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Of Mollusks And Men...
2007.03.09 (Fri) 10:04
If we mention a biologist, an educator, a skeptic, an atheist, a firebrand, and a cephalopod-obsessed pirate...and we add that it's not a "walked into a bar" joke...what's the first thing that comes to your mind?
If you didn't think of Dr. Paul Z. Myers, you've been missing out.
PZ Myers is the incredibly intelligent and gloriously outraged mastermind behind Pharyngula, a blog (to boil it down to a term it has far outgrown) that covers as wide a range of topics as we could ask for — and offers more than enough scientific morsels to keep us satisfied, since PZ is right there, down in the trenches, making his living as a scientist and science educator. Whether he's espousing his scathing and consistently smart political views, slamming purveyors of bullshit in every shape and form, championing the causes of science, rationalism and skepticism, or giving us another excellent post explaining some fascinating detail of biology in general or biological development in particular, the man can fucking write. And by "fucking write," we mean to refer both to his skill and prolificacy — we don't know how he manages to produce quite so much and maintain his standard of quality, all the while holding down one of those...you know...jobs. You all know we don't find as much time to get our Rants up, and we can't imagine that our current jobs are anywhere near as time-consuming as PZ's. Some of us have worked in education — if you're looking for the employment equivalent of an "easy A," we don't recommend it — and when you combine that with the professional scientist's responsibility to produce new and useful hypotheses and studies, well, we're beginning to suspect the guy must be some kind of cyborg...a cephalopod cyborg, with a wholly autonomous tentacle for every task he takes on.
As it turns out, this righteously mad scientist, this outspoken advocate of logic and reason, this mollusk among men (we think he'll take that as a compliment!)...is turning 50 years old today! A whole bunch of smart and skeptical bloggers started the ball rolling, encouraging everyone who owes anything to PZ — and that's quite a lot of us (he's unquestionably one of the select few bloggers who inspired us to create the Two Percent Company) — to throw him a sort of virtual surprise party. So in keeping with the plan:HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PZ!
PZ himself, who will hopefully be surprised and cheered by the sudden deluge of birthday greetings, has requested that birthday greetings take the form of a poem, and we aim to please. Without further ado, below is our birthday present for the Cephalopod King, the Pirate Prince, the Fonzie of Biology — PZ Myers:
Of Mollusks And Men...
It's easy to take the word "evolution"
And handily rhyme it with "revolution."
But though it is true, and though it is tried,
Pharyngula fills us with just too much pride
To stoop to mere trifles and used-up clichés —
Come on, PZ's clocked over Eighteen K days!
In one pentadecade, this guy has achieved
The kind of success you must read to believe.
A wisdom we're hoping will last through the ages
(Thanks to his words quoted in City Pages).
He's got a few oddities, just a few quirks,
But nothing stops PZ from nailing the jerks
Who massacre science and rational thought —
PZ knows the good fight remains to be fought.
His raison d'être — you may think it odd —
Includes the embracing of cephalopod
Trivia, data and paraphernalia,
A tentacled, slimy, deep-sea bacchanalia!
(But trust us, there's no need to whimper, distressed —
We don't think that PZ is really obsessed!
It's merely a hobby, like cooking with curry.
He starts sprouting tentacles...maybe we'll worry.)
And meanwhile, one fact is quite evident:
PZ's taken on a good fifty percent
Of everything one hundred years could throw at him —
And wrestled it all: quod erat demonstrandum!
Creationists, psychics, political pricks...
They all try to tar him, but none of it sticks.
He floats like a butterfly! Stings like a bee!
They really can't tag him — he's earned his degree.
He'll talk like a pirate, and wax about squid.
He'll point, justifiably proud, at his kids.
He'll give us the logic to back up his claim —
Compared to him, all his opponents are lame.
So right on, and write on, PZ! We'll keep reading
To feast on the rationalism we're needing.
You've got a supply of what we're thirsting for...
Happy birthday, PZ! And at least fifty more!
PZ Myers: Octoborg!
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[ Filed under: % Computers & the Internet % Two Percent Toons ]
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Kristjan Wager, 2007.03.09 (Fri) 10:53 [Link] »
agentx, 2007.03.09 (Fri) 14:06 [Link] »
TimmyAnn, 2007.03.09 (Fri) 18:50 [Link] »
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