Jan 21 2012

#266 Less is More (21)

From M. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Feeling sick? Check out these wolf-related remedies for what ails ya!

In ancient Rome, barren women attended the Roman festival Lupercalia (named for the legendary nursery cave of Romulus and Remus) in the hopes of becoming fertile.

According to Pliny the Elder, a first-century Greek scholar, wolf teeth could be rubbed on the gums of infants to ease the pain of teething. He also reported that wolf dung could be used to treat both colic and cataracts.

The Aztecs used wolf liver as an ingredient for treating melancholy. They also pricked a patient’s breast with a sharpened wolf bone in an attempt to delay death.

During the Middle Ages, Europeans used powdered wolf liver to ease the pain of childbirth and would tie a wolf’s right front paw around a sore throat to reduce the swelling. Dried wolf meat was also eaten as a remedy for sore shins.

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Jan 5 2012

#250 Less is More (5)

From Jessie in Raleigh, North Carolina

This wolf’s ominously pictured jaws served as the inspiration for this post.

FACT: Immense power is concentrated in a wolf’s jaw. It has a crushing pressure of nearly 1,500 pound per square inch (compared with around 750 for a large dog). The jaws themselves are massive, bearing 42 teeth specialized for stabbing, shearing, and crunching bones. Their jaws also open farther than those of a dog.

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Dec 24 2011

#238 “Nightmare Before Christmas”

From RG in Marietta, Georgia

Visions of sugar plums? Ha! None of that nonsense tonight! Feast your eyes on the nightmare fuel that will haunt your dreams this Christmas Eve. Since holiday cheer is in abundance on every street corner, I have decided to dedicate today’s post to creating a haven of darkness from the gaiety of the season. With this fearsome beast on hand, no one is safe this Christmas Eve. So… if you hear a scratching on your rooftop or see ashy flakes drifting down through the chimney, it may not be dear old Santa that has come to fill your stockings with goodies. It may just be this savage beast, slinking into your home to devour you whole. But what is even scarier might be the idea that this wolf is actually Santa, himself. Is Santa Claus a werewolf? The idea might sound ridiculous, but it’s no sillier than the original concept of a man who flies around on reindeer-guided sleigh, etc., etc. If anything, the idea of a werewolf sounds much more plausible. And who knows, sharing this with your children may even result in better behavior next year…

So… try leaving out a plate of raw meat instead of cookies tonight. And while you’re at it, enjoy this song by Creepersin called “Lycanthropy.” Sleep tight!


Oct 25 2011

#178 “Armed and Dangerous”

From Nathan in Little Rock, Arkansas

Typically, when an illustration features a wolf that is somewhat aggressive, the teeth seem to get all the attention. But not so with Nathan’s illustration. In a true testimony to his uniqueness of vision, this picture foregoes the somewhat cliche image of a set of fearsome teeth dripping with bloody saliva. On the contrary, it is the paws and claws of the wolf that take center stage in this illustration, and I must say that it’s about time. Thanks, Nathan, for redirecting us.

Whether you believe that the paws of a wolf are a result of millions of years of evolutionary progress or were intelligently designed by the hands of an almighty creator, I think we can all agree that they are a feature of this magnificent animal that are worthy of praise and admiration. It is those paws that coddle the young ones as they utter their first howls in a wolfy den. It is those paws that propel the animal from perfect stillness to breakneck speeds in an instant. It is those paws that form the imprint in the mud that causes our hearts to skip a beat when we lay our eyes upon it.

The paws are where strength and agility are married, where the roughness of pads meets the smoothness and softness of the fur. All predators have a fearsome set of teeth, but the paw… that is a triumph of body that only the wolf can claim.


Sep 24 2011

#147 “From out of the mouths of wolves”

From Victoria

The most immediately striking feature of this illustration is Victoria’s talented use of line and shading. The marks which comprise this lupine masterpiece are delicate yet sharp. They wisp fluidly across the pages in a smoky wonder of movement that combines chaotically and yet beautifully with the image of these two majestic creatures. There is an “old world” feel here that makes one sense that this picture might have once been housed in a comfy professorial study or possibly tucked away into a cozy corner of a magical hobbit hole.

But after these initial observations, one will notice the actual scene which Victoria so artfully depicts. Oddly enough, it appears that one wolf is holding the head of another within its mouth. At first one might infer that this is an act of viciousness, that a deranged wolf has cannibalistically turned on one of its own kind. Deeper investigation, however, reveals not savagery but sentimentality. The dominant lobo in the illustration appears not to be attacking its counterpart, but conversely he is almost cradling the other within his open maw. And then, moving to examine the submissive omega wolf, one will surely see that this creature is not in pain but actually seems comforted. It’s eyes are closed peacefully; its head is cocked in a manner that presents it willingly towards the alpha. The body language suggests a comfortable state of repose and relaxation.

But what can be learned from all of this? What can be gained? Ultimately, I think the message that things are not always what they appear rings loud and clear in this illustration and that long-held notions are always worth reconsideration. So many of us imagine the mouth of a wolf to be only a fount of pain and suffering, a device meant only do dole out death and destruction. Its purpose is to maim, to kill, to shred and tear flesh. But this picture suggests otherwise. Why do we always see the worst in things? Why do we so often strive to paint our world with brushes of black and white only?

The mouth of the wolf is not just a tool of destruction. It is a representation of all that is wild and untamable. It is a unifying instrument for the lonesome, capable of producing a cry of solidarity for the voiceless. It is a restful place of peace where the weary might find rest. And… if you take a look at the picture below, it can also be a source of humor.

Question: How will you use your mouth today?