Rants Archive

News!

Posted May 19, 2015 By Ruth

A week ago today I noticed police sirens approaching my house at a fairly high rate of speed.  Glanced out the window in time to see a tan car with out of state plates fly by, taking the 90degree turn just past my driveway at about 50, follow closely by two state police cars, lights and sirens going.  

Less than a minute later a state police SUV followed, also with full lights and sirens.

Shortly behind him was a county sheriff’s car.  Also lit up and loud.

And a minute later an unmarked black SUV also came flying through, hidden lights flashing, sirens going (that was interesting, didn’t know any of the local police had an unmarked black SUV….).

The whole crew made an additional 90degree turn (still doing 50) onto the only street leading off of mine in that direction, and just before they got out of my range of vision I saw one of the original pair of state cops try to pass the tan car.

Chatting on Facebook about it, a friend, who happens to live a couple miles further down that road, commented that they’d all blown by her, still in hot pursuit of the tan car, and that the tan car had narrowly missed t-boning a truck when it blew through the stop sign…..

Not one of the local or semi local news places carried so much as a blurb on it.  

 

For the last 3 days at work I’ve had customers asking me “did they ever get the ducklings out of the storm drain???”.  Turns out that on my day off last week the police and DPW ended up shutting down over half of the (major thoroughfare) lanes of the road that the store is on in order to try to pull up a storm grate to get a bunch of ducklings out of the storm drain.  Right infront of the store.

Not one of the local news places carried so much as a blurb on it.

 

*sigh*  I know that in the over all scheme of things ducklings in a storm drain falls into the “cutsy and stupid” category, but when that many people want to know what happened its probably worth running a few seconds on it on the news that night (especially since it basically shut down a major road for several hours).  And a high speed chase out in the “rural farmlands that aren’t anywhere near the city” (*rolls eyes*) doesn’t really impact city life……but really??  And in the mean time the news media is full of pieces on the midnight closing of the local Toby Keith’s restaurant……

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Ow…..

Posted May 15, 2015 By Ruth

Last year my mother was diagnosed with a particularly nasty form of an immune disorder.  Like, a large portion of people aren’t diagnosed with it till they “end up in a coma in the hospital with their system shutting down” nasty.  Which makes my mother incredibly lucky since she never got anywhere near that bad.  But in retrospect she’d been experiencing symptoms of it for at least a couple years prior, and they’re struggling to get it under control now.

Needless to say, when the doctor informed her that this significantly increased my chances of having an immune related disorder, she added in the fact that I’ve been dealing with arthritis in both of my  hands, and had a bit of a freak out.

I wasn’t nearly as worried, other than my hands and screwed up knees I have essentially zero symptoms that match up with any of the immune related problems I’d looked at.  But when my mom’s youngest sister’s bloodwork came back as “highly likely you have an immune disorder but we can’t figure out which one” I agreed that I probably ought to see a rheumatologist.  After all, if nothing else, at least one could make sure I was coping properly with the achy hands…..

It took 3 months from my doctor sending in the referral to my appointment with the specialist.  I rolled my eyes and thought that it was a good thing I wasn’t actually experiencing any real problems.  But when I actually got into the office I discovered that they are actually just that busy.  Oh, and instead of sending out the questionnaire they want filled out to you ahead of time, you’re required to wait to fill it out till you’re in the office because they use a fancy computerized pen to record your answers so that no one has to data entry it.  Which is cool, except that it’s my HANDS that hurt, which means that holding a pen for extended periods hurts…..*gripe grumble*

Doctor was a nice fellow who’s new to the practice (they need to add at least one more though, to cope with the patient load….), got on my case about never having seen a dermatologist about my adult acne (honestly, unless I’m having a flair up, its rarely more than a few spots, so I’d never really thought about it, though the times my doctor tried to do something about medically the treatments only worked for a short time).  He agreed that based on the bloodwork already done, combined with my lack of symptoms, my chances of having what my mother has are pretty much nill.  Made me flex various joints, asked me if my ankles ever bother me (nope, but I did sprain the hell out of them as a kid).  He put in for a bunch more bloodwork, and some xrays.  Come see me in 6 weeks to discuss the results.  

First available appointment is for EIGHT weeks, yes they’re that busy, and I head down for bloodwork and xrays.  Xrays of my hands, and my kne….ankles??  Wasn’t expecting that.  My ankles never bother me!  But ok, if that’s what he wants…..

A week later I’m starting my new job.  One that once again requires me to be on my feet all day.  Been there, done that, more times than I can count.  I know it takes some time to re-adapt to being on my feet after several months out of work, feet hurt, and knees hurt, and the nerve under where they did the lateral release on my left knee gets irritated, due to swelling from that pain, resulting in what is essentially “diabetic nerve pain” in that leg (one of those “side effects” that they either didn’t tell me about, or that I didn’t understand properly at the time of surgery *sigh*).  Its a pain in the ass (not literally, but close enough).  But once I’m used to being on my feet again it’ll be fine.

Two weeks into the new job and it’s not my knees that are giving me hassle, its my ankles.  Oh, the knees are a bit achy, but not like my ankles are.  And its bad.  Tiger balm doesn’t help at all, and two days off in a row doesn’t help much more….what the fuck??  I swear this had better be all in my head……

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Bill # S04706 and Bill # A01006

They are essentially identical as far as I can tell.

They are written to prohibit the tieing, tethering, restraining, caging, or penning of “any dog or animal”, whether “working or non-working” during the hours of 7pm to 6am.

There is nothing that says that these restrictions are for outdoors only, so the indoor crating of a destructive dog could be considered illegal under these bills.

There is nothing that defines what those other “animals” are.  So in theory these bills could be applied to horses and livestock.  

In addition to the above these bills also state that “dog or animal” that is penned, caged (etc)….during the day must be housed in an pen or cage that is at least 4 times the height and length of the animal.

There are sections of my house where the ceilings are only 7ft high.  Which means that per that law it could be considered illegal to contain my Tibetan Mastiff INSIDE MY HOUSE.  Nevermind what it would do to housing horses…..

 

ALSO, Bill # A06406

Adds additional restrictions to the tethering of dogs.  While I agree with some of the restrictions I have problems with some of them.

There is no provision for working dogs.

Tethering would be prohibited completely between the hours of 11pm and 6am.

Tethering during the day could only be for a maximum of 3hrs unless you have WRITTEN permission from your local Animal Control AND your veterinarian.  And even then the max length of time the dog could be tethered would be 12hrs.  AND that written permission would have to be renewed every 60 days including having a NEW written statement from your vet.

While I can sympathize with the desire to restrict the length of time a dog is tethered this is NOT the way to go about it…..

 

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Dogs and kids

Posted April 7, 2015 By Ruth

Just before Easter a newspaper in a town in Idaho posted a picture sent to them by a reader.  The photo hit their Facebook page Friday, and went out in Saturday’s paper.

If you’re part of a community of dog people on Facebook I’m sure you saw it.  A 2yr old toddler, who I’ll refer to as B, and a large dog I’ll call T.  The child’s bunny ears had been placed on the dog, and B was kissing the side of T’s nose.  The uproar was because of T’s expression.  Tight staring eyes, wrinkled face and nose, teeth bared, the dog himself clearly tense.

By Monday the paper had pulled the photo off their Facebook page, and printed a short article in response.  In the article were repeated statements by the mother detailing why she felt that everyone else was wrong and there was no danger to her child.  The paper even found a local veterinarian to lend credibility to the idea that the public was over reacting.

Don’t get me wrong.  Some of the responses were over reaction.  The calls for the mother to be reported to authorities were stupid and made it easy to lump all the responses into the “crazy” category.

 

But lets get some things straight.

 

Some dogs do appear to “smile”.  Its often a “submissive grin” and often means the dog thinks there may be a problem and he’s trying to appease (though not always), but its characterized by the lifting of lips in an otherwise “soft” face, and may even include the showing of some of the whites of the eyes, though usually they’re squinty.  Although a dog may bite after showing a submissive grin, they don’t usually.

However what T was displaying was an “agonistic grin”.  Tight eyes, wrinkled face, baring of teeth.  Although an agonistic grin doesn’t mean the dog is going to bite, it is far more likely than with a submissive grin.

 

Veterinarians ought be decent studies of dog behavior, just by virtue of the time they spend with them.  However that does not mean that they are.  And the one in the article who shrugged off the photo (assuming he was quoted correctly) appears to be particularly clueless.  Stating the dog didn’t appear to be skittish or aggressive in the photo so therefor there was no problem.

However dogs do not have to be skittish or aggressive in order to object to the way he’s being handled, and even the best dog can snap if pushed too far on a bad day.  Something that every vet ought to be aware of since they are in a situation to see a lot of very unhappy dogs.

 

The mother stated that T is a big loveable oaf who’d never harm her son.

But if you a search for “family dog bites child” you’ll find almost identical quotes from the parents in those cases too.

 

The mother stated that T is “regularly used” as a racetrack, a pillow, and a step-stool by her son, and although T is generally not happy he tolerates it.

Which tells me that this kiss on the face isn’t a once off thing, that the child is regularly allowed to treat the dog as if he’s an inanimate object whose feelings don’t matter.

 

The mother also states that T often makes that face “when his whiskers are touched, he doesn’t like it”.  And that “.05 seconds after the photo was snapped T got up, licked B’s face, shook off the ears and walked away”.

Look, dogs lick people for all sorts of reasons, but in this case, in this setting, that was a blatant “back off kid……”.  Never mind that she KNOWS that T doesn’t like having his whiskers touched, and yet has continued to touch his whiskers enough to shrug off T’s expression as normal, and to even allow her toddler to do so, to the point of allowing B to put his face in the line of fire.

 

Its enough to make me want to cry.  This is apparently a well trained and socialized dog who’s doing his best to be polite to the baby.  And his owner is essentially setting him up to bite her child.  Hopefully he won’t.  He’s a good dog who doesn’t deserve to be put down for his owner’s failure, never mind that no 2yr old deserves to be on the sharp end of it.

Please don’t do this to your dog, much less your child.  Please take the time to read over the couple links I’m going put at the end that detail the canine body language you should be watching for.  And please please please, teach your child proper dog manners, so that they won’t join the far to many children who are bitten by a “friendly” dog every year.

 

Why Supervising Isn’t Working

Learn to speak dog

Family Paws

The heartbreaking story of another mother who was sure her dog wouldn’t bite her child.

 

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Our broken media

Posted March 27, 2015 By Ruth

I ran across this on Facebook this morning:

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And I realized that I don’t recall seeing a single news story on the crash that stated the pilot’s name.  The co-pilot’s name is all over.  Admittedly I’ve not gone out of my way to dig out news stories, but still…..

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Dear Software Companies

Posted March 10, 2015 By Ruth

I understand that advertising your software is pretty much required these days.  And I have come to terms with the fact that if I’m using one piece of software from a company, while I’m using it, I’m going to see advertisements for other pieces of software by the same company.  Thats pretty much life these days.

However.

If I am not currently using your software.  Haven’t been using your software.  And your software shouldn’t even be running in the background.  And you start flashing popups on my screen advertising your other pieces of software.  And then make it impossible to turn off those popups (never mind the malware that drives them)…..

….you have just ensured that not only will I be uninstalling the one piece by you that I paid for.  I am also never ever again buying a piece of software by you and will be very aggressively recommending against your software to anyone who asks.

 

This one’s for you NH people.  I know there’s at least a couple of you who read here.

House Bill 0624 is going to modify the process of what happens when an animal is seized for abuse or the like.  I just did a quick scan of the text, but at least one problem jumped at me right away.

Apparently current process: your dog is seized for abuse, you go to court, and if you’re convicted you’re expected to pay for the costs of the care for the animal while it was in custody.

What they want to do: your dog is seized for abuse, you get handed a bill for the care of the animal before you even get to court, and if you can’t pay that bill you lose custody of the dog regardless of whether you end up convicted or not.  Cause you know, guilty till proven innocent or some such……

I can sympathize that caring for an animal, especially a sick or injured animal, while waiting for a case to go to court isn’t cheap and eats up the limited resources of shelters, but this isn’t the right solution either.

There have been SO MANY cases of reports of abuse that aren’t anywhere close to such.  People who see an animal with “an obvious health problem” where the animal is under the care of a vet for the condition and the owner is taking the appropriate steps to care for the animal.  And sometimes there isn’t a “health problem” at all beyond the reporter’s imagination and lack of knowledge of life.  

Its not bad enough that you’re spending alot of money on the vet bills and medications that your sick animal needs, but now, cause some idiot reported you for abuse and it went viral (which happens WAY TOO OFTEN cause people are fucking stupid), and the local ACO gave in to pressure, they seized your dog, so now you have to pay a ton of money in legal bills to get him back and clear your name……but now they want to  charge you for caring for the dog (which you were doing properly at home in the first place) and if you can’t pay that bill TOO you’re going to lose your dog no matter what the outcome of the court case……

Maryland folks, I’m being told that there’s a similar bill(s) pending in your state as well, I’ve not stopped to read them yet, but consider this a heads up you’ll want to check on!

Its still one of those years….

Posted October 25, 2014 By Ruth

2014 started out less than stellar, and its pretty much continued on the same vein.  I’ve resisted griping about it, because it really could have been ever so much worse (…..we still have the house, we’re still married, our own health hasn’t been affected…..no fate, thats not a challenge, k?), but the whole year has been pretty much a regular stream of”lets kick Ruth’s family again, one of them might go squirrely this time!!”, and it has very definitely affected my temper and general stress level.

Among other things a specific online community has helped keep me sane, I’ve been a member there for almost 3yrs, I’ve got friends there, and even most of the ones I don’t consider friends I know well enough to have a pretty good idea of how they’re going to react to things.

Till this week.  This week I discovered that several of the folks I considered friends weren’t.  Experienced an extremely personal attack that had nothing to do with the disagreement at hand, which two mods to the community apparently sanctioned and participated in, had another friend rather blatantly lie while she assisted in the personal attack, and then watched one of the previously mentioned mods take the personal attack out into the general board, while creating an environment that has the potential to do serious harm to the atmosphere of that community (as it already did serious harm to the mental state of the person who’s original quest for help triggered the above disagreement).

Obviously I don’t know some of those folks as well as I thought I did.

Guess thats what I get for thinking…..

At any rate I think I learned my lesson, participation in such online communities has been severely curtailed, and I’m cutting back my “I’m bored lets browse online” time.  I’m hoping this means I’ll actually end up blogging more, but don’t count on it…..

How to piss off your whole community

Posted October 21, 2014 By Ruth

Get a 911 call that “aggressive dogs are terrorizing a lady in a car

Send officer out to look things over. 

Officer allows one dog to be captured by a neighbor of the owner.  But when he attempts to call the other dogs to him they act aggressively so he has to shoot them for his own safety.

Owner calls BS on the “acting aggressively” part and FOIA’s the video from the officer’s lapel cam (yay for wired police!).  Police release a 22second bit of video that shows the officer shooting the dog “for his own safety”: http://www.cleburnetimesreview.com/news/article_7e920210-5646-11e4-a670-8fe5949ce1ca.html?mode=video (warning, the video does indeed show the dog being shot, its not the goryest thing ever, but some people will be bothered regardless).

Cue public upset in 3…2….

Additional video from before the shooting: http://www.cleburnetimesreview.com/video_b174524a-5647-11e4-8c6a-cb8bcb24f91e.html

and after the shooting: http://www.cleburnetimesreview.com/video_cee9af92-5646-11e4-8ae5-0b544247bb8a.html (very clear shot of the dead and bloody dog)

Now. 

I can’t comment on what happened with the dogs cornering someone in their car.  Its not on video.  I can certainly see how a friendly, excited, reasonably sized, dog bouncing on the car door in an attempt to say “HI!!” could be scary to someone who’s not good with dogs. 

In the video from before the shooting I can hear a lady talking to the officer and stating that one of the brown dogs snapped at her.  I can hear the officer telling another resident that the black and white dog (who at this time he’s ignoring) was the one acting aggressively.  Officer allows the owners’ neighbor to catch and contain the black and white dog.

There’s a gap of at least a few seconds, and possibly longer, between the first video and the 22second video.  According to info from the police department the two remaining loose dogs growled at the officer during this gap.  Not sure why we don’t have a video of it, releasing that info would go a long way to supporting the officer’s side of the story.

In the 22second clip, you can see the officer approaching the two dogs, who are sniffing a drain pipe and ignoring the approaching human.  Tails are slowly wagging, a sign that whatever else is going on the dogs aren’t highly agitated.  Whiny barks can be heard, no growling or full throated barks can be heard.  Officer points his gun at the dogs, chirps to get their attention, they look at him, and he fires three shots at one of them.  Its hard to tell with the officer’s hands in the way of the video, but I saw no sign of either dog actually even moving towards him after he chirps at them.  The other dog runs away.

In the final video the officer can be seen repeatedly pointing his gun at the remaining dog every time the so much as looks in his direction.  The dog is still not acting aggressively.  At this point the ACO finally arrives and takes over, at the ACO’s approach the remaining dog shows every sign of being happy to see a friendly human, and even rolls over on his back for belly rubs.  The ACO is able to walk the dog away without so much as a leash to contain the dog.

Now, I certainly have no idea if these dogs are regular escapees.  Or how much they’ve terrorized the neighborhood.  But nothing in the videos shows aggression, or anything else to cause the officer to fear for his own safety….

Small rant

Posted September 29, 2014 By Ruth

So I end up in a bit of an argument about raw feeding (of household pets) and the nutritional content there-of.  So I start pulling up links to studies or official data to back up my side of the argument.  Not an abnormal day, except that the argument has to do with the calcium content in raw bone, specifically chicken bone, and I’ve found that data to be much harder to come by, so my links are sparse but they get my point across.

Then someone new sticks his nose in and insists that the actual calcium content in bone is 6times higher than the number I quoted.

So I asked where he got his numbers from.

“Don’t have a reference at the moment, but I’m sure of my numbers.”

Thats nice, where’d you get your numbers from…..

New guy quotes a paragraph without giving any reference to where it came from.  And then adds that he doesn’t think that adding raw bone to a dog’s diet counts as a calcium supplement.

The very definition of “supplement” means to “add something extra”, maybe you don’t WANT to consider it a calcium supplement, but if your numbers are right then it definitely IS a calcium supplement.  Oh, and where are you quoting from??

Quote’s from the University Of Cambridge and its not a supplement because I say its not a supplement!!!

No publication name, or author name, or anything else to ID where the quote came from (which, the more I read, the less I think it says what he thinks it does).  Arguments like this remind me of why I need to spend less time online…..