Monday, December 11, 2006

Animal of the Week December 11, 2006 -- Top trumps start here

Well, 11 doors (okay okay, 12) open on the advent calendar, and what was it today...

Little Equus asinus (donkey), little donkey on the dusty road
Got to keep on plodding onwards with your precious load
Been a long time, little donkey, through the winter’s night
Don’t give up now, little donkey, Bethlehem’s in sight
Ring out those bells tonight
Bethlehem, Bethlehem
Follow that star tonight
Bethlehem, Bethlehem
Little donkey, little donkey had a heavy day
Little donkey, carry Mary safely on her way

You may be surprised that I have not plumped for one of those deep-sea species all over the news like a bad case of crabs this week... well, they're just not festive enough. But following on from one red-top paper's lead of giving the deep-sea organisms a tenacity score for their ability to hang on to life at the margins of possibility. Here is the first AOTW top trump card! A series that you and your friends can cut out and keep (I'm sensing the must-have gift X mas 2007 here).

Number of legs:
Celebrity a-like: Alanis Morissette 78
Top speed: 35 mph
Tenacity: 4
Likelihood of hurting James Blunt: 86%*
Aesthetically pleasing: 4
Violence: 4
Can be kept on a roof terrace: (miniature donkeys) 3
Religiousity: Popular in monotheistic religions and Seth of the ancient Egyptian pantheon had a Donkey's head 65
Special skill: Burden 68

*Aroused by the braying sound of Blunt's voice, donkey uses one of his more famous attributes (frequently used in a popular simile [yeah, that's right kids, "kick like a donkey"]) to ensure that Blunt won't be thinking about sitting down at a piano to write songs for a while.

The origins of the word donkey are unknown, but it became widely used only in the 18th century. Perhaps because at that time, pronunciation of the word ass matched that of the word "arse", so the historically more popular word fell out of use to save blushes. Later, pronunciation of ass changed back to the way we know it today, but in American English 'arse' was lost all together and ass became the word for deriere. Donkey might be a diminutive form of the word "dun" (a common donkey colour) and originally pronounced to rhyme with "monkey".

Donkeys feature commonly in the bible, and in many stories mentioning that a man was riding a donkey was to imply wealth, as they were the biblical equivalent of sports cars. Maybe if Joseph and Mary actually had a sports car they'd have got a proper room. The young chap in this week's picture is certainly pleased as punch to own the nippy little model at his side. A miniature donkey!

Computer-game star Donkey Kong was not, in fact, a donkey but earns the moniker due to his stubbornness.

Next Week... Christmas!

Cheers All,


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