Pekar Project at Smith Magazine Online

July 22, 2010

Cleveland, and the world, lost a great curmudgeon recently when Harvey Pekar passed away. But we can console ourselves with the fact that there’s more new, collaborative work from Harvey (and the artists who illustrate his writing) in the pipeline.

One place to find this material is at the Pekar Project online at Smith, an online magazine that is new to me. (Looks pretty interesting, tho).

I’ve been following Harvey’s work since the first issue of American Splendor back in the bicentennial year of 1976. Although I must admit it was the Robert Crumb artwork that initially drew me to this independent comic, sold in what were called head shops: dingy store front operations that retailed smoking paraphernalia not intended for tobacco, T-shirts, head bands, incense and underground comics.

If you’ve never read one of Harvey’s comics, or only know of him through the 2003 film (American Splendor) starring Paul Giamatti you’re in for a treat. Harvey’s was a unique voice and he will be sorely missed. The compensating factor for his passing is that he’s left behind such a substantial body of work for all of his fans to treasure. If you’re not already one of them, I urge you to check him out with my highest possible recommendation.

Ice Cream Van for Dogs in Regent’s Park, London

July 22, 2010

What’s being billed as the first ice cream van for dogs is set to make an appearance on this weekend at the Boomerang Pets Party in London’s Regent’s Park. The event is called “A free super furry fun day out for everyone who loves pets and animals. Best of all, you can bring your pets along with you!”

They’ll be serving two flavors vetted by pet nutritionists: “Dog Eat Hog World” — a chicken and gammon sorbet — and “Canine Cookie Crunch,” vanilla ice cream sprinkled with dog biscuits.

For the complete story from Reuters, go here.

“The Animal-Cruelty Syndrome” by Charles Siebert

July 14, 2010

On a late May afternoon last year in southwest Baltimore, a 2-year-old female pit bull terrier was doused in gasoline and set alight. A young city policewoman on her regular patrol of the neighborhood of boarded-up row houses and redbrick housing developments turned her squad car onto the 1600 block of Presbury Street and saw a cloud of black smoke rising from the burning dog. She hopped out, ran past idle onlookers and managed to put out the flames with her sweater. The dog, subsequently named Phoenix, survived for four days with burns over 95 percent of her body, but soon began to succumb to kidney failure and had to be euthanized.

For the complete article, go here.

This is a long article in The New York Times Magazine by Charles Siebert and deals with the issue of animal cruelty, focusing on dogs. Reading parts of this almost made me sick to my stomach; it is not for the squeamish but I consider it Must-Reading for anyone who cares about this issue. I hope that Siebert will put this material in book format so that it can stand alone as testimony to the horrible things humans are capable of and the efforts of those who seek to stop the abuse.

PETA Kills 97% of Dogs & Cats Brought in 2009 for a total of 2,301 — Adopts Out Only 8!

July 8, 2010

It’s no secret that I’m no fan of PETA and believe their operation borders on being a cult. They are quite clear in their core message, no animal should be used by any human for any purpose; not for medical research, not for food and not as pets.

But many people think of them as the ‘good guys’ fighting for animal rights and support them without really understanding where their money is going. Would you send them $25 if you knew that they kill almost every dog and cat that is surrendered to them?

“It’s whoring itself out for media coverage,” David Martosko, director of research at the Center for Consumer Freedom, said of PETA. “They’ll do the ridiculous stuff, but they won’t put an ad in the Norfolk press saying, ‘We have puppies and kittens, come adopt one.'”

For the complete article go to the Care 2 website here.

Help for Dog Owners with Problem Behaviors is Just a Click Away

July 2, 2010

Here are three great resources I was recently referred to that seem to have the right approach to dealing with problem behaviors in dogs (and other pets, as well).

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a Virtual Pet Behaviorist that offers a searchable database of bad behaviors and possible solutions on how to deal with them at

The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers offers help on teaching basic obedience skills at They also have referrals to licensed classes and puppy trainers in all 50 states.

A site run by a group of veterinarians, biologists and animal behaviorists www. can give you expert advice on your problems. The members all have at least a master’s degree in their field and are said to specialize in dealing with “tricky behaviors” and hard to solve issues.