Scientists are pretty sure that modern humans are related to Lucy,
the three-foot-tall primate who walked sort of erect in the
African savannah umpty-thousand years ago and left a half dozen bones
behind for Harvard to glue back together. Okay. Dog experts have been
pretty sure that the pharaoh hound and the Ibizan hound are direct
descendants of the most ancient dogs rendered in art, namely the Anubis
figures of Egypt. But now it turns out that the dog experts are wrong:
Both breeds, along with several others
that dog aficionados
have long believed dated back thousands of years, are actually much
more modern animals -- re-creations that were probably produced by
The findings have sent
reverberations though the ranks
of dog fanciers, who primp and preen their beloved companions for shows
and take great pride in their pedigrees.
"This is clearly going to raise
some eyebrows in the
Pharaoh hound world," said Greg Witt, vice president of the Pharaoh
Hound Club of America. "It goes against our belief system. People are
pretty passionate about their dogs. There is going to be disbelief."
The findings come from the first
detailed genetic comparison of the genes of purebred dogs.
If you're wondering who else is sporting a fraudulent coat of arms,
here they are: Norwegian Elkhounds (not Vikings) and German Shepherds
(not wolf cousins).
And there's more to the story. DNA analysis suggests that the dogs
which are most closely related to each other, and to wolves, are the
Samoyed, basenji, Saluki, Afghan, Lhasa apso, Pekingese, Shar-Pei, Shih
Tzu and Akita.
These guys don't look much like wolves.
They don't look much like each other. So why do scientists think Lucy
is related to us? Fossils don't have DNA. It must be because she's
bipedal and therefore looks (to scientists) somewhat human. Just like a
German Shepherd looks (to us) like a wolf. Maybe it's more than dog
breeders who have some rethinking to do. Who knows what else might turn
up in the human family tree?
What didn't Darwin know and when
didn't he know it?
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Modesty? I never saw it, but I think I know what you mean.
Return to Modesty?
girls don't like this look for some reason. Whatever.
. CNN is
claiming that there's a teenage girl who doesn't want to be half naked
when fully dressed
Here's an excerpt:
During a recent shopping trip to
Nordstrom, 11-year-old Ella Gunderson became frustrated with all the
low-cut hip-huggers and skintight tops.
So she wrote to the Seattle-based chain's
see all of these girls who walk around with pants that show their belly
button and underwear," she wrote. "Your clearks (sic) sugjest (sic)
that there is only one look. If that is true, then girls are suppost
(sic) to walk around half naked."
Nordstrom executives wrote back and
promised Ella the company would try to provide a variety of fashions
This is promising, provided Ella isn't the only girl who thinks
looking like a slut isn't the be-all and end-all of fashion. We
suspect, however, that modesty is but a brief niche market (pun
intended). Note that CNN doesn't quite approve of Ella, going out of
its way to embarrass her by reproducing her (probably normal)
misspellings. When a professional or presumptuous adult botches his
spelling, we can see the value of that lordly "[sic]," but it's a mite
heavy-handed to insert into the prose of an 11-year-old.
The fashion mavens seem a bit patronizing too. Here's how the new
modest look is characterized by an editor at Seventeen:
"We like to call this new girl Miss
Modesty," said Gigi Solif
Schanen, fashion editor at Seventeen magazine. "It's such a different
feeling but still very pretty and feminine and sexy. It's just a little
more covered up."
Shoppers are starting to see higher
and lower hemlines, and tweeds, fitted blazers and layers are expected
to be big this fall, Schanen said.
"It's kind of like a sexy take
on a librarian," she said. "I think people are tired of seeing so much
skin and want to leave a little more to the imagination."
A librarian? Uh, sure. Every girl would want to look like a
librarian. And are we starting to understand why CNN launched the
"[sic]" weapon? Ella wants to look like a librarian and can't spell.
She must be one of those fake girls, you know, the ones who don't want
to be a shouting TV lawyer or slutty singer.
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
The Day After the Day
FORGERS' DAY WEEKEND
Welcome to the
wonderful world of ADDS
. There was so much to keep everyone busy over
the long holiday weekend that no one remembered to post anything in
this space. I suppose we owe an accounting.
Who could have known that in the space of a few days we'd be reliving
all of World War II? The first hint was Krauthammer's review of the new
in Washington, DC. He didn't like it much. After
reminding us of the great conflict's "transcendence of geography
-- and class and ethnicity," he invokes the image of "the now-cliched
platoon of the Polish millworker from Chicago, the Jewish kid from
Brooklyn, the Appalachian woodsman and the Iowa farm boy bonding and
fighting and dying for each other as a band of brothers." Then he turns
to the memorial and its...
...gigantic soulless pillars, each
and meaninglessly representing a state or territory, that define this
memorial. What in God's name were they thinking? Did not one commission
that passed on this project ask: "Why states?"
But that is just the beginning of
the banality. The monument is strewn with quotations inscribed in
stone, meant to inspire. You descend into the parenthesis from street
level and the first large stone panel on your right reads: "Women who
stepped up were measured as citizens of the nation, not as women . . .
this was a people's war, and everyone was in it."
"Stepped up"? "Everyone was in it"?
Is this the best we can do? Are we not embarrassed to put such
pedestrian prose by the biblical cadences of the Gettysburg Address and
the second inaugural speech carved in stone at the Lincoln Memorial
just a few hundred yards down the Reflecting Pool?
What Charles forgot is that for most Americans, World War II
happened in the movies. All one had to do was catch a few hours of the
many runnings of "The Longest Day" to realize that everyone was
and this is just D-Day we're talking about. In the parts viewed by our
little band of brothers, we saw John Wayne (of course), Henry
Robert Mitchum, Robert Wagner, Eddy Albert, Stuart Whitman, Sean
Connery, Red Buttons, Richard Burton, Paul Anka, Kenneth More, Richard
Beymer, Ray Danton, Fabian, Jeffrey Hunter, Peter Lawford, Roddy
McDowell, Sal Mineo, Edmund O'Brien, Robert Ryan, George Segal, Rod
Steiger, Richard Todd, and Tom Tryon. In the parts we missed because we
had to run out and get hot dogs and hamburgers like everyone else, we
almost certainly would have added more to the list -- Gary Cooper
flanking the Atlantic Wall with his Kentucky long rifle, Humphrey
Bogart steering his war-weary tank crew across the sands of Omaha
Beach, and Erroll Flynn arriving in the nick of time at Sword Beach in
his dive bomber.
And all that was just one movie. If you answered the call of
duty over the rest of the weekend, you would also have witnessed "Above
and Beyond" with Robert Taylor piloting the Enola Gay, "Action in the
North Atlantic" with Humphrey Bogart leading a great merchant marine
convoy to Britain, "Twelve O'Clock High" with Gregory Peck agonizing
over the casualties of the Eighth Air Force, "In Harm's Way" with John
Wayne leading the naval effort in the Pacific, "To Hell and Back" with
Audie Murphy playing himself, "Torpedo Run" with Glenn Ford commanding
a submarine in the Pacific, "Run Silent, Run Deep" with Clark Gable
commanding another submarine in the Pacific, "Stalag 17" with William
Holden cutting up rough in a German POW camp, "36 Hours" with James
Garner as a POW trying to fool Rod Taylor into believing the invasion
wouldn't be at Normandy, "Von Ryan's Express" with Frank
Sinatra leading a daring POW escape in Germany, "Patton" with
George C. Scott chewing up the French scenery something awful, "The
Devil's Brigade" with William Holden assembling a deadly commando unit,
and "The Dirty Dozen" with Lee Marvin assembling an even deadlier
And if combat fatigue hadn't set in by then, you could have
sat through a double feature of "A Bridge Too Far" and "The Great
Escape," both featuring enormous casts. This means that the long list
above has to be augmented with Dirk Bogarde, James Caan,
Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Edward Fox, Elliott Gould, Gene Hackman,
Anthony Hopkins, Hardy Kruger, Laurence Olivier, Ryan O'Neal, Robert
Redford, Maximillian Schell,.James Garner, Steve McQueen, Donald
Pleasence, James Coburn, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, and
Even the TV production companies were trying to serve. The mysteriously
long-running show "JAG" time-travelled its whole cast back to Iwo Jima
to participate in that epochal struggle, while A&E mounted the most
physically demanding WWII movie in recent history, depicting
Eisenhower's planning of the D-Day invasion despite the contributions
of Montgomery, Patton, and de Gaulle. Those who tried to light up a
smoke every time Tom Selleck fired up a Camel unfiltered are probably
on a respirator by now. (It was actually an impressive production and,
oddly, about the only time we can remember anyone playing "Ike" in more
than a cameo role.)
All in all, we think Krauthammer is wrong to carp at the statement
"everyone was in it." It's the truth. And all this celluloid represents
a huge ongoing investment in the nation's World War II memorial. It's
one thing to quibble about a few pillars that are insufficient to their
task; it's another to consider the tremendous fleets of planes and
ships and tanks and guns that have been deployed to make sure that
Americans never forget the heroism of the Greatest Generation. In this
context, it seems a little dense of Mr. Krauthammer to display such
bewilderment about the centerpiece of the new memorial in DC:
And then, alas, the ultimate banality.
The centerpiece of the monument is a low curved wall, closing the top
of the parenthesis, as it were, straddling the central axis of the Mall
and adorned with 4,000 gold stars.
The gold star, of course, was given
to those who had lost a son in the war. Why 4,000 stars? To represent
the more than 400,000 American dead: each star represents a hundred.
Why a hundred? Did they die in
units of a hundred? Did they fight as centurions? The number is
entirely arbitrary, a way to get the stars to fit the wall.
Of course, he may have been put off the scent by the seeming
imitation of the Vietnam Memorial. A wall enumerating casualties. Hmmm.
Derivative perhaps. But the stars are an interesting touch. Do they not
remind us of the ongoing cinematic tribute to the fallen, all the
starpower that Hollywood can muster pressed into service in the name of
memory? It may well be that 4,000 stars have donned the uniform for
this task. No doubt, each of them has stood in for hundreds, thousands
of the real men and women who perished in the most sweeping conflict of
all time. And it's not trivial or demeaning to point out that this is a
tribute which continues and will continue for many years to come.
Tonight, for example, the excellent miniseries "Band of Brothers"
resumes on the History Channel, and a new documentary promises us the
truth about "The Lost Tanks of D-Day." If the weekend exhausted you,
suck it up and get moving, soldier. This particular assignment is never
done, and D-Day is less than a week away once more.
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