Thoughts On Several Episodes Of The BBC Documentary Life

by thoughtsonthedead

  • That David Attenborough narrating it makes any event wonderful is a given, so let’s move past it.
  • And that Sir David’s voiceover in certain situations makes them ludicrous, such as Worldstar videos or various pornographies.
  • My only quibble with the narration is a cultural one: Attenborough, of course, uses the metric system and Celsius
  • Which means I have no idea how much anything weighs, or how cold anywhere is.
  • Or how far away places are from one another.
  • The only distance I’m completely positive that 100 kilometers isn’t, is 100 miles.
  • Kilometers do not equal miles.
  • Are they more?
  • Less?
  • To what extent?
  • As for the temperature, when it’s warm you can use the “double it and add 30” trick, but sometimes Sir David will say that it is -30C and now you’ve introduced negative numbers and I’m pretty sure this is algebra and I won’t do algebra just because Netflix tells me to.
  • Plus, sometimes Attenborough will slip a “Centigrade” in there, and I have UTTERLY no idea what Centigrade means.
  • Kelvin?
  • Anyway, animals are scary and I want them nowhere near me, but I enjoy watching them do stuff.
  • A lot like NFL players, actually: I do not want a Komodo dragon or J.J. Watt in my home.
  • The dragon would eat me, and J.J. Watt would berate me about manliness, and then eat me.
  • In the dry season wherever Komodo dragons live (Hell? Philly?), they will eat water buffalo; a buffalo of any background weighs a ton or so, and the dragon does not, so what the dragon will do is bite the buffalo.
  • And wait.
  • Komodo dragons’ bites are venomous and poisonous and maybe also racist: just terrible in every way.
  • And water buffalo have not invented antibiotics.
  • It takes almost a month for the buffalo to die; the entire time, half-a-dozen Komodo dragons shadow him.
  • Luckily, they wait for the water buffalo to drop dead before eating him.
  • Just kidding: they totally start eating the buffalo while it’s still alive.
  • Say what you will about lions and tigers, at least they have the courtesy to break an antelope’s neck before eating it.
  • There was also a sequence in which a lizard buries its eggs, only to have a snake immediately dig them up and eat them.
  • The lizard is still present; the eggs are still warm; the snake makes eye contact with the lizard while the yolk runs out of its distended mouth.
  • Reptiles are cold-blooded.
  • Birds are worse, though.
  • The only reason humans made it to today is that birds are small and dumb.
  • If they could eat us, they would, and if they could dominate us politically or at board games, they would do that, too.
  • A great deal of birds view other birds’ children as something equivalent to a freshly-baked bagel.
  • Cartoons of all sorts have been lying to us for years: different bird species do not befriend each other.
  • There are no musical numbers.
  • They just eat each others’ children.
  • A lot of the animal kingdom does that.
  • It is a good thing humans don’t, probably.
  • Christenings would be awkward, because someone would always eat the baby.
  • There is also a great sequence of contrasting feeding styles between a bird whose name I cannot remember and a gull: the not-gull is migrating and stops along the way at a lake where massive numbers of flies are hatching; gulls live there, too.
  • The not-gulls have elegant and pointed beaks, and they stand erect in the shallow water and snatch individual flies from the air like Mr. Miyagi with chopsticks.
  • The gulls, on the other hand, open their blunt mouths as wide as possible and run through the clouds of flies at top speed.
  • NOMNOMNOM.
  • There is also a program about insects, and they are also quite terrible.
  • Did you know that there are beetles that can projectile-shit boiling acid?
  • Next time some religious nut starts in on you, ask him that: how can there be a God when there are creatures that can shoot hot acid out of their assholes?
  • (I am not talking about the morning after Chimichanga Night.)
  • No one ever needs to remind me what honey actually is ever again; I enjoy honey, and had managed to block out its origin.
  • Bee vomit.
  • Honey is bee vomit.
  • I mean, maple syrup is tree blood, but that’s okay.
  • Plants are much more chill than birds or insects or reptiles.
  • You could Netflix and Chill with a plant, but the plant would not know about the Netflixing; it is a plant.
  • Plants do not have brains and did not build the Interstate Highway System, but they also don’t drive on said roads while playing with their phones, so who’s dumber?
  • There are several plants that eat insects, among them the sundew and the more-famed venus flytrap, and that fact might be the most staggering thing about evolution to me, and may be the one fact that causes me–for a second, at least–to doubt Mr. Darwin.
  • Maybe everything else evolved and someone made the venus flytrap?
  • Maybe God, maybe a god, could be aliens.
  • Probably not, though: this B-movie offshoot, with its spring-loaded teeth and booby-trapped bait, came from the same single-celled organism that salamanders and redwoods and Creepy Ernie came from.
  • And evolution is a process of millions and millions of years, which the human brain is functionally incapable of understanding, and the route to the venus flytrap that’s been around for quite a while was a twisty one, BUT: there had to be a first fly, right?
  • Somewhere in the unknowable past, there was a plant that didn’t eat flies, and then it did; most evolutionary change is gradual, but you can’t eat a fly a little bit.
  • It’s like being pregnant.
  • That first fly?
  • That was one surprised fly.
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