Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Trump Is Key to Selling Food for the Apocalypse

There are no words. This is Jim Bakker of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker fame, on the night of the election. Apparently Bakker's new ministry, with new wife Lori, is focused on survivalists and end times. Those food buckets sell for $125-175 each. Enjoy!

Wikipedia reports that:

In January 2008, Bakker's ministry moved into a new television studio near Branson, in Blue Eye, Missouri. The studio is housed in a 600-acre development that resembles Bakker's former location, Heritage USA. Most or all of the property in the new development (named Morningside) is owned by associates of Bakker rather than by Bakker himself. Several sources have reported that Bakker still owes the IRS about $6,000,000.

Terriers for Sale: Pets, Rosettes and Workers All

Legendary terriermen? Certainly! Were they selling legendary dogs? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

If a dog is excellent at age two and half, you have to wonder why it is being sold. As for puppies, they are more of an optimistic hope than a proven reality.

Both adverts could be offering very good things ... and they could also have been offering something that ended up being a little less than was required or wanted, depending on the throw of the dice and the nature of the homes they were placed in.

What is not in dispute is that both of these ads were placed by legendary terriermen about 45 years ago.

Bert Gripton and Frank Buck were the real deal. They lived to hunt their dogs and bred dogs as a supplement to their hunting activities. That said, both men were known to breed quite a few dogs and sell them off too -- mostly to people who did far less digging than the dogs deserved -- and almost certainly less than these legendary men themselves did.

In fact, dog breeding seems to be a common thread among the "famous" terriermen of the past. If you have heard of almost any terrierman now dead -- John Russell, Arthur Heinemann, Frank Buck, Cyril Breay, Bert Gripton, etc. -- you can be sure they were moving a lot of dogs, and not just a lot of dirt.

To say this is to take away nothing from Gripton or Buck, Breay or Heinemann (and several other good and worthy gentlemen still living and left unnamed). They deserve their excellent reputations. It is simply to say that just as we sing a paean to "foxes yet unseen," so too should we give a nod and pour a dram for the hundreds of unknown working terrier enthusiasts, game keepers and huntsmen who have done at least as much to preserve and protect working terriers over the years. They may be unknown, but they are the core of the cable that is the working terrier tradition.

Today, we commonly see people advertising puppies as being "sired by WHATEVER" and bought directly from So-and-So HIMSELF.

Fair enough, but have you seen the legendary WHATEVER in the field? Has HIMSELF actually dug on a dog any time in the last 20 or 30 years? Or is this just name-dropping and pedigree paper-chasing -- the very same thing we see with show ring breeders?

The situation becomes comical when people order dogs from people they have never met in countries they have never visited. Perhaps they traded a few emails with a Great Man. Perhaps they have even toured the kennel. Excellent.

One has to wonder about those forty terriers barking in the back of the Great Man's place, however. Even if a person digs every week, it's hard to find enough work for four or five terriers. Forty? Impossible. Yes, yes, dogs can be loaned out for work to the hunts, but that's not going on too much, is it? A hunt terrierman wants a dog that is reliable (and small), not a parade of green reeds that do not know their job. And no one in the U.S. is loaning out dogs at all; if the breeder is not working them his or her self, you can be sure they are not being worked at all.

Yet young and foolish dog buyers continue to drive the business of puppy sales, don't they? There has never been a shortage of puppy peddlers. That is true in the world of working dogs as well as the world of pets-and-rosettes.

The working boards are full of people that have never dug on a dog themselves, but who have a kennel full of puppies for sale. "Bred from THIS line out of WHATEVER" they proclaim, as if this line of nonsense tells you anything.

Just ask for pictures of the dam and sire working. "Oh I never thought to take a camera into the field ... I don't share pictures because the Animal Rights people might get a-hold of them."


Any variation on this nonsense, and it's best to keep moving. People that work their dogs in the modern world have pictures of their dogs working and (in America at least) they can take you out on any given weekend and show you their dogs doing their stuff in the ground. We are a hunting society, and there is nothing unethical about terrier work as we practice it.

As for all this focus on "lines" of working terriers, it is taken to a level of absurdity by the puppy peddlers. Anyone who knows anything about working terriers knows no true working dog is a "pure" anything, and genes are quickly diluted. "Descended from So-and-So" tells you almost nothing, especially if you never saw the dog work yourself. A first generation dog is only half that gene pool, and a second generation dog is a quarter or less. In the end you are buying a pig in a poke.

Yes, a cross between between Mike Tyson and Robin Givens might get you super-model looks with a boxer's hooks, but it is just as likely to give you an ugly, stupid, scrawny and foul-tempered kid who has small hands, a thin frame, and an irritating lisp. Cross Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe and you are just as likely to get Einstein's looks and Marilyn's brains as the other way around!

Breeding, of course, is important. Working dogs are more likely to descend from two working dogs than not, and the best practice remains, as always, to get dogs that have solid working sires and dams.

Just remember, however, that there are two sides to every breeding, and much of what is being crossed from one generation to another is entirely unknown even when someone has had a "line" of terriers for two or three generations. Not every cross is a success.

In any case, a working terrier is not all about genetics is it? How many good dogs have been ruined by young fools that over-matched a dog too young? How many people have heard people proclaim a dog "worthless" when it was only 14 months old? How many people leave their dogs caged and pacing in a kennel for 12 months out of the year and then expect the dog to work like a practiced veteran the three or four times a year it is let out to see forest or field?

If only these examples were rare! Sadly, they are not.

What made the dogs of people like Frank Buck and Bert Gripton exceptional was not just breeding -- it was that these dogs saw a lot of experience in the field and were raised by people who understood how dogs thought. These MEN were as legendary as the dogs. Sadly, their experience and knowledge does not convey with the pedigree.

The ads these genuine digging men men wrote for their dogs should be read. They speak volumes in a few words: "parents small," ; "trial if necessary," ; "parents can be seen at work six days a week."

Compare these small printed advertisements to the folks who now post elaborate graphics-filled web sites offering puppies for sale. Some web sites are all about ribbons and rosettes, while others show pictures of dogs chained out in dirt yards with photos shot through rusting wire mesh.

Different ends of the social spectrum, to be sure, but what both types of web sites have in common is that neither one mentions actual terrier work.

For puppy peddlers, taking dogs out into the field to work, weekend after weekend, is too close to real work. Dogs in the field might get injured and veterinary care and tools cut into profit margins. Field work time is in direct competition with show ring trial dates.

Besides digging on the dogs a couple of times a month is suspiciously like labor. For puppy peddlers, the bottom line is the bottom line, and it is all about cash and ego, not true terrier work.

Compare the size of the genuine earth dogs offered by people like Gripton, with the hulking dogs offered up for barn and brush pile work here in the U.S.

These over-large dogs are not true terriers. Terrier means "earth dog" in French. A terrier is a dog that is capable of going to earth and to which you dig to when you are hunting.

These over-large barn-and-brush pile dogs might be called "grangier" (a possible french world for "barn dogs") or even "arbrier" (a possible french name for "tree dogs") or "bidonier" (a possible french name for "trash-pile dogs") or "batimentiere" (a possible french word for "building crawl-space" dogs), but they are not true terriers if they cannot go to ground in dirt . . . . and do so in most of the settes they encounter in their area.

Bert Gripton used to advertise that his dogs could be seen at work six days a week. Not many can say that now (and, truth be told, not many could say it back then either).

Working six days a week? Think about what that means. Regular work, day in and day out, week after week, is hardly possible with a very hard dog that goes in and gets punch-drunk with bites and rips every time it goes to ground.

Yes, the folks who dig three days a year will tell you they value a hard dog. What they will not tell you, of course, is how little time they actually spend digging.

The more you dig on the dogs, the more you come to value brains, voice, balance, and a touch of discretion in a dog, and the quicker you are to sort things out at the end of a dig. A dog that is laid up for three weeks with a ripped lip is a bad outcome if you really serious about getting out and amassing field time. Not everyone is, of course.

Bert Gripton knew the value of a small dog!

Punch Me Kangaroo Out, Sport

Mathew Amor decided to organize a small group of friends to take a sick young man called Kailem on a boar-hunting trip at his property in Condobolin, New South Wales. Kailem, who had cancer, died last week, but back in June,
“Kailem wanted to catch a boar,” said Amor.

“We were driving along, the dogs are loose. They are trained to smell pig’s blood, and picked up a scent.

“The dogs went past 20 kangaroos, which they are trained not to touch.

“Anyway, this big buck got a hold of my friend’s dog. It just grabbed him.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

The dog rescuer and ready-made Kangaroo trainer in the video is Greig Tonkins who happens to be a a zookeeper at Taronga’s Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.

He didn't hurt the Kangaroo -- he just spoke to it in a a language that a Kangaroo can actually understand.

From Bone to Loam

I have walked thousands of miles in forest and farm, and dug at least a thousand holes over the dogs, but I am always amazed how little of what lives lasts.

As the Bible notes in Ecclesiastes 3:18-20:

For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity.

All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust.

Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth? 

A Three Century Joy Ride

Back in 2010, the late great Joe Bageant wrote an essay on the Plunder of Nature:

As an Anglo European white guy from a very long line of white guys, I want to thank all the brown, black, yellow and red people for a marvelous three-century joy ride. During the past 300 years of the industrial age, as Europeans, and later as Americans, we have managed to consume infinitely more than we ever produced, thanks to colonialism, crooked deals with despotic potentates and good old gunboats and grapeshot. Yes, we have lived, and still live, extravagant lifestyles far above the rest of you. And so, my sincere thanks to all of you folks around the world working in sweatshops, or living on two bucks a day, even though you sit on vast oil deposits. And to those outside my window here in Mexico this morning, the two guys pruning the retired gringo's hedges with what look like pocket knives, I say, keep up the good work. It's the world's cheap labor guys like you -- the black, brown and yellow folks who take it up the shorts -- who make capitalism look like it actually works. So keep on humping. Remember: We've got predator drones.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Moxie Checks Out the Other Side of the Ditch

It was just birds in the bushes, but you never know!

Checking Dens

Checking for fox settes in fields near water. There's probably not enough elevation here for dry dens. Fox dens have to be dry but near some water source, no matter how sleight.


Sorghum planted as deer feed

On Sunday, I helped one fellow look for a deer he thought he had shot on Friday, but I suspect he missed. No blood trail, and no carcass.  He was shooting slugs, so the deer was not likely to run far if it was hit.  I had prowled the area marking dens as found, and had seen no carcass, and further investigation found nothing.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

The Lesson the Government Is Teaching Us

From an piece in The New York Times by Timothy Egan, entitled Fake Cowboys and Real Indians:

The sight of native people shivering in a blizzard, while government authorities threaten to starve them out or forcefully remove them, is a living diorama of so much awful history between the First Americans and those who took everything from them."

Let me say it plain: Cliven Bundy was treated with kid gloves because he had guns with bullets in them. The Native Americans are getting beaten, soaked, shot, and starved because they don't. This is is lesson the Government is teaching us.

Post note: After I put this blog post up, and the very day that over 2,000 U.S. military veterans descended on Standing Rock to stand with the Sioux and between them and the Water Protectors, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to deny a permit to the Dakota Access Pipeline for this particular under-the-lake pipeline crossing. To put a point on it, as soon as weapons-trained military veterans showed up (talking peace, but the hammer clearly implied), the government rolled over. But is it over? Don't count on it. The good news is that this pipeline is predicated on contract oil prices that are higher than current market rates, some contract could be voided or renegotiated by some signers in the next month or so. The now-certain delay in the start of pipeline operations will cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars, and could rise to over $1 billion by 2018. In an energy market quickly rushing to solar, electrical, and battery, and where peak oil demand is probably already here, it's not clear the Dakota Access Pipeline will continue to make long-term economic sense.

These are the Good Old Days

"They don't make them like they used to," says the fellow patting the hood of a '57 Chevy.

No they don't -- they make them better.

Today cars steer with one finger, have batteries that never need topping off, pollute less, get more miles per gallon, and have seat belts and air bags to boot.

So it is with many other things.

Take wildlife -- there's more of it now than there used to be.

Today, across the U.S., we have more whitetail deer, red fox, raccoon, coyote, possum, groundhog, Gray fox, black bear, wolf, duck, geese, moose, beaver, turkey, elk, alligator, cougar and bald eagles than we have had at any time in the last 100 years.

And the numbers keep going up.

The world of working terriers is better too. Getting out to a farm is pretty quick in an air-conditioned car. No one is riding 20-miles to a hunt on a horse, and then, at the end of a long day, riding 20-miles back.

How about veterinary work? In the "good old days" your dog could be lost to distemper or canine influenza or hepatitis before it was old enough to get into the field. Before antibiotics, a small wound could lead to death from sepsis or a corneal abrasion could lead to blindness. Mange was difficult to cure and rabies was still prevalent across Europe, including the UK. It is still rampant in the U.S., but vaccines now keep our hunting dogs safe.

How about working terrier equipment? It hasn't changed much since the days of Jacques du Fouilloux in 1560, but it is certainly easier to obtain. An excellent shovel can be delivered to your door with a telephone call or a few clicks of your computer mouse. Ditto for fox nets -- only now they are made of green nylon, never rot, and last forever. The radio telemetry of Deben collars means we can now find and dig to our dogs with a great deal less fear than 40 years ago. And if we lose a dog in the field far from home, there is a good chance it will be returned to us thanks to microchips and tattoo registries.

What about working dogs? Surely these are not as good as those of yore?

At the risk of heresy, let me suggest that the real working terriers of today are about the same quality as they have always been -- a mixed lot, to be sure, but probably no worse.

In fact, as a group, they may be slightly better, as we now know more about genetics and, as a consequence, we can at least try to keep healthcare time-bombs out of the gene pool -- bilateral deafness, lens luxation, loose knees, and ataxia, for example.

It is also easier today for the average person to get a good working dog.

First of all, there are more working terriers than there ever have been.

Oh sure, there are not as many working terriers as a percentage of all dogs, but in absolute numbers the count is clearly up. Think about it: the human population has tripled over the last 70 years, and with it has come an increase in the number of people interested in all dogs, including working terriers. The rise of working terriers in the U.S. has certainly been a boost, as has been an increase in the number of foxes in the UK -- a phenomenon that has made casual terrierwork much more rewarding.

Today most working terriers are not associated with mounted hunts at all, but with weekend diggers who jump in a car and are out to a hedgerow within the hour.

In Victorian days, it was harder to travel, and fox were often scarce due to traps and poisons. Leisure time was also in short supply -- the weekend was not invented until the 1930s.

Truth be told, the "weekend warrior" terrierman did not much exist in the "old days." Back then when a gamekeeper had a nuisance fox to deal with, he was more likely to reach for poison and traps than for a terrier. In fact that is still the case. Terrierwork is relatively humane, but it is not very efficient, which is why traps and poison are still used, along with snares, and lamping with lurchers and guns.

But what about the show dogs?

What about them? Most show terriers are to working terriers what white lab rats are to wild rats; they may bear a passing resemblance, but they are entirely different animals in every way that counts.

In truth, many terrier breeds never hunted much of anything other than an occasional rat or rabbit. Though nearly every Kennel Club breed, from Silky terrier to Glen of Imaal, claims they once hunted fox and badger, there is very little evidence to support most of these claims.

Most terrier breeds, as we know them today, are synthetic creations cobbled together by show-ring enthusiasts beginning in the middle-to-late part of the 19th Century. Breeds were assembled from bits and pieces of genuine working dogs mixed with a dash of turn-spit dog, lap dog, dachshund, and spaniel. Features were exaggerated, coats lengthened and softened, colors selected, and nose color and "expression" given points. Slathered on top of all these new show-ring standards were invented histories and unfounded assertions that inconsequential attributes were of importance in the field.

Almost all of it was (and is) nonsense. As Harriet Ritvo notes in The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age, from the 1850s and into the 20th Century, dog show folks "elevated standards that had no basis in nature or aesthetics but reflected the ignorant, self-interested caprices of fanciers who wished to boost the prestige of their own stock in order to associate themselves with people of good breeding."

Most show terriers are to working terriers what white lab rats are to wild rats; they may bear a passing resemblance, but they are entirely different animals in every way that counts.

Ironically, even after 150 years of effort, the show ring has not killed off the true working terrier, which still exists outside the show ring in the same form it did a century and a half ago.

The "black and tan terrier" (now called the fell terrier) still works, though its stilted cousin the show Welsh Terrier and show Lakeland Terrier, now have overlarge chests and elongated heads, making them useless as fox-working dogs.

The "foxing" terrier (now called the Jack Russell Terrier) still works, though its bastard cousin, the show ring Fox Terrier, now has an enormous chest, an oddly elongated muzzle, a loose coat, and an odd stiff-legged movement never seen in a real working dog.

A few Border Terriers still work, though they too are increasingly too large to get to ground, and are now so expensive that they are more likely to be owned by suburban housewives than people capable of digging five feet into an embankment. In the U.S. finding two working border terriers to breed together is almost impossible!

What of the other breeds of working terriers?

There really weren't any, if by "work" we mean going to ground on fox and badger.

In fact, we may have one or two more working terrier breeds today than we did in the old days. Added to the above list of three types we can add the Patterdale Terrier (breeding true for 50-years and a derivative of the fell terrier) and the Plummer Terrier (breeding true for 20-years and a derivative of the Jack Russell Terrier). Unfortuntately, here too the push is on to draw them into the show ring, and chest size is already an issue in some lines, especially with Plummers.

What of the Cairn, Norfolk, Scottish, Australian, and Sealyham terrier?

Most of these breeds were drawn into the show ring almost as soon as they were created, and most were "worked" to nothing more substantive than rats and rabbits -- a job that a good collie or lurcher can do almost as well.

Yes a Cairn or two, and a Norfolk or two were hunted to fox. Jocelyn Lucas himself worked badger and fox with his pack of Sealyham terriers. That said, such stories are the exception rather than the rule, and few terrier breeds, other than the three previously mentioned, ever saw wide service in the hunt field. Lucas and his kennel partner, Mrs. Enid Plummer, found it almost impossible to carry on their own kennel of Sealyham terriers in the face of show-ring demands for ever-larger Sealyhams with elongated faces and softer coats. Today the small compact Sealyham Terrier of Lucas's day is essentially extinct -- as are the antecedents of most of the other terrier breeds. The names may live on, but something is surely missing, for none are commonly found in the hunt field today.

On the upside, the same type of working terrier that has always prevailed in the field still exists, and with a modicum of due-diligence dogs can be obtained reasonably easily from working kennels, and with some certainty that the dog will be of the right size and temperament to do the job.

Five-generation pedigrees -- a legacy of the show ring it should be said -- are sometimes a benefit in sorting through size and paternity claims. A quick telephone call can check out a story or two, and ascertain a pup's availability. A picture posted by email can quickly affirm a sire and dam's overall appearance and perhaps even offer some small assurance that the dog or sire and dam in question have indeed been worked (if pictures are available, as they certainly should be in this day and age).

Caveat emptor, of course.

Dog breeders tend to say what they think their customers want to hear. Even mediocre hunting dogs (by definition most of them) are routinely presented as exceptional beasts. If you do not put chest size front and center in your selection criteria, your dog will sure to be too big

That said, if after due-diligence you are reasonably satisfied that a dog or pup being offered will fit your needs, it's a relatively easy thing to get anywhere in the world in order to visit the kennel, see the dog in person, and strike a deal. We live in an increasingly small world, and it's now quicker to get from Washington, D.C. to London than it is to get across the state of Virginia -- at some level, a marvelous thing.

Which brings us back to Square One: These really are the good old days.

No generation has ever had more spare time.

No generation has ever had better dogs more easily obtained.

No generation has ever had easier access to farms stretching out over a vast portion of the countryside brimming over with suitable quarry.

If you want to hunt with terriers, it has never been easier to work them, and if you do so, you will quickly learn more with a shovel in your hand than you could in fifty lifetimes of bouncing around a show ring.

Slip loose a dog at a naturally-dug fox or groundhog den, and you will know more about spanning in 10 minutes than you could ever hope to learn from reading a breed standard.

Dig on a groundhog at the stop-end of a dirt pipe and you will know why tenacity and teeth are required.

Patch a few dogs up at the end of the day, and you will appreciate why brains and discretion are required as well.

Spend a hot summer day in a hedge and you will begin to value a dog's nose for its function and not just for its color.

Put a mute dog to ground and you will know why diggers care more about good voice and an honest mark than they do about "movement" and "expression."

Above all, get out and dig.

If you do so, when you grow old and grey, you will look back and say -- "Ah! Those were the good old days."

How We Cook Our Thanksgiving Turkey.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Coffee and Provocation

The Queen delivers a speech on poverty.
A beaver busted into a dollar store in Charlotte Hall, Maryland, and trashed the place, including the artificial Christmas Tree display.

The Russians are having the Koreans clone genetically superior police dogs. It's like a bad James Bond movie.

Ravenous 14-Foot python caught with 3 deer in its gut.

Texas man taunts Alligator and jumps into water ... Alligator kills man.

The longest cat fence in the U.S. was just built on a Hawaiian volcano to protect nesting bird colonies.

Dolly Parton will be helping people back on their feet by donating $1,000 every month for six months to each family that lost their homes in the forest fires in Sevier County. The flames reached the doorsteps of Dollywood, but the park was spared and will reopen on Friday.

Pigeons in Barcelona are being put on the pill (nicarbazin) in an attempt to cut their numbers by 80 per cent.

Thanks Obama!
The outdoor industry will be added to the calculus of the nation’s gross domestic product in a bill headed to the President’s desk.

Big Data for Big Conservation
The US Forest Service says it hopes to use DNA collected from water to map every aquatic animal in the Western states. The resulting biodiversity map, cataloging thousands of species by population boundary, would be an enormous conservation resource.

Women, Work and the Pill
Economic empowerment and freedom got a jump start with modern contraception. Video.

Russian soldiers with dog from the center, 1914.

Drone World

The Leadership of Lions and Dogs

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Everybody Dies, But Not Everybody Lives

Working terriers? They LIVE!

An Elk Picks His Mark

Keep your dog on a leash so it does not chase the deer and elk.

Notice that the elk leaves the two Jack Russells alone -- they're not running away. Wee wolves.

Throw Back Thursday

This would have been in 1976 or 1977, when I was 17 years old. The pack was a Kelty BB5, a marvelous old pack -- the largest Kelty made at the time, and first introduced in 1969. The "sissy bar" on top moved weight higher, which is always a good idea if you are doing long-distance walking and the tree cover over the trail will allow it.

Human Soul for Sale, Dirt Cheap

"Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to him, 'All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." — Matthew 4:8

They eat frogs legs for dinner and drink $400 wines, just like the rest of us.

Those damn frogs were eating the malaria mosquitos in the swamps that will not be drained now that we have Goldman Sachs and a team of billionaires and lobbyists on the march.

Thank God these people don't use emails or help orphans whose parents died of AIDS. The good people of KY and TN cannot have that. Or Medicare. Or the black lung fund. Screw that stuff and pass the Grey Poupon.

Dog House Design Has Not Changed Much in 700 Years

Four Dogs before a Doghouse in a book of German fables from the late 1400s. This illustration is in the J. Paul Getty Museum.

A Christmas Message From the Terriers

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What Rough Beast Slouches Towards Bethlehem?

The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

To Tell The Truth

Do you recognize her?

The lady holding back the Borzois is is Kitty Carlisle, aka Kitty Carlisle Hart, who was born on September 3, 1910 – and died on April 17, 2007 at the age of 96.

Kitty Carlisle was a regular panelist on the television game show To Tell the Truth, where she provided a great deal of over-the-top cultural grace to her panelist duties. She seemed rich and cultured because she actually was rich and cultured. Married to playwright and director Moss Hart, she herself was a singer, actress and spokeswoman for the arts. She was was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame, served for 20 years on the New York State Council on the Arts, and received the National Medal of Arts from President George H. W. Bush in 1991. Oddly enough, her Jewish grandfather had been a Confederate gunner on the iron-clad Virginia (formerly the Merrimack), which fought the iron-clad Monitor!

Topping Tulips

Terrier Taxonomy

The Belvoir Hunt Kennels

The Belvoir Hunt Kennels by Sir Alfred J. Munnings. This painting sold for $460,000 at Sotheby's.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Need Dalmatian Puppies

A Sense of Impending Doom

Things feel unsettled in Washington at the moment.  I am reminded of a conversation I once had with my wife:

Me: “I feel bad. Jittery”

Her: “How?”

Me: “A feeling of impending doom.”

Her: “You know what that is?”

Me: “No”

Her: ”Impending doom.”

That’s how it feels.

We have people without experience, and no track record of success, pulling apart things they do not understand, based on a theory they read in a Heritage Foundation white paper written by a graduate of Hillsdale College.

What could possibly go wrong?

Standards Where Health & Performance Are Zero

John Henry Walsh invented the Kennel Club "standard" -- cookie cutter judging based on a series of arbitrary points compiled by folks who may not have even owned any of the dogs they were writing a "standard" for.

Walsh was editor of The Field magazine, and wrote for that publication under the pseudonym of ‘Stonehenge.’

In 1867, a scant eight years after the first formal dog show (where he was one of the judges), Walsh published The Dogs of the British Islands, in which he and several friends set out to to detail the physical attributes of various breeds, and to assign various "points" to these features so that the dogs could be judged in a systematic way from show to show.

Walsh's point system (along wih the eugenics theories of Francis Galton) served as the backbone and architectural model of the Kennel Club point system which is used to judge dogs in the ring, and on the bench, to this day.

Walsh's point system gave ZERO points to health and field performance, and that is still true in the Kennel Club ring to this day. Any wonder then why health and performance are so pitiful among Kennel Club dogs?

Get Rich Raising Nutria!

Wow! What a great idea! It says in this 1958 Popular Science ad that the price of nutria pelts is already almost equal to mink. And these exotic rodents breed like ... well, rodents! Women will always wear fur. What could go wrong? Nothing! Just look at that cool logo if your confidence is wavering. This is sure to be an exploding market for a bright, energetic young person.

Coffee and Provocation

Jurasic Chicken
Scientists in Chile have grown dinosaur legs on a chicken. In of last year, scientists successfully converted a chicken's beak into that of a snout similar to its dino-predecessors.

That Monkey is a Whore
When monkeys were taught the concept of money, it resulted in the first recorded incident of monkey prostitution.

100 Million Dead Trees in California
The drought has been long and awful.

When You Have More Money Than Brains
Bowser Beer is a ridiculously expensive six-pack of bottled beef broth.

This Crap is a Complete Waste of Money
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) now requires over the counter homeopathic remedies sold in the US to come with a warning that they are based on outdated theories ‘not accepted by most modern medical experts’ and that ‘there is no scientific evidence the product works’.

What Happened to the Seals?
The Seals GPS technology has helped scientists conclude that a 65 percent decline in Scotland's Harbor Seal population between 2001 and 2010 was due to a toxin produced by algae.

Frog Sex Ratios are Changed by Road Salt
Scientists have found that the proportion of females within tadpole populations was reduced by 10 percent when exposed to road salt, or sodium chloride, suggesting that the salt has a masculinizing effect.

Donald Trump Is Impeachable on Day One
Donald Trump will have to sell billions of dollars of real estate in the next month to avoid being impeached for bribery and payment from foreign powers. He has business interests with Jose E. B. Antonio, who is also Philippines dictator Rodrige Duterte's Special Envoy to the USA. Similar conflicts exist is some 20 known countries where the Trump organization has dealings, and then there is the long, undisclosed list of foreign creditors, potentially including sovereign wealth funds.

No, Santa-san Will Not Be Driving
Domino's Pizza in Hokkaido Japan is rolling out delivery by reindeer.

A Stinking Bad Idea
A Japanese skating rink froze 5,000 fish frozen in ice. It did not go over well with the public.

Beatrix Potter, Mycology Artist

This illustration of a flammulina velutipes, or winter mushroom, was done by Beatrix Potter.
The author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and other wonderfully illustrated children’s books was a Victorian enthusiast of natural history with a keen interest in mycology, producing excellent drawings and paintings of mushrooms she saw throughout the English isles,

The Grief of One Dog

“This soldier, I realized, must have had friends at home and in his regiment; yet he lay there deserted by all except his dog. I looked on, unmoved, at battles which decided the future of nations. Tearless, I had given orders which brought death to thousands. Yet here I was stirred, profoundly stirred, stirred to tears. And by what? By the grief of one dog."

- Napoleon Bonaparte, on finding a dog beside the body of his dead master, licking his face and howling, on a moonlit field after a battle.