Obviously, John Minot gets crazy points for writing bilingual haiku. Man, the Haiku-Offs were always a great way to exploit the talent of my readers.
…Okay, how about more gerbil photos? I apologize profusely for taking so long to post these, but James Rice’s gerbil, Speedy, is far from the only globetrotting gerbil adventurer. Christopher Heiny’s gerbil, Smokey, is seen here exploring the Philippines while Christopher and Thelma visited the University of Philippines engineering department. Writes Chris:
Today we drove from Manila up to Tanauan, and then to Taal Volcano to look for signs of mad science. It was obvious the UP chem eng department was up to something, and when you’re a megalomaniacal mad genius bent on world domination, what better place to hide your lair than in the largest island in the largest lake in the largest volcanic cone in a lake inside a volcano in the world (so we are told – not verified by independent sources at this writing).
To get to there, we first had to take a banca (motorized outrigger) which was a bit touched by madness itself. No ordinary human could combine fiberglass, bamboo, electrical conduit, the steering system from an Opel Corsa, the drivetrain from a Toyota truck, and an old hasp (for the throttle) and achieve functional transportation.
Once we’d reached the inner cinder cone, we traveled by horseback to a ledge overlooking the crater. The island within that lake certainly has a lot of lair potential. Small enough to be unobtrusive, large enough to house both the hanger for the flying manta boat and the missile launch silo.
We were not permitted to descend into the crater, ostensibly due to the possibility of asphyxiation from hydrogen sulfide (a smelly way to go, to be sure) or poaching in boiling mud. From our crater rim vantage point, though, we could readily see a number of smokers – bubbling, steaming pools of goop. And were did we previously see bubbling steaming pools of goop? The UP chem eng bioreactors yesterday. Pretty suspicious if you ask us.
Indeed. More pictures to follow. Thanks, Christopher, Thelma, and Smokey!