Animals

Exhibit 1.3.19

The Authentic Animal


Dave Madden’s The Authentic Animal is available today, and you should pick it up even if he did refuse to name the chapter about pet taxidermy “Stay” (or did I want “Play Dead”? I can’t even remember). In any case, it’s one of many delightful ruminations on animals, death, and our relationship with both to be found underneath that beautiful cover. I’ve been lucky enough to watch this manuscript grow up and the time, effort, and viscera-witnessing that went into it makes it well worth the wait. You want this book. Buy it today and make Dave’s book the number one rated Zoology book on Amazon. Together, we can do this.

(The current number one is a book about animals being friends with each other. Come on, America.)

It’s not, of course, a Zoology book, not really. The chapters here are smart and often personal explorations of why we choose to preserve dead animals (but not–or at least not typically–dead humans) and how, beyond that, we’ve turned it into an art. The best thing about the book is how it isn’t for the taxidermy enthusiast or even taxidermy-inclined but for the curious, the sort of reader who wants to understand. Dave’s book seems to begin there, with a question over who we are and why we do what we do, and over the next 90,000 words moves toward explaining what compels us. It’s not a book stupid enough to turn taxidermy into a metaphor for everything, but it is a book smart enough to acknowledge that even the tiniest subcultures, even taxidermists, are simply one more attempt to know and control our world.

And, on a more personal note, Dave’s been my writing best friend, Cupboard co-editor, and title decliner for almost as long as he’s been working on this book. He’s a brilliant writer, and I’m thrilled to see this book get the publication and attention it deserves. I would consider you helping him out by purchasing it, reading it, loving it, and spreading the word a favor.

Do it.

4 Comments / Posted in Animals, Books, Davids

Exhibit 21.13


Um, hey, Texas, I think it’s time we have a talk. I think you’re great. Really. No complaints here. I can deal with the weather and the trucks and the talk of secession. Hell, I even enjoy those things more often than not. And I really like Lone Star Beer. But, um, I was just wondering if you could, you know, maybe explain why there’s an inch-long translucent lizard on my wall.

I’m not messing with you.

I would never mess with you.

1 Comment / Posted in Animals, Lizards, Texas

Exhibit 19.20

Creature Problems

A fly just flew into my coffee. And not like you might think, like the fly was cruising around the room, landed on the lip of the mug, and slowly worked its way too close to the liquid. Nope, this fly dive bombed right into the cup and went out with a tiny little splash, just like Goose. It was the oddest thing I’d ever seen an animal or insect do except:

A squirrel fell out of a tree in front of me yesterday. And not like you might think, like the squirrel was running around a low branch, jumped down, and ran off fine. Nope, this squirrel fell from a fairly high branch and landed with a thud on its back. Sure, like any teenager on a skateboard, it tried to play it off like whatever happened had happened on purpose, but in the brief moment the squirrel and I shared a look, it knew that I’d seen everything. It ran away–and I think did sort of a little ollie to try to retain some rodent-dignity–and got right back on that horse (by which I mean tree).

There’s only one explanation for this convergence of events: in addition to this newfound interest in skateboarding lingo, my recent and much delayed puberty has given me the mutant power to confuse otherwise infallible* creatures with my very presence. This immediately makes me more interesting than anyone on the hit NBC drama Heroes.

*Okay, infallible outside of their respective failures to understand the concept of glass and to defeat the neighborhood birds. That said, who’s to say any of us truly understand glass or aggressive sparrows.

3 Comments / Posted in Animals, Insects, Ultimate Power