It was hot today. Hot. Well, by November standards - low sixties. Felt like anything but November, and believe me it's disconcerting. Fantastic, lovely, a gift from the Gulf, yes, but the month ticks to 11 and you expect grey skies and raw wind.

You know what? Weather-wise, this has been one of the best years ever. And no one thinks of the year that way because everything else has seemed so dismaying.

Not everything, of course. But that's the message. That's the plot. The dismaying year.

Sweet MOG. Author says “you know, calling yourself the ‘parent’ of your pet suggests a number of factors that aren’t really present. Love aside, there’s a difference between being the parent of a child and the parent of a human.”

You can imagine the result.


Just because you popped out a couple of miniature consumers to add to your gene pool, it doesn't make you societal royalty, you can declare your superiority and whine about the travails of parenthood, something you entered in willingly, but it doesn't give you the right to define others' relationships.  At all. 

Miniature consumers.

Why don't you glorious breeders who love to wax self righteously about the starving and orphaned children stop breeding and take those children in?  

Glorious breeders.

You think because you are able to squeeze out some kids you get to tell people how to refer to kids and pets?

We pet owners will call our babies whatever we want. Giving birth to your brats and overpopulating the world with your spawn does not give you any right to tell the rest of us what to call our pets.

Squeeze out brats and spawn.

@norama1 Get over yourself. With 7.5 billion "miracles" on the planet there's really nothing unique are special about your daughter, despite what you think.

Yes, parenting a child is different from parenting a pet but it is still parenting. get off your high horse and stop droning on how wonderful motherhood actually is. It isn't, especially to those of us who don't want children, who never wanted children and will never will want children even when you write condecending articles like this.

Key phrase: stop droning on how wonderful motherhood actually is. It isn’t

Our pets give us the love and affection that we need. Some of us have no patience or tolerence to deal with small children. I certainly don't. They don't listen nor do they when I want. Dogs certainly do and they give they loyalty that I want. 

Key phrase: when I want

Children are annoying, simply put. Dogs to me are children but perfected. It's a pity you don't see them that way.


To anyone who thinks there is a difference between adopting a kid over an animal you just proved what is wrong with the human race! We have completely lost our humanity! Why is it humans are the only animal that kills for sport? The same reason we have so many genocides. Look in the mirror!

If you think there's a difference between children and baby chicks, you have completely lost your humanity.

I don't get bothered when people say their children are the "cutest" and "smartest", while they're nothing more than sticky germ hurricanes

Nothing more.

Here's a summation that suggests it may not be entirely about pets:

You're making two assumptions about parenting: 1) that it makes you better than other people, and 2) that it's actually a good thing to have multiple children. Having children is a purely selfish act. It's not helping the world. We don't need more people. Our resources are already strained. You're not doing your children any favors by bringing them into this world. In fact, you're saying "Here's our mess. Now you deal with it." And let's not forget that parents often cite the reason for having children that they want someone to take care of them when they're old. This article is degrading to animals and the people who love them. Finally, just so we're clear, being a pet parent involves a lot of purpose, consequences, and hard work. We work every day trying to teach our pets right from wrong. We make sure they eat right. We ensure they are healthy by taking them to the vet regularly. We comfort them when they're not well. We ensure their lives are enriched with play and exercise. We are, in summary, parenting our pets. And you cannot deny that fact.

Oh, sure I can, but let’s take the next comment:

5 hours ago
@gregshortdotcom "We work every day trying to teach our pets right from wrong."

Can an animal know right from wrong?  What kind of ethics do you teach your pet--the categorical imperative?  Utilitarianism?  Epicureanism?  Does the law recognize your pet as a moral agent who may be praised or blamed, or punished for his transgressions?  

Scout wants to chase small cute things, catch them, and kill them. Nothing would give him more dogly joy. I think this is wrong, but not morally wrong, any more than an earthquake is morally wrong. I think it is wrong because they are cute - a typical revulsion based on a Beatrix-Potter view of the world.

But mostlyit’s wrong because it is wrong to inflict pain or fear for no cause. It's a human idea that cannot apply to animal instincts, but when we live together the two collide. The other day a squirrel misjudged a leap and fell from a tree to the stones below. I heard the thud. Scout alerted, and stood still, and watched; when the squirrel moved he was off. Since he chases squirrels every possible hour every day, this was nothing unusual - but when the squirrel made a run across the lawn I could tell he wasn’t moving at the usual speed, and for once Scout overtook the cursed enemy.

I ran over to grab him just as I heard the squirrel cry out, which suggested he’d gotten a piece of him. I pulled Scout off the squirrel because this is not necessary. You can’t say its virtuous to rescue a dog from a cruel environment and then permit your dog to be cruel, can you? If the point is Kindness to Animals, it has to extend to situations like this.

The squirrel got away, and moved at a speed that suggested he was not mortally wounded. I hope he was okay, because the thought of a small creature in pain panting out its last moments ought to touch you. When you’re driving down the street and a squirrel appears and runs under your car, you ought to wince and you should check the rear view mirror. This is the sort of thing you can teach a child. This is the sort of thing you cannot teach a dog, because they have no moral constructs as we understand them.

As I have said before, though, Scout knows it is wrong to eat food from the counter when we’re not looking. I have had many opportunities to test the theory - no threatening body language, no dark sounds. Simply holding out the empty plate makes him slink away. I have held out empty plates when he has done nothing wrong; no reaction. Interest, even: what’s on the plate? But when he eats all the pizza and I hold out the empty cardboard circle, he knows he has done a bad thing.

But what bad means to a dog is unknowable. To eat is good, inasmuch as it satisfies instincts, tastes yummy, ticks off the boxes that say STORE UP BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW. It is not good in the sense that it is virtuous, it is just good in the sense that it’s a series of positives. Being reminded that you stole food from Alpha may be not BAD so much as it is a NEGATIVE, which is different because it lacks a moral construct. But just because these things are rudimentary rhymes of human behavior doesn’t mean they’re not similar, doesn’t mean they’re not analogues to behavior you expect in more developed species. I don’t fault dogs for not having a sophisticated concept of right and wrong, I admire them for having gleaned over the centuries an understanding of the human terms. I do not anthropomorphize my dog - well, much - but there was no mistaking his behavior when he ate that pizza, and knew he had done a Negative thing, and came up to my studio where I work and raised a paw. He’d never done that.

If dogs have emotions, then they have emotional lives, and while they are simple and can be moved from one state to the other with relative ease, it doesn’t mean that these emotional narratives are beneath our concern. Parenthood is the wrong word, and I really don't care if anyone uses it - but it seems less descriptive than the real noble, time-honored, ancient bond between sentient creatures.

Companion. Friend.



Today's tiny picture from an early 30s ad blown up and presented for your edification:


Roscoe Turner (September 29, 1895 – June 23, 1970) was a record-breaking American aviator who was a three-time winner of the Thompson Trophy air race, and widely recognized by his flamboyant style and his pet lion.

He started his own airline in 1925. Quite the life; would make a good biopic, if we were inclined to such tales these days.

Well, we are, but it seems as if they're not interested in doing them.




In betwixt the good serials, we always take a speedy look at Westerns. This one is "Red Ryder," and the degraded copy makes it easier to scrub through it and snip the cliff-hangers. Just to bring you up to speed:

Remember what happened last week? “Red” was on the ground, tied, and the grinning bandit had a gun on him. He lowered it, right as the picture cut to the music and the card telling us to stay tuned for Episode 2, Leap for Life. (They all end that way, which causes me no end of amusement.)

Well, that didn’t happen. That scene isn’t repeated. Instead we get this:

So the target audience is 12, then. That’s what loyal horses do! Silver the horse leads the posse to Red, and there’s a shootout, and Red is rescued.

Since we’re not bothering with the plot on this one but just doing cliffhangers - because it’s a Western, and we’re between Big Serious Fun Serials, here’s how episode 5 ends: first, out of the heroes gets jumped by a Chinaman, and EVERYONE WAS KUNG FU FIGHTING.

We were informed that the old house where the last scene takes place “was built over an old mine, which I reckon is good on accounta all serials got to have themselves a mine scene. Right, boss?”

Right you are.

Takes a droppin’ and keeps on choppin’! Upstairs, “Red” is talking with a member of the gang who’s really on the Side of Goodness, and they see the gang coming. “Red” things quick, just as the gang swarms into the house. Lucky the guy coming through the window doesn’t take a door in the brainpan:



Now you got him? That’s the line that comes to mind as he escapes?

Enjoy this Gallery update - a handful of covers added to the already-substantial collection.

I think next year is the Gallery's 20th anniversary. Oy.



blog comments powered by Disqus