Monday, September 11, 2006

Modern Amphibians

Frogs in Concrete Contexts

Disclaimer: These pictures have nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11/01, terrorism, politics, memory or policy.


EHT said...

I always enjoy your pictures. I have very ugly frogs on my porch just about every morning courtesy of my sweet kitty. They are usually sprawled on their backs and are no longer simply "playing" dead. Yuck!

Ahistoricality said...

Thanks for the kind words. Not so much for the image....

Anonymous said...

I don't know why people dislike frogs and toads...they are actually a pure good. They zap insects like mosquitoes and gnats. The Bronx Zoo uses large toads in the cages with the big reptiles as insect control. The big snakes don't eat the toads, and the toads zap insects, and provide a scale benchmark for visitors.

When I was a small child, my family had a place in the Catskills, so we had a lot of frogs and toads on the property, living in a stream nearby. They would periodically leave their swamp to probe our area for bugs, and we'd pick them up. Sometimes we kept them as pets for the science lab my mother ran in our elementary school, but mostly we let them go after a while.

One summer, heavy rains created a stagnant pond in a ditch by our road. The local frogs and toads, not knowing the pond was going to evaporate, laid eggs in it. We found armies of tadpoles and froglets in this ditch, along with frogs' eggs, and realized they would die when the faux pond died. We rounded up mason jars and took as many frogs, tads, and toads as we could, and let them loose in our stream, where they would have flowing and regular water. The result was an increase in toads and frogs and a decrease in mosquitoes for the next few years.

When I got to high school, I refused to do dissection. I just felt it was wrong at that level to make kids cut up animals gleefully. And I disliked cutting up an animal that was a summer pal and pet.

The head of the biology department at my school, who was "Grumpy," huffed and puffed at me about "the greatness of America" and "the reputation of the school." Apparently my failure to kill and cut up a frog would endanger national survival, and, more mportantly, the school's reputation.

I couldn't follow his logic, as his colleague in the chemistry department had already proclaimed me the "stupidest person in class," but I told this to my biology teacher, who gawked at me in amazement.

She told me that if I did not do the lab, I would fail it. However, under the regulations, you could fail one lab without it being counted against you. So she said I could fail that lab.

I suggested that I do a paper instead on how we saved the frogs and toads, and she said I could. So I passed the lab, and never did dissection.

I'm glad that schools are now using computer programs to do "virtual dissection" instead. While I understand the point of the class, I don't see its value in the long run, particularly for students who are not continuing with biology as a major or a career path.

Yes, frogs and toads may not be the most beautiful-looking animals in the world, but except for the ones that fire poison darts (which, oddly enough, are very handsome), they're not evil or particularly ugly. I find them inoffensive and goofy-looking...they look fierce, but they really aren't.

Anonymous said...

Although I think frogs are o.k. I do not like them living on my front door and do I get them to stay off my porch and door ?