Bob Dylan's first and only book of poetry. He wrote it when he was 23.

The title page text states: This is a work of fantasy and imagination.

An excerpt from the book's publisher:
"Poets and writers tell us how we feel by telling us how they feel. They find ways to express the inexpressible. Sometimes they tell the truth and sometimes they lie to us to keep our hearts from breaking.
Bob has always been out ahead, working in ways which can be hard to understand. A lot of what he wrote then in Tarantula doesn't seem so hard to understand now. People change and their feelings change. But Tarantula hasn't been changed. Bob wants it published and so it is now time to publish it."

Semi-classic science fiction film from 1955. It was directed by Jack Arnold and written by Robert M. Fresco and Martin Berkeley, based on a story by Fresco and Arnold. It starred John Agar as Dr. Matt Hastings, Mara Corday as Stephanie "Steve" Clayton, and Leo G. Carroll as Professor Gerald Deemer. Clint Eastwood has a short cameo at the end of the movie.

Basic plot: Professor Deemer is working on an experimental growth hormone in the Arizona desert. It works great on animals, but it causes acromegaly in humans. Deformed and deranged, Deemer's assistant trashes the laboratory, releasing a tarantula that soon grows into an immense horror that menaces everyone within crawling distance!

Okay, in a lot of ways, this is a cheesy, cheesy movie. As an actor, John Agar makes a great square-jawed concrete block, and Leo G. Carroll was in much better movies than this. "Tarantula" also includes my favorite piece of retro-sexist dialogue ever: "Well, whattya know! Give women the vote, and what do you get? Lady scientists!" Wow, if that don't say "1950s" to you, I don't know what will.

However, I dearly love this movie, both because of and in spite of the cheese. Next to "Them!", this is the best of the Giant Bug movies of the '50s. The mood is eerie throughout the film, and the vast, empty desert is capably used to heighten the tension of the movie. The special effects, though relatively simple, are quite realistic, even unsettling -- for one thing, a real spider was used, instead of the fake ants in "Them!", and they even manage to give it a convincing shadow.

Tarantulas are another arachnid available in infinite supply in the Sonora desert. Although they look frightening, they are much less dangerous than scorpions, bees, or pack rats. Their intimidating appearance leads the uninitiated to suppose that they are venomous or vicious, but they are neither. They make decent pets, if you're the kind of person that likes to catch bugs every night in a plastic cup, and you have the knack for calming frightened visitors down.

Tarantulas are very large, black, hairy spiders. Very large. Several times larger than any other spider in North America, I'm pretty sure. I have seen tarantulas that were a nice 6" across. They eat other bugs. Due to their mating cycles, you are likely to find large numbers of male tarantulas crawling around outside during the early months of summer. They are either looking for prospective mates or have already mated and are just waiting to die. If you feel particularly compassionate, you can do the spider a great service by catching him and putting him in a terrarium. Don't put more than one tarantula in the same terrarium.

To handle tarantulas, you need to be aware of a couple of things. Don't make any sudden moves, ever. This will scare the tarantula and it may bite. If the spider seems agitated, put it down immediately, or you may be bitten. The bite is extremely painful, as the fangs of the tarantula are in proportion with the rest of it, but carries little venom. Emergency medical treatment is not necessary. Almost worse, however, is the tarantula's other defense. Tarantulas have a patch of special hairs, called urticating hairs, that act like fine cactus spines at the spider's will. They itch unbearably and are difficult to remove. Some people may experience an allergic reaction to these, so consider wearing a glove until you are experienced at handling tarantulas.

Feed a captive tarantula crickets, moths, beetles, whatever you can find. Provide some water just in case, although I have never seen one drink. Don't kill tarantulas; it's is not only difficult, but also unnecessary. If one is in your house and you are too scared to capture it, sweep it into a dustpan with a broom, dump it in a box or garbage can, and put it back outside. They never invade homes except by mistake -- if humans were killed for their mistakes, we'd start having big problems maintaining our cities.

As well as a type of arachnid, the Tarantula is a heavy-support platform in the realm of Warhammer 40000. There are two variations on the Tarantula, depending whether you are a fan of Warhammer 40000 or Space Crusade. In both games, the Tarantula consists of two heavy weapons mounted on a small platform, supported by four legs. Traditionally, the Tarantula also has a blast shield, but this is only in Space Crusade, where it is designed to be a mobile platform, and is operated by a single Space Marine, whereas in Warhammer 40000, it has been developed into a stationary turret, incorporating its own Machine Spirit, allowing it to attack autonomously. The weapon patterns also vary between versions. The traditional Space Crusade model is armed with two lascannons, allowing it to make mincemeat out of any gretchin, android, or Dreadnought which comes your way, especially since it allows the user to split down the shots to attack three different targets, instead of just one. In Warhammer 40000 however, there are many armaments for such a device, ranging from the traditional lascannons, heavy bolters for anti-troop support, or multi-meltas for an extra bit of anti-tank firepower. No matter the variation of the Tarantula, it is and will remain a valuable tool of divine retribution in the far future, where there is only war.

Taratulas are large carnivorous spiders that inhabit desert or tropical areas. While most are varying shades of brown or black, a few support rich colors such as cobalt blue or deep purple. They range in size from palm-size to dinner plate.

A tarantula's bite is painful, but not dangerous, although it's probably more traumatizing to have a huge furry spider pounce on your hand and bite you than to simply get stung by a bee.

Tarantulas differ from other "true" spiders not only by their size, but by their mechanics. A tarantula's fangs are located to be used in a vertical grabbing motion, while true spider's fangs work horizontally in a pinching motion.

There are rumors that tarantulas will not cross velvet, but I have yet to see whether they truly have a physical aversion to it, or if it is simply an old wives tale.

Ta*ran"tu*la (?), n.; pl. E. Tarantulas (#), L. Tarantulae (#). [NL., fr. It. tarantola, fr. L. Tarentum, now Taranto, in the south of Italy.] Zool.

Any one of several species of large spiders, popularly supposed to be very venomous, especially the European species (Tarantula apuliae). The tarantulas of Texas and adjacent countries are large species of Mygale.

[Written also tarentula.]

Tarantula killer, a very large wasp (Pompilus formosus), which captures the Texan tarantula (Mygale Hentzii) and places it in its nest as food for its young, after paralyzing it by a sting.


© Webster 1913.

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