Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Kennel Clubs Wreck Every Breed

You can thank AKC breeders and judges for putting up this apparently blind bag of hammers -- a Chow Chow -- as a model of success.

Who Wore It Better?

You Want Meat? Here's a Cookie Instead.

  • President Biden will sign the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law at 3:30PM ET. He and VP Harris will deliver remarks.

  • Joe Manchin and Mitch McConnell have issued a joint statement saying no one in the South should be told about Juneteenth until three years after the law is signed.

  • Tucker Carlson and Marjorie Taylor Greene have issued a joint statement saying schools cannot offer any explanation of why the Government has a new holiday, because “Critical Race Theory” is just a theory, like evolution.

  • The governors of Texas and Florida have issued a joint statement saying they are disenfranchising every voter with a skin color darker than Pantone 7604 C, aka “Mango Smoothie”, and that they are building a wall around every polling location in their respective states.

  • South Carolina has passed a new law forbidding anyone from wearing a Covid mask and requiring every white property owner to carry a gun.

  • Louisiana and Virginia announce they are erecting new statues of Robert E. Lee and Nathan Bedford Forest “to honor those whose work set the stage for Juneteenth.” 

  • Colin Kaepernick notes in an editorial that no one in the black community asked for “Juneteenth” to be a holiday. The request was for easy access to the ballot box, voting rights protections, and to have police stop killing unarmed black folks

Urban Dog Walkers, 1964 and 2021

The latest New Yorker cover.

Below is a picture of Jim Buck trying to control his charges near Central Park, March 5, 1964. Buck was described by The New York Times as “perhaps the first professional dog walker”.

Hope Is the Thing With Feathers

While kayaking today, I watched dozens of Tree Swallows skimming low over the water, scooping up insects.

The females are fairly drab brown, but the males are a magnificent cerulean blue.

I watched five or six birds zip into fist-sized holes in an overhanging rock cliff. No doubt their young are inside.

As I paddled away from the cliff, it occurred to me that Tree Swallows have nested in these hard stone holes for scores of thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — of years.

Modern humans and their cars, kayaks, and houses are but a wink in their time line. No doubt, on the eve of human extinction, Tree Swallows will still be flitting in and out of these stone holes along the river.

I like that. I like to see signs of hope and endurance.

What’s the line? “Hope is the thing with feathers.”

Yes, indeed. 

No Words Needed

For for Function?

The Chow Chow dog first appeared at London’s Crystal Palace Dog Show in 1878, where it was billed as a “Chinese Edible Dog”.

That same year, a Chinese Edible Dog was also exhibited at the Westminster Dog Show in New York City.

The name “Chow Chow” was given to the dog in 1882, the name supposedly a pidgin derivative of a Chinese word for lower-class common food.\

From The Illustrated London News of 1882 comes news of the name change:
“At the Crystal Palace Dog Show of the Kennel Club, which was noticed last week, there was a class of "Chinese Chow-chow," in which four male dogs and five females were entered. Two of the females, Papoose and Peridot, owned by Lady M. Gore, were offered at 500 pounds each. The two males represented in our illustrations are a black and a red animal, named respectively Chow III and Chow IV.; the former, owned by Mr. C. F. M. Cleverly, is two-and-a-half years old; the latter was born in 1877 and belongs to Mrs. F. Porter. These won the first and second prize in their class.”
So when dog show judges evaluate Chow Chows as “fit for function,” are they thumping their briskets and looking for fat that suggests good marbling?

And when they say “please WOK your dog,” are they spelling it out and pointing to a ring-side grill? 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Death Changes Everything... and Nothing

The late great Sailor made it to a shirt. One of two really exceptional working terriers I’ve owned, and the one I rank above all others. She was small, brave, tough, and smart. We were a team of two and remain so 14 years after her death. I have loved them all, but Sailor was mine, and I was hers, and death has not changed that. 

Mrs. Hudson Approved

“Well I think it’s a LOVELY sweater, Sherlock.”

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Waiting for Pizza Hut

Pretty sure the edibles are gone and they’re waiting for pizza delivery.

Monday, June 14, 2021

The Broken Dog Under the Rug

This is a full-body x-ray of Champion Pekingese Chik T'Sun, from a 1960 Life magazine.

This is what the current Westminster Winner — a deeply inbred morphological wreck known as “Wasabi” — looks like under the rug. 

Canine Q-Anon

The Westminster Dog Show was not held at Madison Square Garden this year.

Thanks to Covid, it was held months late, without an in-person audience, at an estate in Tarrytown, New York.

It was held outside or in a tent, depending on weather and breed.

I’m no fashion expert, but I predict the ball gowns suffered.

Pictured is this year’s winner, a Pekingese named Wasabi.

Set aside the fact that the dog looks ridiculous and miserable, and that it can barely walk and hardly breathe.

Set aside the fact that Westminster has NEVER awarded “Best in Show” to a Labrador Retriever or a Golden Retriever, a Corgi or a Miniature Schnauzer.

Why would they? After all, Westminster loves freaks.

Westminster particularly loves INBRED freaks, and Wasabi fits that mold perfectly.

Wasabi's grandfather was Malachy, who won the Westminster Dog Show in 2012.

Wasabi's great-grandfather was Malachy, who won the Westminster Dog Show in 2012.

And Wasabi's great-great-grandfather was also Malachy, who won the Westminster Dog Show in 2012.

There’s a family tree that looks like a cable-knit sweater!

Take a bow Westminster — you have elevated perversion and pretension to an art form.

You are the canine equivalent of Q-Anon; a cult of the ignorant, boiled in fantasy; an American celebration of inbreeding and racist gene theory.

Any wonder why the AKC is a joke with registrations in a 30-year free fall? 

The Internet Has Saved a Lot of Dogs

What has happened to information in the last 20 years is a quantum leap forward unimaginable even 20 years ago, and unprecedented in human evolution.

If you want more information on some obscure point, you can get it by simply going to Google and posting a simple query.

What is particularly amazing is that this technology is not not captive to a few rich people in a few well-placed countries. Easter Island now has three Internet cafes, and spam email from Nigeria and Ghana are commonplace. When I run into computer trouble, I call Tech Support… in India.

And it's not just the big players that have an international reach. This little blog (entirely free to create in a world where water costs $2 a bottle) is visited by several thousand people a day. In the last 9 months it has registered visitors from over 180 countries.

This is all pretty amazing stuff. The Internet, if nothing else, has become a great equalizer. You no longer have to be rich, live in an urban area, or have a high-powered job to be heard.

Today, even in rural America, if you have discipline and time, you can be as well-read as anyone on earth.

And has this benefitted dogs?

It has.

More dogs than ever before are being adopted out of rescues and pounds.

More people than ever before understand the benefits of spay-neuter and its role in reducing the killing of millions of healthy dogs at “shelters”.

More people than ever before have access to good information about sensible and consistent dog training.

Kennel Clubs are finding it harder to peddle diseased, defective. and dysfunctional dogs based on fictional histories, sniffing pretension, and fraudulent claims of expertise.

Dogs owners are able to more easily self-diagnose and self-treat common canine problems and ailments, from fleas and ring worm to cut pads and manic barking.

As strange as it may sound, the Internet has saved a lot of dogs.

Someone for Everyone

The Kennel Club's Boat is Rotten

In a registry closed with just a few dozen dogs in it, inbreeding is required and a rise in disease is assured. This is why Kennel Clubs are dangerous; they are *fundamentally* broken. 

Seven Year After

This wee wolf arrived here 7 years ago this week.

Westminster's Over

Saturday, June 12, 2021

A New Scent Lure for the Game Cameras

The use of catfish stink bait was accidental; I was going fishing and took the cameras along on a lark. I found the old (and sealed!) bait bag in an angling box after I had already placed the cameras, and I went back to dump the bait at the cameras rather than carry it with me and have it stink up my kit. The paste-like dough smelled like it would be very attractive to fox, raccoon, and possum, and it was easy to smear up trunks higher than it could be easily licked off.  We'll see it if works sometime next week.

A Supportive Conversation

Friday, June 11, 2021

The Story of Strongheart

The first canine film star came to the Silver Screen in 1921, 100 years ago.

Wanted: Canon Fodder and Workers

This poster is from 1941, when the nation needed blood and sweat.

Wanted: workers and canon fodder.                           

Not Wanted: people with actual equal rights.

The government propaganda was always bullshit; the armed forces remained segregated until after World War II, and even today the fight against discrimination and overt racism is fought at the polls, at the bank, in our schools, and at our job sites. Monuments to slavery still stand and the filibuster — embraced to preserve racism and discrimination — is hugged as if was law or in the Constitution, rather than a convention hung on to by white men who seek to keep white men in power and minorities powerless. America: let’s start calling out the bullshit and start teaching our ACTUAL history.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

SKYR is Icelandic Yogurt

New food discovery: 0 fat Icelandic Yogurt with blueberries.

Tastes GREAT, and is pretty low-cal and high in protein.

So far, I've lost 45 pounds, and my goal is to lose 50 while permanently changing my diet.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Baby Barred Owls

These two fledging Barred Owls near Riley’s Lock on the Potomac were pointed out to me by a fellow birder this morning. The mother owl was bringing them food, but they were flying on their own from tree to tree. No pictures of the owl mom, as she was in and out very fast. 

Great Blue Heron Fishing the Canal

 Lots of big carp seen today. Must be mating time.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Dale Ann Bradley of Pineville Kentucky

Dale Ann Bradley hails from Pineville, Bell County Kentucky, where my father was born and raised until he ran away from home (for the last time) at age 14. My father never graduated from High School, got his GED  the Air Force, went to Princeton, met my mother, joined the U.S. foreign service, taught himself two languages and three instruments, drove a Bentley, and gave a square mile of land to help protect Bell County's Blanton Forest.  A remarkable man.

Not much comes out of Pineville, which competes as the poorest town in the poorest part of America. 

Harlan is where the rich people lived, if you know what I mean.

And so, image my delight to discover Dale Ann Bradley of Pineville Kentucky.  Yes!

In Run Rufus Run, Dale Ann Bradley sings of the hard choices of desperate people back in my father's day. 

The mountains were a prison for their family of nine
No where to go no place to work unless you crawled down in the mines
And his momma knew the sound of a man's lungs turnin' black
So when daddy found another way to make a livin' it was easy to turn her back
Now Rufus was the oldest and he knew Bell County well
He could hunt and fish like any grown man and take care of his self
So his daddy put him to runnin' shine when he was just 12 years old
Said it might not be the right thing, but it sure beats minin' coal.

Ms. Bradley has a wonderful voice (two Grammy nominations, and five International Bluegrass Music Association awards for Best Female Vocalist), but the slightly deeper timber that has come with age is truly perfect.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

One Protein Determines Dog Size

Dogs are unique in that no other mammal expresses a 100-fold size differential within its genetic base (from 2-pound Chihuahuas to 200-pound Newfoundlands).

Scientists say the causal agent is a single protein in a gene fragment that controls the size of dogs.

Genetically, the yapper arguing with your ankle is almost identical to the drooling behemoth bred to hunt bears, except for a tiny bit of DNA that suppresses the ‘insulin-like growth factor 1’ gene.

Dog breeders have unwittingly been selecting for it since the last Ice Age. Dogs emerged from the wolf about 15,000 years ago, and as far back as 10,000 years ago, domesticated dogs as big as mastiffs and as small as Jack Russell terriers were trotting the earth.

So where does the gene for “small” come from? It appears to have originated with Middle Eastern wolves, and to have appeared early on in the speciation of wolves to dogs.

Suppression of the IGF-1 gene appears to be associated with a longer life span. Conversely, animals across a wide variety of species have been shown to have an increased risk of death from age-related diseases such as cancer and heart disease if higher levels of IGF-1 are present.

Wee Wolf Waits for Me to Shove Off


Misto had fun running the length of this big log on the Potomac River below Dam #4. The The sound in the background is a billion cicadas shouting their desperate sexual frustration. 17 years underground for this one moment!