I usually blog about stuff in the news, or some random thought that comes to mind. Today, I don’t feel like reading or watching the news and nothing interesting or random has come to mind, so I’ll force the issue. I have a hard copy of Webster’s New Explorer Desk Encyclopedia (I nearly wrote desktop) that I absolutely love. The thing was published in 2003, the last of a dying breed. I closed my eyes, opened it to a random page and placed my pointer finger on a word. When I opened my eyes, I was on page 713 on the word locust, just below the word locoweed.
Locust. Dag, not the most compelling word, but interesting nonetheless. I already knew that the word locust referred to a tree and an insect. But what I didn’t know was that the locust and cicada are not one in the same, that they are from two different families. The locust, in fact, is just a big grasshopper and unlike the cicada, doesn’t carry much of a tune. But boy can it swarm, literally it can swarm up a storm. This much I knew from the bible and the story of the 10 plagues on Egypt, but the locusts didn’t impress the Pharaoh enough to let the Israelites go, much to the dismay of Moses and God. Pharaoh, I misspelled that word in a recent charity spelling bee; a tough draw and a most unfortunate plague on me – good thing it was double elimination. Get this, the knockout punch was the word mastodon; I spelled it with an i – those dang schwa sounds. I don’t know much about the locust tree, but I bet the tree was around back in the day of the mastodon. I don’t think the mastodon would have liked the toxic black locust bark and leaves, but if it did, well, that might explain why they became extinct, that or a really intense plague of locusts.