Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

Welcome to a yearlong centennial celebration of the San Diego Zoo, most universally voted the best zoo in the US of A. Starting with animals left over from the 1915-1916 Panama-California Exposition, the dream of a zoo in San Diego blossomed into a reality.

As Henry David Thoreau wrote in “Walden,” “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

On Oct. 2, 1916, Dr. Harry Wegeforth, a local physician, met with three colleagues. They erected foundations beneath their dream and founded the Zoological Society of San Diego. On Dec. 11, 1916, the articles of incorporation were approved.

In honor of and gratitude for the vision and courage of the zoo’s founders, I will present each month for the rest of this year a column about the amazing creatures that run and crawl and swim across and leap and climb and fly above and burrow beneath our bounteous planet.

Here is the first installment – a collection of beastly wisdom that teaches us humans how to succeed in life:

  • Be like a turtle. You’ll make progress by coming out of your shell and sticking your neck out.
  • Speaking of sticking your neck out, be like a giraffe. Reach higher than all the others, and you’ll have the best perspective on life. You’ll be head and shoulders above the general herd, and everybody will look up to you.
  • Be like the birds. They have bills too, but they tweet out their joy every day.
  • Be like a swan. Keep calm and unruffled on the surface, but paddle like crazy underneath.
  • Be like a beaver. Don’t get stumped. Just cut things down to size and build one dammed thing after another for the future.
  • Be like a cat. Claw your way to the top. That’s what drapes are for.
  • Be like a dog. Be loyal. Enjoy the wind in your face. Run barefoot. Romp and play daily. Leave yourself breathless at least once a day. Chase your tail in an effort to make ends meet. Protect your homestead. And be sure to leave your mark on the world.
  • Be like a chicken. Act like a smart cluck, rule the roost and be proud to lay an egg every once in a while. Become poultry in motion and suck seed.
  • Be like a horse. Maintain your equine-imity. Use horse sense and stable thinking and be able to say, “neigh.”
  • Be like an owl. Look all around you, be wise and give a hoot.
  • Be like a lion. Live a rip-roaring life with pride and grab the lion’s share with might and mane.
  • Be like a rhino. Be thick-skinned and charge ahead to make your point.
  • Be like an oyster. It takes a lot of grit to make a pearl of great value.
  • Be like a sponge. Soak up everything, and be helpful in the kitchen.
  • Be like a spider. Surf the web and pull all the right strings. Weave out your dreams in exquisite patterns.
  • Be like a squirrel, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Go out on a limb to save up for hard times.
  • Be like a kangaroo. Advance through life by leaps and bounds, and keep your family close to you.
  • Be like a frog. Be comfortable on land and water – and if something bugs you, snap it up.
  • Be like a cow. Turn the udder cheek, don’t take any bull and don’t cry over spilled milk.
  • Be like a mole. You know you’re living on burrowed time, so stay down-to-earth and well-grounded. Forge ahead by digging as deep as you can.
  • Be like a flamingo. Don’t be afraid of looking odd, as long as you have a leg to stand on.
  • Be like an eagle. Travel in the highest circles, stay eagle-eyed and swoop down and pounce on every opportunity.
  • Be like the woodpecker. Just keep pecking away until you finish the job. You’ll succeed by using your head and proving that opportunity knocks more than once.
  • Don’t be like a lemming. Avoid following the crowd and jumping to conclusions.
  • And remember that the only things you find in the middle of the road are yellow stripes and road kill.