An Unpopular View of Pets — and Pet “Lovers”

sphynx

I'm conducting an argument on Facebook with a "lover" of cats, following the announcement of her soon-to-be-acquired hairless Sphynx cat. Argument follows: ... SF: This is the Sphynx kitten I will be getting in a few weeks. [ Photo attached, not the one shown here ] Right now he will be two weeks on the 28th. If you have any idea's for names let me know. Right now Mr. Wrinkles is what we have so far lol Hank Fox: If this is one of those hairless cats ... argh. I would never, ever own one, … [Read more...]

Bullies With Four Legs, Bullies With Two

Tito the Mighty Hunter

This video has come up a lot lately, posted or referred to by people who think it's hilarious. I have a rather different view of it. But  then, I'm the guy who thinks it's mean to dress up pets in Halloween costumes: I have an advantage over most people in that I had an extraordinary dog named Tito the Mighty Hunter, someone -- and I deliberately say someONE and not someTHING -- who managed to get it across to thick-headed me something of what goes on in dog heads. He did that by ... … [Read more...]

The Religion of Bears

black bear standing

One of my pet peeves has to do with bears. You know — covered with hair, four big paws, occasionally shows up around human habitation and causes people to freak out? It's not the bears themselves, it's the general reaction to them, the body of beliefs associated with them, that bugs me so much. I lived in a little mountain town in California for 22 years, and there were usually a good dozen or so resident ursids cruising around, usually at night but sometimes in broad daylight. I had … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Earthman’s Journey – Part 5 of 8

LAKEHank

[ Part 1 — 2 — 3— 4 — 5 — 6 – 7 — 8 ] Molly (cont.) This kind of thought wasn’t completely new for me – I confess I’d dwelt many times on the fortunes of other men, wistful and envious of the assets they enjoyed. “What would it be like to be him?” I had asked myself, him way up there with all that money, with a daddy who provides private airplanes and the family’s own airport, with new trucks and horses and jet skis and scuba diving lessons there for the … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Earthman’s Journey – Part 4 of 8

LAKEHank

[ Part 1 — 2 — 3— 4 — 5 — 6 – 7 — 8 ] Molly For eight years in my 20s and 30s, I was a draft horse teamster at a resort-town ranch, driving a two-up hitch of massive blond Belgians or coal-black Percherons, on a huge hay wagon for mid-summer meadow rides, or on big sleighs that would glide over the high-mountain snow on moonlit winter nights. Molly was one of the ranch dogs. She was no particular color – a little black, a little brown, a little gray, all mixed up in a dark … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Earthman’s Journey – Part 3 of 8

LAKEHank

[ Part 1 — 2 — 3— 4 — 5 — 6 – 7 — 8 ] Cutter After seasons of proving myself at many of the other chores of branding, on this day, I’m in charge of castrations. After the calf slides to a stop and both the heel rope and the top man are firmly in place, I step forward and kneel down by the calf’s belly. I stretch out the scrotum and slice across the lower third of it with a sharp knife. The testicles usually pop out on their own, but sometimes you have to fish around, pressing … [Read more...]

Travelin’ Dog (Repost)

[ Another repost, from 2003. ] ________________________________ Some stories touch you even when they have no clear ending. I was recently on a week’s vacation to California. I got to see a lot of people and visited a number of places I’ve loved—old good places where I sojourned for a while with dear friends. Sadly, I also said a number of goodbyes. One was to my good buddy Chardonnay, who happens to be a Golden Retriever currently engaged in dying. Chardy used to come for runs with me … [Read more...]

When Coyotes Danced (Repost)

[ This weekend I'm transcribing masses of audiofile notes for future posts on Beta Culture, as well as working on some book-y stuff — I have a book in the works, working title "BraynDrops, the Freethought Bathroom Companion" — but unfortunately neglecting things here. I swear I'll be back soon with some new stuff. Meanwhile, here's a repost of a piece from Sept. 15, 2011. ] _______________________________________________ It was hot, the day the coyotes danced. It was about 1990, and I was … [Read more...]

Tito the Mighty Hunter: Good Dead Things

Thinking about dogs tonight, so I'm reposting this bit from 2008: In most dog-related things, I was a fairly indulgent dad. But having my four-leggers roll in dead stuff, or go off into the brush and bring back something rotten, I had a hard time with that. Tito was especially bad about it. One summer day we were out along Varmint Creek hiking. I have this thing I sometimes do – I think of it as my super power – I hike and read at the same time. The subconscious Guardian Idiot that … [Read more...]

60th Birthday Whale Watching Tour a Success!

I done seen whales! But you don't get to see them unless you click below the fold. The pictures are so awesome, so breathtaking, that I fear you will be awed and breath-taked to the point that you'll pass out and fall onto a smaller, less massive bystander — possibly a child or a dog. Meanwhile, content yourself with this picture of an extremely rare bird known as a "sea gull." (Click to embiggen.) … [Read more...]