Mike with BOBA
July 17, 2008
Mike and Darren and I correspond a LOT. Like people in any long-running friendship, we’ve developed a lot of private shorthand. We also share an inordinate fondness for acronyms. One of our favorites is POOP, Prioritized Ordering Of Projects. As in, “What piece of POOP are you working on now?” or “I’ll get back to you on that as soon as I get this load of POOP in the mail.” There are even subdivisions of POOP. Some little projects that we never got around to finishing are STAINs: Short, Timely, Adequately Interesting, Nixed. And of course every now and then we feel compelled to attempt Long Overdue Grand Syntheses, or LOGS. And we’re prone to making up Ad Hoc Acronyms That We’ll Never Use Again But Put A Name To Anyway (henceforth AHATWNUABPANTA, which involves more than a little reciprocal humor and is actually not bad as these things go, but it’s goodness is wasted because it is, of course, an AHATWNUABPANTA–or was, until I used it again. Darn).
One of our oldest acronyms in regular use is BOBA, of Mike’s coining, which stands for Boring Old Brachiosaurus altithorax. Now, Brachiosaurus altithorax is not actually boring, and if anyone had the colossal stupidity and supreme bad taste to say that it is, Mike and I would probably beat the crap out of each other to see who would get to be first to beat the crap out of the offender. Still, it is hard for us to get away from using BOBA as a yardstick for comparison to, well, just about everything (including some stinkin‘ mammals), and occasionally even we get jaded about its inherent blinding awesomeness. Also, ‘boring’ here is a relative measure. With all the exotic brachiosaurids out there, like Sauroposeidon, MIWG.7306, and, uh, some secret stuff we can’t talk about yet, BOBA is comparatively tame. So the name stuck.
After briefly flirting with the truly boring BOBB, we nicknamed the African Brachiosaurus, B. brancai, JANGO. It’s just a nickname, not an acronym, but it seemed appropriate since it’s almost the same as BOBA (or is it?–another mystery to be revealed at the proper time) and it shares its first three letters with Janensch, as in Werner, who described it in exhaustive and exhausting detail. Incidentally, translations of several of Janensch’s monographs on the Tendaguru sauropods are available for free from the Polyglot Paleontologist.
Anyway, this is another one of those times that I intended to post just a picture and a couple of lines of description but ended up squirting logorrhea over most of a page. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Keeps the blog turning over, I suppose. The picture is of Mike measuring the BOBA holotype dorsals in the Field Museum in the summer of 2005, working at such blinding speed that I was unable to get a crisp picture of him. He really is like that when he’s in collections, too–ask Darren.
And now that I’ve finally got around to saying that, I find that I have nothing more to say. Maybe it’s BOBA after all.
Just kidding! Mike, seriously, put down the tire iron. Ouch! You bast-THUD!