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October 2004 Archives

Spelling Bee Words: spoliator; haruspex; troche (pastille); smaragdine; lyceum (lycée); pococurante; eudaemonic (eudaemonism; eucatastrophe)

I'll Do That for You: succedaneum; stalking horse; ringer; locum (locum tenens); catspaw; scapegoat; whipping boy; fall guy; paranymph

Jane Austen Words (part 1): verdure; collation; repine; raillery; moiety; outré; obtrude

Odd and Curious Beasties: gillygaloo; galoopus bird; luferlang; goofus bird; goofang; sandhill perch; upland trout; squonk; rubberado; augerino



Spelling Bee Words


The Scrips National Spelling Bee is "the nation’s largest and longest-running educational promotion," says its site. This annual spelling bee, for children up to 8th grade, has been given since 1925. This week will enjoy some of the words by which the winners have claimed their titles in various years.

spoliator – one who spoliates; a spoiler (spoliate: to plunder; to pillage; to despoil; to rob)

An international consensus is developing that States should take special steps to ensure the protection of their underwater heritage. Divers, and particularly those interested in shipwrecks, are often said to be of independent character, resourceful and sceptical of authority. Although many States have comprehensive legislation to protect the underwater cultural heritage, and even those that do not have other legislative weapons in hand to protect them from the spoliator, the cultural authorities should not become complacent.
– Lyndel V. Prott and Patrick J. O'Keefe, Law and the underwater heritage - protection of cultural property, UNESCO Courier, Nov. 1987


haruspex – a priest in ancient Rome who practiced divination by the inspection of the entrails of animals

It was a haruspex who warned Julius Caeser, "Beware the Ides of March."

Think we today are too sophisticated for such things? Think again.


... faith healers, witches, Tarot readers, numerologists, fortune-tellers, astrologers, and other contemporary counterparts of the ancient augur, auspex, and haruspex continue to thrive as both cult and business. ... Greeley reported that 73 percent of Americans believe in miracles and 40 percent report contact with the dead, while people in other Western industrialized countries score comparably high on the "magic" scale.
– Justin Kaplan and Anne Bernays, The Language of Names: What We Call Ourselves and Why It Matters


A reader notes: The Romans felt that this was a loanword from Etruscan, but I've seen IE etymologies provided for it, but just can't remember them at the moment. The -spex part probably has something to do with specio 'to look (at, behold'. Cf. the -dex in judex 'judge' from dico 'to speak, say, tell'.


troche – (two syllables; vowel sounds as in SHOW-me) a medicated lozenge used to soothe the throat
The same lozenge could also be called a pastille.


His nervous, ministerial cough annoyed the doctor. He drew off his glove and felt in his vest pocket. "Have a troche, Kronborg," he said, producing some. "Sent me for samples. Very good for a rough throat."
– Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark


A very uncommon word today, but what a glorious quotation for it!

smaragdine – of or pertaining to emerald; resembling emerald; of an emerald green


As I trod the trackless way
Through sunless gorges of Cathay,
I became a little child,
By nameless rivers, swirling through
Chasms, a fantastic blue,
Month by month, on barren hills,
In burning heat, in bitter chills,
Tropic forest, Tartar snow,
Smaragdine archipelago,
See me --- led by some wise hand
That I did not understand.
Called on Him with mild devotion,
As the dewdrop woos the ocean.
– Aleister Crowley, Aha!


lyceum – a public hall for lectures and concerts; an association for debate and literary improvement. [From Greek Lukeion, the school outside Athens where Aristotle taught]

Another meaning of lyceum is a lycée, which is our bonus word:
lycée(vowels and accent as in 'repay") a French public secondary school that prepares students for the university


But consider how little this village does for its own culture. We have a comparatively decent system of common schools, schools for infants only; but excepting the half-starved Lyceum in the winter, and latterly the puny beginning of a library suggested by the State, no school for ourselves. We spend more on almost any article of bodily aliment or ailment than on our mental aliment. It is time that we had uncommon schools, that we did not leave off our education when we begin to be men and women.
– Henry David Thoreau

David McCullough, Brave Companions:
(p. 23) The country was in the throes of an educational awakening. It was the heyday of the lyceum, the nationwide movement to increase "the general diffusion" of learning with public lectures. In Massachusetts alone there were well over a hundred local lyceums ...

(p. 50) She [Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin] was asked to give readings, to go on the lyceum, as the contemporary lecture circuit was called, like Robert Ingersoll, P T. Barnum, and the feminists. She needed the money, so at age sixty-one, having never made a public speech before, she embarked on a new career with its endless train rides, bad food, and dreary hotels.


pococurante – nonchalant; indifferent
An Italian word that merits more frequent use. To me, it seems to have a laid-back casual "whatever, man" sense, but the cites are too few to really be certain of the nuances.


On the side of his intellect he was a mere Pococurante, far too apathetic about public affairs, far too sceptical as to the good or evil tendency of any form of polity.
– Thomas B. Macaulay, Critical and Historical Essays, Volume 2, essay on Samuel Johnson, Part II

Notwithstanding the Administrative Judge's perception of Williamson as pococurante about responding to the Acknowledgement Order, all indications are that Williamson intended to refile his appeal, that he took reasonable and good faith steps to do so, and that he intended to present evidence within the time frame permitted by the requested suspension.
United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, Williamson v. Merit Systems Protection Board, July 2, 2003


Voltaire uses Procurante as a character-name. Chapter 25 of Candide is entitled "Candide and Martin Pay a Visit to Seignor Pococurante, a Noble Venetian."


A reader notes: The history of our English word "pococurante" shows that it in fact comes from the Voltaire character in Candide. There, Seignor Porocurante is simply a caricature of that "indifferent" attitude. Very soon after Candide was published (1759), pococurante made its first known appearance in English, in Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne. (Vol. 6 ch. 20. The work was published in installments over several years; this particular volume came out in 1762.) So it seems pretty clear that Sterne got the term, directly or indirectly, from Candide.


Today's word leads us, after the quotes, to J.R. Tolkien's very interesting thoughts about his own work.

eudaemonic – of or producing a contented state of happiness and well-being
(eudaemonism – a theory that the highest ethical goal is happiness and personal well-being

[alternate spellings: eudaim~ or eudam~. [Grk. eu- + daimon = "good or happy spirit]


What animates [Jackson] Pollock at such moments is a kind of higher sensualism, an unshakable confidence in the eudaimonic power, even the moral force of sheer beauty.
– James Gardner, National Review, Dec. 7, 1998

Hollywood has attained impressive aesthetic successes with the happy ending. And where it works artistically, and is not simply a matter of convention, it seems to be related to eudaimonism, the moral philosophy positing that happiness has a solid ethical base, or some exposition of the good life, which is a major factor in the successful achievement of eucatastrophe.
– Christopher Garbowski, Mythlore, Sept. 22, 2002

This perception should not lead to ... Stoicism, admirable as that is. If it leads to anything at all, it is to an unillusioned recognition of reality, what is the case, whether we wish it so or no--together with an undiminished resolve to act without eudaemonic fictions.
– Frank L. Cioffi, An Interview with Ihab Hassan, Style, Sept. 22, 1999


One meaning of catastrophe is "the concluding action of a drama, resolving the plot". J.R. Tolkien coined the term eucatastrophe (used above), in analyzing his own work, meaning very roughly "happy ending". Here is his discussion (excerpted), in his essay Tree and Leaf; all highlighted words seem to be his coinages:


But the "consolation" of fairy-tales has another aspect than the imaginative satisfaction of ancient desires. Far more important is the Consolation of the Happy Ending. I would say that Tragedy is the true form of Drama, its highest function, but the opposite is true of Fairy-story. Since we do not appear to possess a word that expresses this opposite—I will call it Eucatastrophe. The eucatastrophic tale is the true form of fairy-tale, and its highest function. This joy, which is one of the things which fairy-stories can produce supremely well, is not essentially "escapist." It does not deny the existence of dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance; it denies universal final defeat and in so far is evangelium, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy.



I'll Do That for You


How good to have someone else do your job for you! This week we'll see words for such a subsititute person, words which in many cases can also be used for other sorts of substitutes. We'll begin with a word that also fits last week's theme (it was the winning word of the 2001 spelling-bee) and, as it happens, would also have fit another recent theme.

succedaneum – a substitute. (The word can refer to persons or other items, particularly to medications. It often seems to imply a substitute that is acceptable but inferior.)

This word, pronounced suc'-si-DAY'-ne-um, would have fit our theme of "Words that Sound Dirty, but Aren't." Indeed, two fine examples of this term cannot be given on this family site. I can only allude, noting that one in the recent press cites Dr. Kinsey's musings on substitute lubricants., and that the other pictures a woman shopping for produce, commenting, "Hmmmmm, cucumbers ... Hmmmmm, zucchini ... " Let's see some examples more circumspect.


Wyndman regarded Bolingbroke with a deference which was not unmixed with pity and took care to cater to the old man's continuing desire for political involvement. He was never Bolingbroke's colourless parliamentary succedaneum and ignored or modified his mentor's advice if it conflicted with his own more informed perception of tory backbench sentiment.
– Linda Colley, In Defiance of Oligarchy: The Tory Party 1714-60

The Novel demonstates that people can and should get out of their cocoons. Novels validate meeting people who do not belong to some originating or "natural" unit like the family. In saying as much, I am quite close to Mario Vargas Llosa, [who] explains, "Fiction is a temporary succedaneum for life."
– Margaret Anne Doody, The True Story of the Novel

It [televisiion] is like the potato, which is only a succedaneum for something decent to eat but which, once introduced into Ireland, proved so cheap that the peasants gave up their grain-and-meat diet in favor of it.
– A.J. Liebling, in The Sweet Science by (1956), which deals with boxing and may be the best-selling sports book of all time.


stalking horse – a sham candidate put forward to conceal another's candidacy or to divide the opposition (or, generally, something used to mask a purpose)

The atmosphere indeed is reminiscent of the late 1980s, right down to the whispers that the Prime Minister has gone slightly mad. Is it time for a Labour version of Sir Anthony Meyer, the "stalking horse" who first stood against Lady Thatcher to test the extent of serious opposition to her?
– New Statesman, The future of Tony Blair - Labour Party leadership challenge considered, March 25, 2002


Etymology: originally a horse trained to walk toward deer (who will not take alarm at a riderless horse), concealing a hunter who walked behind it or at its off shoulder to get close enough for an effective shot. Made obsolete by acurate rifles.

(So says Ciardi. Compact OED says the horse would "allow a fowler to hide behind it," but I suggest this would not be an effective way to hunt fowl. Can anyone comment?)


ringer – one who, entering a competition, conceals or fraudulently represents his high level of qualification. [from US horseracing: a horse of better class entered fraudulently into a race for those of lower class]

The term of course has other meanings, not discussed here.


Once she [Tiger Woods' mother] was the only member of his gallery. She is the single foot soldier who has made the whole campaign. When Tiger seemed too good for his age, and the other parents took him for a ringer, Tida was his one rooter on the course.*
– Tom Callahan, 'My heart is Thai': a window to Tiger's soul through his mother, Golf Digest, April, 2003

Kathryn Lofquist, principal of Lindley Elementary School, challenged Superintendent Jerry Weast to a cowmilking contest after students at her school surpassed a book reading goal. But Weast turned out to be a ringer--after all, he grew up on a Kansas dairy farm. So Lofquist lost and had to accept her prize, a kiss from the cow.
Holy Cow! Stupefying Stunts to Motivate Students, School Administrator, Sept. 1998


Have the dictionaries erred on this word? For example, a sprinter who uses banned steroids is dishonest, but would you call him a ringer? I'd think not – and in that case, the typical dictionary-definition errs by including him. [It says, "a contestant entered into a competition dishonestly, or under false representations".] And query whether that definition would allow the word "ringer" to be applied to Mr. Weast, in our second quote above.

*Tida seems to be a remarkable woman. Per that article: [Tiger's father] told a gathering, "Let me introduce a young whippersnapper who's never been spanked." "He's right," Tiger said. "He never had to spank me growing up as a kid. Because Mom beat the hell out of my ass. I've still got the handprints." Mom isn't the sentimentalist Dad is; she doesn't cry. "Old man is soft," she says. "He cry. He forgive people. Not me. I don't forgive anybody."


locum; locum tenens(pl. locum tenentes) a doctor or cleric standing in for another who is temporarily away
[Latin locum tenens = 'place holding'. In French, 'place holding' is lieu tenant; from that comes our word lieutenant. It originally meaning a person who acted for another as a deputy, and we still see that usage in the term lieutenant governor.]

The term locum is almost never used in the US, but I gather it is reasonably familiar in the UK. Comments from UK readers?
A UK reader responds: It is commonly used for a stand-in doctor


A shortage of psychiatrists in Merseyside ... currently spending £2m a year on locum cover. The problem means patients are attending appointments only to find the psychiatrist has to learn their complex medical history all over again in minutes. Yesterday Alan Yates, chief executive of Merseycare said work had begun to tackle it. He also said using locums was better than providing no service at all.
– Liverpool Daily Post, Sept. 28, 2004

Despite the best efforts of current locum, the Rev Bill Izett, in recent months the Sunday services have attracted as little as 40 members combined, despite an overall membership of 400.
– Trinity Mirror, Sept. 9, 2004


catspaw – a person used by another as a dupe or tool (also, a light breeze that ruffles small areas of a water surface)
[after the fable of the monkey using the cat's paw to draw the roasting chestnuts out of the fire]


... Judge Lewis Kaplan's decision prohibiting distributing a DVD de-scrambling program ... seems ideally designed to prevent anyone from playing DVDs on anything not sanctioned by Hollywood's catspaw, the DVD Copy Control Association.
– Matthew Friedman, Computing Canada, Sept. 15, 2000


Is there any difference between a scapegoat, a whipping boy and a fall guy? [See reader response below.]

scapegoat – one made to bear the blame for others (verb: to make someone a scapegoat)
whipping boy – a scapegoat (originally, a boy formerly educated with a prince or other young nobleman and punished in his stead – since one may not whip a prince!).
fall guy – a scapegoat; one who is blamed for the actions of others (also, an easy victim, one who is readily duped)

Scapegoat comes from a Bible mistranslation. Hebrew/Aramiac manuscripts specify (Leviticus 16) that goat should be sent alive into the wilderness for the demon Azazel. But Jerome, producing his Latin translation called the Vulgate (382 to 405), misread Azazel as ez zel "goat that departs," and rendered it as caper emissarius. Later European translators worked from the Vulgate and carried the error forward. Tyndale (1530) rendered caper emissarius into English by coining scapegoat, from scape (antique form of escape) + goat. The same method produced German der ledige Bock (Martin Luther), Greek tragos aperkhomenos, and French bouc émissaire.


The Chicago Cubs needed just five more outs against the Florida Marlins to get to the World Series. When a foul ball was hit down the left-field line, Steven Bartman, a lifelong Cubs fan, instinctively reached for the ball and deflected it, depriving the Cubs left fielder of the chance to catch it. That was the beginning of a disastrous turn of events in which the Marlins scored eight runs and went on to win the game--and eventually the series. Bartman quickly became a scapegoat for Cubs [fans?]. Some cursed Bartman, throwing beer and peanuts at him. Security personnel escorted him out of the ballpark for his own safety. The Chicago media obsessed. Bartman went into hiding, and issued a statement of apology. Governor Jeb Bush of Florida offered him asylum in that state.
– Christian Century, Nov. 1, 2003

... the second November of any presidential administration is when ... old hands start to cycle out--or get forced out. So who among the Bush administration might be heading back to the private sector this fall? Among cabinet secretaries, everyone's favorite whipping boy is gaffe-prone Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.
Susan Threadgill, Washington Monthly, Sept. 1, 2002

Although television violence has never been shown to cause hostile behavior, its sinister reputation lives on. This is because the issue masks a variety of other struggles ... [that] may pose a threat to social order or are considered unseemly topics for public discussion. Television violence is a whipping boy, a stand-in for other clashes, real or imagined.
– Jib Fowles, The Whipping Boy, Reason, March 1, 2001


A reader responds: From the OED Online:

scapegoat, n.  2. One who is blamed or punished for the sins of others.

fall guy slang (orig. U.S.), one who is easily tricked, an easy victim; one who ‘takes the rap’ for others, a scapegoat

The Phrase Finder says: Fall guy: a stooge or whipping boy. Originally a stunt double who took the falls for an actor in films

Other sources say the term comes from wrestling and refers to the wrestler who takes the "fall."

Another reader notes: There is a sense of the "involuntary" about words like scapegoat, whipping boy, and fall guy. On a more voluntary basis, there is the professional SIN-EATER, a man who for trifling payment was believed to take upon himself, by means of food and drink, the sins of a deceased person...Usually each village had its official sin-eater...A groat, a crust of bread and a bowl of ale were handed him, and after he had eaten and drunk he rose and pronounced the ease and rest of the dead person, for whom he thus pawned his own soul.


In Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, Cyrano is a swordsman and poet-lover who loves Roxane but believes himself far too ugly to deserve her. To promote her happiness, he conceals his feelings and forges an agreement with the handsome, dashing Christian, who is hopelessly inept at words of love. Cyrano provides to Christian the love poems, speeches, and letters by which Christian wins Roxane's heart.

Cyrano is a paranymph. That word has two meanings. The first, very rare, is a gender-neutral term for an attendant at a wedding, be it best man, groomsman, or bridesmaid (which of course has nothing to do with this week's theme.) OED gives a second sense, which perfectly fits Cyrano and our theme, but is so rare that I can find no quote more recent than 1693.

paranymph – 1. a best man, or groomsman, or a bridesmaid 2. one who woos or solicits for another; an advocate, spokesman, or orator, who speaks in behalf of another.

There is a paranymph story much like Cyrano's, set in 1621 in the early US settlement at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Gruff soldier Miles Standish lacks the eloquence to properly ask Priscilla for her hand, so he asks John Alden, his scholarly friend, to plead for him. John himself loves Priscilla, but has been too shy to tell her, or Miles, or anyone, so he cannot but accede to his friend's request. The story ends happily when Priscilla, hearing Alden's plea for Standish, take matters into her own hands and responds with the famous words, "Speak for yourself, John."

Longfellow tells the tale with wonderful human details. It is too long to put in this note; you will find it on our site here, under Miscellaneous Writings.



Jane Austen Words (part 1)


Ah, Jane Austen! It was tremendous fun preparing this theme of words from her Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility, and was a true embarrassment of riches, for there were enough fine words for three themes. So we can look forward to revisiting this theme twice in the near future.

verdure – lush green vegetation


It was a sweet view--sweet to the eye and the mind. English verdure, English culture, English comfort, seen under a sun bright, without being oppressive.
– Jane Austen, Emma, ch. 6


Austen uses today's word in a sense other than the familiar meaning.

collation – a light, informal meal (also, the act of collating)


In the country, an unpremeditated dance was very allowable; but in London, where the reputation of elegance was more important and less easily attained, it was risking too much for the gratification of a few girls, to have it known that Lady Middleton had given a small dance of eight or nine couple, with two violins, and a mere side-board collation.
– Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, ch. 27


repine – 1. to feel or express discontent 2. to long for something

from Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, chapters 24 and 41:


"Oh, that my dear mother had more command over herself! She can have no idea of the pain she gives me by her con­tinual reflections on him. But I will not repine. It cannot last long. He will be forgot, and we shall all be as we were before.

Wholly inattentive to her sister's feelings, Lydia flew about the house in restless ecstasy, calling for everyone's congratulations, and laughing and talking with more violence than ever; whilst the luckless Kitty continued in the parlour repine at her fate in terms as unreasonable as her accent was peevish.


raillery – good-humored banter or teasing repartee; jesting language.

What a fine description of Mrs. Jennings here!


Mrs. Jennings was a good-humoured, merry, fat, elderly woman, who talked a great deal, seemed very happy, and rather vulgar. She was full of jokes and laughter, and before dinner was over had said many witty things on the subject of lovers and husbands; hoped they had not left their hearts behind them in Sussex, and pretended to see them blush whether they did or not. Marianne was vexed at it for her sister's sake, and turned her eyes towards Elinor to see how she bore these attacks, with an earnestness which gave Elinor far more pain than could arise from such common-place raillery as Mrs. Jennings's.


moiety – one of two roughly-equal parts; a half. Typically use of a deceased's estate.

Their mother had nothing, and their father only seven thousand pounds in his own disposal; for the remaining moiety of his first wife's fortune was also secured to her child, and he had only a life-interest in it.
– Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, ch. 7 and 1


outré – conspicuously unconventional, eccentric, or bizarre
[pronounce the vowel sounds and accent as in 'today']

Ms. Austen uses a different spelling in Mr. Frank Churchill's catty description.


"I believe I have been very rude; but really Miss Fairfax has done her hair in so odd a way–so very odd a way–that I cannot keep my eyes from her. I never saw any thing so outrée!– Those curls!– This must be a fancy of her own. I see nobody else looking like her!– I must go and ask her whether it is an Irish fashion. Shall I?– Yes, I will–I declare I will–and you shall see how she takes it;– whether she colours."
– Jane Austen, Emma, ch. 8


obtrude(of a thought or a person:) to thrust itself (or himself), unwelcome, upon a person's company or attention.


She [Queen Elizabeth] has an exceptional memory and her constitutional right to advise, to be consulted and to warn is one of which Commonwealth leaders may avail themselves or not as they wish. Her personal feelings on any question are, as she might say, neither here nor there. They are never allowed to obtrude.
– Allan Ramsay, British diplomacy in the Queen's reign: 1952-2002, Contemporary Review, August, 2002

"How you can bear such recollections, is astonishing to me!– They will sometimes obtrude– but how you can court them!"
– Jane Austen, Emma, ch. 54

All connection between us seemed now dissolved. I thought too ill of him to invite him to Pemberley, or admit his society in town. ... How he lived I know not. But last summer he was again most painfully obtruded on my notice.

... she began, as they met, to admire the beauty of the place; ... when some unlucky recollections obtruded, and she fancied that praise of Pemberley from her might be mischievously construed. Her colour changed, and she said no more.
– Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, ch. 35 and 43


Note: the definition here is merely one that I have composed. The dictionaries seem to me incorrect in that they speak only of an obtruding person, but not the obtruding thought – which is the more frequent usage. Also, many dictionaries give a further meaning ("to thrust out; to push out.") for which I can find no example in use. It would be odd if a word meaning "to thrust into (one's attention)" would also mean "to thrust out".]

Webster's Unabridged distinguishes obtrude from intrude: "To intrude is to thrust one's self into a place, society, etc., without right, or uninvited; to obtrude is to force one's self, remarks, opinions, etc., into society or upon persons with whom one has no such intimacy as to justify such boldness."



Odd and Curious Beasties


A few days from now, on Halloween, strange and fantastic creatures will prowl the night. What better time to recall some of the comical odd creatures of folklore? [Admittedly, the words presented here will not be quite as reliable as those under other themes.]

The gillygaloo was a bird of colorful plumage and fine melodious song, native to the remote forests of Wisconsin, that was unusually well-adapted to nesting on the steepest of slopes. The gillygaloo laid square eggs so that they wouldn't roll downhill.

Accordingly, these eggs were a valuable commodity for the lumberjacks. When hardboiled, they made excellent dice.

There are reports that a galoopus bird of southwest Missouri laid similar eggs. I cannot say whether this is a separate species. Probably not, for reports tell that the galoopus bird was black and was as large as an eagle.


The luferlang is easy to identify by the tail in the middle of its back. It can run in either direction, and its bite is almost certain death.

Accordingly, be cautious during the biting season, which usually occurs on July 12. Particularly avoid green clothing, which tends to arouse the creature further.

Conversely, an orange-colored handkerchief conspicuously displayed will invariably afford full protection. Alternatively, keep in mind that the luferlang is terribly frightened of seeing itself. Carry a big mirror at all times, so that in the event of luferlang attack you can hold that mirror in front of you. This is most effective. As a reader noted, the luferlang obviously has an extreme self-esteem problem!


The goofus bird, wishing to know where it's been, flies backwards. It also prefers to sleep upside down, so it builds its nest upside down, shaped something like an igloo with the hole underneath. No one is sure why the eggs don't fall out.

Somewhat similar is Wisconsin's goofang, a fish that which swims backwards to keep the water out of its eyes. One deduces that its eyes must be hypersensitive. It is about the size of a sunfish, only bigger. It is related that the sandhill perch, which swims backwards through dry desert streams, to protect its eyes from dust.

Speaking of fish, I should mention the upland trout, which is such so delicious a pan fish that tenderfeet are often sent into the woods to catch them. However, the upland trout is extremely difficult to catch, because it builds its nest in trees.


The squonk lives only in the hemlock forests of Pennsylvania. As if it didn't have enough trouble already, its habitat is now greatly reduced.

And trouble it has indeed, for the squonk is an extremely ugly quadruped, with badly-fitting skin covered with warts and moles. It is quite aware of and upset by its terrible appearance, and so is extremely reclusive, makes every attempt to avoid being seen, and constantly weeps over its sad fate.

An expert hunter may therefore be able to track a squonk by following the glistening trail of tears by the light of a full moon. However, those few who have captured and bagged a squonk have been disappointed. The captured squonk will weep constantly within the sack, and the hunter, upon returning home, finds the bag is much lighter.

When he opens it he finds nothing but perhaps a bit of salt water and a wet spot on the canvas. The squonk, desperate to avoid being seen, has dissolved in its own teardrops. . This gives rise to its formal scientific name, Lacrimacorpus dissolvens, from the Latin for 'body', 'tears', and 'dissolve'. It also gives new meaning to the phrase, "dissolved in tears".


The rubberado is rather like a porcupine, but its quills and flesh have a rubbery consistency. It travels not by walking or running but by bouncing from one spot to the next, and some say that it laughs each time it lands. Rubberado flesh is difficult to eat, as the teeth cannot get a grip, but can be eaten in the form of a stew. The stew is quite tasty, but if you eat it, you can expect to bounce and laugh for the next several days.


The augerino, a large corkscrew-shaped worm, burrows underneath the dry lands of the American southwest. It intensely dislikes water and therefore aggressively attacks watercourses, draining the water out of irrigation ditches and canals. Quite a nuisance to humans.