The Cat’s Thoughts On Your Christmas Tree

I came across this song the other day, and chuckled. I thought of many cats our family had over the years. Thankfully none of them ruined our Christmas tree or did too much ornament damage, but I think we learned to strategically place breakable ornaments too high for them. Many times, we would come out to the living room and see the cat staring at the tree with a twitching tail.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
how nice my owners thought of me
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
you’re ornaments are hissssssstory
they dangle bright to banish gloom
I’ll smack them clear across the room
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
you’re better than a catnip spree.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
you’re turning slightly brown I see.
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
your water has been drunk by me.
Your skirt has pretty smelly flux,
I’ll use it for my litter box.
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
and then I’ll blame the dog you see.

So, for everyone out there with cats and Christmas trees, enjoy.

Jazzy Want A Firefighter!

Parrots and their way of imitating things always fascinates me. Well, here’s another one, and this one imitated the smoke alarm and brought firefighters to the home.

Damn, that parrot is good. Living with a bird who could do that would have confused the heck out of me, but the way he imitates the phone would have made me wonder if I was having auditory hallucinations or something. Then again, I guess I would know I had an imitating bird in my house but it would have frustrated the heck out of me.

I’m glad the firefighters were good about it.

What’s That, Lassie? You Can Speak English Now?

I read about the idea of a pet translator, and although it’s in primitive stages, I got a little bit excited. Maybe, finally, this could be what I have been wishing for in this old post. Maybe this would allow me to ask my guide dog why she’s having trouble, or if anything hurts, or what is making her anxious. Maybe, just maybe this could help me when the poor thing is trying to tell me she’s ready to retire so I wouldn’t have to do so much guesswork, putting the poor beast through more misery.

It blows my mind that some folks managed to train some dogs to not only go into an MRI, but to be able to complete tasks in there. I read the book on that, and although I didn’t learn what I wanted to, I was still amazed.

Anyway, hopefully, in 10 years or so, at least vets will have a pet translator in their office so we can figure out why the dog is having troubles that are hard to diagnose from mere observation. Then, maybe, in my lifetime, people with pets will be able to buy these suckers and have one in their home.

Toss Those Crabs

Crabs absolutely don’t belong on TTC seats.

We know this because the Toronto Transit Commission had to issue a statement saying as much this week after someone brought a few on a train ride.

Why? Who knows? It could be, as this tweet suggests, simply “because Toronto.”

By the way, props to the TTC for making the obvious crabs joke. It seems like the sort of thing most businesses would shy away from nowadays for fear of making themselves look bad or offending one asshole with a Twitter account.

“People have complained that they’ve gotten or seen crabs on the subway before, but not the crustacean type,” he quipped, adding that crabs absolutely don’t belong on TTC seats. 
“We know that crabs do not belong on seats, they belong in buckets,” he said. “Even if those crabs come with some hot drawn butter and a bib, you can’t put crabs on a seat.”
And for anyone who might argue that the crustaceans might be for “emotional support” or “therapy crabs,” he said, they still shouldn’t be occupying seats, calling that nothing less than “shellfish beviour.”

I don't normally post anything on Facebook, but I felt an intense desire to share this TTC story with y'all:There was…

Posted by Pony Macaroni on Wednesday, May 9, 2018

I don’t normally post anything on Facebook, but I felt an intense desire to share this TTC story with y’all:
There was a man sitting on the subway on my way home the other day with 4 live crabs sitting on the surrounding seats.
Pretty casual stuff on a jam packed train.
Then a girl walked by, thinking there was a free seat, saw the crabs, let out a small shocked scream, and kept walking. About 30 seconds later she comes storming back and became a real effing hero:
“What is this shit?!? What is this?!? Crabs on the seats? So no one can sit down?!? All these people standing here tired after working all day? What’s that? Oh you paid for their seats? You paid 2 dollars extra so they can have seats?!?”
Then she smacked each crab off the seats so hard that they landed in someone’s lap and on another person’s feet and stormed off. It was an incredible display of effing balls, man. Everyone was just standing around, holding their breaths, waiting to see how this guy was going to react.
There was some expletive verbal abuse along with, “That’s crab assault, man! She just assaulted the crabs! And the lady that got hit with the crabs! That’s an assault on the lady and the crabs! That’s assault man!”
Then he just picked up the crabs, which are currently flaying around on the floor, and put them back on their seats.
The end.

I feel fairly confident saying that whoever this guy is, I would hate him so much more than the dudes playing nothing but Despacito on accordions.

Spirit Airlines: Less Hamsters, Oh No!

I don’t have a lot of words. I am really trying to think of a circumstance where I could see where this woman was coming from, but it’s not working. I’m really really trying.

Belen Aldecosea had to fly home, and she wanted to fly with Spirit Airlines. In the recent past, because of anxiety over a medical diagnosis, she decided she needed an emotional support animal, and chose a hamster. She even got a note from a doctor saying this hampster, Pebbles, was her emotional support hamster. As I said in this other post about emotional support animals on planes, emotional support animals aren’t trained and don’t do anything for the owners except give them a warm, fuzzy feeling by being there. She probably could have gotten the same effect by buying a plush toy.

Apparently she called ahead to check that she could bring Pebbles on as an emotional support animal, and was given the incorrect information that this was possible. When she arrived at the airport and started the process of checking in, she was told that this was not going to happen. Then, according to her, she was told that she could either release Pebbles into the wild or flush her down the toilet. After a lot of “agonizing”, she flushed her.

I don’t even know where to begin here. This feels like that story where the woman put her guide dog in a cabby’s trunk, only way worse. At least that poor guide dog lived. I would hope that, God Forbid if somebody told me that Tans couldn’t get on the plane and actually physically prevented us from boarding, that I would possess greater problem-solving skills than this. I would hope that I would choose not to go on that flight so I could work something out. I would make some calls. I would figure something else out that wouldn’t result in an outcome so final for Shmans. It’s not like anyone had a gun to her head or anything.

Her lawyer is trying to say that this isn’t her fault because she’s only 21 so didn’t know what to do. I remember being 21, and although I was just learning about advocating for myself, I’m pretty sure I would have done something other than this. At the very least, I might have called my folks and got some more ideas. I would have never tried to take psych rat Hope on a plane, but if I did, I can’t even begin to picture a scenario where I would flush her if I was told she couldn’t fly. Maybe I would have called a vet to figure out how to board her somewhere. Maybe I would have asked for help finding some other officials in the airport to get more ideas.

This line kills me every time I read it.

“She (Pebbles) was so loving. It was like she knew I needed somebody,”

And that was how she repaid the poor thing.

She has a new hamster. God help Pebbles 2.0.

I guess I had more words than I thought.

Delta And United Could Be Rolling Out Kind Of Bad Service Animal Policies

I have been meaning to write about this for a while, but I was hoping to disentangle everything and be able to have a very coherent response with a clear way forward. But that isn’t happening, and it still needs to be written about.

Back in mid January, Delta Airlines decided it had had enough of the disservice animal problem, or the problem of people bringing animals onto planes, saying they were for service and support, and then the animals freaking out because they were not trained, having accidents on the plane, injuring flight crews and passengers or being a general nuisance and hazard. They decided to tighten up their policies in the hopes that they would be able to filter out the ones abusing the system. United Airlines has decided to tighten things up as well, but they went about it slightly differently. Both policies are to go into effect March 1. Here’s an article about both airlines. Also, here’s Delta’s policy (.pdf format) and United’s policy.

First of all, I totally understand why they need to try and make sure animals that aren’t trained to be good public citizens don’t make it onto planes. They could hurt people and other service dogs because they are not well-socialized, and a plane is a rather confined space. Once you’re flying, it’s kind of hard to open the door and kick out the bad one. So, I applaud them for wanting to deal with the problem. Unfortunately, at least Delta went about it all wrong. I’m still holding out hope for United, although upon a quick read, I’m afraid there’s a lot of wiggle room.

From what I understand, Delta’s new policy requires that every time someone flies with a service animal, 48 hours before their flight, they have to submit a special form with paperwork from their vet certifying that their animal is up to date on its vaccinations and is healthy. They also can only go to a specific counter so their animal can be visually inspected by an employee. United’s policy is better, but still has some problems. It seems that anyone whose service animal is doing a task to mitigate a physical disability doesn’t need to do more than what we already have to do to travel. For example, if I’m traveling to Hawaii, I have to satisfy the requirements of Hawaii. But I don’t have to give all this extra notice and go to special counters. But, they have lumped psychiatric service animals in with emotional support animals, which is not cool. Psychiatric service animals are still service animals. They have been trained to do tasks like giving a person with PTSD space between them and a crowd, or looking around corners etc. Emotional support animals give their owner that warm fuzzy snuggly feeling when they give them a pet petty pet pet. Who knows if they have been trained to deal with anything unusual, which…flying several thousand feet above the earth is pretty unusual. Who knows if they’re used to sharing small spaces with other people and service animals. To be completely clear, I’m not being a discriminating arsehole and saying that certain disabilities are less worthy of having a service animal. All I care about is the rigor of the training that the animal goes through. Nine times out of 10, the people bringing emotional support animals either don’t need them and are just trying to get Foofoo on the plane instead of putting her in cargo, or they have no idea what puppy raisers and trainers go through to ready their dogs for public access, and that is the problem.

To get back to Delta’s policy, the reason theirs is problematic, above and beyond what I just said, is that they are putting unnecessary restrictions on people who have legitimate service animals as well, some of whom already can’t drive so are down one transportation option. The 48-hour notice requirement basically makes it impossible to make an emergency trip, use Delta as an unplanned connecting flight if another one gets canceled, or use Delta if traveling very frequently. In addition, I fail to see how these requirements actually help Delta do more than cover their butts. How are they going to validate that the animal will be good? The only way they’ll find out is when we board. So, they are making it harder for people who already have barriers, and for no benefit. For example, I now would have to make my vet fill out a form, or complete a potentially inaccessible form and navigate a website whose accessibility may change without notice just before I travel. I probably will have to pay to have my vet fill out their special form. People who want to bring Fluff-Muffin won’t find these steps to be overly problematic. They don’t have to worry about inaccessible websites or limited transportation options.

And don’t even get me started on the whole requirements of going to a special counter for a visual inspection. I have had my dog referred to as an emotional support dog. My black lab whose mouth isn’t moving has been blamed for the barking of a yappy chihuahua-sized dog several feet away. These people have no idea what they are inspecting. It also excludes people from using kiosks or curb-side check-in. They might find these to be better options, and again, it is of no benefit. At the end of it all, the person is standing in front of someone who has had very little training to make them qualified to make a determination that this dog is healthy and socialized. It penalizes people who are already limited in their options, and the owners of emotional support animals will only be mildly inconvenienced.

I have 0 problem bringing my dog’s health records, but I should be able to bring a certificate that the vet already drafts up, which we can receive at the point of last vaccination. I should not have to make a special trip to the vet to fill out some proprietary form, and every airline will have its own form. I also don’t even mind signing something quickly upon checkin that says something to the effect of “My dog will not crap on the plane floor, run rampant through the plane or gnaw on my fellow passengers or flight crew.” It’s annoying, more annoying than having health records on hand, but if I can do it quickly, I don’t mind. I have no doubt that my dog will be fine. When I was in Vegas, I had to sign such a form at the hotel. They didn’t charge me pet fees, but they wanted me to assure that I would not leave her loose in the room and she wouldn’t leave any undesirable presents for housekeeping. Fine. Whatever the process, it needs to be as streamlined as possible and can’t leave room for misinformed people to make decisions that could prevent a person with a legitimate service animal from traveling.

From what I have read, the whole problem could be taken care of by tweaking the Air Carrier Access Act a wee smidge to tighten up on what is a service animal so we don’t get any more support peacocks et al, as well as making clear procedures on how to deal with an animal, service, support or whatever, that has become a danger, and we wouldn’t have to deal with all these different airlines and their different policies.

The fact is Delta started the ball rolling and now we have to get the ball rolling the right way, or flying is really going to suck for anyone with a service animal. Here is a post that states it well and has links on where to make complaints and make our voices heard. The links are in the comments of the post.

Now that I have written all of this down, maybe I can put together something resembling a useful and reasonable complaint.

They’re Your Worms, You Figure It Out

I’ve become drawn to reading stories about people and their parasites ever since Carin and I started watching Monsters Inside Me on Sunday nights while we eat supper. Yeah, we’re a little different, what’s your point? But it wasn’t these people’s hookworms that stood out to me as I read, it was the slimy behaviour of our government that most caught my eye.

Even after diagnosis, more frustration awaited them. Zytner said the medications that are used to treat hookworms are not licensed for sale in this country: Health Canada has put ivermectin and albendazole on its Special Access Programme, meaning that they can only be obtained by federal approval on a case-by-case basis.
Zytner said his request for the drugs was denied. “They said our case wasn’t severe enough to get the medication.”
“I don’t know how much worse it has to be for them to approve it. People have passed away from (parasitic infections).”
Fortunately, a connection with a doctor possessing a dual-nation license allowed Zytner and Stephens to quickly get the medications they needed in the U.S.

And if anyone presumes this to be an isolated case: Zytner said he and Stephens have been in touch with a couple from the Niagara region who they met at the resort.
The Niagara couple are also currently suffering cutaneous larva migrans.
“They have the exact same thing,” Zytner said. “And they were also denied by Health Canada for access to the drugs.”

This is Canada. We are a very fortunate nation. So why must there ever be cases where people are denied medications they need? If we’re talking about experimental treatments that run into the five or six figures and have a more than even chance of not working, by all means, review those all day long. But when it’s a simple matter of this is what you have and this is what fixes it, playing a game of we can’t stop your legs from falling off until your legs fall off should absolutely never be something that someone is paid to do. Nor, by the way, should a citizen of this country ever have to know a guy who knows a guy in order to get medicine. That’s just goddamned ridiculous and I should be able to expect much better from my country.

Bee Afraid, Bee Very Afraid!

When I saw this story about a swarm of unknown insects flying through parts of London, All I could think was “Aaaa! Black Mirror!” I know these things were live bee-like things, but still. I’m not alone in this, other articles mentioned the thought too.

We still don’t know why, but there are lots of videos of parts of London where people are trying to dodge swarms of bees, or wasps, or something.

You know how I feel about bees anyway, and then add in the Black Mirror comparison, and…eek!

Looking at all these posts about bees, I’m wondering if I need to make a bees tag.

I’ll Give You Your Cocks Back If You’ll Give Me Your…

So. Um. This is a thing that happened in Kentucky.

According to the arrest warrant deputies served on Rodney Brown, 25, the crime started with the theft of 25 roosters, a goat, some rooster pens, and some other equipment used to keep those roosters.
Police say Brown took them from the victim’s home December 21. They arrested him yesterday and charged him with theft by unlawful taking.
Brown’s arrest warrant says after he stole those animals and items he contacted the victim. The citation says Brown “offered to give the items back if he would consent to sex with him.”

He also told the victim that he’d beat him up if he went to the police, say the police he went to. Great job.

The story says that all of the requesting and threatening was done via text message, which has me wondering if Brown and his target are somehow known to each other.

Brown, who has since bonded out of jail, was charged with promoting prostitution and third degree terroristic threatening.