Locally, a Town Does it Right: Non-Breed Specific “Vicious Dog” ordinance

March 5, 2009

The awkwardly named Shelton, CT Board of Alderman’s Public Health and Safety Committee has got it right with the draft of an ordinance that allows the town’s animal control officer to label a dog ‘vicious’ without respect to breed. This designation would allow Shelton to hold the owner liable for property damage and for attacks on other animals, according to a story in The Connecticut Post.

They’re also considering fines, requiring signs at the home of a ‘vicious’ dog, a special, pricier dog license and permanent tattooing of such dogs. The town ACO would also have the ability to euthanize a ‘vicious’ dog.

As everyone here knows, attacks by dogs are not a breed-specific issue. It’s an issue of “irresponsible ownership.”

I’m curious as to what conditions they use in this new law to label a dog vicious. Will the common-sense “every dog gets one bite free rule” still apply? Exactly what does your dog need to do in order to qualify as vicious? Let’s hope that the final draft of this proposal gives the ACO a fair standard to apply.

Where I live the town has a nuisance barking ordinance that sets the bar so low there isn’t a single dog not in violation at some point: 4 barks within 15 minutes is considered “excessive” and you can be fined.

When the rule is this bad you know that it can only be selectively applied, meaning of course, that if you live in a low income section of town you can forget about ever seeing this enforced.

50 Things Every Mac Geek Should Know

March 4, 2009

maclife-logoFrom the editors at Mac|Life magazine (formerly the zanier MacADDICT). We can’t heartily endorse the entire 50. In fact, we honestly believe  you can be a very respectable Mac geek and not know how to play Tetris in the Terminal.

Checking and repairing permissions (#7), yeah, that’s one for sure. But Dock tweaks (#20, #38)  Firefox over Safari (#21) Walking Over Driving Directions (#34, beta) and Smart Playlists in iTunes (#39)?  Maybe there just aren’t 50 world-altering Mac tips.

But there sure as hell are at least 17 Worst Mac Disasters along with coping advice from the same. Although disaster #7 Mac Scratch Fever, getting a scratch on your Titanium PowerBook?  Perhaps we need to remind ourselves of a real disaster with consequences.

Jack Kirby Museum Online has Rare 3D Comic Book Treat

March 2, 2009


The Jack Kirby Museum on line has some fascinating material for even the casual fan. It also holds a rare 3D treat: separate scans of the  breakdowns on acetate for a page in Captain 3D from 1953. Scroll down to see this page in red-cyan anaglyph.

< Here’s the  complete page with all elements together for 3D. Click on it for a larger image. To see all the images full size, go to the Kirby Museum site. These breakdowns were scanned by Rand Hoppe from the collection of Tom Morehouse as part of the Original Art Digital Archive project.

First printing: “The Man from the World of D” Captain 3-D, New York, NY, USA: Harvey Comics, Inc., December 1953 (11), p 10.

Story by Joe SIMON and Jack KIRBY
Pencil art by Jack KIRBY
Ink art by Mort MESKIN

Click on pages below for larger images.


Incredible Photos of the Sun

March 2, 2009

magnetic_structures_sunwhole_sunsun_spotsun_surface Boston.com has a gallery of 21 amazing, astounding, incredible images of your favorite star and mine, the ever-lovin’ Sun.

Click on the samples on the left for lrager images, then go to their site for more!

Their Image #17 showing a coronal mass ejection of a billion tons of matter at millions of kilometers an hour is incredible when you  consider the amount of power on display. It reminds me a Jack Kirby drawing — bursting with the power cosmic. . .!

The Teenager Audio Test: Drive the Under 25 Insane with this Sound!

March 1, 2009

teeanger_audio_testThe Teenager Audio Test was something I just thought Snopes.com hadn’t gotten to yet. It’s been in the news over the past year—localities debating the ethics and the efficiency of this new sonic tool to prevent young punks from congregating in mall parking lots and such. But now I have testimony from a high school teacher and mother of three that she has tried this on youth and it WORKS, BY GOD! IT WORKS! Her dramatic account follows below:

“It’s true; that high-pitched tone. . .dare I tell you I can sort of hear it. . .really truly works.  I had kids tell me it made the hair on the backs of their necks stand up, made them feel as though ‘their brains were being scooped out with a spoon’ (I am not making this up), made their teeth itch; it made them drop their heads on the desks in abject surrender. So, an all-around success, I’d say.”

Purina Alpo Ad Campaign: Corn for the Real Meat Lover in the Family

March 1, 2009

alpo_prime_cutsPurina Alpo dog food has a new campaign running that gets to the “meat of the problem” with the line, “Quick, get that dog some Alpo!”

OK, if the choice is between no food at all and Alpo, the Prime Cuts with Gravy wins that challenge every time. The only point in favor of Alpo’s dog food is the price. . .however, considering what you’re getting, is there any price that can make this food a bargain?

Note that they go to some effort to make the product visually appealing to the human consumer, when visual appeal is the last thing a dog considers when eating. They eat the inedible, remember? Their tag line is that their Prime Cuts Meaty Shapes are “for the real meat lover in the family.” But Alpo must have  a loose definition of the “real meat lover” because the top ingredient isn’t even close to meat, it’s ground yellow corn.

Why? Corn is cheap. Corn is also largely indigestible by dogs. This makes their stools larger with no nutritional benefit. So that’s actually the top ingredient in Alpo that you’re picking up in your yard and on all your walks.

Next up is beef and bone meal. This is a byproduct unfit for human consumption that is an inexpensive, low quality ingredient used to boost the protein percentage in the food. According to its definition by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, beef and bone meal is “the rendered product from beef tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, hide, horn, trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amount as may unavoidably occur in good processing practices.”

Then there’s soybean meal. This is one of the lowest quality proteins available to dog food makers. Some people make the case that most allergy problems in today’s dogs stem from the unnatural amounts of corn and soybean in their diet.

Beef tallow is fat, processed from suet. If you rendered it from a pig, it would be lard.

Animal digest is a concentrated soup which can be made from the “unspecified parts of unspecified animals.” This includes the so-called 4-D animals (dead, diseased, disabled or dying prior to slaughter), goats, pigs, horses, rats, dogs and cats euthanized at animal shelters, roadkill, restaurant and supermarket refuse. There is no control for quality or any check for possible contamination.

This is how barbiturates like pentobarbital (delivered by an intravenous or intracardiac injection) and used to euthanize pets can get back into the dog population, via their food. How much of this contamination do you need to rise to the level of harm? I don’t have the answer to that.

Though it’s helpful to remember that Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy — a fatal, neurodegenerative disease that causes a spongy degeneration in the brain and spinal cord — is passed on by feeding infected, ground up dead cows to living cows. (BSE is commonly known as Mad Cow Disease and Soylent Green is PEOPLE!)  Cows are herbivores, not carnivores or cannibals so it’s strange on more than one level.

But including the carcasses of poisoned dogs back in their food supply (even a little bit) can’t be a good thing, can it?

The next most prevalent ingredient is salt. So beef and bone meal and animal digest are as close as this product gets to real meat. You couldn’t do worse if you were  buying your meat from a NYC street vendor offering Roasted Substance on a Stick.”

Here’s the full list of ingredients in Alpo Prime Cuts Meaty Shapes Dog Food (below). They are listed according to weight from most to least (it’s usually enough to look at the top three to six ingredients to get a good sense of the quality of the food). Note that Alpo has to add back in vitamins and supplements that are lost even from their substandard filler due to processing.

Interestingly enough, this list is NOT from the Alpo.com web site. Remember that they’re selling food, right? I searched for but could not find any list of ingredients for any of their products on their web site. They don’t want to boast about what you’re actually buying in their dog food. And they have absolutely no reason to boast.

  • Ground Yellow Corn
  • Beef And Bone Meal
  • Soybean Meal
  • Beef Tallow Preserved With BHA
  • Animal Digest
  • Salt
  • Choline Chloride
  • Zinc Sulfate
  • Vitamin E Supplement
  • Ferrous Sulfate
  • Added Color (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 2)
  • Manganese Sulfate
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin A Supplement
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Brewers Dried Yeast
  • Copper Sulfate
  • Calcium Pantothenate
  • Natural Flavor
  • Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B12 Supplement
  • Thiamine Mononitrate
  • Vitamin D3 Supplement
  • Riboflavin Supplement
  • Calcium Iodate
  • Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source Of Vitamin K Activity)
  • Folic Acid
  • Biotin
  • Sodium Selenite

Bottom line, the safest and healthiest thing you can feed your dogs is a home-cooked diet. Add supplements and vitamins if you need them. Yes, it takes more time and planning, but you’ll find a routine that works once you make the switch. Switching to a home-cooked diet can even be cheaper, provided that you are already overpaying for “premium” brands that charge $50 for a 25lb bag of food and not feeding cheap filth like Alpo.

« Previous Page