Thursday, September 28, 2006

so you'd like to torture...

have at it! says the u.s. senate. here's what dahlia lithwick has to say:

At the time, we referred to Abu Ghraib as a "scandal." The images were a searing reproach to virtually any American with a soul and a conscience. With a handful of sick exceptions, people who could agree on nothing else could agree that this was an unacceptable way to treat prisoners—regardless of who they were, what they were accused of, or where they were being held. But in hindsight, Abu Ghraib wasn't a scandal for the Bush administration. It was a coup. Because when the Senate passes the president's detainee bill today, we will, as a country, have yet more evidence that yesterday's disgrace is today's ordinary, and that—with a little time and a little help from the media—we can normalize almost anything in the span of a few short years....

please wake me up in a few years if this reign of terror is over. or when we have moved to canada to live with my pal frodo. and naked apes, please don't ever talk to me about the "wonders of humanity." you have used them to justify torturing one another. not even the goddamn cats are so evil.

all is not well with orson

jon katz has a new article in slate (an excerpt from his new book). in it he talks about consulting some german philosophers (arendt and kant) about his decision to euthanize his aggressive dog orson (or not).

It did not matter what other people, or other dog lovers, would do or would think of whatever I decided. It mattered what I thought of myself; the respect I needed to seek was my own. The world is filled with people of certainty, who have a sure sense of what others ought to do. Nowhere were they more numerous than in the vast network of people and institutions that constituted the dog culture. Yet if life with dogs had taught me anything, it was to be less, not more, certain. Animals have ways of teaching you that for all your books, vet, Web sites, and holistic practitioners, you are not in control. Animals live by their own lights.


What pushed me through my lethargy was a passage Arendt cited from Immanuel Kant: "Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heaven above me and the moral law within me."

i was all prepared to make fun of his consultation of German philosophers which can never read to good things. but i was having a hard time putting my finger on what bothered me about the column until i spoke with my good friend mr. glenn who, in spite of his dalliance among the germans and goddamn cats, isn't so bad. he mentioned katz's love of the tidy narrative in which the stories always wrap up in some sort of satisfying way. and that makes me worry his consultation of arendt and kant is not so much about making the right decision but about making the decision and feeling like he is, unquestionably, a good person. now it's not that i think mr. katz is a bad person (in spite of his name's unfortunate homonymic qualities). it's just that last time we saw orson he was a herding dog who had gotten a new leash on life as an outstanding herder and pal to mr. katz. now he's biting people and about to be put down? what? he may say that dogs help us see the complexity in the world but he so rarely shows this in his own writing. his stories tend to lack the aimless wandering and sniffing quality that life with (as?) a dog is actually like--it's not beginning, middle, solution, end. it's meandering in a way his stories--while good reads--so rarely are.

poor orson. at the mercy of the moral law within naked apes.

pj party for dogs

one of the new york times's most e-mailed articles this week has been about luxury kennel services for dogs--that provide massages, playtime, abundant snacks, and bedtime baths. my granny suggested i should go--but take my favorite slave (my mawma) with me. my granny is full of genius ideas. this almost makes up for calling me possessed earlier this week. her nickname for me--cujo--is not so cute. it might get her uninvited from our trip to the kennel. or at least no massage.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

canine intelligence

today my mawma came home to a lovely scene i carefully constructed for her enjoyment and consideration. i had gotten two things out of the kitchen from the closed cabinetry and had dragged them out of the kitchen to my favorite spot at the top of the stairs:

1) a bag of dried pasta (mmmm--gluten free!) from the drawer on the east side of the kitchen

2) the pot (usually used to boil water to cook pasta) from the cabinet on the west side of the kitchen.

now she is left with a puzzle. is my selection of these two objects mere coincidence and a manifestation of my general naughtiness? or have i evolved to a higher stage of naughtiness in which i am now able to cook my own stolen snacks? scary to contemplate, eh?

i ate the dried pasta.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


someone please contact mr. justin timberlake and let him know that i've already brought the sexy back. his services will no longer be needed.

shut out!

the hooskers triumphed this weekend over the men of troy (sadly, not the ones that are in the top 10) 56-0! sweet! florida state only beat troy by 7 points and so by the transitive property of football, NU beats the seminoles by 49 points! you can put that one on the books.

it was a great victory but it's going to take me awhile to sleep this one off...and the seahawks are whoopin' up on the giants. it's going to be a rough monday morning.

old dogs, old tricks

dog mummies (no relation to my mummy) were found in peru, buried next to their owners and with snacks! kind of a waste of snacks if you ask me. but it does put a wrinkle in my pal sid's attempt to develop a dog-based theology (dogeology). do dogs have an afterlife? the ancient peruvians seem to think so:

LIMA, Peru (Reuters) - An ancient Peruvian culture loved its dogs so much it buried them alongside humans and even tossed in some tasty treats for the afterlife. Now, researchers are working to get these very same dogs official breed status.

The dogs, billed Chiribaya shepherds for their llama-herding abilities, were prized by the Chiribaya people who lived in southern Peru before the Incan empire.

Archeologists digging to discover more about the culture have found 43 dog remains dating back 1,000 years. Their bodies were naturally mummified by the region's desert sands -- making their identification as a possible distinct breed much easier.

"In other cultures, dogs were sacrificed. But here the dog's burial contemplated an afterlife because in some cases it was wrapped in cloths and buried along with food in a cemetery for humans," said anthropologist Sonia Guillen, adding that such treatment of pets was only seen before in ancient Egypt.

man bites panda

i have nothing to say on this one.

BEIJING, China (AP) -- A drunken Chinese tourist bit a panda at the Beijing Zoo after the animal attacked him when he jumped into the enclosure and tried to hug it, state media said Wednesday.

Zhang Xinyan had drunk four pitchers of beer at a restaurant before "stumbling to the zoo" nearby and stopping off at the pen holding a sleeping 6-year-old male panda, Gu Gu, on Tuesday, the Beijing Morning Post said.

"He felt a sudden urge to touch the panda with his hand" and jumped over a waist-high railing down into the enclosure, the newspaper said. "When he got closer and was undiscovered, he reached out to hug it."

Startled, Gu Gu bit Zhang in the right leg, it said. Zhang, a 35-year-old migrant laborer from central Henan province, got angry and kicked the panda, who then bit his other leg. A tussle ensued, the paper said.

"I bit the fellow in the back," Zhang was quoted as saying in the newspaper. "Its skin was quite thick."