Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On Narwhals

We had a quiz last week in my Russian Far East History class on Vitus Bering, the Danish explorer employed by tsar Peter to lead an expedition across Siberia, through the ocean, and to America. One of the questions on the quiz was about his death. Relatively recent research has lead to some debate over the actual cause of Bering's death, so I signified that in my answer by listing various causes of death to which individuals might succumb during sub-arctic and arctic land and sea expeditions, including death by narwhal. I was astonished to learn how few people know about narwhals, so I've taken it upon myself to educate the ignorant.

While doing a quick image search for an exemplar specimen using The Google, I discovered what could possibly be the most fantastical toy ever manufactured. Finding this toy improved my quality of life by 30%.

Tomorrow, I am giving a presentation in said history class on Stalin's gulags in Magadan. I have included both slides shown above in my presentation for three reasons:

1) I feel the need to counteract the negative psychological impact of the actual content of my presentation.

2) I feel the need to counteract the negative psychological impact of giving my very first Power Point presentation EVER. I'm not nervous about it now, but I know that having a good laugh - and hearing the other students laugh - just before I start will definitely help combat any anxiety I might experience once I'm up there.

3) People have a right to know that Arctic impalement was the leading cause of death of expeditionary Danes in tsarist Russia.

On a related note, I had an adorably embarrassing episode in my Pacific Northwest History class today. Dr. Moore was discussing Manifest Destiny and the push westward and referenced a movie with "Tom Cruise" and before he'd even taken a breath I blurted out (through an ecstatically impish grin) "Far and Away?!"

One whole second of silence, before a kid in the back goes "Wow."

One more second and then - I KID YOU NOT - EVERY single person turned toward me. IN UNISON!

I paused before explaining that I only knew it because it's the ONLY Tom Cruise movie I can stand to watch. Everyone was laughing at me, but Dr. Moore came to my defense saying that it had "a lot of good history in it" - which is EXACTLY how I knew what he was talking about.

Jeez, people - I'm a movie nerd, not a Tom Cruise nerd.