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Re: Orenstein's pedestrian arguments.




On Sun, 23 Feb 1997, Ronald Orenstein wrote:

 
> I will NOT get into personalities here, but I could think of no other way
> to interpret your comparison of a rail to a dog walking on its hind legs.
> I believe that you certainly were implying that bipeds could not manoeuver
> well in dense growth.  If you do not, in fact, hold that view, I am glad to
> hear it.


        I have lost the copy of the post in which I mentioned the dog on
hind legs.  It has been such a hectic week--what with repeated trips to
the library (do I hear you say: "Mr. Bois, make your library trips
_before_ you make your comments."?)--that I scarcely know what I thought
several posts back.  I don't _think_ I ever believed that rails were
clumsy.  The dog on its hind legs is one of Boswell's reportings of Samuel
Johnson.  Johnson was supposed to have said, back in 1763: "...a woman's
preaching was like a dog's walking on its hinder legs.  It was not done
well, but you were surprised to find it done at all."  I believe I was
trying to say: "A rail competing in the small animal niche is a like a dog
on its hinder legs.  Not that it _wasn't_ done well, but that it was done
at all."  But it was a contrived allusion anyway.  I am constantly amazed
by the way Nature fits her creatures to their environment.  If I ever let
that awe slack I probably deserve to be humbled.  Maybe I got what I
deserved in this case.  Ultimately, though you may not think it worth the
trouble, the argument was fruitful.  I am sorry if I have damaged the
conviviality of this group in any way and assure you I will contain the
vigour I feel for some of the arguments.