"I am a paleontologist..."

>> Sunday, January 23, 2011

My favorite nonfiction writer is the late Stephen Jay Gould.

He was a paleontologist.

Maybe I should have been a paleontologist.

Following up yesterday's post, here's some more TMBG.

Aw, hell. I can't resist. Bonus track. TMBG's second cover version of Hy Zaret's "The Sun Is A Mass Of Incandescent Gas" from Here Comes Science. Odd trivia: turns out Zaret wrote the lyrics for "Unchained Melody" and was the one who translated "The Partisan" into English (made famous by Leonard Cohen).

Anyway, the sun is soooooo hot....


Random Michelle K Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 8:54:00 AM EST  

I adore TMBG, I love the accordion, I love the lyrics, but most of all I love the music, I mean, really, how can you be glum while listening to "Particle Man"?

Phiala Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 9:10:00 AM EST  

"Forget that song. We got it wrong."

TMBG earned my undying love (well, cemented), when they issued a retraction and updated version of the sun song to reflect new scientific understanding.

They're AWESOME, and they understand how science works: by taking new data and proving itself wrong.

neurondoc Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 5:11:00 PM EST  

I love TMBG, but I'm not fond of SJG. I went to lecture he gave at the Smithsonian a whole bunch of years ago. When a friend of mine asked him a (not-stupid) question, SJG was a total bitch. It was a real turn off.

Eric Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 9:16:00 PM EST  

That's disappointing to hear, ND: I adore his books and essays, notwithstanding some of the controversy surrounding some of them. But: considering some of the arguments he got into over punctuated equilibrium and his long and sometimes ugly feud with Richard Dawkins over Dawkins' "selfish gene" hypothesis and sundry other matters, I can imagine him being prickly and hard to deal with even when facing a legitimate question.

Still, as a writer, he had a skill at imparting his sense of wonder at the world and could write about things that I don't always find interesting--e.g. statistics and baseball--in ways that I enjoyed what I was reading even when it was over my head or landed in a particular personal blind spot (I consider myself a smart guy, if I'm allowed to say so myself, but I'm definitely not a mathy guy; SJG could write about statistical analysis in a way that I didn't put the book down even if I didn't really understand everything he was saying, and that's a helluva thing).

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