I'm not surprised someone's found a new mongoose in Lake Alaotra, Madagascar's largest lake until the Papier Mache Wall project turns the Indian Ocean into their largest lake. People are always finding new mongoose kinds in the least likely places, most notably the Scary Drawer in the kitchen where everything not otherwise fitting is put in the hope it will disappear before we have to deal with it again. This piles up, except in cases of fire or theft, or theft of fire with mitigating circumstances.
But there are so many kinds of mongoose people can't help finding new ones. Already there's the Common Mongoose, the Yellow Mongoose, the Crab-Eating Black-footed Mongoose, the Lightly Banded Ruttled Marsh Mongoose, the Angolan Slender Mongoose (Reformed), the Upper Pinball Mongoose, the Mongoose Civique, the Furtive Upper-Tailed Cape Gray, the Cusimanse Fiesta (which is also sold as the Meerkat Siena and the Wheeping Slender Civet LS), the Flat-Headed Pousargues, the Who Are You Calling a Pousargues, the You Heard Me And Deal With It Atilax, the Not So Big On This Flat-Headed Thing Either, and the Swooping Malagassy Fossa (Manual and Automatic). Just this morning almost four new kinds of mongoose were discovered by Worthington Fa, who it must be admitted is under a lot of stress and reports his detached garage was stolen by ``giant ducks''. While we may not believe these reports, consider these startling numbers: 26,883. 147.247. -68,154. If that's not enough consider a number looks just plain wrong: 2,9172,6. The conclusion is obvious.
Why this abundance of mongoose? It's part of the General Mongoose plan to keep buyers through life: start with a Common Dwarf, graduate to a sporty Slender (Orthodox) Thunder, maybe a White-Tailed Giant as their families grow, after the kids go to college move into a luxury Stripe-Necked with satellite and ``infotainment consciousness'' packages, and then if they were really good and saved their money carefully go for a Flombilly Meller's Deluxe or at least a Helogale Whorpling Triple LaSalle.
That was Alfred P Stoat's vision for a diversified operation keeping people in the mongoose family. It did great after World War II and the years of production diversion entirely to badgers. The problem is there's too much. Sure, they can fit markets with microscopic precision. Look at this new species, going for exotic flair as ``Durrell's Vontsira'', which just by the name alone is admirably styled. But how many people named Durrell are even in the mongoose market, and how many do you expect to buy? And don't even think of the Vontsira people; they're just be cranky and irritable, like when they tried to sell Chevy Novas to the Crab Nebula.
But every tendency continues until it's gone way too far. Fitting every market niche comes at a loss of production efficiencies. The casual onlooker may figure hey, get two, that takes care of production. Go ahead, try it, see where you get. There's probably five in your Scary Drawer. Back yet? Notice something? They're all male, right? They're shipped as loss leaders, on the theory people will come back for females, and the company figures they can only have so many males hanging around before they start inventing things like fantasy platypus leagues.
I don't have anything against Durrell, or his Vontsira, or even the two other species of Vontsira he's found since this morning, or the three more that have popped up out of the kitchen since then, startling everyone and giggling wildly. It's just they need to be streamlined, into maybe a half-dozen major models with accessory packages easily identified by strings of popular letters and numbers such as 'LC-6115' or '340 DX', with perhaps variants for industrial or military needs where applicable. It may mean pulling back from niches like the Doomed Madagascaran Marsh, but they have that Indian Ocean Claimation project to fall back on. If they don't reposition the brand I guess they'll make it another ten million years, tops. Then we can get the number of spider species to something reasonable, and maybe let the snakes know they don't need to be so nervous.
Trivia: On learning not all of Europe had made the switch to the Gregorian Calendar in October 1582 as scheduled Pope Gregory ordered the omission of 10 through 21 February 1583 as makeups. Source: The Calendar: The 5000-Year Struggle To Align The Clock And The Heavens --- And What Happened To The Missing Ten Days, David Ewing Duncan.
Currently Reading: History of Hungary, Denis Sinor.