Friday, November 20, 2009

The Missouri 500, or Herding Pitbulls

Jakob, one of the Missouri 500 survivors

This past July, the state of Missouri saw the nation's biggest dog fighting ring bust, with the rescue of approx. 400 dogs.

Yep. Four hundred. Most living under conditions that make a battery chicken's life look good.

Dog fighting is bad enough; these bastards took it to mass production assembly line levels. And the mass production part of that added to the difficulty - several of the females were pregnant, and the count went up to close to 500 real quick.

The Humane Society of Missouri has not let that scare them off. They took them on, were awarded custody of all the dogs, and are now working on getting them redistributed for rehab and adoption. Jakob, pictured above, is on his way to becoming a therapy dog, and Fay, probably the most well known of the dogs because of her facial injuries, is getting help.

You're hopefully thinking to yourself "Crap! This is huge! What can I do that would be helpful?"

There's plenty of ways, and some of them won't cost you a dime, or more than five minutes. Come on, you've probably spent more time than that trying to remember what those little plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called. HSMO has info on donating (both $$ and supplies), placement, and advocacy. Pit Bull Rescue Central is doing a fundraiser right now, selling t-shirts to benefit HSMO. We got a couple; they look even better in person, and are 100% cotton, quality shirts.

Junior, the Missouri 500 poster boy

If you're completely dead-ass broke, you can still help, and all it'll cost is time. Email people, put a blurb on your Facebook, MySpace, blog, whatever. Write HSMO and tell them you appreciate the load they've taken on, tag your local rescue society and ask them if they're able to help. I'd love for you to help your local shelters anyway, but it's highly unlikely they'll ever take on this many at once. I hope there's never again a reason for anyone to need to.

"But Snooze," somebody is saying, "I can't send this stuff to my friends; they'll think I'm some kind of activist freak or something!"

Let's consider that for a mo - many of you have, at one point or another, forwarded animated gifs of fat guys' butts jiggling in speedos, limericks about picking your friend's noses, chain letters that say someone will be run over by a drunk redneck on a bush hog if they aren't forwarded to at least ten people in ten minutes, and worst of all, surveys. With glitter. And you're worried about what asking for help for these guys will do to your street cred?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Epic Dog Win - "A Doggy Summer" video

Great anti-bummage video! "A Doggy Summer" was posted as a promotional for a dog training school and the Mirror Method.

Trying to figure out if Pako is a tall pittie, a cane corso, a dogo, or something else?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Myers Briggs & Pagan Intuition Management

Whoa, two blogs in two days - if it takes me awhile to ditch the flu, I might get caught up!

At a college workshop-thinger I took in the search for financial aid, they do a Myers Briggs Type Indicator "test" -

- put the trank gun down; I have not been infected with the poppsyche virus. It's not one of those ridiculous psyche profile tests employers are handing out now that ask you how much money you've stolen from previous employers (with no "zero" option) and whether you know anyone who routinely handles weapons (and yes, they do include military, law enforcement, and historical re-enactors as "high risk" people). Those are dangerous, and should be shot on sight.
By the previous statement, you can guess how well I test on those.

If you've never messed with it, the MBTI is based on Jungian material, and observations about consistencies in the type of details you're most likely to focus on, problem solving methods, and how you evaluate your surroundings in general, as a means of suggesting careers and work environments that lend themselves to the way you operate. My score hasn't changed in 15 or so years; you usually don't see changes because the test establishes a range of most likely responses, not just absolute "you are so-and-so" statements. Individual categories can come in as very polarized, or close enough to the middle ground that you can go either way depending on the situation. So it doesn't attempt to force people into a cookie cutter shape.

Now, the point of all that blathering is something that came up in the discussion afterwards. We were bouncing around comparisons of the second category, that measures the range between Sensing (concrete, immediate observation of things) and Intuition (abstract relationships and possibilities of things). Just in case it's early and you haven't had any coffee yet, that sort of breaks down into "The ball is red" and "It's a toy".

Department Of Backstory segue: when I do a wights class , with what are mostly PHA* crowds, they choose an anchor to work with. The first hands-on exercise is about intuitive observation (what are your first impressions of the anchor?) ; the second is concrete observation (tell me something factual about the anchor).

Some of the wights' "solid object" anchors: from the left, back: Little Skunk Girl, Festus & Foxie, Julian, Jerome, Ernie's Herd, Kermit, Shortfatwhitedog, Agnes, Mama Goose, The Curmudgeon

The funky part is, most people have no trouble with the intuitive** , but several have trouble with the concrete observation part. Sometimes it takes two or three tries, even if I say "tell me about it's color or size" till they can describe some concrete fact, like "It's heavy" or "It's blue with white stripes" or "It's made of clay". And there's usually at least one person in each class who gets frustrated and simply can not give a factual observation. Have had a few who said that they could not define the anchor by it's appearance because appearances are only surface characteristics, and those are misleading. A wight can choose anything it wants - I figure the anchor says something about it's personality and priorities, but nobody else has to agree with me.

What I'm curious about is, is that an indicator of PHAs being typically more likely to be intuitive than concrete (all you card readers and psychometrics out there, do the wave), or a hefty chunk of people who tout a "spiritual over material" philosophy, or are people just trying to make it way more complicated than it needs to be? Being an really irritating relativist, I'm inclined to put it down to a little bit of all of that, with a couple brainsprained twinks on the side.

If you look at the MBTI from a general PHA direction, some of the indicators do shift a little, but not drastically. I would tend to place most PHAs at a more middle ground on that second range, because many of us wind up as PHAs because of an intuition where the spiritual can be as much a concrete experience as abstract. Jokes about being grounded aside, I'm curious about how much people feel that applying some material solidity and "getting the whole picture" to intuitive input is necessary, and how often people feel that "never the two shall meet" because one detracts from the other.

Ideas? Input? Comments that I won't have to delete because they're not only rude, but anatomically impossible? ;0)


* Pagan/Heathen/Alternative Spirituality

** Except for the uberfluffy "Mystical Wafters" who give me lame BS answers like "I sense the oneness of the universe and the light and love of the Goddess" when they're holding Festus. Everybody who knows Festus the mule deer wight knows he's usually saying "why aren't you getting me a beer and some chicks?".

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No, you cannot have my condor

Since the last 22 California condors were taken into a captive breeding program in 1982, environmentalists have spent countless hours of hard work and approximately 40 million dollars (in addition to their own personal resources) to bring these birds back from human-driven extinction.

They did it. Today, there are close to 300 alive and well, with almost half of those flying free in the wild. It's not a done deal yet, but they've proven that hope and hard work can win, and we can clean up our mistakes.

Condor hatchling being fed with a parent puppet

Now the major problem is that people are fighting tooth and nail to keep on making those mistakes. Condors in the wild are still dying from lead poisoning, and the current data points to lead bullets in carcasses left by hunters. There's renewed action to do something about this, but the NRA is determined that no one should have to adjust their hunting methods, equipment, or locale. They've sicced their lawyers at a ban on lead bullets, citing a previous agreement that the condor program would only be allowed to release birds if it "didn't interfere with hunting".

The NRA is using it's usual tactics of selfish ego-tripping thinly disguised as Patriotism & Protection Of Family, By God. It doesn't even have the integrity to back up claims that the research is a lie with any references to who their "debunking the so-called science" experts are. It's just more of "These damned tree-huggers want children to starve, and undermine our constitutional rights"!

Aside from dirtbags who just target shoot because it makes them feel like a badass and don't care if they retrieve a kill or not, sometimes an animal is beyond retrieval by a responsible hunter's best efforts. Doesn't that make using copper or alternative ammo a decent enough idea? I know deer hunters that do use them, and even prefer them to lead. I've found the leftovers in a few of the carcasses I get from Meismer's. Copper costs a bit more, but in the words of my uncle Jimmy, who hunted all his life, "'at'll teach ya to not waste ammo, ya goddam idiot". Asking someone to use an alternative ammunition (and even offering to give it away free) isn't keeping anyone from hunting or having a gun.

Give the linked articles a read for the details and stats that are coming back per the National Park Service and Arizona's Fish & Game Departments, and the Center For Biological Diversity's hiring a PI to look into the shooting of two condors who may have been victims of a retaliatory gesture against the proposed lead bullet ban.

Condors are sort of the epitome of one of my lifelong totem animals, and are the only surviving members of the Gymnogyps genus, which has been with us since the Pleistocene era. I think it's criminal that we've come such a long way toward bringing them back, only to have them endangered again by a problem that isn't catastrophically hard to do something about. CBD scores high (4 stars out of five) on Charity Navigator. They're fronting the bill for the condor lawsuit; give them a look over if you're up for it. These big guys can live up to 50 years; they deserve an even chance to do so.

Just as a side note, you can meet Steve Hoddy, part of the team who went into the Grand Canyon to find them back in the 70's, at the Georgia Renaissance Festival's raptor show put on by Earthquest. He rocks.

Steve with Storm, an Andean Condor. Andean rescue programs paved the way for North American birds' survival. Ain't she gorgeous?