Huxley’s gait, Sunday, November 11, 2012 – Three Months of White Crane Formula Hip Guard – Herbal Supplement Treatment

December 5, 2012

Our beloved senior dog, a 10-year-old chocolate Labrador named Huxley, has hip dysplasia, compressed discs and arthritis. He gets one quarter of a Tramadol tablet a day, an evidence-based medicine approach to pain management via opiates.

Beginning in August we gave Huxley a Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal supplement, White Crane Formula Hip Guard from Natural Solutions, Inc., Speonk, NY for a total of 800 capsules.


In order to minimize my own (or anyone else’s) bias, I thought we’d shoot comparable videos at the start of our three month experiment and at the end. Now here they are, the most recent in November first, and below that our August baseline.

What do you see? Improvement, no improvement? Better stability? Scroll down below the videos for our personal conclusion. . .

Our judgement living with him on a daily basis is that there has been no improvement.

The same assist that he needed to get up the short set of stairs at the side of our house prior to three months of White Crane Hip Formula is still required. If anything, he seems to have a slightly harder time now rising from a sitting or laying down position.

We were told that some people saw dramatic improvement in two months time so we extended our trial for an additional month just to be sure we were not short-changing Huxley.

White Crane Hip Formula was not expensive, especially compared to evidence-based medicines, and it may have thousands of years of Chinese Traditional Medicine behind it, but it was simply not effective in our case.

I’d love to be proved wrong about herbal supplements – all I really care about is Huxley’s health and mobility. I do feel that we gave this one a fair trial. . .  that ended with negative results.

For those who suggest that a treatment that has been around for ages must be of some benefit (this is a logical fallacy known as the Argument from Antiquity) I recommend they go to a dentist who exclusively uses the dental practices of two thousand years ago. Any takers?

3D Photos – Zombie Walk – October 26, 2012

November 8, 2012

RedCyan Anaglyphs of various Creatures of the Night as encountered during the recent Zombie outbreak in Southwestern CT. To view images as a full size slide show, click on [View with PicLens].

Zombie Walk/Pub Crawl – October 26, 2012 for the Stratford Dog Park

October 27, 2012

Zombie Walk • October 26, 2012 • Various Establishments around Town

Yesterday, the Stratford Dog Park Action Committee held a Pub Crawl/Zombie Walk that began with participants getting their zombie on with a scarifying make-up session at Miami Sun Factory, then lurching off to McCoy’s Pub, followed by Acapulco’s, Blue Point Bar and Grill, Stephen’s Pub & Grill, Sienna Italian Trattoria, Vazzy’s of Stratford and finishing up at The Sitting Duck in Paradise Green.

Thank you to all the participating venues and our fabulous sponsors: Diageo BrandsGoody Bassett’s Ice CreamThe Natural Dog Groomer, Miami Sun Factory and the Senft Family for making our first Zombie Walk such a success!

A grand and gruesome time was had by all with the proceeds of the evening going to help fund the creation of an off-leash dog park in town. Your intrepid reporter risked life and limb to get these exclusive photos of the Zombie Horde in action.

Click on any image to start slide show. Click on [View with PicLens] to view images full screen.

Your Tax Dollars at Work: Federal Agency’s $2.5 Billion Art Project

September 6, 2012

What do you get for $2.5 billion these days? A 360˚panorama of an actual alien world.

The site, also has some amazing panoramic images of sights like Gondolas in Venice, Monument Valley and Versailles. One of my favorites is Elves Chasm Grand Canyon, Colorado River Rafting. Simply stunning. You can click on the image below for a larger size, but don’t bother with that. Just go to the site.

Huxley’s Gait – August 7, 2012 – Backyard to Side Door before Pubescent Angelica Root

August 9, 2012

Our chocolate Lab Huxley turned 10 years old this past June. With the recently revised canine-to-human age conversion chart factoring his weight (96 lbs. down from 110), Huxley is the equivalent of a 78-year-old man.

For the past two years hip dysplasia, a traditional disease of senior Labs, and arthritis have begun to affect him. It’s one of the prices we pay for purebred dogs; a closed genetic pool allows harmful recessive genes to come to the fore.

The above video is, I think, a good representation of his current mobility. You’ll note his wobbling gait, his sitting down after taking a few steps and his inability to go up a short flight of stairs unaided.

We have always supplemented his premium kibble with fat-free yogurt, omega oils, vegetables, fruit and, in season, antihistamines.

For several months he’s also been receiving 50 mg of Novox (carprofen) a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and 1/4 tablet of Tramadol hydrochloride, a narcotic-like pain reliever. We moved to this after 18 months of canine aspirin to manage his pain. He appears to no longer  be in pain, or perhaps we have merely reached the threshold of his stoicism.

We no longer give Huxley glucosamine-chondroitin. Why? It doesn’t work, at least not in pill form.

My wife has two artificial hips. So we have some background in dealing with hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis and related conditions. She regularly took glucosamine-chondroitin supplements for more than a decade. Her condition never improved, only grew worse and she ended up replacing both hips.

Here are some links that I think are useful in determining whether glucosamine-chondroitin is effective (below). Given this information, I’m always surprised that when challenged, MDs and DVMs almost always fall back on, “Well, it can’t hurt.”  That’s not enough, in my opinion. It’s also not free, in addition to being useless. No doctor who claimed belief in this supplement has offered to pay for it out of his own pocket for us.

This past week we’ve begun giving Huxley a new herbal supplement White Crane Formula Hip Guard from Natural Solutions, Inc., Speonk, NY.
This is leading.
I’m on record as a skeptic of alternative and complimentary medicine; specifically, acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic, reiki and all ‘energy’ based treatments. Non-FDA approved supplements are included in my skeptical view. If you want a great resource for false claims of all sort go to Bob Carroll’s most excellent The Skeptic’s Dictionary.
This is leading. 

So why am I trying White Crane Hip Formula? I’ve been told it works by people whose opinion I trust and whose intelligence I respect. I realize that this is only anecdotal evidence and, as I always say, the plural of anecdotes is not data.

But I will not allow my skepticism to preclude a treatment that might help my beloved senior dog. If I have to admit that this herbal supplement works, I’ll be happy to do so. More than that, I am hoping that I see the kind of results others report.  Even though right on the label it states, “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease.” That’s a pretty big disclaimer, no?

Also, I challenge the average dog owner to determine if this treatment is unsuitable because their pooch might be sensitive to dragon’s blood (the bark or resin of Croton lechleri, a flowering plant native to South America).

I want to try and eliminate my own bias. If White Crane Formula Hip Guard works, it should work whether I ‘believe’ in it or not. So I’ll be posting additional videos as Huxley takes his first full month of White Crane Formula Hip Guard. I’ll ask you to look at these videos and judge for yourself Huxley’s improvement (or lack thereof).

The following information (below) is on the White Crane Formula Hip Guard label. I’ve never seen any medication with so many ‘active ingredients.’ But I am fond of white peonies. So there’s that.


Active ingredients: frankincense, myrrh, corydalis tuber, tangerine, curcuma root, pubescent angelica root, cinammon bark, drynaria, teasel root, morinda, eucommia bark, ox knee root teasel, lycopedium, eupolyphaga, dragon’s blood, atractylodes lancea, white peony, jujube fruit, clematis, astragalus, white atractylodes, aconite, angelica radix.

Inactive ingredients: Contains no fillers, colors or additives.

Cautions: Do not use in animals sensitive to any of the ingredients.

Directions: Give 1 capsule per 10-20 lbs twice daily.

Statements not evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease. For use in animals only. Sold through veterinarians only. Natural Solutions, Inc. makes no warranty, express or implied, for its products. In no event shall Natural Solutions, Inc. be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damages, and the limit of liability shall be the price paid for the product herein.


Jack Kirby’s Collage Art – An Essay by Steven Brower

July 6, 2012

This April piece from imprint – Jack Kirby’s Collages in Context by Steven Brower – is an excellent examination of a little-explored aspect of one of the most popular artists of the second half of the twentieth century. It’s well worth your time to read it.

Did I mention that the artist in question is Jack Kirby, who worked in the once-critically disdained now fashionable and honored field of comic books? In these days with The New York Times covering the editorial decisions of DC and Marvel along with compiling a best-seller list for graphic novels, it would seem like a pretty good time to be a founding father of a massive vertical entertainment monopoly.

Unfortunately, Jack Kirby died in 1994 and did not live to see the incredible success of the superhero characters he created. Nor would he have shared in any of the flood of money generated by his creativity, the rights to work-for-hire comic book pages in the 1960s and 107os are owned in perpetuity by the corporation, not the artist.

When I read the stories that featured the collages Brower examines, the fact that they might be the topic of serious, academic treatment was completely off my radar. I couldn’t imagine such a thing being taken seriously by ‘the establishment.’ Although I certainly took in Kirby’s vision as raw, barely filtered, wildly creative art.

Here’s a Kirby collage that had not been previously published. It’s still pretty trippy even fifty years after it was created. Click on the image to see the entire collage.

Apple’s iPhone is Five Years Old – NEVER Believe the Expert’s Opinion

June 29, 2012

Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone on January 9, 2007 and it was available for purchase five months later.

What Did the Experts Say?

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: “There’s ‘no chance’ the iPhone will get a significant share of the market. ‘No chance.’ ”

Bloomberg Business: “The iPhone’s impact will be minimal and appeal only to ‘a few gadget freaks.’ ”

PC Magazine: “The iPhone is deeply flawed. Apple will sell lots at first and then sales will plummet.”

Marketwatch: “The ‘one phone fits all’ concept is ridiculous. Apple needs to roll out many variations, or the iPhone will immediately become passé.”

Wedbush Morgan Securities: “The iPhone won’t affect the handheld gaming industry.”

Capital Group: “The Motorola RAZR is a great phone at a great price (free). There’s no way the overpriced iPhone can compete with it.”

Leo LaPorte, TWIT Network: “This isn’t a business Apple should be in.”

BusinessWeek: “The iPhone will never be a threat to the BlackBerry.”

RIM CEO Jim Balsillie: “The iPhone’s impact on our business will be minimal.”

Quotes from Business Insider.

FIVE YEARS (and $150 billion in revenue) LATER

Apple’s iPhone business is bigger than all of Microsoft.

Dell and HP  are reeling.

Palm, Nokia and RIM are toast (RIM’s stock price is down 89%).

Apple’s stock price has almost quintupled.

Apple has created hundred’s of thousands of jobs for App developers.

The lesson? Opinions and predictions are worthless. Try and remember that, OK?

Social Media: What is it Really – Threat or Menace?

May 30, 2012

And hey, Charley, I think about you
Every time I pass a fillin’ station
On account of all the grease
You used to wear in your hair

I’m a social media skeptic and find it hard to fathom the valuations of the giants in this arena. So, of course, I’m attracted to the disconfirming story. Like the one that Olga Kharif reports on in Bloomberg Business Week, “Lifejacking’: Spammers Hit Social Media.”

How about a guy who sells anti-spam software claiming that 40% of the accounts on the social media titans Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are created by spammers? So says Mark Risher, CEO of Impermium, who knows about a company that has just the right solution for your self-diagnosed problem.

I just wished there’d been some effort to independently source his 40% estimate.

I used to live across the street from a barber shop on Ninth Street, right above a dirty bookstore off Euclid Avenue, and the owner there thought 85% of the men he saw in the street needed a haircut.

As one commenter asked: Can you imagine how many megawatts are wasted every day in server farms all across the world handling all of this social media crap? Why aren’t the climate-commies, green-weenies and Occupy pukes protesting that?

Don’t sugar-coat it, pal. Tell us how you really feel. This is in the grand old comedy tradition created by Steve Allen, who would read particularly incensed letters from the New York Daily News in the 1950s and 1960s. The construction of “climate-commie, green-weenie, Occupy pukes” is just masterful.

If I had written it I would have gone more rhythmically with “greenie-weenies” and that would have been a bridge too far, certainly.

And I still have that record
of Little Anthony & the Imperials
But someone stole my record player
Now how do you like that?

Or, for your consideration, from the site Guyism, the slide show 7 Ways You Didn’t Realize the Internet Was Eating Your Privacy. I think this is info that’s not just for guys.

And let’s not even mention Henry Ford and his 1920 publication, The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem. “If fans wish to know the trouble with American baseball, they have it in three words—too much Jew,” wrote Henry Ford on May 22, 1920. I guess he’d like the current line-up better? It’s certainly not dominated by the Sons of Abraham.

I said, let’s not even mention that!






The Commercial Limits of the Internet – “The Facebook Illusion” by Ross Douthat in The New York Times

May 27, 2012

“There were two grand illusions about the American economy in the first decade of the 21st century. One was the idea that housing prices were no longer tethered to normal economic trends, and instead would just keep going up and up. The second was the idea that in the age of Web 2.0, we were well on our way to figuring out how to make lots and lots of money on the Internet. The first idea collapsed along with housing prices and the stock market in 2007 and 2008. But the Web 2.0 illusion survived long enough to cost credulous investors a small fortune last week, in Facebook’s disaster of an initial public offering.”

Of course, I’m not on Facebook and I’m no fan of social media in general, so I’m primed to seek out disconfirming evidence of its success. (And let’s be honest, a company started by a 19 year-old in his Harvard dorm room in 2004 that made a billion dollars a year in 2011 is, by any measure, a success – whatever its future prospects).

For those reasons I tend to fall under the sway of the sort of arguments made by Ross Douthat in The New York Times “The Facebook Illusion.”  Read his piece and see what your take is. It confirms my prejudices so I think it’s clearly correct and expertly reasoned. Obviously, Facebook is Evil. Remember, you read it here first.

I’m also a huge fan of Thorstein Veblen’s seminal work The Theory of the Leisure Class. So I just love stuff like this:

 “. . .leisure is clearly the basis of the Internet. From the lowbrow to the highbrow, LOLcats to Wikipedia, vast amounts of Internet content are created by people with no expectation of remuneration.”


Three-Year Old Diabetic Girl Has Life-Saving 15-Week Old Dog

May 27, 2012

An adorable three year-old in Gloucester, England has a 15-week old pal who may save her life. Olivia Hamilton is diabetic and needs constant monitoring. Her cocker spaniel Bonnie has been scent-trained to alert the family when Olivia’s blood sugar is low by barking and running around. Bonnie’s done this eight times already.

Click on the image above or go here to ITV News’ Rebecca Broxton’s report The dog that is proving a lifesaver to a little girl with diabetes to read the complete story and watch a very sweet video of this beautiful blonde child, her puppy and her mother.

Of course, there’s nothing not to love in this story. Especially the fact that at three Olivia is unaware of how exactly special and important her new puppy is. A new puppy in the house should always be the center of a young child’s world, how could it be otherwise? It gives me a lot of pleasure imagining how much deeper Olivia’s relationship to Bonnie will be when she fully understands what Bonnie is doing on her behalf.

But what amazes me is that this cocker spaniel could learn this skill so well, so reliably at just 15 weeks! Could this be  some sort of World’s Record for youngest dog to reach this level of proficiency? Does anyone out there know of a similar case, involving a puppy? Color me impressed!

When our first Lab was just under three months old we were congratulating ourselves for successfully house training him. A reliable response to Sit, Stay, Come and Settle Down was a work in progress at that point.

And this amazing cocker spaniel puppy has been trained to detect minute changes in Olivia’s breath and body odor and alert when they go into the Danger Zone. Bonnie also types 60 WPM, speaks French, Dutch and Farsi, drives stick shift, is competitive in mixed martial arts and is having her first novel, Rawhide Chews & Belly Rubs published this fall by Little, Brown and Company.





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