The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Adventures in 10th grade biology

One of the most time honored traditions of high school biology is animal dissections. Mrs. Fisher,my teacher, heralded our upcoming frog-cutting experiment with the pleasant tar-like smell of the melting of thick black wax into pans. That was where we were to pin down "subjects" as we cut them open and compared their organ to ours, some of the kids had done it in seventh grade, but this was going to be different. In 7th grade they had a giant vacuum-sealed bag stuffed with frogs that were long dead, for this one they were going to be alive.

Mrs. Fisher offered the bounty of extra credit for anyone who caught frogs for our dissection. Delaware had a lot of marshy areas, so it was pretty easy for the right kids to get plenty of "extra credit". Frog killin' day came with jar after jar of pissed off frogs leaping their way towards the lid of their jar in a futile escape effort. These local frogs were a lot bigger than the seventh grade ones and with strong legs to make themselves as big a nuisance as they could be with their desire to stay alive and everything.

Mrs. Fisher told us the first thing we were going to have to do was "pith" our frogs; we'd use a tool to poke through the spinal column to paralyze the amphibian while keeping their organs working as we poke around in them.

My lab partner and I picked an average sized frog while across from us while my classmate Julie and her lab partner picked the biggest frog I had ever seen in my life. We pithed our respective experiments and crucify them with t-shaped stainless steel pins into the black wax belly up for the slicing.

As we all did our first incisions together, it became immediately apparent who had incorrectly pithed. Those ones started wriggling as violently as one would expect if they could feel someone cut into them and were still able to express their displeasure physically . When Julie pithed her's she needed to have her partner's two hands to hold it. As it turned out, what she did didn't paralyze it, but knocked out until the frog organs were completely exposed.

The pins in the wax that had contained the struggles of the other frogs were no match of this behemoth frog when he came to. He immediately pulled the pins on his hands out of wax and tried to use his increased momentum to get his legs out, flopping so furiously the wax pan starts jerking around the lab table as all of us are following it with our eyes, scalpels in hand for protection.

And we needed it, the pins were still in the frog's hands as he wriggled around, flailing his pins at us like they were samurai swords as he tried to get himself free. His organs flopping around became like a second line of defense, if the whirling pins of death didn't stop you maybe the slimy organs will!

Julie looked right at me and said,"Pete! Kill it!"
I don't remember exactly what I did,but I suspect if I did something I was proud of I'd remember it.

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