Category Archives: Paleontology

One Year On

In the year since I posted last, I have not only outfitted an more than modest sized traveling museum and finished a second MA, but was able to squeeze in a few shows for students as well. The greatest highlight to share is that in a couple weeks I will be presenting Paleo Porch at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Conference in Berlin, Germany. My abstract was accepted in the “Education and Outreach” session which is all poster format, but I will be going to discuss not only the outreach with traveling artifacts (in this case casts) but also how successful using the humanities to teach science outreach can be.

Below is a sampling of the talks I did in the Spring and Summer with the Paleo Porch Mini Mobile Museum. The Paleo Porch Facebook page is still running strong, and is updated frequently with paleo news, good fun, and bad puns. There is still a lot going on as I make my way towards comprehensive exams. Currently I am living in the Art History department absorbing everything I can on the Art of the American West, and the Myth and Memory of that same west. Understanding what artists were representing about the west, helps us to understand the expectations of that west (and what came out of it) that those living wast of the Mississippi were using to make sense of their world and relationship with it. With that in mind it also influences how museums were designed and filled and what artifacts were used to establish authenticity and authority including giant fossil bones, whether they were from dinosaurs or giant mammals. You can read about one such method of communication here
Until there is more to report from Berlin, and I have time to put together posts on Natural History Museums (which is my next plan for here) enjoy these candid shots of kids learning about paleontology and the history of science through the Paleo Porch Mini Mobile Museum. Total reach for the year is about 1100 and that is only with a handful of exhibitions. More to come! 
First “Paleo in the Park” 

Middle School 

Middle School

Middle School

Middle School

University Talk

University Talk

University talk layout and Q&A 

Pre-Collegiate Class at University

Pre-Collegiate Class at University

Pre-Collegiate Class at University

I will get some photos of the conference and my poster up when I return. The conference runs Nov. 5-8, 2014.

DinoSkulls

The Indiegogo campaign has come to an end. The perks and goodies have been mailed, and the money transfer has been “initiated.” The Paypal donations have already cleared and that is what I purchased the perks, the cases, and paid for the shipping with. There was enough to put in a quick order for a few pieces before they disappeared. The Carnotaurus was discontinued with only 3 left in stock, so I wanted to act quickly. They also offer damaged skulls for a fraction (about 1/3) of the regular price. So, I ordered one of each that they offered. At most it would just be a little gluing. I will highlight the first shipment for the Paleo Porch Mini Mobile Museum:

The package as it was delivered. Well packed, I might add. 
Three boxes=3 skulls

Opening the Carnotaurus first

These are really high quality replicas. 

Scaled down for super-easy transport

They even come with very nice little stands with their names and scale size on it: 
Here is where the fun begins: How badly would these be damaged? They didn’t say:

The deinonychus was missing a few (4) teeth, as you can see, and was now a two piece. 

I learned about Duco cement at University taking my Archaeology course. This stuff is fantastic for nearly any type of medium you need to reattach and it works brilliantly on resin. 

 
The jaws, being good little levers were heavier on the end so I had to employ a bit of spacering and rubberbanding. 
The Brachiosaurus was another story. The jaw was separated from the skull, just as the deinonychus was, only it was missing many, many more teeth. Both from the lower jaw:
and the upper: 

This actually let me realize just how good these casts are. Brachiosaur teeth are notably described as “peg-like” or “pencil-like” and these are. All of them. But, they each have the flattened wedge shape on the inside. That made it only a little easier. 

Also, the don’t simply get smaller from the front back. They vary in size all along the tooth row. 
There was a lot of checking and double checking. 

Some progress:
Upper was a bit easier, or that is to say went quicker. 

I am still not 100% certain they are all in the correct “sockets” but they look pretty good

Required the same advanced techniques for holding things together . It was here I realized there is a great opportunity to market DragonSkull shoes. They would still look better than crocs
Once all the teeth were in and the jaws were rigged into place
 it was just a matter of the Duco setting up. Total time to get 
 to this point about 2 and a half hours. 

With the jaws being so heavy on the ends and needing pressure in all the right places, I was worried that the Duco might not make it. Shouldn’t have worried though, once the bands and spacers were in the right places it was just a matter of time. Now that the Duco has completely cured, the glued joints are stronger than the regular resin pieces. 

 They may have come out of the boxes completely different, a few hours of work and dry time, there isn’t that much difference in the finished products. And now you have the first three skulls in the Paleo Porch collections. These three and a few teeth and claws will be at the Pioneer library meeting this Thursday and Friday to potentially negotiate workshops at all 10 libraries in their system during summer vacation. I think it is a fitting sample of what the Paleo Porch Mini Mobile Museum will have to offer 
More to come as I work with retailers to get more bang for buck. I will update as new orders arrive and new workshops get planned, check back here for more updates! 

Gearing Up

The first of my large cases came in last night. Trying to figure out how to make a museum mobile isn’t terribly difficult, but finding things that you can use to actually do it isn’t terrible easy. After searching the internet and countless hours of review grazing and product specs reading I decided to give this one a shot. It was a bit more than I wanted to spend, so I resigned to have it in my ebay watch list all summer, and wait. Finally went on sale this past week, for a $100 and FREE shipping which when compared to Amazon’s and others $25 shipping was part of the deal.

Another neat thing about indiegogo (besides getting the option to keep funds if you don’t make your goal) is that donations rendered via paypal immediately go into my paypal account and I can USE them. Which is how I got this case. So your donations have already been put to good use. I also ordered all the business needs and all the small perks and a few of the shirts. They are slated for a delivery around the 9th but who knows.

This case is actually much better than I had anticipated, which is a pleasant surprise. It is essentially two units that are stackable and latchable. The top acting as a lid for the bottom. There is also a bonus lid in case you want to carry only the bottom, or you need to take them apart for better spatial maneuvering. The pictures below are already up on the Paleo Porch facebook page, but it’s worth sharing on here for a broader, less facebook oriented, curious public.

 An extend-o handle and luggage wheels make this a nice little traveling piece. Even when the wheels inevitably eat it on a curb, the whole thing weighs under 20 pounds empty, and the resin replicas won’t add too much to the overall dificulty of packing the items into the library or lecture Hall. Everything latches down pretty streamlined so nothing should get caught on anything, but this is life.

 I really like the tacklebox like action of the top case. All together this unit is about 38 inched high, a foot and a half long and about a foot deep. Plenty of room to house teeth, claws, and dinosaur eggs. Especially since the dividers can be moved around. The bottom unit houses a shelf, and then is empty space providing amble room for the scaled down skulls and larger pieces like the Archaeopteryx and pteranodon pieces I have on my list.

So, there you have it, the fist official purchase with crowdsourced funds. I was so impressed with the quality that I have ordered another one to take advantage of a discount offered by the ebay store and the still free shipping. So I will have two to start out with, at the cost of 1.5 and saving $50 on shipping. All of which gets funneled back into the replica purchasing fund. This excited about an empty box with latches (it is rather shiny and official looking) image when I start getting the fossils in and getting to post about them. 
                                   
I will be posting about the businessy and perk things as soon as they come in so be watching here and/or on facebook for the next exciting update of things that are going on in the world of creating a mobile mini museum! 
*For Full Disclosure: this is actually a traveling makeup case. It even came with a free mirror! So, if you are looking for one of those for your business or your travling theatre/one act play, it’s not a bad purchase, lol. Originally $170, I got 2 for $206. *

Collision of Worlds

If you have read (or will read) the first entry of this blog, you know (or will know) the story behind The Paleo Porch. A great many of you may have already made the connection with the Have Bones Will Travel slogan, too. But in case you haven’t, or maybe want to understand how circuitous my thoughts run, here is a brief rundown.

It’s Catchy. I mean, it is really catchy, that’s why it’s been used over and over again in popular culture. From the simple beginnings of a gunman for hire to a Fractured Fairy Tale in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. The latter was a new take on the Puss in Boots fairytale. Two of the items included, “Have Boots Will Travel,”  and “Have Spoon Will Travel.” Have Bones Will Travel is also a section of Yale’s Medical School, that shows up on google searches as beginning in 1996. “Have Fossils Will Travel doesn’t work on account of fossils having too many syllables.”

It’s part of our culture. Our shared television culture, that is. Most of the children that attend my workshops have no idea who Richard Boone or Paladin was–their parents might, and their grandparents usually all do. A few even know of the history behind Paladin’s pseudonym. Paladins being the Twelve Peers and warriors of Charlemagne. Which for me is even better because it ties into one of my favorite songs: Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner by Warren Zevon. Roland and Van Owen coming from some of the earliest French literature in the Song of Roland. In the song, Roland, a mercenary, is double crossed by Van Owen another gun for hire. The trope appears again in the movie version of The Lost World (Jurassic Park II) Where Roland, the great white hunter is thwarted by Nick Van Owen, a documentary filmmaker and environmentalist, so in a Rube Goldbergian sort of way, it connects back to dinosaurs and fossils.

Roland
Van Owen

Replacing the iconic chess knight of silver with a dino-knight, just looks cool. The paralophosaurus is pretty iconic and still offers a more interesting profile than the T-Rex.

Back to the show: Have Gun Will Travel was never a favorite, but I liked it well enough. I also liked Wild Wild West, Gunsmoke, and Bonanza. On Sunday afternoons if the weather was right, I could pick up channel 55 out of Houston. The Tube, as it was called showed a marathon of old westerns: Rawhide, The Rifleman, and those mentioned above. The thing that drew me back to Paladin when I was creating this…thing…was his duality.

At his hotel in San Francisco Paladin is a wealthy playboy who enjoys the best of everything. Once he takes a case he shifts into “field mode” a completely different uniform and modus operandi. It’s very similar to real paleontology. Back at the University or Museum Lab–usually in town far away from the field, is a completely different world than the field work. Just ask anyone that does it.

Finally, I remember how smart Paladin was. He quote classic literature, poetry, etc whenever the need arose, to prove a point, or frame a situation. It showed that in a television show that was idolizing the single epitome of masculinity protecting , serving, helping, etc. etc. that it was still okay to be smart. So, when all these things slammed together in my head one night I created this persona for the best way to brand my talks and my little traveling museum. So, as Paul Harvey said, Now you know the rest of the story.

Have Bones Will Travel

Stepping out into the well tested waters of crowd funding for science. It’s at least well tested for others, I have never done it. But, as part of the indiegogo project, I wanted to attach it to this blog as well as the Paleo Porch facebook page.

When I was working in the Vertebrate Paleontology Lab at Lamar University we had a collection of replicas and fossils that we could take to the local elementary classrooms to give a little workshop. Now that I am no longer there, I do not have access to the lab or the collection, so I have decided to collect my own and start again. That is where the appeal for donations comes in.

I actually starter with Kickstarter to, well, kickstart this collection. After going through all the motions to get it activated they rejected the idea. They said the projects that have a proven track record are more likely to get funded. Here I had the definition of a kickstart all wrong. After working on things throughout the summer I decided to try again with an indiegogo attempt.

As part of the transparency pledge and group involvement, I will be sharing all the purchases and all the  talks that I do on here as well as on the facebook page. I have high expectations for what I will be able to do with this little traveling museum. Mainly I will focus on giving talks at local schools during the school year, and working with public libraries during the summers.

My hope is that this will not be just located to within a few hours drive time of where we live. That might require a little more work. Since we now live in Oklahoma, I have a base of students and schools up here to work with. But, we still have family in Texas that we will end up visiting at one time or another, and I will always have my stuff with us when traveling.

My wife and I have also thought about taking them with us when we go on vacation. If we do go somewhere for a few days, as soon as we hit where we would stay we would contact the local library, or similar public foray and see if we would be able to set up there near the end of our trip. So, on paper it looks like the gift that keeps on giving (maybe).

I don’t expect any really large donations, but a lot of a few dollars at a time. The perks aren’t anything greatly spectacular, but they are part of what makes us, well, us. Above you see our logo, that will be on the magnet and the T-shirt. Below is the logo icon that will be on the stickers.

Finally, the real payoff for doing stuff like this is getting science into the hands of school kids that may never get the opportunity to go to a museum. Coming from a small school, I know how big of an ordeal it was to even plan a trip to the Natural History Museum. Sharing the wonders of science, and the history of science with kids, just may keep them interested in science. If it doesn’t do anything else, it might help kids to think beyond their little community and ask more questions. 
Turns out the kids are usually really grateful that you took the time to share this stuff with them. I will wrap up here and share just a small smackeral sampling of the “Thank You” letters I have received in the past from giving these talks. As I get more I will share them as part of the posts to let everyone who has been gracious enough to support this project now that the have helped make a difference or at least an impact on some child’s education. 
and, just as the letters attest, Thank You for stopping by, taking the time to read, and possibly helping fund such an endeavor. If you are interested in helping me out, or just want to know more, please check  out my Indiegogo project and see what it’s all about. Please donate and spread the word. 

Ice Age Vogue

From the Denver Museum of Natural History

     
  Suddenly, quite suddenly actually, extinct mammals have shown up in documentaries and traveling exhibits. Granted they are still the “giants,” “titans,” and “other impressive adjectives” versions of the creatures that took over after the dinosaurs died out. These guys are every bit as diverse and impressive as their non mammalian counterparts, they may not be 125ft long with supersonic tail whips, (the blue whale is still the largest thing on the planet. ever.) But their biodiversity and niche filling adaptations make them quite incredible to study. Here is a little preview of a traveling exhibit called Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age,” which, as I write this, is currently on display at the Denver Museum of Natural History. Check with your local (or close-ish) museum to see if they are going to be getting in the next few years.

You may remember her taking National Geographic by storm in 2009.
Waking the Baby Mammoth

If you want a bit of interaction you can go here and play in a virtual lab with more details on Lyuba, the baby mammoth. 

What is really exciting is the upcoming BBC spectacular: Ice Age Giants. I just looked at some of teh storyboard drawings released to the BBC and they are great. I mean, these are enlarge frame and hang in your office good. That is, of course, you have some strange office decorations like I do. Guess what University now has a policy on shrunken heads? The link for the image slideshow is over at BBC News. But, here are a couple that I really liked:

 The trailers for this look fantastic. The CGI has improved so much from when they first started making these kinds of things. I do miss the animatronic stuff, but that usually shows up in larger budget productions. Here is a brief trailer and a bit of the behind the scenes talk with the animators and twitchy digital programs that make animal hair move how its supposed to when an extinct animal walks.

There is a second trailer here that has even better quality previews of the animals. For whatever reson that video will not embed, so you are stuck going over to youtube. It’s worth it though. 
To say that people were just beginning to notice these large hairy mammals is quite untrue. They have always been around. They were some of the first vertebrate fossil remains discovered. Some have even been the basis for national identity as well as bodies of mythological heroes. 
Since the discovery of dinosaurs, however, they have been pushed into the wings, awaiting their cance to shine after big meetings where dino groupies roll like some quasi-scientific wave over the newest argument of Tyrannosaur feathers. Once the scaly/feathery goo has sloughed off the street you can get a clearer view of these impressarios as they were, as they were interpreted, and as they are now. Always, there, they are far more than a dinosaurs understudy. Don’t believe me? Read this. 
                   

They are as part of America as baseball, apple pie, and cliches. Once the dust settled, the revolutionaries turned scientist. Our Founding Fathers worked with Our Founding Fossils. I am working on a paper discussing that which will, hopefully be finished end of June. Look for it in a future post. Until the next time we meet, keep reading the bones.

A Regular Family Business Part Deux

I have touched more on family here than I think I intended. But, while that train is rolling, let’s just ride for a while. There is something interesting when you start looking at your family tree. I have mentioned before how in just a few generations you are directly related to more people than populated England in the 16th century. The idea that from all those strains you take your name from one, and hang some sort of cultural, ancestral, and /or genealogical identity on that is rather odd. I am sure it happens to others, but my case is really interesting since the only side of my family that has not been in America since the opening of the 17th century is the side I get my surname from.

Granted, that side also connects be to crazy people like Alexander “Bokhara” Burnes and Robert Burn(e)s. Their grandfather is my Great^7 Grandfather. We were the lucky younger children who, instead of inheriting land and titles, moved to the United States. Interesting side note, while on a trip to Vancouver, B.C in order to get engaged, my girlfriend and I had left the aquarium and was walking through Stanley Park, where a lovers of Robert’s poetry society had erected a statue of the bard. It seemed rather fitting that I proposed to my girlfriend by the statue of my cousin and in a fell swoop soon remove all of her ancestry and replace it with my last name. This idea of who you are just gets more and more ridiculous, doesn’t it?

While we are picking and choosing a new system arises when one goes to university. Especially when one goes to university and stays for as long as I have. You get an academic genealogy. Your faculty family tree can go directly through mentors/advisors and without giving you something like a name that people can hang your identity on for you, you get the benefits of all those academic ancestors who have studied before. Phd-comics has a neat little comic that highlights this phenomenon:

See how troubling something like this can be–and this from February 9, 2011. But I have talked to some people about having people that are their advisors serving on my committee and that making us academic cousins. So, there is something to this. After all I have been told that the Germans take this very seriously and refer to their advisors as “Doctor-Father.” Not sure if that changes to Doctor Mother in some cases. Come to think of it I know several people who refer to their advisors as a Mother—-ahem, that’s not what we are here to discuss.
Mine is something of an interesting case, again because I think so, because it’s geography parallels by real ancestry. Without getting too technical or deep into the politics of how this works, I will run the circle for you. I am currently studying at the University of Oklahoma. I received a Master’s at Lamar University where my mentor–Dr. Jim Westgate–my doctor father if you will– still works. Jim studied at the University of Texas-Austin under Drs. Ernie Lundelius and the recently passed Wann Langston, Jr. (top right)  Wann studied at the University of Oklahoma under John Willis Stovall. (above left). Wann and John named Acrocanthosaurus atokensis in a 1950 publication. If you remember in an earlier post I talked about my family living in Atoka at this time and working their fields that were within walking distance of the Acrocanthosaur find. (If you don’t remember it’s the earlier post Dino Dynasties)
I am on the left, Dr. Jim Westgate on the right, and
an academic sibling Jordan Mika.
Something to think about. Your academic ancestry can be direct or even branch out if you so choose. But, be warned, if one of your academic Aunts’s doctor-father was someone of imminent note, and you bring that up in casual conversation, it could do you harm–especially if your new forced family members like to use your extended advisor-in-law’s books for their classes.
Which is sillier? To mark who you are because of so many random decisions along the way, or mark how you think because of some random decisions along the way? Truth is, they are all interconnected in ways that are probably past the point of comprehension. Sure, there are no academic genetics that help structure your actual being, but if you stay in long enough, you will pick up on and adopt certain things which your advisor does. It is likely, that what they do is in some form a piece of what they inherited from their advisor and so on. So, while your non academic evolution as a person, as an individual with a surname might be considered standard under the Darwinian model, it sure looks like Educational Evolution still follows Lamarckian principles.
Keep sticking your neck out. Remember, you are building on knowledge that your advisor built on before, and with each passing academic generation the bar is raised even higher. Driven by that inner “need” to know more, answer more questions, graduate, and eventually take on a young grasshopper of your own, who, if you’ve done your job right, will have a longer neck than you.
This has been either the best analogy or the worst parable ever.
Welcome to how my brain works,
Cheers.

 

A Regular Family Business

Here is something that I have shared with close friends. It is so much fun that it should go out on the record. I have traced as much of my family tree back as I can find at this point. Writing and coursework have gotten in between me and finishing. Not to mention records locked away somewhere in Dublin. Every single line of my family has been in the United States since the early 17th century. All, that is, but one. That one happens to be the one that gives me my last name.

But that is not the fun part. My great-great-great grandfather was born in Ireland, and at some point made his way to America.

But that isn’t the fun part either.

His son–my Great-great grandfather lived and worked in Oklahoma. I mentioned how close his place was to the locale where the Acrocanthosaurus fossil was discovered and so you have seen the below image before.

Now, here is the fun part. Living the in Indian Territory on either side of the turn of the 20th century creates characters not even found in books. Three brothers came with all kinds of stories. It was told that when James was a kid he would throw silver dollars in the air for Frank James to shoot. Absolutely no way to prove that, and given the storyteller capabilities that flow through the tree it’s doubtful, but fun. 
The Burnes Brothers (L-R George Washington Burnes 2/22/1876-7/10/1965; James Benjamin Burnes 12/2/1872-2/21/1955; and Robert Eli Burnes 2/8/1870-12/24/1924
You can image how excited I was to get to see that photo. I have requests in with friends who are better at photo editing than I am to try and get this out to its finest. Now the first thing that went through my mind when I saw this was That’s amazing and one of the coolest photos I have ever seen. 
Below is the second thing that went through my mind.                               

Something that makes this even funnier is that I have always said there were certain characteristics in Daniel Day-Lewis’ Butcher Bill persona that sounded like my father. Further still, the University I studied geology when this movie came out was located quite near the locale of the Spindletop Gusher. (Lamar University-Beaumont, TX, where I subsequently graduated with a degree in History minoring in Geology, Anthropology and Earth Science and an eventual M.A. in History) Turns out the producers of There Will Be Blood rented some of the century old oil rig platform/setup for use in the movie. Of course it is only there at the blowout scene and is covered with oil, but it is still a claim to fame. 
Now,  have brought the bloodline back to Oklahoma for my PhD. I live a couple hours from our old homestead. So full circle, I suppose. 

Suiting Up

 

         With the beginning of Fall term, “Suiting up” usually refers to those lucky individuals who are on cushiony scholarships to play a game. This brief aside will not be about that.  This short entry will entail the suit.

        Now that the weather has cooled off enough to wear a suit, I am back into mine on a daily basis. Funny thing about it cooling off enough to wear a suit, when I have photos of desert field work being done in a suit. There are stories of Raymond Dart wrapping fossils in his jacket and waistcoat in the field to bring them back home.

       Most modern experiences with suits go something like this: You are dragged to the mall (if you have one) or some other department store as a child in order to purchase an ill fitting suit of clothes for Easter or fancy dress occasion, deaths, weddings, etc.  The thing fits in exactly no places and you hold your breath for a week hoping you don’t grow enough that the trousers leave you looking like Jethro Clampett. You probably only wear the suit that one time, you avoid eating or drinking while wearing the suit and generally take all care in the world not to treat it as normal clothing lest it lose its “suitiness.” Unless of course you are under the age of about 8 and then all bets are off and you have your coat off rolling around on the ground wrestling with some other ringbearer or honorary pallbearer over the little redhaired girl from your class.

       Fast forward to owning a real suit. Well, not that far. Your next suit is probably not much better. Usually it will come from the same department store, and more often than not, from the same elderly clothing attendant that smells of old spice and death. You will get the one that closest resembles your body type, and are off looking like either like an overstuffed bag of lettuce, or a standard circus/revival tent following an elephant/choir stampede. The most thought you give to tailoring is getting the legs hemmed, IF they were not already prehemmed to some existing length that, at least within the world of Dillard’s can vary anywhere from 1 to 2 inches up to different colored trouser legs.

       You will still treat it as the one item of clothing that while wearing you will do as few things as possible so as not to “ruin your suit.” And everyone knows they sew the pockets for a reason so don’t undo it the whole thing will come apart. I actually know someone who’s mother told them that. Either way it still only comes out once and awhile and you hate it, and why wouldn’t you, it’s ill-fitting, uncomfortable and just all around blah, and if you wear it more than twice a year it bursts into flames or unravels into a massive ball of static and twine at your feet.

       Suits are made for more than walking around in. Find a style you like, find a men’s clothing store, go in, get measured, and fitted and get a decent suit. Be prepared to upsize your trousers. Just like women’s clothing, jean’s have fake sizing to make you feel better about yourself, this is called “vanity sizing” (Really, look it up.)  If you wear a 34 inch waist in Levi’s or Tommy or whatever it is you wear, you will not, I repeat NOT be squeezing yourself into a 34 inch trouser. Be honest with yourself, sizes are number and they vary, get something that will fit no matter what the tag says or what you think you wear, or what you wear in jeans or t-shirts. Holding on to that “I wear this size” mentality in a Men’s clothing store will end up with you looking something like this…

      There are alternatives, with suits you still get what you pay for. I will harken back to the field work example. Once upon a time suits were the norm, and they took a beating. Everyday wear that was used.  Even today some suit pedants will tell you, don’t unsew the pockets it will cause your jacket to lose shape, or carrying a bag strap on your should will wrinkle your lapel. If you don’t buy something to use it, why buy it in the first place. (Show pickups are just one example). I cycle to work, I roll my jacket up and stick it in my saddle bag, it doesn’t get wrinkled or ruined in the time it takes me to get to work, and here is a secret, if a suit fits well, even if it is wrinkled (modestly) the wrinkles will fall out within about 5 minutes of wear. I also have stuff in the pockets inside and out, even have a pocket square (that breast pocket is a real pocket too, I even carry my sunglasses in it).

       Once you get suit that actually fits you and not a store mannequin, you will never look at clothing the same way again. They should quickly become your favorite clothes, and why wouldn’t they? They are tailored for you. Do things in them, if a suit is restrictive get rid of it and get another one, if it looks like you are wearing your dads, you might be able to get away with a tailoring, but probably best to start over. I have gotten the “You bike to work, in your suit?” A couple times already. Asked for the genuine concern from their mother’s incessant “you’ll ruin your suits” mantra. So with Fall coming on take the time to get some real threads and don’t be afraid to suit up, you’ll be glad you did.

Dino Dynasties

The title, borrowed from Katherine Rogers’ book, is a segue into a bit of rewritten familial ahistory on my part. The Sternberg family began collecting fossils with Edward Drinker Cope, and led to a family of vertebrate paleontologists. A son found the famous “fish within a fish” fossil. Many of the sternbergs finds were near where they lived.
 
I only mention them to begin this aside into my little piece of “what could of been.”

My great-great grandparents lived in Atoka, Ok. My great-great grandfather was born in Leonard, TX farmed a huge swath of southeastern Oklahoma and is buried in Atoka County. I have no idea where my great-great grandmother is buried, but that is not the point.

The point is, if James Benjamin Burnes had taken time out of his busy schedule of surviving he may have found this:

Arcanthrosaurus atokensis.  It is entirely possible that he would have found nothing as well, but when you come across things discovered within walking distance of a past family farm, in a formation named after a town that my great grandfather’s brother lived in the thought does cross ones mind. There were hundreds (probably not that many) of other people that lived there, and they would have been equally likely to find the fossils, but their descendants are not writing pointless what if blogs on the internet.

My background is Eocene mammals, so it isn’t quite as heartbreaking that atokensis isn’t our family crest fossil, but the idea still is a fun one. Besides, James Benjamin as a young man cuts quite the paleontological figure.