The anesthesia is just wearin’ off. (I’d call it laughin’ gas but there hasn’t been a whole lotta’ laughin’ goin’ on around here over the last few days.)
Still…it’s alive! ‘Course it moves ‘bout as well as Frankenstein, but ya’ can’t have everything.
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posted by Harrison at 9:36 PM
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Now if you'll 'scuce us, we've got kitchen duty. Yum.
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posted by Harrison at 12:11 PM
Danger at Our Dinnertable
On the West Coast they chase cars and people at will.
On college campuses they stalk students in broad daylight.
On the East Coast they terrorize the elderly in their homes, children on the way to school, parishioners, mailmen, even construction workers!
In Middle America they're tryin' to hijack motorbikes, cars, and unsuspectin' joggers.
So who are these blatent terrorist agents operatin' without fear of retribution from Homeland Security?
"Bird menacingly gobble-gobbles as it chases cars and people in a Sonoma County mobile home park."
Sounds like Al Franken forgot to take his meds again.
"Walking across [the Connecticut] campus has never been more dangerous. Landmines of goose feces cover the university grasslands, seagulls and parrots dive out of the sky at random, skunks threaten to expose their stench and, worst of all, students are now being stalked by turkeys."
Wonder what that quad smells like after a beer bash in the frat houses?
"The 85-year-old Concord [MA] woman was tiny, maybe 5 feet tall, sweet as can be, and just a little bit frail. The turkey was a full-grown tom. Three feet from spur to crown, pumped up on mating-season testosterone, fearless and rearing to defend his turf. Unfortunately for the octogenarian, that included her. The turkey had built a nest above her porch, staking his claim, and at some point decided she was part of it. No one could go into her house. No one could leave. As far as the turkey was concerned, the little old lady belonged to him. Period. End of conversation….
The letter carrier was the first to find out just how serious. He was chased away. Then a delivery boy bringing heart medication was given the bum's rush. When the elderly woman herself tried to leave the house, she was quickly shooed back inside. In the end, the turkey attacked the wrong guys. He went after a bunch of furniture movers who threw coffee at him, prompting the turkey to run into the street, where it was struck and killed by a car…"
Every turkey should be thoroughly basted with somethin'
"When Big Daddy bit the dust on Centre Street last year, suspicions of murder were rampant. After all, he was the leader of one of several brazen street gangs that have muscled into pockets of this horsy Boston suburb and held residents at ... beak point. Backpack-laden kindergartners struggle to catch school buses before territorial gobblers catch them; churchgoers, post-office patrons, and brawny construction workers are routinely held hostage in their cars by scolding toms; unsuspecting joggers are followed by trotting turkey shadows reminiscent of Jurassic Park raptors; rush-hour traffic can be stalled by bumper- pecking broods."
Well, that's a whole new take on "tailgatin'."
"In April, Will Millington was riding his dirt bike down a narrow trail in Norman, Okla., when he stopped before a flock of wild turkeys. The hens scattered, but two toms flared their feathers and stalked toward him. Then they suddenly leapt in the air, beat Mr. Millington with their wings and tried to scratch him with the sharp spurs on the backs of their legs. Mr. Millington frantically revved his bike's motor. Thirty yards down the trail he looked back. "They were running after me," says the 46-year-old property manager. "That was kind of spooky."
Yeah, like the ghost of Thanksgivings past.
"He's wild! He's a mad, mad turkey," resident Kevin Polumbo [of Lancaster County, PA] said.
"I just call him the attack turkey," resident Guy Wilson said…
If you're in a car -- you're fair game. "They'll run along side of 'ya and try to getcha," resident Carl Mohler said.
"The mailman says they follow him to the end of the road and chase him to every stop," resident John Wilson said. They're bold birds. [They spotted] a truck coming and [ran] right into the road. They almost got hit, but that doesn't faze them a bit. "They're still chasing him up the road," Wilson said.
Cue the theme from Deliverance.
"Last month, jogging on a back road in Massachusetts' Berkshire hills, Betsy Kosheff passed a farmers' field where farm-raised wild turkeys were pecking for grain. Suddenly about 30 of them took off after [her]. "It was like that scene in "The Birds" except there was no phone booth," says Ms. Kosheff, referring to the famous refuge in the Alfred Hitchcock movie. A passing friend stopped her pickup truck and Ms. Kosheff ran around it several times. The turkeys kept up the chase, although she says "they were too stupid to split up or change directions" to trap her. Finally, Ms. Kosheff got in the truck, where, she says, her friend "was laughing so hard she almost choked on her Dunkin' Donut."
Praise the Lord, pass the drumstick, and let's spend the day turnin' those turkey terrorists into turkey tetrazzini.
Photo by John Nordell, Christian Science Monitor staff
Read the rest
posted by Harrison at 12:27 AM
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
From the Litter Pan
For those who care enough to send the very best…the perfect Christmas gift for Jimmah Carter.
At last! A use for all those "3-Months-of-AOL-Free!" CDs.
"I wanna' test ma' re-flexies." "That sounds like a good i-dee." Quick Draw McGraw=1. Deadeye Dick=0.
"A Bluefield [VA] man…and a female friend…took part in a test of the man's reflexes. According to the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office, the test involved a handgun."
And finally, somethin' we all should remember. When attacked by a nine-foot penis, swim like hell… Ditto for an elephant's tusk.
"[Gregory Colbert a 45-year-old Canadian photographer] was once tusked by an elephant while swimming alongside it for a photo-shoot. “It was an accident,” Colbert protested, before describing how the sensation of having the elephant’s tusk hooked in his trousers, then snapped violently forwards, was “like being fired out of a cannon”.
Michael Jackson feels your pain.
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posted by Harrison at 6:39 PM
Monday, November 21, 2005
Mainly Stupid Media
Well, we so-called "dumb" animals have known the truth about the Mainly Stupid Media for years, with the exception of fe-lyings who'll cozy up to anyone who smells fishy. Then the other day AHM's friend reminded us that his "Uncle Tommy" created of one of the most famous animal media critics of the last 50 years. Francis.*
As written by David Stern III (who was himself a newspaper man with the New York Post and Philadelphia Daily News), Francis was an army mule--who could talk. He spent a lotta' time getting' Peter Stirling, his 2nd Lieutenant buddy, into and outta' trouble. Eventually the Commanding Office decides to call a press conference to break the news of Francis' talent to the correspondents coverin' the war. 'Course Francis wouldn't talk and the press was, to say the least, unimpressed. They shoulda' been warned, 'cause ya' know what they say about bein' kicked by a mule…
"The [correspondents] wandered over to the mule, stood around looking at the animal…
A second AP man was looking at Francis. “You know,” he said, “one of the wildest aspects of
this damned story is that they didn’t pick a better-looking animal.
I [Peter] saw Francis’ ears begin to rise.
“Sorry-looking beast, isn’t it?” said the United Pressman. “Sort of a four-footed Sad Sack.”
Francis was as stiff as a board.
“Stinks, too,” said the first AP man.
“All mules stink,” said the New York Times man.
Francis was trembling.
“What I can’t understand,” said the International man, “is why they chose a mule for the stunt. Mules, you know, are the stupidest hybrids in existence.”
“Pathetic beasts of burden,” agreed the first AP man.
“But not dumb enough to work for a newspaper!” The words cracked out like whip snaps.
As one man the correspondents pivoted.
“Who said that?” asked the AP man.
“I did!” Francis was shaking with anger. “You want to make something of it?”
The newspapermen were speechless.
The mule fixed them with a glare. “I have listened to twaddle in my time,” said Francis. “I have heard more than my share of fool remarks! I have tuned in on radio commercials where men try to be funny about laxatives! I have heard the ravings of delirious men on the battlefield! There was a time when I endured the stupidity of half-baked recruits. But, by the tail of my great-aunt Regret who won the Derby, I have never suffered through such disgusting hogwash as you so-called newspapermen are spouting!”
Foreign correspondents are supposedly the most sophisticated of human beings. They have seen everything, heard everything, done everything…twice. To shock them takes some doing.
Francis did it.
All eight of the men stood rooted to the floor, their mouths hanging open like open bomb bays on a B-29.
“Gentlemen of the press!" spat Francis. “A hey nonny nonny and a nuts to you!”
“You can talk!” said the AP man in a whisper of awe.
“I hope to kiss a duck I can talk!” said Francis. “You just heard the general say I could talk. But oh no, you gentlemen of the press are too smart. You know everything. You even know about mules. Stink, do I!”
“Maybe we’re nuts?” said the New York Times man.
“No doubt about it,” said Francis. “A man with sense would never spend his life scrounging for a newspaper. What a stinking profession. And you had the nerve to suggest I stink!”
That pretty much sums it up.
*From Francis, copyright, David Stern III, New York, 1946.
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posted by Harrison at 8:33 PM
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Kibbles 'n Bits®
"It turns out dogs are more than man's best friend. They're pretty good at making the sick feel better, too, in ways that can be measured. A small study showed that visits from therapeutic dogs lowered anxiety, stress and heart and lung pressure among heart failure patients."
We're pretty good at curin' Cat Scratch Fever too.
A "flock of swine" woulda' been more appropriate.
“Several detainees were captured trying to sneak out of the area by crawling among a flock of sheep.”
At least that's what they claim they were doin' there….
Speakin' of swine… Hahahahahahaha
The next "special rights" group. Hornyhead turbot.
"Scientists have discovered sexually altered fish off the Southern California coast."
Wha'd'ya' expect? It's California.
And since we're on the left coast… How to make it big in Hollywood--even if it's really, really small... Really. Small.
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posted by Harrison at 11:40 PM
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Growlin' to the Oldies
'Suppose we should be thankful the headline writer resisted the obvious "booty" reference.
"Cats groove to disco,…"
Provin' once again fe-lyings have no taste whatsoever!
"…dogs dig Elvis,…"
…and bury him in a deep, deep hole.
"…but to really reach your pet's soul, it'll take Dionne Warwick."
Hopefully losin' her on the way to San Jose.
"That's what Eagle Rock [CA] resident Adrian Martinez learned in the past few months watching his bizarre hobby turn into an even more bizarre business.
"He started DogCatRadio.com six months ago for the amusement of his six dogs and the pair of cats he looks after, then watched with bewilderment as what was essentially a joke between friends morphed into an enterprise with global proportions. And now it's really taking off."
If only he would take it off. (The Internet, fools. Wha'd'ya' think I meant?) We tuned in this mornin' and all I can say is…if AHM decides to leave that on for us she's gonna' come home to one thoroughly trashed computer!
(Don't even think of hackin' up that ole' canard 'bout "Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast." First, we're not savage--'tho listenin' to that dreck could change that reeeeeeal fast. Second, what Congreve really said was "Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast." Guess those old Puritans couldn't handle the "breast" part.)
Anyway, it's tough to imagine a more irritatin' collection of music all in one place. 'Course the whole playlist we heard focused on holiday music. If it was real holiday music it might not have been so bad. We do a mean version of Jingle Bell Rock ourselves with AHM on the piano and Hem leadin' the singin'.
But if hearin' a dog version of the Hallelujah Chorus rewritten for Best in Show ("King of Kings, and Dog of Dogs") wasn't bad enough, their rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas ("…and a her-di-ing Wel-ish Cor-r-gi") sent us all runnin' for the doggie door. All 'cept Little Girl who tossed her cookies instead.
And just in case you were wonderin', Martinez is an equal opportunity offender. You should have heard the "Used My Poodle for a Dradle" ditty and the Kwanza song. Or maybe not.
"Ten days ago a couple of hundred pet owners logged onto the site. Now he's got 50,000 assorted animals from Brazil to Sweden tuning in. "Everyone says, What a genius idea! and I say, What is?" the 34-year-old musician mused. "But I look at these e-mails, where people say, I'm listening to this with my cats, or my bird's singing along to 'YMCA,' so I think, OK, it can't be that weird."
Oh yeah. It is. 'Tho I suppose birds singin' along with the Village People shouldn't surprise anyone.
"Martinez put the site up a few months ago to entertain his pets while at his day job running an independent record label. He told a few friends, who logged on and watched the word spread about the site, which features streaming audio of Martinez's collection of tunes from the 1970s and '80s… The station has two disc jockeys and a rotation compiled from Martinez's personal library and listener suggestions… The playlist leans heavily toward disco, which listeners swear their animals gravitate to."
The only time AHM had disco playin' 'round here, it made Hem "gravitate" to her leg for a rhythmic humpin'. That ended that.
"Not likely, according to pet expert Matthew Margolis, an author and host of "Woof! It's a Dog's Life" on PBS. Even with their superior sense of hearing, he said, animals don't process music in the same way humans do. "You've got 50,000 crazy people," he chuckled.
Much as I hate agreein' with a self-styled "pet expert," this time Margolis is right on target. 'Course he's with PBS so he's probably no stranger to the "crazy people" tunin' in idea.
"As long as it doesn't hurt the animal, [Margolis continued] you've got the right to do anything you want, but what's the dog going to do when you get home? Sit on the couch and say I like hard rock and heavy metal?"
No, but if they don't like it, you may not have a couch to sit on after a day full of streamin' audio.
"Scoff if you want, said Deborah Ray, a Sunland music teacher who broadcasts "The Deb Deb Hour" from noon to 1 p.m. each day. Her dog Jasmine loves Diana Ross, while Little Bear, a pit bull mix, favors Earth, Wind & Fire and The Gap Band. When Martinez told her about the station, she quickly jumped in…
Stepped in it is a better description.
"Martinez finds the only problem is that he can't listen to the same music he used to. "I used to enjoy Baha Men, but you hear 'Who Let the Dogs Out' 30 times a day and you get pretty sick of it," he said. "`Hound Dog,' by Elvis? I never want to hear it again ... but I never get tired of 'That's What Friends are For.' That always gets me."
Friends are for howlin' TURN IT OFF!
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posted by Harrison at 6:13 PM
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Jeff is one of those veterans whose service was completely unknown 'til now. But he's why, as McDowell writes, "…if you had been at "The Wall" that afternoon [when McDowell and his fellow-veterans visited], you would have seen a bunch of middle-aged men standing there quietly, with heads bowed, and then slowly walk away, leaving behind them at the base of the Memorial, an old dog collar made from an Army belt, and a battered tennis ball…the old off-white kind."
Your Liver Snaps® might get a little soggy when ya' read it.
Then a couple of days ago I ran across this story at Wonderdog Cal's--a tale of a canine honorin' a forgotten soldier of Korea.
"Charles Patrick Dugan of Del Rio, Texas, a retired U.S. Marine Corps infantryman and survivor of heavy combat in Vietnam, gave his rank and serial number to his muscular Jack Russell terrier by calling him Cpl. Jack Russell Dugan, USMC, 2164539, or "Cpl. J.R." for short. Dugan and the dog often exercised by walking through four local cemeteries.
"As it neared Veteran's Day one year, Cpl. J. R. ran off unexpectedly. Dugan found the dog scratching at a neglected grave marker. Brushing the debris away, he was amazed to find that the dog had found one of the only military gravestones in the cemetery. It was inscribed with the dog's same name, Jack A. Russell, Texas, Cpl. Signal Corps. After Dugan swept the tombstone clear of debris, the dog rested on the headstone of his namesake who had died during the Korean War.
"Cpl. Dugan says, "A little dog paid honor and respect by bringing new meaning to the belief that no soldier should ever be forgotten."
Thanks to each and every soldier for bein' willin' to risk everythin' to make the world a little safer for humans and canines.
Okay, okay…and even fe-lyin' Demo-cats
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posted by Harrison at 11:38 PM
Mr. Deeds Spills the Beans
"R. Creigh Deeds, the Democratic [sic--it should be Democrat] candidate for state attorney general, said Wednesday that voting machines in the Roanoke area had malfunctioned in Virginia's elections Tuesday and that he has appointed a team to prepare for a state-paid recount.
"I'm going to do everything I can to make sure every vote is counted," said Deeds after strolling into a meeting room at the Marriott Hotel in Richmond a few minutes before Kaine was to give his first post-election news conference."
Regular Demo-cat litter pan stuff these days, right? 'Specially if ya' read the Washington Post. But if ya' listen to the radio* early in the mornin', like I do, ya' would have heard Mr. Deeds really go to town.
First he admitted he owes too much to too many people to give up tryin' to steal the election. (Okay, he didn't actually say the "steal" part, but the rest is his so ya' know big money's involved.)
Second--and here's the most important part that the Washington Post conveniently omitted--Deeds said he was gonna' keep workin' until "every vote is counted and every dog is dead."
Yep--that's what he said. Heard him with my own two ears. Creigh Deeds, Demo-cat, wants every Republi-canine dead.
I've been sayin' that for over a year. So when are you people gonna' start listenin'?
As for Mr. Deeds…well…his Demo-cat handlers must have taken him right to the woodshed for outin' their plans 'cause I never heard him say it again.
*WRVA in Richmond
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posted by Harrison at 7:31 PM
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Kibbles 'n Bits®
"A cat was accidentally built into the walls of a new house in Kansas. "I thought I heard something earlier that morning," a construction worker said. The homeowner and workers heard the cat making noises.
"We started banging on the walls and bathtub, and (the cat) started again," said homeowner Emily Vano. "Our voices probably triggered him to say, 'I'm here, I'm here!'"
The builder estimated the cat had been stuck in the walls at least three weeks. "The contractor figured out he was just under the tub and got dry walled in," Vano said."
al-Qitty hijacks plane.
"Czech Airlines had to fly a cat home on an empty plane after the animal escaped from the cargo hold. Workers could not find the cat and officials judged it was too dangerous to allow the passengers back on board."
Damn straight. Claws. Box cutters. Same thing. 'Course this is not the first time al-Qitty operatives have taken down a plane. How many more attacks will it take before the Euros begin takin' airline security seriously?
To aggravate things, avians are flexin' their muscles as well.
"A runaway ostrich that eluded police caused severe damage when it attacked a Mercedes car during a three-hour rampage.
"Somehow it got out of its pen. We sent two patrols after it, but in the meantime it caused some damage to the bonnet and bumper of a Mercedes before we caught it," a police official in Cyprus said. The ostrich caused considerable damage when it pounced on the car,…"
Keyword: pounced. Veeeeerrrry fe-lyin'…
The moose, however, spent a bit too long at the bar of the Animal Anarchists Lodge.
"They rarely have problems with drunks or rowdy animals, but residents of an elderly home in southern Sweden had to deal with both when a pair of intoxicated moose invaded the premises.
"The moose — a cow and her calf — had become drunk over the weekend by eating fermented apples… Police managed to scare them off once, but the large mammals returned to get more of the tempting fruits. This time the moose were drunk and aggressive, forcing police to send for a hunter with a dog to make them leave."
And, once again, it's a canine to the rescue.
Read the rest
posted by Harrison at 8:32 PM
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
A Offer Ya' Shoulda' Refused
Oops, wrong picture.
It's tough for me to tell those petty pickpockets apart sometimes 'cause they all smell like a dirty litter pan.
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posted by Harrison at 11:12 PM
Monday, November 07, 2005
You Go Guys
Sunday, November 06, 2005
A Thinkin' Dog Speaks
That's why it really gets old bein' called "dumb" just 'cause I don't speak your language. Talk about totally un-PC! How many of you speak a foreign language, huh? Ya' might understand a little but ya' sure can't answer 'em, can ya'? And then there's that habit you have of shoutin' in the ear of humans who don't speak English, like they're deaf or somethin'. That's almost as bad as the pwecious widdle dawggie routine you pull on us. I'm not your pwecious anything. I'm a real, live son of a bitch, which is probably what you'll be callin' me right after I whizz on your shoes.
Now along comes this guy, floggin' his book, and claimin' dogs are pretty much brainless idiots.
Do Dogs Think? "Owners assume their pet's brain works like their own. That's a big mistake. This has been adapted from Katz on Dogs, which is being published this week."
Yeah, well Mr. Katz (and please note that name) makes a big mistake implyin' dogs don't think. Of course we think. To think otherwise is, ah…thoughtless. Bein' hampered by a name (and a thought process) of the fe-lyin' persuasion, Mr. Katz expresses himself poorly. Maybe he meant to ask "Do Dogs Reason?" Now that's a whole 'nother question.
Just for the record, Mr. Katz, yes, dogs think. 'Course some only think food, food, cat, chase, squirrel, chase, food, sleep, sleep, food, food, food, WALK!, sleep, sleep, sleep…. You get the idea. It's what dogs like me think about that should worry you.
"Blue, Heather's normally affectionate and obedient Rottweiler, began tearing up the house shortly after Heather went back to work as an accountant after several years at home… "Blue is angry with me for leaving her alone. She's punishing me. She always looks guilty when I come home, so she knows she's been bad. She knows she shouldn't be doing those things." [Heather said.]… And her vet agreed, suggesting "separation anxiety" and prescribing anti-anxiety medication for Blue."
Of course the vet agreed--he was getting' paid to agree--and sell that useless "anti-anxiety medication." What neither one considered is most of us dogs are just two-year-old kids. With lots 'n lots of hair.
"Heather also hired a trainer, who confirmed the diagnosis… Heather's mother even recalled Heather, as a child, throwing tantrums when she went off to work. Heather and Blue had become so close, she joked, that they were acting alike…"
See? Trust a Mom to get it without knowin' she got it. Blue was just bein' an oversized two-year-old.
"A month later, though,…Blue had relapsed… [S]he was showing signs of aggression with people and other dogs and refusing to obey even simple commands… On one late-night walk, Blue attacked a terrier walking nearby, opening wounds that needed stitches…"
Ah…did no one consider there might be side effects from that anti-anxiety medicine? Even I know it makes some humans erractic and aggressive--'specially teen-age type humans. Canines can take the same medicine as humans--so why is anyone surprised when they also have the same reactions? Talk about dumb. Then, to make things worse, Heather contacted Mr. Katz for behavior advice.
"I took notes, asked questions, then called a canine behaviorist at Cornell and explained the problem in as much detail as I could. "Everybody says the dog was reacting to her going back to work," I suggested.
"Everybody is probably wrong," was his blunt comeback. "It's 'theory of mind.' This is what often happens when humans assume that dogs think the way we do."
And you, Mr. High-And-Mighty Canine Behaviorist from Cornell, are definitely wrong.
(Contiued in Read the Rest!)
We do think the way humans think; two-year-old humans, that is, who just wanna' have their kind of fun when Mom's not lookin'.
What makes that guy an authority on how we think, anyway? I mean, he's only guessin' we don't think the same as humans, and he's forgettin' we're both animals! Hasn't this guy ever read Lord of the Flies? Without all your fancy-dancy society (and lots more fur), you'd be the same as us. Still don't believe me? Then read this. Or this. (Okay, that last one is reeeeaaally long and full of scientific stuff so ya' might wanna' pass.)
"His analysis: "Being angry at the human and behaving punitively—that's not a thought sequence even remotely possible, given a dog's brain."
Crap. Even a fe-lyin' understands the they'll-pay-for-leavin'-me-alone rule. They could hack up that furball anywhere. It's no accident it happens on your pillow.
Just so ya' know, I understand completely when idiots call me "cute" or "precious," and plan my revenge accordingly. Ya' gotta be patient. Wait 'til they're not payin' attention, then bam! Can't imagine it's too pleasant spendin' the day with a soggy foot. I'll be happy to demonstrate the technique for ya', Mr. Kitty-Katz.
"The likely scenario is that the dog is simply frightened."
You're talkin' about a Rottweiler here, remember? Now they can be wussies sometimes (Dad chased one halfway across a field once when the fool made a lunge at AHM) but they're pretty good guard dogs. 'Course belongin' to someone named "Heather" could make a difference, but the Rotties I know are not scaredy-cats.
"When Heather was home, she was there to explain and enforce the rules. With her gone, the dog literally didn't know how to behave. The dog should have been acclimated to a crate or room and confined more, not less, until she got used to her new independence.
"Lots of dogs get nervous when they don't know what's expected of them, and when they get anxious, they can also grow restless. Blue hadn't had to occupy time alone before. Dogs can get unnerved by this. They bark, chew, scratch, destroy."
And fe-lyings don't? Pu-leese. Uprooted houseplants. Shredded curtains. Clawed up sofa cushions. Lamps booted off tables. Sound familiar?
"Getting yelled at and punished later doesn't help: The dog probably knows it's doing something wrong, but it has no idea what. Since there's nobody around to correct behaviors when the dog is alone, how could the dog know which behavior is the problem? Which action was wrong?
Oh, we know. Trust me on that. And we learn from our mistakes. (Unlike France who's been makin' the same mistakes since Napolean was shipped off to St. Helena.) There are a bunch of us livin' here and sometimes there are accidents. Unlike what Mr. High Mucky-Muck Cornell canine behaviorist claims, we know damn well which action was wrong. Whoever screws up when AHM's home has to take a "time out" under the green chair…on the far side of the room…away from everyone else…not to mention away from any treats AHM is handin' out.
Now if one of us does somethin' wrong while we're alone, when AHM gets home she stalks into the room and asks "Okay, who pooped in the kitchen?" The guilty party immediately slinks off beneath the green chair. Yeah, even me, 'tho I almost never do anythin' wrong. Sometimes, though, AHM knows I've been in the garbage and calls me out. (I swear she inventories the trash can!)
"He made sense to me. Dogs are not aware of time, even as a concept, so Blue couldn't know whether she was being left for five minutes or five hours, or how that compared to being left for a movie two weeks earlier. Since she had no conscious notion that Heather's work life had changed, how could she get angry, let alone plot vengeance?"
We canines have no trouble knownin' the time. (Okay, we're a little slow figurin' out that Standard Time/Daylight Time business.) Still, in this household we know when 6 pm rolls around--and so does AHM. But that's not all. We know when AHM's students are supposed to be here--day and time. My kid Hem even positions himself under the piano bench about fifteen minutes before the appointed hour, so he'll have a front row seat in case there's any singin' to be done. (No, he doesn't lie there every day, and no, AHM isn't in the studio.)
My Dad was the best, though. He knew exactly when AHM's alarm was gonna' ring, and woke her up two minutes earlier. As the story goes, the first time that sucker went off when he was a pup, Dad went straight up in the air and fell off the bed. Since Dad had almost no learning curve, he made sure that never happened again.
"The dog was alone more and had more time to fill. The damage was increasing, most likely, because Blue had more time to get into mischief and more opportunities to react to stimulus without correction—not because she was responding to different emotions."
Hmmmm… Boredom, eh? Rotties aren't known for their imaginations, that's for sure. Sounds like Heather forgot to supply any distractions, like lots of chew bones and talk radio. Then again, maybe she tuned in Air America… That would explain a lot!
"I was familiar with the "theory of mind" notion the behaviorist was referring to… The phrase refers to a belief each of us has about the way others think. Simply, it says that since we are aware and self-conscious, we think others—humans and animals—are, too. There is, of course, enormous difference of opinion about whether this is true."
An intelligent writer would ask a canine like me for their opinion before passin' judgment. But this is Mr. Katz so the fix is in.
"When I used to leave my border collie Orson alone in the house, uncrated, he learned to open the refrigerator with his nose, remove certain food items, open the plastic container, and consume its contents. Then he'd squirrel away the empty packages. …[W]hat changed his behavior was that I began to crate him when I went out. He has not raided the fridge since. Yet he could easily sneak in and do that while he's uncrated and I'm occupied outdoors or elsewhere in the house. Is he no longer wily? Or is he simply less anxious?"
Um, how could he raid the fridge when he was in a crate? I got some news for ya', Katz, ole' man. Orson wasn't less anxious with you around. He was more anxious about not endin' up in that friggin' crate!
"There's no convincing evidence I'm aware of, from any reputable behaviorist or psychologist, that suggests dogs can replicate human thought processes: use language, think in narrative and sequential terms, understand human minds, or share humans' range of emotions."
Many behaviorists and psychologists think Christians are wacko 'cause of their beliefs, too. Ya' really wanna' trust their opinions? Truth is, we do all those things--'bout as well as a two-year old human. When was the last time you had a substantive talk with your two-year-old kid? Besides, it's not our fault you don't speak our language. Can't see ya' ever made an effort to learn.
"Yet that remains a powerful, pervasive view of dogs,… It's almost impossible not to lapse into theory-of-mind reasoning when it comes to our dogs. After all, most of us have no other way in which to grasp another creature's behavior.
Ever hear the expression "actions speak louder than words?" How'd'ya' know when your baby needs somethin'? Does he/she call ya' on the baby intercom and say "Sorry to bother you, pater, but there seems to be an excessive amount of dampness in my nether regions that needs to be addressed." Don't think so. They probably shriek bloody murder 'til ya' show up with a dry nappy. Better yet, how'd'ya' know they don't like those strained turnips ya' insist are good for 'em? Bet you're wearin' more than the kid is swallowin'.
We canines communicate the same way. When AHM is plannin' on goin' out, one of us always climbs into her lap, as if sittin' on her will keep her home. We're not too good on comparative weight issues sometimes, but we make up for it in looks. Others of us will just happen to wander into her path to the doorway with some vague notion of blockin' her exit. 'Course it's not tough to step over a foot-high terrier, so it's more a symbolic protest than anythin' else. But she gets the message.
How can one even begin to imagine what's going on inside a dog's head? Most of the time, I don't know why my dogs do what they do."
Well, d'uh. How does a jerk who admits bein' almost totally ignorant 'bout canines get a book deal to write about dogs? Gotta' be the name.
Katz goes on and on and on, then ends up admittin' he hasn't got a clue about canines.
"I am astonished at how little it takes to please them, how simple their lives can be if we don't complicate them."
Not quite, pal. It's really you humans who need to keep it simple. We love the new and unexpected. Ever known us to turn down a run 'round the block in the afternoon? Or a ride in the car just for the hell of it? Truth is, you don't have time 'cause you're ruled by that clock you think we can't read.
We can read it just fine--and we know sometimes ya' gotta' ignore it.
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posted by Harrison at 4:26 PM
Friday, November 04, 2005
Cow Mooo-ves The Goalposts
"Could Virginia Tech's campus get much weirder…before arguably the biggest game in Lane Stadium history as the #3 Hokies take on the #5 Miami Hurricanes.
"Then you have cow belonging to the university's agricultural barn that can correctly predict the outcomes of Hokie home football games within a few points.
"Shanna, a three month old calf, "talks" to her caretaker, Tech agriculture barn manager Shane Brannock, and reveals predictions for the game's score the morning of kick-off. Brannock claims to be a "cow whisperer."
Ya' don't have to whisper to get animals to listen, ya' know. Yeah, our hearin' is better than yours, but just talk, okay? All that pssst, pssst, pssst business gets on our nerves after a while.
"Brannock said Shanna's first prediction for the Hokies home opener against Ohio University was 47-3 Hokies. Tech won the game 45-0. Shanna predicted the last home game's score at 27-10 Virginia Tech. The Hokies beat Boston College 30-10. Brannock said, after Shanna's game day morning meal, she licks his left hand once for every point the Hokies opposition will score, and his right hand once for every point the Hokies will score."
Considering those scores, that's a whole lot of slobber flyin' around.
Sure hope Shanna doesn't get indigestion Saturday mornin'. Vegas is callin'…
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posted by Harrison at 6:16 AM
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Birds Lose Their Edge
Ya' know how the flu makes ya' lose your voice. But…
Mice are pickin' up the slack! Looks like Walt had the
right idea all along.
"Scientists have known for decades that female lab mice or their pheromones cause male lab mice to make ultrasonic vocalizations. But a new paper from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis establishes for the first time that the utterances of the male mice are songs. This finding…adds mice to the roster of creatures that croon in the presence of the opposite sex, including songbirds, whales and some insects."
Notice there's no mention of fe-lyings in that list. Don't know anyone who wants to listen to their courtin' caterwaulin'. On the other paw, they left off my kid Hem, who's not a bad little crooner (all things considered). He's got Maple Leaf Rag under his belt and just finished up arrangin' his version of St. James Infirmary Blues. For the holidays he's workin' on a blues/jazz rendition of Rise Up Shepherds and Follow. Maybe we can turn him into a Muppet and get an audition with Miss Piggy.
"In the literature, there's a hierarchy of different definitions for what qualifies as a song, but there are usually two main properties," says lead author Timothy E. Holy, Ph.D…. "One is that there should be some syllabic diversity—recognizably distinct categories of sound, instead of just one sound repeated over and over."
See what I mean? Think Demo-cats. Think cat-erwaulin'!
"Perhaps the best analogy for mouse song would be the song of juvenile birds, who put forth what you might call proto-motifs and themes," he explains. "It's not yet clear whether singing conveys an advantage to male mice during courtship, as it appears to do in birds."
Don't think Pavarotti is loosin' any sleep. Unless he's got a couple a' fe-lyings makin' woopie over the back fence.
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posted by Harrison at 7:39 PM