Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The natural history of accidental penises

David Attenborough presents 'That's Life'
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Here in the UK, we used to have a rather odd consumer rights programme called 'That's Life', where various things happened like managers singing songs to apologise for leaving hats in sausages and so forth. One segment of this programme consisted largely of photos of carrots that looked like willies, fruit resembling breasts and so forth. This was all well and good as far as it went, apart from being incredibly patronising.

Now, out there in the world there are a variety of species which are phallic in appearance, and others resembling less tabu parts of the body. I suggest that David Attenborough or some other naturalist documentary maker be wheeled in to present this section of the programme in a completely deadpan way, explaining exactly why these organisms look the way they do and behave in that way. For example, the sea cucumbers which spurt their viscera all over their enemies when disturbed, the priapulids with teeth on their protuberances which munch their way through the mud at the bottom of the sea and the stinkhorns whose upper part is covered in dying flies stuck to its secretions should all be included.

In a second series, Patrick Moore should tell us all about the secret rude bits of the night sky.

nineteenthly, May 18 2010

Naked mole rat. http://www.dkimages...ked-Mole-rat-7.html
As seen in "cheap, fast, and out of control". [jutta, May 18 2010, last modified May 19 2010]

Geoduck http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoduck
One episode of "Dirty Jobs" had Geoduck farming in it. [jutta, May 18 2010]

Stinkhorn http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phallaceae
In a variety of shapes and colors. They smell like rotting flesh to attract flies to spread their spores. [jutta, May 18 2010]

Priapulida http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priapulida
That's actually their snout. [jutta, May 18 2010]

Sea Cucumber http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_cucumber
[jutta, May 18 2010]

Penises in logos http://www.b3ta.com.../phalliclogoawards/
Spot which graphic designers were having a laugh. [wagster, May 19 2010]

oh heavens http://gamyhan.file...07/eagle-nebula.jpg
(per zen_tom's anno) [swimswim, May 19 2010]

Millipede http://i.telegraph....banana_1217414c.jpg
[pocmloc, May 19 2010]


       Enter the world of the geoduck.
swimswim, May 18 2010

       //hats in sausages// ? you mean dogs *saying* sausages.
po, May 18 2010

       Well that too, [po], and sausage rolls of phallic countenance, misprints with lewd overtones and the like.   

       Wow, thanks, [swimswim], i shouldn't've got this far into my life without knowing about those but you've rescued me from a life without them.
nineteenthly, May 18 2010

       I would like this if it were completely deadpan, and if the documentary's connecting theme would never be explicitly stated.   

       It would be the kind of video someone who has learned abut humanity largely from guide books uses on a date night to "subliminally" seduce their prospective partner.
jutta, May 18 2010

       I had an idea yesterday that I knew wouldn't fly here, but I'll slide it in here as an anno.   

       Using clear plastic two-piece molds, zuchinni are compelled to grow in penis shapes. The trade name that drove the idea?   

       "Zuchinni Wienie".
normzone, May 18 2010

       Thanks for all the links, [Jutta]. Yes, my thought was that it was utterly serious, unlike 'That's Life' which you may have been lucky enough to avoid seeing.   

       [Normzone], one for 'Gardner's World' i think. At this rate, it could fill a whole channel, but then it would have to be dubbed into an unidentifiable foreign language (i.e. one equally foreign to everyone).
nineteenthly, May 18 2010

       Jutta, I have to say that, if you think the animal in your first link is in any way phallic, your life experience profile has been an unusual and unfortunate one.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 18 2010

       Not as unfortunate as with a priapulid.
nineteenthly, May 18 2010

       Countryphilia more like.
nineteenthly, May 18 2010

       apparently tabu is an entertainment magazine for men.
po, May 19 2010

       Really? I hesitate to Google.
nineteenthly, May 19 2010

       // if you think the animal in your first link is in any way phallic   

       I was a bit worried about that - the Wikipedia article images didn't do them justice. I've replaced the Wikipedia link with one to a stock image in which, I hope, the resemblance is clearer.
jutta, May 19 2010

       I think it's phallic. It has loose skin on its torso and the head is glans-like with a slit, i.e. the mouth. It's also like a priapulid in the sense that the "glans" end has lots of sharp teeth.
nineteenthly, May 19 2010

       I forget where I read it recently (probably from a link somewhere on here) but there's quite a nice simple explanation for this common topology. Something to do with the emergent behaviour of cell growth/reproduction/connection with nearby cells, based on a non-directed chemical gradient based on how many other cells are currently going through the same thing at the same time.   

       Similarly, I suppose you'd see similar patterns in other dynamic systems where there's some exponential growth driven by a vector that tapers off with distance/density - examples might be nuclear mushroom clouds, (submarine) volcanic eruptions, nebulae, vortices in fluids etc.
zen_tom, May 19 2010

       Hmm, lots to say about all that!   

       I see a penis as a kind of plunger. Its function is to remove the previous deposit and replace it with its owner's. This action corresponds to the locomotory mode of various worm-shaped animals, which progress by thrusting and withdrawing repeatedly. It's not coincidental.   

       Re: penis logos. Rather similar to the insertion of ORL and ANL in 8080 op-code mnemonics to my mind, or "getting one over on the BBC".   

       Finally, the Eagle Nebula is sort of a site of gestation, so that's peculiarly appropriate.
nineteenthly, May 19 2010

       <suppressing laughter>
po, May 19 2010

       so which came first? the penis or the accident?
xandram, May 19 2010

       That's obvious, [xandram], the penis, since causes precede effects and they're famous for causing accidents, also known as people.
nineteenthly, May 19 2010

       There's a billboard on a local freeway advertising a carpet sales outfit. The flesh toned rolls of carpet have drawn eyes away from traffic more than once - periodicallly I hear about it from somebody new.
normzone, May 19 2010

       So clearly this would be a commercial channel. How did they entice Attenborough and Moore from the cosy talons of the Beeb?
nineteenthly, May 19 2010

       "This is your That's Life?" - Michael Aspel (in the UK version) presents an unwary David Attenborough with a red leather-bound album of photos of fruit & vegetables that look like his John-Thomas?
Jinbish, May 19 2010

       [norm] talk about coincidence, I just read (in a Jezza Clarkson book) that its illegal to erect hoardings here near a motorway. I imagine its true if Jezza says so.
po, May 20 2010

       I'm surprised no major serpents have been mentioned.   

       And why not vulvic symbols as well. They must be equally as celebrated.
rcarty, May 21 2010

       Snakes are not particularly penile, i think. I agree with vulvas, to paraphrase our glorious leader.
nineteenthly, May 21 2010

       Does the accidental penus have legs to decorate it?   

       El dueno
el dueno, May 23 2010

       It could have, but you might shade into the dubious area of trick photography with that one.
nineteenthly, May 23 2010

       Yes, but get Patrick Moore to do the secret rude bits of the night sky first. He won't be around for ever, you know.
English Bob, May 24 2010


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