Category Archives: Animals

Andersen, H.C.; Collected stories (1822-1870)

Once upon a time there lived a man in Denmark called Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875). He was born into poverty and its overwhelming harshness. Yet talent and luck brought him out of it.

Many have heard a version of “The little mermaid”. Andersen’s version is one that brought me to tears when I was young. It felt unfair to me, that she gave up so much and gained so little. Now that I am re-reading all of his stories, I’m not certain that was Andersen’s intent. “The little mermaid” is definitely about how unfair life is, how infatuation makes us do things with long-term consequences, but also about hope. Andersen was, according to those who write about his life, a deeply religious man. The idea that he hoped for something wonderful after death shines through his stories. His fears of the horrors that await evil people also comes through some of his stories. To avoid Hell, Andersen made his people go through terrible penances. “The red shoes” and “The girl who trod on the loaf” are two examples his penance type stories. These three stories, and many others, clearly show the position women held in Danish society.

Andersen writes about people who are idiots. “What the old man does is always right” is about a man who is dumber than bread. Yet he still gets out ahead. Irony and humour is strong in that story. Humour was one of Andersen’s tools. “The emperor’s new clothes” is a funny story that nails group effects and foolish traditions right on the head.

Fables were part of his repertoire. Andersen replaced people with animals, plants and inanimate objects. With them he gave us stories such as “The ugly duckling”, “The neighbouring families” and “The darning needle”. Magical creatures such as trolls,  dryads and elves turned up in his tales.

More than anything else, Andersen’s stories are about structural discrimination and abuse. He stood up for people who needed representation. As now, these differences were reproduced and supported by people who could be heard. People like Andersen are always needed. Most societies and cultures discriminate and abuse those unlike themselves. I say most, but I have never heard of any culture where fairness and equal opportunities were practised by either the majority or minority populations. Like society, most of Andersen’s stories have dark undertones and can reveal uncomfortable truths about ourselves if we are willing to look beneath the surface fittings of the stories.

Andersen’s 168 stories have been illustrated by artists such as Lorenz Frölich, Carl Larsson, Vilhelm Pedersen, Stefan Viggo Pedersen and Isidor Törnblom. Many of them have been translated into other languages. H.C. Andersen’s stories are available at Gilead, at H.C. Andersen Centret and in various other languages at Project Gutenberg.

 

Kotzwinkle, William: Doctor Rat (1976)

Doctor Rat gives voice to the horrors of the laboratory as seen from the eyes of the lab-animals. Driven insane by the experiments performed on him, many of them without anaesthesia, Dr. Rat encourages the other animals to do their best to be supportive of the torture they experience.

“He’s sensitive chap and it was his exquisite sensitivity that caused him to dream up the item that’s become the latest rage here at the lab: the fabulous removal of the eggs from a female rat’s body—to the tail, to the ear, to the stomach. And for the past twenty-three days, he’s been grafting them to their eyeballs!”

In 2014 one of the Nobel Prizes handed out was for showing why our brain is a GPS system. Two of those who won that prize were May-Britt and Edvard Moser.

In this video, the Moser’s look like nice people. They cuddle the rats and talk about creating lesions on their brains. As far as labs go, this lab is far from the worst. However, this video does illustrate the human position as apex predators.

One argument for experiments like the ones in Dr. Rat or the ones in the labs at NTNU goes something like this “What about medical advancement and further knowledge about improving lives?” I don’t buy that argument at all even though I have benefited and benefit from animal and human experiments. There is no good argument for humans treating lab animals the way cats treat their victims.

I could not read Dr. Rat in one go. Some of the other stories I read can be as violent, but Kotzwinkle‘s writing dug his claws of horror and despair into my brain. In the end, there is a balancing event against the torturers (not only researchers) that in no way makes up for the terrible lives of these animals. Not that such treatment surprises, or even shocks, me. This is the way many humans treat other humans. After all, humans are both predator and prey in our genetic make-up.

“What are they doing to me, Doctor Rat?”

“Let me just check my notes… yes, here we are. You’ll be the tenth rat this week to have his brains sucked out by a pneumatic tube.”

While Dr. Rat is horror, it is also humour, humour of the darker kind, the kind I like. As satire, the story does its job of criticizing society’s proclivity towards violence.

Excellent story. Most definitively recommended.


Reviews:

McGuire, Seanan: Midway Relics and Dying Breeds (2014)

“Thing was, the westward portage rope was attached to Billie’s harness, and Billie, for all her advantages as a draft animal, is about as smart as damp moss when it comes to things like “noticing external stimuli.” She’s a genework Indricothere (link by ed) that my Uncle Ren and I bought from a fly-by firm about six years back—a sort of precursor to the rhinoceros, and one of the largest land mammals ever to walk on the planet. When she put down her foot, the ground shook. There were no predators that could take her down and no threats that she recognized as worth giving a damn about, all of which combined to mean that there wasn’t much that could distract her from the essential task of eating her way through the foliage of the world. All nine tons of her continued plodding relentlessly forward, her massive teeth stripping branches as she walked. Her grazing license typed her as a firebreak, preventing fires by clearing out all the dead stuff before it could go up. It was more than halfway true, and it hadn’t caught us any trouble yet.”

Seanan McGuire

Midway Relics and Dying Breeds

McGuire, Seanan: Indexing page 1

“My day began with half a dozen bluebirds beating themselves to death against my window, leaving little bloody commas on the glass to mark their passing.”

(Picture by Lifllane)

Rae, Candy: Wolves and War (Planet Wolf I) (2012)

Wolves and War - Candy Rae
Cover art by Jennifer Johnson

At the outset I want to make you aware of the British English / Scottish English phrasing and spelling in Wolves and War. NOT American English!!! Because of the sometimes young phrasing, I feel Wolves and War is meant for young adults and up. While harsh at times the violence is not descriptive. There is some romance, but it is about as innocent as romance can get. What you do need to remember (sort of a warning) is that Wolves and War is about war and war is anything but nice.

On to the fun stuff.

I really enjoyed Wolves and War. At times I hurt because of the terrible changes to the lives of some of the women and children. War’s nature is gruesome. I have NEVER experienced it myself and am speaking solely as one who reads and listens and watches. What amazes me time and again is what people are willing to put up with if the alternative is death. Often I have wondered why people choose to live rather than kill themselves when their lives become so miserable. Some of the lives on the Southern Continent end up being what I would call gruesome. Yet, somehow life is chosen. Why?

Wolves and War does not answer my why. In fact, it leaves me there with my questions. Ms. Rae has done a brilliant thing in doing that because I do not really want another person to answer all my whys. I don’t even need there to be an answer to my whys.

Wolves and War is a space opera type of Science Fiction – character and world-building is more important than technology.

When the Argyll has to land on the Northern Continent the crew and settlers have to abandon ship before it sinks leaving them without most of their doodads (I know, an extremely technological term). Until war comes to the Northern Continent life is somewhat easier there than on the Southern Continent and the lack of metals is compensated by making tools with a metal-like hardwood. Necessity is the mother of invention even if that invention is a re-invention of old earth weapons. Their smith makes swords, shields, helmets, armour, crossbows and something he calls a contrap:

… was able to fire pre-loaded arrows a fair distance and thirty at a time. The arrows were loaded into a wooded frame he called a magazine that was placed on the main frame of the contraption itself. The firing mechanism was spring-loaded and the magazine was drawn back and then loosed. Distance and trajectory could be altered by the manipulation of wheels and cogs.

All of this preparation would have been impossible without the Aboriginals of the planet of wolves. The Lind are great hulking beasts about the size of a horse but with the look of a wolf about them. They are furry, snouty and have paws. Somehow both the Lind and the Larg of the Southern Continent have developed telepathic abilities along with the ability to form words. The word thing made me think that their snouts must be formed differently from a wolf’s.

What interested the Linds at first about the humans is how humans use their hands and the seeming connection some of the Lind have with some of the humans. Being able to communicate via mind and words is essential in making the humans believe that the Lind are sentient creatures.

Tara is the first human to meet a Lind. Kolyei is a Lind that feels a connection with Tara. Tara is not alone in this ability. On the Northern Continent Tara and Kolyei and Jim and Larya are the two vadeln pairs we get to know most. Tara is only 12 at the time she and Kolyei meet while Jim is in his 40’s. Their Lind bond-person is pretty well matched age wise and this is a good thing as these bonds seem to be for life and so deep that one part does not wish to live if the other party dies. A lot of animal-human bond stories seem to have this as the down-side of bonding. On the up-side is an understanding of the other race’s traits and language along with a deep sense of being loved unconditionally.

I enjoyed the way Ms. Rae tried to not sugar-coat anything for me as a reader. Granted, the fighting was not as gory as fighting really is, but it did not have to be for me to understand the costs of the war between the Southern and Northern Continents. She also did not try to hide the problems that would arise with 20,000 male prisoners escaping into an environment where females are on the run and only 300. When the leader of the prisoners is unscrupulous, well – things go as they pretty much have to go.

Being a colony vessel, the Argyll crew and passengers did not have the same dilemmas nor the same type of people to work with. Without a doubt, that is where I would have wanted to be. Both the North and the South end up with aliens and a landscape that fits with the humans landing there. Any other option would have seen the humans from the Argyll killed and possibly the Lind of the Northern Continent in pretty bad shape as well. As a reader I am glad Ms. Rae chose as she did.


Reviews:


  • File Size: 575 KB
  • Print Length: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Candy Rae; 3 edition (April 8, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006DLRBH0

Introducing: Sidekicks

What a great idea. Any of you readers out there interested and able could have some fun doing this.

Help On Four Legs

Last week, I asked for your participation in a project that my friend Melanie and I are working on. As of that post, we had a broad vision of what we wanted to accomplish, no name, and the only progress we’d made was that we’d made a secret Pinterest Pinboard. That’s essential, I’m told.

Today, I’m happy to say that we have a name, a photoshoot under our belts and several more in the works, a web domain, and an elevator pitch, albeit shaky at the moment, and also subject to change. Apparently elevator pitches are also essential.

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Whipp, Deborah: The History of Santa’s Reindeer (2012)

Santas reindeer

I found this article by Deborah Whipp on Altogether Christmas Traditions:

The character of Santa Claus is largely based on St. Nicholas of Myra and Sinterklaas of Dutch lore. Both of those figures traveled via a noble, white steed. Yet in some Western cultures, particularly America, Santa Claus travels the world on Christmas Eve delivering gifts in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. 

In 1812, American author Washington Irving refers to St. Nicholas as “— riding over the tops of the trees, in that self-same wagon wherein he brings his yearly presents to children” in the revised version of A Complete History of New York written under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker. Yet no mention is made of what propels the wagon. So where did the story of flying reindeer originate?

The first known written account of reindeer in association with the legend of Santa Claus occurred in 1821. That year, New York printer William Gilley published a sixteen page booklet titled A New Year’s Present, to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve Number III : The Children’s Friend by an anonymous author. In the book, reindeer are introduced into the Santa Claus narrative:

Old Santeclaus with much delight
His reindeer drives this frosty night.
O’er chimneytops, and tracks of snow,
To bring his yearly gifts to you.
During an 1822 interview, New York’s Troy Sentinel editor Orville L. Holley questioned Mr. Gilley regarding the booklet’s author and the topic of reindeer. Though he did not identify the author, Mr. Gilley responded:

“Dear Sir, the idea of Santeclaus was not mine nor was the idea of a reindeer. The author of the tale but submitted the piece, with little added information. However, it should be noted that he did mention the reindeer in a subsequent correspondence. He stated that far in the north near the Arctic lands a series of animals exist, these hooven and antlered animals resemble the reindeer and are feared and honored by those around, as you see he claims to have heard they could fly from his mother. His mother being an Indian of the area.”

In 1823, the Troy Sentinel published the poem A Visit From St. Nicholas, commonly known as The Night Before Christmas. The poem features eight flying reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh and, for the first time, they are identified by name:

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Dunder and Blixem!
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall!
Now, dash away, dash away, dash away all!”

Though originally called ‘Dunder and Blixem’ in the 1823 publication, Santa’s seventh and eighth reindeer are commonly known as ‘Donner and Blitzen’ today. Dunder and Blixem are Dutch words that translate to thunder and lightning. Some 19th and 20th century publications of the poem substituted the names ‘Donder and Blitzen’, which are German for thunderand lightning, and in other articles during the 20th century, ‘Donner’ replaced the name ‘Donder’. After Johnny Marks penned the song Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer in 1949, based on the story by Robert L. May, the name ‘Donner’ became the most popular spelling for the seventh reindeer originally named ‘Dunder’ in the poem A Visit From St. Nicholas. May’s story and Marks’ song were both well received and Rudolph is without doubt the most famous addition to Santa’s team.

The above information helps determine the first written accounts of reindeer in conjunction with Santa, but how did reindeer come to be associated with Santa Claus in the first place? Many popular Christmas traditions related to Santa Claus were brought to America by Dutch and German immigrants. As the persona of Santa Claus and celebration of Christmas were being developed in the west, customs and myths from foreign lands, including those of Scandinavian and European countries, were incorporated.

As pagans converted to Christianity during the Middle Ages, winter festivals and traditions, as well as popular pagan beliefs, often mingled with Christian celebrations of Christmas. In Norse and Germanic mythology, Thor is the God of Thunder and soars through the sky in a chariot pulled by two magical goats. Thor was highly revered and was arguably the most popular of Norse gods in ancient times. Images and stories of Thor soaring the skies in his sleigh pulled by two large, horned goats may have influenced the creation of Santa’s sleigh and flying, antlered reindeer by those in the west familiar with Dutch or Germanic mythology.

Reindeer were once viewed as mysterious creatures linked to lands in the northern part of the world. Their population was widespread in Scandinavian and Eastern European countries where, during the 18th century, they were domesticated. They were often used in transportation, pulling sleds and sleighs, and are still an important aspect of some indigenous northern European cultures, particularly to the Sámi people (commonly known as Laplanders to non-Europeans).

Taking these bits of knowledge into account, one can see how reindeer might have come to be used in early writings as the wondrous, flying creatures propelling Santa’s sleigh.

© Deborah Whipp

Dolphins are victims of Australia’s most environmentally controversial project at Gladstone

Flipper is in trouble yet again. Will their rights be able to survive this time? Unlikely, when it is big corporations against environment. Once again it seems corruption is rearing its ugly head. I wonder if humans are genetically unable to plan for long-term consequences.

Craig Hill Training Services

Australia’s most environmentally controversial project, the $33 billion expansion of Gladstone port in Queensland, is under investigation after being accused of breaching strict federal government audit conditions on harbour dredging and dumping of spoils in a World Heritage area.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke confirmed a review was under way into whether the project had breached its conditions by failing to get an independent assessment of its work.

The Gladstone port expansion has been plagued by controversy since the discovery of widespread fish disease in the harbour in 2011, which has been blamed both on record floods and the impact of dredging.

Allegations of audit failure, raised by environmental group Australians for Animals, came as long-term monitoring of humpback dolphins in Gladstone Harbour showed a population reduction of 40 per cent since dredging began. Researcher Daniele Cagnazzi said he would undertake a new survey in April to establish whether…

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Stilwell, Victoria: It’s Me or the Dog: Fat Dog Slim (2007)

Sorry folks, but there is no gentle way to put this. Letting your dog (or any animal) become this fat is the same as abuse. My veterinary has extremely strong views on this subject, having seen all too many examples of the above.

Right off the bat I am going to admit that I am not certain exactly which breed dog no. 2 is. I think it is an American Eskimo dog, but it is so fat and ill-looking that my untrained eyes just have to do their best. My head actually hurts when I think of how these two dogs must have it – wonderfully skinny dalmation and playful AE dog.

Another person with strong views on the matter is Victoria Stilwell. The chapters of her book It’s Me or the Dog: Fat Dog Slim deals in part with the subjects of

  • Dogs’ Dinners:  good food/bad food; what/how much should puppies and dogs eat?  How to make simple dog food yourself; food for puppies/older dogs/particular conditions.
  • Fat Dog to Slim Dog:  what is overweight?  Eating plans for overweight dogs; top tips for sticking to it.
  • Problems, Problems:  behavioral problems around food and Victoria’s solutions to them including stealing food, constant begging, etc.
  • Walkies and Workouts:  How exercise is crucial to well-being; how much exercise different breeds need; motivating reluctant exercisers; dealing with problems when exercising such as running off, pulling on lead etc.

Thankfully our Angie has never had this problem. My husband is often tempted to fall for those brown eyes, eager to catch any morsel of food that falls her way. But I am the mean one in our family and try to stop him from falling. She does have beautiful brown eyes and there is nothing quite like the look of a pleading dog. And, you know, that is why people feed and feed and feed their dogs. They just cannot stand to see that look without doing something about it.

While it is abuse to let a dog grow this fat, the people who do the deed do not have bad intentions. They just let their hearts rather than their heads speak. It’s super-easy to do, but it hurts the pet we love so much.

If you are struggling with the temptations of letting your dog have “treats” all the time, take a look at Victoria Stillwell’s home page or buy her books. It will be worth your time. Just take a look at these two wonderfully happy dogs below. Wouldn’t you rather have a dog that exudes the health that these dogs do:

 American_Eskimo_Dog_2630128910_600x450

Stilwell, Victoria: It’s Me or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet

A little more than five years ago we bought a Bichon Havanais, who has ended up being called Angie. She is a lovely little creature: shy, playful, cuddly, and very aware of her size.

Out choosing our new puppy Angie

I AM A DOG-LOVER!

I readily admit it. I am caught in the web of their loveable natures. It happened when we went to the breeder and the whole gang of Havanaises came running towards us begging to be petted.Anyways. Before we got our Angie, we read up on what it took to be a dog-owner. At the time we had six guinea pigs and adored them, but we were not satisfied with that. But we figured it would take a whole lot more to have a dog – as anyone would guess. We had watched TV-series on the subject and my favorite one ended up being Victoria Stilwell’s It’s Me Or The Dog.

I think the reason I preferred Victoria’s television series is because of the respect she showed the dogs while all the time being the one in charge. This is pretty much how I have raised my children and raising dogs has turned out to be pretty similar to that.

THE BOOK

I bought her book on the subject – with the same title as the show – It’s Me Or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet.

The trick for me with both children and pets has been learning patience. I’m terrible at it. But with the tips from Victoria, it becomes a whole lot easier. One of the reasons for that is that she explains why the dog does what it does. And I have also come to understand that most dogs tend to see me as a leader simply because of the way I carry myself. Fool the world, fool the dog.

SOME BREEDS CAN DIFFERENTIATE

I disagree on one of her points in the book, although it probably is good advice for some breeds. The Havanais knows very well which rule it can get away with breaking with whom. Our Angie knows very well that she cannot bark when I walk through our entrance, but she certainly barks when my oldest does. In fact, he encourages her to be like that. She knows the same thing when it comes to begging and doing tricks. But if you want an obedient-every-time dog, you are out of luck with the Havanais.

HAPPY DOGS ARE CUDDLY DOGS

My parents had a Weimaraner. Before that they had a mixed breed dog. Both were the kind of dogs that would have benefitted from us learning the tricks in Stilwell’s book. They were super-gentle and loving dogs, but not very obedient and we were not very patient with them. Silly us. But we did train them to accept anything from us and they were serious cuddle-dogs. And you know, I think that is the most important message Victoria Stilwell shares with the world. Happy dogs are cuddly dogs. Give them exercise, lots of patience and a firm attitude and your dog will be happy. And there is nothing quite as wonderful as a happy dog – there really isn’t.

The Capybara – Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris (R.O.U.S.)

OK folks. I sometimes get weird urges, and now is the time for one of them. My thoughts keep on going back to the post I re-blogged about the Capybara. I went into research mode.

First thing to do was to get hold of pictures of the giant rodents (I’m a rodent fan). That was the easy part. The net is full of pictures of this “little” creature and most of them are adorable:

The net abounds with pictures of these cute semi-aquatic mammals. Hey, we’re related! There is something irresistible about them. As you can see from these pictures, people do keep them as pets. The capybara with the guinea pig gives you an indication of just how large the capybara gets and how much it and the guinea pig look alike. No wonder I am in love.

Next post on the program was trying to get reliable information about the creatures. With the net that can always be a challenge, but let it not be said that I did not try. And let it also be said that this post is to be taken in the spirit in which it was written.

WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT A CAPYBARA?

Strange thing you should ask that. There are in fact several reasons for wanting a capybara. The pictures above clearly indicate one reason. Cuteness factors heavily into any choice we as humans make, and the capybara is adorable (in a huge sort of way).

I’ll admit it. The capybara is large for a rodent. It ends up at around a metre long and weighs anywhere from 35-65 kg. That is like a large dog, and from some of the pictures on the net, that must be what it feels like when it cuddles on your lap. Affectionate and willingness to follow you around is part of its makeup. Just like a guinea pig in fact (I say this because we have had a few guinea pigs and they are lovable pets).

Herd of capybara in wetland environment © M. Watson / www.ardea.comHerd of capybara in wetland environment © M. Watson / www.ardea.com

Our guinea pigs did not take up quite as much space as the capybara, but when you have a pet that seems to matter very little. As you can tell from this picture, the capybara is a social animal. Like the guinea pig, they like to be surrounded by others. Living in fairly large family groups, makes for survival in the wild. Although their teeth are quite impressive (I would hate to be bitten by one), the capybara are prey, not predator.

Capybara lasooed by a llanero for research © M. Watson / www.ardea.comCapybara lasooed by a llanero for research © M. Watson / www.ardea.com

Another reason is cost-efficiency. Can you believe it? You can eat it, use it for its leather and the capybara has a cheap diet – as it is way more effective in its digestion of plant material than cattle and horses. Its main diet is grass, but it will also eat grains and aquatic vegetation. (Arkive) As it is semi-aquatic, it would do well in areas that have seasonal floodings. The capybara also eats its own poo, saving you some work in cleaning up after it.

In fact, some places use the capybara instead of cattle (Wikipedia). In Llanos of Venezuela there is even commercially licensed hunting of the capybara.

Some zoos and parks have the capybara as one of their sights.

SO, WHERE IS THE CAPYBARA FROM?

File:Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris range.pngHydrochoerus hydrochaeris range

All of these questions I actually know the answer to. Surprising, I must say. Well, again like the guinea pig, the capybara is from South-America. Imagine that! The capybara tends to live close to water and in the lowlands. Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil are the countries we will find it in its natural state (Arkive).

These are also the places where it is natural to do research on them. However, the capybara are a fairly unknown species despite its size. There are places you can go, if you want to know more about the scientific side of the capybara life. I have listed some of the sites below.

WHAT ARE THE POSITIVE SIDES OF BEING A CAPYBARA PET-OWNER?

Me, my owner and some of the kidsThe world’s most famous pet-capybara has its own blog at Capybara Madness. There are tons of links to other blogs and sites about capybaras.

The best part of being a capybara-owner is that you go crazy the same way you do with other kinds of pets.

So let’s see about those positive sides. Well, the capybara does fairly well with other animals. Remember to take into account its size. Accidents do happen, and when you weigh as much as the capybara does you have to watch it with small animals (like the guinea pig).

Using the poop bowl

The capybara is affectionate and trainable (at least to the leash and poop/urine bowl/tray) if there is food involved. But it is not like a dog. Or a cat for that matter. They will greet you or even function as your alarm clock in the morning. Thankfully, they are not as loud as guinea pigs can be, but they are talkative. That is what I miss most about my guinea pigs, all of their sounds.

ARE THERE ANY DOWNSIDES TO OWNING A CAPYBARA (she asks jokingly)?

YES, plenty. The capybara is an exotic pet, and as such requires a vet with some expertise in that area. You also need a licence to obtain one, and it would be best to have a capybara from a young age – or maybe as a rescue animal. As they are semi-aquatic, the capybara will need access to a pool of some sort. And you will need space – 100 square feet per animal. Being home-raised will be important for the capybara as its body temperature is difficult to maintain when it is young.

Like guinea pigs, the capybara can be aggressive. Those of us who have owned guinea pigs know that means potential biting, except being bitten by a capybara would probably inflict damage. You will also need non-toxic grass for their feed. Like all ecological stuff, that means expensive. And, again, like the guinea pig, capybaras demand a lot of time and attention.

—————————

RESEARCH ON THE CAPYBARA

SOURCES

Bradley, Marion Zimmer: Sword and Sorceress XXI (2004)

Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress XXIOriginally, Marion Zimmer Bradley started the Sword and Sorceress series to further strong female protagonists in the sword and sorcery genre. She saw the need to change what she considered an appalling attitude toward women in these works.

Readers flocked to these anthologies and submissions to them increased. By the time of her death, she was on the 18th collection. After her death it was decided to publish three more collections. In the end, a volume 21 with Diana L. Paxson as editor was printed, and the tradition has continued from there on. (Wikipedia)

SWORD AND SORCERESS XXI (2004)

IntroductionDiana L. Paxson

Sword and SorceressJennifer G. Tifft – Poem

Dawn and DuskDana Kramer-Rolls – Dagne, with the different colored eyes, grew up ostracised by her father, step-mother and brothers for being a freak. In the end she has to run away to protect herself. We meet her in a cabin in the woods on a cold and bitter night.

Spell of the SparrowJim C. Hines – A family of two ex-thieves and a budding wizard ought to be a dream come true. But parents will be parents everywhere, and our two ex-thieving parents do not approve of Mel’s dabbling in magic. That is all about to change when poor old dad is spelled by a Cloudling.

The Woman’s PlaceSusan Urbanek Linville – The continuing welfare of the tribe is of prime importance. When winter threatens to destroy all of the, grand-dame has to make a choice that will mean life or death to them all.

KinNaomi Kritzer – Once magic has been properly woken in a person, they become addicted to the feeling. Julia is going to have to make the choice between her magic or the saving of a child.

Child’s PlayEsther M. Friesner – Mira’s father is the richest man for miles, but that does not make a difference to either of them when Mira’s mom dies. When a new woman moves into the house, Mira knows she is in trouble. Thankfully she has her teacher on her side, a teacher willing to go the extra mile to protect this child.

UrsaJenn Reese – A child was placed on a mountain side to die. Saving it changes the life of Ursa and the father.

Red CaramaeKit Wesler – Caramae sneaks into the catacombs of the wizards looking for an object of power. What she finds is more than she has bargained for.

Parri’s BladeCynthia McQuillin – When Soela steals away with a blade that was supposed to follow Parri on his pyre, Hamli goes after her to right the wrong. What she discovers is that grief has many ways of expressing itself.

Necessity and the MotherLee Martindale – In Hemfrock Donta runs the inn – The Mercenary’s Mother. It has an excellent reputation and is popular with all kinds of customers. When the city council decide that all metal in the city must be confiscated for the sake of magicks, Donta and her crew pack up and go somewhere else. What will the city council do when they discover that perhaps their decision was a bit hasty?

Sun ThiefK. A. Laity – This is a story of the sacrifice rebelling against her fate when she discovers the truth about the alleged god she is being sacrificed to.

LostlandRosemary Edghill – Ruana Rulane was a proper hero, the kind with a special sword and a destiny to fulfill. Not everyone wants her to keep her sword or for her to stay true to her destiny. Betrayal sends her to Lostland, from which very few people have returned.

PlowsharesRebecca Maines – When Elisabeth loses her husband to illness, she decides to go on pilgrimage to the holy cathedral. Her journey will teach her a great deal about herself and the role of women.

Step By StepCatherine Soto – After betrayal from their uncle, Lin Mei and her brother have taken to the roads as caravan workers. One night they are attacked by robbers.

Favor of the GoddessLynn Morgan Rosser – An unknown woman is hiding from the guards. She isn’t sure why she keeps on fighting them and running away, she just knows that she has to. Then the Empress is scheduled to appear on the Holy Moon.

Rose in WinterMarie M. Loughin – Rosabel has three chances to grab happiness. Some choices are life-defining.

Kazhe’s BladeTerry McGarry – Kazhe prefers staying drunk to stay the memory of her loss. Then the loss comes to her opening old wounds.

The Skin TradeHeather Rose Jones – Being a Kaltaoven – skin wearer – is a quality the Marcalt of Wilentelu would like to possess. When two come to town, he uses all of his persuasive powers to give him the gift.

Multiple ChoiceLeslie Fish – Magic is exacting business, but is a useful tool in discovering the truth. When the old wizard dies and leaves his cabin for the next one coming, the wizardess discovers that he is haunting it. She calls him forth and asks him a few questions.

OuluAimee Kratts – Hilda Lajatur decides to quit the village she is living in so she can go to warmer areas. But not everyone in the village is happy about her choice and decide to kidnap her.

A Kind of RedemptionJohn P. Buentello – All I’m going to say about this story is that it is a proper ghost story.

Journey’s EndDorothy J. Heydt – Looking for answers to her questions to the death of her husband, Cynthia goes into a cavern of the gods.

Love Potion #8½Marilyn A. Racette – Sometimes when customers do not wish to pay the full price, one must use imagination to change their minds.

There were three stories that I especially liked: Jim C. Hines – Spell of the Sparrow for the ingenious way mother and daughter solved their problem, Dana Kramer-Rolls – Dawn and Dusk for its retribution, and Marilyn A. Racette – Love Potion #8 1/2 for its wit.

The stories are all good. Some are quite serious: Susan Urbanek Linville – The Woman’s Place and some quite swordy (and humorous): Lee Martindale: Necessity and the Mother.

Enjoy.