CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

November 11, 2012

Can Non-Human Creatures Talk the Human Language?

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

CAN NON-HUMAN CREATURES TALK THE HUMAN LANGUAGE?

Can non-human creatures speak? Are they able to learn human language?

Scientists have long debated these questions.

A zoo elephant in South Korea, can speak Korean out loud, researchers say. The pachyderm is capable of saying “hello,” “good,” “no,” “sit down” and “lie down” — all by using its trunk to do the work of lips in a process scientists don’t fully understand.2

Witnesses in the case of the cussing cockatoo said they often hear the bird saying a variety of obscenities, plus a low-pitch screech that gets louder and louder until the bird begins to cuss repetitively.1

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Scientists who investigated an Asian elephant, Koshik, verified that the beast can imitate human speech, pronouncing words in Korean, and those who know the language can readily understand Koshik. He accomplished this in a very unusual way — using his trunk stuck inside his mouth…Elephants cannot use their lips to make sounds like humans do, since their upper lips are fused with their noses to form their trunks. Instead, Koshik somehow controls the sounds coming from him by moving his trunk inside his throat.2

The judge in the case of the cussing cockatoo determined the bird’s owner was found guilty of violating the Warwick, Rhode Island’s, noise ordinance. He said that the focus of the case was not on what the bird said but on the noise it made.1

However, duly note that what the bird said was sufficiently recognizable as swearing.1

Can non-human creatures speak in human language?

Alex, an African Grey parrot, knew his colors and shapes. He spoke more than one-hundred English words, and had his own brand of one-liners he used to establish himself in TV shows, scientific reports, and news articles as perhaps the world’s most famous talking bird.

The work revolutionized the way we think of bird (more…)

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October 2, 2012

In the News: A Calf, A Pig, and An Osprey

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

IN THE NEWS: A CALF, A PIG, AND AN OSPREY

What do a calf, a pig, and an osprey have in common?

They endanger—or point out danger to—humans, according to three news stories in the October 2, 2012, issue of the Greensburg Tribune-Review:

  • A calf points to the danger of abandoned mine shafts.
  • A farmer may not be safe from bodily harm inflicted by his pig.
  • An osprey may endanger airplanes in flights.

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From Ligonier Township in Southwestern Pennsylvania1

When a calf fell into a mine shaft his mother allegedly saved its life by acting out of character, drawing the attention of the owners.

Dozens of firefighters did a great job in rescuing the calf, which was possibly in the shaft up to twenty-four hours. They removed the bucket from a backhoe and replaced it with a nylon sling, which was lowered into the shaft (estimated to be eighteen feet deep with a diameter of forty inches), and carefully looped around the calf and hooked to the backhoe. This allowed the rescuers to hoist the animal out of the shaft.1

What this calf incident demonstrates is the danger of abandoned mineshafts. Its story brings to mind the myriad of incidents where underground mining a century ago is resulting in sinkholes today, sinkholes that swallow up cars and endanger structures—and lives.

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From Oregon: Farmer eaten by his hogs, authorities say2

Is it cannibalism if you eat pork from a hog shortly after it ingests a human being?

This question occurred to me after I read this short article stating Oregon authorities are investigating how a farmer was eaten by his hogs…2

Allegedly a seventy-year-old farmer set out to feed the hogs, which later on were found in their enclosure, licking their chops (italicized are my words) and surrounded by pieces of the man’s body and the man’s dentures. What happened?

Perhaps the farmer…had a medical emergency, such as a heart attack, or was knocked over by the animals before he was killed.2 Or perhaps the hogs were exacting (more…)

July 31, 2011

Dog Stories I Told at the Café

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

DOG STORIES I TOLD AT THE CAFÉ

While at a local cafe’ my friend and another patron were exchanging dog stories. The following is my contribution to the conversation. The first part of the conversation can be read by clicking on Dog Stories I Heard at the Café

     My friend whom I’ll call Vivian turned to me and said “If you had a pet, you could tell a story too.”

     “I had a Border collie at one time,” I said. “I have stories too.”

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     “We acquired Tagalong when her owners needed a place for her while they took an extended trip to Europe,” I said. “Shortly, we were presented with three puppies. We weren’t certain whether she came to us pregnant, or whether she had had an immediate tryst with one of our neighbor’s dogs.

     One of the pups was gorgeous He was adopted by my mother, who loved him dearly.

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     “For some reason we didn’t know she didn’t like delivery men, especially the UPS drivers. We had to protect them from her.

     “One time I had to stop her from attacking the mother (I’ll call her Amy) of one of my child care home children. On a bitter, cold winter morning three-year-old Christine decided to (more…)

July 28, 2011

Dog Stories I Heard at the Café

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

DOG STORIES I HEARD AT THE CAFÉ

Occasionally I have the opportunity to eat breakfast at a local cafe’. Below is part one of a conversation held there one morning. To read part two click on Dog Stories I Told at the Café

     Border collies are not bred like other dogs—good breeders take into consideration the dog’s temperament and ancestry, according to a woman I’ll call Dot.

     My friend (whom I’ll call Vivian) and I were breakfasting at a local café and talking to a woman at an adjacent table.

     “My border collie (I’ll call him Wicked) was vicious,” said Dot. “I never had a vicious dog before. Even the ghost whisperer I called was appalled.”

     Dot went on to say that Wicked was bred from a nine-year-old, which she never saw when she purchased Wicked from the breeder.

     “They never let us near the mother. We were told she was (more…)

June 26, 2011

Sydney—A One-Ton Camel—Visits Ligonier (PA)

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

SYIDNEY—A ONE-TON CAMEL—VISITS LIGONIER (PA)

During the Community Day open houses in Ligonier my husband Monte, our friend Lois, and I visited the Antiochian Village Heritage Museum. Outside, they had a camel—a real live camel—a living, breathing creature I wouldn’t expect to see in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

     Sidney, according to his handler Dave Baker, resides at the Living Treasures “Wild” Animal Park outside the city of New Castle, Pennsylvania, where visitors are encouraged to interact with him.

     One thing for certain—Sidney is fortunate not to live in Australia these days, where there is a great concern about green-ignorant camels who don’t (more…)

December 13, 2010

Six Camels for Your Wife, Sir…

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

SIX CAMELS FOR YOUR WIFE, SIR…

     “Is that your wife?” the Omen* citizen asked the West Virginian I’ll call Tom.

     “Yes, she is my wife.”

     “I’ll give you six camels for her.”

     Tom declined the offer.

The country OMEN

     Tom and Joan were on a cruise to the Mideast. Their bus passed a desert area where the women were totally covered except for the slit of their eyes and their fingertips. There was a line of camels off the roadside. The driver stopped and told the tourists they could get off the bus to have their pictures taken with the camels.

     Tom further explained that a few days earlier his wife had visited an Asian beauty salon where the beautician didn’t speak English and Joan didn’t speak the Asian language. The net result was that she entered a brunette and exited a blonde, a hair color which she retained well after the cruise ended.

     While Joan posed with a camel, the Omen man approached her and gently ran his fingers over her golden curls, after which he offered Tom his barter.

     Later, Tom wondered if he should have bartered—perhaps the Omen man believed his wife, whom I’ll call Joan, was  really worth ten to twelve camels.

     He also wondered what the logistics would be had he accepted the offer. How many camels would he be allowed to keep in his cabin? Where would the other camels be kept? What would he feed them? Would he be allowed to keep them on his property in Southwestern Pennsylvania?

     This story entertained me while I volunteered at a Ligonier Valley (PA) Historical Society fundraising event, the Festival of Trees. There were only a few persons visiting the event at the time. While I was talking with some of them, Tom asked me if I wanted to hear a story. Since camels are reported to have been present at Jesus’ birth, and are an item in every Nativity set, it seemed appropo to hear a story about camels.

     Bizarrely, though, the afternoon included four more camel stories.

Bactriancamel

     Camels seemed to like Tom’s wife. On another cruise, this time in Australia, Joan and another female traveler accepted a camel ride.

     “Camel rides aren’t smooth, like horse rides,” Tom noted, elaborating that when the women dismounted the camels at the end of their ride they were vibrating. Even so, each woman claimed a camel cheek and stood there stroking it. The women invited Tom over to join them.

     “I noticed the camel’s mouth was juxta-positioning to spit,” Tom said. “Since the camel was giving me the eye, I knew it was preparing to send a burning spitball at me. I backed off.”

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“Watch out for camels or they’ll spit on you when you aren’t looking!”

     There are two misrepresentations in the statement above. First, camels do (more…)

June 15, 2010

Emergency Responders Act to Save Animals

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

EMERGENCY RESPONDERS ACT TO SAVE ANIMALS

      On December 16, 2009, a black cat, rescued from the flames of a fire in Herminie (PA), was administered oxygen at the scene. During a January 8, 2010, barn fire in Bullskin Township (PA), a trapped pig that was rescued from the fire, received oxygen.

Could this cat need to be saved from...

     After Herminie firefighter Joseph Marincic rescued the cat, he delivered it to Jonathan Jobe, Sewickley Township Ambulance assistant chief EMS personnel. It was “frothing at the mouth, lying there lifeless, but still breathing,” according to Jobe.

     Emergency medical worker Barry Walters worked on the cat for about thirty minutes.

     “I cleaned it off and gave it oxygen. I just kept it wrapped it in a blanket and kept rinsing its mouth out. It responded to the oxygen,” he said, noting that the cat’s owners were “very appreciative….We told them if it has trouble breathing to take it to the vet.”

     Walters said that “Saving any life gives you a good feeling, I like helping people, animals, whatever.”

      Volunteer firefighter, John Stillwagon, who administered oxygen to the pig, would likely concur.

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     It was truly a dark and stormy night, filled with rain and lightning. When I heard a loud crash, I raced to (more…)

August 31, 2009

Honey went home—She’s romping in animal heaven

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

HONEY WENT HOME

She’s romping about animal heaven

 It looked good for Honey’s recovery when I posted Honey’s Coming Home! Our cat must recuperate. What happened a few days later was surprising. Honey’s story continues below. 

     Honey lay on the table in the examination room at Loyalhanna Veterinary Clinic, Inc. I sat and observed her closely, looking to see if her heart was demonstrating the same rapid and hard rhythm I had seen during the previous evening.

     At about 8:45 a. m. Saturday morning I’d called the vet’s office to share my concerns. Following her visit to the clinic on August 20, when she’d been diagnosed with two fractures on the top of her leg near her hip bone, she’d done fine. She didn’t like being confined, but it was a minor price to pay for her recuperation time. She ate, slept, purred and accepted her medication: prednisolone.

To see pictures of Honey, click on: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolyncholland/3872399797/  & http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolyncholland/3873184126/in/photostream/

      On Thursday, the 27th, I cut her medication in half. The morning dose went fine, but she fought the evening dose. Not just fought it. She (more…)

July 22, 2009

The Cat with the Calico Tail

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THE CAT WITH THE CALICO TAIL

      Repeatedly I’m asked why the wooden cat sitting on my windowsill is painted so silly, having a gray and orange striped tail attached to its all-white body. A few years ago my artistic niece Debbie painted the craft item for me, using our cat as a model.

     Shenan (short for Shenandoah) joined our family in August, 1985. Her creation-day tale explains the incongruousness of her body and tail.

     You see, Shenan began on the kitten-makin’ (more…)

November 27, 2008

THANKSGIVING READING

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

To all my faithful readers.

Thank you for your support!

And now, for some

THANKSGIVING READING:

 

TWO THANKSGIVING STORIES:

THE SNITTY CAT LIKES PUMPKIN PIE?

LEFTOVER TURKEY

A THANKSGIVING POEM

 

To read a post about the birthmother in LEFTOVER TURKEY:

PENNSYLVANIA WEDDING, (LAMOINE) MAINE ROOTS

 

THE KILLER KITTEN

QUINTESSENCE

JUST ANOTHER WEEKEND IN PARADISE

“DATING WHEN FIFTY-SOME:” A Guy’s Version

IS THIS “CHEERS?”

ON THE EVE OF 27

LEGS UP

THE WRITING LIFE: There’s a World Out There?

CHILD ABUSE DEFINITIONS

 

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