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Mesonychoteuthis Hamiltoni

April is the clueless month. We woke up today to six inches of beautiful, fluffy snow, and the laconic weatherman forecasts more to come later in the week.

If you watch gangster movies, you'll be familiar with the scene where the mafia enforcer pays a visit to some shlub who hasn't paid back his debts, and beats him within an inch of his life. These scenes always end with a quiet moment when the debtor is on the ground, gasping for air, and the mobster steps back, satisfied, his message delivered. But then he always comes in and gives the guy one last solid kick in the goolies, just for good measure.

That is winter in Vermont.

There was a proper spring down in Rhode Island last week, with sun and no snow in sight, and the high point of it came when we visited the Mystic Aquarium in nearby Connecticut. I got to see the Idle Words mascot himself - an ocean pout - eyeing me from behind a big piece of coral. It was the first fish I had seen in days that wasn't coated in golden batter. I had imagined the ocean pout to be about the size of a herring, so it was something of a shock to see he is over a meter long, in the fifty pound range.

But even at that size, the pout would be little more than popcorn for a mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, the elusive colossal squid, which grows up to eighteen meters in length. Sadly, the Mystic Aquarium didn't have one of those on show. They call it 'colossal' because 'giant' is already taken, by a much smaller animal. And who knows what else lies beneath?

The more I think about it, the more I wonder why we can't devote all the money we pour into manned space flight into expeditions to the bottom of the sea. How cool would it be, rather than seeing John Glenn return to orbit, to watch him be devoured by a fifty-foot-long cephalopod with dinner-plate eyes, and razor hooks on its tentacles?

Cephalopod, shmephalopod, you say - what happened to French Week? Well, there is one more post left, Day 7, but it will take a little time to get ready. You will have to wait until the next mass bout of France-bashing, or next weekend, whichever is later.

And in the meantime, I can relax and return to writing unresearched old blather.

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