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August 16, 2008


When did they begin letting dolphins compete in the Olympics.

What's next?

Cheetahs in the 100 meter sprints?

Darn it! I was just about to post a link to the SI spread of photos of that finish in the other swimming post and my browser crashed.

Anyway, SI has 8 pictures of the finish starting here. Awesome.

Thullen: When did they begin letting dolphins compete in the Olympics.

You mean like this?

Speaking of the animal kingdom, Jerome Corsi's new book "Obama Nation" edited by Mary Matalin, is out.

First thing after Obama is inaugurated, the far Right's fears should be fully realized and Corsi, Matalin, and any dozen right-wing radio hosts should be picked up in the dead of night (James Carville in his bathrobe, yelling his cracker talk into the night as Matalin is whisked away) and disappeared.

Ugh: wow. -- It's just astonishing to look at those pictures and see that, yes, Phelps really was significantly behind as of maybe a tenth of a second before the race ended.

Ladies and gentlemen, and you others, Nils Olav.

Also, my depression news.

Did anyone around here mention that the military hates the military?

Slarti probably heard about this.

First thing after Obama is inaugurated, the far Right's fears should be fully realized

though she doesn't know it, i've already placed an order for my wife's new hijab. when Obama imposes Sharia law on the US, i don't want her to get caught without it.

It's just astonishing to look at those pictures and see that, yes, Phelps really was significantly behind as of maybe a tenth of a second before the race ended.

Yeah. Just re-watched NBC's coverage (after installing who knows how many craplets on my computer) and it comfirmed what I thought last night -- the first replay, which was from overhead, made it looked like Phelps lost for sure and I thought that there must have been some sort of foul up in the timing system. But upon closer inspection, nope.

One, I think that this finish is just Very Cool. Two, I think Michael Phelps is Very Cool. That's the kind of things the Olympics should be about and what people should be talking about.

Slightly to the side...while it's de rigeur to complain about network coverage of the Olympics, I've found that by picking and choosing among the various cable offerings, from NBC and Canadian TV, I've had a very respectable week of viewing. And that's just fine with me; doesn't matter if I have to work a bit to assemble it, as long as I can get a good set of viewing, it's fine with me.

in which a penguin, already a Colonel-in-Chief of the Norwegian Army, is knighted.

Strange penguins marching in lines receiving awards is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical Norwegiac ceremony!

Nils Olav is freakin' adorable.

Michael Phelps is freakin' amazing.

Comcast as an ISP is freakin' crappy.

I did get plenty of time to read this week, however. I now have a crush on Mark Twain.

How come a Norwegian penguin is getting an award in an English speaking event accompanied by bagpipes?

Not that I mind. i love penguins. Give them all awards!

I wrote about Lassie on this site once before: I was trying to find a home for her. She's still at the shelter and still available for adoption. I walk her nearly every day. She is the dog you always wanted: sweet, fun, happy, good with other dogs (usually!), sensitive and eager to please.
She's a pitbullmix. Yeah the evil killer death dog that will rip your face off and eat your children.
Well, I shouldn't be so sarcastic, I guess, since I used to be afraid of pit bulls too. In fact when I first met Lassie I was afraid to pat her. I fed her out of compassion but it wasn't until I found her injured and suffering in my client's garage that I ever touched her.
It was Febuary and very cold. She was curled up on the funky old couch in the dark. I went in and sat beside her. Her face was crisscrossed with bloody lacerations and her front paws were swollen. I found out later from the vet that she had had a litter at about that time. I never saw the pups so I assume that they died. Possibly she was injured while trying to defend them from raccooons or another dog. Anyway as I sat by her on the couch she snuggled up and lay her big blocky pitbull head in my lap and that's when I named her Lassie: because she needed to come home. She needed a home to come home to.
Sentimental? Sure. But love of animals makes me happy. So I petted her and promised that I would take care of her. And then as soon as I got the chance I got on line and studied up on pitbulls. And now I'm not scared of them any more.
The media is greatly at fault: reporters don't do research. They just adopt narratives and report stories that re-enforce the narratives. The breed is not inherently any more dangerous than any other breed in the same size range. The media reports anecdotes. Anecdotes are not data. Pitbulls score higher than golden retrievers on temperment tests . They were bred to be dog aggressive but people social. Pits love people. They are also exceptionally trainable, because, like border collies, they almost obsessively want to please their person. They are, unfortunately, the fad dog of choice of sleazy nastly horrible people. Because of media sensationalism responsible people won't adopt them.
So good families come to the shelter looking for good family dogs and they pass right by my sweet, friendly, playful, goofy girl. Rejected.

Lassie has been temperment tested by circumstances. I dragged her into my car to take her to the shelter and she was so scared she shook from head to toe. I took her to the vet who literally hauled her across the floor to the office while she trembled in terror. She got spayed and was so traumatized that she tore all of her stitches out, and she then she was taken to the kennel where out of nervousness she chewed the fur off her tail and licked the fur off her back and sides.
All that and she never once so much as growled at anyone.
But no one will adopt her:evil pit bull mix.
I vist her nearly every day. At first she was so frantic that she would cry like a baby when I left. I cried too. It took a couple months but she has finally settled in. She has a kennel mate that is her play buddy: Dingbat, real name Bandit. Poor little Bandit is too much dog for most people: he runs on batteries, that dog, never stops. Life for him is endless fullthrottle frolic. The two of them are hilarious together. They chase each other, grab each other by the ears, roll over and tussle, jump in and out of the wading pool...non stop action. Sometimes they unite in a digging campaign, shoulder to shuolder, heads in a hole, shovelling their way to China.
Goofy Girl )aka Lassie)likes to jump up and nip my arm to show affection. When I tell her No! she immediately sits because she knows that sitting pleases me. She sits hard, with such dedication, butt on the ground, little floppy ears quivering alertly, eyes radiating their plea: "See me sitting? See me sitting? I'm a good dog!"

Yes, you are, sweetie. You are a good dog.

Paul and I are going to bring her to our home on August 28 if no one else has adopted her by then. I am nervous about this because my dog blackie is dog aggressive and vdery focused on me. He's a corgie jack Russell mix and that's a bad combination as a companion for a pitbull collie mix. They have met several times. lassie is perfectly willing to get along with Blackie but he doesn't like her.

So maybe someone out there wil read this and realize that they just can't live without a pretty friendly goofy smart sweet pitbull collie mix. Contact adoptapet of shelton washington.

"How come a Norwegian penguin is getting an award in an English speaking event accompanied by bagpipes?"

The narration was in English because that was BBC TV, and the bagpipes were there because Sir Nils lives at Edinburgh Zoo, which is where he does his annual review of the visiting Norwegian King's Guard, and where the knighting ceremony took place.

I remember your writing about Lassie, and I'm sorry that I'm not in a position to adopt a dog here.


It's not easy, but dog aggression can be fixed. It just requires a lot of socialization and training.

Good Morning Mr. Phelps......

If any of your team should be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of you and your team

Cruise shot him at the beginning of the movie.

Blackie is old. He's a rescue dog and was eight or nine when we got him, twelve or so now. He's losinghis hearing and I think that he may be losinghis sight as well. He has been the king of he castle. We are the opposite of Ceasar maillan; love first, food next, discipline--what's that? Blackie spends his days snoozing in the big fluffy hole he dig in one end of the couch. I am sorry to upset hisretirement.

I know what to do (Ithink) Preserve balckie's perogotives: the couch is his, give him individual love time daily so he doesn't feel suplanted, don't let him bug her. Praise and treats for appropriate behavior around her. Hunker down for a month or so of stress before peace returns ot our kingdom. I guess the root of my fear is that she IS a pitmix and has that big pit jaw and the potential for a big pit bite. We will have to make sure we control his aggression twoard her so thatshe doesn't feel she has to take care of it herself. She's pretty dog social but if a dog is really aggressive to her, she will respnd. What the research says about pits is that they don't necessarily start fights but they can end them. I don't want to bring harm to my old dog Blackie.

marathon ?

not a fun race to watch.

paint literally dries faster than this.

I like watching marathons. there is time for the drama to build. Sprints are over before you dven know who is in he race.

I wish Rick Warren could have told McCain [a] no more POW stories; and [b] if he wants to convince voters he's got more depth than Obama, maybe he should show it.

"What's your greatest moral failing?"
"The failure of my first marriage."

Note the absence of any responsibility in that answer!

Phelps = machine

@wonkie: From bitter experience, I offer this tip: Feed the two dogs separately. It's an occasion on which Blackie might try to start something.

Nell. I hope the experience wasn't TOO bitter.
Yes, feed them separately and leave themn in seaprate parts of the house when we aren't ome. I can walk them together. I've done it. I cansit on the couch with Blackie next to me and Lassie at my feet. I can pat them at the same time and hand out treats at the same time. I think I can make it work. It will be stressful and part of my stress is worry that my poor husband isn't as happy about the decsion to get a second dog as he pretends to be (which isn't all that happy).

But adoption season is nearly over. If she doesn't get a home by the end of the month she probably won't get one until next year. Nice as the shelter is, it isn't a home. Plus I worry about her getting too used to defending herself from aggrressive dogs ( all of the dogs on her side of the kennel are aggressive except her roomie. So she is exposed constantly to loud threatening barks. I don't want her to learn to be dog aggressive from the constant exposure to the other dogs. )

Well I know that there are a million homeless dogs. I thik I obsess about this one as a way of releaving my sadness about all of the others.

I hope the experience wasn't TOO bitter.

In our household it's referred to as "the $400 face chomp."

The reigning dog inflicted it on the (then and still) incredibly sweet-tempered mixed hound when he was just a pup, only a week or so into his time with us. They're great friends now, and in fact became so quickly. But still eat separately.

wonkie and Nell; thanks. Good way to start the day. Gentle smiles, smiling for gentleness.

It's just astonishing to look at those pictures and see that, yes, Phelps really was significantly behind as of maybe a tenth of a second before the race ended.

As I'm sure everyone's now aware, Cavic made the mistake of coasting into the wall. Phelps did everything he could to win, and it turned out to be successful, but you couldn't ever depend on that working. The thing about winners is they do absolutely everything they can to the best of their ability, and even then sometimes it's not enough. Dara Torres, for example. I give all due respect to Torres; silver at any age is an accomplishment.

Even I, who can sometimes seem to never get enough swimming coverage, have gotten weary of all of the public drooling over Michael Phelps. Yes, he's done something absolutely amazing. No, you don't have to tongue-bathe his feet to make that point. I don't think that there's any arguing that he's at least a contender for the best all-around swimmer, ever. Due credit to the other contenders; Ian Thorpe is one of those. Not as well-rounded, but accomplished at nearly all freestyle distances.

Some of the coverage has been spectacularly inept, though. Rowdy Gaines is mostly right on, but even he has made some rather awful mistakes. I think at one point he said something to the effect that Michael Phelps is not a backstroker, when in fact as of June of this year, Michael Phelps owned the second-fastest all-time 100 meter backstroke and third-fastest all-time 200 meter backstroke times. What Michael Phelps is not is a breaststroker, where he's only good enough to win when the top ten in the world aren't swimming.

Seriously: Michael Phelps swam the breaststroke leg of his 400m in 1:10.56, which translates (for us short-course yards swimmers) to 1:00.4. Which isn't anything to sneeze at; I don't know think that any of the top 25 times in history have had a breaststroke leg that fast. And some of those guys have been considered breaststrokers. Phelps is just that good. A year ago, he was a good 4 seconds slower than that in the breaststroke leg.

Yes, he's done something absolutely amazing. No, you don't have to tongue-bathe his feet to make that point.

Got photos?

the Phelps adulation is pretty nauseating.

when they won the 400 freestyle medley they were interviewing the team and Lezak (IIRC), getting tired of the focus on Phelps, said "i didn't do this for Micheal".

it would've been sweet to hear another one of those last night.

I don't get your awe based on the positions of the hands. The positions of the bodies put them basically equal, It looks like Phelps was thus actually somewhat ahead on the stroke if I understand the picture correctly - which I may very well not.

...I was just thinking, after that relay last night, that a Howard Cosell ghola would have been just the thing.

And then, uncontrollably, a scene from Better Off Dead floated through my head.

BTW, I really meant to blockquote, above. Just to get it done, though:

It's just astonishing to look at those pictures and see that, yes, Phelps really was significantly behind as of maybe a tenth of a second before the race ended.

was supposed to be in blockquotes, and was said first by hilzoy, not me.

the 400 freestyle medley


the 400 freestyle relay

Oh, and (again, I apologize if this has been made painfully, repeatedly clear already) Phelps' hands are further away but in over-the-water recovery, and so are moving quite a lot more quickly than Cavic's hands are. Ideally, you stick the wall at the end of extension; Phelps stuck the wall just before the end of extension, head down, while Cavic was way past extension, head up. Cavic's been slowing down for a good chunk of a second, while Phelps is just past peak acceleration.

I don't know what touch pads are like these days, but when I was swimming, you had to make physical contact and then move the pad. It's possible that Cavic's fingertips contacted the pad first, but Phelps stuck the wall so hard that his fingertips passed Cavic's before Cavic's pad was triggered.

I think the real question is: why wasn't it a tie? It used to be that times were recorded to the nearest thousandth of a second. Now, anything less than one-hundredth of a second is a tie, and to my eye this race was won by that kind of margin. It's hard to tell, though, unless you're taking high framerate video. 60 Hz or even 120 Hz won't necessarily do the job.

I think the real question is: why wasn't it a tie?

because the timer says Phelps touched in the 1/100th interval before the one in which Cavic touched. right ?

the actual difference in the two times could be as little as the resolution of the timer (whatever that is). and the difference could be that small no matter how small the resolution - if Phelps wins when 1/100 is the smallest tick, he's going to win if the ticks are smaller, too. the only way it's a tie is if you discard the 100ths (make the resolution larger).

Moving to the other amazing performance this week, how face do you suppose Usain Bolt can run the 100 if he keeps running instead of dancing the last 20 meters? Sub 9.5? Made everyone else look like they were walking. Sick.

the only way it's a tie is if you discard the 100ths (make the resolution larger)

I think that's actually the way it works, cleek. FINA rules say: In the event of equal times, all swimmers who have recorded the same time at 1/100 of a second shall be accorded the same placing.

Whether time is given to 0.01 second accuracy by rounding or by truncation, I have no idea.

I don't know what touch pads are like these days, but when I was swimming, you had to make physical contact and then move the pad. It's possible that Cavic's fingertips contacted the pad first, but Phelps stuck the wall so hard that his fingertips passed Cavic's before Cavic's pad was triggered.

Yeah I thought that's what happened myself. I don't know anything about these pads, but I'd imagine you'd have to apply a non-trivial amount of force for it to register, as otherwise they would go off ass the swimmers approached.

as the swimmers approached...

Just learned about Usain Bolt's early celebration (by its inclusion in the sat-TV "interactive" trivia of the day), and have to say I'm appalled. But I haven't seen it yet, so maybe I'll feel differently once I do.

I just made a Great Horned Owl ringtone for my iPhone! (*giggles*)

(I have never made a custom ringtone before, but I have been wanting my phones to make Great Horned Owl sounds forever.)

hilzoy at 1:52 is the best comment ever. How nice to be let in on something that delights someone else so much!

Inquiring minds want to know: How did you get the Great Horned Owl into the studio?

My take on the penguin knighting: Norway knights penguins. The US elects George Bush president. Any question as to which country is the civilized one?

This is why I hate the Olympics. It's all just stupid nationalism. The medal count is 65 US to 61 China. That means of course, that we will be subjected to endless stories about the US athletes, while most people couldn't name a Chinese one.

The only way a non-US athlete is going to get mentioned in the US press is if he does something horrific, like say, only winning the gold medal, but not trying to set a new world record. Then we can all condemn him for merely winning. The selfish bastard.

I hate competitive sports. And I hate nationalism. And when you combine the two, it pretty much defines the low points of human nature. Everything wrong with the world is, every four years, explicitly concentrated into the moronic spectacle that is the Olympics.

But that's just me. Some people seem to like it.

"Some people seem to like it."

I don't hate it, because I don't enjoy investing energy in putting down what other people like unless I absolutely can't help it, but I'm completely indifferent to all physical sports, including the Olympics, and am put off by the nationalistic aspects, as well.

But most people like a lot of things I don't like, and as I've gotten older I've found that it's less and less worthwhile for me to spend any time or energy in being negative about things that give other people pleasure; I don't expect most people to enjoy or value many of the things I think worthwhile, either.

"If only everyone were more like me" isn't really a philosophy that makes too much sense to me if taken very far at all, and it's not very attractive, either.

he medal count is 65 US to 61 China

U! S! A! U! S! A! U! S! A!

I imagine someboy can settle an ongoing dispute between me and my wife. It's about Scrabble, which we just finished playing, and it comes up every time we play and I just defer to "her rules."

Anyway: Let's say a W is already on the board and I add O-R-D to it to make W-O-R-D.

I say you get the points for the whole word -- all four letters in this case, not just the three for O-R-D.

Her thinking is since the W was already on the board I shouldn't be allowed to use that as part of my score. My thinking is, you make a word, you make a word.

This drives me crazy.

But if I am wrong, I'm wrong.

Bedtime, did you lose the rules? You're right (but note that bonus squares that have already been covered don't get used again).

Bonus squares such as "Double Letter Score," etc.


I imagine someboy can settle an ongoing dispute between me and my wife. It's about Scrabble, which we just finished playing, and it comes up every time we play and I just defer to "her rules."

"House Rules" are always, by definition, correct. However, official rules count all words formed by the tiles.

If there is

and I play

I get points for AH, TO and HO. If H or O are on a Double or Triple square, they get counted twice.

The official rules should be at Scrabble.com

I hate competitive sports.

Your hate has made you powerful.


It's great what you are doing w/ Lassie. I hope it works. (He made friends w/ Bandit easily but, better than anyone, you know Blackie.)

As a dog lover, I am ashamed to admit being uneasy around pit bulls -- for the reasons you list. Yet I've seen some at the bark park who are the most gentle things.

I never said how I lost my CoCo in June, partly because I am ashamed, the whole thing was unthinkable.

My wife called me at work mid-day on the first Monday in June in hysterics. I was home in 5 minutes, the SPCA was there soon after, and the police -- the neighbors called them because of all the noise -- weren't far behind.

CoCo was a bloody mess but it wasn't her blood -- it was Hamilton's. He is our 14-year-old Beagle.

My beloved CoCo had attacked him, leaving 19 puncture wounds. Everything happened unbelievably fast and I was making decisions right while I was still processing what had happened.

I helped CoCo into the SPCA van, full of tears and shock, just saying, "Oh, Coco, oh Coco."

She had been my pretty girl for seven wonderful years. But I had to focus on Hamilton, who my wife and I took to our vet.

The vet did emergency surgery and recommended that we come back the next morning and take him to the actual emergency vet when he was stable. These people were wonderful.

I never once thought of putting Hamilton down, seeing life in his eyes -- and, selfishly, not wanting my last memory of CoCo being that of killing Hamilton. Plus he is my son's favorite dog.

After 10 days, Hamilton had made remarkable progress and all the people at the vet called him their miracle dog. He loved the fact that he got to eat special food and I knew he'd be OK once he got his appetite back and, now, he's better than ever. Amazing.

CoCo had nipped Hamilton on more than one occasion but I had always been there to break it up. I was negligent somehow, knowing she had an aggression side. Yet this is the same CoCo who would lick inside his floppy Beagle ears to the point where he'd be hypnotized, the same CoCo who'd antagonize Hamilton to chase her around the yard until he tuckered out.

She knew how to curry favor with me, giving me untold licks. She was so pretty, not a pure Golden Retriever but there was no mistaking how much she sparkled in the sun and her love for chasing tennis balls. In my mind's eye, I can see the lone black spot on the middle of her tail.

I don't get it, and never will. Something in her snapped that day -- after all, they are animals -- and I'm not sure it would do me much good to analyze it much beyond that.

A real hole in my heart, I miss her every day, just as I do Bonzo, some eight years after the big boy died. But his was a natural death, old age and I saw it coming. CoCo? I didn't even get to say goodbye.

Oh, bedtime: I'm so sorry.

I had two vicious dogs who I tried and tried to train out of it. They were half coyote for sure, and I think half Shiba Inu -- definitely some little spitz dog or other. Plus, I got them when they were a year and a half old, and they had been abused and never socialized. I had never had dogs before, and didn't know better. (Including the part about their being part coyote.) They really were horrifically aggressive, though never to me; according to them, their role in life was to protect me against all my enemies -- and the entire world was enemies.

It's a horrible thing when you realize it's never going to get better.

Bedtime for bonzo, that is such a sad story. I grieve so much for you and your dogs. I know this is going to be a painful memory for a ong time. I'm so sorry.

"We are the opposite of Ceasar maillan; love first, food next, discipline--what's that?"

That's how I am, wonkie.

Which, of course, I am now questioning in light of CoCo's attack on Hamilton. Maillan obviously has a special talent that not all of us can master.

The underlying problem in my case was the dilemma you are now facing. I got CoCo and Bowser in 2002, a couple months apart, and they became fast friends, sister and brother -- Bowser always deferred to her but she seemed to have a healthy respect for him.

I found Hamilton roaming a heavily trafficked road, tracked down his owner who basically told me, "You found him, keep him," -- something about they just didn't have time for him anymore with two young kids in the house.

Other than being a gas-passing machine, Hamilton had no issues. I had never had a pure bred before and he was a real charmer.

But it became clear he had upset the dog dynamic in our house -- CoCo being very jealous of any attention he got, even though, as my favorite, she often got more attention than my wife.

It was little things. Beagles bay -- endless howling when they pick up a scent and so forth. Weirdly, this seemed to get on CoCo's nerves but I couldn't begin to understand what she was thinking because, like I said before, there were times she was enamored with him.

Olga is the disciplinarian in our family, even with our son. I am a total softie, but I have come to see the value of a firm hand (don't mean that literally).

You're right about it being a painful memory. Just last week, I came home from work feeling broke and tired, not feeling great, and told Olga I was going to lay down on the bed for a little bit. This is where CoCo would jump up on the bed -- the only dog allowed to do so -- and fill my face with licks. Hard to feel to bad after that.

I want another dog, a younger dog who is more active than easy-going Hamilton. But I have to cool it. Olga doesn't want to be burdened with another, and I have to respect that for now.

Good luck with your situation. I've been clicking on "petfinder" a lot lately and it's depressing to see all of the pit bulls and pit mixes, knowing so many of them must go unadopted.

I also read where people aren't inclined to adopt black labs -- unlike yellow or brown -- and I think I may go that way one of these days.

Abruptly changing the subject, did anyone else see the ABC news story about Senator Obama's plane having more trouble in the air a few months back than originally reported?

Doing this just on memory, I forget the technical term regarding what the airplane had lost but it was impressive how quickly the pilot recognized it and took control of the situation.

You could hear the gravity in the pilot's voice when he made a point to tell St. Louis air control that "Senator Obama and his campaign -- 51 souls" were on board.

Just wanted to point out, in the face of so much bad news, most of these pilots are obviously exceptional at what they do.

I don't believe that planes can fly. I've beeb on planes and they are metal an obvuiosly way a whole lot so I just don't belieeve thatthey actuyally fly.

Well I might back out of the adoption in face of yur story. That's exactl;y the tragedy I don't want in my memory bank/

The dynamic is a little different. Balckie is the smaller dog, the first dog, the jealous dog and the dog who has never liked any other dog very much. It is an exageration to say that he is dog aggressive. Dog indifferent until the other dog gets too friendly, then he growls "Leave me alone,"

He growled at Lassie and after that he left her alone. He tries to mount her which is a dominance theng I guess (males are weird). She is patient with that and Paul and I of course ingtervene.

So I am hoping that by keeping the hierarchy to suit balckie he will gradually get over being jealous. His couch,his food down first, he gets the treat first he gets greeted first when I come home.

On the other hand maybe it is too much of a strtch. The people at Adoptapet at like I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill. Most of the other voluneers have multiple dog households and act the the odd misbehavior is no big deal. i act like the odd misbehavior is the openning shot in all out war.

Maybe that's because I taught middle school for fourteen years. I am hardwired to control variables in order to prevent fights.

Anyway thanks for sharing your painful story.

BTW pit lab mixes are just about the perfect dog: people social and playful from both sides, dog social from the lab and smart from the pit. We adopt aout a lot of pitlabs. they tend to look lab except for the little floppy ears and slanted eyes.

i meant: after that SHE left him alone.

And while you are clicking on petfinder, put "pitbull rescue" in your search engine and click on some sites. Bad Rap Dogs of San Francisco wqas involved in the rescue of Micheal vick's pits--its an inspirational story. Most sites have "Happy Tails" to lift your mood.

Inquiring minds want to know: How did you get the Great Horned Owl into the studio?

That's a good question.

Generally Great Horned Owls are total divas. They want a green room, limo service, and full catering for the session. They want the studio booked for the whole day, even if they're just in for some simple overdubs, because they don't want to "feel rushed". They want to bring in their own musicians, most of whom can't swing from a rope, and they want final approval on the mix.

Total PITA horror show.

A Screech or Barn owl is a much more down-to-earth character. A good rhythm section, a nice mix in the monitor, a quick read through the chart, and they're totally happy. They'll nail anything you want to throw at them on the first take, and they won't give any of this "I think I hear a little too much harshness in the high end on that last hoot". It'll be "Great mix, sounds lovely, thanks so much for the call, when can we do it again?".

Absolute pros, and total sweethearts.

These days, if you want a Great Horned, it's gonna be triple scale, final approval on the mix, limo to the session and then back to the hotel, and a plate full of mice. They're not even going to eat the mice, mind you, because it might make them feel all bloated and ruin their precious tone. But the mice have got to be there, nonetheless. And it has to be fresh mice, naturally, none of your road kill, and they have to be brown, no crappy lab mouse leftovers.

You'd think they were Pavarotti.

Thanks -

Generally Great Horned Owls are total divas.

Good job! LOL

"Well I might back out of the adoption in face of yur story. That's exactl;y the tragedy I don't want in my memory bank/"

I was afaid of that. But I'd feel worse if I hadn't shared my story.

Basically, I think you have to go with your gut.

I don't even like second-guessing the fact that I brought Hamilton into our household. I did it, it's over.

Also I think CoCo's aggression would have manifested itself in someway -- perhaps worse -- if Hamilton hadn't been there to be the target of her violence.

The part I've had coming to grips with is knowing what a great dog she was (which, I know, sounds crazy in light of what happened, and my own wife dismisses me when I mention such a thing). Oddly enough, I feel like I let CoCo down more than I let Hamilton down.

Wonkie, you're right about the "Happy Tails" -- they prove to be quite rejuvenating and restorative about one's faith about a lot of things.

Dick Polman does a nice job of constrasting the styles of Obama (cerebral) and McCain (visceral) in Saturday's forum with Rick Warren.


That made my day. Thanks.

@Hilzoy: I'm still curious.

Oh: I thought you were kidding. Someone else took the studio outside. I just downloaded the .wav file, and edited it and converted it and stuff.

Hey, here is your one stop shop for all things bird-song. Here are some more.

Frogs, too.

Big fun!

Thanks -

Well, I was half kidding; I wondered if it was a recording in the wild or a synthesized rendition.

"I don't even like second-guessing the fact that I brought Hamilton into our household. I did it, it's over."

As someone prone to obsessing about past mistakes and failures, it was taking as a mantra "what's done is done," that's helped get me somewhat past a lot of stuff.

Some of the time, anyway.

I'm very sorry for your loss.

Great headlines; even better picture. I give it a 9.9.

"Some of the time, anyway."

How true.

Here it is two months later, and I finally got around to feeling comfortable enough to mention this awful episode to you guys.

What's strange is when something or someone becomes such a part of your daily routine that when that something or someone is gone -- forever -- it leaves such a void.

I see that I relied on this dog for so much of my happiness that I question my sanity. I mean, is that normal?

I've been surprised, too, that my wife of four years -- we married on the day I voted for Kerry before heading to the Philly airport for Vegas -- doesn't seem to understand how much my CoCo meant to me.

And: The one big argument we've had in these four years is my desire to get another, younger dog. Weird. But I respect her decision (for now) knowing what she went through the day CoCo attacked the little man, Hamilton.

Thanks, G.


I hope that you all can stand one more contributin to this discussion.

What touches my heart the most about your story is the feeling you have that you let Coco down. You feel that way because you are a responsibleperson, exactly the right kind of person to have a dog.

But ther eis a limit to your responsiblitiy. SHe waas a golodebt retreiver! Yes ther were signs of aggessin but ther were signs of affecgion too. I'm sure that no one hearing your story would blame you. You acted reasonably on the informatin available to you.

When I was younger I was a depressed perrson and the root omy depression was the very high unreasonalby high standard to which I held myself. i could never succeed, only fail, in my own eyes and I was paralyzed, unable to act at all and then condemning of myself for tht too. My parents were raised to be Catholics and although not Catholic any longer I guesss the since of guilt and sin remained and somehow got lodged in me.

Then when I was in my tgwenties I began to rebel against myself. At night I would lay in bed and systematically forgive myself, give my self absolution for my deficiencies. Most of my failings weren't all that bad--excessive shyness, the failure to sparkle and be social, the extra ten pounds around my middle, my loneliness. By I said to myseolf" I absolve you.

I am still too hard on myself and feel responsible for everything but I know that about myself and can control it a little beter now. And tht's what I think you need to do for yourself. You are not infinitely wise. You were a good loving attentive dog person. You didn't for see what hardly anyone would ahve foreseen. You can absove yourself for that and still be a responsible person.

It is really really hard to mourn for womeone you love when the parting is mixed with guilt and empathy for the distrees felt by the departed one. I came home one day tired and irritated and feeling guilty as usual. My parrot Sqwakie who had the run of the house greeted me as ususl but I was focused not on loving my parrot but on taking out the trash so my husband wouldn't have to do it. So I ignored Squawkie and marched right past him and grabbed the trash and openned the back door and he flew away.

He was my parrot for fourteen years and in one moment of careless nindifferne he ws gone. It was Novemeber and the next three days were nonstop freezing rain. I put up one hundred flyers around the neighborhood but I never say Squawkie again.

It took several years before i could allow myslef to think about Squawkie. That one last day over shadowed all the years of friendliness and companionship, all of his funny little ways.

But I am not infinately wise either and I cannot be all things for everyone all the time. I honestly don't thinik that you are responsible for the tragedy. That won't ake away all of the pain i know but i do think you can absolve yourself of your feeling of having let Coco down.


Feeling like I am sitting right across a table talking to you has given me more strength and solace than anything that's happened in what has been a depressing summer -- when, other than a carefree weekend at Hershey Park w/ my family -- I must say, I haven't been happy.

I suppose there are millions of Squawkies and CoCos out there -- but it was your Squawkie and my CoCo. And, damn, I'd give anything to have her waiting for me w/ her alert eyes and wagging tail when I pull up in the driveway an hour or so from now.

Your phrase "all of his funny little ways" brought a smile to my rather forlorn face.

Just today, before coming to work, I let Hamilton out in the yard and, stunned that he didn't come right back to the porch -- as is his habit (for a Beagle, he likes the house, but then, he is 14) -- and instead watch him sun himself in a spot that CoCo (who couldn't get enough of the outside) would do just that same thing regularly.

Seeing him so happy was priceless.

God bless.

Goddnight, buddy.

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