Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Monday, January 20, 2020
Sunday, January 19, 2020
|Pan Bondi with Lev Parnas|
That last lawyer is Pam Bondi. This is her dog story.
|Pan Bondi with Lev Parnas|
The story of Nipper, the RCA mascot, began in 1884 when a small stray terrier was found on the streets of Bristol, England.
Adopted by Mark Barraud and named "Nipper" for his habit of biting at people's ankles, he became a devoted pet and companion to the theatre and stage set designer.
Mark Barraud died in 1887 and his little dog went to live with his brother, Francis Barraud.
Francis Barraud inherited a cylinder phonograph from brother Mark, and he noticed that when it was played, Nipper cocked his head and seemed to listen to it -- as some dogs are wont to do with any strange sound.
Nipper died in September of 1895.
In 1899, four years after Nipper's death, Barraud was casting about for a subject to paint and remembered the little dog listening to the cylinder player. He decided it would make a good subject for a painting, and used a photograph of the dog as inspiration.
Barraud hoped to sell his painting of Nipper as a magazine illustration, but could find no buyers. He then decided it might find a market as an advertising vehicle.
Barraud first went to the Edison Bell Company, the maker of the cylinder player, but they turned him down. He then painted over the Edison cylinder machine and put in its place a Gramophone machine which played a disk record and had a brass, rather than black, horn. William Barry Owen of the Gramaphone Company offered to buy the picture, and "His Master's Voice" was born.
The Gramophone Company was owned by Berliner, which patented Barraud's image of Nipper. Berliner was sued by the Victor Talking Machine Company shortly thereafter and, as a consequence of the lawsuit, Berliner was forced out of business in the U.S. and Victor acquired the painting of Nipper as part of its settlement. In the late 1920s, Victor was purchased by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), and they adopted the Nipper painting as their own trademark.
Somewhere along the line "the coffin story" was added to spice up the true story of how this painting came into being. The coffin story in entirely fiction, but a good tale nonetheless. According to the story, the dog was painted sitting on the coffin of Barraud's brother as the dog was listening to his deceased "master's voice" on the phonograph. A great tale, but pure marketing malarkey.
In 1949 the Gramophone Company decided to honour Nipper and erected a plaque above his grave under a mulberry tree in Eden Street, Kingston-on-Thames, England.
Francis Barraud died in 1924 at the age of sixty-eight, having made a good living painting copies of his now-famous painting. At least 24 "Barraud originals" still exist.
Friday, January 10, 2020
Tuesday, January 07, 2020
I'm under the weather and likely to remain so for a few days, but this is a story that might be of interest to some.
Here in the U.S. where we are a violent people with real guns and a lot of land in which to make a body disappear, it is generally illegal to harass or interfere with hunting in any way -- a nod to keeping the body count down.
Saturday, January 04, 2020
The AKC has put up another freak on a leash, a walking dust mop that is both deeply inbred and a morphological monster.
Jemima Harrison at the Pedigree Dogs Exposed blog notes that:
Wasabi's grandfather is Malachy, who won the Westminster Dog Show in 2012.
Oh, and Wasabi's great-grandfather is Malachy, who won the Westminster Dog Show in 2012.
Ah, and Wasabi's great-great-grandfather is Malachy, who won the Westminster Dog Show in 2012.
- Any wonder why AKC registrations have crashed from over 1.5 million to 450,000?
- Any wonder why the AKC is effectively broke, with liabilities in excess of its assets?
Meanwhile there has never been a Westminster Best In Show winner who was either a Golden Retriever or a Labrador Retriever even though theses dogs account for over one-quarter of all dogs registered by the American Kennel Club.
|Champion Pekingese Chik T'Sun, 1960|
From Life Magazine
Friday, January 03, 2020
I stopped to scan the fields near where I’ve been taking pictures of “my” deer herd, and looked down the slope to see this mortality.
It could be vehicle impact, or it could have been gut-shot by a hunter. Whatever happened, this little doe staggered some distance to die, and it was not a pain-free death. Very little death is pain-free in forest and field.
This deer carcass is not old. It’s been unseasonably warm, but it looks as if there has only been predation. I suppose it could be a coyote kill. It certainly looks like something bigger than a fox might have been gnawing on those ribs. Hard to tell.
Whatever’s been feeding on this carcass has first gone for the soft stuff — intestines, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas. That’s normal; it’s very difficult to open up a carcass with teeth alone, and it’s common for a predator to start at the sphincter and eat their way inside, devouring the softer, high-fat, stuff first.
I may set up a camera trap here if I can dig one up from my packing boxes and get it working. I’d like to know if we have coyote in town.
Thursday, January 02, 2020
In their 2018 annual report (the latest) the AKC doesn’t mention total registrations AT ALL. That’s called whistling past the grave yard.
If you read the AKC balance sheet, you will see that their pension liabilities exceed their total assets. They’re broke, but staying afloat on the cash flow of investment income (which was declining in 2018).
Bottom line: Though Americans have more dogs than ever before, the AKC continues to swirl down the toilet bowl, never looking at its core business model.
Though there are fewer vegetarians in the US than there were 20 years ago, we are told the AKC’s failure is due to the mysterious “Animal Rights” movement.
- Never mind the fact that that there are chicken and hamburger places on every corner.
- Never mind that dog food is sold in every grocery store and the fact that the Congressional Sportsman's Caucus is one of the largest on Capitol Hill.
- Never mind that there are multiple stores a short bicycle ride from my house that sell guns, cross bows, deer feeders, and hunting and fishing licenses.
Animal rights? Really?
Maybe that’s a thing if you are located in downtown Manhattan (101 Park Avenue) where folks don’t mow lawns, own cars, or hunt and fish.
Which raises a question: Why is an organization that is going broke located in downtown Manhattan? Why are they paying New York salaries and rents to ... check notes... run a canine registry that could just as well be run from Minnesota, Mississippi, or North Carolina?
Wednesday, January 01, 2020
|Dog food made from horses and mules made redundant by tractors.|
Pet stores, like nearly every other retail establishment, are getting their ass kicked by Amazon, Chewy, and online sales points selling everything from cheaper x-pens and crates, to better leashes and collars, as well as fresher and cheaper dog food.
Have you been in a pet store lately and looked at their leash and collar selection? The prices on crates? Ugh!
Of course, pet store puppy sales have been disappearing for 40 years, a phenomenon I have documented in the past.
That’s a good thing.
Here’s why: that pet store puppy being sold at 8 weeks was snatched from its mother at 6 weeks, bundled with perhaps 100 or more other dogs from other breeders, and then transported hundreds of miles in the back of a truck.
Setting aside socialization issues, puppies from 6-10 weeks old do not have stable immune systems and so vaccination schedules have to be adhered to and puppies should NOT be mixed with other dogs or even allowed in a pet store or park during this critical time.
The result of disobeying the rules and mixing a lot of very young puppies is predictable: a significant number come down with distemper and parvo, to say nothing of lung and eye infections.
Ever read Better Business Bureau reports from pet store and “every breed” online puppy sellers??
Disaster, disease, debt, and death is the storyboard again and again. This is structural. It’s the “deal with the devil” that every puppy mill and pet store has made.
The good news is that the door leading to predicable and avoidable disease, death, and debt is slowly being closed.
As of today, Maryland joins California in banning pet store sales of young puppies.
Will the law have a huge impact?
Not in Maryland, where only seven puppy-selling pet stores still exist.
As with everywhere else, most decent pet stores in Maryland got out of the puppy peddling business decades ago.
Does that mean there are no dogs to be had at PetSmart, or whatever pet store is located near you?
Not at all.
Most of these locations hold rescue roundups several times a month, with volunteer foster-folk showing up with vaccinated spayed and neutered dogs that have stable immune systems because they’re more than 4 months old.
One such dog is curled up in my lap right now — a pure North American Pocket Lurcher descended from the famous ratting dogs once owned by Richard Toner. Look it up!
Has the California law had an impact? Not much in California where there has never been a shortage of dog breeders or rescue dogs.
It has had an impact on the big mid-western puppy mills in places like Missouri, Nebraska and Indiana. I’m told many are simply folding up.
Is that a bad thing?
Not at all!
It’s good for more responsible small-volume breeders, and it’s good for rescues too.
A handful of failed cattle farmers can no longer make money off misery puppies shipped off to gullible fools making spur of the moment purchases in a pet store?
Cry me a river.
And by that I mean ... fuck ‘em.
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Monday, December 30, 2019
These two hikers started on the Appalachian Trail just before me. We were both going to Annapolis Rocks and a bit beyond — a 6 mile hike up and back for me, but they intended to camp.
This section is just north of the 1,000 miles of the southern trail I’ve walked from Georgia up to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, and it got me thinking about old age and creaking bones.
My mother and my wife can no longer make this up-hill walk. I have friends that can no longer venture too far off the sidewalk. Time and infirmity are the wolves that hunt us all.
|Not my picture, but that's the view.|
Sunday, December 29, 2019
"Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don't know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It's that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don't know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless."
-- Paul Bowles' The Sheltering Sky
Saturday, December 28, 2019
Lazy, stupid, or incompetent?
It's the question we face so often in the era of Facebook and "truthiness" and "Alternative Facts".
And, of course, there are other options....
The latest bit of wrong comes from someone by the name of Mark Cushing who has penned a piece entitled "The Dog Shortage Is Real".
The article is nonsense, from stem to stern.
Actually it's not nonsense, as nonsense occurs when someone just says stuff without any concern for the truth, while lying is when you know the truth and work very hard to stay away from that.
Mr. Cushing is not just spewing nonsense -- he appears to be working very hard to stay away from the truth.
For example, Mr. Cushing starts by saying that "the flourishing import market [for dogs] poses genuine health threats."
Flourishing import market?
What market would that be?
Here we come to Mr. Cushing's first lie, which is that over a million dogs a year are imported for market.
He knows this is not true as the figures come from the U.S. government and the source is not hard to find (though he does not link to it for some reason):
This report summarizes data concerning the estimated 1.06 million live dogs imported into the United States each year. The vast majority of these dogs are assumed to be personal pets traveling with or to their owners, based on data concerning the use of dogs in the United States. In 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued permits for 2,917 dogs that were imported for resale purposes under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). This represented a significant increase over the previous two calendar years due to increased outreach efforts to individuals and entities that may require a permit and to airlines that frequently move dogs into the United States.
So, the "flourishing import market" for dogs turns out to be LESS THAN 3,000 DOGS.
Mr. Cushing had to know that... but notice that he not only left out the truth, he left out the link to the source of the truth.
What else did Mr. Cushing leave out?
After giving us the wrong data about "the flourishing import market," he then tells us:
Do we know the health status of these [1 million imported] dogs? No, but we do know that more than 100,000 arrive from rabies-risk zones.
"Rabies-risk zones". I am genuinely laughing, as rabies is endemic across the United States. Again, surely Mr. Cushing knows this?
Also, surely he knows that dogs imported from "rabies risk zones" are required to have a rabies vaccine at least 28 days before they fly to the US and that all dogs have to appear healthy? Most international airlines require a very recent veterinary inspection as well, as anyone who has traveled overseas with a dog can tell you.
What else does Mr. Cushing get wrong? Well his data on where dogs come from is demonstrably wrong.
Let's start with the fact that he cites "research" commissioned by the Pet Leadership Council without noting that the Pet Leadership Council is his client and is a consortium of pet stores, fish farmers, dog food makers, and pet product manufacturers, as well as the puppy mill-loving AKC.
Mr. Cushing cites a Mississippi State "study" without bothering to link to it. And you know why? So far as I can tell, that "study" is simply a press release. When I asked for the actual work in 2017, I was told it was not available to the public. That appears to still be the case. As I noted in 2017, the work itself appears to be a complete mess; a case example of failure to define terms, poor sampling, ignoring easily accessible data bases, and suspect methodology. Since the study has not been forthcoming, it's impossible to say more. That said, anyone can do their own research about dog availability pretty quickly.
For example, I entered the address of the Animal Policy Group's "office" in Tazewell, Tennessee (it appear to be a private home) into PetFinder and found 1,100 rescue and shelter dogs available RIGHT NOW within 100 miles of that location.
Surely Mr. Cushing has done this himself?
Across the nation, RIGHT NOW, there are over 112,000 dogs in rescues and shelters looking for a home, each with a name, address, email, and phone number for contact.
A dog shortage? Where would that be?
Thursday, December 26, 2019
So many dogs these days live "prison planet" lives.
What do I mean by this?
Think about the life of a dog, but flip it around and make it about a child.
Suppose a small boy or girl, age three months, is brought to live alone in a cave tied to a large fenced yard.
He shares the cave and yard with five or six dogs, but other than that, he only communicates with other people on those brief occasions when he is allowed to leave the yard and can actually interact with them.
Will this boy learn the language of humans with so little contact in such truncated circumstances?
What will this child act like? This adult? This old man?
When we talk about poor socialization among dogs, we tend to mean dogs that are overly fearful or aggressive towards other dogs and other people.
But poor socialization just as often expresses itself in another way -- dogs that are SO in need of canine contact, and so inarticulate in "dog speak" that, when put before other dogs, they are like long-term foreign prison camp survivors swarming over their liberators, crying and laughing, pawing at their pockets and kissing their feet as they try to get their cracked vocal chords to work again and remember the word for "thank you" in their almost-forgotten mother tongue.
And these are men who were captured as adults, and after only a few years as captives!
Now imagine how bad it might be if you were taken to a prison planet -- a suburban home -- as a child and left to communicate with no one but the wolves.
Would you ever be able to communicate with the wolves as well as they communicate with each other? And how well would you be able to communicate with other people ?
Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Monday, December 23, 2019
NC Wyeth is America's greatest illustrator, and this nostalgic portrayal of the young Charles Lindbergh was painted when the aviator was still an American idol.
Not only is the young Lindbergh holding several leghold traps, he has (of course!) a terrier with him.
A little background: Charles Lindbergh had become famous by flying his airplane, The Spirit of St. Louis, solo across the Atlantic in 1927. In 1927, this was tantamount to man walking on the Moon -- a massive show of technological strength paired with real American daring-do.
But as rosy as things were for the young Lingbergh in the late 1920s, they were not to last too long.
In March of 1932, Lindbergh's infant son was kidnapped from his New Jersey home by a poor carpenter who accidentally dropped and killed the baby as he descended a second-story ladder.
After a 30-month manhunt and investigation that kept the public enthralled, kidnapper Richard Hauptmann was caught, convicted, and electrocuted.
The unrelenting public attention surrounding the kidnapping and trial drove Lindbergh and his wife out of the US to Europe where they seem to have been infected by the fascist bug.
The Lindberghs returned to the US in 1939, but by then they had embraced isolationism and eugenics and were voicing pro-German sympathies as well as anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
In late 1940, Lindbergh became a spokesman for the "America First Committee," giving talks to overflow crowds at Madison Square Garden and Chicago's Soldier Field, with millions more listening by radio.
That same year, his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, penned a book entitled The Wave of the Future, which argued against American involvement in World War II and which made clear her Nazi sympathies.
In 1941 Charles Lindbergh spoke before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in opposition to the Lend-Lease program, the only lifeline Britain and Europe had to fight Hitler.
Though the Lindberghs had the right to free speech, they were now quite clearly batting for the other side when it came to fighting the Nazis, and their reputations justly suffered.
After World War II, Charles went on to work as a consultant for Pan-American World Airways. AT the same time, he repeatedly cheated on his wife with at least three German women who fathered seven of his children out of wedlock.
Charles Lindbergh dabbled in conservation causes towards the end of his life and died in Maui, Hawaii, of lymphoma on August 26, 1974. Anne Morrow Lindbergh died in 2001.
The Souq Waqif Falcon Hospital in Doha, Qatar, is a luxurious and technologically advanced veterinary hospital that spares no expense for falcon care.
Read the whole >> thing.
This morning is like most others at the clinic, the Souq Waqif Falcon Hospital, which, as its name does little to hide, is an entire facility dedicated to treating one member of the raptor family. Tucked in one corner of the main square in Doha’s old city, the historic center where thousands of soccer fans have gathered for FIFA’s Club World Cup, it is a medical facility like few others...
In Qatar, as in several other countries in the Gulf, the falcon fulfills a variety of roles, from family pet to status symbol to racing competitor. But falcons also provide an important and valued link to the region’s ancient Bedouin culture.
Today, the most sought-after birds can change hands for a few thousand dollars. The best, though, are worth a few million to the men — and it is always men who handle the falcons — who plow fortunes into a centuries-old pastime in the world’s richest country....
Set over multiple floors, the facility, subsidized by Qatar’s ruler, treats about 150 falcons a day. Most of the birds come for checkups after being bought in the many shops selling falcons nearby, or to have what staff members nonchalantly describe as a mani-pedi, the falcon equivalent of a manicure in which its beak and talons are sharpened while under general anesthesia. Others arrive to have radio transmitters and GPS devices fitted so their owners can keep track of the expensive birds when they take them out to hunt. The devices are typically attached to tail feathers, though some require invasive implantation surgery.
The most serious work — orthopedic surgery to mend broken bones that in the wild would mean certain death — takes place in an inpatient unit housed on another floor.
In the general treatment area, which is off-limits to anyone but staff members and their patients, technicians are split into specialized sections with the central space reserved for a group of workers manning a bank of computers. They analyze blood and fecal samples as well as throat swabs under high-powered microscopes that display images on giant screens. Anything untoward is marked for the attention of a handful of senior medics who patrol the area in green scrubs.
At the far end, another group is busy trying to replace a missing tail feather on an expensive-looking peregrine. “For each species the pattern is different, and for each feather the pattern is different,” said the technician Abdul Nasser Parolil. He reached to open a set of drawers, revealing a surprisingly broad selection of feathers of varying lengths, colors and patterns. “We have to find the right pattern,” he said....
“The way they look after their kids, they look after their falcons,” Hameed said, before correcting himself. “Actually, if their child was ill, they would send the driver, the maid or the wife to the doctor.
“But if the falcon is sick, the man of the house will go himself.”
Read the whole >> thing.
Sunday, December 22, 2019
This picture is from a trapper who used to live about 12 miles north of where I live.
In a 53-day trapping period this fellow brought in 1,220 fox, and I assure you he did not reduce the fox population in the slightest.
This trapper is dead now, but so too is the trapping industry, and for a very simple reason: fur is deeply inferior to synthetics.
Not only is fur more expensive, but seam-matching pelts makes for a lot of places to come apart on a coat. Who do you go to repair that?
Add in the difficulty in cleaning fur, the expense in professional storage in summer months (required to prevent insect damage), the weight, and the inferior heat holding qualities of fur, and it's not hard to see why the fur market is in deep trouble.
What's the latest? Just this from the Canadian Broadcasting corporation:
The North West Company, which owns Northern stores across the country, said the prices it's been getting for fur have been dropping from 50 to 70 per cent in some cases, making it impossible to continue in the fur trade.
"Due to unprecedented market conditions at this time — including historical lows for prices at auction and the high inventories that we have still available, we made the difficult decision to suspend purchases," said Derek Reimer, director of business development for the North West Company.
The move could be devastating for trappers in remote locations. In many communities, Northern stores are the only places to sell pelts and sometimes the only location to buy supplies.
"Northern stores are really important, especially if it's a community without a road," said Mark Studer, a longtime trapper in La Ronge, Sask.
"They have no way of driving to sell their furs or no accessibility to leave their town or community and travel south."
To be clear, it isn't pressure from "animal rights" folks that is killing the fur industry so much as a glut on the market of an inferior product.
Not only is fur inferior to syntehics, but wild fur is inferior to farmed fur where the coat colors are easier to match, the fox are all large and harvested at peak, and pelts are never damaged from burrs, scars, or shoddy field skinning.
How quick and complete is the fur industry collapse?
Consider this: North American Fur Auctions (NAFA), the largest buyer of fur in this hemisphere, is under creditor protection and is not expected to have any fur auctions next year, which means there is (literally) going to be a lot few markets for pelts.
Bottom line: the trapping debate is pretty much over and synthetics (and consumers) won.