Chumley The Walrus

Chumley the Walrus
Chumley the Walrus

So my first commenter, my friend Kristen, who co-runs the very nice boston-area foodblog North Shore Dish left the following comment:

Wow. Now all I can think of is Chumley the Walrus from the Tennessee Tuxedo cartoons. Love the site – nice and clean. Also, cracked up when one of the Google sidebar ads was for “need a carpenter?”

Well, Kristen’s only a year or so older than I am, but I had never heard of Chumley the Walrus, and had only a passing understanding of “Tennessee Tuxedo“, although now that I have the benefit of some Googling behind me, this Tennessee Tuxedo show sounds remarkably similar to my favorite cartoon of all time, “Help! It’s the Hair Bear Bunch

Chumley is portrayed as the dim-witted sidekick, in some ways the equivalent of “Botch” on Hair Bear, and looking at the voice talent from the two shows, the back and forth between the Don Adams-voiced Tennessee Tuxedo and Chumley must have sounded an awful lot like the verbal banter between Botch and Mr. Peevley, the zookeeper on Hair Bear. Although it should be noted that TT had a zookeeper and inept sidekick character as well.

Notable Chumley facts: Apparently Chumley is a South Pole Walrus, the only one of his kind if thats’ the case. Hence the friendship between Chumley and Tennessee Tuxedo I suppose.

What other cartoon Walruses am I missing out on  – I’ve discovered two more since drafting this post, and I’ll get posts up about them very soon.

I Mean, it’s an OK song….

I often have a Twitter search window open for the term Walrus, to keep an eye on topics or items for future posts. It is amazing to me how many times a day, an HOUR, that someone tweets some permutation of “I am the Walrus/koo koo ka joo”. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with the Beatles – but the staying power of that phrase among the non-walrus-blogging public is amazing to me!

The Walrus and The Carpenter: Yeah, I went there…

Like many of you of a certain age, I suspect, my first exposure to Walrus to via the scratchy illustrations accompanying the poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter”. I either didn’t know, or didn’t remember that this poem was part of “Alice in Wonderland” since that fact surprised me when I re-discovered the poem via Wikipedia when launching this ‘blog.

The poem is in the public domain now, so I’m including it in its entirety, along with the illustration of the mysterious walrus and the oh-so-morose carpenter. Enjoy!

The Walrus and The Carpenter
Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright–
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done–
“It’s very rude of him,” she said,
“To come and spoil the fun!”

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead–
There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
“If this were only cleared away,”
They said, “it would be grand!”

“If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,
“That they could get it clear?”
“I doubt it,” said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”
The Walrus did beseech.
“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.”

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head–
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat–
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn’t any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more–
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,
“Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!”
“No hurry!” said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,
“Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed–
Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed.”

“But not on us!” the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
“After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!”
“The night is fine,” the Walrus said.
“Do you admire the view?

“It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf–
I’ve had to ask you twice!”

“It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,
“To play them such a trick,
After we’ve brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“The butter’s spread too thick!”

“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.

Hello World!

Hello and welcome to the World Wide Walrus Web – a place for all of us walrus enthusiasts (both of us?) to find information and references to our tusky friends, both real and fictional, funny and sobering. In case you haven’t read the “about” page, let me give you a little information about me, and what you’ll find here on this site.

First of all, I should tell you that I’m just a guy who gets a kick out of walrus, even just the general idea of a walrus. I’m not a scientist, and environmentalist or even an amateur biologist. Part of the purpose of this site is for me to collect more information and explore more deeply a subject that I’m interested in, and take you along for the ride. No agenda or particular direction, but as you can see – there’s a central theme and it’s… wait for it … the walrus!

This is the sort of information this site will contain as it grows:

  • Scientific facts about walrus and walrus habitat
  • Stories and anecdotes about walrus
  • Media – photos, videos, cartoons, writing – about walrus
  • Where you can see them
  • Links to other relevant sites

I built this as a ‘blog, and not a static website, since my exploration of all things walrus is always expanding, and the sit should too. I aspire to make regular updates, and I’m hoping that some of you may choose to join in with your own experiences, comments and maybe even photos! And one more thing – if you Google the term “walrus”, most of the hits you get are Beatles fan sites. While I like the Beatles as much as the next guy over 35, this site’s going to focus on REAL walrus, and generally stay away from the “Paul” variety. Or whoever it turned out to be. I’m not THAT much of a Beatles fan.

Let’s go!

Oh, by the way, for you non-programmers who don’t know the story here is a link to Wikipedia’s explanation of the phrase “Hello World!”

The Morse: A Blast from the past

The Walrus, from
The Walrus, from

I’ve always found it fascinating to read textbooks about animals, people or places that were written back in the 1800’s (or earlier) since there was so much colorful speculation used in place of actual science. Plus, I really enjoy the engravings that are found in works of that era. So I found myself thinking, on the way to lunch today, “I wonder if I can find a book with an account of the first recorded observations of a walrus?” That may be a tall order – I’ll start a quest – but I certainly did find an antique account of Walrus, thanks to Harvard University and the Google book digitization project.

The Naturalist’s Library from 1857 (well, this edition of what looks to be an expansive series) tells us:

The name of sea cow, or sea horse, by which the walrus is most generally known, has been very wrongly applied ; since the animal which it denotes has not the least resemblance to the land animals of that name: the denomination of sea elephant, which others have given it, is much better imagined, as it is founded on a singular and very apparent character.

and later…

Captain Cook saw a herd of them floating on an ice island off the northern coasts of the American continent. ” They lie,” says he, ” in herds of many hundreds, upon the ice, huddling over one another like swine ; and roar or bray so loud, that in the night, or in foggy weather, they gave us notice of the vicinity of the ice before we could see it. We never found the whole herd asleep, some being always on the watch.”

These are just a  few select quotes. Take a look at the whole passage at the link below – it’s only about two pages, but it’s an interesting read. You’ll note that the “scientific” facts cited are clearly drawn from, and directed towards, hunters.

Here’s a link to page 210 of The Naturalist’s Library, 1857, edited by Augustus Addison Gould

The New York Times Article That Pushed Me Over The Edge

Ted S. Warren/Associated Press
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

As I mentioned in the first post, I have long had a latent interest in Walruses. Last year, an article appeared in the New York Times about one writer’s encounter with a walrus. After reading the article, I decided that I had more than just a passing interest in the beasts myself. It’s a good read.

This is by far my favorite quote from the article.

“Just push back on the snout with the palm of your hand and blow in its face,” Dr. Schusterman instructed. “A walrus really likes to be blown in the face.”

Here’s a link to the full article: