Friday, November 30, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dogcatcher History - A sad look back.

Here's an illustration from Harpers that appeared in 1888. It shows scenes associated with Dog Catchers and the "Pound" in New York back in those days. Notice the cage/cart arrangement in the upper left hand corner...

harpers 1882 640

That's how the City Euthanized animals back in those days.

The most well known location for The Pound was near 26th Street by the East River. The cage was loaded with dogs and rolled down to the river where a crane was attached to swing the dogs out over the water. The cage was then submerged for 10 minutes. Then it was brought up, unloaded, and another batch of animals prepared.

Sounds ghastly, doesn't it? ... drowning all those animals like that?

Before you judge the people who did this work too harshly, though, its important to put their actions in context with the times. Whenever I say something like that, it tends to make people uncomfortable.

"Oh My God, Paladin... You're saying that was OK!!!!"

No. I'm not.

But I think its important to understand that they didn't have the luxuries that we take for granted today - in neither technology nor societal support. They also faced the exact same challenges faced by Municipal Shelters today - only they didn't have the last 100+ years of technology and societal support. Industry standard for euthanasia before they started drowning animals had been someone walking into a pen of dogs with a club and beating them all to death....

I shit you not.

Drowning the dogs to dispose of them was seen as progress - and it was - as awful as such a thing seems to us today. When a Humane Group took over operation of the shelter at the turn of the century they made their own advancement in euthanasia technology by using Carbonic Gas - which caused death by suffocation. Hardly a great stride over drowning, but it was thought to be far more humane than drowning at the time. Later, they progressed to using "Illuminating Gas", which was the gas that powered the gas lights that illuminated the streets in New York.

During my own carrier in Animal Control, I've seen the technology and understanding of the euthanasia process morph even further. When I started in the field clean, cool Carbon Monoxide Gas Chambers were the way to go. If you had a modern CO chamber you were at the cutting edge of Humane Animal Euthanasia.  Recently, the trend is toward Injectable Solutions like Pentabarbital.

Now, the general consensus is that CO is bad and if you aren't using pre-euthanasia sedation and injectable euthanasia solutions in a soothing euth room with soft music playing and a big rainbow painted on the wall .... then you just must hate animals

Thankfully, my current gig doesn't involve euthanizing animals at anywhere near the level that I once had too. When I do have to do it, I actually prefer Injectable methods over CO in most cases. However, during the course of my career I killed A LOT of dogs and cats with a CO chamber. And by "a lot" of animals, I mean well into the triple digits.

Does that make me a monster retro-actively?

Dog Catchers were paid 25 cents for every dog they brought in to the Pound. And believe me, there were plenty. An article in the Brookly Daily Eagle appeared on August 29, 1886 reported 1267 impounded dogs over a 2 1/2 month period - of which 1097 were drowned. The remainder were reclaimed after their owners paid the $3 impound fee.

1267 impounded dogs in 2 1/2 months.... Even taking into account the propensity of some of the less scrupulous dog catchers to "nick" dogs out of their own yards instead of sticking to strays at large.... that's a lot of animals to deal with. Most Municipal Shelters don't have the luxury of turning dogs away like a so-called "no kill" shelter can. That's how a no-kill gets to keep their hands clean. If you run a Municipal Shelter you have a finite space to keep the animals (no matter how large the shelter), a set time you have to hold those animals before you can adopt them out, and more animals coming in every single day - day after day.

Do the fucking math.

The Dog Catchers back in the day did this job under awful working conditions for very little money. They were more like independent contractors than employees of the city and they had to supply their own wagons and equipment. Serious injuries were commonplace and the threat of death by rabies (termed "hydrophobia" in those days) was a constant threat. The general attitude toward the Dog Catchers by the populace was one of aggressive dislike. Cases of Dog Catchers being attacked by gangs of rock throwing mobs while the Police refused to intervene were reported on a regular basis.

So cut the Dogcatcher some slack... both then and now. They weren't the reason animals have to be euthanized back then, and they sure as hell aren't the reason now.

Then, as Now, the true root of responsibility for what happens to stray/unwanted animals rests firmly beneath the irresponsible Owners. If you're too stupid to keep your dog from roaming around and adding to the unwanted pet population - then have it sterilized. If you want to breed your dog so that little Timmy and Suzie get to see the wonderful miracle of life... then take them first to the Animal Shelter and let them see the not so wonderful and less miraculous death that awaits the animals that no one wants.

Monday, November 26, 2012

St. George - Medieval Sheepdog

If it's possible for someone like me - a nonCatholic, nonpracticing Southern Baptist person who believes in God but breaks from most organized religion on many key points - to have a Patron Saint, then Saint George is mine.

640 st-george-on-horseback-1505

I've always had a fondness for the St. George legends. There's a great deal to admire in the man's myth. There are two main story lines associated with St. George, both of which relate directly to challenges we face in modern life today. I'll address my interpretation of the first one in this post, with the second to follow at some point.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow. I indeed have much to be thankful for.

In honor of the day, here's some artwork from one of my favorite illustrators, J.C. Leyendecker, that feature the Holiday.

leyendecker thanksgiving 7

leyendecker thanksgiving 2

leyendecker thanksgiving

leyendecker thanksgiving 4

This last one isn't so much a Thanksgiving illustration as it is a Self-Portrait of the Artist painting a Thanksgiving illustration. I like it for many reasons, including the fact that he's painting a picture of a Thanksgiving feast while cooking a sausage in a "cool handle" steel skillet on top of a kerosene parlor stove.... and I have identical restored versions of both the skillet and the stove in my living room right now :)

leyendecker thanksgiving 5


green heater after

Monday, November 19, 2012

Theory vs. Practice

My Desired Day in Theory...

More often than not, my day in Practice....

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Keep Calm and Live...

Heartbreaking story around here on the news the past couple of days. A lady was driving at night with her toddler in the car when "something" happened causing her to loose control of the car, crash through a fence, and plunge the car into a body of water.

The news has been kind of vague about what caused the accident that precipitated the car entering the water, but the driver was on the phone with her husband when it happened. Don't know if that had anything to do with it or not - but I imagine that being distracted while driving at night didn't help.

The driver stayed on the phone with her husband for a bit after the car hit the water and began to sink. The car had manual crank windows. Reports are that she was in a panic state. After she hung up with her husband, she then called 911 and spoke to an emergency services operator. All while the car is continuing to sink into the water while she's freaking out.

Apparently the 911 tape is so disturbing that the local news won't play it on the air.

Some bystanders attempted to save the woman and her baby by diving under the water once the car sunk below the surface, but they couldn't locate anything substantial enough to break the car windows that wasn't too heavy to swim out to the car with.

My first impulse is to be incredibly harsh with the Driver for her failure to deal effectively with the emergency.... but she's dead and her little daughter is dead and the whole mess is so sad that I'll leave my comments to these:

Manual Windows easily roll down even if the car is filling up with water and engine has died. Have a window breaker easily accessible and secured in place in whatever vehicle you drive. Lanyards are great for this. You don't want to have the thing fly out of reach where you can't find it right at the moment that you need it most. There are several good ones available and I have them in every car I own and every vehicle owned by people that I love.

Get one that has a built in safety seat belt cutter. These are useful even if you live nowhere near a body of water.

And for God's Sake if you find yourself in this situation DON'T WASTE TIME CALLING PEOPLE ON THE PHONE!!!! Not even 911. Get yourself and your kid out of the fucking car. Call someone and freak out later when you're both safe on dry land.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Girl Friday - 11/16/2012 - Antoinette Nikprelaj

Girl Friday this week is from Albania. She was one of the mermaids in the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

Antoinette Nikprelaj

antoinette-nikprelaj 3

Hit the jump for more....

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hell Yeah... Bel Air Nomad

Every Saturday Morning in the town where I live they have a little impromptu car show. Nothing really organized or advertised. Just a group of car-nuts who started showing up to drink coffee and talk to each other in front of the Whole Foods Market.

I came across this beauty the last time we were there...

belair nomad

Its a 1956 Chevrolet Belair Nomad Wagon.

belair nomad 3


belair nomad 2

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dogcatcher History

Long time readers here know that I have an interest in the History of my Profession. Thanks to online archives of various publications I can find all sorts of stuff about the people who did my job in the past, and how they went about doing it.

Lots of it is heartbreaking. Lots of it is enlightening. Lots of it is familiar.

And some of it is funny.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 20, 1897

Charles Sahr, official dogcatcher for the town of Newtown, arrested Richard J. Frost, the Chief of the Newtown Fire Department, for interfering with him in his duties. Sahr was driving along Seventh Street, where Frost lives, when a large Newfoundland Dog ran into the road. The dog catcher made a jump for the animal and the Chief made a jump for the dog catcher and caught him.

Frost held the dog catcher fast and would not allow him to catch the dog, which escaped. Sahr then placed Frost under arrest and drove him all over town on top of the dog catcher's wagon, which was filled with dogs. After he had completed his rounds of the different villages, Sahr too Frost to Justice Brush's court, but the judge was not at home. He then went to Justice Shumacher, but he was out also.

After Frost had promised the dog catcher that he would not interfere with him again, Sahr let him go home under the promise.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day - Four Little Words

Thank you for Serving.... 

Soldier in the bulge Sourbrodt Belgium December 19 1944
Sourbrodt Belgium, December 19, 1944

If you know someone who has served or is serving in the US Military make sure you make it a point to say those four little words today. I'm not the most gregarious person in the world and it was sort of awkward for me to approach a Serviceman that I didn't know the first time I did it. I've never been sorry that I took the 10 seconds to stick out my hand and say "Thanks" that time... or any time since.

In my opinion they deserve to hear those words multiple times every day for the rest of their lives - and those four little words don't begin to express the depth of gratitude that I feel toward the people who disrupt their lives, spend long periods away from their families, and risk life & limb in order to keep all of us safe and sound in the Land of the Free.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Why Liberalism Sucks

This post could also be titled - "Why Nannystate Big Brother CCTV systems and restrictive gun laws don't lead to a peaceful society."

From Britain: A Gang of Bikers, armed with axes, stormed a shopping mall, smashed windows and displays, and menaced mall shoppers while robbing a jewelry store. No one interfered with the robbers, who road off and ditched their bikes after the crime spree.

"No arrests have been made in connection with the incident."

Girl Friday - 11/09/2012 - Eliza Dushku

Girl Friday this week is someone who is long overdue in the spot -

Eliza Dushku

eliza dushku 8

Hit the jump for more...

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Whew... yesterday really sucked. Political Carnage everywhere I looked. In fact, I almost called in sick for work. I awoke to the realization that "This is not my Country anymore" was more than just rhetoric. It was now a looming fact of life. I almost never call in sick to work, but I didn't relish dealing with the endless stream of helpless idiots that I have to coddle throughout the day after the election loss the night before.

Yeah, I'll admit to being in a pretty dark place throughout much of the morning....

turkeys could fly

But I didn't call in sick. 

I went to work because that's what I do.

I did my best with every situation placed before me because that's what I do.

I enjoyed the beautiful Texas Fall day for the wondrous gift that it is because that's what I do.

I did spend some time thinking about the threats facing our country, and what I can do to defeat them, because that's what I do.

Yes, as a Conservative it is quite possible that I'm outnumbered in America today. Yes, the odds are against us. Yes, we face lots of obstacles to turning things around. And Yes, our enemies are many (including quite a few in the Stupid Party)...

On the other hand.... the conditions I just described sure do make a wonderful set up for the come-back success story of the century.

This IS my Country.
I'm not going to check out. I'm not going to give up. I'm not going to delude myself that there will be a quick fix to what ails America - or if there's going to be a fix at all.  But I'll be damned if I'll ever say "Just screw it..." and throw up my hands when I have people that I love that will be here dealing with things long after I've left the worries of this place behind me.

I'll fight the fight as long as there is breath in me.

Because that's what I do.

Besides.... if I can't hack being surrounded and outnumbered by idiots, I'd best start looking for a remote island somewhere to move to.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why He Won

There will be much gnashing of teeth, analysis, and finger pointing today over why President Obama is still President Obama. I think its pretty clear why he gets a second term, once you sweep away all the chaff...

President Obama didn't win because Romney wasn't Conservative enough. He didn't win because Romney was too Conservative. He didn't win because the Establishment Republicans screwed things up, nor because the Tea Party did/didn't do enough. He didn't win because America is more enlightened. He didn't win because he ran a better campaign. He didn't win because the media covered for him. He didn't win because of Union support. He didn't win on his record. He didn't win because he "got Bin Laden".

President Obama is now President of what used to be America, because of one reason in my opinion.

Four years ago, in what many term a landslide victory, America elected a man to the highest office in the land whom they admittedly knew virtually nothing about - based largely on vague promises that things would be remarkably better with his leadership. Over the course of his first term, virtually no progress has been made in the struggling economy, America's reputation in the world has suffered, Terrorists still strike us and our citizens, unemployment is virtually unchanged (if not worse), and we've racked up debt each year that dwarfs all other accumulated debt in our history.

In his campaign for a second term, The President of New America gave absolutely no specifics as to what his agenda would be given a second term.

Last night, the citizens of New America re-elected him to a second term.

The reason that happened is that a large majority of American citizens have become imprudent, incautious, short sighted, and stupid.

Mitt Romney would not have magically transformed New America back to a Constitutionally strong America.. but I truly believe he would have at least slowed our slide toward ruin. Perhaps its just post-election depression talking, but I'm now thinking that the people of New America will only acknowledge the disaster that approaches us all until its far to late to correct course. If they aren't even willing to tap the brakes... how can anyone reasonably expect them to change course?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Spelling it out

Driving home from work last night, I was listening to the Mark Levin show on the radio. During the part of the show that I caught, Mark was playing audio clips from the past of conservatives  explaining Conservatism. One of my favorites was a clip of Milton Friedman on the Phil Donahue show back in the 1970's.

I like watching and listening to people who can clearly and distinctly express the concepts of Conservatism. Such discussions are what led me to the realization that, regardless of the purity of my motivations when I was more Liberal in my political leanings, Conservatism is the only political path that truly leads to the betterment of our nation.

Here's a short clip of Mr. Friedman responding to a question from a student at Stanford University, regarding striving for equality vs. liberty.... the best part is the last minute.

You could take the young man in the clip and he would fit right in to any Occupy {insert whatever system you don't understand here} rally and he would sound perfectly at home.

"A society that aims for equality before liberty will end up with neither equality nor liberty."

"You can only aim at equality by giving some people the right to take some things from others. And what ultimately happens when you aim at equality is that A and B shall decide what C shall do for D."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Meat on the Table

Just in case you were wondering whether or not it pays to "know the right people"... 

I grew up hunting, but it was "poor mans' hunting". Mainly rabbits and squirrels with a few birds thrown in for good measure. I've never had a chance to shoot anything larger because I've never had the opportunity to hunt someplace that had any.. well, deer.

I'd like to, but it always seemed like I had other priorities for the money (and time) it would take to secure a decent deer lease.

Anyway... my Son-in-law has done some work for a guy who is associated with an exotic game ranch helping him around the place, building stands/blinds, etc. In gratitude, the fella let SIL and my Daughter hunt there recently for free as a "thank you".

Here's the Dall Ram my beloved Daughter brought down:

dall ram

Ain't that something!

Hell Yeah, I'm proud. And maybe a just a little bit jealous too. How come the only people that I know are actually poorer than I am? The mid-section entry wound that you see in the picture above was the followup shot she made after her first round hit the ram. You can't see that hole because its hidden behind the goat's elbow in the picture, in the heart/lung area.

Maybe one day I'll know somebody too :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Damn it.

Yeah.. you know how you're looking forward to getting back the hour of sleep that you lost in the Spring - and then you wake up at 3:30 am, which is now 2:30 am, and can't go back to sleep no matter what so you get up all pissed off and drink coffee in front of the computer waiting for it to be time to go to work while your dog snores blissfully on the couch?


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sex Sells... Coffins?

Via Yahoo -

WARSAW (Reuters) - A Polish firm that makes coffins has angered the Catholic church by trying to drum up business with a calendar depicting topless models posing next to its caskets.

One image from the 2013 edition of the calendar has a blonde model, wearing only a skimpy thong and with a snake draped around her neck, reclining on a coffin. In another, a woman wearing a crimson corset is depicted pulling out the heart of a man lying on a casket.

"My son had the idea of creating the company's calendar... so that we could show something half-serious, colorful, beautiful; the beauty of Polish girls and the beauty of our coffins," said Zbigniew Lindner, the firm's owner.

I've not seen any of the 2013 calendar images mentioned in the article, but apparently this isn't the first year they've done this. Some previous calendar images are online, though.

Pinup Casket Models? I don't know if its a useful sales technique or not, but I got no problem with it....

Friday, November 2, 2012

Girl Friday - 11/2/2012 - Ardella

This week's Girl Friday hails from the Land Down Under. She lives in Australia and participates in the passtime known as "Cosplay", where folks create and wear costumes inspired by popular Movie, Comicbook, and Television characters.


ardella 4

Hit the jump for more....