Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Sync: Don't be confused. Back up the heavy burds.

I went out randonauting this morning with "yellow pterodactyl" as my target. I found this:


I know that's not the clearest shot -- one has to be discreet when snapping photos of random strangers -- but it reads, "Don't be confused. Back up the heavy burds."

(This shirt saying "Don’t be confused" is kind of like when angels show up in the Bible and say "Fear not" -- it’s a nice thought, but just saying it doesn’t actually help very much!)

I thought "heavy burds" could be interpreted as a pterodactyl reference. Like the word burd, a pterodactyl looks similar to a bird but isn't one, and one of the most salient differences is that most people's stereotypical "pterodactyl" is much larger and heavier than any bird.

As for myself, my mental image of "pterodactyl" has always been centered on the smaller genera (Pterodactylus, Rhamphorhynchus, Dimorphodon) -- possibly because the paleontologically correct books I read never used pterodactyl in the colloquial sense, and so I connected it exclusively with the genus Pterodactylus. I vividly remember encountering this 1980 Garfield strip as a child and being confused by it.


Everyone thinks of pterodactyls as basically being "dinosaurs" and therefore huge, but I never did. And I certainly never would have thought of a pterosaur -- basically a huge flying mouth -- as having particularly large legs. Because it introduced me to this novel concept of pterodactyls having big fat legs, this Garfield strip was burned into my memory, and I remember later thinking of one of my elementary school classmates (a rather "heavy burd" who always wore short skirts) as having "pterodactyl legs."

"Heavy burds" also made me think of the Sesame Street character Big Bird -- who of course is yellow and also looks a bit pterodactylish, especially as conceptualized in Jim Henson's original 1969 design sketch:


"Heavy burds" -- the heaviest bird ever to fly is believed to have been Argentavis magnificens, an extinct relative of the condors; the genus name refers to Argentina, where it was found, but literally means "silver bird." What species is Big Bird? In a 1981 cameo on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, he claimed to be a "golden condor." Both silver and gold are classified as heavy metals. While the condors are considered "New World vultures" today, they ranged much more widely in the past, so perhaps the bronze birds of Stymphalia, exterminated by Hercules, were members of the same family.

At other times, Big Bird has claimed to be a lark. Skylark = l'arc-en-ciel.

Before he he made it big as Big Bird, puppeteer Carrol Spinney performed on The Judy and Goggle Show, manning the puppet Goggle opposite Judy Valentine. "Jimmy Goggles the God" and St. Valentine's Day have both been in the sync-stream recently.


Before we leave the subject of Sesame Street birds and pterodactyls, here's "Eggs Are Oval":



What about the "back up" part? Well, back up can mean "make a spare copy" or "move backwards," both of which fit what happens to the "heavy burds" in Green Lantern #30. Alien pterodactyls, seeing that their brethren on Earth have gone extinct, recreate the race by bringing a few pterodactyls back from the past -- similar to restoring from a backup copy. Then Green Lantern defeats the pteros by taking them back in time -- "backing up" to the Mesozoic.

7 comments:

Ra1119bee said...


William,

Happy Birthday!!!~~~~

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Thank you, Debbie — though “Beware the Ides!” is the more traditional greeting.

WanderingGondola said...

Yes, happy birthday to you, sir! :D

That first Sesame Street clip must have been well before my time. Something about the surprise ending reminded me of the Elder Scrolls' Cliff Racer, a ptero-like creature infamous for being an annoyance in both encounter rate and for its distinct call. Honestly, I'm not sure why I didn't think of it sooner.

While tidying my tab hoard the other night, I stopped to read one, as often happens. The existence of a band named L'Arc-en-Ciel shouldn't be overly surprising. What really gets me, sync-wise, is for a time they also performed as D'ark-en-Ciel!

That band is only on my radar via the Fullmetal Alchemist anime franchise, as one of their songs was used as an opening theme in the original series (oh, I forgot a rainbow shows up near the end of that vid). Another old tab I dug up -- the page probably found via 4chan -- discusses FMA and how it relates to Christianity and the occult.

One more unrelated thing. Yesterday, waiting at a bus interchange for my ride home, one passing bus bore an ad for an upcoming TV show called Rabbit Hole.

ben said...

Happy late Birthday

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Thanks for the birthday greetings, everyone.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

@WG

D'ark-en-Ciel! That's pretty remarkable, given that my own interest in the term l'arc-en-ciel began with Jeanne d'Arc and "Ark in the dark."

Trying to find that post, I searched my own blog for l'arc-en-ciel and found, to my surprise, a "Sensitive Plant" reference!

WanderingGondola said...

Heh, given some of the things I've told you, I could call myself a sensitive plant.

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