There are millions of killers loose in California, and eucalyptus trees are their victims. Entomologist Timothy Paine has been studying the insects killing California's menthol-scented trees for two decades — and he's noticed a suspicious pattern.
Long before the era of post-Sept. 11 security precautions in the U.S., an unknown person or group of people may have begun carrying out a series of bioterrorism attacks in California.
The target? Menthol-scented eucalyptus trees.
Before you wonder why you hadn't heard of this, it's because the story isn't necessarily true. It's a hypothesis, a theory promoted by a noted California entomologist and eucalyptus expert named Timothy Paine.
If his theory is correct, then somebody out there wants those trees dead.
Theweekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen a Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.
For actor Donald Faison, whose credits include Clueless, Remember the Titans, the TV shows Scrubs and The Exes, the movie he could watch a million times is Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. "I want to say I saw it at the movie theaters 30 times," Faison says.
Oliver Stone's latest film, Savages, opened in theaters earlier this month. The movie centers on two young marijuana growers, Ben and Chon, who live and deal in California, alongside their girlfriend O — short for Ophelia. They find themselves thrust into a world of violence and murder when a Mexican drug cartel comes after their business. The film is based on the book by crime writer Don Winslow, who also co-wrote the screenplay.
Weekends on All Things Considered continues its "Why Music Matters" series with Aria Saadi, an actor and musician originally from Iran. Saadi now lives and works in Vancouver, Canada, where he escaped after running afoul of the Iranian government.
Saadi says he remembers well one of his first encounters with Iranian authorities. A self-taught keyboard player, he was performing at what most Americans would call a normal party.