Entries Tagged 'zoology' ↓
July 19th, 2006 — humor, politics, zoology
It never ceases to astound me how much our President (and sometimes his counterparts from other nations) are really just a bunch of college freshmen, trying to find someone to buy them some beer.
Here, courtesy of Tuesday’s Scotsman, a lovely transcript of his chat yesterday with Tony Blair, which was unknowingly and unwittingly broadcast over a G8 microphone:
Bush: Yo, Blair. How are you doing?
Blair: I’m just…
Bush: You’re leaving?
Blair: No, no, no, not yet. On this trade thingy… (inaudible)
Bush: Yeah, I told that to the man.
Blair: Are you planning to say that here or not?
Bush: If you want me to.
Blair: Well, it’s just that if the discussion arises…
Bush: I just want some movement.
Bush: Yesterday we didn’t see much movement.
Blair: No, no, it may be that it’s not, it may be that it’s impossible.
Bush: I am prepared to say it.
Blair: But it’s just I think that we need to be an opposition…
Bush: Who is introducing the trade?
Blair: Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.
Bush: Tell her to call ’em.
Bush: Tell her to put him on, them on the spot. Thanks for [inaudible] it’s awfully thoughtful of you.
Blair: It’s a pleasure.
Bush: I know you picked it out yourself.
Blair: Oh, absolutely, in fact [inaudible].
Bush: What about Kofi? [inaudible] His attitude to ceasefire and everything else … happens.
Blair: Yeah, no I think the [inaudible] is really difficult. We can’t stop this unless you get this international business agreed.
Blair: I don’t know what you guys have talked about, but as I say I am perfectly happy to try and see what the lie of the land is, but you need that done quickly because otherwise it will spiral.
Bush: I think Condi is going to go pretty soon.
Blair: But that’s, that’s, that’s all that matters. But if you… you see it will take some time to get that together.
Bush: Yeah, yeah.
Blair: But at least it gives people…
Bush: It’s a process, I agree. I told her your offer to…
Blair: Well…it’s only if I mean… you know. If she’s got a…, or if she needs the ground prepared as it were… Because obviously if she goes out, she’s got to succeed, if it were, whereas I can go out and just talk.
Bush: You see, the … thing is what they need to do is to get Syria, to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s*** and it’s over.
Blair: Because I think this is all part of the same thing.
Blair: What does he think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine, if we get a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes in the right way…
Bush: Yeah, yeah, he is sweet.
Blair: He is honey. And that’s what the whole thing is about. It’s the same with Iraq.
Bush: I felt like telling Kofi to call, to get on the phone to Assad and make something happen.
Bush: We are not blaming the Lebanese government.
Blair: Is this…? (At this point Blair taps the microphone in front of him and the sound is cut.)
I like the fact that George complimented Tony on his choice of gift, which is in fact a sweater that Tony picked out himself. (Or maybe the inaudible part is Tony admitting to having knit it himself.)
Between you and me, I think that some folks out there are intentionally catching these sorts of things in an attempt to discredit our nation’s leader. But then again, there mustn’t be many of them. After all, he has got to be saying a lot more stupid stuff that we aren’t hearing.
Yo! Way more, dude.
May 1st, 2006 — arts, zoology
The Fihing Tackle store under the Chelsea Hotel, NYC.
December 21st, 2005 — humor, zoology
The Animal Personality Test says:
Your Animal Personality
Your Power Animal: DeerAnimal You Were in a Past Life: Panda
You are a fun-seeker – an adventurous, risk-taker.
While you are spontaneous, you are not very rational.
The thing is, I got this from Tabitha, who remarked on the peculiarity of the description of herself, contrasted with the image of a squid.
Now I am wondering (a) why I have exactly the same results as the only other person I’ve seen who has taken the test, and (b) what’s up with that squid, and (c) do they only have one set of possible results, and (d) damnit– now that I think of it, if this isn’t a “rational” response, I don’t know what is.
December 14th, 2005 — pop culture, traffic and weather reports, zoology
Today I was walking down Jackson Avenue, and I came to an intersection. On a lamppost near the corner, there was a piece of paper (carefully affixed) and a string holding a pen. The piece of paper said, “Write what happens here.” And some drunk people had written something about being drunk. And I wrote something mundane about waiting for the light to change (I was not feeling very inspired, dear reader, but I did participate, you have to give me that). As lame as the responses were, I liked the idea. It was nice to be asked. Perhaps someone else will pass by with a better story.
There was no explanation of who put this there or why. But when I encounter such things in my neighborhood, I always attribute them to the artists.
Another example: the appearance last year of plastic professionally-printed stickers (about 3 x 4 inches) pasted over the “push button for walk signal” button on crosswalk posts. Last February, New Yorkers found out from the NYTimes that those buttons–in the vast majority of cases, I believe it was something like 75% or 80%–do not work. Here’s a link to the article, but it’s no longer free. (Hey, I am an academic, I must compulsively document my vaguely remembered sources.) Anyway, the stickers that some wise folks had posted over the directions now said, “Push Button for Luck.”
They gave me many smiles, and I consider that lucky, don’t you?
The other thing that’s great about living in this neighborhood, with its low population and high percentage of arty folk, is that fashion-wise, anything goes. I am not talking about the dirty old 70′s t-shirts that pass for arty on the less-creative hipsters who stumble off the G-train from Williamsburg, confused and disoriented, looking for that happening party at PS1.
I’m talking women on bicycles with spiked hair, orange workmen’s boiler suits, and combat boots (dirty, not couture) speckled with paint. You can wear anything in this neighborhood and not look strange. And if you’re a woman with no makeup, they assume you’ve got something else going on. (That’s kind of true of true in NYC in general, except that on the big island of Manhattan, the tourists are always there to gawp and point at the more creative locals, like my tripped out transvestite comrade riding the D train, looking like a Chrismahanakwanzakah Tree in full technicolor-patterned skirt and very-much-contrasting blouse, faux fur, and tinsel. He was beautiful.) But here in artist-central, anything goes. It’s heavenly. Perhaps a bit on the mundane side of daring, but it suits me.
By the way, you’ll notice that the new verbal chameleon does not apologize for not posting in a month. The new verbal chameleon is an older, wiser, more economical, less apologetic, shinier, fluffier verbal chameleon. In short, the new verbal chameleon has been busy, but will do her best to keep you informed.
She wishes you all the best for the season. Um, if you’re still there?
August 26th, 2005 — zoology
…is that so many of them live with egomaniacal, stupid, violent, macho idiots.
This article really, really pissed me off. Because I know people like this. People who want to make their dogs violent, uncontrollable killers.
I used to live in a fairly pleasant working-class neighborhood in the North Bronx where every male from 12 onwards either seemed to have, or want to have, a pit bull. I saw many a teenaged boy get his first pit pup, and in polite park or street conversations, they’d brag about his lineage, his red nose (“they’re the craziest”). I had relatively similar one-sided conversations with men of all ages around there, many of whom had been raising pits for years.
At the local Vet’s office, nearly every dog person who came in had a tough dog and a little dog. A shih-tzu and a pit; a chihuahua and a rottie. One for the lap, and one to protect the lap, presumably. Of course, most people loved the tough dog and cuddled it just as much. Most people just liked dogs.
When I first got Sasha, he played happily with lots of these pits. I met many a sweet-natured pit bull. I knew some of them grew to be unmanageable, even as they were adorable pups. But others didn’t.
Over time, we’d encounter more and more nasty humans with nasty dogs, almost always pits. Their people would do things like threaten and bully other people out of the dog park, so their dog could be alone there. Or they’d instead encourage unwitting folks to let their dogs play with what turned out to be violent dogs. A breach of dog park rules, let alone human decency.
One woman seemed to have a nice pair of pits, and my dog played happily with them, until one of them nipped the other a bit too enthusiastically, and he bled. The scent of blood on her brother seemed to make her crazy. She lunged and angrily barked at him, as I hastily got my dog out. I was horrified. The owner did not seem to see a problem with her actions. But me and my lot hightailed out of there, as she tried to control her dogs on their leashes, one dripping with blood.
I learned to avoid the tough owners and their tough dogs, and my dog learned to fear and hate pits.
Still, the dog park was mostly decent, and 95% of people and their dogs were the salt of the earth.
Then one day I was with a spanish-speaking South American friend I’d met there and her mutt, who understood commands only in German: “Sitz, Mackie!”
They had lived in Austria previously, with her German-speaking partner, which explained the dog’s linguistic orientation. To this day, my own dog responds to Sitz!, the word of German he learned by watching Mackie.
My dog is bilingual in one word.
I am sure she must have given him a treat when she told him to sitz. Heck, if I brought enough treats, he’d probably take classes at the Goethe Institute.
And you have to love a mutt named after “Mackie Messer,” Mack the Knife from the Threepenny Opera. But I digress.
Anyway, the worst incident was when this friend and I arrived to find an eerily-realistic human form hanging from a tree in the dog run. A bundle of rags for a head, a shirt, pair of pants, pair of shoes, all stuffed, hanging 4-5 feet off the ground from a rope noose. As we approached, we only gradually came to see that someone had not actually hung themselves in the dog park. A nice guy we knew and had often walked and talked with came along soon after and we reported it to the cops patrolling the park. It was taken down.
The hanging dummy meant that they’d been training pits to attack human bodies, right there in the dog park. I did not go there much after that.
Incidentally, this was before 9/11. I never saw the nice guy again, and did not know his last name. (If there’s one thing having a dog does for you, it’s that you meet and talk to an awful lot more people in your neighborhood, people you usually never really get to know.) I knew he worked somewhere in lower Manhattan, perhaps even the WTC, and because of this, I will always, always worry about him. I hope he just moved away.
That’s one of the legacies of 9/11 for me: wondering about people you didn’t run into after that. Wondering if anyone you knew, but did not know well enough to check on, was lost.
July 29th, 2005 — zoology
This conversation between myself and the Sicilian occurred approximately 20 minutes ago on the way back from Brooklyn. Somehow we were talking about these Fear Factor / Survivor type shows where contestants eat maggots and cow testicles and drink curdled milk. We don’t actually watch these programs, mind you, but they are part of the wallpaper, and we took them in somehow.
Verbal Chameleon: How can they eat raw cow testicles and not get sick?
The Sicilian: Man, I don’t know.
VC: I once knew a guy that was living among a tribe in Africa. He was given a piece of an animal’s heart or liver or some other organ in this ceremony; it was ritually important for everyone to eat it. So he did. Now he has Hepatitis or something. Some kind of Hepatitis you can’t get rid of.
TS: Hepatitis? Wow. I wonder if Zombies get that.
TS: Yeah , you know. Zombies.
VC: But–what are Zombies, exactly? Dead people?
TS: Yeah, you know, the walking dead.
TS: So, you know, they eat all those livers, kidneys, all kinds of things. I wonder if they get Hepatitis.
VC: But they’re dead! They’re already dead. So what the heck does it matter if they catch a virus??? Anyway, don’t they eat everything? Or are they simply partial to the inner organs?
TS: I don’t know. I also wonder if they ever get enough, or if they just eat and eat and eat.
March 29th, 2005 — general, travel, zoology
Yes, I thought it was a strange title too.
Though it does sound like a sensationalist fundamentalist Christian novel about the aftermath of a medical supply Rapture, “When surgical tools are left behind” was the compelling title of a show on TLC tonight. The Sicilian and I were having dinner and looking for a little electromagnetically charged entertainment. However, as is so often the case, there were 200 channels or more, and not a single thing on worth watching. No Russian films on the CUNY channel, no CBC news, not even those wonderful commercials for South Asian psychics on Zee TV, nothing. And as compelling as the idea of finding out what happens when surgical tools get left behind was, I could not watch it.
But I did have a convulsive fit of laughter. At the title, at the idea of a show about this. What’s disturbing is that there are (a) enough cases of this to do a show about it, and (b) footage (I assume).
And here’s a photo I took of one of the vast number of painted cows exhibited last June in Prague. It’s modelling a representation of the Astronomical Clock in Staromestske namesti.
February 15th, 2005 — general, zoology
My cat loves to sit on a cliff next to a waterfall:
February 8th, 2005 — general, zoology
I have now changed my commenting feature. Comments are no longer moderated–this means you should see them right away. I have installed a blacklist (which I previously had trouble with), and am hoping this will do the trick.
This is not a very exciting moment for you, to be sure, but since I have used up virtually all my blogging time on that today, this is it.
Would it make things better if I include a picture and a fun scientific article?
Here’s a mole that just can’t eat fast enough. Yes, that’s his nose.
I think I may once have dated this guy…
January 30th, 2005 — cybertherapy, general, random rants, zoology
I was at Times Square on Wednesday night, and saw a man sitting-crouching in one of those passages where you walk from one subway line to another. He was holding a cardboard sign that read, “Tell me off for $2.00.”
It was one of those creative variations on the panhandle–singing from people who are not musicians being the most popular one I’ve seen. And this was original; I’d never seen it before. I wondered if this was just the service contemporary urban dwellers needed.
Case in point: on Thursday night I was at the slum veterinarian’s office. That’s my pet name for the vet I’ve been going to for years. He is in a rough area in an outer borough. In that ‘hood, everyone who has a dog has both a tough dog and a frou-frou dog: a pit and a shih-tzu, a rottie and a poodle, that sort of thing. One for the lap, and one to scare the people you want to scare. (Most of the pits and rotties are sweet little mushes anyway, but their appearance does the trick.)
The slum veterinarian is kind and damn good at his job. He also charges half of what any other vet charges. As a student, I find this to be the winning combination: good and cheap. So even though I’ve long since moved out of that area, and it is way out of my way, I make the trek there when my pets need anything. They’re well-cared for there.
But the slum veterinarian’s low prices come at a cost: they’re always overcrowded. They take walk-ins after people with appointments, but even with an appointment, you’ll wait an hour. And pick-ups can be 45 minutes. Plus the waiting room is small, usually kind of dirty, and overcrowded. It’s like the public hospital ER, except more of the patients will try and lick your hand.
So the other night, there I was, waiting to pick up my little shaggy monster after he got his dental cleaning. (This may sound silly to those not in the know, but small dogs often need their teeth cleaned–and it requires general anaesthetic!) And I am waiting for a bit. And while I am waiting, a twenty-something couple with a pair of pugs in tiny human t-shirts are getting more and more agitated.
It becomes apparent that the receptionist is having trouble finding their file. And she has asked them a few times to spell their last name. And though his woman is trying to get him to calm down, saying, “let’s not have an argument here,” the man completely loses it, after spelling his name and the dogs’ a few more times, he jumps up and starts yelling. What-kind-of-a-place-are-you-people-running, etc., etc.
And he throws (yes throws) his little pug down on the floor, rather too roughly for my taste. And as the woman gathers the pugs and watches, the man waves his arms and tells off first the receptionist and then the good doctor, who has heard what’s going on and come out. More words are exchanged, and the exasperated-but-still-cool doctor asks the young man to leave and go to another animal hospital.
This makes the man even angrier, as he grabs what looks to be a laptop case, “What do I look like to you? Some trash off the street?” And as the woman is taking the dogs towards the door, the man comes in for a final approach, pointing at the doc’s sign-in sheet and saying, “You’re lucky. If my name wasn’t on this piece of paper, I’d bash your face in!”
Then the vet tells his good receptionist to call 911, and the man expresses more horror at this latest insult directed towards him. As the vet repeats the request, the man exits, and for several minutes can be heard raving in anger as he goes down the street.
The thing is, I think I know what he feels like. The place can be a pain–all that waiting after a long day. And didn’t I have my own frustration earlier this week when I thought the customer service in the physician’s office was exceptionally bad? Though I personnally did not go medieval on anyone’s ass, the leap from frustration to anger and threats seems to snowball these days: in the post office, the grocery store, at stoplights in cars, people are losing their cool left and right.
When the man was well gone and my dear mutt was being presented to me with his newly odor-free grin, I said to the vet, “You know, I always worry when someone goes off like that, what if he has a gun or a knife?”
The good vet took my left hand and held it to his hip. “That’s why I carry this.”
It isn’t often I touch a man’s loaded gun.
I wondered later if what the angry-pug-man needed was not a visit to our friend in Times Square. Tell him off for $2.00. Hell, it would be my treat.
Note to my readers: something funny was going on with my site this week. I could not log on for three days, though the site stayed up. I think it’s passed now. And to those who did not see comments appear for a while–comments are moderated. And usually up within a day. But this week, I could not moderate them while the site was down. They are up and running again. Comments do work, and I love them, so please keep ‘em coming!
December 8th, 2004 — general, zoology
Things are rotten in Gotham tonight. With the permission of our dear city government, some nasty builders removed what is known to be an active Hawk’s nest, belonging to Pale Male and Lola, from a building at 74th and Broadway.
Like many of NYC’s homeless, Pale Male and Lola are now most likely camping out in chilly Central Park. Vigils and protests have begun.
If you’re a New Yorker, call 311 and complain; bring Pale Male and Lola back home.
By the way, on more a humorous note (and believe me, I am not happy about this issue, and I certainly do not wish to take away from the seriousness of this situation), why don’t more human men get descriptive names, like Pale Male, Hairy Man, or, say Bicyclemark? Just wondering. Apparently, Pale Male might well be called Reproductively Successful Male. If human men had names which described them more accurately, we might better know who we’re dealing with.
Would you like to suggest some more accurate names for any men in the news?
As for women? Well, if VerbalChameleon is not descriptive enough, I may be out of luck eventually, since Bitch, PhD is taken, but I suppose for now, I could be Bitch, ABD.
November 19th, 2004 — general, humor, zoology
Ohhhh, an even more engrossing cat link. Try “Bi-lingual,” “Fetch #2″ or “Stealth.” my cat annie – zefrank.com
November 19th, 2004 — general, humor, zoology
Finally, someone understands what kitties really think. They are not the obsequious, toe-licking, please-love-me-I’ll-do-anything-really-anything creatures that dogs are (God love ‘em). No, cat’s are pissy, critical, demanding.
If they were human, who’d date them?
I was always a dog person. I used to have lukewarm feelings about the cats of friends and family–I never loved them. Until one day, Kooky strolled up to me and my dog, looking hungry, but clean, and friendly–looking like, “Where have you guys been?” That was my cat. And so I took him home.
My Kooky gets everything he wants, and at the end of a really rough day, when I am totally exhausted and won’t do anything for anyone, he gets me to rub his head or under the chin just so–and purrs like an old motorcar, and I am jelly. I am a slave to my cat’s love. Why? What is the nature of cat magic, that makes us dote on them even though they don’t _really_ do anything for us but purr? He’s like my pimp: I work, I do anything he wants, I give him all my money and love. He purrs.
(Do you know, by the way, that cats in the wild don’t purr? They learned this behavior when they lived with humans.) I digressed. Check out this site and see cats displaying their true selves. MyCatHatesYou dot com
November 16th, 2004 — general, humor, travel, zoology
I spent the summer after high school working as a security guard in Terminal 1. So I found this story interesting. He isn’t the first young buck to be pushed out of his herd and then choose to live in an airport… Chicago Tribune | Deer captured in O’Hare terminal
Deer captured in O’Hare terminal
By Jon Hilkevitch
Tribune transportation reporter
Published November 16, 2004, 2:56 PM CST
Chicago Animal Control officers today captured and removed an unlikely traveler–a young deer–that wandered into the lower level of Terminal 2 at O’Hare International Airport.
The animal, a young buck, was spotted on airport grounds between 11 and 11:30 a.m. and inside the terminal shortly afterward when it apparently walked through a freight door on the side of the building, officials said.
The deer was at the north end of the building, away from the baggage claim area. Airport personnel used plastic construction fencing to contain the creature until Animal Control officers arrived.
The officers used a tranquilizer gun to shoot and subdue the deer. The animal was removed from the airport by 1 p.m. It did not gain access to any secured areas, and operations were not disrupted by its presence, officials said.
The buck appeared to have been injured, possibly struck by a vehicle, officials said. It was not immediately known if the animal survived its capture or what Animal Control would do with it if it had.
Officials theorized the animal had been pushed out of its herd by other males and was looking for a sanctuary. They suspected it may have gained access to O’Hare by following Interstate Highway 190 into the airport.
Copyright � 2004, Chicago Tribune
November 8th, 2004 — general, zoology
This is an amazing little brief film from Pharyngula.org: a crow making a tool and using it. At first I thought it was a crow with a bong, so that tells you where my mind is at. Check it out! Pharyngula::A cunning dark bird
October 27th, 2004 — arts, general, humor, zoology
This is a website full of photos of Oolong, a rabbit who appears to enjoy having objects rest on his/her head.
Sadly, Oolong is no longer with us. Still this site makes a good argument for the reason the internet was invented. The link below looks like jibberish, but it works; you’ll be taken to a page with Oolong sporting what appear to be pancakes on his/her head.
October 25th, 2004 — random rants, traffic and weather reports, zoology
It’s cold and I feel old.
Today I saw Canada Geese flying south by the river. No more warm weather for us.
October 18th, 2004 — zoology
For those of you who have not seen this…