Monday, February 20, 2017
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Saturday, February 18, 2017
I find that some paragraphs need shattering.
A case in point is this one from William Faulkner's The Bear in which he writes of the little bear-hunting terrier.
The words are all Faulkner, but the carriage returns are my own.
Apologies if the addition of space to the text is an irritation, but this is such an intricate piece of work done in such dense rhetorical wood, that I fear the good bits may get lost if presented too quickly as a whole.
..[A]nd a little dog,.
nameless and mongrel and many-fathered,
yet weighing less than six pounds,
who couldn't be dangerous
because there was nothing anywhere much smaller,
because that would have been called just noise,
because it was already too near the ground to genuflect,
and not proud
because it would not have been close enough
for anyone to discern what was casting that shadow,
and which didn't even know it was not going to heaven
since they had already decided it had no immortal soul,
so that all it could be was brave
even though they would probably call that too
Friday, February 17, 2017
This raccoon hitched a ride from Rosslyn to Falls Church, Virginia (my house is located between the two points) this morning.
He got off when the driver was notified, was looked over by an animal control officer, and then was released to go on his way.
The Heath Hen lost the war and is now extinct thanks to hunting, fire, disease, feral cats, fox, and development.
In the end, they killed cats in droves to protect the birds, as this gibbet suggests, but still they kept coming until the Heath Hen was no more.
But is that all of the story? I argue it is not. The Heath Hen, after all, was not a species, but a subspecies of the Greater Prairie Chicken, which still exists. If anyone wants to "reintroduce" the Heath Hen back to Massachusetts, or any of the states with scrubby heath barrens along the North American coast from New Hampshire to northern Virginia, all they have to do is have the right habitat and cover free of feral cats, fox, dogs, hawks, coyotes, bobcats, and other predators. Good luck!
Thursday, February 16, 2017
One of my friends in the U.K. has bird-dogged me to a Belgium blog at which the German Shepherd dog has been morphed from what it once looked like to what it looks like now in the show ring.
The blog's clever author then went on to morph a horse to show what that animal would look like if we did to horses what we have done to German Shepherds.
Anyone want to be a Jockey on this one?
The blog's clever author then went on to morph a horse to show what that animal would look like if we did to horses what we have done to German Shepherds.
Anyone want to be a Jockey on this one?
How fast has it come undone?? Obama is still on VACATION.
This so-called "President," who did not win the popular vote, and who Time magazine has painted as a Pinocchio easily manipulated by Steve Bannon, is being openly mocked by world leaders even as the leadership of his own party is curling away in abject terror.
Millions of people have already taken to the streets in protest, and Congressional phone lines are ringing off the hook to the point that the phones are being unplugged.
Members of Congress from both parties are terrified to hold meetings in their districts -- Republicans because they cannot defended the indefensible, and Democrats because they have not yet physically set the White House on fire.
Trump's immediate staff is worried they will lose their jobs within the month, while Trump's National Security Advisor has been fired, and three close associates are under investigation for possible treason.
At least 20 national security agencies are investigating the Trump Administration for bribery, conflicts, and manipulation by foreign agents and banks, while the CIA and FBI say they are finding everything that they can check in the infamous "British Dossier" is coming up true, Rumors swirl that the Russians have both video and audio tape of Trump with prostitutes, and that this tape is from multiple locations on multiple dates. The specificity of this charge, and the fact that is comes from MI-5, is frightening.
The burn rate and trajectory here is like nothing we have ever seen. It is unsustainable, and rather than slow down, the vortex of dysfunction seems to be speeding up, with Trump's poll numbers in free fall, and the actionable lies stacking up like cord wood.
The core problem is Trump himself. He is a sociopath and a malignant narcissist who has surrounded himself with people so eager to have their 15-seconds of fame, that they are willing to sell America to the Russians, poison our rivers, and see thousands of American go bankrupt and die from lack of health care.
America will not put up with it. We will have our nation back, and it will be sooner rather than later.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
What you see, in the picture above, is true inbred thinking.
This German Shepherd -- the winner of the Westminster Dog Show -- is standing on its own hock -- a serious structural defect caused by a deformed back and hip structure.
This is a herding dog, that has never seen a sheep, being celebrated by people who have spent a lifetime ruining dogs, and who have never once wondered why the U.S. Secret Service will not use a U.S.-bred German Shepherd to do anything.
Max von Stephanitz suspected it might come to this. Over a hundred years ago, the creator of the German Shepherd wrote:
"The breeding of Shepherd dogs must be the breeding of working dogs, this must always be the aim or we shall cease to produce working dogs.
In contradistinction to working and utility breeding is "sport" breeding, which produces a temporary advance but is always followed by deterioration, for it is not done for the sake of the DOG, nor does it make him more useful, it is done for the vanity of the breeder and the subsequent purchaser."
Of course, the deterioration of the German Shepherd was assured as soon as the dog was pulled into the show ring. Look at the skeletal differences between true herding dogs and the wrecked American German Shepherd Dog.
|GSD bitch Cruaghaire Catoria was best of breed at Crufts in 2016.|
No, this is not a joke. From the folks at Crufts:
With effect from 1 August 2016, the Characteristics clause of the Kennel Club Breed Standard for the German Shepherd Dog has been changed as follows (new wording is inside the asterixes):
Characteristics: Versatile working dog, balanced and free from exaggeration. ***Must be capable of standing comfortably and calmly, freely and unsupported in any way, in structural balance, whilst both rear pasterns are vertical.*** Attentive, alert, resilient and tireless with keen scenting ability.
This is being touted at DogWorld as "KC imposes tough measures," which pretty much summarizes what is wrong with the entire mind set of the show dog world. Requiring a top show dog to be able to actually stand without support is a "tough" standard!
But guess what? The show dog people are bawling about it. Again, from Dog World:
The German Shepherd judge at Crufts 2018 is having second thoughts about the appointment following the Kennel Club’s shake-up of the breed.
Nikki Farley – who is WUSV/GSD League British Regional Group chairman – said she was not sure that the KC could ‘break its contract’ with her that way.
“I have a contract and letters from them and nowhere there does it say anything about having to re-sit an examination,” she said.
“So I need to look at more detailed information and think very seriously about it.
“What the KC has done is horrible, but it hasn’t really surprised me.”
I have said it in the past, and I will repeat it here: It's time to shut down the Kennel Club.
It is the Kennel Club that mandates that dogs be bred in a closed registry system in which increasing levels of inbreeding are the inevitable byproduct.
It is the Kennel Club that green lights the standards which select for defect and which means that most members of some breeds suffer their whole lives.
It is the Kennel Club that credentials judges who have no idea of what they are doing because they know nothing about working dogs or even the basics of anatomy.
It is the Kennel Club that gives show dogs zero points for health, zero points for work, and zero points for temperament.
It is the Kennel Club that allows puppy mill dogs to be registered
It is the Kennel Club that refuses to allow any breed club to mandate health tests as a requirement for registration.
It is the Kennel Club that refuses to allow any breed club to mandate working tests as a requirement for registration.
It is the Kennel Club that refuses to allow any breed club to delay registration until a dog is an adult and is actually proven to look like the breed it is supposed to be.
The Kennel Club is not same faceless entity; it is run by people with names, and it time those people were brought up on charges for systematic abuse of man's best friend.
To be clear, what has occurred to dogs is real abuse, and it has not been an "accident" but part of a systematic and regimented plan that has predictably led to millions of dogs in long-term pain, early death, and endless misery.
It's time to shut it down.
Monday, February 13, 2017
The logo of the Westminster Dog Show features a pointer, but don't let that fool you, as honest field work is counted for ZERO points at Westminster.
Health and temperament also get ZERO points at Westminster.
Westminster is NOT about breeding better dogs; it's about propping up an artificial market in dogs with closed registries, potted fictional histories, and sniffing pretensions.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Saturday, February 11, 2017
Friday, February 10, 2017
Thursday, February 09, 2017
Don't Give Us Any New Ideas
A group of chimpanzees conspired, killed, and cannibalized an abusive former leader.
The Back Yard Lions of Los Angeles
What do you do when the neighborhood wildlife eats your pet Alpaca?
Amazon Fire Tablet for $40
This is how I watch TV when the wife is watching something else.
Meat Eating Plants
How did some plants evolve to eat meat?
A Robo Barista?
Yep, it's come to that.
The Mango Mussolini's Paid Applauders
Donald Trump and his spokes-liars say over 3 million protesters were "paid." That's a total and transparent lie from a lying liar. But what's not a lie is that BogusPOTUS launched his presidential campaign in front of an "audience" of actors paid $50/each to wear campaign shirts and cheer wildly, and he brought a version of this paid cheering section with him into the presidency, bringing along staffers to applaud at key moments during his press conferences and other appearances, such as his disastrous speech in front of the CIA. Paid applauders is such an old scam, it has a name: a claque.
Massive Mayan Roads Found
In Guatemala, scientists have found a system of superhighways that once connected pyramidal complexes, which means the Maya civilization can be said to rival that of the Romans.
One for the Truck, the Car, the Pack
A 3-pack of Smith & Wesson black Tanto Tactical Knifes for $23.
America’s 640 million acres of national public lands -- including our national forests and Bureau of Land Management lands -- provide hunting and fishing opportunities to millions of Americans. They represent the uniquely American values of freedom and adventure that are the envy of the world.
Public lands need to remain federal public lands. Why? Simple: Individual states do not have the ability to shoulder enormous costs associated with fighting wildfires, maintaining roads and trails, eradicating invasive species, and conducting habitat restoration on millions of acres. Without the money to maintain public lands, states would sell off vast chunks of land, at bargain rates, to the highest bidders, which would include billionaires who would close access, and foreign corporations that would strip America's lands for private profits parked overseas.
Because revenge is a bitch.
Wednesday, February 08, 2017
"We will build the fence, and the rabbits will pay for it!”
|Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth, 1948|
From the Discover magazine blog comes this note about the secret sadness behind this iconic painting:"
In 1896, at the early age of three, Anna Christina Olson had trouble walking. Her balance was off, she walked with a notably unusual waddle even for a toddler, and her mother crafted knee pads to buffer her tumbles. These difficulties of gait and balance would worsen as she aged, a progressive deterioration of function, causing the girl to lose strength first in her legs and then eventually in her arms and hands before she became nearly immobile. In 1919, during her mid-20s, she reluctantly agreed to spend one fruitless week in Boston City Hospital as an inpatient. They failed to diagnose her, offering the uninspiring prescription that she “just go on living as [she had] always done”.
Christina never used a wheelchair, preferring to crawl around her home, a 16-room farmhouse and its massive grounds in Cushing, Maine. Andrew Wyeth would describe her “crawling like a crab over the New England shore,” using the remaining strength in her shoulders and hips to pitch herself forward. She is captured in this precise pose, mid-crawl up a hill, in Wyeth’s painting.
Tuesday, February 07, 2017
I just learned that Hans Rosling died this morning, surrounded by his family. I am gutted. It was pancreatic cancer.
Han Rosling was a powerful, fact-filled, and humorous voice of optimism; the kind of thing we need now than ever. His Gap Minder web site unveiling the beauty of statistics as moving musical notes rather than static tones.
Long time readers of this blog are encouraged to review a few of the times he was featured on this blog and to visit the Gap Minder web site as well. Goodbye Hans -- you were loved and will be missed. You made a real difference.
National Geographic has come out swinging over the Trump Administration's decision to hide online records of animal welfare violations, a move that will "rob journalists, investigators, and the public of timely information and takes pressure off abusers."
Two weeks into the Trump Administration, thousands of documents detailing animal welfare violations nationwide have been removed from the website of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which has been posting them publicly for decades. These are the inspection records and annual reports for every commercial animal facility in the U.S.—including zoos, breeders, factory farms, and laboratories.
These records have revealed many cases of abuse and mistreatment of animals, incidents that, if the reports had not been publicly posted, would likely have remained hidden. This action plunges journalists, animal welfare organizations, and the public at large into the dark about animal welfare at facilities across the country. The records document violations of the Animal Welfare Act, the federal law that regulates treatment of animals used for research and exhibition. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which has maintained the online database, cites privacy concerns as justification for the removal.
Critics question that reasoning. The agency has long redacted sensitive information from these records, and commercial facilities do not necessarily have the same right to privacy as private individuals. “The citizens of the United States deserve to see that information,” says Dan Ashe, head of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He says the USDA's removal of records is “not in the interest of credible, legitimate animal care facilities. What [the action] does is it erodes public confidence, because when people see something like that, they're inclined, rightfully, to think that the government is trying to shield something from their view.”
Dystopian novels (the opposite of utopian) are now top sellers on Amazon. Top titles include Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Not yet rising, as it is not yet written, is my terrier-based hunting guide to the Terror Planet.
This is MURPHY BROWN in 1995. We thought this was comedy.
Monday, February 06, 2017
I wonder what Cry Baby Trump is going to say and tweet about this? Snowflake!
Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch suited up to support American values and tradition, and they were not alone.
A tech-heavy collection of nearly 100 companies filed an amicus curiae brief against the Trump administration’s "Muslim ban" executive order, calling it “unlawful.” The letter is a rare coordinated effort by a group of rivals including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Uber, and Lyft.
This bobcat was filmed up the street yesterday.
Anthony J. Martin's book, "The Evolution Underground" is to be released tomorrow. Not yet terrierman approved, but I have to say it sounds like my cup of tea and coffee. For sale on Amazon.
What is the best way to survive when the going gets tough? Hiding underground. From penguins to dinosaurs, trilobites, and humans, Anthony Martin reveals the subterranean secret of survival.
Humans have “gone underground” for survival for thousands of years, from underground cities in Turkey to Cold War–era bunkers. But our burrowing roots go back to the very beginnings of animal life on earth. Without burrowing, the planet would be very different today. Many animal lineages alive now—including our own—only survived a cataclysmic meteorite strike 65 million years ago because they went underground. On a grander scale, the chemistry of the planet itself had already been transformed many millions of years earlier by the first animal burrows, which altered whole ecosystems. Every day we walk on an earth filled with an under-ground wilderness teeming with life. Most of this life stays hidden, yet these animals and their subterranean homes are ubiquitous, ranging from the deep sea to mountains, from the equator to the poles. Burrows are a refuge from predators, a safe home for raising young, or a tool to ambush prey. Burrows also protect animals against all types of natural disasters: fires, droughts, storms, meteorites, global warmings—and coolings. In a book filled with spectacularly diverse fauna, acclaimed paleontologist and ichnologist Anthony Martin reveals this fascinating, hidden world that will continue to influence and transform life on this planet.
Click here to read a previous post on this blog about the architecture of burrows from one who has dug on a few!
First, the good news: most people are not buying breeds with a high prevalence of bone cancer, i.e. osteo sarcoma.
The bad news is that bone cancer is quite common in greyhounds and many extra large breeds.
Nationwide Pet Insurance, formerly VPI, aka NationwideDVM, has produced a nice new study on the prevalance of Osteosarcoma in dogs. Check it out!
Bottom line: "the most reliable predictor of a higher prevalence of osteosarcoma is the size and/or breed of a dog." Thanks to Gina Spadafori for sending this to me -- nice work from Nationwide!
This skein of Canada Geese flew past me yesterday -- a reminder that what was lost has largely been regained.
It is hard to describe the destruction of American wildlife between 1850 and 1900.
By 1850 all the Elk had been shot out in the East, the Forest Bison pushed into complete extinction, the Wolf extirpated from everywhere in the East but the Maine woods.
Between 1850 and 1900 the great herds of Plains Bison were cut down to within a few hundred animals of extinction, White Tail Deer and Wild Turkey were virtually extirpated along most of the Atlantic seaboard, geese and ducks of every type were slaughtered in dizzying numbers by shrapnel fired from cannon used by market hunters, and the beaver had simply vanished from every state East of Ohio. The Carolina Parakeet and Passenger Pigeon were gone, as was the Eskimo Curlew -- birds which once numbered in the millions.
The turn around in American wildlife populations began with passage of the Lacey Act in 1907, which banned market hunting.
A critical turn around in the fortunes of wild geese and duck occurred in 1935 when live decoys -- wild birds that had been trapped and made flightless with pinned or clipped wings -- was made illegal.
It looked like the ban on live decoys had come too late for some species, however. One of those species was the Giant Canada Goose which was thought to be extinct -- or nearly extinct -- in the wild.
The good news is that while there were almost no wild Canada Geese left, captive decoy goose populations still existed. With the 1935 ban on the use of decoy geese, most of these animals were released into marshes and onto ponds. Unable to fly, many of these animals quickly fell prey to fox and dogs, but some managed to grow back their feathers or live long enough to reproduce.
During World War II and into the 1950s, the descendants of once-captive Giant Canada Geese slowly multiplied in remote marshes and isolated ponds. While a natural recovery seemed to be occurring, these descendants of once-captive geese were largely non-migratory since, after three or four generations in captivity prior to 1935, they no longer had any "lead geese" to show them the way North.
In the 1960s the Giant Canada Geese population remained so low across the U.S. that it was considered extirpated in most states and near-extinct in the wild. In order to prevent extinction, a systematic effort was made to captive-raise Giant Canada Geese and introduce small flocks back into areas where they had once existed.
The introduction of Canada Geese was a phenomenal success. Absent hunting and disease, small flocks of Canada Geese grew by 10 to 20 percent percent a year -- a population doubling time of just 3 to 7 years time.
In a relatively short period of time, states saw a phenomenal growth in their Giant Canada Goose populations. Ohio, to cite on example, began with just 20 captive-raised birds in 1956, but by 2002 had a population of over 140,000 birds. Today almost all the geese you see in the Eastern U.S,. and Midwest are Giant Canada Geese.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates the current resident Giant Canada Goose population of the U.S. at 4 million birds and growing rapidly, with a small number of truly migratory Giant Canada Geese still found in the mid-Atlantic flyway.
Giant Canada Geese have also been introduced into other parts of the world, most notably Europe, where they are also thriving.
The "goose problem" today is not extinction but an over-abundance of geese in areas where heavy population densities may inconvenience golfers and cause eutrophication of farm ponds.
A boom in geese populations, however is not too bad a problem as problems go, and it has certainly been a benefit for fox which frequently raid Canada Goose nests in order to feed rapidly growing kits.
The rise of Canada Geese has also created a boom in sport hunting which now pumps hundreds of millions of dollars a year into rural economies. No one has benefited more from the demise of commercial market hunting than the sport hunter.
With the demise of market hunting, and with the assistance of capable wildlife managers, the Giant Canada Goose has returned, as has the wild turkey, the beaver, the bison, the elk, white tail deer, alligator and even the wolf. Truly, these are the good old days.