Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rodent Spotlight: Mouse (Redux Rursus)

Did you know that my very first animal spotlight was for the mouse? It was released on July 13, 2013 and was followed by the first rat spotlight. I then went dark for nearly a whole year. Anyways, if you want to read the very first spotlight I ever did, just click HERE. There is also a second one I did later which you can find by clicking HERE. And now, let us begin.

In the beginning, there was a mouse. He was just a tiny, little thing. He was cute, so there was at least that going for him. But really, there was not much to say about him. Over time, this mouse would run about trying to find his place in the world. Most animals did not bother with such things. They are already pretty good at doing this and that, but the mouse wanted more.

Living in the wild worked out well. He enjoyed eating seeds and living in holes. It was difficult in the wild, but the mouse was always optimistic. Most mice are. Much of the cynicism fall upon the rats. No, mice aspire to greater things. So eventually, living safely in the wild did not seem like it was going to be enough.

The mouse then decided to be our pet. He liked that too. As it turns out, wood shavings are much more fun to burrow in and pee on. The only predator to worry about is a local cat and he can't do anything while the mouse is in a cage. But then... the cage really is a problem. It's a fun place to live, but nothing really happens. Oh, sure, the wheel makes it seem like you're going places, but are you really? No. The mouse moved on.

The mouse discovered the sword. Well, it was not really a sword as much as it was a needle. But it might as well be a sword when your only two inches tall. Yes, he was small, but this sword somehow made him feel much larger, and he was ready to take on the world. He trained day after day to become a great hero, and one day, he set out to seek his fortune.

Now, this story can end in a number of ways, and you are certainly welcome to imagine how that will happen. But the point of it is that the mouse was never content with his lot and always wanted more out of life than the small portion that he was given. He was small, and he certainly had that to consider; however, he was going to try for greater things regardless.

Many people throughout history have romanticized mice to aspire for far greater things than they are likely capable of in reality. I have done the same. We come into this world with a very small starter's kit and a world that seems far bigger than us. Some people fold and others keep trying no matter how hard it gets. This is why we like mice so much. They stand with rats as my two favorite animals in the world. I love them both so much.

Next week will be the very last Animal Spotlight. It is all about to come to an end. Thanks to everyone who has stuck by me as I have put these out every Tuesday for so many years. I've never had so much fun.

Thank you for reading this blog. If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. Squeak!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Rodent Spotlight: Rat (Redux Rursus)

This is technically the third spotlight I have done for rats. If you want to read the two original blogs you can click HERE for the first one and HERE for blog #2. And with that out of the way, we may proceed.

I am constantly struggling with what my absolute favorite animal really is. I do know this: it is either the mouse or the rat. I'll be honest... I can't make a decision! After years of considering this, I think this may end up a draw. The main reason for this is that I like them equally for completely different reasons. So why rats? Let's look at them from a more straight-forward perspective.

1. We hate rats. Why do we hate rats? They cause us no end of trouble. They breed way too fast. They consume our food without asking. They spread diseases. They are simply intolerable. We must kill them at all costs!

2. We love rats. After all, they are a benefit to science! Rats have organs that are very similar to humans. They also are rather intelligent and seem to learn at a similar rate to us. We need them!

3. We don't need them. They are a menace. Alberta, a Canadian province, completely ran rats out. I don't really blame them. These rats are out of control! Good lord, they have no off switch. All they do is go where they please, breed anywhere they like, and cause havoc! We are better off without them!

4. Rats make awesome pets! We pamper them, give them special treats, and let them sleep in fanny packs. We call them fancy rats, and they live like kings without a care in the world.

5. After the eventual nuclear holocaust, rat's will finally have their chance to rule the world. All they have to worry about are the roaches. It will be rat vs. roach until one bests the other. I've already put money down on the rat.

6. Rats are actually fun to kill. I know that sounds horrible, but how are dump owners supposed to make any extra money if they don't let people come in with shotguns to cull the herd. There was even a popular video game called "Vermintide" all about killing giant, mutant rats. Face it, someone has to do it! If not, we'll all end up human slaves in a tyranical rat nation.

7. Context doesn't matter. Be they good or evil, should we kill them or cuddle them, should we love or hate them, rats are awesome. They are a fascinating animal in our world. All they want to do is have fun, and as we all know, having fun alone is not really that fun. That's why they have so much sex!

Rats represent one of two parts of my favorite animals. I have written many, many stories about them. I have shown them in both good and bad lights. I both love and hate them, and I love to hate them. They are wonderful! But just remember, we have to destroy them before they do the same to us. Keep them in small numbers. They will be happier that way anyways. Well, its either that or fall to the mighty force of the Vermintide!

Thank you for reading my ratty blog! If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. Screee!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Mustelidae Spotlight: Ferret (Redux)

It has been a very long time since I wrote the original spotlight for the ferret. Like last time, I offer you a chance to read the original before moving on to this new one. Click HERE if you want to give it a look-see.

Ferrets are actually my favorite mustelid. I like many others too. Skunks were a close contender. I struggled over that one for a whole week. In the end, Ferrets won out. I just cannot get enough of the little guys. Let's look at the facts.

Ferrets have no spine at all. Well, that's not true, but if you see them worm about, it's almost as if they completely lack any bones at all. They move like they are filled with jelly. Owners sometimes buy plastic tubes that the little guys can crawl around in. It is very cute!

Ferrets also like to steal things--shiny things! Who knows why? This is one of the great mysteries of the animal kingdom. I kind of understand it though. Shiny is pretty and fun! Why wouldn't you want to steal shiny things? The thing about animals is they have no moral code. They simply do what makes them feel happy. Ferrets are a good representation of greed when compared to humans. But let's be honest: it's cute when ferrets do it!

Ferrets are villainous and stinky. Both actually true. Even though we could probably do without the smell, we rather enjoy seeing our ferrets concoct their sneaky schemes to rid us of all our shinies. They sit there looking cute, but in their tiny brains, a vast and elaborate plan is in the works. One day, you just wake up in an empty house. You may not want to believe it, but ultimately, you know who was really responsible for the crime. You can only blame yourself. You bought a ferret for a pet.

Ferrets can dance! It's true! It's something called the Weasel War Dance! Well, it's not so much a dance as it is a spasmodic fit meant to lure prey into a hypnotic WTF trance. That's how they get ya! One day you come home to see your pet ferret rolling around, doing back flips, and singing show tunes, and the next thing you know, your toupee goes missing. You never saw it coming!

Ferrets are related to dragons. They must be! They keep little dragon hoards hidden somewhere in your house. All the things they steal goes into this hoard so they can go and stare at it for hours on end. "It's all mine! All the shinies are mine!" Yes, that's what they are really thinking. I did research this.

All jokes aside [were they REALLY jokes?], I can't help but watch these guys and see true evil genius at work. They are the animal representation of cunning and greed. Ironically, we love them for it. We adore them for their deviousness. We make them pets and find it hilarious when all our nice things begin disappearing. Madness! But is it really? Is it really madness?



Thanks for reading this weird blog of mine. If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. Dook.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Marsupial Spotlight: Opossum (Redux)

You may or may not have heard that I have been spending a lot of time thinking about possums as of late. I want to spend a little time chatting about how I feel about them. It won't take very long. If you want to read the original Opossum Spotlight, click HERE. Now, let's have at it.

I have always called the opossum a possum because of where I grew up. It is a correct term based on my geographical location. Additionally, I just like the shortened version better. The "O" at the beginning always sounds like an unwieldy stretch. It seems phonetically cumbersome. I'll be calling them possums until the day I die.

Back in 1992, there was a straight to video release called "Tiny Toon Adventures: How I spent My Summer Vacation." In this movie, they made a comical reference to the film "Deliverance" but with friendly possums instead of creepy hillbillies. I loved it when I saw it, and I never stopped loving it. I always saw possums in this way from then on to this very minute. This is really saying something because I have never seen them depicted as hillbillies since.

Let's look at the real creature for a moment and try to get into who they really are. Possums spend their days living cynical, trashy lives on the verge of our own human society... and we let them. We don't really like them, and they don't really like us. They may get into a scuffle with us when we catch them eating through our garbage, but at the end of the day, we often let them go on living.

The mothers are often seen carrying their babies on their backs. They have a permanent scowl as they do this. It reminds one of a mother with too many kids to deal with. They walk about the city scowling at everybody feeling generally unlucky about the hand they were dealt. The husband is nowhere to be seen--just a single mother and her clingy kids. Sound familiar?

When a possum is threatened, they open their mouths as wide as they can and show you all their teeth... and they have a LOT of teeth. They want you to know that a bite from them will not be pleasant, but biting is not their first instinct. They warn you first. I get the impression that they just don't want any trouble. Possums will often face off in this way even to very large animals, and if you give them a fight, they will fight back even to their own doom.

Possums will pretend to die if the situation seems to warrant it. They will go stiff as if rigor mortis has set in. Their mouths remain open but their tongue droops out limply. They will let you touch them, pick them up, whatever you like as long as you don't start hurting them. If left alone for enough time, they will snap back to life and walk away as if you never entered into their lives at all.

Possums hang upside down from their tails when young. They are being playful. This is a sign of innocence that is later destroyed by the harsh realities of adulthood. They come face to face with the cynicism of life and are broken for the remainder. I find this very sad, but as with all the above aspects, I find it very familiar.

One last point: When possums are adopted by a caring human family (very rare), they become very cuddly and friendly. They are very peaceful and seem to let the problems of the world drift away. It seems to be that this is some sort of unattainable dream to them, and we all have such dreams from time to time.

I love possums. They are very similar to rats in many ways, but we do not tolerate rats. We do tolerate possums. Live and let live. We hate them, yet we live with them. We fight them sometimes, but we ultimately give them room. We kill them often, but it's usually an accident. If a roadkill possum could speak, it would say, "Well, I was heading towards death anyways, so why the hell not?" Maybe, you did them a favor.

I'm not trying to bring you down. I love these guys more than I can properly express. I've even written a number of songs about them. I bought a banjo so I could learn to make music for them. They represent to me a strong redneck force in our country--as strange as that may sound. Live and let live. Take care of business even if the world doesn't seem to favor you. It's my life and I'll do what I damn well please. Possums. These are possums. And as nasty as they may look, they probably feel the same way about you... and that's okay apparently.

Thank you for reading my blog! If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Felidae Spotlight: Cornish Rex

So last week, we had the Sphynx cat which had no fur at all. This new feline does actually have fur... but not very much of it. The Cornish Rex is a domestic cat which originates from Cornwall, Britain. They are about the size of your standard house cat, so there is no real need to go further there.

These cats are known for their large pronounced ears and extremely short fur which is called "down." If you have heard of the word down before, it was probably referring to baby bird feathers. In the case of most cats, they have what is called an undercoat of fur which is topped with a much longer overcoat. The Cornish Rex only has the undercoat.

Since it is unusual for the undercoat to be out in the open, it does not quite look right. Often, this short fur will seem broken up into little shelves up the back of the cat. It can be extremely curly as well which is actually where the name comes from.

Now, I just know I got about 15 amateur scholars who are pointing fingers at me for making a mistake in the previous paragraph. "Rex means 'king' in Latin, you dolt!" Well, yes. I know that, good sir. But let me explain how rex does indeed mean curly fur in this case.

The usage of rex still means king, but there was a bit of an incident somewhere between 1875 and 1934 involving the king of Belgium. King Albert I apparently loved rabbits. No, not cats. We haven't gotten to that yet. Only rabbits so far. He entered into a contest a very special curly-haired rabbit of his own design. Unfortunately, curly-haired rabbits were not the standard and would have been disqualified. But let's face it: who's going to be the one to tell the king that?

The judges accepted the rabbit into the contest and labeled it a Rex after the king who submitted it. After that, the term ended up being used here and there for curly-haired animals in Europe. Imagine that! So now we know why this cat is called the Cornish Rex due to its curly fur.

Personality wise, the cat is very friendly and curious about people. They will follow people around and try and figure them out and learn from them. Apparently, the Cornish Rex is especially recommended for timid people.

In fiction, the only Cornish Rex I know of is Beerus from Dragon Ball Z. I am very sorry, but I stopped watching this annoying show back when I was still a young'un. Still, I really like the pictures of this guy. According to my research, he is known for destroying planets at a whim. He is something of a godlike villain I suppose. Despite him being a Cornish Rex in form, he looks more like a Sphynx to me. I can't make out any fur on him at all. But hey! I'm just doing my job here!

Personally, I think the Cornish Rex would make a great timid style character. He is chilly all the time but still friendly. I did a spotlight for chinchillas a long time ago, showing them as very nervous and in dire need of love. I see these creatures as similar.

There are not many of these spotlights left. I'm counting them down every week now. Enjoy them while they still are coming out!

Thank you for reading my blog! If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. Mrow.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Felidae Spotlight: Sphynx

I was sitting here tonight thinking about bringing my animal spotlights to an end. I've been considering doing that for a while now. I have lately felt as if I was scraping the bottom of the barrel for animals that I really adore. Sure, there are a lot more animals out there, but I have only been doing spotlights for ones that really make me smile. Although, I am not certain how many I have left before I get to the final one, be sure that it will not be far off.

Whatever the case, I did manage to find--or rather remember--an animal of which I intended to spotlight quite some time ago. The Sphynx is just such an animal. When I first saw this cat, I was actually put off by it. But they just grew on me, and now, I rather love them. I even wish I had one as a pet, but I am sure Cupcake (my cat) would not at all agree with this decision.

I had too much trouble finding size information for the Sphynx, but you may be sure that they are about the size of the average house cat. Their main qualities come by way of their physical appearances. They have very large and wide pointed ears. Their eyes have a sort of lemon shape--very expressive. They are sometimes known to glare at people in an evil way. Their bodies are very muscular. I saved the best for last. The Sphynx has absolutely no fur on its body. Even their tails are bare which gives them a sort of whip-like appearance when it swings about. Because of their lack of fur, the Sphynx generally looks for places to snuggle up for warmth. Sometimes, the owner will let them wear sweaters.

The Sphynx's strange appearance was the product of selective breeding in the 1960's. This breeding was accomplished in Wadena, Minnesota and in Toronto, Canada. Their unique appearance makes them very popular... and very expensive.

Personality-wise, they are extroverts. These cats are friendly, intelligence, and curious about their owners and strangers alike. They also do not feel that bad to the touch. I petted one once and found it to be rather enjoyable.

Unfortunately, this breed does suffer from various health issues. They have difficulties with the cold when young and often have to be helped through this period. They have a high rate of heart disease. 34% are found to have an abnormal heart. There is also a small chance of the cat getting muscular dystrophy which basically means a stark loss of muscle mass over time.

I do not know of any Sphynx cats in fiction, but I actually prefer to see them as evil creatures. There is something so creepy in seeing this sort of animal scowl. He would probably be rather vexed to be born without fur and wish to enact revenge. Alternatively, the Sphynx can also be cast as an evil god-like ruler. He certainly looks the part.

If you ever run across one of these cats, don't be scared. Try petting it. You might be surprised how enjoyable they are! Check out these pictures!

Thank you for reading my blog! If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. Hiss!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Canine Spotlight: Dachshund

So... wiener dogs. That's right! The dog known as the dachshund is the famous puppy who greatly resembles the famous American hot-dog. Allow me to tell you more specifics about them before we move into the silly stuff.

I actually had a little trouble finding out size information for this dog. Every time I did a search for it, they threw its weight at me. I did end up figuring it out though. The dachshund is generally about 5 to 6 inches at the shoulders but can go as tall at 8 or 9 inches. They average from 16 to 32 pounds. Their bodies are generally long with short, stubby legs on both ends. If the name didn't give it away, they originate in Germany.

I bet you didn't know these dogs were bred for hunting. As silly as they look, they are perfect for invading animal burrows to root out rabbits and the like. Their primary purpose was to flush out badgers so that the hunters could get a good shot. That is actually where its name came from. Dachshund literally translates into "badger hound." I also found out that the original name for this dog was Dachs Krieger which means "badger warrior." It sounds a lot more epic that way, doesn't it?

Personality-wise, dachshunds love playing with humans and other dogs; however, they need a lot of training when it comes to hunting. They tend to get detracted by things far too easily. A random squirrel or passing bird will get them off track. Happily, they really do make wonderful pets. I discovered a vast array of celebrities have owned dachshunds. I have included my favorite photo of the bunch: David Hasselhoff.

Dachshunds are also raced. These dogs are a far cry from any greyhound; however, they are still very popular. I think people just like seeing the little sausages run around the field. Either way, these races are not supported by the Dachshund Club of America due to the large number of injuries that occur in them.

Dachshunds are all over fiction but rarely the main characters in anything. As I mentioned in the last spotlight, "The Ugly Dachshund" features a Great Dane which was raised by a dachshund mother. He spends a lot of time with his "family," and it is very cute.

In the 1942 Disney short cartoon "The Sleep Walker," a dachshund named Dinah was introduced, and she was remarkably adorable. Generally, she was placed as a love interest for Pluto. She was in a decent number of cartoons before disappearing for a very long time. She appeared again in 2001 in the short "Big Bad Wolf Daddy."

Dachshunds are usually shown in cartoons in various wiener gags. These gags often will show the dog as ridiculously long or resting inside of a hot-dog bun. Sometimes a hot-dog will come to life and take on the appearance of a dachshund. These gags have been going on in cartoons since before motion pictures even existed.

My ideal dachshund would waddle around and be detracted by everything. Kind and pleasant but ultimately a ditsy dunderhead. I think he would be super cute to be friends with.

Have a look at these adorable pictures of the famous dachshund. They are Hasselhoff approved!

Thank you for reading my blog! If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. Bark!