Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Intruders



I sometimes envy my mother. She is as deaf as a doornail, but what do you expect at her age? She is going to be 103 in a few months. At least she has a permanent acoustic guard on duty, although barring entrance to any sound might be too much of a good thing. It’s different for me. Short of wearing earplugs or buying an expensive noise-cancelling headset, I am exposed to all sorts of unwelcome acoustic intruders.

Noises are part of living, you’ll say and suggest I see a shrink instead of waste your time writing about my predicament. You might conclude that I am suffering from ‘misophonia’**, the hatred of sound. But I am not averse to sounds in general; I forgive sounds that cannot help being sounds, like the sound of traffic, or police sirens. And I couldn’t live without music. Read more...

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Casanova of the Pyrenees




Pyros (Greek for ‘fire’), a.k.a. ‘the Stud’
Species: Ursus Arctos (a.k.a. Grizzly)

Pyros is a 500-pound alpha bear, born in Slovenia. He was relocated to the Pyrenees in 1997 as part of an effort to bring back the bear population. Hunters killed the last remaining native bear, a female called Cinnamon, so two Slovenian bears, Ziva and Mellba, both already pregnant were brought in, followed by the dominant male Pyros.

Pyros saw, came and boy, did he conquer. He sired over 30 little boy and girl Pyros and is still going strong as a geriatric bear at the ripe old age of 29.

Sponsored by French actor Gerard Depardieu (no relation to Pyros, appearances notwithstanding) he has become a symbol of virility. Spanish Pyros fans started a Twitter account under his name identifying him as the “father of all the bears” and the French call him “the stud of the Pyrenees”. Read more...

Thursday, April 7, 2016

On Phobias, Philias and other Etymologies




Like most people, I have some phobias, as well as a number of philias: This means that there are things which I like, and things which I dislike. Duh.

Etymologically, the words we use for people’s (pathological) likes and dislikes (or fears), usually contain the postfixes “-phobia” and “-philia,” or the prefix “mis-.”

These are derived from Greek:
Phobos: Fear
Philia: (Brotherly) Love
Misos: Hatred

For example: Philadelphia: The City of Brotherly Love:
Philos = Friend
Adelphos = Brother
Read more...