Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Pizzas in the Mists? - ooops - Gorillas in the Swamps

I am able to report that this morning, we briefly had "lumpy rain", at about 5 degrees Celsius. Not quite "mist" but close enough to justify this headline. Visibility 200 metres. Cold and wet. Large diagonal stripes in the image are the wet hail or sleet, or what I call "lumpy rain".
My heading, of course is a pun on the wonderfully named "Pizzas in the Mist" restaurant here in Robertson, and the second bit is a reference to a famous Movie, in case you didn't work that out.

I am indebted to James Woodford's wonderful weekly blog update at "" for this advice about an important story about a relatively recently discovered population of Western Lowland Gorillas *** in the Republic of Congo. That country is NOT the much larger and less environmentally safe Democratic Republic of Congo - as is explained by Fran Kelly's guest, who makes a slight correction to her introduction, as you will hear if you follow the link below).

Back in the dark ages (late 1960s) when I was a theological student in Rome, and a room-mate of a young Prince from the Congo (I kid you not) this country was known as Congo Brazzaville, and the other bigger and more dangerous one was called Congo Kinshasa. That latter country became known as Zaire under its tyrannical ruler, President Mobutu, but has since returned to being known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. If you read both those two Wikipedia links you will realise that my comment "more dangerous" is a relative term.

By the way, I have not heard of or from my former room-mate, Joseph Nyeme, in 40 years. He did write to me in 1969, from Rome. I fear he has long since been "silenced". I have never done a full Red Cross missing persons search, but he does not appear in any Internet searches which I have conducted.

Anyway, I have digressed.

Thanks to James Woodford's blog link taking me to the ABC's Radio National website, I was able to listen to Fran Kelly's interview about the discovery of a colony of some 125,000 Western Lowland Gorillas living in a wet, swampy rainforest. It seems they have survived the "bushmeat" trade, because of the difficulty of accessing their habitat. Long may they remain - safe and wet, in there.

What's in a name?

*** The Western Lowland Gorillas rejoice in the scientific name: "Gorilla gorilla gorilla".
That us scientific jargon for "Watch out: I think there's a Gorilla behind that bush!"

This is more impressive, but no more explanatory than the unimaginative "Rattus rattus" (which you can guess) or my other favourite scientific name, "Crex crex" - the European bird called the "Corn Crake" - a type of marsh bird in the Rail family (can you guess what its call is like?). Those early biologists were not very imaginative in their names.

If you don't know what a Gorilla is, then saying it 3 times
doesn't actually explain anything to the unwary naturalist, but, in this case, I can see that it might just add a sense of urgency. Especially if it is said like this:
Gorilla - Gorilla - GORILLA.

The unimaginative scientific names for animals is a theme which Nick Rheinberger has wittily explored in his current article in the local Southern Highlands magazine: "Your Times" published Wednesday 6 August 2008. Have a read - its right at the back of the "Your Times" magazine.


Mosura said...

I hate lumpy rain. I'd rather it just snowed.

I had a Cheese stick in the mist once but would gladly have swapped it for pizza. I was on the summit of Kosciuszko at the time and it was so foggy you could hardly see your toes if you looked down. Then again that might have been because I have a belly like a gorilla. (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) Too many cheese sticks I suppose.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mosura

Glad its not just me who hates "lumpy rain".
Re your cheese stick, you needed a griller griller griller to convert it into a Pizza in the Mist.