Monday, July 18, 2011


A gecko walks up panes of glass
And even on the ceiling
But eating powdered gecko’s ass
I would not find appealing.

The ancient healers’ art, alas,
Needs gecko parts for healing
Among the superstitious class
With whom these folks are dealing.

Although I hear my views are crass,
I get a funny feeling
That watching where the dollars pass
Would likely be revealing.

And seeing how the funds amass…
It’s little more than stealing.

Ok, actually, it's quite a bit more than stealing. Stealing would be taking people's money for nothing. This is also lying, and killing lizards for no good reason.

NPR reports on a brisk, though illegal, trade in traditional gecko-based cures--significant enough that health officials in the Phillipines are actually issuing warnings. People are being told that gecko remedies can relieve asthma, or even AIDS.

I like geckos. Mind you, I would throw geckos under the bus if they actually did cure AIDS, for such time as it would take to identify the active compounds... but. There is no evidence that it does.

If any of my readers A)can read Chinese (Mandarin, I am assuming), and B) have PubMed access, please take a look at the NPR article--they link to a journal article that I would love to be able to read, but I am (alas!) American, and thus speak barely one language.

Oh, and I was going to post the picture of the gecko from the article, except that it is dead, dried, and mounted on heavy-duty paper clips. I prefer my geckos alive and eating bugs.

If traditional healers are to be respected, we must assume they are motivated by a desire to heal (thus the title), and not to profit without healing (they can profit while healing, of course). Healers who prefer getting paid to healing are known by other terms. If geckos can cure X, then let it be shown in trials, so that we can synthesize X as quickly as possible. If not, then dammit, true healers would look elsewhere. Those who foist snake gecko oil on their trusting patients are no healers. They are charlatans, and worse. They do not deserve respect.


Cuttlefish said...

BTW, my apologies for the paucity of posts recently. It's a lot of things, spread over quite a bit of time and space.

It would be a lot easier to explain, were I not a cuttlefish. But, I am, so... I'm sorry, but you'll have to live with not knowing.

This, though--I cannot tell you how much you (my readers, my commenters, with the exception of DM) have done for me. Thank you. Especially around now.

shellity said...

Cuttlefish, your posts are less like coffee (required regularly) and more like pizza (which remains awesome no matter how seldom it is served). Hope anything that makes you unhappy ceases soon.

Die Anyway said...

Haha, the pizza comment was funny (and true).
The gecko story was sad. I saw the headline on my homepage news feed and knew I was going to be unhappy after reading it but I read it anyway. I was.
Rhinoceros horns, tigers, gorilla hands, bear gallbladders, now geckos. People are no damn good.

Cuttlefish said...

Die Anyway, it's like I was just telling my dear friend Podblack: "people suck."

Of course, as a cuttlefish, don't even get me started on parakeets...

Anna O'Connell said...

We hosted a gecko in our home greenhouse one winter, to help control insects. It was a lovely lizard, the pet of someone who was going on sabbatical. How awful to think of them captured and killed, possibly for no good reason.

As for whatever life circumstances are keeping you from frequent posting, Cuttlefish, we will wait, and offer wishes for better times to come. And happy belated birthday! May there be many more of them for you.

paw said...

where I live
the parakeets
go screeching
and a-scrounging
and orchard farmers
rue the damage
to their fruits
each morning
their wheeling greens
against blue skies
scribe quite impressive routes
and cherries
left behind
for which (of course)
we must (at least)
be thankful (while they last)
are very, very, tasty little fruits

Let it not be said that the food of the parakeets is *only* the cuttlefish. May they find happy equilibrium with orchards and horse-chestnut trees (within which they find delicious flowers, and within which they are perfectly camouflaged). ;)

oh, did i mention e.e. cummings?

Die Anyway said...

We have geckos around our house. I searched the intertubes and discovered that they are Mediterranean Geckos. Max length is listed at 12 cm but the ones that I see are more like 4 - 6 cm. Not anywhere near the Phillipine ones. Ocassionally I find a juvenile in the house and scoop him up and set him out in the shrubbery. I don't mind them being in the house but I figure they won't find all that much to eat nor much water.

Mad Marley Grey said...

We have the Mediterranean geckos, too - one got in a year or two ago, and we've had an indoor population on and off ever since. They seem to do okay, but we also share a leaky house with various spiders and insects. What I have to worry about with them are the cats - one's not really interested, but the other's a mighty little huntress and every so often I have to save a gecko from her. I thought for a while I might finally have cleared them out, but just tonight I heard what I've come to assume is their chirping over in the appropriate corner. It made me happy - I really rather like having them around, when they're not getting beat up by the cat.

Geckos and cuttlefish are a lot alike that way: You can't demand an appearance, so it's always a nice surprise. ^_^