145 posts tagged animals
Tragos-endorsed seaside living.
How prepared are you to be mean? Very? Somewhat? Hardly?
For those of you looking to up your game, I’ve provided a glossary of zoomorphic adjectives with which to slur your enemies, along with examples of usage.
- ant: formicine: ex. “Overwhelmed by the formicine crowds at the officeplex, we sought refuge in the nearest bar.”
- armadillo: tolypeutine: ex. “You couldn’t be brutal enough with that tolypeutine ego. No slight or slur was registered or remembered.”
- bat: pteropine: ex. “The Joker watched in worried fascination as the pteropine form spiraled down the shaft of light.”
- crab: cancrine: ex. “Rick Perry’s cancrine mind finally crawled to a halt as his magic triplet disappeared down the sinkhole of his gunshot-stunted brain.”
- crow: corvine: ex. “Alas, it was time for me to eat my corvine feast.”
- cuckoo: cuculine: ex. “The cuculine ideas bandied about in that debate made that creature’s passion for Cocoa Puffs look staid and mature.”
- dodo: didine: ex. “The didine philosophy competed with the bad prose, and all to create a humorless lonely architect.”
- duck: anatine: ex. “The coach strode with anatine grace onto the court.”
- flea: pulicine: ex. “The bankers’ pulicine endeavors had resulted in debacle.”
- lemur: lemurine: ex. “One lemurine step followed another, until the boy finally reached the school’s front gate.”
- lizard: lacertilian: ex. “After its extended lacertilian deliberations, the majority rejected all efforts at compromise.”
- parrot: psittacine: ex. “The psittacine networks spread the rumors with vicious speed.”
- rattlesnake: crotaline: ex. “With crotaline verve, the candidate offered his pseudo-theological retort.”
- seal: phocine: ex. “The audience erupted into phocine cheers.”
- toad: batrachian: ex. “Newt’s batrachian charisma cannot be denied.”
- wolverine: musteline: “The poor Buckeyes could do nothing in the face of yet another musteline onslaught.”
P.S.: The most important of these adjectives is obviously “hircine.” Of, pertaining to, or resembling a goat. Ex. “The man created a new alternative energy source that reduced conflict in the world, and saved the planet. He also wrote a symphony for the ages. As hircine a fellow as you’ll ever find.”
I endorse both the beard and the animal.
Perezoso didáctilo de Hoffmann
Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth
More in officially Tragos-endrosed animals from the wonderful Jardín Botánico La Manigua.
If you don’t think babirusas are cute think again :-)
At the end of The Odyssey, Odysseus returns home in disguise after two decades of war and wandering; his old swineherd, Eumeaus, taking him for a stranger, walks him across his property and nearby his old dog, occasioning one of the earliest sentimental descriptions of the human-canine bond…
I’ve always loved this passage for exactly the reason Mills points out. It’s also interesting to place it in its context of recognition scenes as Odysseus comes home, noting how it happens for each character, some of whom require a great deal of evidence, while others—such as Argos—don’t. Someone once argued that the sequence of recognition scenes is patterned after a social hierarchy.
The word argos in Greek usually means “shining”, but appears often of dogs in Homer, in the phrases πόδας ἀργοί, “swift-footed”, and κύνες ἀργοί, “swift dogs.” The usual explanation is that swift motion can appear to flicker or shine. This connection is supported by the Sanskrit cognate ṛjrá-, which also means both “shining” and “fast.” There is an epithet of the god Hermes, Argeiphontes, which is usually explained as the slayer of Argus, but Martin West has argued that in fact it refers to his function as a god of thieves, helping them past guard dogs, and that argos here refers to dogs, the slayer of dogs. If so, it’s interesting to consider the etymology of his dog’s name in the Odyssey
This is the moment when Odysseus finally achieves his νόστος (nostos), his true homecoming.
Before arriving in Ithaca, Odysseus encounters Circe’s enchanted mountain wolves. These insidiously magical creatures lurk in the periphery like any temptation to falsehood and estrangement.
We also see the silver and gold pseudo dogs guarding Alcinous’ palace. They are artifice and beauty: always and only the objects of contemplation, and thus false.
Things change when Odysseus arrives in Ithaca. Maintaining his disguise in Eumaios’ cave, Odysseus is pleased to see that the swineherd’s dogs do not bark at Telemachos as he arrives. A dog’s ability to recognize the identity of his master, to pierce through the layerings of disguise and self-invention mark out the animal’s nobility.
Argos is the culmination of that nobility. And a wonderful reminder of the strong correlation between perception and loyalty.
Baba the pangolin on Flickr.
Pangolins: Tragos- and Marianne Moore-endorsed
Another armored animal–scale
lapping scale with spruce-cone regularity until they
form the uninterrupted central
tail row! This near artichoke with head and legs and
the night miniature artist engineer is,
yes, Leonardo da Vinci’s replica–
impressive animal and toiler of whom we seldom hear.
Armor seems extra. But for him,
the closing ear-ridge–
or bare ear licking even this small
eminence and similarly safe
contracting nose and eye apertures
impenetrably closable, are not;–a true ant-eater,
not cockroach-eater, who endures
exhausting solitary trips through unfamiliar ground at night,
returning before sunrise; stepping in the moonlight,
on the moonlight peculiarly, that the outside
edges of his hands may bear the weight and save the
for digging. Serpentined about
the tree, he draws
away from danger unpugnaciously,
with no sound but a harmless hiss; keeping
the fragile grace of the Thomas-
of-Leighton Buzzard Westminster Abbey wrought-iron
rolls himself into a ball that has
power to defy all effort to unroll it; strongly intailed, neat
head for core, on neck not breaking off, with curled-in feet.
Nevertheless he has sting-proof scales; and nest
of rocks closed with earth from inside, which he can
Sun and moon and day and night and man and beast
each with a splendor
which man in all his vileness cannot
set aside; each with an excellence!
“Fearful yet to be feared,” the armored
ant-eater met by the driver-ant does not turn back, but
engulfs what he can, the flattered sword-
edged leafpoints on the tail and artichoke set leg-and
quivering violently when it retaliates
and swarms on him. Compact like the furled fringed frill
on the hat-brim of Gargallo’s hollow iron head of a
matador, he will drop and will
then walk away
unhurt, although if unintruded on,
he cautiously works down the tree, helped
by his tail. The giant-pangolin-
tail, graceful tool, as prop or hand or broom or ax, tipped like
an elephant’s trunk with special skin,
is not lost on this ant-and stone-swallowing uninjurable
artichoke which simpletons thought a living fable
whom the stones had nourished, whereas ants had done
so. Pangolins are not aggressive animals; between
dusk and day they have the not unchain-like machine-like
form and frictionless creep of a thing
made graceful by adversities, con-
versities. To explain grace requires
a curious hand. If that which is at all were not forever,
why would those who graced the spires
with animals and gathered there to rest, on cold luxurious
low stone seats–a monk and monk and monk–between the
ingenious roof-supports, have slaved to confuse
grace with a kindly manner, time in which to pay a
the cure for sins, a graceful use
of what are yet
approved stone mullions branching out across
the perpendiculars? A sailboat
was the first machine. Pangolins, made
for moving quietly also, are models of exactness,
on four legs; on hind feet plantigrade,
with certain postures of a man. Beneath sun and moon,
to make his life more sweet, leaves half the flowers worth
needing to choose wisely how to use his strength;
a paper-maker like the wasp; a tractor of foodstuffs,
like the ant; spidering a length
of web from bluffs
above a stream; in fighting, mechanicked
like to pangolin; capsizing in
disheartenment. Bedizened or stark
naked, man, the self, the being we call human, writing-
master to this world, griffons a dark
“Like does not like like that is obnoxious”; and writes error
r’s. Among animals, one has a sense of humor.
Humor saves a few steps, it saves years. Uningnorant,
modest and unemotional, and all emotion,
he has everlasting vigor,
power to grow,
though there are few creatures who can make one
breathe faster and make one erecter.
Not afraid of anything is he,
and then goes cowering forth, tread paced to meet an obstacle
at every step. Consistent with the
formula–warm blood, no gills, two pairs of hands and a few
is a mammal; there he sits in his own habitat,
serge-clad, strong-shod. The prey of fear, he, always
curtailed, extinguished, thwarted by the dusk, work
says to the alternating blaze,
“Again the sun!
anew each day; and new and new and new,
that comes into and steadies my soul.”
— Marianne Moore
Ocelot on Flickr.
Love this portrait of Isa the fossa. Don’t let it fool you though, he’s a feisty dude.
Tragos-endorsed animal of the month.