The Price of Forgiveness is a Mystic Sword and a $50 Gift Card

Susanoo, the Summer-storm god, always had a rivalry with his sister, Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun. Furthermore, he was always the black sheep of the pantheon of Japanese gods because he would often do things that they considered offensive/disruptive. Things such as: eating more than one French-fry at a time (Oh my!), walking and eating at the same time (So rude!), studying in a public library (Doesn’t he know libraries should only be used for reading?!), wearing a short-sleeve shirt when the weather is below 70 degrees (Oh, that crazy barbarian!), and, carrying soap into the bath tub (*GASP!*).

After offending his sister one too many times, he was ordered to leave heaven. At this time he went to say goodbye to Amaterasu and apologize. She decided that if he really was sorry, he could stick around. To demonstrate this, she asked him to submit to a contest in which they each would birth things of divine creation from an object belonging to the other. Amaterasu went first and, from Susanoo’s sword birthed three goddesses, a jumbo-size bag of gummy bears and a slinky.  Susanoo went next and, infusing Amaterasu’s necklace with his divine power, generated five gods, a ninja-turtle, and a case of Play-doh. It was decided among the pantheon that the items birthed from an object belonged to the owner of that object and that Susanoo was the winner of the contest since the item belonging to him generated three (hot) females. Susanoo was pleased for this reason and Amaterasu was thrilled with the Play-doh and both were happy for a while. In time, however, Susanoo grew increasingly discontent because slinkies suck but Play-doh rules.  When Amaterasu’s favorite maid-servant polished off the last few gummy-bears, Susanoo snapped. He punched a hole clean through the gummy-bear rustling hussy and then flayed a pony and threw the bloody remains at Amaterasu’s divine loom. Needless to say, he was given a holy time-out and ejected from paradise.

A little later, Susanoo found himself wandering around Izumo province. Here he came across a home where he saw an elderly couple who were bawling in the front yard. When Susanoo queried them as to why they were crying, they explained that they originally had eight daughters, but beginning almost eight years ago the Yamata no Orochi, an insanely gigantic and powerful dragon, began coming to their home annually to consume one of their daughters as a tribute. Now the time was approaching for the Orochi to take their last daughter. Susanoo was puzzled.

“You’ve got a whole frigg’n year between each visit. Why not run away?”

Sobbing, the old man shook his head. “The Orochi.. it took the girls’ shoes.”

“What in the hell is wrong wi… Hey! there’s a pair right over there.”

“No. no. That’s no good. Those are my old shoes. If I let my daughter wear those, she might feel bad.”

Susanoo was about to question them about the matter further, but the throbbing vein in his forehead told him that if this kept up, he was going to be flaying another pony. Then, looking into the distance beyond Susanoo, the old man blurted out, “Oh no! The Orochi! It knows of your trying to tempt us into defiance! Now it comes to destroy us all!”

Susanoo looked over his shoulder. “OH! MY! GAWD! That’s gotta be fattest damned dragon I’ve ever seen!!” About a kilomter away the Orochi could be seen. It had eight heads and eight tails on a bloated, quivering body that covered eight hills. Its eight heads were glaring in their direction and it began scooching towards them with murderous intent. Or at least it seemed to; it was making so little progress at that distance it really impossible to tell. The old man and woman began wailing louder.

“I mean really-  why don’t you folks just walk away? Just walk away.”

“No. The Orochi has said if we flee, it will chase us to the ends of the earth.”

Now Susanoo was so pissed-off that he had to kill something, and that fat maiden-eating bastard was the most deserving party in the vicinity. Susanoo instructed the old couple to prepare a giant vat of sake and build an eight partitioned yatai. Initially the old couple protested that there was no time, but a few choice words and a violent motion of the fist was enough to set them to work.

For three days and nights they kept working and the Orochi kept scooching. Finally, the old couple finished Susanoo’s project and the Orochi was still at least a  few hours away.  Somewhat pleased, Susanoo told them to bring their daughter out of the house.  He knew the sooner he got the girl away from these geniuses the better off she would be.   He would’ve told her to flee away from the dragon, but if she was anything like her parents that might be a bit much to leave to her so,  for her safety during the battle, Susanoo used his divine powers to transform her into a comb which he placed in his ‘fro (He was seriously tempted to transform her into a sweet otter-skin tunic to wear into this battle, but it might be a stretch for even his divine powers to create something of such epicness; and if successful he might not want to turn her back).

Finally, the Orochi dragged its bloated self to their location, ready to engage in typical draconic ass-kickery.  Slow though it was, it existed to kick-ass and chew bubblegum, but it never even knew what bubblegum is.  Susanoo walked straight over to the Orochi and invited it for a drink.  The Orochi narrowed its 16 blazing eyes at Susanoo. It truly wanted nothing more than to butcher him, but not even a draconic demi-god wants to go through the hassle of living in Japan with the stigma that is the reputation of being one who turns down a “nomikai” (drink meeting). The Orochi irritatedly scooched its way over to the yatai and began drinking.  It didn’t even like sake but it couldn’t refuse Susanoo’s hospitality as it gulped down round after round of the stuff.  Finally, the Orochi ralphed all over the place and passed out.

Susanoo, after cleaning up, drew his sword and hacked the Orochi to death. When he slit open the Orochi’s belly he found the equivalent of about fifty bucks in loose change. In one the tails he found a divine sword, the Kusanagi-No-Tsurugi. Upon presenting Amaterasu with this, and a $50 gift certificate for Bed Bath & Beyond that he bought using the loose change, she forgave Susanoo once again and he was restored to his former place in the heavens.

Dinosaur News

I’m finally getting around to doing my first dinosaur related post here. This is a round-up of what I think is probably the most interesting dinosaur related news to come out in the past few weeks and indeed the past few weeks have been quite productive on that front.

First up is a very cool specimen of Microraptor. Though whether or not the four wings of Microraptor gui made it an effective flyer is still a matter debate, this fossil seems to indicate it could around well enough to pick off adult birds (and swallow them whole). I’ll definitely be illustrating this.  The abstract can be found at:

The next interesting find consists of the most massive osteoderms known to science. The owner of this integumentary awesomeness was the sauropod, Rapetosaurus krausei. Oddly enough, these osteoderms were hollow with the biggest having a volume of about 9.6 liters (My theory is that it had a chewy nougat and caramel center). The paper’s abstract can be viewed at:

This next  one’s interesting because it demonstrates Alamosaurus sanjuanensis got freak’n huge; it turns out that previous material indicating A.sanjuanensis was about 72 ft. long and 39 tons came from an immature critter. It also gives us a bit more insight the weirdness of dinosaur ontogeny. This time around the paper was published in an open access journal (yay!), so the pdf is freely available at:

And a new genus/species of ceratopsian, Spinops sternbergorum, was described this month.  It may be a new taxon, but the material was excavated almost a century ago.  Anyway, its a really interesting centrosaurine that looks as if it could be an intermediate form between Styracosaurus and Centrosaurus. The pdf of this paper is also freely available (Lord bless Acta Palaeontologica Polonica!) at: