Tag Archives: animals

Beestys and Fowlys

 

Dr. Language Guy here.

It has come to my attention that many of you face a grammatical dilemma when encountering strange wildlife in your own backyard. Now I know that, if you sight wolves, deer or locusts, you will immediately call out “There is a pack of wolves or a herd of deer or a plague of locusts in my backyard!”  Packs are common to a number of creatures – wolves, hounds and other dogs – as are herds – asses, buffalo, deer, elephants, giraffes, moose and zebras.  Plagues only apply to locusts and politicians.

But what do you say if, for examples, you encounter baboons, sheldrake or wombats? Never fear. Thanks to the Book of Saint Albans of 1486 entitled Companys of Beestys and Fowlys, aided by Wikipedia and abcteach, you will correctly and properly identify any group of animals that cross your path.  The animals will respect you for this attention to detail.

A Troop of Baboons

A Sedge of Bitterns

A Sounding of Boars

A Drove of Bullocks

A Tok of Capercaillie

A Quiver of Cobras

A Covert of Coots

A Bask of Crocodiles

A Murder of Crows

A Trip of Dotterel

A Fling of Dunlins

A Mob of Emus

A Fesnyng of Ferrets

A Bloat of Hippopotamuses

A Clattering of Jackdaws

A Deceit of Lapwings

An Ascension of Larks

A Plump of Moorhens

A Pod of Pelicans

An Ostentation of Peacocks

A Congregation of Plovers

A Rhumba of Rattlesnakes

A Crash of Rhinoceros

A Dopping of Sheldrake

A Walk of Snipes

A Pitying of Turtle Doves

A Wisdom of Wombats

Beestys

A WTF? of Weird Wildlife

 

We should start applying such terms to groups of people as well:

A Brace of Bloggers

A Klump of Kardashians

A Really Good Deal of Used Car Salesmen.

Do you have any suggestions?

Adorable Puppy Photos

 

I am doing what any proud parent would do and subjecting you to a set of photos showing off our newest addition.  [See Beware of Dog!]  All of the photos are taken in “adorable puppy mode.”  “Psycho-puppy mode” occurs at speeds faster than light and are not photographable.

The puppy has not yet been allowed to sleep with us.  I stress the “yet.”  My wife tells me that when that happens she will find me a good home through the Curmudgeon Rescue Centers of America.

 

puppy17 puppy11
 puppy13  puppy16
 puppy14  puppy15
 puppy1  puppy4
 puppy12  puppy3

Beware of Dog!

 

My wife and I decided to get a dog.  (Translation: my wife decided to get a dog.)

The dog is a female Yorkshire terrier.  Taking the description of one dog breed website, terriers are good for people who 1) don’t want a large bulky dog; 2) want a dog that’s playful and social with people; 3) likes their dog to be busy and active without demanding constant attention; and 4) want a companion that will always be alert and watchful if the local squirrels dare to come into the garden and steal your nuts.

(My day is ruined if I find that squirrels are trying to steal my nuts.)

According to the Wikipedia, the Yorkshire terrier is a small dog breed of terrier type, developed in the 19th century in the county of Yorkshire, England to catch rats in clothing mills, also used for rat-baiting.

(My week is ruined if I find that rats are trying to eat my nuts.)

In the short time that we have had this adorable creature, we have trained the puppy to pee and poo on its pee-pad.  In that same time, the puppy has trained two humans to wait on her hand and foot.  I had thought, up to now, that only cats had staff but I am learning from a three-pound puppy that dogs can have staff as well.

Our puppy has two modes – adorable, sleeping puppy mode and psycho puppy mode.  I prefer adorable, sleeping puppy mode but that mode does not last long.  During psycho puppy mode, the puppy attacks everything in sight, usually the hands and feet of the male human because male human hands and feet and rats have a lot in common, at least according to the puppy and female humans.  (No female human has ever attacked my hands or feet but they have called me a rat on more than one occasion.)

During college, my housemates and I ended up dog sitting a six month old St. Bernard puppy until he found a good home.  If a three-pound Yorkshire terrier does something bad, you hold it in one hand and say “bad dog!” even though it doesn’t listen to your scolding.  If a 150 pound St. Bernard puppy does something bad, you first have to decide how strong you are and how much pain you are willing to endure to tell it “bad dog!” even though it doesn’t listen to your scolding.  We all believe that St. Bernard’s are the well-behaved dogs that rescue people trapped in heavy snow drifts.  We forget that a dog that can travel through heavy snow drifts is very strong and quite independently minded.  The St. Bernard puppy story has a happy ending: the puppy ended up with a couple who owned a farm where the dog had plenty of room to roam.

So I am being slowly trained by this three-pound terror to obey her rules but at least I know that my nuts are safe.

Warning!

 

Yorkysign2

Beware of the Yorkshire terrier!

In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself

 I have always liked this poem by poet Wislawa Szymborska.

In feeling bad1

Wisława Szymborska-Włodek (2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012) was a Polish poet, essayist, and translator.  She was described as a “Mozart of Poetry.”  She was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature “for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality.”

————————————————————————–

In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself

By Wislawa Szymborska

The buzzard never says it is to blame.

The panther wouldn’t know what scruples mean.

When the piranha strikes, it feels no shame.

If snakes had hands, they’d claim their hands were clean.


A jackal doesn’t understand remorse.

Lions and lice don’t waver in their course.

Why should they, when they know they’re right?

Though hearts of killer whales may weigh a ton,

In every other way they’re light.


On this third planet of the sun

Among the signs of bestiality

A clear conscience is Number One.

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Preferring regret to bestiality, I will accept the moments that my conscience is not always clear and that it is okay, from time to time, to feel bad about yourself.

[As long as you don’t make a habit of it.]

Higher Math

Once upon a time there lived a wise and benevolent Indian chief who had three squaws.  He ruled his tribe with a fair and just hand and was considered the most learned and honorable chief among all the tribes.

One day a strange white man, a trapper, appeared in the village to show his wares.  Now the Indian chief wanted to get gifts for his three squaws so he begged the stranger to show him the various trinkets that he brought.  The stranger laid out his trappings gathered from afar and the Indian chief was delighted to choose among them the gifts that he sought.

For two of his squaws, he purchased from the stranger two horse hides of the finest quality.

For his third squaw, his favorite, he wanted to buy something even more special.  The stranger said that he had an item that might interest the chief and he showed him an article that the chief had never seen before – the hide of a hippopotamus.  The chief was overwhelmed by this gift and paid much wampum for the hippopotamus hide.  His squaws were delighted at the gifts that the chief purchased for them.

Soon after, all three squaws became pregnant.  The first two squaws – those who had received horse hides as presents – each gave birth to twin boys.  The third squaw – the favorite squaw who received the gift of the hippopotamus hide – gave birth only to a single boy.  This event caused great consternation in the tribe and there were murmurings that the son of the favorite squaw was somehow not as good as those of the first two squaws.  These murmurings led to squabbles, then to arguments and then to wholesale outbreaks of rebellion.

It was then that the chief showed his wisdom and put an end to the quarrels by gathering the tribe and laying down an edict that lasts to this very day.  So great was the chief’s proclamation that it is taught in every classroom in every school throughout the land.

The chief, whose name was Pythagoras, said:

“The son of the squaw of the hippopotamus is equal to the sons of the squaws of the other two hides.”