Friday, June 27, 2008

Hedgehog

HEDGEHOG, n. The cactus of the animal kingdom.

2008 Update: A menber of the genus family Erinaceinae and mild descendant of the winged shrew (Erinye.) The hedgehog is the paragon of specialization, having found a bush under which to be an expert and eat bugs in the dark.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

cute little guy

tsduff said...

Look at you today, going all biology-like... David Attenborough could learn something. I do find Ambrose's definition amusing.

Tom & Icy said...

There's nothing more thrilling than catching and eating bugs in the thicket. The hornets are delicious; once you get passed the stinger, you got it licked.

the amoeba said...

HEDGEHOG, n. Thicket master. The one who, in tough financial times, is driving a Cadillac through the 'hood. A bulletproof Cadillac.

Actually, the genus is Erinaceus. I'm glad Erin has such good vision, though I'm not sure I understand what that has to do with hedgehogs. Erinaceinae is the name of the hedgehog subfamily.

Despite the family relationship with the shrew, there is no available evidence that Erinaceus has managed to tame it. One of the reasons why the hedgehog is almost always seen alone.

Anonymous said...

There is a line among the fragments of the Greek poet Archilochus which says: 'The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing'. Scholars have differed about the correct interpretation of these dark words, which may mean no more than that the fox, for all his cunning, is defeated by the hedgehog's one defense. But, taken figuratively, the words can be made to yield a sense in which they mark one of the deepest differences which divide writers and thinkers, and, it may be, human beings in general. For there exists a great chasm between those, on one side, who relate everything to a single central vision, one system less or more coherent or articulate, in terms of which they understand, think and feel-a single, universal, organizing principle in terms of which alone all that they are and say has significance-and, on the other side, those who pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory, connected, if at all, only in some de facto way, for some psychological or physiological cause, related by no moral or aesthetic principle; these last lead lives, perform acts, and entertain ideas that are centrifugal rather than centripetal, their thought is scattered or diffused, moving on many levels, seizing upon the essence of a vast variety of experiences and objects for what they are in themselves, without consciously or unconsciously, seeking to fit them into, or exclude them from, any one unchanging, all-embracing, sometimes self-contradictory and incomplete, at times fanatical, unitary inner vision. The first kind of intellectual and artistic personality belongs to the hedgehogs, the second to the foxes; and without insisting on a rigid classification, we may, without too much fear of contradiction, say that, in this sense, Dante belongs to the first category, Shakespeare to the second; Plato, Lucretius, Pascal, Hegel, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Ibsen, Proust are, in varying degrees, hedgehogs; Herodotus, Aristotle, Montaigne, Erasmus, Molière, Goethe, Pushkin, Balzak, Joyce are foxes.

sauerkraut said...

hedgehogs and polecats are my favorites critters from english lit. the porkee-pines can be skirted but them polecats will smell you out. tomato juice works on neither.


meow.

mireille said...

That 2008 update sounded weirdly self-definitive. xoxo

Doug said...

True, Anonymous A.

Terry, woe to those that learn something here.

Icy, I'm gonna trust you on this.

Thank you for the correction, Amoeba, and nice pun.

A smart, incisive and generous essay, Anonymous B. Or, as it was put in one of the few fragments that remain to us of the American poet, Snagglepuss, heavens to murgatroyd!

Sauerkraut, tomato juice is strictly a skunk remedy or sauce.

Mireille, I believe in channelling the menagerie. Remember?

Jamie Dawn said...

Hedgehogs are porcupines second cousins.

I think their faces are kind of cute.

the amoeba said...

Thanks, Doug. But there's more ...

The Internet's foremost authority on Life, the Universe, and Everything, namely Wikipedia (Douglas Adams having disappeared into the restaurant at the end of the universe), tells us that hedgehogs are edible. Which must create difficulties for those who keep kosher, or otherwise adhere to dietary laws that bar pork. If you stick at pig, how must it feel to get stuck by one?

quilly said...

Jan Brett puts a hedgehog in every picture on every page of her books. (I knew you wanted to know that.)

TLP said...

Heck. Everyone here is so smart. Here I thought a hedgehog was a beastie that took up more than his fair share of space under the hedge.

weirsdo said...

Isn't that fox/hedgehog essay really by Isaiah Berlin, Anonymous? 'Fess up now.

I was just going to say, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle.

Jim said...

HEDGEHOG: I've been in Fredericksburg, Texas (Google that please), for the last couple of days. We will be going to Katy, Texas (Google?) tomorrow--Saturday--and will be home Sunday afternoon.
All that is only to get on the road again.

HEDGEHOG: Anyway, I started to say, there aren't any hedgehogs here in Fredericksburg, at least I haven't seen any yet. We did see a few deer grazing at the outskirts of town.
..
GO HEGD EH: That's hedgehog spelled backwards, which could mean 'have a nice weekend, Doug.'
..

Ariel the Thief said...

Hedgehogs used to be gentle, tiny fairies that drove every creature of God crazy with their care and love. They used to live in big families, could not stand loneliness for one moment, and firmly believed that others are like they, so they spent their days and nights hugging, kissing, whispering, asking and worrying about other creatures that had no big families to do all those things to. Finally an angry wizard who they didn't leave alone in his lonely tower at the edge of the Universe cursed them, took away their wings and gave them teeth and spines to express all their love with those on the ground.

Anonymous said...

yes weir-plagiarism

Doug said...

JD, they are kinda cute, aren't they?

Amoeba, I don't think you'll find help for this from scripture.

Quilly, I had no idea whether I wanted to know that or not.

TLP, that's a groundhog.

Weirsdo, I keep my ringers well hidden, don't I.

Jim, Katy, Texas is a legend in my family although I don't know if anyone in my family has been there. On a long car trip playing Geography, I buffaloed my brother with a place name ending in "k." He tried "Katy" and we laughed at home. A decade or so later, a little girl was trapped in a well in Katy, Texas and my brother hearing the news through up his arms yelling "I win!"

Ariel, that was a beautiful fable. Aesop would have approved in his last years, I think.

Anonymous, taken like a (wo)man. I approve.

cooper said...

I always thought there was way too little hedgehoginess in the "The Wind in the Willows".

Lily Strange said...

It's so cute and looks cuddly. But looks can be deceiving.

Lily Strange said...

I posted this song for the hedgehog.