Friday, June 24, 2011

Pit Proud: The History Of The Pit Bull

"Well, if the (Michael) Vick ('dog-fighting/abuse') case taught us anything, it’s that even fight dogs, when given a chance, would rather curl up on the couch next to it’s loving human..."

Pibbles are the best fucking dogs in the fucking world.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Meet The New Enemy, Gangly Basil! (Foto, below)

We’ve found the part of the brain that makes people want to do cocaine

Cocaine is a hugely addictive drug, capable of fundamentally changing the brains of those who use it. But that dependence doesn't necessarily come out of nowhere, as we've now discovered what part of the brain predisposes people to cocaine use.
Cambridge researchers scanned the brain of sixty people who had cocaine dependencies and another sixty people who did not. The cocaine users had greatly reduced gray matter in their brains, and the amount of gray matter loss was directly tied to how long they had used cocaine. The greater the reduction in gray matter also correlated with an increased compulsion to take the drug.

Of course, none of that is exactly news, since cocaine is well known for its highly addictive properties and its ability to change what people think and feel over time. The real discovery was that the basal ganglia, which is the reward center of the brain, was significantly enlarged in the brains of the cocaine users.

What's more, the enlargement showed no relationship with how long people had been taking the drug. That suggests the basal ganglia was enlarged before the people started taking cocaine. This might well mean that we've found the part of the brain that determines a person's vulnerability to cocaine use.

Cambridge neuroscientist Dr. Karen Ersche explains what this finding means:
"This research gives us important insight into why some people are more vulnerable to drug addiction. Not only is this important for the future development of more effective therapeutic interventions for people who have become dependent on drugs, it will also inform improved strategies to prevent drug addiction in the first place. People with cocaine dependence describe their out-of-control drug use as a 'compulsion' to use cocaine. Our current work has laid the foundation for a better understanding of cocaine dependence and why this compulsion occurs. Our findings are important because they show a clear relationship between the brain, the duration of cocaine use and some of the common attention problems that people with cocaine dependence report. These data show that cocaine dependence is a disorder of the brain, which is very relevant information for the treatment of people who are trying to beat their addiction."
Via Brain.
Just about EVERYTHING we learn new about the ways we "are" seems another verification of the notion of some kind of deep "determinism." Is "freedom" the intellectual antidote--the antivenin--to the snake-bite certainty that there's really NOTHING you can do?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pibble Training Day, #1: The Leash

Why, yes, we DO need those fucking leashes. These are 50-80 lb TERRIERS, bred to kill pests of fairly large size, yet to be gentle companions to their people. It's good to be connected.

holding the leash - dog training basics from on Vimeo.

Everybody Loves To Dance!

Monday, June 20, 2011

They ARE Still Ours

Dixiebelle, Canine Companion, October, 1995--Jan 2008: A lot of miles together.

The House Dog's Grave (Haig, an English bulldog)

I've changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you, if you dream a moment,
You see me there.

So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.

I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the night through
I lie alone.

But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read--and I fear often grieving for me--
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.

You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope than when you are lying

Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dear, that's too much hope: you are not so well cared for
As I have been.

And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided. . . .
But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.
Robinson Jeffers, 1941

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Recuerdo de Mi Padre

My Dad, "Jack" to ALL who knew him, "went on ahead" in Feb, 2001, just over a year after his "lassie," my mother, had passed. Cigarettes hastened his (their!) demise: he smoked at LEAST a pack/day from 1935 til he quit (at mother's insistence) in the '90s sometime. His former colleagues at the school where he taught said they couldn't remember seeing him, ever, without a cigarette, a cup of coffee and a book. We gave each other cigarettes and books for gift occasions.

He was an inter-collegiate fencer (foil and epee) in his youth. Remember push-button electrical wall switches? He could stand facing the wall with an epee extended, and without any visible effort, just with his wrist, he'd turn the light on, then off, then on, then off, on, off,on, off, so fast you'd almost miss it. Something he taught me from the bouting mat, which stayed with me through now these decades of "fencing" with ideas was: "kill with the first riposte." Don't LET 'EM have a shot at ya...

I take my intellectual eclecticism from his example. Our last conversation, just a few hours before he lapsed into his terminal coma, was about Hawking's "Brief History." It was February. I'd got it for him for Xmas. I had been reading it to him. We were nearly through it. I paused at one point. He said, "Well, perfesser" (it was his way of being proud of me) "Do ya think I'm gonna find out what's what about all about this stuff now?"

I said: "I dunno, Pop. But if you do, you call me!" He laughed and coughed. I closed the book, cuz the rest of my siblings were arriving to say good-bye.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cab Calloway, undated.

This is a previously unreleased recording. There's a very hip/cool/swingin' catalogue of 'reefer music.' Just ask the Viper.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rescue Goes Right! Cogswell Goes Home

Straight off Facebook this morning:
Good (more like GREAT) Afternoon! We have the most extraordinary ‘rescue tale’ to share with you! Hold onto your hats, for you’re bound to soar beside us in gratitude and amazement :) Yesterday afternoon, an incredible member of the BNB Family (named Jill) BOARDED AN AIRPLANE from Florida, flew into JFK Airport in NY, and ADOPTED COGSWELL FROM THE MANHATTAN SHELTER!!!!!!! We are BEYOND ECSTATIC, OVERJOYED, & ETERNALLY GRATEFUL to Jill for her heroic (and no doubt exhausting!) effort in saving precious COGWELL’S life!!! I am literally giggling with joy as I type this post, as happy as a pittie in a pet store =) Jill saw ‘her dog’ in COGSWELL’S photo and put his life above all else. She took all the necessary steps – and then some! – to ensure his safety and his new place in her loving family. We often say that in rescue work, you see the worst AND the best of humanity as it relates to our canine counterparts. Jill: THANK YOU for restoring our faith in humanity and showing the world what is possible when you commit to saving a life. THANK YOU for proving that miracles can indeed happen when one is driven by love, and guided by compassion. May the glorious Florida sun bestow warmth and comfort upon sweet COGSWELL and his new, wonderful forever family. And may everyone involved in this rescue rejoice in the magnificence of a newly-saved pittie ♥ FROM DEATH ROW TO FOREVER HOME! ♥ [Jill’s latest message: He is the BEST!!! A total LOVER!!! We are homeward-bound this afternoon! I'll let you know when we're home safe. I'm eternally grateful to everyone for your support.]