Posts tagged ‘proof that the world is going crazy’

But is he humane?

From Thursday’s Telegraph we learn that in the United Kingdom:

It is legal to kill grey squirrels and most people do it by trapping and shooting. But it must be done in a humane manner or you will be fined under animal welfare laws.


However the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals argue that most people will be incapable of killing a squirrel without causing “unnecessary suffering” and will therefore be in breach of the law. They recommend taking the animal to the vet to be put down for around £30 or calling in pest control experts who will shoot the animal or kill it with a blow to the head.

So we have a law that does much to discourage residents from killing grey squirrels. This, despite the fact that:

The grey squirrel is having such a profound impact on British wildlife that the IUCN have now listed it on their list of the 100 worst invasive species globally and several other conservation groups are calling for radical steps to be taken to prevent irreversible damage being done (Lowe et al., 2000).

In the spirit of diplomacy, Audie would like to know what  he needs to do to be licensed as a pest control expert in the UK.

Pest Controlled

February 19, 2011 at 10:16 am 10 comments

Around the Web

There appears to be some confusion over at Google about that whole ‘don’t be evil‘ thing…


Via SFGate – The most depressing news story ever:

There are many incompetent people in the world. Dr. David A. Dunning is haunted by the fear that he might be one of them.

Dunning, a professor of psychology at Cornell, worries about this because, according to his research, most incompetent people do not know that they are incompetent.

On the contrary. People who do things badly, Dunning has found in studies conducted with a graduate student, Justin Kruger, are usually supremely confident of their abilities — more confident, in fact, than people who do things well.

Great. Now not only do I have to be depressed about the number of people I know who will apparently never get it… the truly scary news is that I’ll never really know whether or not I’m a clueless dolt.


Speaking of clueless people, it is not unusual for me to meet clients with unrealistic expectations who expect me to wave a magic wand and make their dog’s problem behavior vanish in a puff of rainbow fairy dust. Because it such a device could be enormously amusing (if not highly lucrative) I have often wished I had one.

And today I thought that wish had come true.While browsing around ThinkGeek I came across this:

According to ThinkGeek The Magic Wand Programmable Remote:

…may not make legions of kobold minions explode into flames, but it will learn up to 13 commands from your existing remote controls and map them to particular magical motions. Flick the wand from side to side to flip the channels, twist the wand to turn up the volume. A beam of light will shoot out the unicorn tail hair and magic will happen! The Wand can learn from any remotes in your house and once you master its 13 movements, you can mastermind a symphony of electronic enjoyment from the comfort of your couch.

A target stick, magic wand and remote control all in one! I was really excited about it until reality crashed in and I remembered that most remote controlled electronic equipment is operated by infrared signals. My remote training collars receive radio signals (the same kind of system used in R/C cars)  so, sadly, my future television career will not be built on this particular magic wand.


Last, but not least, via thepapierboy’s flickrstream in honor of today’s solstice I bring you – Poophenge!

June 21, 2010 at 10:43 pm 6 comments

Pure Paranoia

According to Wikipedia:

The term paranoia was derived from the Greek term Paranous, which roughly meant “beyond the mind”. It was used to describe a mental illness in which a delusional belief is the sole or most prominent feature. In original attempt at classifying different forms of mental illness, Kraepelin used the term pure paranoia to describe a condition where a delusion was present, but without any apparent deterioration in intellectual abilities and without any of the other features of dementia praecox, the condition later renamed “schizophrenia”. Notably, in his definition, the belief does not have to be persecutory to be classified as paranoid, so any number of delusional beliefs can be classified as paranoia.

I thought that the term paranoia only referred to an intense delusional belief that people or institutions are conspiring against you. I did not know that the word originally referred to a broad spectrum of limited delusional beliefs.

Can social animals suffer from paranoia? Unlike us, they cheerfully nurse their young in the middle of a herd, regularly engage in public sex and sometimes defecate at the dinner table. When one considers these kinds of animal behavior, they certainly don’t appear to suffer from the same hangups about being judged by others that we do.

I watched a doe nursing her fawn from my deck yesterday. They were a hundred yards away so I watched the little family through binoculars. They looked calm and happy, and I doubt they were aware of being watched.

While staring at a human mother nursing her child would have been unspeakably rude, my observation of the deer was a sweet moment, the kind we enjoy a lot in our home in the woods. And while I was careful not to disturb the deer’s peace and tranquility – did I violate their rights?

As quoted recently in Science Daily:

Dr Brett Mills from the University of East Anglia argues that while wildlife programmes can play a vital role in engaging citizens in environmental debates, in order to ‘do good’ they must inevitably deny many species the right to privacy.

That’s right, Dr. Mills believes that animals have an inalienable right to privacy.

Call me speciesist if you like, but I have a hard time taking this seriously when there are human beings in the world who are still fighting for their basic needs and rights.

I’m further annoyed because I suspect that Dr. Mills’ opinions have more to do with his own pecksniffian ideas about oppression and fairness than with a sincere concern for how living, breathing, thinking animals really feel though, ironically, Mills himself points out the fact that animals don’t understand the concept of privacy the same way that we do:

Unlike human activities, a distinction of the public and the private is not made in the animal world. There are many activities which animals engage in which are common to wildlife documentary stories but which are rendered extremely private in the human realm; mating, giving birth, and dying are recurring characteristics in nature documentaries, but the human version of these activities remains largely absent from broadcasting.

Dr Mills said: “It might at first seem odd to claim that animals might have a right to privacy. Privacy, as it is commonly understood, is a culturally human concept. The key idea is to think about animals in terms of the public/private distinction. We can never really know if animals are giving consent, but they often do engage in forms of behaviour which suggest they’d rather not encounter humans, and we might want to think about equating this with a desire for privacy.

“When confronted with such ‘secretive’ behaviour the response of the wildlife documentary is to read it as a challenge to be overcome with the technologies of television. The question constantly posed by wildlife documentaries is how animals should be filmed: they never ask whether animals should be filmed at all.”

Wild animals don’t avoid the proximity of people because they’re worried about what we think of them. That kind of neurosis (or paranoia) is uniquely human.  They avoid us because we’re weird and unpredictable and potentially dangerous. They avoid us because they don’t want to have to watch out for us, not because they’re uncomfortable being watched.

Animals are a wonderful PR tool for people like Mills. If he took on a real human cause he might inadvertently choose an individual or group that disagreed with his ideas. They might even (horror of horrors) take their cause up for themselves thus eliminating the need for a savior cum spokesmodel.  Animals, on the other hand, are perfect political pawns because they can’t talk and they can’t liberate, or even lobby for, themselves. Unlike human victims, animal victims need a human agent to speak for them and decide what’s best for them.

And therein lies the rub. I suspect that Mills’ campaign, like many others in the animal rights movement, is based more on massaging his ego and whoring for publicity than in mindful consideration to the kinds of things that are really important to animals.

It’s pure paranoia.

May 7, 2010 at 7:16 pm 6 comments

How Did We Get Here?

Via today’s New York Times :

Released just last week, Nintendo’s Pokewalker is a stopwatch-sized motion detector compatible with Pokeman HeartGold and SoulSilver that lets players  get their Pokémon fix even when they’re away from their Nintendo console.

Pokewalker follows on the heels of Nintendo’s Personal Trainer Walking which was marketed primarily to adults who wanted motivation to exercise.

A player can transfer any Pokémon from a game to the Pokéwalker and walk it through virtual routes as he walks around in real life.  When he walks, a player earns Watts that he can use to encounter and catch wild Pokémon, search for hidden items or unlock new routes. Nintendo says the device is designed to give players added incentive to keep their Pokémon with them wherever they go. As an (apparently) unintended side-effect, the device may also encourage sedentary geek children to get more exercise.

According to The Times, if you buy your child a Pokewalker:

You may also notice some unusual activity, such as increased running around or a sudden willingness to take the dog for a walk. That’s because the devices allow you to pull your little Pocket Monsters (or Pokémon) from the game and strengthen them with real-world movements, at home or at school. Watch out, teachers.

How did we get to a place where the soulless animation on a brightly-colored video game accessory provides more motivation for our children to get out and move than the living, breathing, feeling, under-exercised, under-stimulated dog sitting at their feet?

March 23, 2010 at 7:08 pm 14 comments

Behind the Kennel Door

Porndogs: The Adventures of Sadie is (I think) the first mass-marketed hardcore dog movie.  The live-action film presents the story of a young Labrador who goes into heat for the first time and runs away to the city to avoid getting spayed. The movie features an all-canine cast with voice-overs provided by well-known humans including Marilyn Chambers, Ron Jeremy, Paul Rodriguez, Too $hort, Heidi Fleiss, Tera Patrick and Dustin “Screech” Diamond.

As reported at thestranger:

Director Greg Blatman told, “I did a lot of research ahead of time. My concern, as a dog lover, was for [the dogs’] safety. I talked to two veterinarians [and] a couple of animal trainers, and made sure that there was absolutely no chance of harm… For the male dogs, we used professional stud dogs… We had to check all the dogs for sexually transmitted diseases, because breeders can’t have that passed on… We’re not going to put a condom on the dog… also, it’s the female that makes the decision, so we brought in the professional male stud dogs, but Sadie only chose who she wanted to have sex with. The males could do all they wanted, but Sadie’s a big girl, and she told them exactly what she wanted, and when she was satisfied with the partner or the pairing, she went at it.”

And from the official Porndogs website:

“Porndogs: The Adventures of Sadie” is an outrageous comedy that pretends to be hardcore porn film by featuring live dogs as the actors. Over thirty of our canine friends, a chicken and a man in a dog suit star in this 82 minutes motion picture.

Sponsored by the Screen Actors Guild, think of it as “Benji Does Dallas.” or “Animal Planet on Viagra”. “Porndogs” is at once a parody on human sexuality and a satire on adult films where the dogs talk and act just like people… or is it people who act like dogs?

February 19, 2010 at 7:45 pm 5 comments

Seeking Atheist Pet Sitters

Also Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans, Satanists, Jains and other non-Christians. Business Week reports reports on a group of entrepreneurial pet-loving atheists.

Bart Centre, 61, a retired retail executive in New Hampshire, says many people are troubled by this question, and he wants to help. He started a service called Eternal Earth-Bound Pets that promises to rescue and care for animals left behind by the saved.

Promoted on the Web as “the next best thing to pet salvation in a Post Rapture World,” the service has attracted more than 100 clients, who pay $110 for a 10-year contract ($15 for each additional pet.) If the Rapture happens in that time, the pets left behind will have homes—with atheists. Centre has set up a national network of godless humans to carry out the mission. “If you love your pets, I can’t understand how you could not consider this,” he says.

Will the beloved pets of the faithful really be left behind at the second coming?

Todd Strandberg, who founded a biblical prophecy Web site called that draws 250,000 unique visitors a month, agrees that Fido and Mittens are doomed. “Pets don’t have souls, so they’ll remain on Earth. I don’t see how they can be taken with you,” he says. “A lot of persons are concerned about their pets, but I don’t know if they should necessarily trust atheists to take care of them.”

How can Centre convince the faithful that he’s sinful enough to be left behind but not so sinful that he can’t be entrusted with the pets of the faithful? The Eternal Earthbound Pets FAQs addressed this:

Q: How do you ensure your representatives won’t be Raptured.

A: Actually, we don’t ensure it, they do. Each of our representatives has stated to us in writing that they are atheists, do not believe in God / Jesus, and that they have blasphemed in accordance with
Mark 3:29, negating any chance of salvation.


Q: How can we trust that you’ll honor your service agreement, afterall, you ARE atheists.

A: Being an atheist does not mean we lack morals or ethics. It just means we don’t believe in God or gods. All of our representatives are normal folks who love and live for their family, are gainfully employed, and have friends of varying beliefs.  Some of us are married to believers. Many of us volunteer our time at food banks, animal shelters, meals on wheels organizations, etc.   We fully endorse the “Rule of Reciprocity”, also known as “The Golden Rule.” We just happen not to believe in God(s).  Belief in God does not ensure righteousness, nor does non-belief imply immorality. Jesus understood this. Please reference Luke 10, re “The Good Samaritan.”

Centre’s not the only one who has expressed an interest and concern about the pets of the raptured. Post Rapture Pets presents a handy algorithm that allows you to calculate the Rapture Index and Reliability of any potential post rapture pet sitter. They suggest that the rapture bound cover all their metaphysical bases by lining up several potential sitters who have high Suitability Indexes for different reasons.

Where do I sign up?

February 15, 2010 at 10:52 pm 15 comments

Are the Eagles Writing for The Onion?

… or did Sick Vick just bully them into it?

Michael Vick holding a gun to the head of Donovan McNabb's prize border collie, Franchise

How utterly ironic – two months ago The Onion published a story mocking “reformed” dog killer Michael Vick.  While The Onion’s writers poked fun at Vick by insinuating that his teammates were as disgusted by his violent past as the rest of us are:

Michael Vick’s pregame pep talk Sunday, in which he recounted the events of a brutal 2004 dogfight between his pit bull terrier Zebro and rival pit bull Maniac, failed to inspire his teammates in any way whatsoever, Eagles team sources reported.

Vick, who was playing in his first NFL game since serving an 18-month prison sentence, called the 10-minute story “really motivational,” and reportedly failed to understand why his graphic recounting of how Zebro ripped out Maniac’s larynx caused teammates to stagger out of the player tunnel and onto Lincoln Financial Field with their heads hanging.

But today – in a gesture so bizarre that it was unthinkable even to the deliciously twisted staff of The Onion –  Michael Vick was voted the Philadelphia Eagles’ recipient of the 2009 Ed Block Courage Award.  The players on each NFL team vote to give award the teammate who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship and courage.

Apparently Vick’s fellow Eagles really did think that those dog fight stories were motivational…

What next –  shall we give Tiger Woods an award for his dedication to family life?  Honor Nidal Hasan with the Silver Star?

If you’re as disgusted as I am – take a minute or ten to contact the sponsors of the Ed Block award and let them know how you feel about the Eagles’ gesture to “honor” this unrepentantly evil psychopath.

December 24, 2009 at 2:28 am 1 comment

Time to Eat the Dog


New Zealand’s Dominion Post published an ‘interesting’ opinion piece today on the supposedly dire environmental impacts posed by pet keeping.

Victoria University professors Brenda and Robert Vale, architects who specialise in sustainable living, say pet owners should swap cats and dogs for creatures they can eat, such as chickens or rabbits, in their provocative new book Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living.

The couple have assessed the carbon emissions created by popular pets, taking into account the ingredients of pet food and the land needed to create them.

“If you have a German shepherd or similar-sized dog, for example, its impact every year is exactly the same as driving a large car around,” Brenda Vale said.

“A lot of people worry about having SUVs but they don’t worry about having Alsatians and what we are saying is, well, maybe you should be because the environmental impact … is comparable.”

Do you suppose that the Vales took into account the fact that most of the “meat” that goes into commercial dog food is byproducts that might otherwise go to waste?  Did they also take into account the fact that most pet owners (present company included) don’t buy a new set of dog beds, crates, bowls, leashes and kennels every time they get a new dog.

What next, a book on the merits of cannibalizing children?

It looks to me like these folks took a page from PeTA’s playbook, using shock tactics to promote themselves.  This is one dog-related book I won’t be buying.  In fact, I’m not even going to post a link to it.

October 23, 2009 at 3:10 am 8 comments

Dog Tagging

We heard about a disturbing new trend in gang violence from a story published on BakersfieldNow earlier this month:

OILDALE, Calif. — A puppy was recently found tagged with red spray paint in an alley off Chester Avenue.

The puppy was found across from Sam Lynn Ballpark with the letters “O-A-E” sprayed on her side and a red strip sprayed down her back.

Michelle Lyon met the puppy Tuesday night when her neighbor brought her home.

“It’s appalling,” Lyon said. “We have so many animals dumped all the time, and we have so many graffiti problems in this area, and now we have them both in the same thing.”

Some people who live in the area where the puppy was found said this is the new trend in gang tagging. They said they see dogs and cats walking around with spray paint on them all the time.

Those residents spoke on condition of anonymity, because they said they fear the gang members responsible for the graffiti. They said the gang members tag animals to mark their territory.

Officials with the Bakersfield Police Department and the Kern County sheriff’s and animal control departments said they’re unaware of the problem. They said, however, that they wouldn’t expect to hear about it because of the fear of gangs.


Graffiti is as old as the written word and it’s a common sight in cities all over the world.  And dealing with problems like graffiti is a part of life for people that live in neighborhoods plagued by gang activity.  But until recently –  living creatures weren’t targets for these assaults defacement.

According to Alex Alonso (Gang Graffiti on the City Landscape), gang graffiti functions as a way to communicate sentiments, express group identity, and to dictate rules of their socially constructed places.  Alonso states:

Those who understand these spatial conquests of the landscape are able to identify the social and spatial order of a community. This even applies to non-gang youths of an area, who take it upon their own initiative to understand and respect these socially claimed places in an effort to safeguard themselves and to stay clear of gang conflict.

Imagine having gang members tag your pet with the signs they use to mark their territory.  Claiming a living member of your family as part of their turf.   The unfortunate people – and animals – who live in areas afflicted by gang activity live in a constant state of fear.  Threats and violence are a regular part of their daily existence.  It’s like living in a war zone.  And the problem is just getting worse…

The US Department of Justice reports:

Twenty years ago, fewer than half our cities reported gang activity. A generation later, 95 percent of our largest cities and 88 percent of smaller cities suffer gang-related crime. Eighty-nine percent of all cities recently reported that their gang problem was the same or getting worse. In one recent year, gangs committed more than 580,000 serious crimes.

These crimes exact a toll of tremendous physical and emotional pain from individuals, families, and entire communities. We are learning more about gangs and their activities, but know little about the individuals whose lives they so quickly and tragically change–the victims and survivors of gang violence. These victims face additional, special problems not confronted by most other crime victims.

There is one bit of good news in this story.  The tagged puppy, who was a stray, has found a new home.  But, like many other cities, Bakersfield’s gang problems continue to escalate.

October 13, 2009 at 3:03 am 3 comments

Shut Up – Or Die?

Earlier this month ABC Australia reported a story about a man who was stabbed to death after complaining about his neighbor’s barking dog:

Joseph Durrant, 47, was fatally stabbed at Mount Pritchard in Sydney’s west after returning home from Australia Day celebrations in 2007.

He was attacked after making a comment about his neighbour Katrina Whitmore’s barking dog.

Whitmore has been sentenced to at least 10 years in jail after a jury found her guilty of murder.

Today the Milwauke Journal-Sentinal reports on an even more bizarre case of misplaced rage over barking:

Police say they believe a Madison woman stabbed her puppy because it wouldn’t stop barking, then she tried to stop the puppy from bleeding with super glue.

Madison Police left the 3-month-old German shepherd at a local emergency animal clinic. They arrested the 46-year-old woman.

Officers were called Sunday night to an apartment in the 1500 block of Trailsway St. According to an incident report, the woman officers eventually arrested claimed a male friend had stabbed the puppy, “Shep.”

The woman later told investigators that she was responsible, according to the report. She said “Shep” had been barking and yelping.

Officers found the bleeding puppy running in a hallway.

I don’t even know what to say about this. While the bitter, vindictive bitch in my can – at least in some way – understand taking out my rage on a chronically whiney neighbor.  There is no part of me that understands how a person – no matter how frustrated – could stab an innocent puppy because it barked too much.

Hello people – puppies bark.  They whine. If they’re like Audie they also moan, groan, chirp and sometimes speak in entire rambling paragraphs.  German shepherd puppies are prone to whining.  Especially when they’re kept cooped up in apartment buildings and not given enough supervision, training and EXERCISE.

The puppy is expected to recover.  Hopefully he’ll be rehomed with someone who understands that a knife isn’t the right tool to deal with excess barking.

June 25, 2009 at 9:24 pm 3 comments

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