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.]
Posted by Luisa at 9:36 PM
Posted by Luisa at 8:03 PM
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 [...]
Posted by Luisa at 12:31 AM
He's on the move —
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!
Posted by Luisa at 1:11 AM
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!!
Posted by Luisa at 4:22 PM
I added falling snow [for a few hours on Sunday] in honor of the Winter Solstice, to go with the sparkly red date effect, the night sky, the Christmas tree in the corner and the odd ornament. I am trying to be tasteful here [sound of hysterical laughter], so there will probably be no Santa's sleigh crossing the blog, etc. Probably not.
Topic. In recognition of the solstice and the gift-giving season, here are some links. First things first: to give credit where credit is due, Janeen of Smartdogs is responsible for that fine Winter Solstice post [with its Cahiers du cinéma-worthy video].
The revolutionary border collie poster shown above left is from Obey the Pure Breed. [You'll note that some breeds are more equal than others.]
These Creatures of Seattle came up with a slick new idea for a raised feeder. [H/T: GrassrootsModern.] Easy to clean underneath, and the designs rock.
Over at the green-design-is-good-design blog Inhabitat, Cooper the border collie/Lab mix checks out Ruff Wear's eco-sensitive gear for dogs, and Bridgette Steffen kindly translates Cooper's review into English.
Carol of [beautifully designed] Frogdogs provides a most excellent video of gifts to avoid giving. Though I agree that the gift at 1:57 would make me very, very happy.
Heather at Raised by Wolves recently posted one of the best working-dog vids ever, and I'm not just saying that because a certain border collie of my acquaintance would snap at any stranger foolish enough to interrupt her when she was working. [I snap at people who interrupt me when I'm working.]
Kat Urbigkit has a wonderful post on LGDs at Querencia, with super photos.
Sam will turn 20 — 20! — in March. Read Maureen's beautiful post about her old dog at Raven's Nest, and enjoy [sniffle] the beautiful photo of Sam with his dear kind face and grey muzzle.
Further afield: in celebration of 25 years publishing great reads, 4th Estate [a division of HarperCollins] commissioned an animated video from Apt Studio. It's called This is Where We Live, and it's wonderful — absolute book city.
Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, which gives me an excuse to bring up the concept of tzedakah — often mistranslated as "charity." Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater writes:
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.
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Posted by Luisa at 11:29 AM
From an anonymous [surprise!] comment:
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.
Posted by Luisa at 11:28 AM
Posted by Luisa at 2:01 AM
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."
Posted by Luisa at 12:45 AM
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.
Posted by Luisa at 11:50 PM
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."]
Posted by Luisa at 11:49 PM
Posted by Luisa at 1:55 PM
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:
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Posted by Luisa at 6:08 PM
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.
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Posted by Luisa at 11:14 PM
Banned Aid needs help, right now, this week, this minute. It's horrifying that some people, some judges, for God's sake, could look at urban legend on one side and peer-reviewed articles by AVMA and CDC experts on the other, and conclude that the truth about dogs must be, you know, somewhere in the middle. But there you are.
Please read. Please donate.
Breed specific legislation doesn't prevent dog bites and it doesn't prevent dog bite fatalities. It never has, and it never will. As a local Australian Government Minister complained back in 2006, "If I keep expanding the restricted breed list, we will have no dogs left in New South Wales."
And here's the issue: whenever the media, the courts and the city councils buy into the "safe breed"/"dangerous breed" fallacy, the general public is the biggest loser.
Instead of being informed and reminded about the importance of socialization and training and proper care and supervision of all dogs, parents are encouraged to think their families will be magically inoculated against dog bites if they simply buy a "safe breed."
I wish with all my heart that politicians and the media could be held liable for lulling parents into this false sense of security. Whenever a child winds up in an emergency room with an injury caused by a "safe breed" — and this happens tens of thousands of times each month in North America — proponents of BSL are complicit and should be held accountable.
As it happens, such a concept may be beginning to dawn on members of the press. When a Wal-Mart worker was trampled to death last week by eager shoppers, David Carr of the NY Times held a mirror to the media:
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.
Posted by Luisa at 9:26 PM
Posted by Luisa at 4:20 PM
And they did. The ironically named Humane Society of Houston, Texas took in 187 dogs after undercover agents and other investigators broke up "what officials described as one of the largest dogfighting rings in the country," and killed all 187. No experts were consulted and no temperament tests were administered ["[a]lthough some were not aggressive toward people"] — almost as if the Houston Humane Society were living in a parallel universe where the Michael Vick story got no airplay. Unbelievable.
So, to review: pit bulls bred to fight are among the most human-friendly dogs on earth. Many pit bulls bred to fight don't want to fight. Pit bulls that don't get along with other dogs can, with basic management, be great companions even in a multi-pet household.
Check out the poor dog in the photo: starving, ill, submissive and friendly, wagging his whole rear end at the photographer. [Photo from Texas Department of Public Safety via the NYT.] This dog isn't a monster. He isn't a separate species. He's on the small side: in good health he'd probably weigh under 40 lb, like most gamebred pit bulls. He's a friendly dog in desperate need of some good care. There are excellent foster homes in Texas and around the country that would have been glad to help this dog. Houston Humane killed him.
Ah, but they've chosen to devote their time and resources to "nice, adoptable" dogs. Isn't that best?
Sure. Let's kill all senior dogs, all shy dogs, all dogs over 20 lb, and all dogs that would be kicked off Cute Overload. Better yet, let's kill all stray cats and dogs and give the money we spend on animal shelters to homeless people. While we're at it, we can give all we own to the poor and eliminate funding for other scientific research until a cure is found for cancer. See how this argument spins on and on? So I adopted a pit bull instead of a "nice, worthy" dog — I didn't mail a check to Oxfam this month, either. Anything else you'd like to lecture me about?
Seriously, Houston Humane people — when you have knowledgeable rescue groups and experienced foster homes volunteering to help take dogs off your hands, and you tell those groups to take a hike, give us a break with the "death was more pleasant than what they had to exist for" excuses. You know better.
As for the dogfighters themselves — according to the NY Times article, they're hardly the upstanding citizens you read about in the Stratton books. But then, they never were.
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.
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Posted by Luisa at 12:25 PM
As a matter of fact, I did.
Mild shaking here. Quite a shallow quake — rupture started just 3.7 miles down. Shakemap:
Was on the phone with my sister at the time. Coincidence...? I shall notify CalTech, volunteer sister and self for further study.
Posted by Luisa at 9:07 PM