Thursday, March 24, 2011

Coffee and Provocation

Thoughts on Beagling:
A nice little video with three different beaglers doing it their way.  This video is 32 minutes, and features Clayton Bright, a sculptor of sporting art from Brandywine, Pennsylvania; Roland Baltimore, an African American contractor from Middleburg, Virginia; and Claude Honeycutt, a beagle man from the mountains of western North Carolina near Asheville.  All nice guys, but I would be happiest spending a day in the field with Roland! 

Thoughts on Fox Hunting:
This 30-minute film from 1975 features huntsman Melvin Poe and the hounds of the Orange County Hunt near The Plains,Virginia, where old and broken hounds are replaced with as little fanfare as old and broken reigns. 

Cat Killers:
According to a new study in the Journal of Ornithology, cats kill 500 million birds a year as compared to only 440,000 a year for wind turbines.

A World-Class Hero:
The Democratic Republic of Congo's Environment Minister Jose Endundo has rejected a bid by UK oil firm Soco International to search for oil in Virunga National Park, home of the world's only Mountain Gorillas.

You Can't Keep a Good Albatross Down:
The Tsunami wiped out thousands of nesting albatross on Midway Island, but the oldest bird in America, a 60-year old female Laysan Albatross named Wisdom, not only survived, but so did her chick who she relocated and is now feeding.  This is this particular bird's 35th baby.

James Joyce's Microbe:
When Craig Venter created the world's first synthetic microbe, he inserted a passage from James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist of a Young Man into the "extra" bits of code so he could distinguish his synthetic creation from natural forms.  Now Joyce's estate is suing, claiming copyright infringement.  The very short line inserted into the DNA (“To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life.”) will likely be deemed to be fair use by the court, and I hope the Joyce estate is hit with court costs for filing frivolous litigation.

PeTA Kills:
The 2010 PeTA kill data for PeTA's "shelter" in Norfolk, Virginia is in. The total kill rate in 2010 was 93.81%.  PeTA took in 1,553 cats and killed 1,507, and they took in 792 dogs and killed 693.

The Chamber of Commerce Has Never Been Right:
In over 30 years of advocacy, I have always sat in opposition to whatever the Chamber of Commerce was pushing.  It turns out  that just proves I have always been right!  Bill McKibben, author of Maybe Just One, notes that in almost 100 years, the Chamber of Commerce has been on the wrong side of almost every debate from Lend-Lease to the New Deal, from wage and hour laws to child labor, from McCarthyism to pollution control.  McKibben writes:  "There's a reason the U.S. Chamber always gets it wrong: they stand with whoever gives them the most cash (in 2009, 16 companies provided 55% of their budget). That means that they're always on the side of short-term interest; they're clinically, and irremediably, short-sighted. They recently published a list of the states they thought were 'best for business,' and the results were almost comical -- all their top prospects (Mississippi!) ranked at the very bottom of everything from education to life expectancy.... If you're trying to figure out the future, study the U.S. Chamber -- and go as fast as you can in the opposite direction."

KFC's Secret Herbs and Spices:
Most food companies (including dog food companies) try to keep their recipes under wraps because recipes cannot be patented or copyrighted, which is why so many recipe books are "written" by famous people with no cooking talent at all.  Eventually, of course, every secret is told.  For example, here are KFC's "11 secret herbs and spices."

Tastes like Cat:
During the German siege of Paris in 1870, Daily News correspondent Henry Labouchère had to eat whatever was available, and he record his opinions on eating horse, cat, donkey, kitten, rat, and spaniel.


Doug said...

Good to have you back, Patrick.

cvinzant said...

thanks for the beagling film. huck and moxie are very interested in listening to it. plus, it's fun to pick up all the beagling jargon

Seahorse said...

I stayed up late last night watching the fox hunting film. Quite the set of characters in that one!