A few weeks back on my work blog, I shared the intriguing work of Dr. Walter Tschinkel, a Florida “entomologist and myrmecologist” (i.e. bug-studier) who makes fascinating sculptures by pouring hot metal down anthills. The boys really enjoyed watching the video about his techniques:

Independently the guys have enjoyed being superheroes, giving themselves new names each day (“I’m Rain Man!” “I’m Bat-Saber, and I defend bats!”). I suppose it was inevitable that these worlds would collide. “My name is Dr. Ant Colony,” announced Finn the other day, “Y’know, like that Walter Tschinkel.” 🙂 He & Henry then began debating whether ants poop & pee.

Well, this being a small world, I asked the actual Walter Tschinkel! He was charmed to hear about his local fame, and he sent the boys a bunch of info & photos. “Adult ants only eat liquids,” he reports, “so their poop is kind of gooey and wet.” I’ll spare you the other gross (i.e. kid-delighting) details we learned.

Oh, and one more thing. A few days later, we had the following exchange:

Finn: “How are pipes made?”
Me: “Well, I suppose someone melts metal, then forms it into shapes.”
Finn (proudly): “You know who’d do that? Walter Tschinkel! He uses an old garbage can!”

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