Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Your Weekly Pitty-Party, with TYR

Name: TYR (here since 9/5/08)
DOB: September 2004 approx
Gender: male
Size: about 75 lbs.
Other dogs: NO
Cats: NO
Kids: to be determined, but we think great!

Profile: This over sized lap dog has been through hell and back. Picked up as a stray by the shelter, it was apparent that he was the victim of illegal dog fighting (why do they call it illegal? Of course it's illegal !!) His face, head and chest were chewed up like hamburger meat. So it's no wonder that he's dog aggressive. But HE LOVES PEOPLE! Non stop licking, kissing and slobbering. But I"m sure with time he'll settle down and become a well behaved doggie citizen. If you're looking for a bed buddy, a couch buddy, then Tyr is your guy!
I will reiterate the usual admonitions: Villalobos Rescue Center doesn't invite casual visitors, doesn't like to adopt its clients out-of-state, and won't place an animal in any home in which there's already a canine resident. Here's a vid of TYR, our featured Pit-Pal of the week...

Friday, December 25, 2009

The THC Shake: Meditation Medicine

Better'n egg-nog!!! It is pretty interesting to read the comments, just in case you thought intolerance was a native Murkin phenomenon...

I heard hiim exclaim, FOLLOW THE LINK

My sincerest thanks and best wishes to the good folks at Villalobos Rescue Center, and to ALL who look after and care for our furry friends!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hector, the Survivor

This good boy is on a "Vick-tory" tour...

DOTOF™ to Villalobos Rescue Center for this and their tireless efforts to rescue these wonderful, loving, smart, loyal, friendly (to people, anyway), dogs...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Do You REALLY Need To Bring Fideaux To The Fambly Gathering?

From the blog-site, The Other End Leash:
Trainers and behaviorists can all tell stories about the calls they get around the holidays. Those of you who are trainers can no doubt tell some of your own. (I’d love to hear them!) Not uncommonly, we hear “Aunt Polly is coming tomorrow and she hates dogs and I have seven of them and they’ve never been alone in a room or in a crate and I can’t board them and I was wondering if you could tell me what to do.” (Answer: Pack dogs into car, drive elsewhere, leave note on front door for Aunt Polly that you’ve been abducted by aliens?)

From the other side of the equation, I’ve heard lots of dog lovers struggle over what to do when company comes and their dog doesn’t do well with visitors. One holiday season, years ago, I had five “do I have to kill my dog cases?,” all serious bites to visitors, on December 23rd and 24th. So sad.

Here’s my generic advice about holidays and dogs and visitors. I’d love to hear what solutions you’ve come up with for yourself or advised for others....

In general:
Start carefully (dog in crate when visitors enter?),

Observe carefully (watch interactions like a hawk at first),

Manage obsessively (know your dog and minimize the potential of any problems),

Give everyone a break (why not crate Fido up after an hour with the guests? why wait until after he’s tired?) Note that MANY of the cases I’ve seen have occured after the dog has been with the ‘kids’ or company all day, is tired and finally snaps/bites at the end of the day. Being an introvert (truly), I can sympathize. I love company and being with people, but I get tired after hours of it and need to go to my crate so that I don’t get cranky and bite someone.
This probably sounds excessive, but a dear dear friend just had his beloved dog bite a guest (equally beloved) during Thanksgiving dinner. “Why didn’t I put her in her crate?” he asked, after the bite and the trauma. “Because you’re an optimist and not a prof’l trainer” I said, but in the future, management is going to have to be Job #1 in his treatment plan. This kind of management becomes second nature to trainers, doesn’t it? But we had to learn it, and anything we can do to let people know that it’s OKAY to separate dogs and guests sometimes, the better.

...And BEER!

Take the "Beer Geography" quiz.

I got 8/9 (Missed "Tusker)

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Dog Story, from Kabul

There are few things in the journalistic repertoire more inviting, and more difficult, to write well than a "good" dog story. My pal Seamus, our man in Kabul, has pulled it off with the following story of Skinny Minnie.
Despite her emaciated condition, she tore through the two plastic bags before I had a chance to take out the piece of chicken. By the time I got to the second piece, she had the devoured the first: two gulps, maybe three.

I had quickly defrosted to two chicken breasts in the microwave before left my home and boarded the van to take me to my designated running spot. I wasn’t too confident that she would be alive when I got to the barren plot of land where she and five or six other dogs made home, more than likely to escape the taunts and attacks of the people who in many cases lives only a little better than them.

I had doubled wrapped the chicken to prevent the smell from reaching the driver, escort and guard who accompanied me to the several-acre site where the university will someday build a new campus. How could I explain to them, who in many cases support families on salaries of $250 per month, that I was taking two skinless, boneless chicken breasts to feed a mangy dog that was already on death’s door. But it was the only suitable food I could located in the short time I had. A week earlier, I had asked the guards of the largely undeveloped lot whether they had any bones I could give the dog. They replied with straight faces that they couldn’t afford meat for themselves, so, no, they didn’t have any bones for a dog. No, I thought, I just meant bones, the remains of a meal that was headed for the garbage anyway, then realized I had already dug myself a deep enough hole.

Minnie, as in Skinny Minnie, was by herself in the corner of the lot where a couple of months earlier stood the remains of some bombed-out buildings that provided marginal shelter for families of squatters. Sometime during the summer, when I was away from Kabul, the buildings were razed, the families, which included many children, were pushed out or left on their own to make room for the new construction. The only sign of what will someday be built is a few guard shacks, a gated wall surrounding the perimeter of the property, and a new field for football (or soccer for my fellow yanks). There was a net on either end of the field when it was inaugurated a couple of weeks earlier for the benefit of the university’s board of trustees, but the nets were gone by the next morning, apparently shredded by the dogs.

There’s nothing for the dogs to eat on the lot, save for a few ground rodents, and the guards who there around the clock are unlikely to feed them anything. In dirt-poor Islamic countries like Afghanistan, dogs are considered “unclean.” Touching one is sufficient reason to wash one’s hands. The vast majority of Kabul’s dogs wander the streets, feeding themselves from the piles of garbage that also sustain herds of goats and sheep. During the day, the dogs are largely ignored as long as they stay away from people, but if they get to close they are typically yelled at or stoned. Not with out some reason, I might add. When any animal is cold, hungry and ignored, it is seldom on its best behavior. At night, many of the dogs roam in packs, where they have strength in numbers and the advantage of surprise.

Minnie is the black sheep of the canine community at the new campus and is routinely attacked by the other dogs. After scarfing down the chicken, she followed me for a while, loping along at an enfeebled pace, staying on the inside my circular loops to stay close to me with having to cover as much distance. When we got near to some of the other dogs, who are relatively better shape, they ran her down. Minnie just laid down and cowered, perhaps realizing she didn’t have enough strength to outrun them anyway. I threw stones at her assailants and they quickly scattered, as though they accepted that there was no real sport in battling a dog to weak to put up a fight. I went to Minnie and scratched her head and muzzle. It had taken weeks for her to accept my gestures, to believe that I would not harm her.

Afterward, riding home in the university van, the day before I left Kabul for a month-long break, I wondered what the odds were that Minnie would be alive when I returned. Not very high, I thought.
Good man, Seamus. We cannot save 'em all, as my mother on her deathbed told me. But we can try to help...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Homeless Pitbulls, a Two-fer: "Dave" & "Frenchie"

Name: DAVE
DOB: approx. Jan. 2003 (here since 1/15/05)
Gender: male
Size: approx. 90 lbs.
Other dogs: decent, but will need to be the only dog in the home.
Cats: no
Kids: to be determined

Profile: Poor Dave just adds to the never ending number of stray dogs in South Los Angeles. I mean c'mon this is one cute dog. Someone out there must need a Dave in their life. He is a volunteer favorite!!! 90 lbs of love on your lap!

Name: FRENCHIE (here since Feb. 9, 2009)
DOB: Jun 1. 2008 approx.
Gender: female
Size: petite, but still growing
Other dogs: Great
Cats: Good
Kids: to be determined, but we think great

Profile: If not for the kind heart of her guardian angelFrench (Frenchie) would've probably died of cold and hunger as she lay in the gutter and rain on a cold winter night in Los Angeles. She was just a tiny puppy then and no one either noticed or cared that she lay there helpless. It took the compassion of a young girl to reach out and forget that she was a "Pit Bull". Frenchie loves her stuffed animals and would nothing more than to curl up in bed with her new "sister" or even a "brother"...a two legged one that is.

(*Frenchie will absolutely require a home with a HIGH fence, as this girl can jump like no other:)
To repeat my previous injunctions: The Villalobos Rescue Center will not adopt a dog into any home which already has dogs. They do not welcome tourists, but you can arrange to visit. They do not like to adopt their dogs out-of-state.

I have all of everything that's non-consumable that I'll need for a long time. SO, anyone who might be harboring generous instincts in my direction this Holiday Season, I'd be plumb tickled if you'd instead donate the amount you might spend to VRC.

How Closely Are/Were "We" Related To Neanderthalers

I just hope it is a LITTLE bit, and the shock wave of all the exploding Jeebus/Fundie/Fucktards will cover the world in splattered Xian "grey-matter" such as it is...Via The New Scientist and my old Exchaton pal, Moonboo, who finds an alarming number of these very interesting pieces:
Do we have a little Neanderthal in us? That's not a reference to your behaviour at the end-of-year office party, but to the genes of our extinct cousins. With the imminent publication of the genome sequence of Homo neanderthalis, that question may finally be answered.

So far no one has uncovered evidence of any cross-species romps - at least none that left a trace in our DNA. The 3-billion-nucleotide Neanderthal genome is our best chance yet of finding out.

Whether they did or didn't will make the headlines next year, but the importance of the Neanderthal genome reaches much further. For a start, any sign of interbreeding will force us to rethink our place among our ancestors. The researchers working on the genome have already discovered some details of the hominin's nature: a few individuals were pale-skinned redheads; others couldn't taste bitter vegetables; they may have spoken a complex language. But a complete genome means our closest ancestors can be analysed in far more detail, even revealing such information as their population size.

As it stands, the animal closest to humans that we know most about genetically is the chimpanzee. We shared an ancestor with chimps about 6 million years ago - and a lot has happened since.

With the Neanderthal genome, geneticists will get a twig that split from the Homo sapiens branch only 500,000 or so years ago. That twig could reveal the changes that make humans human, potentially explaining why some of us go mad, others get fat and far too many contract malaria. For scientists, at least, that's far more interesting than a little hanky-panky in a prehistoric cave.
Please, little baby jeebus, let us have just a tiny bit of Neanderthaler DNA...PLEASE! And the thunder of the exploding heads will redound to thy eternal glory!

The Hound and the Orang: Good Friends

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Denver Claims The Right To Kill Your Dog

At least somebody is keeping the debate--and some of the dogs--alive. Mostly I like Denver, but this law alone would prohibit me from ever living there. There's no such thing as a "bad" dog. They are made what they become, by the people who take them.
If experts cannot ID dog breeds, how can cities?
By Bill Johnson
Denver Post Columnist
POSTED: 12/16/2009 01:00:00 AM MST
UPDATED: 12/16/2009 02:22:00 AM MST

So you think you know about dogs?

Sorry, you do not.

I break this news to you only because I got put to such a test Tuesday, along with about two dozen animal-shelter directors, volunteers, dog trainers and others who make a dog-related living.

The task was simple: View 20 dogs on a videotape and identify each one. Is it purebred or mixed? If believed a mix, what is the mixture of each?

How hard could it be?

All I know about dogs, I quickly learned, is that one lives with me. Of the 20 dogs shown, I got the breed correct one time, but only because it looked like Lupe, my mutt.

I did only slightly worse than the professionals.

"I was completely wrong. I probably got three to four out of the 20," claimed Laurie Buffington, a Berthoud dog trainer, as we left a classroom at the Longmont Humane Society.

"Think you can tell just by looking?" was the teaser for the breed identification study we participated in. It was run by Victoria L. Voith, a professor of animal behavior in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University in Pomona, Calif.

What I and the others ultimately learned is you cannot simply look at a dog and know what it is.

Shelter workers, she explained, are generally 75 percent wrong when they list or tell you the breed of a dog. The only sure-fire way of knowing, she said, is DNA testing.

"I started this study," Voith said, "because I am a lover of German shepherds and was appalled that every short-haired breed with brown hair was called a German shepherd. It simply isn't so."

Outside of the Lupe-looking Chihuahua-mix, I thought every dog looked like a pit bull or a shepherd-mix.

"So what in the hell is Lupe?" I jotted in frustration in my notebook about halfway through the session. I was not getting even remotely close.

My favorite of all was the 20th dog, a three-legged cutie that had been thrown from a car. She was not the English sheepdog I suspected, but a shih-tzu. Everyone else misidentified her too.

Through her work, Voith hopes to put to the lie two things: studies on which dogs bite the most, and the wisdom of municipal breed-specific bans, such as Denver's, where hundreds of suspected pit bulls have been put to death.

"Visual identification simply is not in high agreement with DNA analysis," she said when I protested that a dog I had falsely, dead-to-rights identified as a pit bull turned out through DNA testing to be mostly Dalmatian. "Dogs in Denver may be dying needlessly," she said.

She hopes that her work, which she expects to be published in a year, will better inform cities and statistics gatherers on breeds most likely to bite.

"We really don't know yet. I don't think we have ever really known," she said.

The professionals all walked out scratching their heads, each mumbling something akin to "that was very informative!"

"I always thought I was really good at identifying breeds," a chastened Shantel Southwick, another Berthoud trainer, moaned. "And cities are killing dogs based on uninformed visual identification? That's pretty scary. It's heartbreaking, really."

(Bill Johnson writes Mondays, Wednes- days and Fridays. Reach him at 303- 954-2763 or wjohnson@denverpost.com. Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_14005785?source=sb-facebook#ixzz0Zsc3tAM7)
If the State, in this case, the City, can kill your dog and there's nothing in the world you can do about it, there's just about nothing the State cannot do with impunity.

Taken from Vance Gerard on Vimeo.

The dirty secret is that it's not the dawgs these fascist fux want to punish, it is the people who have them.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

...And Waves

"Eddie would go..."

So they held the Eddie Aikau Contest on the North Shore last week. They don't even hold the contest unless the waves are over 20'. They start the Eddie watch on Nov.1, and big-wave riders the world over set aside an any-time airline reservation for Honoulu and wait. Some years there just aren't waves big enough.

Not this year. The call went out Dec 7, and the surfers flew in over-night. Dec. 8 dawned HUGE: 40-50 feet, some sets. Fuukin CRAZY waves.

Greg Long, from Long Beach, and a former Mavericks' big wave master (2008), and who I think lives in Santa Cruz, won. His winning ride is the last one you see on the sECOND vid...Ramon Navarro won for "Insane Drop, survived."

More Surfing >>

(Ignore the hideous trailer)

More Surfing >>

Your Musical Advent Calendar, Day 12: (Unknown performers)

Cross-posted on my blog Woody Guthrie's Guitar; my only question: Only 12 drugs?)

Friday, December 11, 2009

How I Got To Meet Igor Stravinsky

(Below, high-class tail-gaiters party down on pre-Opera fare,
awaiting sundown and the forthcoming performance.
The view is east. The snowy-browed mountain
in the extreme background is Truchas Peak Santa Fe Baldy.)

I was reminded of this today when, on Facebook, a correspondent mentioned she was watching the ballet "Firebird."

I got to meet Stravinsky when he was an old man. I worked at the Santa Fe Opera, back in the old days, in the first theater. It was my first "job," for which I needed a Social Security card. It was the year the Opera staged a Stravinsky summer, including a couple of American premiers of one-acts. Opera director John Crosby invited the Maestro to attend, and he agreed.

Stravinsky was a long-time friend of the SFO, and his Rake's Progress (Stravinsky's Don Giovanni) was among the pieces performed in the first season, in '57. At the time in question, in '62, my first summer there, they performed six Stravinsky pieces--Mavra, Rake's Progress, Renard, Le Rossignol, Persephone, and Oedipus-- all in one season, and the old man (in '62, he was 80) conducted Rake. He might have conducted in '57, in fact I think he did; but I wasn't there.

The best thing about the Santa Fe Opera (other than the money), if you were a kid building sets and then moving them around for performances, is that in those days, it was all just one big happy, crazy family, high on sex and drugs and expensive champagne, and they didn't check ID at the opera party bars, to which the WHOLE COMPANY, stage hands included, were always invited. It was pretty a much constant orgy. Liquor flowed freely, all the time. There was pot, I know for fact; and probably cocaine, and heroin and opium, along with lots of pills; singers and such arty types can get pretty neurotic... I wasn't in that circle. The crafts guys--stage, sets, lights, sound--drank a lot, smoked weed, and all smoked cigarettes constantly. There was a tradition to leave a mixed case of one-shots backstage for the crew every performance.

I was 16 the first year I worked there, in '62. At one such party that year--it happened to have been held at my grandmother's house, and was a somewhat more subdued affair--folks prevailed upon the Maestro to play the piano. He played the only score in the house at the time: Porgy & Bess, and singers in attendance--I remember George Shirley, a tenor, and John Reardon, a baritone (they were Mario and Scarpia in Tosca, either that year or in another), and a soprano whose name I no longer recall--sang the lyrics...and he asked me to turn pages of the score for him. I didn't read music, but he said he'd kick my foot to get ready, and nod at me when it was time. It worked.

I worked the stage crew again in '63; and in '64, they moved me to lighting: I ran an arc-lamp spotlight for nighttime performances and rehearsals. (I had a day-job that summer: lifeguard at the (tiny) La Fonda Hotel swimming pool; life was hard.) At wild party one night way out up Canyon Road, that last year, I caught the attention of a 29-year-old apprentice, a mezzo named Eilene (or Elaine?), who drove a spiffy little Alfa roadster, which later she would allow me to drive when we went out...It was a wonderful way for a young man to "become a man."

Autumn of '64, I entered the USAF and my opera career was thereby truncated. But it was fun "while it lasted," I learned a lot (understatement! thank you Elaine/Eilene) about life and music and work. The old 'house' I worked in burned down in '67, and I have only attended a few performances in the new theater.

Aside: John Crosby, the founder, decided on the "perfect" acoustic spot to build his stage by shooting rifles into sandbanks on the mesa, and judging the qualities of the sound.

Dogs' Drives and Personal Body Language

Pack, Prey, and Defense Drives

Learn how your body language can help or hurt your dog training efforts. Discover simple steps you can take to improve your dog training.

Please leave a comment and you can get a free ebook "101 Ways To Improve Your Dog's Behavior." Go to http://www.amazingdogtrainingman.com

Then, training your AmStaf...

Three kinds of "Pit Bull" dogs: American Pitbull Terrier ("Pitties"), American Staffordshire Bull Terrier ("AmStaf"), and Staffordshire Bull Terriers ("Staffy's"). Turn off the sound, you don't ned it.

Finally: In praise of Pit-bulls, Part 1:

Part 2:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Women Consuming Pot Display "A Bigger Amygdala"

There is a quite long, quite thorough, quite detailed though only anecdotally, quite (seemingly) professional piece up since Saturday on Alternet--

The Secret to Legal Marijuana? Women
By Daniela Perdomo, AlterNet. Posted December 5, 2009.

Why women have signed onto marijuana reform -- and why they could be the movement's game-changers.
--the gist of which is that an upswing in women's (admitted) pot consumption is apparently co-incident with emerging evidence of relations of pot consumption to significant "positive" effects for users across an array of different treatment regimes for a variety of afflictions and illnesses. Such information and the growing use of weed by women may, the author speculates, provide the necessary popular impetus to the efforts to "legalize it...."

Cherchez la femme, nest paw?

Speaking of which, a lady-friend asked if there were vids on this subject, and I said I'd look, and sure enough, there 's a whole lot of entertaining and informative vids on the subject. I selected this one because I think the guy doing it is Dutch, and I figger, if anybody should know anything about growing something from seeds, it'd be a Nederlander--think "tulips":

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ladybug: The Pit-baby of the Week

Name: LADYBUG (here since 9/29/08)
DOB: Sept. 2002 approx.
Gender: female
Size: Big gal
Other dogs: Good, but needs to be the only dog in the home.
Cats: to be determined
Kids: great

Profile: This gal has won my heart. I absolutely adore her. She is the true story of survival. Police raided the property she was on and when they saw a "vicious" Pit Bull mix waddling out, they pumped 3 bullets into her!!!! Somehow this gal survived after having emergency life saving surgery. LadyBug has gotten to be one of the most grateful dogs I've ever encountered. She is PERFECT in the house never making a mess or even a peep. She loves to roll on her back and wiggle and waggle until she scratches that itch. We want to thank Ladybug's guardian angel, actor Michael Berryman for saving her life. She is absolutely a treasure.
Doncha just LOVE the ears? She's such a sweetie!

Repeating my usual admonitions: The folks at the Villalobos Rescue Center discourage tourists, and don't like to place their charges in homes out of state. They will not place a dog in a home where there is another dog of any kind.

If anyone may be harboring plans to gimme prezzies this year/season, please donate the price to the Villalobos Rescue Center, Temecula, CA.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Franchise Opportunity: Grow Your Own

This weekend, in Sacramento, there's a workshop/meeting to instruct growers and dealers in the intricacies of opening a marijuana apothecary. I wish there were one closer, but I'm already committed to do a Santa gig Saturday...
Learn how to be a registered Medicinal Marijuana Provider under state law, and how to form a Non-Profit Medical Marijuana Collective, you will also learn How To Start A Medical Marijuana Dispensary and a Medical Marijuana Delivery Service so you can safely distribute medicine to patients.

You will hear all about the legal issues surrounding operating a Medical Marijuana Business from attorneys who specialize in Medical Marijuana Law and have a proven track record, ask them any questions you may have.

You will learn about Medical Marijuana Business Licenses, Marijuana Business Permits, what are the start up costs of a Marijuana Business and how long it takes to start a Marijuana Dispensary or any other Medical Marijuana Business.
It's just bidness...:
If you hired an attorney for consultation, you would pay $500 to $2,500 just for them to teach you the laws and how to start up your business. The C.C.I. Main Seminar will have two attorneys who specialize in medical marijuana law that have helped hundreds of people to open marijuana businesses teaching parts of the course, that is a minimum $2,500 value that you get with your payment of $250. The greatest asset of all, you can call us back with any and all questions that you may and we'll be glad to assist you as much as we can. This is a terrific opportunity for anyone who is interested in starting a legitimate business in medical marijuana. Not to mention, all the extras that you'll get--such as the professional medical marijuana grower's info, medical marijuana cooking instructions, edible and concentrate recipes, connecting you with people who are already in business to help you along. You will get handouts to take with you to refer to if you need that will have all the instructions in detail written for you and most of the forms that you'll need to file, an up to $500 value and saving you valuable time.
The course covers:
  • 1) Marijuana Law: Learn from expert lawyers that help people start Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and Non-Profit Medical Marijuana Collectives everyday.
  • 2) Starting a business in cannabis: If you would like to start a Marijuana Dispensary, Non-Profit Collective, Marijuana Delivery Service, Marijuana Co-op and Marijuana Grow Operation, these classes are for you.
  • 3) Growing: Take lessons from professional growers. Objective: learn how to produce medicine flowers from starter plants through harvest.
  • 4) Cooking, Edibles And Extracts: Use your medicine by other means. Objective: you will learn about the hundreds of edible cannabis products that are now available.
  • 5) Mixer And Resources: get off on the right foot. Objective: to insure that students feel comfortable and confident before leaving the two day workshop, to assist one another finding people that have knowledge and resources to help you in your goal of working within the cannabis industry.