APRIL 2014
Welcome FRIENDS, old and new, to a tale of ancient oceans & future tour dates. Herein find the story of the TRILOBITE as well as the little waves made by THE HANDSOME FAMILY as we sail the invisible sea of song....

Half a billion years ago, long before the age of humans or of dinosaurs, our world was covered in TRILOBITES. For 300 million years they were the dominant species on Earth. In comparison, there are only traces of humans going back about 200,000 years. It's hard to imagine that we might continue on for another 299 million years or even for another one million years when already it seems that all the trees along the highways of America are fluttering with plastic bags. Trilobites were marine invertebrates with hard exoskeletons covering rows of segmented legs. They may have been the ancient ancestors of the horseshoe crab. I grew up on a stretch of the Long Island shore that was teeming with horseshoe crabs. We often found carved stone arrow-heads lying in the sand and once I found the remains of a covered wagon in the woods. I also found a stolen ten-speed bike and a half-drunk bottle of vodka.

Researchers have found evidence that TRILOBITES were highly social creatures. They migrated long distances in a head-to-tail procession and gathered in huge numbers to mate. It appears that trilobites molted off their carapaces to copulate. Sexual selection was competitive. Scientists believe that some of the more extreme features found in trilobite fossils— oversized head horns, curlicued shoulder spines, eyestalks that extend upward like periscopes — were male features designed to do nothing else but attract the female eye. Speaking of eyes— trilobite eyes had a unique structure not found in any other living creature. Their lenses were built of calcite crystals. They literally had, 'a stony stare'. Each of their eyes held hundreds of tiny crystals, arranged in a honeycomb pattern. Trilobite eyes worked best in low light. Scientists believe this was because trilobites often retreated into deep water and mud to escape predators. I wonder if perhaps it just felt good to dive down into the mud? I used to love to bury my legs in the sand at the beach and then slowly pull them free.


Time passed quickly for TRILOBITES. The length of Earth days has been increasing ever since our moon was formed. Before we had a moon it is estimated that our days lasted only 2-3 hours, but the moon's tug has gradually slowed down the Earth's turning as the moon pulls away. A trilobite-era day probably lasted about 20 hours. One day in the future the moon will break free of us. I don't know how long days will be after that, but I do know that we are all destined to be reunited— trilobites, dinosaurs, humans, plastic bags and moons— at the edge of infinity when our universe is done exploding.

More EUROPEAN dates in October

TRILOBITE bodies were segmented so they could roll up into protective balls to defend against predators or rough sea currents. Three-banded Brazilian armadillos can curl up into a ball to protect themselves from predators, but most armadillos instead jump into the air when threatened thus making them even more likely to be hit by oncoming cars. Armadillos the size of small cars once foraged prehistoric South America. This was long after the trilobites had passed into fossils and long after the great ocean retreated that once covered the New Mexican desert where I am typing these words. You can still find seashell fossils embedded in the high cliffs of the Sandia mountains around Albuquerque. On a clear day you can see for hundreds of miles. The sky is blue the whole way.

xo Rennie
PS: Hope to see you at a show

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