These photos are all from the blog ZooBorns, a cuteness timesink that will make holiday-softened minds even mushier.
All these and a ton more at ZooBorns, where everyone is above average on the cuteness scale. [H/T: MAKE Magazine.]
Giotto's masterwork is the decoration of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, commonly called the Arena Chapel, completed around 1305. This fresco cycle depicts the life of the Virgin and the life of Christ. It is regarded as one of the supreme masterpieces of the Early Renaissance. That Giotto painted the Arena Chapel and that he was chosen by the commune of Florence in 1334 to design the new campanile (bell tower) of the Florence Cathedral are among the few certainties of his biography. Almost every other aspect of it is subject to controversy [...]
Jingle is with me and he has activated the cooling system that sprays the reindeer team with cool water. They are doing well.... it's amazing how well they handle the dramatic temperature changes. The weather has been good so far...though the launch was a little rough as we had high winds. Overall, its a great start.How cool is that - he's a techie.
Anyway... I'll be keeping you posted on my route tonight. I have my laptop with me and am using the same satellite connection I use to stay in contact with Mrs. Claus to post updates to my blog. Keep checking in. And don't forget, NORAD is tracking me as well.
See you soon!
To support animal-care groups cited in this article, go to their respective websites: www.aspca.org, www.badrap.org, www.bestfriends.org and www.recycledlove.org.Because we cited PETA and HSUS, but they've made it pretty clear that they're so NOT animal-care groups. I heart SI. Repeat: I HEART Sports Illustrated!!
Torah calls on us to "appoint judges and magistrates in all our gates, the places that God gives to you, and you shall judge the people with righteous justice (mishpat tzedek)" (Deuteronomy 16:18).*************
What does "righteous justice" mean?
Commenting on this verse, the great 19th century master, Chatam Sofer, says it relates to a verse from the prophet Hosea [...], a line about God betrothing us with justice (tzedek), law (mishpat), kindness (chesed) and compassion (rachamim), which we say while putting on tefillin in the morning. According to a midrash, God provides the world with kindness and compassion, and we provide justice and law, thereby creating a balanced and holy alliance. It's a tangible and beautiful way of conceptualizing the covenant between divinity and humanity. Chatam Sofer goes on to say that "God gives us space to create homes, societies and communities, out of love and compassion, and it is up to us to create them with justice and righteousness, by creating laws that are fair and just for all members."
This is the true meaning of tzedakah: not charity, but justice.
Last year's Menu for Hope raised over $90K. In case you're wondering about what happened to that money, here's a little report from the World Food Program.You have until December 24 to buy raffle tickets for these great items, including cookbooks, cooking lessons, food, wines, coffees, food tours of Florence and Milan and Nice, a vacation in Napa Valley, terrific meals in restaurants from Europe to Australia, and much more. Everything is donated, which means all the money raised can be used to buy meals for hungry children. Don't think of it as charity. Think of it as justice.
It bought 388,000 meals in Lesotho schools, which fed over 19,000 poor hungry children with school meals for a whole month. The children received food in primary schools across the remote mountainous areas of Lesotho, which are the poorest and hungriest parts of the country.
Some of the money was used to buy food from local small scale farmers practicing sustainable farming methods in remote areas, providing them with guaranteed market for their products. In 2007, the WFP bought 8 tons of maize from local farmers. In 2008, with the funds from Menu for Hope 4, we bought 36 tons of maize from small scale farmers, four times as much as the year before.
Good lord, the excuses of pit bull activists are obscene.[modestly] I do what I can.
Pit bulls and those who want them should be banned.
You;re a threat to the health and safety of communities and are as or more dangerous than thugs armed with guns.
On a leafy hospital campus in this still-scarred city, one of the victims of last month's terrorist attacks is making a recovery. He's a chubby, cream-colored pooch whom workers have named Sheru -- the Hindi word meaning Lion Heart.Read the rest here, at WaPo. [H/T: HuffPost.]
Sheru was a stray dog hit by an errant bullet when two gunmen opened fire in a crowded railway station during the first night of the assault. The survival of the aging Sheru, despite a gunshot wound to his left shoulder, has become an uplifting and soothing symbol of Mumbai's recovery to many of the city's anxious and angry citizens. In a three-day siege beginning Nov. 26, 10 gunmen killed more than 170 people and wounded at least 230. They attacked two luxury hotels, a restaurant, a train station, a Jewish outreach center and other sites.
"Some may ask why a dog is being saved when so many human lives were lost," said J.C. Khanna, a retired lieutenant colonel and head veterinarian in the Indian army. "But saving all creatures big and small shows the love and affection for all life that [Mumbai] has shown again and again. Sheru's life stands for something, for all of us getting back on our feet."
Rubidoux man mauled to death by own dogsSo we have a backyard breeder, several backyard dogs [unsocialized, untrained, iffy temperaments], nine puppies: the wrong dogs, "the wrong background, the wrong history in the hands of the wrong person in the wrong environmental situation." What a needless tragedy. And while there is never a "better" time for such misery — the week before Christmas. Damn.
Two dogs mauled their 60-year-old owner to death Friday afternoon when he stepped into the backyard of his Rubidoux home to smoke, officials said.
Gerald Adelmund was declared dead at the cream-colored house in the 5700 block of Kenwood Place after deputies pulled him inside, said Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez.
"This is an unfortunate, very tragic accident," Gutierrez said.
He said he did not know why the dogs attacked Adelmund or who dragged him into the house.
The dogs were described as a 4-year-old, 107-pound male, part pit bull and part mastiff, and a 52-pound female pit bull, about 6.
The dogs were euthanized Friday by the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, with the permission of Adelmund's relatives, and are being tested for rabies, said Animal Services spokesman John Welsh.
The family also authorized euthanizing the female's nine puppies, but it wasn't clear Friday if the puppies had been killed, Welsh said.
Other neighbors said they have been afraid of the dogs for months and described them as vicious.
Josie Peña, who lives in the house behind Adelmund's on 29th Street, said that two small pit bulls the family bought a few months ago fought each other, and would growl and snap at her family through the chain-link fence that divides their property.
She said Adelmund's large male, which he owned for years, was always playful but became more aggressive when the other dogs arrived.
"I haven't gone out in my backyard for three months because I can't stand the way they are," Peña said.
Matt Morgan, a leading lithographic artist of the period, joined the firm [Strobridge, "synonymous with circus posters"] in 1878, after spending five years with Leslie's Weekly as a cartoonist. Morgan's arrival brought the creation of the first Strobridge multiple-sheet poster, in the form of a 16 sheet [outdoor poster]. The subject was "Eliza Crossing the Ice."I can find no reproduction of this poster online, and will have to scan it the next time I'm downtown. The book's reproduction of the poster is in black and white. The dogs are big, entirely lifelike and and vividly believable, with close-cropped ears and the slick coats of a pit bull or an American bulldog. They look absolutely ferocious, even if you are not an impressionable eight year old. The caption: Eliza's race across the Ohio River, shown in an Uncle Tom's Cabin theater poster, was often duplicated in real life. One Negro woman who was caught on the Ohio side cut her baby's throat as they were carried back to slavery. [Author Harriet Beecher Stowe exaggerates the separation of slave children from their families, complained a critic: Louisiana law clearly states that “Every person is expressly prohibited from selling separately from their mothers the children who shall not have attained the full age of ten years."]
With all that digital goodness available, where to begin? I started with - wait for it - dogs, and a search for dog images will turn up bazillions. Here are a couple old commercial posters:
Our shepherdes dogge is not huge, vaste, and bigge, but of an indifferent stature and growth, because it hath not to deale with the bloudthyrsty wolf, sythence there be none in England, which happy and fortunate benefite is to be ascribed to the puisaunt Prince Edgar, who to thintent ye the whole countrey myght be evacuated and quite clered from wolfes, charged & commaunded the welshemë (who were pestered with these butcherly beastes above measure) to paye him yearely tribute which was (note the wisedome of the King) three hundred Wolfes. Some there be which write that Ludwall Prince of Wales paide yeerly to King Edgar three hundred wolves in the name of an exaction (as we have sayd before.) And that by the meanes hereof, within the compasse and tearme of foure yeares none of those noysome, and pestilent Beastes were left in the coastes of England and Wales.The dog in The Nativity is not of indifferent stature. I imagine that if you were transported back to that time and that hillside, the dog would attack you. Downhill, in the stable, the burro and the ox are more attentive than most of the angels, and there is a frog: symbol of resurrection.
The willingness of people to walk over another human being to get at the right price tag raises the question of how they got that way in the first place. But in the search for the usual suspects and parceling of blame, the news media should include themselves.Gawker thinks the NYT is blowing smoke:
Just a few days ago, the same newspaper writers and television anchors who are now wearily shaking their heads at the collective bankruptcy of our mass consumer culture were cheering all of it on.
Of course, it was just Wednesday that the Times was mythologizing gluttonous consumerism, and not long ago that it literally serenaded the frenzied crowds chomping at the bit for their iPhones. And the holiday edition of high-end-consumption porn rag T Magazine is due in the next week or two, right? It's true that Black Friday is a stupid, fake idea, but media cheerleading of crazed consumerism is here to stay. If an unfolding economic depression wasn't enough to stop rabid consumers from breaking down doors to buy LCD television sets, a single death isn't going to reform desperate newspapers.No surprise there: 60,000 hospitalizations from dog bites each year still haven't transformed hysterical calls for BSL into editorials demanding that people take the time to socialize and train their new puppies. This doesn't mean the day won't come: just that we shouldn't stand idly by while the truth about dogs is, well, trampled underfoot. Please: donate.
Tanta used her extensive knowledge of the loan industry to comment, castigate and above all instruct. Her fans ranged from the Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times who cited her in his blog, to analysts at the Federal Reserve, who cited her in a paper on “Understanding the Securitization of Subprime Mortgage Credit.”You may be wondering what this sad news has to do with dogs, pit bulls or breed specific legislation. This:
Tanta liked to chew on the follies of regulators, the idiocies of lenders and — a particular favorite — clueless reporters, which according to her was just about all of them. She did not approve, she once wrote, of “parading one’s ignorance about mortgages in an article full of high-minded tut-tutting over ignorance about mortgages.”Consider that the average business reporter knows quite a bit more about mortgages than the typical reporter knows about dogs, and you'll get an idea of the frustration some of us feel whenever a journalist is sent [or stays home] to write about dogs, let alone a controversial type of dog like the pit bull.
In between screaming obscenities at the animals locked in combat, Sergeant Manning said, the participants smoked marijuana, popped pills, made side deals about things like selling cocaine and fencing stolen property, and, always, talked about dogs.And Houston Humane couldn't find it in their heart of hearts to let even one of those 187 dogs live. You've raised that "blame the victim" bar to a whole new level, Houston "Humane."
The fight usually ended when a dog refused to cross a line in the center of the ring to confront the opponent, known as “standing the line.” Such dogs were usually drowned or bludgeoned to death the next day, officials said.
“These guys take it very personally,” Sergeant Manning said. “It’s a reflection on them.”
Most of the dogs seized were kept outside in muddy yards, chained to axles sunk in the ground, with only six feet of tether and no shelter, beyond, in some cases, a toppled plastic 40-gallon barrel. All suffered from multiple parasites, veterinarians said.
I wish I could reach out and for just one moment hold the hands of the woman in this AP photograph. Maybe shed some tears on her shoulder. But I do not know what I would say to her. I do not think she would want me to say much. The expression on her face matches the feeling I have at the pit of my stomach and in the depth of my heart. I think - I hope - that she would understand how I feel. I can only imagine what she is going through.From the post I am a Mumbaikar: In Prayer and in Solidarity, by Adil Najam of All Things Pakistan. Read the whole thing at the link.
And so, in prayer and in solidarity, I stand today with Mumbaikars everywhere. In shock at what has happened. In fear of what might happen yet. In anger at those who would be so calculated in their inhuman massacre. In sympathy with those whose pain so hurts my own heart but whose tears I cannot touch, whose wounds I cannot heal, and whose grief I cannot relieve.
So there's about 1 billion Muslims in the world. A billion. A billion is a lot. What would a billion man plot look like, exactly? How would they communicate? Coordinate? I mean if you could really get a billion people together to attack Mumbai, you might as well try to take over a whole country. Ah, but maybe by "are behind" he [Rod Dreher] means "support". That kind of contention is thrown out there all the time, of course, and it has the virtue of requiring no form of proof whatsoever. Just like the contention "The average Palestinian would murder every Jew if he could," this kind of statement has no referent, invites no verification, requires nothing but the author's say-so and the guts to think you can leave it out there, orphaned and unsupported. This is non-falsifiable nonsense. I'm sure, say, the thousands of impoverished Thai Muslims living along the coast with no television or newspapers would be surprised to learn that they support a terrorist attack they've never heard of. Dreher has left himself an out, here, but he's done it in about the weakest form possible: possibly most Muslims weren't behind these attacks. Mmmm.
But, today, I have no words of analysis. What words can make sense of the patently senseless? I do not know who did this. Nor can I imagine any cause that would justify this. But this I know: No matter who did this, no matter why, the terror that has been wrought in Mumbai is vile and inhuman and unjustifiable. And, for the sake of our own humanness, we must speak out against it.
And, so, to any Mumbaikar who might be listening, I say: “I stand with you today. In prayer and in solidarity.”
Taking the Lambs to Market
All due respect to the blood on his bandsaw,
table, hands and smock, Amos is an artist.
We bring him something living, breathed, furred
and meet it next in a bloodless sagittal section.
No matter how we may deplore his profession
all of us are eating, even Keats
who said, If a Sparrow come before my Window
I take part in its existence and pick
about the Gravel, but dined on mutton.
Amos, who custom cuts and double wraps
in white butcher paper whatever we named,
fed, scratched behind the ear, deserves our praise:
a decent man who blurs the line of sight
between our conscience and our appetite.
My brother saw a pig root in a field,
And saw too its whole lovely body yield
To this desire which deepened out of need
So that in wriggling through the mud and weed
To eat and dig were one athletic joy.
When we who are the overlords destroy
Our ranging vassals, we can therefore taste
The muscle of delighted interest
We make into ourselves, as formerly
Hurons digested human bravery.
Not much like this degraded meat — this meal
Of something, was it chicken, pork, or veal?
It tasted of the half-life that we raise
In high bright tombs which, days, and nights like days,
Murmur with nervous sound from cubicles
Where fed on treated slop the living cells
Expand within each creature forced to sit
Cramped with its boredom and its pile of shit
Till it is standard weight for roast or bacon
And terminated, and its place is taken.
To make this worth a meal you have to add
The succulent liberties it never had
Of leek, and pepper fruiting in its climb,
The redolent adventures dried in thyme
Whose branches creep and stiffen where they please,
Or rosemary that shakes in the world's breeze.
I would be converted to a religion of grass. Sleep the winter away and rise headlong each spring. Sink deep roots. Conserve water. Respect and nourish your neighbors and never let trees gain the upper hand. Such are the tenets and dogmas. As for the practice — grow lush in order to be devoured or caressed, stiffen in sweet elegance, invent startling seeds — those also make sense. Bow beneath the arm of fire. Connect underground. Provide. Provide. Be lovely and do no harm.Provide. Here is California farmer Andy Griffin, author of The Ladybug Letter, writing about "the karma of meat":
[C]ooking meat is the way nature allows us to eat grass. By profession I’m a vegetable farmer, but as a hobby I keep a flock of goats and sheep along with a tiny herd of Dexter cattle and I think of them collectively as my “meat garden.” My animals eat cull vegetables, like over-ripe tomatoes, under-ripe winter squash and deformed beets, but mostly they eat grass from the hillsides around my home that are too steep and dry for me to farm. Remember the Dust Bowl? One of the most profound and long-lasting catastrophes of the “dirty thirties” was that speculation in grain caused vast tracts of arid, marginal land in the western Great Plains to be ploughed down for wheat. When the drought came there was no turf to hold the soil down and it blew away. That land should have never been taken away from the Buffalo and the beef cattle.
Q: “How do you eat meat from animals you knew?”True, true — the only lamb I used to eat, before free-range and grass-fed became trendy, was barbecued on a friend's ranch not long after being slaughtered. The person sitting across from me at the table could tell me everything about that individual lamb, from its grazing habits to the name of its great-grandma. I knew where that lamb came from and what care it received. Who do you ask about the shrink-wrapped ground beef at Whole Foods?
A: “I don’t like to eat meat from an animal I didn’t know!"
I know some may find it morbid (although they themselves eat meat that someone else kills!), but I've discovered I actually enjoy slaughtering and butchering my own animals. There is a certain satisfaction in knowing that I was responsible for this animal from its birth until its death. I am also fascinated in the process by which a living thing becomes food that we eat. The lamb has been really delicious as well, some of the best I've ever had.As it happens, Andy Griffin of Mariquita Farm and The Ladybug Letter has crossed paths with Rebecca and her sheep. Small blogosphere.
Scott Meyers of Sweet Grass Farm Beef [on Lopez Island, Washington] started raising Japanese Wagyu cattle on his grass pasture once the mobile unit was up and running. "It gave me access to the marketplace," he says. "Without that, I wouldn't have even considered" raising beef.The Ethicurean has more on the Island Grown Farmers Cooperative here.
Mr. Meyers says the mobile unit offers his animals a "sublime" death because they avoid the stress of traveling long distances. Such care makes his beef taste better, he says, as he introduces part of his herd: "This one's Violet, here's Splits and Buttercup."
Right now there are seven operating MPUs in the U.S., but none of them are in California. California’s lone MPU sits gathering dust in Monterey County. The MPU is operated by George Work, of Work Family Ranch. Work’s enthusiasm for the practicality of the MPU got it built, but it hasn’t been enough to overcome state and county bureaucracy, and a federal regulatory system that seems reluctant to change.We'll see what happens once the new administration takes over, though I suspect MPUs are not high on the list of concerns at the moment.
The general response from other meat processors, government workers, and members of the sustainability community to the MPU is a list of reasons why it does not work, has not worked, and will not work. Most of these focus on county regulations. For instance, in Washington, where [Bruce] Dunlop operates, he’s able to compost the non-edible remainders and return them to the pasture as fertilizer. In California this wouldn’t be tolerated. While each county has its legal peculiarities, there seems to be an overarching resistance rooted in a fear of decentralization, a fear that if we move outside the model of faster, cheaper, and more, we lose.
Keep in mind one of the oldest ways to get "free-range, grass-fed, organic, locally produced, locally harvested, sustainable, native, low-stress, low-impact, humanely slaughtered meat": by hunting it yourself.