Friday, April 4, 2014

Spider spider walking fast
Down the racetracks of the past
Chronotechnic gambling thugs
Have increased your speed with drugs

Isn't it always the same? You let someone borrow the keys to the Riddled time machine -- "just stocking up on hadrosaur steaks for the barbeque!" -- and the next thing stories like this are appearing in the paper:
260 million years ago an arachnid of some kind, perhaps a tarantula, wrote the Braille letter 'P' repeatedly across the surface of a sand-dune. Probably to let the future know that unscrupulous members of the time-travelling spider-gambling fraternity had doped it with amphetamines in order to win a race.

Further evidence of the untrustworthiness of invertebrate inveterate arachnid gamblers comes to us from the august pages of the Journal of Paleontology. Even without time-travel they resort to increasingly ingenious excuses and cover stories to shield their activities from detection:
[Christa Sadler] set up a 4-meter long sandy runway with a slight hill in the middle. She sprayed water on some of the sand and kept the rest dry. Then she released tarantulas and scorpions onto the runway. She varied the speeds at which they could traverse the course by introducing a headwind, and recorded how their footprints changed with speed, angle, and moisture.
"Excuse me, Professor Sadler, I hope you and your colleagues are not betting on those spiders?" "Of course not, Dean! They are helping prepare the handicaps for the next stage of this important experiment!"

It goes without saying that any spider racing that might take place on Wednesday nights after 11 p.m. at the Old Entomologist is completely above-board and is conducted in accordance with all the relevant regulations. Also head barmaid Evangeline van Holsterin is unbending when she makes us clear all the sand off the shuffleboard table afterwards. In particular, it is inconceivable that any of the regular winners could be doped with performance-enhancing drugs -- notably, four-time champion Hot Needle of Inquiry -- and anyone who does whisper of doping is just a bad loser and poor sportsman. Come on, ZRM and Thunder, pony up.
The blood is the life
As irrefutable proof that Hot Needle was not on octopamine or similar stimulants we took a blood haemolymph sample and fed it to old fever-wracked Mauricio Santos-Lobos [author of The Spider Glyph in Time] -- having first locked him in the Evolvamat for two complete cycles to activate his silk-production genes -- to see how it affected his web-weaving.

He started weaving a sperm web with his specialised epiandral spinnerets, but Evangeline did not appreciate the inseminatory compliment and Mauricio is now banned.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Isn't that H.N.I. there, with the smirk of a spider who gets away with it???

He's a real Rollo Tomasi, that one.

Jennifer said...

I had a feeling I was being helped!

Smut Clyde said...

And your spidey sense was correct, Jennifer.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Then she released tarantulas and scorpions onto the runway.

I think this line is a typo, and that she released tarantulas and scorpions onto the unwary.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I'll just leave this here.

(A bicycle should have been included, of course.)

Smut Clyde said...

Dr Sadler is going to have to do better than "Release the tarantulas and scorpions onto the runway!!" if she wants to be taken seriously as an evil mad scientist.

mikey said...

Hmm. I would think that instead of using performance ENHANCING drugs, it would be easier and more efficient to introduce various small, perhaps even (dare I say it?) homeopathic quantities of commercially available products containing Tetramethrin, Cypermethrin and Imiprothrin (I highly recommend Raid Ant & Roach Killer - it has a pleasant scent) to a subset of the field, thus reducing their speed due to a tummy ache or perhaps partial nervous system collapse and allowing the economically advantageous arachnids to arrive at the finnish (or swedish, depending on the rulebook in use) line first...

fish said...

This photo was not, I repeat, not taken at The Olde Entomologist.