Tonight, I am a sad bastard. My dear friends from the Secret Science Club are hosting the seventh "Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest" and I am stuck at work (though, to be sure, I have always preferred the live fuzzy things to the dead ones- as yesterday's post implied). Still, I have always enjoyed the "Carnivorous Nights" event, and even presented pieces on behalf of artist, table tennis champion, and gentleman Peter Cua. I am there in spirit with all of the attendees... my friend Chris A. is texting me updates from the event- a mandolin fashioned from an armadillo shell is the highlight so far.
On a more important note, the taxidermy show was started as a promotional event for the wonderful book Carnivorous Nights: On the Trail of the Tasmanian Tiger by my friends Margaret Mittelbach & Michael Crewdson. The book is a fantastic read, and I am not saying that because they are my friends- it is an informative book which manages to be funny even though it is suffused with the melancholy appropriate to the disappearance of a remarkable animal from the face of the planet just as conservation efforts were being proposed by, of all people, Errol Flynn's father- for a taste of the book, here's a Washington Post article written by Margaret and Michael on the subject.
Just so everybody can be even sadder than the Bastard, here's a video of the last known Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus), a marsupial masquerading as a rather handsome dog with a huge head and an impossible gape of the jaws, which died in a zoo in 1936:
Seriously, folks, get your hands on a copy of Carnivorous Nights, you'll alternate between laughing and crying, and will heave a huge, sad sigh once you're done, lamenting yet another example of humankind's thoughtlessness.