Entries Tagged as 'animals'

animalsends & odd

A passage through India

No Gravatar

 

I landed in New Delhi, inhaled, and immediately liked India. [Read more →]

animalsBob Sullivan's top ten everything

Now that they’re allowing mixed breeds, top ten breeds at today’s Westminster Dog Show

No Gravatar

10. Labradoodle

9. Snickerdoodle

8. Belgian Airehead

7. Kickapoo

6. Chechen Rebel

5. Lhasa Shih Tzu

4. Mexican Hairy

3. Jack Russell Crowe

2. Boston Blackie

1. Chihuahua Mastiff
 
Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

animalsBob Sullivan's top ten everything

Top ten new shows on Dog TV

No Gravatar

10. Who Wants to be a Million Airedale

9. Teen Wolfhound

8. Bones

7. Lois & Bark

6. NYPD Poodle

5. K90210

4. Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23

3. L.A. Paw

2. Leave it to Retriever

1. Twin Pekingese
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

animalsfamily & parenting

Fist Fights

No Gravatar

For Karen the Small Press Librarian, I recently exchanged interviews and e-mails with Dave Newman, author of Raymond Carver Will Not Raise Our Children. It’s an academic novel about life off the tenure track for a working family with children in Pittsburgh, and I recommend it to anyone interested in the lives of college teachers, parents, and writers. In passing, Dave mentioned that when he was growing up in western Pennsylvania, it was common for boys to fist-fight at carnivals and county fairs, and then he wondered if he wasn’t the only person he knew who used the expression “fist fight.” So that led to my own ruminations on the subject, whether or not to add a hyphen or make it one word, and I also remembered that long before I became a hulking literary menace, able to beat down an entire capitalist higher-educational economy with a work of fiction, I was just another scrawny white boy, geeky and shy, terrified that I’d have to fight in public or fight at all. [Read more →]

animals

Vegetarianism: The journey to improve more than just diet

No Gravatar

I recently read an article by someone who said the reason he stopped being a vegetarian was that vegetarians don’t see the big picture. The writer went on to say that not eating meat wasn’t solving bigger problems like the destruction of animal habitats or the depletion of resources, so he was done with it. Obviously, the author has a few shortcomings in sequential reasoning, but his point is valid to the point of inspiration.

Not eating animals doesn’t create new habitats, plant trees, or reduce overpopulation. Vegetarians don’t necessarily have a positive net impact. This is particularly true if someone is a vegetarian who buys products with genetically modified, unhealthy soy or supports other examples of bad business.
As the evidence rolls in, it’s clear that the average vegetarian is healthier, happier, and doing less damage than a carnivore. But outside of killing, the overall impact has less to do with eating or not eating meat and more to do with the source and process of creating either. There are meat-eating farmers who are less destructive than vegetarians living [Read more →]
animalsdiatribes

Should vegetarians eat fast-food?

No Gravatar
In a recent post, I pointed out that many vegetarians focus on keeping meat away from their mouths more than they focus on things that matter like preventing animal abuse, staying healthy, and buying food responsibly. My point was wonderfully illustrated by comments on the article. Unless you’re a vegetarian for the image and feeling, your behavior should reflect more than just your attitude toward meat (or lack thereof). Reducing animal exploitation, increasing availability of healthy foods, and other typical vegetarian causes require that we act intelligently when talking to others and spending money.

 

With that in mind, should vegetarians and vegans eat fast-food? I was surprised to learn that PETA, the organization uncompromising enough to decry pet ownership, thinks so:

[Read more →]

animalsdiatribes

Should vegetarians allow themselves to eat meat from the plates of others?

No Gravatar

When I first became a vegetarian, I decided it was more important to withhold financial support from the meat industry than to be a stickler about diet. I wasn’t ready then (or now) to become an activist against the meat sellers by holding protests or burning down slaughterhouses. I felt that a vegetarian is defined by  living primarily on a vegetarian diet and not by the absolute absence of meat.

I decided I didn’t have a problem eating meat that would otherwise go to waste. [Read more →]
animalstravel & foreign lands

Of Iranian monkeys and other space invaders

No Gravatar

“Space,” as 1970s prog-rock legends Hawkwind once told us, “is deep.” But that’s not all, for as Yuri Gagarin also informed us, it can be a disappointing place for religious believers.

You see, the first cosmonaut apparently took a peek out of the porthole while he was in orbit to see if the Deity was floating about. When he didn’t see an old man with a white beard anywhere nearby, he allegedly declared: “I don’t see any God up here.”

I was thinking about Gagarin’s ultra-scientific observation this week when I read about the Iranian space monkey that the mullahs reportedly shot into the cosmos a few days ago. What did our terrified primate friend see up there as he looked out the window? If he told his theocratic bosses there’s no Allah, then he’d be headed for the chop. On the other hand, since it is strictly forbidden for Muslims to depict Allah, there’s no way the monkey could have recognized his Creator in the first place. [Read more →]
animals

The ultimate DIY hamster cage built out of a piece of furniture?

No Gravatar

Having concluded from reading online posts and articles, and from observing our hamster, that the hamster cages sold in stores are not nearly large enough, I decided to build a custom cage for our Syrian hamster, Snickers.

Snickers in her old cage, when she was a bit smaller
 

She had been living in a cage that we had modified to connect to a plastic storage bin. When people saw it, they usually thought it was over-the-top extravagant for a hamster, that I had gone overboard, but I knew that many hamster owners agree that 360 square inches is the minimum space pet owners should give a hamster. That’s the size of a 20-gallon fish tank (30×12). People in the hamster-owner community (yes, there is such a thing) would not consider this set-up to be extravagant. [Read more →]

animalstravel & foreign lands

Meanwhile, in Russia…

No Gravatar

…it looks like 56-year-old Russian shepherdess Aishat Maksudova, a grandmother, recently killed a wolf with her bare hands.

Writes an unidentified reporter at Metro.co.uk:

Aishat Maksudova said she was tending to her cattle and flock of sheep when the wolf attacked in the village of Novo Biryuzyak, Dagestan.

The 56-year-old managed to save the calf but the wolf then turned its attention to her, clamping its jaws on to her hand.

Speaking from hospital with her hand bandaged, Mrs Maksudova said she was “not even frightened” during the wolf attack.

“With an open mouth, the wolf suddenly jumped on me,” she said.

“The wolf clawed into my leg and when I raised my arm up the wolf was just holding my hand; trying to claw my hand.”

Mrs Maksudova explained she wanted to throttle the wolf to death but was forced to reach for her axe when she could not prise the animal’s jaws open.

“So I just left my hand, and the wolf was just clawing into it, pulling on it, pulling away like this,” she said.

“And then I took the axe and hit him on the head.”

The bar has been raised, America. What have you done with your weak, flabby hands?

(h/t Adam Orbit)

adviceanimals

Vegan Reason (Part II)

No Gravatar

Without further ado, the writer behind the passage I posted last week:

Yep, Gandhi. It’s a wonderful passage in his autobiography and a fascinating peek into what made a young lawyer from India into a global icon for peace and justice. Let’s leave that for now though.

A few years ago, I started keeping a vegetarian diet. Factory farming is an obvious target, but what really tipped it for me are shrimp-trawling nets that catch other marine life in them, including endangered species of sea turtles. Fortunately, companies have invented different types of nets that catch the shrimp but allow creatures like sea turtles to go free. Fantastic, right? Except when the nets were pitched to the shrimping industry, you know what the response was? “We’ve always done it this way. Go hug a tree.” (Read about it here.)

That was it for me. [Read more →]

adviceanimals

Vegan Reason (Part I)

No Gravatar

I’ve been keeping a strict vegan diet for nearly a year now, after being vegetarian for almost three years. I’m often asked about my decision: Is it for health reasons? Ethical reasons? Environmental reasons? Yes, yes, and also yes. (Tyler’s entry on WFTC is a great recap of those issues.)

But there’s more to veganism than that. After finding the shift from omnivore to vegetarian to be fairly inconsequential, I realized that continuing on to a vegan lifestyle was a much more profound experience, and one that I’d like to discuss a little bit.

Let’s start with a little vegan trivia. Below is a passage from an autobiography of a very famous person—no doubt you’ve heard of him. The incident in the passage occurred in the late 19th-century, in England, although the person is not British. See if you can guess who wrote it (without Googling)—and in my next entry I’ll reveal the answer and begin my discussion in earnest. (If you can’t see the whole passage below, just click on it.)

animalstrusted media & news

Journalistic quality of elephant-attack article lacking

No Gravatar

A young elephant attacked a handler at an Australian zoo. I wish I knew what else happened, but much of the article is incomprehensible.

For example, we’re told that at “the time of his birth in March 2010, the young male weighed 116 kilograms and one year later tipped the scales at just over 500kgs.” That’s great, but no one knows what a “kilogram” even is. And “kgs”? Come on, journalists — write in English. How many pounds are we talking about here? I’m not a human unit converter. Is 500kgs a lot? Literally no one on Earth knows.

And what about the journalist’s duty to question the zoo staff for not seeing the obvious? “The zoo said it doesn’t know what provoked the calf. ‘It’s unknown at this time why the young elephant challenged the keeper.’”

Unknown? We all know what caused this. The elephant has crazy eyes. He was doing bath salts.

 

animalscreative writing

Grizzly bear stories: the Quiet Car

No Gravatar

Sometimes I buy expensive versions of things without understanding why. Some stuff’s just weird like that I guess — like toasters. I know I could have gotten a perfectly functional version without cracking a twenty. Yet somehow, if only through the existence of a luxury version of it, I found myself needing it as if it would magically fix me crab cakes for breakfast out of two pieces of bread. It doesn’t. Damn thing cost me three hundred bucks and I still burn my toast.

[Read more →]

animals

Of hamsters, and mice and men

No Gravatar

We bought a hamster a month ago, our family’s first pet unless you count a couple of fish we once had that we couldn’t pet, on account of them being fish. Our son named her Teddy, because some Syrian hamsters are also called “teddy bear” hamsters, on account of how damn cute they are.

Teddy the hamster

 

Teddy delighted us. She loved to run in the hamster ball we bought for her and she walked right onto our hands when we opened her cage. Our son adored her and my wife and I found ourselves speaking to this rodent in soothing tones and saying “Good night” to her before heading to bed.

Teddy died 16 days after we brought her home. [Read more →]

animals

Don’t bother — they weren’t convinced by watching their dogs eat their own crap

No Gravatar

Apparently, some people actually like kissing their dog on the mouth. Just as apparently, it turns out it may not be the health boost you expected.

 

Dog kiss = not ideal

animalsart & entertainment

Deep goes the rabbit hole

No Gravatar

Recently I watched Sexy Beast for the zillionth time and got to thinking:

Creepy Rabbit People are effective tropes.

[Read more →]

animalsphotography

Camouflage

No Gravatar

Sometimes the best hiding spot is right before their eyes.

 

image

animals

My dog nobly shepherds me through the icy waters of life’s sh#t basin

No Gravatar

My dog is my favorite non-human animal on earth.

Whenever we arrive at the dog park, we are barbarians at the gates, restless to permeate the membranes of these verdant cocoons.

[Read more →]

animalsdiatribes

Why I’ve stopped eating animals

No Gravatar

This is my first summer without hamburgers; no hot dogs on my grill, no chicken or shrimp on my shish kabob. I’ve quit eating meat. Now, before you stop reading and dismiss this as yet another victory for the tenderhearted but unrealistic vegetarians, the healthy but wimpy hippies– hear me out. [Read more →]

Next Page »