Thursday, July 24, 2008


The Original, Yet-Legged Ouroboros
Rat-Mouthed Mockercopacetickin?
(Image from Wikipedia)

A zoological issue has been raised concerning the "rattleheadedcoppermoccasin" that Cousin Bill mentioned in the comment of his that I posted a couple of days ago as a blog entry on Grandpa Archie.

At the time, I questioned this creature's existence, referring to it as an "imaginary varmint called a rattleheadedcoppermoccasin."

Uncle Cran denied knowing anything about a "rattleheadcoppermoccasin" -- though he meant "rattleheadedcoppermoccasin" -- and regular reader JK wondered if Cousin Bill had meant the creature that JK had always known of as a "rattlingcoppermouth."

Well, I got to reflecting, and I soon realized what creature they were all talking about. Those three ignorant 'billhillies' don't even know the local snakes of the Ozarks. They were confused about what is sometimes, albeit incorrectly, called a "prattle-mouthed coppermoccasin," but they didn't even get that misnomer right! The serpent that they were really intending to identify is actually and correctly called a "rat-mouthed mockercopacetickin," a name that describes -- precisely as one might expect -- a rat-mouthed snake that takes great satisfaction in mocking its prey.

The speech act of mocking -- not to be conflated with merely prattling -- is deadly among denizens of the animal kingdom, for that realm is governed by rigid norms of shame and honor.

The rat-mouthed mockercopaceteckin is rare, of course, for it must corner its prey and force the unfortunate creature to endure mockery beyond endurance.

That is a shameful, painful death dealt by degrees of humiliating scorn.

The rat-mouthed mockercopaceteckin is not an entirely local snake, let it be noted, for some rabbis argued that the first one appeared in Eden and successfully tempted the as-yet-innocent Eve into partaking of the fruit from that forbidden tree, an impious act that brought shame upon all creatures great and small, such that now, the vaunted subtlety of this serpent is reduced to the low gift of mockery through venomous words that drive those who hear them into the ambiguous arms of death.

I accept this rabbinical view, for it is confirmed somewhere by that reliable herpetologist, Jorge Luis Borges, probably in his scientific work concerning the venomous creatures listed in the Zohar. I refer, of course, to that renowned book El libro de los seres imaginarios, whose final form was published in 1969 and includes several entries on serpents, the ouroboros among them.

Alas, Cousin Bill, Uncle Cran, and JK are all ignorant of such things, or perhaps forgetful, for such is this fallible, mortal state into which we, and also the world, have fallen.

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At 7:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jeffery, JK and Bill:
This is my answer to my {once beloved} nephew, but also to you, my dear friends JK and Bill.
I am aware of the rattleheadedcoppermoccasin. (Bill)
Also the rattlin coppermouth (JK)
And my rattleheadcoppermoccasin
They are all varieties of the ancient ratheadbrassmoccasin.
To call us ignorant hillbillies is to demonstrate Dr. Jeffery's ignorance of this subject.

I quote from Bill Boyer, THE AMERICAN NATION: Holt, Rinehart and Windston, Austin, New York,, a high school textbook at Bakersfield School, where I am doing drywall and oak railings. (Not the kind of 'railings' of our once friend and relative, "Jeff."
Andrew Jackson, one time senator, then President from 1829-1837 ....
"claimed to have no respect for anyone who knew only one way to spell a word." (p. 239).
Thank you President Jackson!
You likely had someone who spoke in like fashion as "Jeff."
I concede I was not aware of the ratmouthedmockerrcopacetekin, spoken of by "Jeff."
This creature "Takes great satisfaction in mocking its prey."
It catches its victims and forces them to endure a shameful, painful death, dealt by degrees of humiliating scorn."
"JEFF" WAS ONCE BITTEN BY THIS CREATURE, and like Spiderman, received some of it's attributes for the rest of his life.
So when we become victims of his venom, dear friends, we can understand why it must be endured.
The worst part is that his blog has made us all addicted to reading it, no matter what labels and scorn he hurls at us.
Your faithful fellow sufferer.

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I fear that we have all been bitten, Cranford my uncle -- ever my uncle despite your being named for the place where some ill-begotten crane once forded a stream and despite even your vain attempts to disown me -- for every one of us on this blog, and even each of us throughout the entire world, continually employs mockery.

I therefore bow my head in shame at your own words -- very effective words, too, Uncle Cran, and proof that you, also, have been envenomed.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:22 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

It appears to me that the Hodges family perhaps has snakes in the grass. Perhaps if they gambled more and rolled snake eyes, they would see more clearly. In case they don't, here is my donation of the night: Tom T. Hall's "Sneaky Snake"

Boys and girls take warning, if you go near the lake
Keep your eyes wide open, and look for sneaky snake
Now maybe you won't see him, maybe you won't hear
But he'll sneak up behind you, and drink all your root beer

And then sneaky snake goes dancin, wigglin and a-hissin
Sneaky snake goes dancin, gigglin and a-kissin
I don't like old sneaky snake; he laughs too much you see
When he goes wigglin through the grass, it tickles his underneath

Well, sneaky snake drinks root beer, and he just makes me sick
When he is not dancin, he looks just like a stick
Now, he doesn't have any arms or legs, you cannot see his ears
And while we are not lookin, he's stealin all of our beer

And then sneaky snake goes dancin, wigglin and a-hissin
Sneaky snake goes dancin, gigglin and a-kissin
I don't like old sneaky snake; he laughs too much you see
When he goes wigglin through the grass, it tickles his underneath

For the best of this song, youtube the gentleman singing it for himself.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Jeanie, I'm not sure that I catch all of Tom T. Hall's meaning, but seems to me that there might be some double entendre to some of the words in that song . . . hence prompting my reminder that the Gypsy Scholar blog is an irony-free zone.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:01 PM, Blogger Bohemian in Korea said...

The rattleheadedcoppermoccasin were a pair of steel toed slippers my Step-dad gave me when I got my first Jonsered chainsaw...Dad did always like Canadas finest.

At 3:49 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

BoHinK, those must have been some pair of shoes -- and excellent protection against that redoubtable Jonsered chainsaw, which otherwise always gets its man -- but being steel-toed in the shoe, why the "copper" in the name?

Anyway, the existence of such moccasins likely explains the delusion from which Cousin Bill and Uncle Cran suffer about some snake bearing this same name even though every learned person knows that the true name is "rat-mouthed mockercopacetickin."

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I deliberately mis-spelled Jeffery's rat-mouthed mockercopacetickin to see if he would "correct" me, but my quote of President Andrew 'Old Hickory'
Jackson seeming deterred him. Perhaps Andy's reputation as a duelist, as possibly thinking I might be influenced by that, had something to do with it. But I am not into that sort of thing.
Cousin (my nephew) Bill have one thing in common. Like all good umpires we "calls 'em as we see's em."
Dear Jeffery's 'spelling' is almost equal to his 'speiling.'
His confession of "bowing his head in shame" must have been only for a fleeting moment.

At 5:38 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, you know that I would never correct anybody...

As for your nonduelism, that is fine with me. I trust that you're also a nondualist -- not a dualist of the Gnostic sort, anyway.

What is "speiling"?

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Hillbilly language, someone would say, "He was giving his speil about how he used be the meanest man in the county." So 'speiling' in the Ozarkian dialect would be telling a suspect story on some topic...........thus you, {once again acceptable nephew], have been speiling on snakes, fan death, drinking smoke, and other unrelated topics.
You can stick to Milton or gnosticism, of which we know "nought," and we will meekly remain silent.
My thought on "except you eat my flesh and drink my blood" is similar to the institution of the communion service where we read:

And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, this is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22:19,20).
Obviously, the bread and wine were not actually the body and blood of the Lord.
Likewise, we are not expected to eat his actual flesh or drink his actual blood, but are to be completely committed, body, soul and spirit to him. There is a mutual indwelling. We are said to be in Christ, and he in us.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, I suspect that the word that you mean is "spiel," for I think that it is borrowed from German.

As for transubstantiation, I would bet that Catholics reading the Gospel of John would say that the bread and the wine are "obviously" the flesh and the blood of Christ.

What we consider obvious depends upon a larger background of assumptions, which is one thing that makes dialogue among people from different traditions so problematic.

That's not to say that we cannot reach some foundation and build from there, for I'm not arguing for relativism.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stand corrected for mis-speiling "spiel{ling}.
Therefore I conclude this portion of your blog by saying 'give, 'uncle,' the dreaded 'calf-rope,' or even "rat-mouthed mockercopacetickin.'


At 3:33 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, this has been a fruitful post, with helpful comments, and I hope that we can one day again return to discussion of Ozark critters that amaze the world.

And if the world ain't amazed, we'll sic the rat-mouthed mockercopacetickin on it!

Jeffery Hodges

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