary lists about animals!

5. Hedgehog– Most of us think of Sonic when we think hedgehogs. Athletic, spry, highly motivated ring-grabbing heroes… Man what a misleading portrayal. It turns out that real hedgehogs are hilariously fluffy globs of slothful helplessness. Perfect for snuggling though.

No chance he’d make it around one of those loop-de-loops and defeat Dr. Robotnik.

4. Bear cub (black, brown or polar) – There’s just something so alluring about danger-snuggling something so powerful that could potentially eat you like a flopping salmon.

3. Golden Lion Tamarin – Despite a traumatic childhood event involving a ferocious monkey attack (“Surely this monkey tethered to a tree outside our shady hotel here in Costa Rica is tame and trustworthy? OH NO HE BITES GET HIM OFF AHHH!!!”), this little fella could be the bridge I need to turn my night terrors into sweet dreams.

2. Arctic Fox – I had a business idea a couple years back where you charge people to take naps with a skulk of arctic foxes. (Any angel investors out there want in on the ground level of an exciting opportunity???) Living in Florida and finding out that arctic foxes are extremely aggressive face-rippers have hampered this initiative’s progress.

1. Red Panda – Red Pandas might be the cutest animals in the world. Relatives to the larger black and white pandas, raccoons, and of course Mario from Super Mario 3 (after getting the leaf), I wouldn’t mind having to vacuum all that red fluff out of the carpet if a pumpernickel of pandas* came to visit.

*Since red pandas tend to be solitary creatures and therefore don’t have a group nickname, let’s just go with “pumpernickel of pandas” for now. 

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Filed under F Lists, Fatherhood, Flora + Fauna

Firmament

Let’s get heavy! Today we’re going to engage the formation and structure of the universe – no big deal. Strap on your helmets and gird your loins, it’s gonna get opinionated in here!

Before we get into this, it should be noted that my personal worldview is essentially “Judeo-Christian” in nature. That said, there are many big questions surrounding life/death/the universe/things of the supernatural realm I am tremendously confused by or undecided about, so I try to keep an open mind. How exactly the world came into existence and how the universe is structured would certainly fall into this category.

In that spirit of open-mindedness, let’s chat about a controversial* word featured in the Genesis account of creation that begs some explanation. Continue reading

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Friday Fungus! Fly Agaric

Before starting this Friday Fungus! series, I must admit I never gave mushrooms much thought or respect. An okay salad garnish, the lone morsel of viable nutritional value from one of those Japanese places at the mall, a fried appetizer when passing through ‘Bama, something to stuff down a bad neighbor’s chimney, or just something to kick and watch explode – this is what ‘shrooms have meant to me in the past.  But the deeper we dig into the world of fungi, their astonishing role in the development of human history continues to be an absolute revelation.

The unassuming appearance of today’s mushroom belies its wild and surprisingly checkered historical ties to Viking berserkers, zany fertility cults and according to at least one person, the foundation for the spread of Christianity. No big deal.

Today’s shroom: the Fly Agaric. Photo via Luigi. J/K photo via Wikipedia.

The Fly Agaric is the quintessential image of a mushroom. Thanks to garden gnomes and Mario, the classic red cap with white stem has become the face for fungi worldwide. But man oh man that’s not even scratching the mildly poisonous dermis of this toadstool.

I invite you to read on in disbelief, or if you have a super amount of free time and enjoy wacky Dale Gribble-esque conspiracy theories, have a go at this video.

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Fantastic Flaggery

Flags have long been a passion of mine. First it was the flag cards, then it was patches + pins, and then shirts. And then it was shirts with slogans, which led to the activism phase (Free Trans-Dniester!), and the equally annoying snarky phase (Icelander – I barely know her!) etc.

With all that behind us, I’ve now come to a place where I just enjoy flags and flaggery in general (or vexillology if you wanna be fancy about it). “What do the colors mean? Why is that bird there? Is that a crustacean on your flag? That sun with a face is weird.”

It’s all so interesting how nations choose to portray themselves. A flag says what you want the rest of the world to know about you.

They don’t make em like they used to. Thank you ancient Kingdom of Benin.

Here is a list of a few all-time favorites. Let’s just make this a list of best currently-used flags, as a list of best all-time flags would open Pandora’s Box for every eccentric country/nation-state to ever use the flag medium to make known their most charming attributes.

8. Zambia – I’m sure this flag is rich with symbolism, but it mainly just reminds me of Contra.

7. Turks + Caicos – Fantastic stuff here – you’ve got a mangled looking conch shell, with what appears to be a trilobite and shuttlecock.

There’s a great sub-genre of former colonial possession-flags where the Union Jack hogs like 20% of the flag, so they just fill the rest with a bunch of random indigenous stuff. Continue reading

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