Category Archives: animals

We’ve had a lovely afternoon and evening at the American Conservation Film Festival.

We are in the four day period of the ACFF, now celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary of presenting conservation and nature support films here in Shepherdstown.

We saw two films this afternoon, but tonight we saw two films accompanied by live discussions and question periods with the filmmakers.

The most interesting to me was Marion Stoddart whose life and career spent saving the Nashua River was so well presented in the short film “The Work of 1000.”

Filmmaker Susan Edwards broached the subject Can one person truly make a difference? This film tells the inspiring story of how a remarkable woman saved a dying river–for herself, for the community and for future generations–and became an environmental hero honored by the United Nations.

Mrs Stoddart, now in her 80s spent decades getting a very polluted river clean… petitioning, demonstrating, approaching manufacturers and politicians directly, and getting her husband and children involved. Her live presentation with the audience was very involving.

Our Nation’s River: A System on Edge  was the second film we saw this evening. Ten minutes long and made by Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of historic natural filmmaker Jaques Costeau. This piece was particularly meaningful for us, since it is about the Potomac River, the water body that forms our northern border and flows from us down to Washington DC.

Ms, Cousteau answered questions but also presented a discussion panel of professionals from the Nature Conservancy and the Potomac River Foundation.

The House was pretty full at Reynolds Hall, Shepherd University, with a number of standers who wanted to catch everything as well. Among the folks there tonight were most of the officers of Sustainable Shepherdstown (My wife is in that bunch, of course), our current State Delegate John Dolan whose work for us has been spectacular and who is leaving office at the end of the session. Steve Skinner, the Democratic candidate for Delegate who, hopefully, will take John’s place, was there as well. Both men realize the importance the Potomac is to our community. Of course, Republican Candidate Elliot Spitzer was NOT there this evening. Preserving our environment is just not a Republican issue… after all, don’t they all think that Climate Change is a joke?

We’re going to some more films tomorrow.

Racism raises its ugly head at the RNC…

 

“This is how we feed animals,” were the words shouted at an African-American CNN camera woman while throwing nuts at her at yesterday’s RNC session.

Two people were removed from the Republican National Convention by security and police. Multiple witnesses observed the exchange and the convention released a statement saying:

“Two attendees tonight exhibited deplorable behavior. Their conduct was inexcusable and unacceptable. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated.”

A CNN representative said:

“CNN can confirm there was an incident directed at an employee inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum earlier this afternoon. CNN worked with convention officials to address this matter and will have no further comment.”

No information has been released as to who the two offenders were nor what has happened to them

 

Quote of the Day – Romney knows how people feel about him…

 

This from a Politico interview with Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen:

“I know there are some people who do a very good job acting and pretend they’re something they’re not. … You get what you see. I am who I am. I don’t think everybody likes me.”

Mitt Romney

Well, at least he knows.

Thanks to Dogs Against Romney

 

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose…

 

WATERFORD, Conn. —Say you are a 17 pound lobster named Larry living in a tank in a Connecticut restaurant, just waiting to be bought, boiled, buttered and eaten. Not a pleasant thought, is it.

A lobster that big could be anywhere between 70 to 100 years old… he’s lived through the great social and political events of the last couple of generations. Should he be in this situation?

Carrying Larry out to sea…

Fortunately for Larry, a Connecticut man, Don MacKenzie, purchased him at the restaurant, then released him back into Long Island Sound. MacKenzie says the local kids were calling the huge crustacean “Lucky Larry”.

“It takes seven years for him to even become a lobster big enough to keep,” saidMacKenzie. “For a lobster to live this long and avoid lobster traps, nets, lobster pots … he doesn’t deserve a bib and butter.”

MacKenzie won’t say how much he paid The Dock restaurant to take Larry off the menu Tuesday.

“Let’s just say that it’s the most expensive lobster I never ate.”

Turning Larry Loose…

Here at Under The LobsterScope we have great admiration for McKenzie who saw a creature in a deadly situation and saved his life. Larry thanks him and we do, too. It makes me feel proud to come from Connecticut.

 

80% 0f Antibiotics are Fed to Farm Animals – and it’s killing us!

Here’s something we should all be aware of (especially when we go food shopping):

I hope you signed the petition… and look for the label in the meat department that tells you your steak is from a cow raised without antibiotics.

Some humor this morning as I watch my older dog, Nestle…

Thanks to Lisa Casey at All Hat, No Cattle:

Now I know why my big puppy is laid out flat all day… hee hee hee.

Graphic Humor for the Evening – what in the world?

The campaign speeches we don’t hear.

So much has been pointed out lately, through television commentaries and new legislation, about Congressmen and Senators entering office as middle-class individuals and leaving office as millionaires by using secret investment information they learn at work.

What would happen if their reelection campaigns listed the things they had done for their constituents AND said they had earned no unethical investment income and are happy with the income they make on their salaries and, say, speaking engagements?

Don’t expect to hear it. Politicians seek reelection in order to continue making money, either legally or illegally. It doesn’t matter if they are Democrats or Republicans or Independents. It’s all the same.

Frankly, I’d vote for the candidate who promised ton do the job he was elected for and not focus on his retirement wallet. And party wouldn’t matter…much.

A smile is nice before bedtime…

I shared this photo with my dogs who had no idea why it was funny:

 

But it gives me a small laugh to go to bed with.

Bill vs. Critter

Just got back from releasing the groundhog I trapped at our aging and unoccupied chicken coup into the wilds of the Potomac River woodlands. Elly is thrilled, I’m thrilled, the garden is safe again (unless there are more groundhogs (woodchucks?) living under the coup.

Hard to see it, but it’s in there.

This afternoon I have to rebait the trap with cantaloupe and give it another shot.

Score do far is me 1, critters 0.

The loudest thunder I’ve ever heard…

We’re in some kind of direct thunderstorm path out here in rural Harpers Ferry. The thunder from last night’s storm, which woke me up, was incredibly loud… as it had been the night before.

Both our dogs were upset and  I had to come out into the living room and pet them and calm them down. Byron, the smaller of the two, crawled behind my recliner and put his head under the seat… I presume so he couldn’t see the lightning flash in the windows. Nestle, my big old boy, moved back and forth from couch to couch unable to rest comfortably.

We have even more of these storms projected by the Weather Channel for this afternoon… 60% chance, which is usually pretty good.

I hope my dogs are up for it.

What in Hell is wrong with people?

Mokele-mbembe ill artlibre jnl

Mokele-mbembe

I found this one in Doubtful News:

Stephen McCullah needed to raise $26,700 by May 11 in order to secure enough funds through Kickstarter.com to, well, kickstart his expedition to the Republic of Congo to hunt a reported living dinosaur.

When the deadline arrived, the 21-year-old adventurer and Missouri native had received pledges totaling nearly $29,000.

He’s now packing his bags and a powerful tranquilizer rifle — to bring down a possible dinosaur during what he has dubbed the Newmac Expedition.

McCullah said that his team will end up at the southern tip of Lake Tele, where mokele-mbembe have been reported. The Newmac explorers will set up camp at the village of a pygmy tribe.

For the remainder of their three-month stay, and as long as there are no health or safety issues intervening, the men will set out every day with a variety of special cameras, searching for new species, large or small, including canine-sized tarantulas.

McCullah and his associate are established Creationists, I suppose hoping to cling to the Creationist line that the Earth is around 6,000 years old and men and dinosaurs lived togather (the would have HAD to.)

That they were funded through Kickstarter leaves me in doubt about the ethical nature of that organization… with the knowledge that KS takes 5% of the $26,700 for listing it. Making money on unintelligent people is much too easy in the U.S.A.

A cartoon, however, to explain why dinosaurs are not here now for these people:

Things I’ve picked up around the web…

Like this list that Romney could use to justify his unfortunate position on gay marriage and civil unions:

 

… or this – an overview of the Republicans’ desires in the coming election:

… or this – which I dedicate to my doggie boys, Byron and Nestle:

There… glad to get these out of my “hold on to” file.

As long as there are people who believe the unreal, we will have a hard time progressing into the future…

Here is an article from The Texas Observer that caught my attention. I’ll give you part of it here, but it is much, much longer and I encourage you to read it. If you scratch your head with wonder, then you are just like me:

In the beginning, God created dinosaurs and humans, and they walked together in Texas.

At least, according to many people in Glen Rose.

The small town about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth is home to some of the best-preserved dinosaur tracks in the world; it’s also a heavily Christian community where many locals interpret the book of Genesis literally.

Their belief is bolstered by a phenomenon in the riverbed. Alongside the dinosaur tracks are what resident R.C. McFall and others call “man tracks”—tangible proof of biblical creation accounts and a refutation of the theory of evolution.

McFall walks along the Paluxy River, careful not to place his cowboy boot in a dinosaur track. Muddy water fills the fossilized footprints embedded in this rocky ledge.

“There’s a track right there,” he says in a deep Texas drawl, pointing. “That hole is where my dad dug one out.”

If the river weren’t up, McFall explains, we’d see man tracks just a few feet away, in the same strata of rock as the dinosaur tracks.

The 113-million-year-old dinosaur tracks, first discovered in 1909, are an important part of Glen Rose’s livelihood, bringing thousands of visitors a year to attractions like Dinosaur Valley State Park and Dinosaur World. The town’s tourist industry, accounting for $23 million in annual revenue, was built largely on the jaw-dropping fact that fossils this old are still present today. Visitors can park their trailers at the Jurassic RV Park (the tracks actually date to the Cretaceous period) or stay at the Glen Rose Inn & Suites, where the sign features a cartoon dinosaur.

“The dinosaurs are what drive us,” says Billy Huckaby, executive director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Glen Rose. “You can’t develop a town of 2,000 into this kind of tourism revenue unless you’ve got something really special to promote.”

Tourist literature describes the tracks as millions of years old, but not everyone buys the science.

“I believe in the Bible,” McFall says. “I don’t believe the world’s over 6,000 or 7,000 years old. Course, everybody’s got their own interpretation.”

Go HERE for the rest of the article.

A Death in the Family

I started to work on the blog a couple of hours earlier than the first post went up… that’s because my daughter Cassandra called me from Connecticut to tell me that Penny, my daughter in nearby Williamsport, Maryland, was hysterical.

Her family’s dog, Moose, had been found dead in his little fenced yard this morning.

This had not been expected… Moose was a seemingly healthy, 6-year-old golden retriever that the whole family was fond of. I had just been playing with him on Easter Sunday, playing catch with a tennis ball. He was full of energy and loved playing.

Penny told me her two older sons (John – who had found Moose this morning – and Jason) went off to school crying this morning. Jacob, the youngest, made sure to tell me that “Moosie is dead” as soon as I got to Penny’s house.

Elly drove over from her shopping trip this morning and we all expressed our feelings for Moose, who would be sent to the Vet this afternoon for cremation.

It’s amazing how close you get to a dog. When I came home I spent some time petting Byron and Nestle – someday this will happen to them, too.

From Mother Jones: A Bayer Pesticide is reducing the population of bees…

Here’s another pesticide controversy… one we can add to the Monsanto Mix… it relates to Bayer (yeah, the people who make the aspirin you take every day.)

Here’s a clip:

3 New Studies Link Bee Decline to Bayer Pesticide

It’s springtime, and farmers throughout the Midwest and South are preparing to plant corn—and lots of it. The USDA projects this year’s corn crop will cover 94 million acres, the most in 68 years. (By comparison, the state of California occupies a land mass of about 101 million acres.) Nearly all of that immense stand of corn will be planted with seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides produced by the German chemical giant Bayer.

And that may be very bad news for honey bees, which remain in a dire state of health, riddled by large annual die-offs that have become known as “colony collapse disorder” (CCD). 

In the past months, three separate studies—two of them just out in the prestigious journal Science—have added to a substantial body of literature linking widespread use of neonicotinoids to CCD. The latest research will renew pressure on the EPA to reconsider its registration of Bayer’s products. The EPA green-lighted Bayer’s products based largely on a study funded by the chemical giant itself—which was later discredited by the EPA’s own scientists, as this leaked memo shows.

When seeds are treated with neonics, the pesticides get absorbed by the plant’s vascular system and then “expressed” in the pollen and nectar, where they attack the nervous systems of insects. Bayer targeted its treatments at the most prolific US crop—corn—and since the late 1990s, corn farmers have been blanketing millions of acres of farmland with neonic-treated seeds.

And it’s not just corn. In addition to the vast corn crop mentioned above, Bayer’s neonics have worked their way into substantial portions of the soy, wheat, cotton, sorghum, and peanut seed markets. In 2010, according to research by the Pesticide Action Network of North America, at least 142 million total acres were planted in neonic-treated seeds—a trend that will continue if not increase in  the 2012 growing season. That represents a landmass equal to the footprints of California and Washington State.

But even that’s not all. As I showed in this January post, Bayer’s neonics are also common in home-garden and landscaping products.

Read the rest (and there is a lot) HERE.

Planet Under Pressure Conference in London – We’re getting close to irreversible climate changes…

While politicians argue with scientists, the climate actually goes on changing.. and not to our advantage. Reuters has been commenting on this conference that runs through tomorrow:

Global warming close to becoming irreversible-scientists

The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.

Scientific estimates differ but the world’s temperature looks set to rise by six degrees Celsius by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are allowed to rise uncontrollably.

As emissions grow, scientists say the world is close to reaching thresholds beyond which the effects on the global climate will be irreversible, such as the melting of polar ice sheets and loss of rainforests.

“This is the critical decade. If we don’t get the curves turned around this decade we will cross those lines,” said Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University‘s climate change institute, speaking at a conference in London.

It’s amazing how many of the best scientific minds see the problem, yet they are faced with huge negative concepts by the politicians who would have to vote in the bucks to make changes.

As we argue this out for the rest of the decade, we can watch the polar ice caps melt and the tropical rain forests dry up and many species that we rely on disappear.

It is up to us as individuals to push our representatives into dealing with the truth. Right?

The Philosophy of Friendship…

Sometimes testing is very simple and the results are more than obvious.

I say this after just getting back from my weekly bout with ongoing depression with my therapist and being met at the door by Byron and Nestle, the two demanding dogs who are both thrilled to see me (and who want their lunch.)

I can’t imagine anything more pleasant than being greeted by two furry things who seem to have no other function in life than paying attention to me paying attention to them.

Moving to the new house has been somewhat of a confusing experience for the two of them, but they now seem to have centered on favorite spaces and times when things happen (lunch, walk, etc.) that pertain to them.

How the Southern GOP sees Women…

From Tengrain over at Mock, Paper Scissors:

Meet Georgia’s state Rep. Terry England, who is debating Georgia House Bill 954, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks even if the baby is not expected to live. So naturally England recalled the time he had spent with livestock.

Rep. Terry England compares women to cows, pigs and chickens. from Bryan Long on Vimeo.

It’s what I was saying yesterday about the advanced education levels of conservatives in the south. They’re just not there.

I’m not sure why women would ever vote for a southern conservative (unless her husband told her to… 🙂 )

World’s Best Graffiti VI – As you can see, I’m being lazy…

… while I’m in the process of moving houses, I’m not doing my usual political ramble (of course, I’ve had no television to pick up the political stuff, but, wonder of wonders, Comcast showed up this morning.)

Anyway, here are a few more wall art masterpieces;

I love the tiger!

First night in the new house…

No TVComcast hasn’t shown up yet.

Dogs are going crazy…they have a long way to go getting used to a new existence.

Unopened boxes, big black plastic bags stuffed with clothes, misplaced furniture everywhere. Organization starts tomorrow (we’re lucky we have a bed ready to sleep in.)

Hope everyone out there has a great night.

Two weeks of moving start today…

Elly and Me?

We closed on our “farmette” on Friday, and now we will spend the next two weeks moving, emptying the townhouse and getting it ready for sale (say, are you looking for a nice townhouse in Shepherdstown, WV? Let me know.)

Home for Chicks

The thought of entering a life as somewhat of a farmer has been entering my consciousness as I plan to repair the very old chicken house on the property so we can go out in April (or earlier) to get a dozen or so live chicks. Sure looking forward to eggs by the end of the summer.

If this makes the blog come out at odd times of the day in the next week or so (no internet connected to the new house yet) then we will have to live with it.

(Stupid) Quote of the Day

Climate Change is…

“an absolute travesty of scientific research that was motivated by those who, in my opinion, saw this as an opportunity to create a panic and a crisis for government to be able to step in and even more greatly control your life…

“When you have a worldview that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth; by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven, for example, the politicization of the whole global warming debate — this is all an attempt to, you know, to centralize power and to give more power to the government.”

Rick Santorum speaking in Colorado

In his article in TPM on Santorum’s little speech, Sahil Kapur also put this in:

But lest you believe Santorum’s thinking is hitherto unseen in the GOP. Rep. John Shimkus, in a 2009 congressional hearing, cited the Book of Genesis as evidence that climate change is a hoax, pointing out that God promised Noah that man won’t destroy the Earth. Shimkus was subsequently rewarded with the Chairmanship of the powerful Energy & Commerce subcommittee on the environment.

Don’t you love the Religious Right? Isn’t the Book of Genesis the one that never explains where all the other people beyond Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel come from? And there’s a talking snake.

Sunday Morning Goat Lessons

Elly and I are getting ready to move next month to our new “farmlet” on Engle-Molers Road, so now she is starting to research the two things she wants to do there: raise goats and raise chickens.

Elly with chickens

As part of the research we went to a farm owned by some local folks, Sally and Jimmy, to learn about maintaining the goats and chickens (plus…unexpected surprise… to see how Jimmy raises pigs).

Now we know more about the expenses of feeding and maintaining the critters, about milking and egging, about dealing with animals in bad weather, about unexpected costs, etc. etc. etc.

Sally is a retired teacher, and Elly sees

Miniature Nubian Goats

herself getting heavily into this in another four years when she retires from teaching… from what I see, it’s like giving yourself another full-time job. The rewards, of course, are dozens of eggs every week, goats milk for cheese (and soap!) and all the exercise you get taking care of these guys.

Jimmy has 11 1/2 acres (we have, as of now, 4 1/3 acres) so we are going to be doing a much smaller operation than they are… but still it’s enough for the two

Just born last week!

of us to handle (maybe even more than we can handle… I want a tractor!). Just walking around their farm for an hour and my knees were killing me. I could ride around much more easily.

Jimmy’s pigs were great to look at (the piglets are cute little devils, but I don’t think the work and space needed for pigs is something I can deal with. Where goats have 1 or 2 kids a year, a mother pig will drop 17 or 18 piglets without thinking about it.)  Jimmy raises and butchers them himself… not something I even want to think about doing. The chickens are enough for me to start with. I don’t know when we’ll be starting a goatery.

Political Humor – The Mutt Romney Blues

This is dedicated to my pals Nestle and Byron (thanks for the great walk, guys.)

Have a nice Thursday evening.