Wednesday, February 28, 2018

dragonmonkey

Dragonmonkeys often have a face and arms like a monkey, and furry, hind feet, scaly and clawed with prehensile toes, a prehensile tail with a dragon's barb at the end, and dragon wings.

They breath fire, are highly intelligent, have a monkey's mischievous personality, and are very cute. They're very social with most animals, and like to snuggle, but be careful -- they may breathe a small burst of fire involuntarily when very excited or when they have hiccups. Most are skilled in the martial arts, and they teach each other. If angered or they don't like you, they fling flaming poo at you.

caddraig (cat-dragons)

The word is Welsh, compressed by centuries of use (in whispers around winter fires) from “cath-ddraig” (“cat-dragon”). No one knows when the Welsh Red Dragon first successfully procreated with a witch’s black cat, but the creature shows up in Dark Ages monastic illuminated books referring to earlier, even darker ages in which myth is difficult to separate from history.

There is some variation as to which genes are expressed in any individual, but unlike dragonmice, which are a cross between mice and a particular mouse-sized species of dragon, cat-dragons descend from full-sized dragons (don’t ask how; maybe by magic; this is obviously fantasy) and can have any random combination of genes. Which means that those which inherit dragon size can only be successfully born to female dragons, and female cats tend to have those which are cat-sized and in general have more cat characteristics. Before speciation fully evolved there must have been some painful, messy mistakes involving female cats or cat-sized caddraeigiau and large kits, but you don’t want to contemplate that.

The creatures are especially beautiful, with deep black fur or scales highlighted from underneath with bright red, giving them a crimson glow, sort of like a red velvet  cake. (In fact recent breeders have bred some down to mostly cat characteristics, producing the Red Velvet cat, a surefire hit at cat shows; they don’t always make very good family pets, tho’.)

In the wild they eat dragonmice and roasted fish (which they roast themselves with their breath). Because they can fly, they also hunt birds on the wing, killing and roasting them at the same time. (You know a caddraig is around if you see a fried robin drop out of the sky.) Those close enough to human habitation to steal milk or have humans willing to feed them like caramelized milk.

They're not as wary of humans as some dragons, especially if mother is a pet or semiferal cat. They cause some trouble in cities, getting into garbage bins and sometimes trying to roast food scraps in plastic packages, which melts and makes a gooey mess.

another critter -- the dragonmouse

Dragonmice may have the head and wings of a dragon, and body and tail of a mouse -- or  the ears, paws, and tail of a mouse, and body of a dragon.

They hoard, of course -- they get the trait from both parents, so expect small items to go missing. If you see droppings on the kitchen counter and your cat's whiskers are singed, you probably have dragonmice. If you keep one as a pet and carry it in your pocket, it'll burn holes in your clothes. They start fires in the walls of houses, not only by chewing wires, but also directly by their flaming breath.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

remembering history

In honor of Black History Month, and at a time when the current government seems hell-bent on deleting every single thing our first African-American president has done, it's appropriate to remember some of the contributions the first African-American legislators in the 1870s made while they were in office.

Sen. Hiram Rhodes Revels fought against school segregation and other discrimination issues and supported amnesty for former Confederates as part of a general program of reconciliation, as did Rep. Benjamin S. Turner, who also worked against a cotton tax that caused hardship for poor farm workers. Josiah T. Walls introduced bills for education funding and veterans' benefits. Joseph H. Rainey and Robert Brown Elliot were instrumental in the passage of the Enforcement Acts against the Ku Klux Klan and in protection of voting rights and the 1875 Civil Rights Act.

By the way, they were all Republicans, which obviously meant something different at the time.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

resolutions, part 2: conquering habit

They say that forming or breaking a habit takes about a month of constantly sticking to it.

This may be true for new, pleasant or neutral habits, where the main challenge is finding the time to do it. It may even be true for breaking a bad habit that has no intrinsic reward.

But realistically, building a new, good habit that goes against character or against immediate gratification requires constant attention for the rest of your life and can be broken by neglecting it even one time. The same goes for breaking a bad habit -- one slip and it's back.

It can be done. Just don't expect it to be easy.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

the obligatory new year's musings on resolutions

Perhaps a useful way to understand the nature of resolutions might be to divide them into categories:

Resolutions of being
Attempts to change character (or attitude, if you prefer to think of it more flexibly)
Popular examples:  I will stop being lazy.  I will be more compassionate.

Resolutions of action (or restraint from action)
Attempts to change behavior.
Popular examples:  I will exercise every day.  I will stop smoking.

Resolutions of result 
Promise to reach a specific goal by the end of the year.
Popular examples:  I will lose 100 pounds. I will make $1,000,000 dollars.
-- Fuggidaboudit. Life has to co-operate, and life is a non-co-operative beast.

Clearly, resolutions of action hold the higher possibility for success, as they by definition include the element of deliberate control. But wait -- many of these are attempts to change habits, and many, if not most, habits stem from character to some extent (e.g.,  the inherent trait of laziness is sometimes a reason for not  exercising every day).

So maybe the trick is to define the task as a specific action you can force yourself to do, despite your lazy, selfish, cowardly, bad-attitude self, and which is physically under your control despite whatever time-and-energy-sucking gotchas life throws at you.

Good luck finding a worthwhile resolution that fits that definition.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

mistletoe!

This is a great year for mistletoe. It's all over the place (well all over the trees, anyway.) It's also a pretty good year for holly berries. Merry Christmas from the plants!