Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wood, Anger and Bottlenose Dolphins

Today I may take a day off from visiting Bruce to find a branch to use for the defiant dress — plus some beach detritus. It’ll mean a day walking along Wreck Beach and then carrying it up the hill. My ideal piece of wood is long (but not too long), thick (but not too thick) and has several muscles (with barnacles on them) attached to it. I am, of course, always willing to make compromises (or glue the shells on).
And while I search, I’ll be wondering how Reading Week is going at the Arts Club. If they accept my script, I can develop my idea about a taxidermist and surrender the lead on the development of Defiant Dress to the Arts Club.
I’ve decided that the taxidermist that will be recently deceased and we, the audience, will explore the his workshop with the son/daughter/niece who inherits it (or something like that).
There was a surprising development with Dr. Shoja yesterday. She asked me if I had ever experienced anger and she described being angry in a way I hve never experienced in my life. I told her I hadn’t and she was incredulous and her response made me incredulous and so I asked her: “Well how many human beings experience anger like that?”
“I think almost everyone,” she said.
In 1983 I was illegally fired and my friend Art wanted me to write to my former employer to express my outrage. I tried three times to write the letter he wanted me to write and I failed miserably every time. Dr. Shoja discovered what Art (my GP) discovered years ago: I’ve a disconnect with anger.
Next week, I expect to learn a lot more about it from her.
I enjoy many stories on the Futility Closet website. Because I am passionate about animals, I loved reading this one:
In 1972 biologists Colin Tayler and Graham Saayman were observing a group of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in a South African aquarium. One of them, a 6-month-old calf named Dolly, began to seek their attention by pressing feathers, stones, seaweed, and fish skins against the glass of the viewing chamber. If they ignored her she swam off and returned with a different object.
At the end of one observation session, one of the investigators blew a cloud of cigarette smoke against the glass as Dolly was looking in. “The observer was astonished when the animal immediately swam off to its mother, returned and released a mouthful of milk which engulfed her head, giving much the same effect as had the cigarette smoke,” the biologists reported. “Dolly subsequently used this behaviour as a regular device to attract attention.”
“Dolly didn’t ‘copy’ (she wasn’t really smoking) or imitate with intent to achieve the same purpose,” argues ecologist Carl Safina in Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel. “Somehow Dolly came up with the idea of using milk to represent smoke. Using one thing to represent something else isn’t just mimicking. It is art.”

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