The Considerate Mongoose.

Following is an article from the New York Times dated June 5, 1906. Anyone with an interest in wordplay, or the english language should take a moment and read this. I came across it working on my thesis. Enjoy… 

 

 

 

The Considerate Mongoose

 

     “This Republic was until Saturday, the embarrassed possessor of two mong–, that is, it had one mongoose at the Bronx Zoological Park, and another mongoose at the Rock Creek Zoo. The Rock Creek specimen considerately died on Saturday, thus relegating to the academic shades the infuriating and perfectly insoluble question of the plural. With one mongoose we can get along; two consitued a linguistic anomaly, and were certain source of profitless dispute and harrowing doubt.

“Send me a tailor’s goose, and eleven others just like it,” was the form finally adopted by the retail hardware dealer after successive rejections of tailor’s geese and tailor’s gooses. What is the plural of moose? It is not meese, of course, and nobody would say mooses. The statement of a tenderfoot who should declare that he saw seventeen moose in teh forest would be instantly questioned by the experienced hunter, but not on grammatical grounds. Moose goes as plural. But mongoose?

 

 

I want to be a mongoose,

And with the mongeese stand.

 

 

     A proper and laudable aspiration, but the unlamented little beast of the Rock Creek Zoo knew he mustn’t do it. You can’t stop there. The anserine anaology bears you irresistably on to the mongoose and her mate, the mongander. The tribe of mongoose would never “stand for” that. The Rock Creek animal was driven back upon the metaphysical device of the ego and the non-ego. I, this mongoose, who sit here vainly barking up the grammar tree, and the other mong– there it goes again. In the intervals of pursuing his favorite preym the boot-haunting ophidia, the mongoose of Rock Creek, thought much and deeply on yjis subject. Condemned to a life of loneliness for in English-speaking countries must never be seen in company with another mongoose, he was unspeakably miserable, and he saw no way out. His accomplishments went for nothing. He could rob a henroost with a silent deftness that left the feathered ones spared quite unaware of their bereavement. He possessed consummate skill in the art of depleting an eggshell of its contents by that method in which the common law of repartee assumes ever man’s grandmother to be an expert. But what of that, if, so long as there was another one, he had no place in the structure of English speech? It made mongoose-flesh come out all over him. Let his martyred bones, whereve they mayy lie, be a warnin to those who henceforth may enrich our fauna by this addition of alien vertebrates, that they must import an animal from the language of his nativity a practicable plural.”

 

Stand with the Mongeese!

This article is 105 years old. Just something to think about.

The Thing about Bats

Batty Koda from Ferngully.

I suppose if I hurry this weekend with a short entry I can get a one in for July. This will at least mean I have done one post a month in the last two months.  We have finished moving and finally settled in enough to have the internet and a path to the computer.  This is one topic that deserves way more time and intellect than I have for it, but hopefully you will come away with a better understanding of bats and the peril they face in the US today. Continue reading The Thing about Bats

The Ant and the Aardvark, er, um Anteater

My apologies to my reader(s) about the long drought of blog material.  Many people I know would say this was just a time to gather information with which to wow my readers with; this however, is not the case.  Moving, class, and money have all gotten in the way of actually sharing points to ponder with the world at large.  Hopefully, when I get my laptops repaired, or my desktop close enough to a wifi station to access the internet, the posts will take on some sort of rhythm and actually combine to make some kind of tangible, coherent thought phase. I wouldn’t hold my breath. Continue reading The Ant and the Aardvark, er, um Anteater

The Great Northern Penguin and other bird brains

There are no penguins in the arctic, at least not anymore.  In the 1960s Robert Silverberg wrote a hat trick of books about natural history and science.  Funny thing, when I ordered them from Amazon they came discarded from Jr. High libraries.  After reading two of them I realized that Jr. High students must have been capable of much higher degrees of thinking than the standard secondary children are forced to endure today.  They are written in a plain spoken and easy to understand manner, that in no way detracts from their scholarly contribution to knowledge.  But enough about the state of education in the 21st century, back to the northern penguins. Continue reading The Great Northern Penguin and other bird brains

And now a word from our sponsor.

I do not like football. That is no secret among those that know me. So whenever the most important game comes around, I usually sit it out quietly with a good book.  Before the days of instant knowledge and the internet I would occasionally sit through part of a game just to see how well the beer commercials were getting along.  Now, thanks to youtube and other related internet phenomena, I no longer have to do that. Continue reading And now a word from our sponsor.

Stripes aren’t all bad or all stripes aren’t bad

Last post we looked into two prominent species that have went extinct after the introduction of Europeans to their habitat.  Both animals displayed a striped pattern on one end of their body or the other.  If that was a singular example, one wonders why stripes do not indicate points on the dart board. However, there is one animal that is not totally striped (as for now the zebra seems safe, although Tigers are having a rough go) that seems to be rather stable. In fact, it is not as rare as you may think: The Okapi. Continue reading Stripes aren’t all bad or all stripes aren’t bad

The Tiger’s Pouch and Equid DNA: the Danger of Wearing Stripes.

There is no survivor, there is no future, there is no life to be recreated in this form again.  We are looking upon the uttermost finality which can be written, glimpsing the darkness which will not know another ray of light. We are in touch with the reality of extinction.
—  Henry B. Hough,  Domesday Book

Continue reading The Tiger’s Pouch and Equid DNA: the Danger of Wearing Stripes.

Pigeons and Goldfish or Taxonomic Rebate

Last Thursday BBC news,  and other sources I am sure, reported on a scientific finding about pigeons and their sense of smell. Pigeons sniff their way home reveals a study on how pigeons use scent to navigate.  The study also involved stopping up one pigeon nostril. Sources do not reveal if this was done with small corks or if some graduate assistant had the arduous task of rolling up toilet paper to stick in the bird’s nose. Continue reading Pigeons and Goldfish or Taxonomic Rebate

Standard More about Me or And now here’s your Host

Sir David Attenborough recording a chorus of frogs in 1954.
Photo courtesy of wildfilmhistory.org, a fantastic site

Given that we are all living in the 21st century together and through the good advice of trusted associates of mine I have started a blog.  I shall retro-act a New Year’s resolution of creating one and then cross it from my list.  I am not at all entirely sure what this will always consist of or where it will go in the future.  My guess is that it will just provide more filler for me to work on instead of actually doing work for my classes. Continue reading Standard More about Me or And now here’s your Host

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