Tag: Animals

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I’m the first to say that the sweet dogs I’ve owned or cared for had me believing that they were smarter than I was. Or that they were at least as smart. And I always felt they were part of the family, and usually called them by some kind of “pet” name instead of their real […]

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Puppy Love

 

I didn’t get this posted for Valentine’s Day because I was out of town, but it’s too fun not to share. Every year I send out Valentine’s postcards to friends and family with an illustration done by one of my children. This year, my new daughter-in-law did the honors. I was hesitant to ask at first, but she seemed excited to be included in this family tradition. After years of asking my sons to remember to marry someone who would like me, I feel very blessed that (so far) they have listened! The dog in the illustration is my six-year-old puppy Inigo.

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This is Cinnamon, and he used to say “Squeak! Squeak! Squeak!” a lot. So did his whole family. Funny thing, though–with all their complaining, I never heard them tell even one lie. Many humans do worse. Sometimes they run for President. “Consider the sparrows of the air”–and the guinea pigs of the field. Preview Open

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Over There, the Rain Beats Down Old Ladies with Ugly Sticks

 

In English, we say, “It’s raining cats and dogs.” Explanations for why we say this are numerous, and all fairly dubious. In other lands, other stuff falls from the sky during heavy storms. In Croatia, axes; in Bosnia, crowbars (I’m sensing a pattern here); in France and Sweden, nails. In several countries, heavy rain falls like pestle onto mortar. In English, it may also rain like pitchforks or darning needles. While idioms describing heavy rain as the piss from some great creature (a cow or a god) may not be surprising, a few idioms kick it up a notch (so to speak), describing the rain as falling dung.

And then there are the old ladies falling out of skies. Sometimes with sticks, sometimes without. Sometimes old ladies beaten with ugly sticks. The Flemish say, het regent oude wijven — it’s raining old women. The Afrikaners, more savagely, arm the old women with clubs: ou vrouens met knopkieries reën. Yes, good ol’ knobkerries — ugly sticks, indeed! Afrikaners and the Flemish speak variants of Dutch, so it’s not surprising they share cataracts of crones, armed or not. Why the Welsh also share them is more of a mystery, but yn’ Gymraeg, again we find old ladies raining with sticks: mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn. Traveling to Norway, we find the outpouring of old ladies beaten with the ugly sticks: det regner trollkjerringer — it’s raining she-trolls.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America take aim at three examples of egregious media bias.  They start with the heroism of Dixon High School (Ill.) school resource officer Mark Dallas, who saved countless lives in a would-be school shooting this week, yet the media glossed over the story since there was no body count and they have little interest in highlighting the effectiveness of a resource officer willing to engage the shooter.  They also slam the press for selectively quoting President Trump to make it seem he was referring to immigrants as “animals” when he was responding specifically to comment about the vicious Latin American gang MS-13.  And they throw up their hands as Hamas admits most of the people killed along the Israeli border were armed Hamas members and not random civilians and the media show no interest in reporting it.

Seven Sevens – Torah

 

The number “seven” represents the physical creation of the world. The number is very common in the Torah – it is the number required to make something all anew, or to change something.

Just as it took G-d seven days to create the world, it takes mankind a period of seven to transform ourselves or others. Seven is the number representing the cycle of days to achieve Shabbos, the cycle of seven years to the land’s fallow year, and at other places in the Torah, the period of mourning, or shaming, or healing. Each of these things is compared, by the use of the same number, to the creation of the world.

Snakes on a Plane – Academics vs the TSA, round n+1

 

The airport security line has ground to a standstill. Again. Some bozo packed a giant plastic penis in his carry-on, and of course the bozos working for the TSA couldn’t resist. From the depths of the man’s carry-on, one TSA worker unsheathes “this mouse penis by its base, like it was Excalibur.” Yep. A Gigantic. Plastic. Mouse. Penis. 3-D printed.

If it makes you feel any better, it’s for science. The biologist carrying it is on his way to a two-day conference, and so has no checked luggage. Other times, scientists carry on stuff that can’t go into the cargo hold even when they’re checking luggage. Permits issued to biologists to collect live specimens may stipulate the specimens must be hand-carried onto planes. Other live specimens simply don’t travel well in cargo holds. A duffel bag full of ants. Live frogs in Tupperware containers. Roaches. These things:

Body Shaming, Dress Shaming, and Snail Shaming

 

As one often is, I found myself inspired by @peterrobinson’s latest post – in this case, a post on beauty products which may or may not have been shed by cows. Specifically, I was inspired to look up beauty products shed by other animals, such as snail slime and nightingale droppings. Well, it is difficult for a gal to look these things up without being bombarded by other supposedly female-friendly stories, on love and fashion and the like. To go in reverse order, let me start with the snail shaming:

Love is tough. Even tougher if you’re a snail born with the wrong chirality. Poor Jeremy was a left-swirling snail. Maybe that doesn’t sound so bad, for a snail. But he was a left-swirling snail born into a right-swirling snail’s world. Snails are hermaphrodites, which sounds pretty flexible, but they can’t mate with themselves and a pair of them do have to both swirl the same way in order to mate. Scientists wanting to breed Jeremy to study his (zir?) kind found Jeremy another left-swirler, Lefty, to mate with. The two had only begun flirting when they were forced to hibernate together in the fridge, which sounds like a big step – imagine being forced to move in with someone just because the two of you had been caught kissing! After this first scientific violation of gastropod sexual autonomy, stuff just kinda snowballed from there, leading to what’s certainly the most adorable use of “cucked” I’ve ever seen:

Prepare to Be Thagomized!

 

A friend of mine passed along this Mental Floss article on Gary Larson’s Far Side. Many of us here are probably Far Side fans. I know I am. It was normal, growing up, to see Far Side clips taped up in practice rooms, on lab doors, and in teachers’ offices. I didn’t know, though, that Larson’s nickname for the spikes on a stegasaurus’s tail, “thagomizer”, is now an acceptable paleontology term. I had heard of “shmooing” before, a process named after cartoonist Al Capp‘s shmoos excuse me, shmoon:

[T]he cellular bulge that is produced by a haploid yeast cell as a response to a pheromone from the opposite mating type (either a or α) is referred to as a “shmoo,” because cells that are undergoing mating and present this particular structure resemble the cartoon character.[12] The whole process is known to biologists as “shmooing.” Shmoo[n] are essential; without them, we would have neither bread nor beer.

Too many of my friends diddled about with microbiology for me not to have heard of shmooing. The migration of the thagomizer from The Far Side to reality is new to me, though.

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Macro photography could just as sensibly be called micro photography because it involves the magnification of tiny objects. There is beauty and wonder to be found by multiple perspectives; peering up close or seeing a thing framed by its environment. When we can scale bugs to the size of lions, many surprises emerge.  (Most of […]

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Here on the Gulf Coast, mockingbirds are everywhere. Listening to them is a way of life for many folks.  I grew up among people who love to gather on a porch or patio to simply relax and observe nature while chatting, sipping on cool drinks, or maybe pretending to read while slumped asleep in a […]

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How Do You Think about Animal Rights?

 

Browsing Twitter yesterday — what, like you spent the whole weekend building low-income housing and going to the gym? — I stumbled across an interesting exchange being curated by NR’s Kevin Williamson on the topic of animal rights. His take: that the whole idea of animal cruelty is awash in confusion.

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