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Fanzine of Herbivorous Youth
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Interactive swimming

Thanks to [reference to source of windfall deleted] we took a free vacation at St. John's, Virgin Islands. I got into snorkeling for the first time in my life, and the coral reefs and the creatures abolutely blew my mind. Of possible interest to AR is that I saw several baby squid perfectly aligned in indian file, which I didn't know they did. It seems that sea animals of various species get into formation, synchronization, and various other forms of interactive swimming, though I've also seen footage of social spiders that weirdly move and jump together in groups--mercifully, they are small. At St. John's I also ventured into the interior and found a magic place in the proverbial heart of the jungle, where jewel-bright purple, green, and red dragonflies were buzzing above a pond (there are very few ponds in the Virgin Islands because the vegetation drinks everything right away) so filled with plants and micro-organisms that it was dark green. One of the rocks around the pond was tattooed with glyphs of unknown antiquity and enigmatic meaning--these were just over the water line, so I imagine something along the lines of baptism having taken place there ....

- Albert

The obscene and cruel sin of bestiality

Avner Shats writes in a piece dealing with thoughts during army reserve service in the Har Dov region (25.5) about a story he heard from one of the soldiers. "The following is not a whole-family story, no matter how delicate I'll try to be," he begins. ... During my army service as an officer in the northern command I watched several times a short video taken from a great distance by one of the intelligence lookout posts in the central Lebanese region. The video shows a shepherd committing bestiality, and I think it is likely that this is the origin of the story which has become a legend, going down from generation to generation among the IDF posts and bunkers. I don't know when it was shot, but if I'm not mistaken I saw it for the first time in August 1993. I don't remember if it was at the end of a tape with a collection of air force attacks in Lebanon, or on a separate video. In any case I watched it for the first time right after the said air force attacks video. There was a Mediterranean grove, and a donkey tied to a tree, which was probably an oak, afflicted by black goats pasturing around it, and a shepherd who tied the donkey to a tree and took him from behind, standing on a stone step. On the same video there was another flick taken by the lookout unit during a holiday in Eilat, showing a man having sex with a woman on a hotel porch. The woman lies on her back on an easy chair, the man lies on top of her, moving up and down for a few minutes, suddenly stops, goes to the porch railing and looks at the view, turns again to the woman who is lying all that time on her back without moving, continues to move up and down for a few minutes. Than he returns to the railing, and over again. Another couple was seen making love sitting down.

Misgav Har-Peled

[From Haaretz Tarbut Vesifrut literary supplement, Friday, June 1, 2001]

In Praise Of Possums

As a follow up to last week's "Possums O' Plenty" (City Beat, June 14 [1996]), I would like to salute the possum. Specifically, I would like to say that possums are much better than cats. They eat the same carrion, but they don't kill sweet little birds. They are amazingly stupid (possums can just barely learn to navigate a T-maze!), primitive, slow, durable and ugly and no one feels sorry for them, no matter how pathetically they die. Next time you abuse possums, imagine the alternative: cats! - cats that eat up all your wrens so they can have six kittens each under your bedroom window, mewing watery-eyed and skeletal until you start to cry. Feeling as guilty as if you'd never seen a cat play with a mouse for half an hour, you set out food in a pie plate. Perhaps you will attain your goal - one of the kittens will survive. In six months it will be chomping the heads off orioles so it can make six more. But you smiled when you read that 25 baby possums are born to 13 teats. At heart you are as hard and merciless as the cats you love. Yet it is the possum who allows you to show your feelings openly. The possum has much to teach us.

Nell Zink

Editor, Animal Review

West Philadelphia



[Regarding "The Pears of  Uzbekistan," 19/12/00:]

1. An Uzbek pear tree once grew in Nahalal. I ate one off the tree when I was maybe seven.

2. My pear fantasies were fueled just as much by Ayin Hillel's* masterpiece "Chutzlaaretz, Chutzlaaretz." Quote: "'Portofino!' our leader
Yechiel cried .... Just then we began to feel hungry, or perhaps got hungry at the sight of a fruit store full of magnificent crops: pears, apples, grapes, plums. But a grape here is a plum of ours; and a pear or an apple here is a grapefruit of ours! A moment later we already were devouring those giant pears, their juice dripping on our collars."
* Ayin Hillell - the best analogy I can think of is
to Dr. Seuss, only better, but this is far from accurate. A poet, but mainly remembered for his children's books and poems. "Abroad, Abroad!" is about an Israeli-born kibbutznik going for the first time abroad in 1952 or so. He sails in the S.S. Kedmah to several Mediterranean ports. It was a very influential book.

- Avner 


True enough 

I'm not ready to concede that it's possible to dislike the Beatles. It's like loathing Cole Porter. They were a dependable source for appealing songs and pretty ok at regulating the sugar levels. Kind of a poor choice for one's all-time favorite rockin' combo 'cause there are plenty of more brilliant and distinctive people out there but they would leave a bigger vacuum in your life than coriander.

- Patrick

That Chicago post-sensitive thing

Bob Ostertag has made some pretty great records. I have one in which he plays nothing but samples of Zorn on one half and nothing but samples of Fred Frith on the other. It's really irritating and Monika finds it to be completely agitating and unlistenable.

- Ben

[Before the show, Pit Schmidt showed me a disk stylishly packed in a tin cigarette case and constructed from samples of a Salvadoran child crying over his father's grave (1989).  He said, "It's brilliant, but ____ (name of female) can't listen to it."  I know you say Ostertag is gay, or even visibly gay with a gayness that cries out to heaven, but maybe he just hasn't met the right woman.  (I'm not referring to myself, -- I'm pretty sure I couldn't get through the grrr-snarly Salvadoran thing either, or I would think it was really great and then find it intruding on my thoughts day and night.  I try not to go shopping for post-traumatic stress.)  AR maintains an editorial policy of equal-opportunity flirting without regard to sexual orientation. -ed.]


A triumph of the human spirit

Yesterday on one of the morning shows I saw Emeril deep-fat frying a turkey in an outdoor fryer -- it was scary to watch as long rods and safety glasses were employed, and he used 2-1/2 gallons of peanut oil. But then the turkey was oddly appealing when it was lifted from the grease all blackened -- kinda the same way Cheetos taste great, but if you really looked at their color and contemplated how bizarre they are, you'd never eat them. 

- Ms. Jumbo Loopy Chenille

Report from the front

Overnight, approximately 2,000 huge statues of penguins, each different in shape, color, and texture, popped up all around Tel Aviv.


- The Flightless Ibis