yes, you read it correctly: i have now increased my respect for horses from roughly 1-2% to a grand total of 7%. i attribute this to one really awesome horse story that we’ll get to in time; i hate to be a tease like this, but i figured that the one person reading this might think “he doesn’t want to kill and maybe eat all horses anymore? janklow’s gone soft!” well, friends, i assure you that while i still have a lot of disdain for what my noble Zulu ancestors called “the feet of the white man,” i have a good reason. but on with this week’s update!
ANYWAY… it’s probably common knowledge that, aside from horses, i have many a kind word for animals out there, so i wanted to take a minute of your time and relate some of my most favorite animal stories. and yes, i might even work in a tale from that most favorite, old book of mine, James Clarke’s 1969 opus, Man Is The Prey. i think i got this book when i was in middle school, but that might not be totally accurate. so, okay, animal time!
the awesome book in all its glory; further note the corner of the book that Cujo gnawed as a puppy to give the book extra man-eating flavor
in the above, oh-so-awesome book, Clarke talks about a lot of animals that have spent their time just destroying the lives and/or faces of mankind around the world, and one of these underrated but man-killing animals is known as the African buffalo (or Cape buffalo). for some perspective, note that out of the “big five” of African game, a group that includes the African elephant, the black rhinoceros, the lion, the leopard and said buffaloes, the buffalo is considered the most deadly (and possibly the most unpleasant). it’s huge and it’s equipped with a heavy boss and horns; it’s awesomeness is pretty evident, right? if not convinced, let me tell you a tale that Clarke, uh, wrote in a book about an acquaintance that was killed by a buffalo he and another hunter had hit ELEVEN times.
“the first shot was a bad heart shot at two hundred yards. the buffalo then turned around and looked along its nose toward the hunters. the buffalo, having good eyesight, soon spotted them and charged full bore. it was then hit with the second barrel of the .270 (a favorite rifle among old-timers but for buffalo a little risky). the buffalo showed no reaction and continued its charge as the bullet buried itself in its shoulder. the hunter swapped guns and rashly pumped off two brain shots, which he could hear ricocheting off the heavy boss that protects a great deal of the buffalo’s head from the front. he then–at one hundred yards–slammed a shot into the animal’s right shoulder, and it went down for the first time. in an instant it was up and charging again. he then raked it with a sixth shot. his companion, who was carrying a .333, put the seventh shot into the animal’s right shoulder, breaking it. the buffalo went down but rose quickly and charged. another shot hit the same shoulder and the buffalo stumbled but still came on. the hunter, who had started it all, tried a spinal shot through the neck, missed badly at about twenty yards, and had a near miss at about fifteen yards, but this shot brought the animal down again and it struggled to regain its feet. then it came on again. the second hunter put a shot through its chest, which felled it instantly. it was a perfect frontal heart shot and the two men, both a little shaken, for the buffalo was lying but ten paces away, shook hands. the first hunter walked over to his trophy and placed his foot on it for the camera. the buffalo lurched to its feet, knocked the man down, pummeled him into the ground, and then fell dead. the hunter died instantly.”
so, again: shot eleven times and still killed half the guys shooting it … FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE. awesome.
okay, okay, seriously now, with all due respect: WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS BIRD’S HEAD?
while i do find many birds amusing, that’s a sentiment i generally restrict for birds i find completely awesome for obvious reasons (crows, ravens, vultures, cassowaries, maybe parrots) and birds that spend a lot of time fucking up small animals and demanding your respect (hawks, owls, eagles, and so on). and let’s get serious here: cockatoos have been gifted with one of the WORST possible names for a bird – you might as well call them “dickfors” and just start the mockery immediately. still, a tale happened a few years back that a) involved a cockatoo and b) demands respect. the story?
apparently, one Kevin Butler – who owned a cockatoo named Bird (very original) after Larry Bird (oh okay) – was attacked and killed on Christmas Eve (in, i think, 2001) by two men, Johnny Serna and Daniel Torres. following this, the two men were violently attacked by, you guessed it, Bird. now, Bird was killed with a fork – and apparently lost a leg somehow – but here’s the catch: the blood found on the beak of said bird was matched to Torres and the case was cracked. so not only did this bird man up to an extent far greater than, say, a house cat ever would, but it ALSO solved a murder case … FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE. also, i gather that cockatoos act up by “screaming and biting.” holy shit, that sounds awesome too!
verdict on horses: STILL LAME
so those of you that know me might know that i have a checkered history with a few members of the animal kingdom, namely cardinals, wild turkeys, deer, house cats and, of course, the (ig)noble horse. true, the horse has manned up and carried many a military figure with a lot more going for them than i into combat… and that’s why i kept that baseline 1-2% respect for horses. let’s face it, for every Charlemagne that Joshua Chamberlain was extorting men to suck it up for 10 seconds of hell on the back of, there’s about 13000 asshole fuckwad horses with more breeding paperwork than common fucking sense. so it’s without great pleasure that i have to relate that i was struck with an awesome, awesome horse story.
the scene: February 7-8, 1807, the battle of Eylau (located in East Prussia). one of Napoleon’s captains, the Baron Marcellin de Marbot – a splendidly fearless and conceited Frenchman – was riding a mare named Lisette that was renowned for its bad temperament and was supposedly cured of this (for now) by the jamming of sizzling hot joints of mutton into her mouth. yes, i agree, that makes no sense, but hang in there. Marbot would charge through a myriad of Cossacks to a square of the 14th Infantry in an attempt to save it, find that impossible (by the admission of said 14th) and attempt to take back their standard. here it gets wild, for Marbot would be mildly wounded and concussed by shot, and then find his horse trapped by Frenchmen being pressed against him. a Russian, trying to stab a dying Frenchman beneath Marbot’s horse, would accidentally wound Lisette. the reaction? “she sprang at the Russian, and at one mouthful tore off his nose, lips, eyebrows and all the skin of his face, making of him a living death’s head, dripping with blood.” she would then freak out and bite and kick all the way through the melee, stopping to bite and EVISCERATE a Russian officer on the way. Marbot was wounded – this would happen to him 13 times in his life – but he and the mare survived. now, i don’t know about you, but if a horse bites a dude’s face off and then rips a dude open and god knows what else… well, then fuck it, my hat comes off to it. let’s just hope this story is true!
so, well, i guess that’s enough animal stories for this week. tune in next time when i talk about… uh… well, maybe movies or something. i think i used up all my funny animal stories.