Also on the web, in the 'sadly too true to be as funny as it should be' section, The Onion has a column from a guy who has a thing for Asia.
In other news, Kevin's been sending me beagle info. Did you know that:
Beagles, as a breed, have been in existence for quite some time, although their precise origins are only vaguely known. Beagle-type dogs are described in documents dating from 400 B.C. Greece and A.D. 200 Britain. The Romans are also thought to have transported to England with them small rabbit hunting hounds and bred them with the local hounds. Talbot Hounds were brought to England from France during the Norman Conquest in 1066 and are considered to be ancestors to the Southern Hound, the Beagle and the Foxhound.Wacky. They also tell us that Elli is "a sturdy, compactly-built hound, conveying the impression of quality without coarseness." Quality without coarseness is exactly right. And she is indeed "a merry hound....Bold, with great activity, stamina and determination. Alert, intelligent, and of even temperament." That sounds like our dog. :-)
Beagles became quite popular with the British monarchy in the 1300 and 1400's. Edward II and Henry VII both kept packs of Glove Beagles, so named since they were small enough to fit on a glove. Elizabeth I kept packs of Pocket Beagles which were only nine inches high at the withers.
Wendy gets the prize for guessing that Elinor is named after Elinor Dashwood, from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. It's my favorite of Austen's novels, and really, one of the best books I've ever read. And Elinor is just a marvellous character -- intensely emotional, yet almost entirely bound by the restraint and conventions of her situation, time and place. It's funny -- I hadn't thought about it before, but I think many of my characters are similar in temperament and situation. I write a lot about angsty souls trying hard to keep their emotions under control. I guess Austen is more of an influence than I realized.
In any case, Elinor Dashwood is a good model for our new doggy, though to be honest, our Elinor is not turning out to be quite as demure and restrained as she first appeared. Which is all to the good, I think -- in the end, we prefer feisty and playful. Even if it does cost us some gnawed furniture.
The main reason we (and when I say we, I mean I) picked Elinor for a name, though, is because my name is Mary Anne. :-) And if that doesn't make any sense to you, then clearly you need to either read Sense and Sensibility or watch the movie (with the stunning Emma Thompson doing a tremendous job as Elinor) immediately.