Science Patrick’s Day

A young lad conducting an experiment

Otto, Donna, and I spent the afternoon of March 17 at the McWane Center in Birmingham, Alabama. There were several special events and exhibits at the science center to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day including how beer effects your body, the biology and physics of vomiting, and how alcohol poisoning affects your ability to lead a productive life.

Here’s a few photos from our visit:

Scene from the movie Hysterical Mourning

The IMAX movie was some kind of avant garde science feature called Hysterical Mourning. Above is a scene featuring a flaming flyswatter and a frightened testicle.

Otto and his friend are terrified

Speaking of frightened, I snapped this photo as Donna startled Otto and Ulrich the Sea Urchin when she crept up behind them and banged two hubcaps together.

Brainstem balancing game

Here’s Otto learning about mind control and hand-eye coordination by manipulating his friend’s brain stem to balance a blue ball on his friend’s head. His friend tried to do the same experiment on Otto, but his arms were too short to reach through Otto’s thick hair.

Squirrel taking a permanent sleep

Otto was sad until we told him the squirrel was sleeping after a hard day of hauling his nuts.

A squirrel taking a permanent nap

It’s a good thing we haven’t taught Otto to read.

Watching vivisection demonstrations

While Otto and I watched one of the vivisection demonstrations, a little boy’s head suddenly sprang a leak. The other little boy to my left suffered a temporary case of face fade after staring too long into the center’s death ray.

Seagull in beach shape


Hungry turtle

I was a bit dismayed about the emaciated appearance of the animals in the beach life exhibit. I don’t think they feed the animals enough. I decided something had to be done. I bought a five-dollar foot-long Italian B.M.T. at Subway and, after eating half of it, I had Otto help me tear off pieces of the rest of the sandwich and toss it to the starving creatures. They were so weak, they couldn’t even move to retrieve the food. Soon, security came by and chased us away. I’m thinking of calling PETA; or buying some pitas to make more sandwiches. Just thinking about those poor animals makes me so damn hungry.

Ernie the Eel is wasted again

Here’s Ernie the Eel, a colorful character we met in the aquarium. He was having trouble swimming straight, explaining he was suffering a hangover after partying all night with some flounder. After describing his drunken exploits in explicit and disgusting detail, I reminded him this was a family place and he should be more discreet and refrain from the salty language. He apologized, but later offered to set me up with a couple of kinky beluga whales that were into humans.

Otto lost a mind game to his mother

One of the exhibits is Mindball, a game where you use your mind to push a ball into your opponent’s goal. Otto learned a painful lesson playing against his psychokinetic mother. The ball kept zooming off the table into his face at blinding speed. He is a stubborn little trooper, though, and insisted on going best of five. But he’s not that good with math, thus losing seven games in a row (maybe the ball shots to the face hindered his mathematical ability).

The McWane Science Center is a fun and educational place for adults and kids alike. Otto can’t wait to go back.

Update: Otto is making remarkable progress since returning home. He only loses consciousness in the presence of spheres, loud noises, and his mother. He can identify most nouns and still has hope of regaining most of his sense of smell.