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Tag: animals

Falconry: Fed Up and Looking Haggard

The practice of hunting wild birds with trained birds — for fun is called falconry. Though it came into its own almost 1,000 years ago in England after the Norman invasion, it continues to have a stronghold in our contemporary English language. I hope I can lure you to join me today as I share all of the words and expressions that come from this blood sport and to hear about the time *I* was roused to try my hand at falconry and why I turned tail by the end of it.

Muscle: Flex Your Mouse

Roll up your sleeve past your bicep, flex your arm at the elbow, and squeeze — or contract — your bicep muscle. Take a look at it. Now, relax it — keep looking at it, and contract again. Squeeze. And relax. What do you see? Movement, right? Do you see an animal? Well, some anatomist did when the word muscle was coined.

A Mouse in Your Muscles!

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The Greatest News on Earth: Ringling Circus is Closing!

(This photo of the elephant is one I recently took in Botswana; free and with his family — the way all wildlife should be.)

While enjoying a delicious vegan dinner at Millennium Restaurant in Oakland with a friend and fellow animal advocate (Kristie Middleton), we got a text: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was closing its doors! We laughed. We cried. We toasted.

We were two of the many activists (full props to Cheri Shankar, activist extraordinaire in Los Angeles) involved in working with Oakland city council members in 2015 to ban the bullhook, a weapon that inflicts pain and fear upon elephants to make them perform such unnatural acts as standing on their head. Oakland passed the ban, and soon after, Feld Entertainment, owner of Ringling Bros., announced that they would be removing elephants from their shows. A victory for elephants, no doubt.

But there was more work to do, and activists in cities around the country wasted no time working to ban all wild animal acts from circuses. Facing the prospect of spending millions of dollars defending an archaic and cruel form of entertainment, Ringling Bros. announced that it would be closing its doors altogether. A major victory for animals, no doubt, but much work remains to be done.

Entire countries have banned wild animals acts, including Mexico, Peru, Greece, Netherlands, and many others, and the United States would do well to do the same before another opportunistic company seeks to fill Ringling‘s void. This will probably be impossible on a federal level with the current administration, but we can do it state by state. At least for today— for a few days—we can at least revel in the awareness that the arc of history bends toward compassion and that thousands of animals will be spared humiliation, confinement, fear, and violence. 

[Tweet “Ringling Bros. said ‘this is not a win for anyone.’ I beg to differ. This is a win for the animals.”]

Jack London for the Animals
We were not the first residents of Oakland to express concern about the treatment of circus animals. 100 years ago, after witnessing the abuse that takes place against performing animals in circuses, our most iconic figure, our own Jack London—author and social activist—wrote two novels (Jerry of the Islands and Michael, Brother of Jerry) to spread awareness to the public about performing animals. In the foreword for these novels, he wrote, “I have a strong stomach and a hard head, but what turns my head and makes my gorge rise is the cold-blooded, conscious deliberate cruelty and torment that is manifest behind ninety-nine of every hundred trained-animal turns. Cruelty as a fine art, has attained its perfect flower in the trained-animal world.”

Because of the awareness he created, the public spoke up, and in 1925, Ringling Barnum and Bailey Circus withdrew all trained animal acts from their performance schedules and remained animal-free for almost five years. Unfortunately, they brought back the animals, but this time, they’re closing their doors for good.

Feld Entertainment, the owners of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, has said in press conferences that animal rights groups should not claim the circus’ closing as a victory—that “this is not a win for animal rights activists. This is not a win for anyone.” I beg to differ. This is a win for the animals. This is a win for every individual who won’t be sold or bred only to live a life of prodding, performing, abuse, fear, and pain. This is a win for the animals, who have—vis a vis their own suffering—put $2.7 billion into the pockets of Kenneth Feld, which is what he is purported to be worth. This is a win for every animal who has ever been separated from their family to be exploited and forced to perform for humans. 

This is a win for animals, indeed. And once you’ve properly toasted, it’s time to put away the champagne, and write some more history. We’ve got more work to do.

For the animals, 

Eating Crow? Try Eating Humble Pie, Instead

If you’ve made a serious faux pas and need to acknowledge it with humility, you might be said to be “eating crow” or “eating humble pie,” both phrases of which involve animals — or do they? 

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Zodiac: A Circle of Animals — Literally

Of the 88 constellations officially recognized by Western astronomy, 40 of them are named after animals — 43 if you count the mythical animals. We’re going to talk about 12 of them today — the 12 that make up the zodiac from Western astrology — ALL of which contain animals. 

After all, the word zodiac is Greek for “circle of little animals.”

History of English in 10 (ish) Minutes

A Very Brief History of a Very Old Language

Throughout the episodes of Animalogy, I’ll be talking about the Proto-Indo-European reconstructed language, the related Indo-European languages, Old English (or Anglo-Saxon), the Norman invasion, Latin, Greek, and different types of sound changes that have occurred in English.

In order to provide some context for what might be unfamiliar bits of history or linguistics, I’m offering this brief overview of this remarkable language called English.

FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR ANIMALOGY: 

1.Subscribe to Animalogy on iTunes and Stitcher and download the episodes.

2. Leave a 5-star rating on iTunes. 

3. Leave a review on iTunes. High ratings, reviews, and downloads in the first month increase the chances of high placement on iTunes.

4. Become a monthly supporter of the podcast. For just .33 cents a day, you receive transcripts to each episode; for $1.00 a day, you get bonus episodes. Your support helps us reach the goal of making it a weekly, ad-free show.

5. Share the podcast with everyone you know! Use the share buttons below and above!

Thank you! For the animals,

Visiting My Animal Hero in Rwanda!

My first animal-protection hero was Dian Fossey after I read Gorillas in the Mist in the early 90’s. I was in awe of her boldness and bravery, dedication and commitment, attention to detail and desire to use whatever tools were at her disposal to protect the beautiful mountain gorillas. I don’t think I could ever be as brave as she was, sometimes I fear I won’t have the time on this earth to be as effective as people like her, and I can only hope to leave a legacy that changes the way we think about, talk about, and treat other animals. She wasn’t perfect — none of us are — and not everyone agreed with all of the decisions she made, but that doesn’t in any way minimize the amazing work she did.

Sitting at her actual desk and reading from her actual notes (they were copied to preserve the originals, but still).

At the time she was killed, I believe there were about 150 mountain gorillas alive, and she predicted their complete annihilation by now. She would be proud of the work done in her name and because of what she started — resulting in 850 mountain gorillas accounted for, to date. They are still in danger of extinction, but there is hope. There is always hope. My life’s goal is to be that hope, share that hope, and continue to contribute in such a way that something of this hope endures when I’m gone — that the world will be better for animals by the time I leave it.

It’s been such an honor to have visited Rwanda four times now and to be this close to where she lived and worked, to witness her legacy first-hand, to support the vital work being done in her name, and to meet gorilla families who are here today because of her.

May we all be heroes for the animals and leave a legacy of compassion, peace, and selflessness.

The old Dian Fossey headquarters in Rwanda
Hiking up to Karisoke Research Center, where Dian Fossey lived, worked, and is buried

Coccyx: Please Don’t Sit on the Cuckoo

Coccyx is a small triangle-shaped bone at the base of the spinal column in humans and other apes, such as gibbons, orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees.

Representing a vestigial tail and most commonly called the tailbone, coccyx was the name given to this part of our anatomy by ancient Greek physician Galen because of its resemblance to an animal, making the word an “animalogy.”

Can you guess the etymology? All is revealed in this episode of Animalogy, a podcast about language and the animal-related words and expressions we use every day.

There's an animal hiding in your tailbone! Listen to Animalogy podcast find out more. Share on X

FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR ANIMALOGY: 

1.Subscribe to Animalogy on iTunes and Stitcher and download the episodes.

2. Leave a 5-star rating on iTunes. 

3. Leave a review on iTunes. High ratings, reviews, and downloads in the first month increase the chances of high placement on iTunes.

4. Become a monthly supporter of the podcast. For just .33 cents a day, you receive transcripts to each episode; for $1.00 a day, you get bonus episodes. Your support helps us reach the goal of making it a weekly, ad-free show.

5. Share the podcast with everyone you know! Use the share buttons below and above!

Giving the Bird to this Inauguration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GIVING THE BIRD TO THIS INAUGURATION
As January 20th approaches, not everyone is talking about the inauguration of the 45th president; some are talking about the animals hidden within the word itself.

Just in time for Inauguration Day, bestselling author and award-winning podcaster, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, is launching Animalogy, a podcast about the animal-related words and expressions we use every day. The first episode, the inaugural episode, Inauguration: On a Wing and a Prayer, transports listeners back to the politics of ancient Rome to reveal the birds behind the word.

During the Roman Republic, religion was organized under a strict system of priestly offices, the most powerful of which was made up of the nine augurs, whose main role was to interpret the will of the gods by studying and interpreting the omens, a practice referred to as “taking the auspices.” Augurs were literally “diviners of birds” and were consulted prior to any major political decision to predict whether the undertaking in question was auspicious or inauspicious. From the Latin noun augur was derived the verb inaugurare, “to foretell the future from the flight of birds,” which was borrowed into English in the 16th century as inauguration to refer to a formal induction to an office.

The words augur, inauguration, inaugural, auspices, auspicious, and inauspicious all share the same Latin root avis, meaning “bird,” from which we also derive the words avian, aviation, aviator, and aviary.

“Animalogy holds up a mirror,” says its creator, “reflecting back the idioms, euphemisms, metaphors, semantics, doublespeak, and other elements of our everyday language, and looks at how they affect and reflect our relationship with animals.” Inauguration is just the beginning. Following the official launch just weeks before the inauguration on January 20th, 2017, other episodes will follow, including Coccyx: Please Don’t Sit on the Cuckoo; Muscle: Flex Your Mouse; Eating Crows and Humble Pie; Zodiac: A Circle of Little Animals; and Don’t Get My Goat — I’m not Kidding.

ABOUT COLLEEN PATRICK-GOUDREAU: Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is forever changing how we talk about, think about, and treat other animals. She is a bestselling author of seven books, acclaimed speaker, and creator and host of the award-winning podcast, “Food for Thought.” Colleen is a regular contributor to National Public Radio (KQED) and has appeared on national and regional TV programs, including the Food Network, CBS, PBS, and FOX. Interviews with her have been featured on NPR, Huffington Post, U.S. News and World Report, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Times, Pacifica Radio, Rodale News, and in countless publications, blogs, and podcasts. She is a monthly guest on Good Day Sacramento.

The preview episode, “What Is Animalogy?” and the first (inaugural!) episode, “Inauguration: On a Wing and a Prayer” are available on AnimalogyPodcast.com, iTunes, Stitcher, and wherever podcasts are heard. Contact email for interviews. 

Download the PDF of the press release: AnimalogyPressRelease. 

What is Animalogy?

What the heck is an Animalogy?

The podcast Animalogy officially launched in January 2017, and this first episode, “What Is Animalogy?” gives you an idea of what you can expect from the podcast and includes an excerpt from the inaugural episode, Inauguration: On a Wing and a Prayer.

Drawing upon etymology, history, linguistics, literature, anthropology, sociology, and psychology, Animalogy unpacks the idioms, euphemisms, metaphors, semantics, doublespeak, and other elements of our everyday language to reveal the meanings and implications of our animal-related words and expressions. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO to spread the word about Animalogy:

*Subscribe to Animalogy on iTunes and Stitcher and download the episodes.

*Leave a 5-star review after listening. The more reviews and downloads in the first month increase the chances of high placement on iTunes.

*Become a monthly supporter of the podcast. For just .33 cents a day, you receive transcripts to each episode; for $1.00 a day, you get bonus episodes. Plus, you help us reach the goal of making it a weekly, ad-free show.

*Share the podcast with everyone you know. Share buttons below and above!

Thank you! For the animals,