Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Acts of God Clause

An 80 mph wind and rain storm came through last night, and as a consequence about 2 million homes and 3 million people in the area are without electricity, airconditioning, internet and telephone service. Even cell phones are not working everywhere. All fine here at Casa Terrierman, but I may not blog much until power returns. I have a generator running for the fridge. Tomorrow moning is chainsaw time!

Peter Hollard, artist

I want to share a link with you today. I've been developing the Maleny Community Newsletter for the Neighbourhood Centre which will cover general club and group news in Maleny. Instead of using clipart for the masthead, I wanted to give a more human touch that showed where we were from and what we're about. There was a slight problem though, I had no money. 

A friend told me about a friend of

This Dog Is Rolling in the Deep


Friday, June 29, 2012

110 in the Shade :: John Fogerty

 Yeah, it might be too hot to dig.

Way out there in the cotton
   Sun beatin' down so hard
   Sweat rollin' off this shovel
   Diggin' in the devil's boneyard
   Sure like a cool drink of water...

Bottom land hard as a gravestone
   Couldn't cut it with an axe
   Gonna lay me down right here
   And that's a fact.


Locked, Loaded, Liberal, and Lesbian

At the the Westside Pistol & Rifle Range

This is Rachel Maddow, arguably the smartest woman on television. 

She's the GOP's nightmare.  As a Rolling Stone profile put it:

She's America's leading lefty wonk, complete with chunky glasses, Ph.D., and a deep faith in activist government. But Rachel Maddow is also, a little unexpectedly, totally into guns.

Well, maybe not totally unexpected if the liberal you are talking to has actually taken the time to read the U.S. Constitution, understands the roots of violence (it's more likely associated with booze than bullets), knows statistics and American history, and has been to a firing range a few times.

For more on all that, see The Liberal Case for Gun Ownership.

Commentary on Commentary

This blog has a "no zombies" and "please use the Google" policy that is rather emphatically stated, and if people do not read it and do not honor it, I do not waste one second on them.

Other bloggers have struggled with their comments policy as well. 

Over at Stonekettle Station they have a very nice succinct version which can be summarized as: "don't be a dick."  

Over at Patheos, the deletion of a comment lauches a small meditation which seems to end with "go fuck yourself and start your own damn blog." 

Over at Gene Expression on the Discovery magazine blog, however, they explain the mathematics behind the sensible and experienced blogger's rudeness:  there are simply far more prattling idiots than there are hours in the day, and we bloggers are in an asymetrical war with the time-wasters:

Over the 10 years of running my own blog(s) I’ve shifted in my own perspective and outlook. In the beginning I was rather laissez faire. But it became rather obvious that most people were either stupid or ignorant, or, they took advantage of the anonymity of the internet to waste other peoples’ time. The biggest issue which I think some readers don’t seem to internalize well is that not only am I engaging comments, I’m also writing. This means that I’m spread rather thin, so the situation of me interacting with a given commenter is never symmetrical. So, to give a non-hypothetical, if I ask you for some citations and you spend 10 seconds, I’m going to get rather ticked off. I spend hours writing, and then responding to commenters who are clear and sincere. In contrast, other commenters do step up and add value when I ask pointed questions. In real life most people are not worth deep engagement because they’re dull or incurious, or, our interests do not overlap (i.e., I’m incurious about their topics of passion). It’s no different on the internet. Sitemeter says thousands of people read the content on this weblog per day. The vast majority do not leave comments, obviously. I’m glad for that.

Well done, and well said. 

Please do not take this as a stick in the eye.  I am always happy to hear sensible things, to get additional information, to hear about errors of fact with citations to reputable sources, and to be told I am smart, have lost weight, and put on an amazing tie this morning.  But please do not waste my time because you are bored and want to argue, or are too lazy to use the Google.  Time is more precious than gold, and I will not have mine stolen by fools.  

And might I say that I hope you will embrace a similar world view in your own daily endeavors?  Try to get something done! Build foward, steer around the obstacles thrown in the road, and leave a few good words to those who show up early, stay late, and work hard in between, especially if those people happen to be at the bottom of the economic ladder.  Eschew the crazy, hazy and lazy, and the nattering nebobs of negativism that seem to be all around us all too often.  Help someone out, and do a little service.  Lean forward.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pit Bulls, Surgeons and Statistics

Pit Bulls are mostly a danger to themselves.

Are you looking for an article that will make heads explode? 

I've got one. 

Today's head-exploder is from the April 2011 edition of Annals of Surgery, Volume 253, Number 4, and is entitled "Mortality, Mauling, and Maiming by Vicious Dogs." 

The article says what everyone who has actually done the research will agree on, but does so without enough context, even as its strays into rhetoric that is unnecessarily divisive because it is focused solely on dog bites.

So what does this article say that we should be able to agree on?

Just this:  When Pit Bulls bite, they can, and often do, do a lot of damage -- more than the average dog.

The article notes that:
Compared with attacks by other breeds of dogs, attacks by pit bulls were associated with a higher median Injury Severity Scale score (4 vs. 1; P = 0.002), a higher risk of an admission Glasgow Coma Scale score of 8 or lower (17.2% vs. 0%; P = 0.006), higher median hospital charges ($10,500 vs. $7200; P = 0.003), and a higher risk of death (10.3% vs. 0%; P = 0.041).

What else should everyone be able to agree on?  Just this:  Pit Bulls are implicated in serious dog bites, including fatal dog bites, more often than most other breeds.
Over a recent 3-year period from January 2006 to March 30, 2009, a total of 98 dog bite fatalities involving 179 dogs occurred; 60% of the deaths were caused by pit bulls, and 76% were caused by pit bulls and Rottweilers. A total of 113 pit bulls were involved in these deaths, and they accounted for 63% of the dogs involved in fatal attacks (Table 2).

The article goes on to note that laws governing dogs that bite are far from uniform:
Dog bite ordinances vary widely across the United States. Seventeen states have “one bite” laws that do not hold the dog owner accountable for the actions of a dangerous dog until after the dog has caused harm, at which point it can be considered potentially dangerous or vicious. Twelve states have laws that specifically forbid municipalities to enact breed-specific laws or ordinances. Currently, 250 cities in the United States have breed-specific ordinances, even though some of these cities are in states that prohibit breed-specific laws. Texas, the state that leads the nation in dog bite fatalities, is a “one bite” state that prohibits breed-specific laws.

So where does this article go wrong?

Well, for one, they are using AKC American Staffordshire Terrier registration data as a proxy for Pit Bull owneship.

This is not just slightly wrong, this is monumentally wrong.

Most Pit Bulls are not registered with the AKC, and most AKC American Staffordshire Terriers are "PET Bulls" far removed from Pit Bull fighting stock.  It can be argued, pretty convincinly, that registered AKC dogs are very often temperamentally different from unregistered non-AKC stock, and that the AKC-registered dogs are more likely to have stable and responsible owners.

This is basic stuff and needs to be said.

Pit Bulls are a broad type of dog, but the American Staffordshire Terrier is a narrow breed that was split off from the type about 70 years ago, and it is slowly becoming distinct.

Is the split complete? No, not yet. But the fact that it is occuring should be recognized.

Another place where this article goes astray is in its focus on human injury and mortality, and its failure to provide a base line for that injury and mortality.

Yes, 20 Pit Bull-related deaths a year sounds pretty terrifiying, but compared to what?

The simple truth is that this is a huge country and 20 deaths a year from any source is really not very many.

Bee stings kill about three times more people a year than Pit Bulls do.

And, of course, bees are nothing to worry about compared to the number of deaths caused by backyard swimming pools, the hazards of falling down steps in your own home, deer wandering into the roadway, and the hazards of playing golf!

This is not to say that Pit Bull bites are not an issue; they are. But death is not the only outcome, and it is certainly not the most common outcome, associated with dog bites in general, or Pit Bull bites in particular.

What price do we put on the scarred face of a child, or a lifetime of fear associated with dogs? Can we talk about that a little more?

Finally, the article gets down to solutions. What should we do about Pit Bulls, and WHY?

This last question is where I think the article really falls apart, as it considers the Pit Bull problem to be solely and mainly about dog bites.

It's not.

Why does every dog debate have to revolve around the fears and desires of humans?

Is it too much to ask that we actually talk about the dog's problems?

You see, Pit Bulls are mostly a danger to themselves, not to others.

When a bored, untrained, and under-exercised young Pit Bull bites another dog, eats the couch, or growls at anything, it is too often shipped off to the pound where it is rarely adopted out, and where it is almost invariably killed, i.e. "put down."

Last year, nearly a million Pit Bulls were killed in shelters -- 40,000,000 pounds of dead Pit Bull.

Yes, let's talk about the 20 people that were killed by Pit Bulls last year, but can we also talk about the ONE MILLION Pit Bulls that were bred, bought, abandoned, and killed by people that same year?

Could it be that if we focus on reducing the breeding of Pit Bulls, we will also reduce the unnecessary killing of these dogs and, by extension, increase the chance that the Pit Bulls that are bred have a good temperament, and are placed in the right homes with the right owners?

This article misses that discussion, entirely.

Bad News and Good News for Republican Friends

The bad news is as detailed, above.

The good news is that Somalia does not have universal health care.   

Be sure to bring sun screen... and an ammo belt.

Work in Progress - REVISITED

Carrying on from yesterday's post I thought it would be a good opportunity to explore the feelings connected with being at home and knowing that you make your own home what it becomes - be that good or not so good.

I've written before that housekeeping and homemaking were very low on my list of priorities when I first came home for good. I say 'came home' because up until that point, my

One Nation Under God

One nation, under God, indivisible, with health care for all.

And why?  Because, as the preable to the Constitution says, this nation was created to promote the general Welfare of the American people.

Medicare did that back in 1965, and before that we had child labor laws, wage and hours law, and the emancipation proclamatin to end slavery.

Anyone want to go back to slavery, child labor, and the rest? If so, be sure to sign your name, and to put your address, email, and phone number in the comments!

The push to get national health care has been a long one. It started with Truman, and the first plank was hammered into place in 1965, under LBJ, with Medicare and Medicaid.

Do you know what Medicare did back in 1965?

More than health care. We became a better nation.

I told that story on this blog back in 2009, but it's still a good story about how this nation got a little bit better because some people aspired to make it better for all.

Of course, the pinched-pockets have always been with us.

We could not afford to end child labor... Wage and hour laws would force companies into bankrupcty.... Medicare was socialism.... OSHA was the rise of the nanny state. The Chamber of Commerce has been one long waaaaaahh since the beginning.

But push comes to shove, most right-wingers actually do become socialists when they hit age 65. Theory hits the reality of old age sickness and poverty, and theory seems to get trumped every time.

You want to hear a funny story?

Here it is....

It seems that before the Koch brothers were pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into undermining the social fabric of this nation by buying entire elections, they were trying to get libertarian totem Frederich Hayeck to come to the U.S. to become a “distinguished senior scholar” at the Institute for Human Studies, which the Koch brothers wanted to turn into a libertarian citadel.

Only one problem: Hayek would not come because he did not want to leave Austria, which had nearly universal health care, for fear he might get sick abroad.

So what happened next?  It seems Institute for Human Studies vice president George Pearson (who later became a top Koch Industries executive) researched the problem and wrote to Hayek that he could get free health care in the U.S. through Medicare because Hayeck had paid into the Social Security system some years earlier when he was at the University of Chicago!

Like libertarian Ayn Rand, Frederich Hayek was only too happy to use "socialized" medicine and income support as soon as his own health failed and his bank accounts grew thin.

Theory is a nice thing, but it's not much use when you are sick or need to buy a loaf of bread, or cup of coffee! When push comes to shove, people tend to flip and flop as expediency dictates.

And speaking of flipping and flopping as expediency dictates, check out the video below, in which Mittens Romney praises the individual mandate of Obama care, circa 2006.


A Graphic For Those Who Are Not Reality Based

Also, Dewey defeated Truman.

Einstein Never Said That



(Special orders SOLD)

I'm still sewing along and the totes and purses are 
leaving almost as quickly.
One of the benefits of this 50 drawer apothecary in the hall
is I have 50 knobs to hang stuff from, which I do.
As each piece is completed it is hung here
temporarily until I can photograph 
and then put into the shop.

Then someone stops by, and a few more disappear
out the front door, and so far none have made it to the shop,
or been photographed properly.
I had to snap this blurry one seconds before 4 more departed.
I am thrilled.
The coffers need filling and it's always fun to see
someone you know enjoy something you've made.
I'm sewing up a batch of totes today in wonderful linens.
No better place for me to be than hibernated from the heat
in my studio at the top of the stairs.
I hope your day is lovely.


Motivated Terriers

From The San Francisco Chronicle comes this story:

Guinness, an 8-year-old Wheaton terrier, was hot on the trail of a raccoon last week in Atherton when the masked bandit took the chase to new heights, scaling an oak tree taller than a five-story building.

Not one to give up on a chase, the 40-pound dog went right up after the raccoon and soon found himself frozen in fear about 30 feet above the ground.

“Amazed” firefighters responded to the June 19 incident at about 9 p.m., said Chief Harold Schapelhouman of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District. He said everyone who heard the call thought it was a mistake. Dogs don’t climb trees, they reasoned.
“We thought it was a cat or a raccoon or a possum,” Schapelhouman said “That’s typically what it is. The irony of having a dog up there — it was unusual, to say the least.”

I have had terriers go up trees before after quarry. Pearl, the cover dog, even made it to film, barking furiously in a precarious situation.  And then, there are the hounds and terriers who climb up inside trees.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Making the bed - REVISITED

This post is from March 2011

Can you remember back to when you had babies to care for and how careful you were with their bedding? You'd make sure the sheets were clean and straight, you'd make the little bed several times a day and as soon as there was a wet sheet, into the washing machine it would go. You did those things, and more, because you knew how important that bed was to your baby.

Season's End -- A New Book on Working Dogs

I have not read it yet, but it sounds like it will be a fun read, despite the fact that it includes a short story from me.   There are pictures too from what I understand!

It's out now, or it will be very soon (Amazon listing goes live on the 30th).

The terrier on the cover is my Pearl, now retired and living the Life of Riley.

How the Tea Party Makes Their Tea


Big Timber: When The Nation Was Young

And one more that will become HUGE if you click on it.  That's Michigan in 1890.  The last picture is from Shorpy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

AKC Registrations Continue to Crash and Burn

AKC registrations continue to crash and burn despite the fact (and we could not make this up) that the AKC thinks partnering with the #1 dealer of puppy mill dogs for pet shops (the Hunte Corporation) to talk about canine health is a good idea. 

And to add a chocolate topping to whole charade, the AKC and the Hunte Corporation have put a severely brachycephalic dog with an undershot on their poster under the title (wait for it....) "We're Raising the Bar Together." 


Meanwhile, the Dayton Kennel Club reports:
  • Volume of AKC registrations continued to be headed downhill.
  • Number of AKC breeders has declined 10% in 2011 for a total decline of 34% over the past 3 yrs.
  • Number of Commercial breeders has dropped 36% from last year.
  • Number of puppies sold at retail stores is down 20%.
  • Total revenues during the first eight months of 2011 were $2.1 million (5.4% lower than 2010). 77% of this decrease can be attributed to registrations.
  • Total registration revenues were $1.6 million less than 2010.
  • Due to the shrinking population of breeders, the number of registered litters continues to decline, 11% below 2010,

 Meanwhile, over at the Hunte Corporation, their web site features an AKC "Parson Russell" terrier at the top and is co-branded with the AKC at the bottom.  And what of that mention of AKC breeding standards?  There are none, other than the dam be at least 8 months old. 

Want to know more?  Here's how it all works -- and how it's all connected

The good news is that America has woken up and, as a result, fewer and fewer people are signing up or paying up for AKC dogs.

Worse Jeans Ad Ever

What the hell were they thinking?
This dog looks like a bag of laundry, and the woman looks like she's berating the man for hitting her dog with his car.  Whiskey-tango-foxtrot.

The first steps towards simplicity - REVISITED

Hanno's surgery went very well yesterday. We're going back for a checkup this morning but it all looks good and he's feeling fine. Thank you so much for the kind messages and prayers for him. He asked me to thank you all for him. He read everyone of them.

This post is from 2009.

Some of the lemons ready for juicing next week. Leaving them sit for a week makes them juicier.

I've had

AKC Registrations Crash, Operating Deficits Follow

The AKC seems to be running pretty steady deficits, forcing them to slowly draw down from their massive portfolio of stocks.

What's the problem?

The core problem is that AKC dog registrations have fallen through the floor, and while they once declined at a rate of about 4% a year, they are now declining at a rate of about 10% a year, as indexed by their financial statements.

We have to go by the financial statements, as the decline in registrations has become so precipitous that the AKC no longer reports registration numbers to the public or at board meetings, though the law and normal financial reporting require the decline in revenue to be documented.

Even as registration numbers crash, the AKC is furiously adding more and more rare breeds, which increases administrative costs while doing very little to bolster the bottom line since rare breeds are, by definition, rare.  

Rare dog breeds also tend to have incredibly narrow gene pools, which means the AKC will remain the Mother Church of Inbreeding -- they are speeding up in this department, not slowing down.

As I have noted in the past, AKC puppy mill registrations are used to pay for the cost of dog shows and other "events" held by the AKC, including those fancy wine-and-dine events that are held as part of the Westminter and the Eukanuba National Champtionship.

As Jim Stevens, Chief Financial Officer of the AKC noted at the last AKC board meeting:

[I]n 2010 AKC’s events incurred an operating loss of more than $11 million. Since registrations generated an operating profit of only $7.5 million in 2010, there was a first time shortfall of more than $3.5 million in the annual events subsidy from registration revenue.

Note the careful wording.  This is not a first-time shortfall in "events" revenue; AKC dog shows and trials have never paid for themselves. Now, however, the cost of "events" has risen, and the steep decline in AKC puppy registrations cannot be made to paper over the cracks and holes.

As it stands now, AKC registrations appear to have fallen from a high of 1.528 million in 1992, to less than 450,000 today -- a decline of more than 70 percent. If things continue along this steep and steady decline, the AKC may be out of business entirely by 2025.

Worse Zombie Hand Job Ever

Jack Russells will be no damn use during the Zombie Apocalpyse.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Not the step-by-step guide to simple living - REVISITED

I'm having a short break from the blog for the rest of the week. In the meantime, I'll post some old posts that I think are still relevant and interesting. This one is from 2008   :- )

As I clicked away on the needles yesterday I tried to compose a blog post in my head that would help those much younger than me work towards their own version of a simple life. I would really like to

Boxers are Herders and Yorkies are Earthdogs?

The American Kennel Club is chock-full of pretenders and fantasists.

Three examples of where that gets you:

I love the boxer as a herding breed.   In fact, I think the AKC should classify all the butcher dog breeds as "herding" dogs:  Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Dogue De Bordeaux, Dogos, etc.  Breeds bred for "very strong jaws and a powerful bite ideal for hanging on to large prey" are just perfect for herding.  What could go wrong?

The Good New is that the Bad News Is Wrong

Only one problem:  The grass here was NOT genetically modified grass at all.  Tifton 85 is just a simple old-fashioned hybrid, i.e. a simple cross between an African Bermuda grass and Tifton 68, another hybrid grass first produced in Tifton, Georgia.  

Another small problem is that grass-based arsenic-poisoning is not new or uncommon.  In fact, in dry areas under poor grazing management, grass-based cyanide poisoning is pretty common, as the Merck Veterinary manual makes clear.

Most grass contains cyanide, and cyanide and selenium poisoning in grass-fed cattle occurs all the time. Selenium buildup is generally due to bad soil, but cyanide-poisoning in grass-fed cattle is generally due to improper grazing on dry soil or on low-cut grass that has a low-water content.

So what should the headline have been?  Here are two options:
New York-based reporter that has never seen a live cow fails at basic reporting and research

A bad rancher with poorly-managed fields manages to poison his cattle through a combination of ignorance, sloth and greed

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ringing in a new era at Bell

We spent a delightful Saturday out at Bell, about 200km west of here, with a group of ladies, and two men - Hanno and one of the husbands. A while back I received an email from Karen asking if I'd do a workshop there. She and two friends, Kate and Annette, had bought the old local hall, set up a vintage themed cafe in the front and the back was given over as a space for community events such as

Friday, June 22, 2012

Where the hell is she?

One place I have not been lately or at least often,
is right here, at the computer desk. 
For those of you who notice such things, this is a new/old desk. 
It used to be the table in my family room. 
It was swapped out for a new acquisition.
Yep, that is Darling Daughter as my screen saver.
Dearest Son was on there last week.
I alternate. 

This is the new/old table in the family room now.
Long story how it came to my home. Let's just say it was a swap.

 I just adore the top of this piece. It may look grungy but it is
scrubbed uber clean. I re-nailed and glued and added some support to this baby. Now I can spread out when I pay my bills, or have company for a casual meal.

(at a previous home)
There is another long story to this red primitive cabinet. It went through three different friends' homes and after a long difficult journey, ended up at mine. I had never attempted to own it thinking I would not want to repaint it. 
Even though it was not original paint, 
I hoped it could stay red.
I have successfully sold it for two different owners in the past,
and was trying to sell it again the past few months.

Suddenly two weeks ago, it needed a home fast,
 and so over it came very late one Friday night,
crammed in the back of a Yukon
with two High School guys holding on to it.  

By lunchtime Saturday it was white 
and hanging out in this corner.
(Ignore the curtains, that is changing)

The bowls from the kitchen island scooted over 
and Voila! new vignette.

I've also sewn and sold some totes and purses.
As soon as I get the supply back up they'll be in the shop
which I hope to reopen soon.

(very poor shots of some totes)

they hold a ton and are reversible..come in many 
fabrics and can be customized...

the answer is 
is still around and roasting in lala land.

Stop on by and let me know how you're doing.

A Dog Is Neither Shovel Nor Child

Article from the January 2011 issue of Dogs Today.

A Dog is Neither Shovel Nor Child
Balance is key to a correct relationship with your dog

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that most dog owners have decent to extremely satisfactory relationships with their dogs.

The bad new is that “most” means we have only cleared the 51 percent threshold.

The simple truth is that millions of dogs and their owners have interpersonal relationships marked by stress, indifference, miscommunication, and even misery.

Are there commonalities to these problems?

Generally speaking, yes.

A Dog Is Not a Shovel

One problem is that some owners fail to recognize that dogs are fully sentient beings that need more than food, water, shelter, and sanitation. Dogs also need mental stimulation and exercise every day, no exceptions.

This means that if you kennel your dogs twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, you are failing your dogs. In fact, you are treating your dogs worse than the most hardened of psychopathic criminals on death row.

And yet, how often do we see this? All the time!

Go to any commercial breeding or long-term boarding kennel, and you will see cage after cage of dogs deprived of the most basic kind of mental stimulation. Most are rarely walked or even turned out from their cages. Instead, a high-pressure water hose is used to blast feces into the scuppers. The gate to the kennel run may not be opened in a week

This is not a life. This is abuse.

“Abuse?!   But that’s the way we’ve always done it!”


Slavery and torture are also ancient traditions, but that doesn’t make them right does it?

We need to do better than this.

Dogs are not inanimate property. If you leave a shovel out in the rain and snow, it is of no concern to the state. But do the same thing to a dog, and not only will the state step in – it may fine you, remove your dog and, in extreme cases, jail you.

While there may be no legal obligation to provide exercise and mental stimulation for your dog, failure to live up to this responsibility is at the core of many, if not most, dysfunctional relationships.

Job One then is exercise and mental stimulation. Satisfy your dog’s needs in this regard, and you are half way home.

A Dog Is Not a Child

At the other end of the spectrum from those who treat dogs like shovels, are those who treat dogs as if they are children.

A dog is Canis lupus familiaris, not Homo sapiens bambino.

Accepting a dog for what it is, is the cornerstone of having a correct relationship.

Dogs drink from puddles, bark routinely, bite on occasion, and turn around three times before they curl up in the grass.

You cannot warn a dog about consequences, or explain to them why you are taking away their allowance. A dog does not have morality, does not believe in heaven, and does not fear hell.

Dogs consider it normal to roll in animal feces and to eat them too. They greet each other by sniffing each other’s butts, and they often drink from toilets because they do not have hands to turn on a tap.

Many dogs have strong prey drives, and some will kill your neighbor's cat as quick as you can say "Bob's your uncle."

In short, your dog is not your “fur baby.”

Do not deny the nature of a dog or its particular needs, any more than you would a tiger or a hummingbird.

And yet, look around. So many people insist on treating dogs as children. What’s going on here?

Most of the time, it’s a classic case of displacement -- a childless woman, gay man, or senior citizen transferring maternal or paternal needs to a dog.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with treating a dog well, or even doting on it, provided that the dog is not allowed to run riot and basic discipline is imposed.

That said, it’s important to realize dogs do not see the world the way we do. What an owner sees as an act of beneficence, a dog is likely to see as weakness to be exploited.

The bottom line is that a dog’s owner must set the rules, establish the routines, and decide what behaviors are permitted and which are not.

And yes, this means the dog must be subordinate to you.

It’s not a question of being mean or not caring. Quite the opposite. It’s a question of providing the dog with the clarity it needs to know it is not an equal in the household.

A dog is a dog, and a dog is less than the owner, less than the spouse, less than a child, and less than any human guest.

If there is any question about this in the mind of either you or the dog, the basis for a less-than-satisfactory relationship is set.

It’s All Up To You

Perhaps the most common failing in the world of human-dog relationships is the failure to train.

Watch closely, and you will see that people who raise perfectly acceptable children often have dogs that are out of control.

How is this possible?

One reason is that even the most active parents are only partially raising their own children – schools and society are doing most of it.

Beginning at a very early age, kids are bundled off to day care, kindergarten, and grade school where they spend eight hours a day being taught to raise their hands, line up for lunch, and respect adult authority. Socialization and exercise occur on the playground, while more after-school instruction is provided by coaches, church, police, television, movies, and books.

In the typical human household, children spend less than 10 minutes a day talking to their parents. Whether we chose to admit it or not, it is the larger social fabric of society that provides so much instruction to our kids.

Not so with dogs.

If you send your dog to public school; they will not train it! Instead, they will turn your dog over to the local pound where, if it is still unclaimed five days later, it is likely to be put to sleep.

Did I mention that a dog is not a child? True!

While the bad news is that you cannot pass off dog training to the local public school, the good new is that your dog does not need to know very much to make it in this world.

Four or five basic commands -- sit, come, stay and down -- are all that are needed for both dog and owner to have reasonably happy lives.

And here’s the other bit of good news: any and all dog training systems work pretty well.

Dog training is not rocket science; it’s repetition, timing, rewards and consistency.

A final bit of good news is that if you are looking for a good book on dog training, there’s a new one that sets out multiple methods of training the basic commands. Cesar’s Rules, by Cesar Millan, features Millan and eleven other dog trainers detailing the most common methods of teaching basic dog commands.   Check it out!  

Fish on Friday

Networking back when it had something to do with nets.

This was Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1905. A Shorpy great. Click to enlarge.

The Light Bulb, or 120 Years of Failure

From Maggie Koerth-Baker in The New York Times:
The electric light was a failure.  Invented by the British chemist Humphry Davy in the early 1800s, it spent nearly 80 years being passed from one initially hopeful researcher to another, like some not-quite-housebroken puppy. In 1879, Thomas Edison finally figured out how to make an incandescent light bulb that people would buy. But that didn’t mean the technology immediately became successful. It took another 40 years, into the 1920s, for electric utilities to become stable, profitable businesses. And even then, success happened only because the utilities created other reasons to consume electricity. They invented the electric toaster and the electric curling iron and found lots of uses for electric motors. They built Coney Island. They installed electric streetcar lines in any place large enough to call itself a town. All of this, these frivolous gadgets and pleasurable diversions, gave us the light bulb.
I like stories like this, as they remind us that success is often slow, and generally involves many people who toiled in failure or near-failure for decades, and that in the end it's so often the culture of the times and the sum total of many events that make something happen.


Are You All You Think About?

Enlarge this picture for the big and the small of where you actually fit in this universe.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Weekend reading

Happiness is a glass half empty.

For all the new parents and grandparents. Some common sense about babies.

Self sufficient, off the grid living.

Curlew Country - a delightful UK blog.

Home vegetable gardening in Kentucky.


Tracey is having high tea at her blog.

Crafty and Frugal - Sharon

Life in the American mid-west - Prairie Harmony Lot of lovely photos

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Satisfying the meat eaters

A woman asked me the other day for a couple of tips to keep her husband and teenage son happy at the dinner table. She's been trying to cut down the amount of meat they eat, mainly to keep to her budget, but also because she thought they were eating too much meat and wanted them to cut back. Unfortunately, when she made up  spinach pie or vegetable soup, they complained, said they were still

Bicycle Baskets for the Dogs

I am looking to put a bicycle basket on the back of the bike for the dogs, and I am casting about for ideas.

Most of the commercial carriers are ugly and flimsy-looking Sherpa Bag type things, while a plastic crate is pretty ugly in terms of aesthetics, and would seem to offer too little protection for the dog in the advent of an accident.

Another problem is that most bike baskets for dogs look like they are designed to carry teacup dogs.  Is it possible to carry a Jack Russell or two?

The wicker job below looks pretty great, but also very specific.  Where am I going to get one of those!  How about on Amazon?  And more here.

And then buried in an on-line forum for moped riders
, I found a picture of the rig below with the following notion:  Basket from Target and portal made from a recessed lighting fixture.  It looks like bolt-through fasteners were added for the shock cords on the lid.  I think I could do this, and it would be very cool and safe.

It occurs to me, however, that it should be possible to put two dogs on a bike, with one dog each loaded into side panniers, and with each dog facing forward.  A woven pannier like this would be awesome, but I am thinking a regular cloth-sided pannier, with a hard bottom, and a head slot for each dog on top,might be more practical as these would mount easily on my existing Blackburn rack and would keep the weight low too.  Suggestions?

More research:  I found this Dutch site which is really very good.  The maker of these wicker bike baskets is a marvelous, talented, and artful craftsman by the name of David Hembrow. Check out his work, and say Thank You that this kind of stuff still exists somewhere in this everything-made-in-China-from-plastic world.  Yes!  Full standing ovation

Robot of the Caves of Lascaux

A repost from this blog, circa 2004.

On September 8, 1940, a 17-year-old french boy by the name of Marcel Ravidat took three of his friends looking for a lost treasure that was supposedly buried in a secret tunnel.

Marcel's dog, a terrier by the name of "Robot," ran ahead. The dogs disappeared and, after a bit of looking around, the boys found it had gone down a hole.

Marcel and his friends were sure they had found an entrance to a treasure-filled tunnel. Young Ravidat tried to explore the tunnel himself, but without a light he and his friends did not get very far. They returned on September 13 with a homemade lantern, and after sliding down a tunnel found themselves in a large room that was about 100 feet long and 40 feet wide. This room turned into a narrow passage and, as they entered that passage, they raised their lamp and discovered that the walls of the cave were covered with fantastic pictures of animals.

The boys decided to tell their school teacher, Leon Laval, about their discovery, and soon word spread about the cave paintings of Lascaux.

By 1948, daily tours were being given of the cave paintings, but the human traffic increased the humidity and carbon dioxide levels inside the cave, which in turn resulted in damaging mold and fungus growing on the walls.

After determining that the 600 cave paintings and 1,400 etchings in the cave were about 17,000 years old, scientists closed the cave to the public in 1965.

A reproduction of the main parts of the cave was opened nearby in 1982, where it remains a tourist destination, while more reproductions of the paintings can be seen at the Centre of Prehistoric Art at Le Thot, France.

Some of the most distinctive pictures in the caves at Lascaux are pictures of primitive cattle, called Aurochs, and primitive horses that look very much like Tarpan (a type of primitive horse). Both Aurochs and Tarpan were "back bred" or recreated by Lutz Heck, who was also instrumenal in the creation of the German Hunt Terrier (Jagdterrier or Jagd terrier).

American Terrier Work Nightmares

Skunks AND rabies.  One can kill the dogs if they are sprayed underground, and the other can kill the human of they are bitten.  Together, rabies and skunks are always a pause.  For extra fun, this double dose of misery occurred not too far from where I occasionally dig.   Nice.
Skunk Bit Patron In Leonardtown Restaurant

A skunk involved in biting a human has tested positive for rabies, according to the St. Mary's County Health Dept.

The incident took place at Cheeseburger in Paradise, 23415 Knotch Rd. in California, Md., on the afternoon of June 14.

The skunk was the sixth animal and the third skunk in the county confirmed to have rabies this year.

Big Dog and Little Dog, 1923

Wolfhound and Chihuahua, 1923, Washington, D.C. Click for massive picture from Shorpy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Opa and grandma's backyard

I had forgotten. Forgotten how full on it is to look after a newly walking toddler. We had a visit from Shane, Sarndra and Alex last week. They stayed for a couple of days so we had enough time to catch up and to see Alex busy himself discovering new places in our home. Shane has a new job in Gladstone and has already flown up there so after they put him on the plane on Saturday, Sarndra and

In Thailand It's RAT-a-touilla With Hot Sauce

Click for video

Rat hunters in Thailand started to hunt rats to protect their crops, but they found the meat was good, and that diners were prepared to pay.

God bless capitalism and man the omnivore. Every culture has its food taboos and preferences. Who is to say one is worse than the other?

Coffee and Provocation

Neo-Wolves and Chickens?
A restaurant at the foot of Huzhua Mountain, Hubei province, central China, has an interesting gimmick:  diners come to watch large yellow dogs (the kind often eaten in China) chase down the chickens they're about to eat.  The dogs return the chickens to cooks who lop off the chicken's head and put it in the pot.  In reward for the catch-and-retrieve, the dogs get the leftover chicken to eat afterwards.  Could this make it in the U.S.?  Why not?   You want free range, natural chickens?  We got those!

Fat People are Killing the Planet?
Researchers at the  London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, publishing in the journal BMC Public Health, say that increasing levels of fatness around the world has the same impact on global resources as adding an extra billion people to the global population.  And where is the problem most severe?  In North America, of course. Though we have only 6% of the global population, we are responsible for more than a third of all the obese people on the globe.

I Wonder If This Would Stop Dogs From Barking?
It sure makes peope shut up!

This Land is Your Land (sort of):
Louis Bacon, a billionaire hedge fund manager has pledged to protect 90,000 acres of his Colorado ranch from further development as part of a much larger planned conservation area. The Obama administration said it would be the "largest single conservation easement" ever provided to the federal government. The easement will provide the foundation for a proposed new Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area.  The 90,000 acres is used as a corridor by bison, cougars, black bears, bighorn sheep, elk and deer, and borders the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  The family of Malcolm Forbes family had earlier placed more than 80,000 acres of the ranch in a conservation easement, and this easement will join the largest parcel inside the proposed conservation area -- the 600,000-acre Vermejo Ranch.  On all the land, hunting will be allowed.

Pot Growers to Help Build a Conservation Area:
Nearly 1,000 acres on Short Mountain in Cannon County, Tennessee, will be kept free of development forever, and remain wild and open to hunters and hikers, after the land was seized from conservation-minded marijuana growers.  It turns out the land is home to species of crayfish, salamanders and beetles not found anywhere else.

Massachusetts Bear Boom:
The population of black bears is, supposedly, growing by 8 percent a year.  That's a doubling time of less than 9 years.

You Never Heard of this Guy:
But I guarantee he changed the world more than anyone you have heard of.

I Had No Idea:
I had no idea that tattoo removal was this fast.  Wow!  So why is it so damn expensive?

Norway Has Hired Friends for Their Number One Mass Murderer:
I could not make this up.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Come to Somalia.

Come to Somalia: It's a Libertarian paradise!  Government-free since 1991!

For those who like to travel, I have this standing offer:

I will reimburse your one-way travel to the country with the least amount of law and regulation in the world at that time (I choose the country), and I will pay you the average annual salary of the people in that nation for one year, provided that you live and work in that country for one year on that money alone, and send me a picture from there once a day.
Operators are standing by.