The Father of Terror


One of the oldest photos of the Great Sphinx, from 1880. Notice that much of the Sphinx is still under the sand.

Egyptians call him “أبو الهول” (abu al-hol, the father of terror or the terrifying one.)

Father of Terror 2

The sphinx – profile in 1976 © Old Wolf Enterprises

Built in around 2500 BC, that makes him close to 4,500 years old – an astonishing lifespan. The loss of his nose was attributed to Muhammad Sa’im al-Dahr in 1378, when he became angered that local peasants were making sacrifices to the sphinx for favorable crops. Today, however, we know better [1]. Despite weathering over time, for something so ancient, he has survived remarkably well.


The Great Sphinx of Giza in Olfert Dapper, ”Description de l’Afrique” (1665) Notice that there are two sphinges [2]

From Wikipedia

From the Bronze Age, the Hellenes had trade and cultural contacts with Egypt. Before the time that Alexander the Great occupied Egypt, the Greek name, sphinx, was already applied to these statues. The historians and geographers of Greece wrote extensively about Egyptian culture. Heredotus called the ram-headed sphinxes criosphinges, and the hawk-headed ones hieracosphinges.

The word sphinx comes from the Greek Σφίγξ, apparently from the verb σφίγγω (sphíngō), meaning “to squeeze”, “to tighten up”. This name may be derived from the fact that the hunters for a pride of lions are the lionesses, and kill their prey by strangulation, biting the throat of prey and holding them down until they die. However, the historian Susan Wise Bauer suggests that the word “sphinx” was instead a Greek corruption of the Egyptian name “shesepankh,” which meant “living image,” and referred rather to the statue of the sphinx, which was carved out of “living rock” (rock that was present at the construction site, not harvested and brought from another location), than to the beast itself.

There was a single sphinx in Greek mythology, a unique demon of destruction and bad luck. According to Hesiod, she was a daughter of Orthus[8] and either Echidna or the Chimera, or perhaps even Ceto;[9] according to others, she was a daughter of Echidna and Typhon. All of these are chthonic figures from the earliest of Greek myths, before the Olympians ruled the Greek pantheon. The Sphinx is called Phix (Φίξ) [3] by Hesiod in line 326 of the Theogony, the proper name for the Sphinx noted by Pierre Grimal’s The Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology.

The Great Sphinx at Giza is not the only one around – there are countless sphinges throughout Egypt and elsewhere:

Memphis Sphinx

Sphinx at Memphis, Egypt


Rows of ram-headed sphinges at Luxor.

Regardless of the number, however, the Great Sphinx at Giza remains one of the wonders of the world from any century.

The Old Wolf has spoken.



From Goscinny et Uderzo, Astérix et Cléopatre, Dargaud Editeur, 1965

[2] Sphinges is the classical plural for sphinx.



Phix, leading character in Paul Taylor’s Wapsi Square. Read it.

“Wapsi Square is named for the fictitious neighborhood in Minneapolis where the characters live. Its protagonist is Monica Villarreal, a feisty, busty, 4’10” tall latina who has recently moved from a safe world of normalcy where all she had to question was her own inner demons, to a world of supernatural lunacy, drunken college girls who have the power to obliterate the universe, an Aztec golem named Tepoz who can make the best damned martini in the world, a psychologist demon barista, and a host of other characters, some of whom may just live downstairs from you.” (Wiki)

Roar! (1928)

We’ve seen it a million times from the front; here’s what an early version looked like from behind the camera.



The beginning of the Hollywood era: the filming of the MGM screen credits, 1928



Hope there’s a trainer somewhere off camera…

The Old Wolf has spoken.

A View of Paris You Won’t Get Any More



The Statue of Liberty surrounded by scaffolding as workers complete the final stages in Paris. Circa 1885

I wonder how many people really feel a sense of immense gratitude to France for this incredible gift, which became the icon of our country. I know I do – I feel it every time I see her. Both countries cherish Liberty, despite the pains we continue to suffer as we travel into a new century.

Au peuple de la France, un grand merci.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

It’s Not About the Nail

Saw this over at Aewl’s journal and had to share, because it’s funny… but it also brings up some serious issues.

“Don’t try to fix it. I just need you to listen.” Every man has heard these words. And they are the law of the land. No matter what.

Piggybacking on my previous post about Shopping Strategies, no one in their right mind would dispute that men and women are wired differently. John Gray has made gozillions of dollars touting that fact, and others before him. Yet we still continue to have difficulty in the area… mostly because as humans, we suffer from the greatest addiction ever know… being right.

<stereotype>Men want to fix. That’s why hardware stores have such a powerful attraction. It’s one of the things we do.  You know, women are good for teaching, nurturing, healing, shopping, managing, cleaning, organizing, loving, supporting, sharing, socializing, volunteering, helping, beautifying, serving… and guys are good for picking up heavy stuff.</stereotype>

But there’s some incontrovertible reality between those HTML tags; for every guy that loves kittens and knitting and cooking and cuddling, and for every girl that loves a good blood-n-guts / sword-swinging / explosions-are-many / bad-guys-get-ground-up action movie, there are a thousand who “fit the mold.” And the little video above is all about staying within the box. Men want to fix, and women want to be valued for nothing else than who they are.

However, as I commented over at Aewl’s place,

For a good relationship to succeed, both partners have to step out of their societal boxes. No, it’s not about the nail; but in the [slightly modified] words of Monty Python’s logician, ‘even given that the activities of listening to your feelings and removing the nail are mutually exclusive, now that the listening is over, surely then, the nail may now, logically, be removed.’ A better response would have been (if one can dream of a perfect world,) “Thanks for listening to what I was feeling. That helps me feel valued and considered. I’m open to input on how to get rid of this nagging pain…”

For open, honest, responsible communication to take place, partners need to give up their sense of entitlement – the concept of “that’s the way I am, you just need to understand me” is only half of the equation. The other part is eminently captured in Emerson’s quote: “Shall I tell you a secret of a true scholar? Every man I meet is my master in some point, and I can learn from him.” So when the rubber meets the road, it’s not about the nail – but if you’re happy hanging on to that nagging pain when there’s someone sitting in front of you with a pair of pliers, then by all means, continue suffering.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

This explains so much


It’s now clear why things such as this happen on a regular basis:

Aardvark & Tuba

Stepping out of the humor track for a second, I just discovered this as well – apparently it’s a very serious matter:

Doctors’ sloppy handwriting kills more than 7,000 people annually. It’s a shocking statistic, and, according to a July 2006 report from the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine (IOM), preventable medication mistakes also injure more than 1.5 million Americans annually. Many such errors result from unclear abbreviations and dosage indications and illegible writing on some of the 3.2 billion prescriptions written in the U.S. every year.

Read the full article at: Time: Cause of Death: Sloppy Doctors

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Shopping Strategies Compared


Men’s and women’s shopping habits have long been grist for the humorist’s mill.

  • Men shop until they have what they came for; women shop until they’re tired.
  • Men would rather rake their eyeballs out with a cat brush than go shopping; women shop for entertainment.
  • Men shop for what they need; women shop to find out what they want.

But the best humor is rooted immovably in truth, and people often find funny what they resonate with:

A woman was in town on a shopping trip. She began her day finding the most perfect shoes in the first shop and a beautiful dress in the sale in the second. In the third everything had just been reduced by 50 percent when her mobile phone rang. It was a female doctor notifying her that her husband had just been in a terrible car accident and was in a critical condition and in the ICU. The woman told the doctor to inform her husband where she was and that she’d be there as soon as possible. As she hung up, she realized she was leaving, what was shaping up to be, her best day ever in the boutiques. She decided to get in a couple of more shops before heading to the hospital.

She ended up shopping the rest of the morning, Finishing her trip with a cup of coffee and a beautiful chocolate cake, compliments of the last shop. She was jubilant.

Then she remembered her husband. Feeling guilty, she dashed to the hospital. She saw the doctor in the corridor and asked her about her husband’s condition. The lady doctor glared at her and shouted, ‘You went ahead and finished your shopping trip didn’t you! I hope you’re proud of yourself! While you were out for the past four hours enjoying yourself in town, your husband has been languishing in the Intensive Care Unit!

It’s just as well you went ahead and finished, because it will more than likely be the last shopping trip you’ll ever have! He will require round the clock care for the rest of his life and he will now be your full time career!’

The woman was feeling so guilty she broke down and sobbed.

The lady doctor then chuckled and said, ‘I’m just pulling your leg, he’s dead. Show me what you bought.’

Heartless! But why would jokes like this even surface if there were not a grain of truth to them?

A friend of mine, Mark Stanley, author and illustrator of the webcomic Freefall, came up with what seems like a very cogent explanation for the difference in shopping patterns, at least from an energy-conservation standpoint. In this scene, Florence Ambrose, a gengineered wolf (and an engineer in her own right) is shopping for clothes, when this interaction takes place:





This makes a lot of sense; there’s even science behind it. Of course, it doesn’t touch the psychological differences between men and women, or how they tend to think; have a look at these two representations of the shopping decision process (click them for larger versions):

men_women_buy_1   men_women_buy_2

These are funny, but again there’s truth here. Men evolved with a basic biological thought process:

  • Kill food
  • Reproduce

Women, on the other hand, have always had a list of responsibilities that this blog entry wouldn’t hold:

  • cook
  • clean
  • nurture
  • teach
  • drive
  • heal
  • support
  • manage
  • counsel
  • etc., ad infinitum

This mindset may be represented by the following device:


Like it or not, as genders we think differently. Even our visual cortices process input differently, as illustrated by how men and women perceive the shopping environment:


As long as people insist on living as couples, shopping together may always be an area of divisiveness. Remembering that expectations are essentially pre-planned resentments, it might be helpful to keep the following things in mind:

Talk to each other. Find out what your partner likes and enjoys. This prepares a playing field for good communication.
If you love to shop and your partner doesn’t, for the love of Mogg’s holy grandfather, don’t insist that they follow you around to every store under the starry vault.


Some husbands/boyfriends/partners may enjoy shopping with you simply because they know you enjoy it; others would rather be stung by a thousand bees. Either way, roll with what’s there. If you really enjoy shopping with someone, find a like-minded friend and go with them.

Split up for the shopping trip if necessary. If you’re out for necessities, divide and conquer. Just remember that even guys have some hangups when it comes to certain kinds of shopping, and plan your route accordingly.


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I hear Home Depot calling me.

The Old Wolf has spoken.