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My Pets

I have received a lot of comments about the pet names I have chosen.  On this page, you can see their pictures and read about how their names came about.
Despite what would appear to be a mathematics background that is portrayed in most of my posts, my undergraduate degree is actually in English Literature.  I focused on the American Renaissance of Literature. I'll bet that most of you do not know there was an American Renaissance - but in the 1850s, some of the greatest American Literature was written by Emerson, Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau and Whitman.
One of my favorite classes - which had nothing to do with the American Renaissance - was Shakespeare in Performance.  Like most High School Students, I had read some Shakespeare, but to see it performed live was completely different.
A few years later, I saw a full version of Hamlet performed at the Utah Shakespeare festival (along with a few other plays, including another favorite, Henry V).  Hamlet took around 3 and a half hours, and was brilliant!  I have since seen Hamlet performed live around 7 or 8 times, including a 90 minute version at UNLV and a performance in LA in a 2100 square foot theater (called 2100 Square Feet, by the way).
Many years ago, I adopted Hamlet as my web pseudonym. Although I am unlike the melancholy Dane in a number of ways, there are some comparisons.
So, when it came time to naming Webkinz, naturally, I thought of Shakespeare. 


Black Bear
So, when it came to getting my first webkinz (so I could play the games without bumping my kids offline), I knew the name of the bear had to be good.
I remembered in the play, "The Winter's Tale", where one of the characters, Antigonus, had been killed by a bear. In fact, the last time you see Antigonus in the play, the stage direction says, "Exit Antigonus, pursued by a bear" (III.iii.57), So, I took the name Antigonus for my bear (as if the bear consumed Antigonus and took on his attributes). Even though I have added to my webkinz collection, Antigonus is really the only one I play with.Antigonus is dressed in all black (perhaps a reference to Hamlet's inky cloak), and sports the Elviz Wig (in fact, he doesnt look right with it off now).
Where have you seen Antigonus' name. Well, in the top scores, for one. At times, I held the top scores in Zacky's Quest, Zingoz Bounce and Zingoz Pop (still have scores in the top 10 for the second 2, and the top score for Zacky's Quest). Additionally, Antigonus has a top 10 score in Polar Plunge. Plus, I often win the game of the day on Bounce N Burst, and have even won at Bingo.


Tree Frog 
Iago was my second pet.  Iago is the clever villian in the play Othello.  I liked the name, and sort of made a connection between Iago's oft-referenced quote about Jealousy -

"O, beware, my lord of jealousy;
It is the green-ey'd monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on."

--From Othello (III, iii, 165-167)
Well, the tree frog has red eyes, but I couldn't resist.
Iago has won a number of games of the day, and was near the top of several of the top 10 lists in games (Polar Plunge, Zacky's Quest, Bounce N Burst, Zingoz Pop and Zingoz Bounce).
Here is a picture of Iago, Champion:


Nemea is a Lil Kinz Lion. 
As my third pet, I was itching to have a quote relating to Hamlet.  When I got the Lion, I knew I had a good one. 
Nemea is a reference from Hamlet, when Hamlet refers to something "As hardy as the Nemean Lion's roar". This refers to the first labor for the hero Heracles, which was to rid the Nemean plain of the wild, enormous and extremely ferocious beast known as the Nemean Lion. Hamlet is referring to the fact that his compulsion to follow his father's ghost is as strong as the Lion.
"My fate cries out,
And makes each petty artery in this body
As hardy as the Nemean lionís nerve."
Hamlet. ACT I Scene 4. 


When I got a second frog, I was able to work in a quote from MacBeth,

"Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,--
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."

--From Macbeth (IV, i, 14-15)


Golden Retriever
"Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war".
-- From Julius Ceasar (III, I).


Polar Bear 
I got Pauilna to celebrate my dominance of Polar Plunge. 
Being a polar bear, I was obviously drawn back to The Winter's Tale. 
My kids wanted me to have a girl pet - so I chose to make the polar bear named Paulina.  In the play, Paulina is Antigonus' wife, so it seemed to make perfect sense.


With my Koala, I decided to add a little bit of humor. 
There is an old joke  that goes like this:
A man with a fatal disease was told by his doctor that there was one cure: the sick man needed to go to an Austrailian hospital, named the Mercy Hospital to be cured.  There, the doctor said, the man would receive a tea made from koala bear hairs that would cure him.
The man flies to Australia and locates Mercy Hospital.  There, the nurse gives him the tea.  The man sees actual koala hairs in it and asks the nurse to please strain it.  The nurse replies: "The Koala Tea of Mercy is never strained."
OK - don't get it.  Well, it is actually a bad pun from Shakespeare:

"The quality of mercy is not strain'd.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath.
It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."

--From Merchant of Venice (IV, I, (184-186)


St. Benard 
I named the St. Bernard Polonius, mainly because he is one of my favorite characters in Live Shakespearean performance.
The connection to the St. Bernard (or any dog) is very tenuous, but I see Polonius as the ultimate dog - loyal to the bone.  Ultimately it gets him killed.
Here is my favorite Polonious sequence (Act II, Scene 2):
This business is well ended.
My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is't but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.
More matter, with less art.
Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis 'tis true: a foolish figure;
But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him, then: and now remains
That we find out the cause of this effect,
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause:
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.


In the comedy, Twelfth Night, Sir Toby Belch says,
She's a beagle, true-bred, and one that adores me:
what o' that? 
-- From Twelfth Night, (2, III)
He is referring to the character Maria.
So, when I got a beagle, it only made sense to name her Maria.


Chocolate Lab 
When I got the Chocolate Lab, I had a lot of different options.  Again, I considered dog quotes, but also wanted to think about Chocolate.  Of course, chocolate wasn't around during Shakepeare's day (at least not in the same way we have it today), so I started looking for words that have to do with chocolate.
The word that kept coming back to me was "sweet".
In Act 2, Scene II of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet says the word sweet six times (Romeo says it 4 times in the same scene).  Two of Juliet's quotes are below:

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
Sweet, so would I:
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! parting is such
sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.


For my Bulldog, I was looking to another Dog quote, and I remembered a bit of trivia suggesting that Shakespeare was the first to use the term Watchdog as a compound word in The Tempest (1.2.390).




How now, Thersites! what lost in the labyrinth of
thy fury! Shall the elephant Ajax carry it thus? He
beats me, and I rail at him: O, worthy satisfaction!
would it were otherwise; that I could beat him,
whilst he railed at me. 'Sfoot, I'll learn to
conjure and raise devils, but I'll see some issue of
my spiteful execrations. Then there's Achilles, a
rare enginer! If Troy be not taken till these two
undermine it, the walls will stand till they fall of
themselves. O thou great thunder-darter of Olympus,
forget that thou art Jove, the king of gods and,
Mercury, lose all the serpentine craft of thy
caduceus, if ye take not that little, little less
than little wit from them that they have! which
short-armed ignorance itself knows is so abundant
scarce, it will not in circumvention deliver a fly
from a spider, without drawing their massy irons and
cutting the web. After this, the vengeance on the
whole camp! or rather, the bone-ache! for that,
methinks, is the curse dependent on those that war
for a placket. I have said my prayers and devil Envy
say Amen. What ho! my Lord Achilles!
Troilus and Cressida, (2, III)

King Richard

King Richard
For my Clydesdale, I went with a horse quote.
A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!
-- From Richard III (5, IV, 10)


German Shepherd 
OK, so I broke ranks and named one after something other than Shakespeare.
I have always liked the poem by Christopher Marlow, called "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love".  Since I got a German Shepherd, it made sense to name him Marlow.  Read the poem below:

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
Christopher Marlowe

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;
A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of th purest gold;
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.
The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.


As Decius and Cassius discuss toppling Caesar, Cassius says that Caesar has lately grown superstitious, and his prior delectations of fantasy, dreams and ceremonies.  Decius tells Cassius that he can bring Caesar to the Capitol at the appropriate time, saying
Never fear that: if he be so resolved,
I can o'ersway him, for he loves to hear
That unicorns may be betray'd with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,
Lions with toils, and men with flatterers:
But when I tell him he hates flatterers,
He says he does, being then most flattered.
Let me work;
For I can give his humor the true bent,
And I will bring him to the Capitol.
--From Julius Caesar (II, i, 213-222)
This phrase refers to a popular belief at the time that, to catch a unicorn, a hunter need only stand in front of a tree, wait for the unicorn to attack, and then step to the side.  The unicorn's horn would then get stuck in the tree (betraying the unicorn and making him easy prey for the hunter).  Decius intended to make Caesar easy pray as well, betraying him on the Capitol steps.



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