Thursday, April 29, 2010

Photo Phriday: Zombie Toe

So I stubbed my toe when letting the dogs out pre-coffee on Sunday morning.

Well, "toe." The piggy that is supposed to go whee whee whee all the way home is essentially a large skin tag with some bone powder inside it. Has been for many years.

This has to be at least a dozen times I've broken it in the last two decades.

The toe specialist (to whom I was referred by the foot specialist) at Shadyside Hospital says there is nothing to be done short of amputating it. No pins or epoxy or anything will make it not snap like a saltine when I lightly tap it onto Barry White's leg while reaching for the patio door.

Yesterday I noted that there were definite signs of Zombification spreading from the defective digit. Should have amputated when it was still contained in just one toe.

I was weighing the options of chainsaw v. ax v. mower deck for the now much-more-severe anti-zombie firebreak action when I saw that I am already hosed.

Yep, it has metastasized.

By next week I should be watching Fox News, buying a premium membership on Classmates. com, and demanding to see the President's birth certificate.

You have been warned.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

For those of you who are upset

That the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a federal law that criminalized the creation, sale or possession of "depictions of animal cruelty," please attend:

[T]he First Amendment protects against the Government; it does not leave us at the mercy of noblesse oblige. We would not uphold an unconstitutional statute merely because the Government promised to use it responsibly. (US v Stevens)

You can read the entire decision by going to this page and clicking for the PDF of United States v. Stevens.

I haven't been able to count out how many posts on this blog made me a felon* because they depicted conduct that is illegal somewhere.

Here's what the law actually said:

[T]he term ‘depiction of animal cruelty’ means any visual or auditory depiction, including any photograph, motion-picture film, video recording, electronic image, or sound recording of conduct in which a living animal is intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed, if such conduct is illegal under Federal law or the law of the State in which the creation, sale, or possession takes place, regardless of whether the maiming, mutilation, torture, wounding, or killing took place in the State
This one is a slam-dunk for the First Amendment, and no, I seriously do not know what Alito was smoking. Though the decision did come down on 420 Day.

And the dude who won his appeal? Sold videos depicting dog fights. Possibly Not Our Sort of Person. Dunno. Haven't seen the videos, don't know anything more about him. Mr. Stevens got sentenced to three years for making videos from other people's footage. Three YEARS.

How much time did Block Courage Award winner Michael Vick serve for personally drowning and beating to death his losing dogs?

Oh yeah. Not one day.**

* Subject to the whimsy of any Federal prosecutor with a bug up his ass about something.

** Stop emailing me. Vick served time for racketeering. When he pled, the state dropped the cruelty charges. He didn't serve a millisecond for the dog abuse.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Photo Phriday: Spring Macros

Things are waking up. It's a vibrant time on the farm.


Ground ivy. Why this is considered a weed is a mystery to me.
The Bradford pear in the front yard. When the storm front came blowing in today, the air in the bedroom filled with white petals. Very cinematic, but somebody has to vacuum them up.
Skunk cabbage. This swamp monocot actually starts crowning in January, but doesn't leaf out until March.

Mayapple. At the bottom of the buttcrack, by the creek, these are barely emerging. 50' higher, by the edge of the south pasture, they are getting ready to bloom. The power of pooled cool air.

Jewel weed cotyledons. A fun and useful plant of wet areas.

Allergy season is already upon us.

Pasture violets.


Amplexus in the ornamental garden pond. I would love for the pond to be full of little toadpoles this spring. There's another guy out there as well, singing at night in hopes of attracting a big gravid lady toad. He sounds like a dial-up modem. The pond has never had toads before; it's always been green frogs. Two frogs, the pump, and my shubunkin goldfish didn't make it this winter. I think the pond actually froze solid.
First to pip. I can see the little guy moving, but he hasn't started zipping the shell yet. Took this about a half-hour ago.
Wisteria. This seems to bloom in alternate years.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I Believe You Are Thinking of Someone Else

The sessions at the Blogpaws conference this weekend were a little short on concrete advice. Possibly I chose poorly when deciding which ones to attend.

But one speaker was absolutely black and white about this advice:

Post something every single day.

Never go over 400 words.

I think they are thinking of something else when they use the word "blog."

If you post something every single day, when the hell are you living your life and gathering what is so smugly referred to as "content?" Editing? Thinking?

I ran the numbers on some of my more widely-read recent posts. Word counts were:

3,871 (The Emperor's Striptease)
1,165 (Missing the Lesson While Learning It)
1,175 (Double-Suspension of Disbelief)
1,591 (Seized and Saved)
1,646 (Still Life)

Some of my posts are dryly factual -- "how to" posts that get a steady stream of referral hits from message boards and teh googles.

How to Use a Martingale Collar is 2,630 words.
Paper-Plate Recall: The Basics is 2,478 words

I think I'll leave the 400-word limit to those who are interested in selling fair-trade ferret toys, or whose business cards proclaim him "typist" to a blogging cat.

I'm a writer. You there, by definition, you are a reader. I assume that you have a mind for which it is worthwhile to write. I'll keep doing so. We can both keep thinking. Maybe you think I'm full of shit. You may be right. How would you find that out if I posted a daily LOLCat and 200 words on the latest faux-journalism story about How Pets Enrich Our Lives?

The third thing the same speaker advised was to always use a photo.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Woofers and Tweeters

Stick a fork in him, he's done

#1 Question people have asked me today at the BlogPaws Conference:

What is your url? Nope.

What do you blog about? Nope.

Who the hell do you think you are, anyway? For once, nope.

Can I Tweet this picture of your dog? Yep, that would be the one.

I decided to bring young Cole in his first prime-time appearance.

Other than some audible air leakage and excessive schmoozing during what were apparently very boring break-out sessions, he has been a Very Good Boy. Part of being a working dog is handling crowds and long days.

He's spent the day whoring for all the humans, and very appropriately meeting the other dogs and the nekkid cats in strollers. (No, I didn't get a picture. Everyone else did, though.)

I did not leave him at the very nice free dog-check at any point; we're very pleased with his lovely canine social skills, and will not be setting him up for any preventable relapses to the Old Way.

Anyway, I don't do da twitters and dunno how it works. Can someone translate it into middle-aged dog trainer for me?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Drop in Any Time

Last fall, while we were racing to get the new roof on the barn, and songbirds all over the hemisphere were racing to get south before the food supply dried up, we had a visitor briefly drop in.

What happened was this. Ken and Matt and Bill were up on the barn. Jake and I were passing metal sheets up to them, fetching tools and materials, etc. There was a thunk on the new metal roof. Something slid down it and hit the turf with a duller second thud.

It was this guy. Haven't ID'd him (probably her?) yet. I bet someone here knows what kind of LBB she is. Some kind of thrush? A female red-winged blackbird -- thanks to Megan for the ID.

So I went and picked up the limp little panting birdie, and demanded to know WTF the guys on the roof were doing to the local wildlife.

They swore that the critter had just dropped like a stone out of the clear blue sky.

I put her in a box, intending to call the wildlife rehabber in Mars and drive her over as soon as we finished for the day.

But when I took her out for photos, so I could tell Beth what kind of bird had been flung from the upper atmosphere onto my barn, she seemed to have perked up a lot from the nap.

I relaxed my grip ever-so-slightly while I was taking a burst of photos with the sports setting of my camera, and captured this in the last frame:

Remember, on long solo trips, pull over and take a nap before you crash onto someone's roof.