... excerpted from ...


Issue of 2007-01-15
Posted 2007-01-08

... a common misunderstanding ...(is)... that a grizzly bear, when it stands on its hind legs, is preparing to attack.   In fact, it is just rising up for a better look. ...

A giant standing cockroach, on the other hand: this can be serious. ... Cockroaches do bite, and they can live for a month or so without their heads, and if wounded they heal fast. According to Joseph Kunkel, a biology professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who wrote his dissertation on cockroach-limb regeneration, a roach will delay a molting cycle in order to grow back a lost leg, because its swift movements depend on having three feet on the ground, or the linoleum, at all times. (These are some of the things you learn when, having fled a giant standing cockroach, you return safely to an office with Web-search capabilities and happen upon the apparently limitless roach wisdom of Dr. Kunkel.)

The giant standing cockroach in question was spotted last week in front of an apartment building on Eighty-third Street, just east of Madison Avenue. ...

Paco Vega, the business manager and secretary-treasurer of Local 12A, and the purchaser of the balloons, said last week, "Some people hate rats, some people hate cockroaches. I hate cockroaches. ..." He especially appreciates, for symbolic purposes, the cockroach's purported ability to survive a nuclear war. Kunkel, the roach professor, isn't sure that this is true.

- Nick Paumgarten