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Post of the Day
June 22, 1999

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Subject: An Amazon Board Bestiary
Author: RJMason

For the benefit of those visiting the Amazon board I have begun compiling a guide to the interesting fauna that may be seen there.

  • Cheering Bull (Bos hortari)

  • This bull exists in large numbers on the clear-skied American prairies, and indeed in most other habitats. It is a very social animal and on the range at night it can be quite impressive to hear many individuals lowing pleasantly in unison. However these bulls can easily be upset by "negative energy," and they are quickly suspicious of any other animals that do not utter the same reassuring calls. Once or twice I have seen a spooked herd of Bos hortari actually trample a different species of bull in the belief that it was a bear. Typical line: "Don't listen to the shorts! Go AMZN Go!"

  • Mathematical Bull (Bos ratione praeditus)

  • For a long time the standard opinion of the scientific community was that hoofed mammals were simply not capable of math since their concept of numbers only extended to "one... two... the herd." The mathematical bull was placed in the same category as the Loch Ness monster. Now, while it is certainly true that most species of Amazon bull fear numerical reasoning and will flee from it, in recent months there have been occasional sightings of mathematical bulls, which may overturn the conventional wisdom. Typical line: "By decoding Amazon's financial statements we see an actual long-term customer base of six million, from which we may expect a free cash flow of six billion dollars in the year 2001."

  • Shopping Bull (Bos non caveat emptor)

  • The shopping bull has recently had a pleasant experience at Amazon, and he would like you to hear about it. The shopping bull and the shopping bear enjoy something of a symbiotic relationship. They suffered a joint decline in visible numbers earlier this year but there now appears to be a population resurgence. Typical line: "Amazon shipped me the wrong books for Christmas. I sent them email asking about it, and they promptly replied telling me to keep the book and they would ship me the correct one free of charge. One word: WOW! I was blown away by the customer service! I would walk through fire for Jeff Bezos now."

  • Surreal Bull (Bos dada)

  • Also known as the mystic bull, the surreal bull makes prophetic pronouncements which are often bizarre or difficult to interpret. Perhaps because of the surreal bull's reputation as a foreteller of the future, its milk is traditionally used as a powerful psychoactive drug by certain tribes of the American Southwest. Typical line: "Single-celled human beings are being linked by the Internet into a world-wide meta-organism. Some are too short-sighted to perceive the coming energy wave which will transform the Earth."

  • Worshipful Bull (Bos idolatrus)

  • All cattle are herd animals, but the worshipful bull is distinguished by its extreme tendency to blindly follow another's leadership. It is thought that there might be some connection between the worshipful bull and the "golden calf" described in the Bible or the "sacred cow" of Hinduism, although in those cases it was the cow itself that was held up for reverence or worship. Typical line: "I have faith in Amazon's wonderful management and I believe they will triumph over all obstacles. Jeff Bezos is a visionary who is much smarter than you or me. Cure for cancer? I'm sure Amazon is working on that."

  • Caustic Bear (Ursus asperae facetiae)

  • The mostly idle and languid caustic bear likes to laze in the sun and throw out one-liners while observing the passing cattle. The principal means of distinguishing between the caustic bear and the venomous bear is that the caustic bear is funny. Typical line: "Beef. It's what's for dinner."

  • Giant Crash Bear (Ursus MCMXXIX megahorribilis)

  • At over twenty feet in length and with a terrifying roar, the giant crash bear is surely the most frightening land carnivore on Earth. Fortunately, the giant crash bear is a rare and solitary beast. Giant crash bears only come out of hibernation in huge numbers to bloodily devour everyone and everything about once every seventy years. Typical line: "The time had come, as in all periods of speculation, when men sought not to be persuaded of the reality of things but to find excuses for escaping into the new world of fantasy. There were many indications by 1928 that this phase had come."

  • Lyrical Bear (Ursus cantus joculator)

  • Like the Malaysian sun bear, the good-natured lyrical bear lives in the trees of the rainforest and mostly eats the honey of tropical bees. Sadly, this harmless and amusing animal is now endangered because of intensive illegal hunting by nubile young women, who value the lyrical bear for its beautiful songs and sense of humor. Typical line: "Around 2009, profits might roll/ But their long-term debt will put them right back in the hole/ Oh why/ Would anyone buy/ Amazon.com?"

  • Shopping Bear (Ursus caveat emptor)

  • Name a book written in English any time after 1640 and the shopping bear can tell you where to find it two dollars cheaper than at Amazon. The shopping bear was bankrupted some months ago after some unfortunate short-selling, but he still manages to maintain a comfortable lifestyle on a steady flow of discount coupons and free customer giveaways from a variety of online companies. Typical line: "Firing up the shop-bot... let's see... you could have found your whole shopping list for $50 less at AllDirect.com. If you had only bothered to look."

  • Venomous Bear (Ursus contumeliosus)

  • The venomous or "poison" bear has a tendency to lurk in shadowy places until, suddenly aggravated, it springs forth to deliver a lacerating bite. Its saliva contains a vitriolic substance generated in the gall bladder. Although the attack of the poison bear is certainly very unpleasant, the frequency and severity of poison bear attacks is somewhat exaggerated by the media. Fewer than a hundred people worldwide are killed by poison bears each year; you are more likely to be struck by lightning. If you are confronted by a poison bear, you may ignore it or face it firmly, but do not pursue it into the undergrowth. Typical line: [Deleted by TMF censors.]

  • Spam Worm (Taenia solium hormel)

  • The parasitic spam worm is the most disgusting form of life. Typical line: "Check out some great investment ideas at www.hotstockgambles.com."