Archive for December, 2012

Reblogging one of my most popular blogs from last year. Enjoy!


Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…

I present to you… (drumroll)…

The Bumblebee Bat

(aka Kitti’s Hog-nosed Bat)!

(Craseonycteris thonglongyai – a big name for a little bat)

The smallest mammal in the world is the bumblebee bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai), weighing in at just barely 2 grams – about the weight of a penny! – and measuring 1 to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in length – about the size of a large bumblebee (hence the name).

(The world’s smallest [and most adorable] mammal)

OK… once you get over the unbelievable cuteness of this little thing, one question should immediately leap to mind.

Who’s Kitti? And how did he get a bat? OK, that was two questions. But still…

The bumblebee bat was discovered in 1974 by Thai zoologist Kitti Thonglongya. This helps explain the ‘Kitti’ in Kitti’s Hog-nosed Bat. Kitti’s surname also helps explain the second half of this…

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Most loonies with whom I have lunched are, as a general rule, positive, good-natured people.

With one notable exception…


Alyssa Krabbykova [1], the world’s crabbiest girl.

Alyssa is grumpy ALL THE TIME.

She lifts grouchy it to an art form.

Alyssa wakes up crabby. How is that possible? How does one wake up crabby? Nothing has happened yet!


And yet, people still love Alyssa despite her foul mood. Probably because of it.

I think part of it has to do with the fact that she is completely honest. She doesn’t put on the fake smile and the phony friendliness. When you talk with her, you get the genuine article – the Full Frontal Alyssa.

There’s something oddly disarming about that.

Alyssa used to work at my old hangout and office, The Café on Main. I swear, customers would come there, in part, to see if Alyssa would be more bored, impatient, frustrated, grouchy… in other words, even crabbier… than the day before. She rarely disappointed them.

alyssa-skov-2a(A rare shot of Alyssa not being so crabby)

I would like to think that most young ladies in the food service industry try to be pleasant, cheerful, friendly, etc, in order to make the customer happy. Alyssa adopted more of an ‘eat it and beat it’ philosophy. To her, customers were an annoying nuisance standing between her and the end of the day.

I am hoping to have the sincere pleasure of getting together with Alyssa later this week. I haven’t seen her in a while and I am wondering if time has mellowed the girl a bit. I don’t think I need worry. I am sure she will be every bit as crabby as she ever was.

Here’s to things never changing!

I miss you, Alyssa. Things just aren’t the same without your little bitter ray of sunshine.


[1] ‘Krabbykova’ is not her real surname. But it should be.

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Of the loonies with whom I have lunched, occasionally there are loonies who have also made lunch for me.

Near the top of the list is the delightful cook and chef, Jennifer M.


She and I have known each other lo these many years.

When I first met Jennifer, she and the remarkably grumpy Alyssa Krabbykova (more on her in another blog) worked at my old hang-out and office, The Café on Main when it was located across from the courthouse at which I work.

Jennifer has since moved on to a few other restaurants but we have always managed to keep in touch and, occasionally,  get together… at least for a coffee.

Sometimes, Jennifer and I would go to one of her other restaurants  The Smokin’ Buddha in Port Colborne, for dinner. [1]


Jennifer is fun and imaginative. She is wonderful at playing ‘what if…?’ But Jennifer is not all fun and games. She can be quite rigid at times and has been known to be rather firm, especially when it comes to my behaviour.

It was Jennifer who instituted The Rules. These were guidelines that set out how I was to conduct myself (or more often NOT conduct myself) when at the café.

We don’t see each other nearly enough but when we do, we always have a great time.


[1] If you are even in the area, you have to check it out!

This is my 250th blog post for Kosher Samurai! Woohoo! 🙂

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Throughout 2012, I’ve been posting photos of insects, marine life, bats… OK, mostly bugs.

Sciencemag.org has posted some of its top photos of the year, so here I am sharing them with you, as well at the related  articles.

blue-ringed-Octopus(Credit: Roy Caldwell)

How the Blue-Ringed Octopus Flashes Its Bling. One of the most venomous animals on the planet, the blue-ringed octopus flashes a warning before it bites, releasing toxic saliva through its beak.

mars-rover-water(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Bingo! Ancient Rushing Water on Mars. Curiosity rover finds a textbook example of rocks deposited by lots of flowing water.

tinyfrogCredit: Christopher C. Austin/Louisiana State University

Smaller Than a Dime, Frog Is World’s Tiniest Vertebrate. Paedophryne amauensis has taken the top spot as the world’s smallest vertebrate, with an average adult size of 7.7 millimeters in length, less than half the diameter of a U.S. dime.

brightest-supernova(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/G. Cassam-Chenaï, J.Hughes et al.; Radio: NRAO/AUI/NSF/GBT/VLA/Dyer, Maddalena & Cornwell; Optical: Middlebury College/F. Winkler, NOAO/AURA/NSF/CTIO Schmidt & DSS)

No Star Left Behind. The celestial wreckage of the brightest supernova in recorded history, which left no star in its wake.

Here’s to better and more fantastic science shots in 2013!



Also check out “The Top 10 ScienceNOWs of 2012” as well as “Year in Shots,” a collection of all of the ScienceShots images they’ve run this year.

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When I am really honest with myself, this is what I would love an Italian grocery store to be…


They would carry everything you need. Maybe not everything you want… but definitely everything you need.


Pasta, bread, cheese, meat, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, oregano, basil, rosemary… maybe some fruits and nuts.

castagne-arrostite(Castagne arrostite!)

They might also have a few little things extra.


Espresso percolators…


… Italian playing cards…


… pizzelle irons.

My first wife, Susan, and I were right around the corner from such a place when we lived in St. Clair & Dufferin neighbourhood in Toronto in the late 70s.

italian-vegetable-market(Frutta e verdura!)

What I wouldn’t give to live once again a 2-minute walk from a place like this!


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Pythagorean Theorum: The area of the square of the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the square on the other two sides.


The theorem can be written as an equation relating the lengths of the sides ab and c, often called the Pythagorean equation:

a^2 + b^2 = c^2\!\,

where c represents the length of the hypotenuse, and a and b represent the lengths of the other two sides.

And that’s the way it is usually explained.

This way is MUCH cooler!

It is a demonstration of the Pythagorean Theorem using water.


Who said Euclidean geometry can’t be fun!


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Those who know me will freely attest that I have a ‘thing’ for Oriental girls.

Chinese, Japanese, Korean… you name it, I am completely dippy about them.

I recently had the opportunity to meet a very charming young lady, LingZhi. She goes by the English name ‘Liz.’ [1]

She and I met a month or so ago and have been getting together now and again since then.

(LingZhi has this thing for Blue Morpho butterflies)

LingZhi is what I call a ‘stealth loonie!’ She has the cool, calm ‘normal’ exterior thing going, for sure. But once you get past that, she is a different girl altogether!

I really enjoy her company. She has been in this country a couple of years. Her English is more than OK although she is a bit self-conscious about it. [2]

socks(LingZhi’s socks. I mean, really!)

We do unusual things. For example, about two weeks ago, out of the blue, she asked me if I could teach her how to make mashed potatoes. How do you say ‘no’ to that?  So, off to the grocery store we went. As we were shopping, I tried explaining to her what ‘kosher’ meant but gave up after a few tries. I’ll get around to it eventually, I’m sure.

tea-yixing-pot(LingZhi’s tea with my yixing teapot and cup. Note dead bonsai in background)

LingZhi, knowing my fondness for Chinese green tea, was kind and thoughtful enough to give me some as a Hanukah present.


Yesterday, she flew back home to China for the holidays.

Hopefully, she will return next month and we can see what kind of trouble we can get into again.


[1] I personally think that the name ‘Lindsay’ is more closely connected to her real name but what do I know?

[2] Not nearly as self-conscious as I am about my Mandarin. The expression ‘Significant Suckage’ leaps to mind.

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