G’day! Byron the Quokka here, reminding you that we have a comment contest going. Our goal is 70,000 comments–with only 579 left to go.
[Editor’s note: We’re wondering if there’s an Internet outage somewhere, because we haven’t heard from any of our most prolific commenters today. We also have reports of readers’ email conking out. ]
Here I’d like to turn it over to Quokka University’s life coach, Horatio the jumping spider.
Thank you, Byron. First I’d like to say that bugs are good for you, catch as many as you can. This solves most of life’s problems. It’s always worked for me.
Anyhow, the winner of the comment contest will receive an autographed copy of Lee’s book, His Mercy Endureth Forever. If you already have it, you can hold out for the next book in the series, The Wind from Heaven, which has not yet been published but it won’t be long now.
Meanwhile, a select committee of quokkas is still working on the problem of how much tuition to charge and whether it should include a season’s pass to QU’s pick-up sticks matches.
But by all means we want to read your comments! Really, what’s the point of having six eyes if you don’t have anything to read? (That’s one for the Philosophy Dept.)
Every university needs a life coach, and Quokka U. is no exception. And now we’ve got one!
G’day! Byron the Quokka here, and I’d like you to meet our new life coach for staff and students alike–Dr. Horatio Fantod!
As you’ve already guessed from the picture, Dr. Fantod is a jumping spider. He had already set up shop as Rotnest Island’s premier (and only) life coach, and although nobody knows where he earned his doctorate, all his clients think very highly of him. Besides which, he works cheap.
The good thing about him is, he always gives the same advice, the same for everybody, so there are never any difficult surprises. As he puts it, “No matter how you may have messed up your life, you can always make it better with a nice, tasty leaf-hopper! Or any other kind of insect you can catch.”
The bad thing is, he’s so small and consequently has a very small voice. So before he can advise you how to fix up your life by catching insects, he has to crawl up onto your ear and sort of shout into the hole. That’s a bad thing because it tickles! And you have to be careful not to laugh or jiggle your head because then he might fall into your ear and have to climb out–and that tickles even worse. It’s happened to me.
Dr. Fantod’s counseling sessions are free of charge, so we won’t have to raise the tuition to keep him around. As long as he can come out of the rain, he’s happy. And so are we!
I admit I’m not much for spiders, but I’ve always had a soft spot for these zebra jumping spiders–maybe because I wanted to be a zebra when I grew up, and look how close these little spiders have come to doing that.
Unlike other spiders, jumping spiders can actually see what’s going on around them. While I was writing yesterday, I discovered one of these little guys crawling around on my knee. It was easy to induce him to climb onto my hand and then jump somewhere else. He must’ve liked me because he kept coming back for more. So I played with the spider for a minute or two before finally releasing him onto the ground.
But I insist I’m not eccentric–just enjoying some of God’s stuff. And trying to manage a nooze-free weekend.
Ladies and gentlemen! For your edification and enjoyment, we proudly present [trumpet fanfare] a spider chasing a laser pointer light.
But not just any spider! Nosireebob–this here is a genuine jumping spider. If you look closely, you’ll see she has two rather large eyes, plus a bunch of smaller ones you probably can’t see. That’s what makes jumping spiders unique in spiderdom: they can see! They hunt their prey by sight.
Still, there is one thing that defeats our most concentrated mental efforts–
What does this spider think she sees, when she sees the laser light?
Hi, Mr. Nature here, with more of God’s stuff that always works.
If your garden is blessed, it may be inhabited by one or more of these, the Audacious Jumping Spider, Phidippus audax. They hunt harmful insects by sight, and to catch them when they see them, they jump. If you look closely at the spider in the video, you’ll be able to see her two largest eyes (she has a couple of smaller ones, too).
The “audacious” tag is a misnomer. When one of these spiders sees you coming, he or she will promptly seek a hiding place. I like that quality in a spider. I wish more people had it.