The world famous jelly researcher Nando Boero named a jelly species after his hero, “the most important music composer of the last century: Frank Zappa.” With this brilliance I can not argue. Many a proud scientist has named a species after a famous person whom they admire, such as the biting louse Strigiphilus garylarsoni (after Far Side author Gary Larson), or the fern Gaga germanotta (after Lady Gaga, who according to the principal investigator, “appeared in the Grammys in 2010 wearing what essentially looked like a beautiful bejeweled fern gametophyte”). For those of us who dream (and dream we do), we wish for nothing more than a shoutout from our beloved idol. But if you’re Nando Boero, you hit the starry-eyed-scientist’s dream jackpot: you become friends with your idol.
Nano and Frank hung out for many years, “our relationship was such that whenever we met we started to talk as if we met the day before” writes Nando. In fact, Frank Zappa was so proud of his friend and jelly namesake that he dedicated his last concert to them, including a special song “Lonesome Cowboy Nando”. To hear Nando tell it and Frank sing it sends my hopefully little heart in motion. May we all be so lucky: