Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I ate a doughnut today.

While my humans were out today, I got a bit peckish so I decided to eat my doughnut. It was not very tasty for something that cost 40 dollars.

Then my humans came home.
Flashback! Me and DoughNut in happier other times. 
Circa late June 2012, a few days after DoughNut came to live with us.

I tried to explain why I'd eaten my doughnut.
"It's not really my fault. Miss Anny said doughnuts were for eating and I was hungry."
"So what are you saying? She was lying?"

I can't remember the last time I got such a big scold. It might have been 2 years ago, before I became A Lady.

Another flashback!

"Do you think you're going to be done scolding me any time soon?"

"Please pat me. You know you want to."

It's a good thing my humans can't stay angry with me for long.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Back up the rabbit hole and the lighter side.

I now realise I could never be a serious blogger and am much more comfortable writing about stuff that emit from my dog's butt. 
Pic from HERE.

It's been such a long week! I managed to write about some of the things that bother me when it comes to animals and their welfare, but nowhere near all. I don't want to continue in this vein though. [Yes. Phew.]

I could list them here but! You know, just to stir the pot a little?

So here are a few more grumbles -

+ Animals used in lab tests. How can it be okay to do tests on live animals, for whatever reason, when so many of us aren't even willing to give up our organs when we're dead?  

+ Animals in "entertainment". I'm not even talking about evil blood sports like bull, dog and cock fights here. How about more insidious ones, like greyhound races and circuses? I see on telly that an animal circus has come to Sydney town, complete with performing lions and elephants. Are we kidding?! 

+ SeaWorld. Does anyone really believe that leviathans could be happy in a big giant however gigantic a concrete pool?



I don't want this to become another thought-provoking long drawn out post that descends into arguments healthy discussions at the dinner table. No. I wouldn't want that to happen, especially at the Websters. BWAH haha! So I'm going to stop here.

That means it's time for me to thank all the intrepid souls who kept me company this week. I really appreciate that you took the time to read and to share your thoughts and experiences on this difficult subject. 

These cartoons are especially for you! I hope they give you a giggle as much as the earlier posts gave you headaches :)

The  Lighter  Side  of The  Food  Chain!

Pic from HERE.

Pic from HERE.

Above 2 pics from HERE.

Following the many food scares we had including Swine and Avian Flu and Mad Cow...
Pic from HERE.

And lastly, the vegetarian diet that might work for me.
Pic from HERE.

OH! And a little movie for the kiddies -  "Mama, what is the food chain?"


Feeling better? 

I hope you're having a wonderful weekend. Over here in sunny suburbia, SOMEONE forgot to set the alarm for the Olympics opening ceremony this morning. Bah! 

Oops! P.S.
The next time I get a knee op and feel introspective, please be so kind as to remind me that I should just make myself a giant caipirinha and go directly to bed. 

Tchau! :) X

Bugger! P.P.S.  If you'd like to share your pet animal [welfare] peeves, please feel free to do so. I'd be keen to know I'm not the only joyless person around.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Full and difficult disclosure.

This post is inspired by Peggy 
who introduced me to Temple Grandin 
and the [somewhat oxymoronic] phrase 
"humane slaughter" 
and  by something Pamela brought up in her comment on the whales and sharks post -

"...And I also recognize that it's human (and very Western) to be horrified that Asians slaughter sharks for their fins while ignoring the chickens, turkeys, and cattle we raise and kill in huge feedlots ..."


I've eaten some things in my life that I'm not proud of. Foie gras, shark fin soup, caviar, turtle eggs and drunken prawns are the ones I most regret.

I've also had the opportunity to try meats that are perhaps not so commonly found on the home dinner plate [at least here in suburban Sydney] including wild boar, buffalo, goat, kangaroo, frog, crocodile, snake, reindeer and bat. I've had bunny stifado in Greece, balut in the Philippines, piranha soup in the Amazon and escargo in San Fran. Of all of these, the snails were the hardest for me to swallow.

I personally wouldn't be able to eat horse, dog, cat, whale, insects, turtles or witchetty grubs [to name a few] but those are just my sensibilities. I don't ever want to be judgemental about people who do eat them and cultural preferences in diet. One man's  hákarl is another man's meat pie.

What I am concerned about is how we manage, kill, cook or eat animals and in some cases, these can be pretty horrific.

I believe cruelty in preparing animals for our table has been going on a long time, knows no geographical boundaries, and will likely continue till the end of days.

Here's an excerpt from an interview with Heston Blumenthal, talking about some [alleged] historical recipes.

"In another example, the French would pluck a live chicken, brush the skin with saffron, wheat germ and drippings, then put the head under the belly, and rock the chicken to sleep. The live chicken was then placed on a platter with two cooked chickens, carried to the table and the cooked chickens carved as the live one ran wildly around – theater on the table.

The most disturbing recipe I've ever seen is for "how to roast a goose alive" from The Cook's Oracle from the late 1800s. It's written almost in biblical style, and it's really disturbing. The idea is that you've cooked the goose’s skin but the vital organs are still working, and you carve the goose while it can still scream." 

Here's the full recipe and it's not for the faint-hearted.

“How To Roast A Goose Alive.”

Take a goose, or a duck, or some such lively creature (but a goose is best of all for such purpose), pull off all her feathers, only the head and neck must be spared, then make a fire round about her, not too close to her, that the smoke do not choke her, and that the fire may not burn her too soon; nor too far off, that she may not escape fire: within the circle of the fire let there be set small cups and pots full of water wherein salt and honey are mingled, and let there be set also chargers full of sodden apples, cut into small pieces in the dish. The goose must be all larded and basted over with butter, to make her the more fit to be eaten, and may roast the better: put then fire about her, but do not make too much haste, when you see her beginning to roast; for by walking about, and flying here and there, being cooped in by the fire that stops her way out, the unwearied goose is kept in;[1] she will fall to drink the water to quench her thirst, and cool her heart, and all her body, and the apple-sauce will make her dung, and cleanse and empty her. And when she roasteth, and consumes inwardly, always wet her head and heart with a wet sponge; and when you see her giddy with running, and begin to stumble, her heart wants moisture, and she is roasted enough. Take her up, set her before your guests, and she will cry as you cut off any part from her, and will be almost eaten up before she be dead. It is mighty pleasant to behold!!!

The eating of animals that aren't dead is something that happens every day in the wild and in our backyard. It's the food chain at work. Unlike The Other Half, I don't bleat and switch channels when I see lions on Discovery, tearing into a wildebeest whose legs are still twitching. 

The eating of live animals was a staple "attraction" on Fear Factor, [and if I remember correctly] early seasons of Survivor and some episodes of that show with the man who teaches us how to survive alone in the wild while being trailed by a production crew. 

My 2 cents on this is that eating live animals for entertainment is not cool, even if they're at the bottom of the food chain, are slimy and disgusting, and have [apparently] been scientifically proven to feel no pain.


I had an exhausting day yesterday, googling ways in which we humans eat and prepare food for our table. Some of these methods were entirely new to me. I was going to include links, pictures and videos here, but I don't think I want to any more. 

Maybe I am a bleeding heart after all.


Years ago, when The Other Half was regularly diving, I saw a video on a dive club night about some villagers in Flores, Indonesia who still use traditional methods of harvesting whales for food. They are exempted from the international ban on whaling.

I found a video of a hunt on youtube to share here. It's in Indonesian so you might not understand it, but the footage is worth seeing. CLICK HERE if you want to read about it first [might be helpful to get some background]. Disturbingly, it seems to have become an item on the tourist itinerary.

Watch with an open mind. Don't watch if you're squeamish.

No questions today, but I'd love to know what you're thinking.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A pictorial appendix to the post published an hour and a half ago.

Koala pic from HERE.
"I am more worthy of being saved because I'm cute, cuddly and the worst thing I could do to a human is pee on him."

American crocodile pic from HERE.
"What a load 'o croc."

King cobra pic from HERE.
"You think you have it tough? I've had a bad rap ssssince they found my great great great great great great great great grand dad in ssssome garden."

Giant panda pic from HERE.
"Come on guys. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what you need." 

This pic from HERE.
"Better PR." 

Whales, sharks and more bloody questions.

I went whale watching on a friend's boat recently. It was a beautiful morning. The humpbacks were feeling friendly and it took less than an hour to sight a pod. One of them breached quite close to our boat.

Sighting of a blow. Can you see Sydney in the background?
I only managed to catch the whale on its way back down. 
And as it waved goodbye.
I wish I could say I took this picture of a humpback. Alas, it's from HERE.

We're very serious about whale conservation in Australia and rightly so.

But did you know that many sharks are also protected in Australia and around the world? 

How on earth did a top predator of the ocean become an endangered species requiring protection? If you have some time, a strong stomach, and are interested in finding out,  CLICK HERE for the Pew Report.
This scary pic from HERE. Quite a few species are listed as threatened including everyone's favourite set of jaws.

There was sadly another fatal shark attack in WA, just 11 days ago [which is probably why I've been thinking about today's topic]. In these situations, a hunt is usually called to find the rogue animal. In this case, almost immediately, the protected species status of the great white came into question. There was some concern that tourists might be too afraid to go to the beach. 

Informal polls and comments on news reports, facebook and blogs however, seem to indicate that most people would like to see the great white's protected status maintained.
Check out this timeline of shark attacks in Australian waters over the last decade.

While the number of attacks appear to have increased of late, the average fatality in Australia over the last 50 years, has been less than 1 human per year. 

I think I may have more chance of being killed stepping out onto a pedestrian crossing on Darling Street.

By comparison, guess how many sharks get killed in a year? According to the Pew Report above, about 73 million. I don't even know how you can count a number like that.


I get disturbed when I read this sort of stuff. There's a lot of noise in my head and I find it difficult to organize it into coherent sentences. It took me the better part of an hour to word the 3 questions below and I expect my thoughts on the subject will be contentious and unpopular. But here goes anyway.

Should maintaining our comfort, safety and way of life always take precedent over that of animals, even endangered ones? [I don't think so.]

Do you think we discriminate when it comes to [protecting] animals and are partial to saving cute ones? [I do.]

Do you think it does any good to hunt down and kill an animal that has killed a human? [I don't, unless it can be proven that the animal's action was pre-meditated.]

What are YOUR thoughts? And do you have other questions yourself?



"Yeah I do! Anyone want to know if I'm still farting?"




2 helpful reads before you next get in the water. 

+ 10 myths about sharks by Valerie Taylor.
2. TRUE: Sharks are attracted to swimming dogs

Sharks’ curiosity attracts them to any unusual creature in their environment. A small animal like a dog is more likely to be considered prey than a big animal. 

+ 13 tips for avoiding a shark attack.
11. Avoid swimming or surfing at dawn, dusk or night. These are typically the feeding times for a lot of sharks.

And look what I found when I googled "are cute animals better protected than ugly dangerous ones"


He set out to describe what attributes make animals attractive to humans. The successful candidate will exhibit:
  • Usefulness (providing humans with food, clothing or medicine);
  • Human-like traits, such as having a high forehead and expressive eyes and being a mammal, or at least a vertebrate;
  • Be large and fierce. For some reason we like dangerous animals, and are fascinated with their weapons, from teeth to horns. (Watch any kid in the dinosaur gallery.) Small thinks this may explain the fact that tigers are the kings of global conservation efforts;
  • It must live above ground, preferably in a family setting showing off the mother with adorable cubs or kittens (one Toronto conservationist calls such animals “the cuddlies”);
  • It should not smell bad;
  • It helps to be warm-blooded;
  • Bright colours also help while being covered with scales, or a slimy skin, is bad;
  • Attractive animals eat “clean” food. We don’t like scavengers and carrion-pickers;
  • Traits that are unhealthy in humans should be avoided. We have little urge to conserve animals with warts, bow legs, wrinkles (except for elephants), irregular teeth or a habit of drooling.


For what it's worth, my instructions to the Other Half, if I should get attacked or killed by a wild animal, is to let it be. He's left the same instructions with me. [We like being prepared for 1-in-a-squillion chance events.]

The person that runs me over at a pedestrian crossing however, won't get away with it that easily.

By the way, I. am. not. anthropomorphic. or. a. bleeding. heart. [Though I do like sniffing trees.] And it's okay if you're now thinking I'm simplistic, unrealistic and delusional. I already know that. 

Have a good day! :) X

Monday, July 23, 2012

Introspection and my 1st question.

The endorphins are gone and I'm not just bored, I'm getting introspective. That's a worry as my rabbit hole can be rather cavernous. 

First, let me apologise if I've been leaving snarky snarkier than usual comments at your blog or even [gulp] sermonising. I tried to stay away from my google reader for a few days but finally got tired of talking to myself and to Georgia.

I've kept away from posting too because frankly, I have
I knew this sign, taken outside one of our local hardware stores, would come in handy one day. The old man has a message for us every day. These ones are from a long time ago since I haven't been out walking lately.


Here's a report for all the lovely people who've been checking up on me. [Even the ones who called me lazy. Really, some people can be so rude.]  :) 

I met up with my surgeon last Tuesday. He's happy with my progress, as am I! 
I was left to remove the plasters myself, a simple enough task. But these last bits were super sticky and I was too cowardly to peel them off. They finally fell off this morning.
Looking very good, if I say so myself.

The Person In Charge Of Stinky Knees has been incredibly kind to me. Thanks to a cancellation, I was able to meet up with the physiotherapist last Wednesday and am now doing more rehab exercises. The best news! I can now walk normally [though with caution] down the stairs!


It's Be [or is it Blog?] The Change for Animals week in the dogblog park. I was going to give it a pass. I'm not good awful at bloghops and doing group stuff. But for some reason, I can't get this one out of my head. Probably because I'm bored, feeling introspective, and have a lot of questions when it comes to animals and their welfare, and not too many answers.

So here's what I've decided to do. I'm going to pose a few questions over the week that have always bugged me. They won't be about any animal causes. They'll be more like a chart of my personal journey.

I'm going to include some interesting reading I've done. It won't be deep, well thought out research, just some googling. Of course, I hope you'll give me your wisdom on the subject. 

Here's my 1st question.

Can we really call ourselves animal lovers if we eat meat?

[I'm giving you some space here to think about it.]



The tulip magnolia tree outside the study window is looking lovely today.




Here's where I'm at.

I love animals but I'm not vegetarian. I don't think I ever could be. I crave my crispy double-smoked bacon and slow barbecued ribs too much. Meat constitutes about 1/4 to 1/3 of our current diet [mostly white and seafood], yet I feel guilty [and I know The Other Half does too. The Dog pshaws at such absurdity.]

What's my excuse for this double standard? I believe in the food chain. 

Can I at least lessen my karmic burden? I hope so.

Here are some simple things I believe I can and should do.

When shopping for food or eating out -

+  Choose free range. For the longest time, this was hard for me to do, as the cost of anything free range here can be prohibitive. But I've since learnt to buy and eat less, which is not a bad thing.

+  Don't just go for the canned tuna on offer. Jordan and Rufus ate tuna regularly and that's exactly what I used to do. Just as well it doesn't agree with Georgia's tummy. Here's a ranking for brands commonly found on Australian shelves. 

+  Stop eating pate foie gras and other food that is produced in dubious ways.

+ Do not eat caviar, yellow fin tuna, swordfish, orange roughy and other overfished or endangered fish. Want to know if your favourite eating fish falls in this category? Check out this helpful guide. 

+ Always read labels and try to make informed choices. Here are 2 useful guides for anyone reading this in Australia. I've learnt that my eggs are OK!
Animal Welfare Labels
Ethical Consumer Guide

I'm sure there are heaps more ideas you could add to that list. I'm learning as I go.
I'll never be a Jain, but I can do better than what I'm doing today.


Interesting titbit. 

The most fundamental value of Jainism is nonviolence, or ahimsa. This word is usually found on the Jain symbol of the open palm (which means "stop"). Ahimsa is the first of the vows taken by both Jain householders and monks. Ahimsa means harming no living being as well as protecting all living beings from harm. 

While several religions practice nonviolence and peace as a fundamental principle, Jainism is unique in extending this principle to all jivas (living beings). For Jains, living beings include not only humans and animals, but everything one finds on earth. Ahimsa must therefore be extended not only to humans and animals, but also soil, sand, oceans, fires, insects, microbes and plants.

For this reason, most Jains are not just vegetarians but "fruitarians" - they eat only fruit, nuts and milk. These foods are acceptable because they are only the by-products of the living beings and not the living beings themselves. To pull up a carrot or chop a potato would be to do violence to a living being (actually several living beings, as root vegetables are seen as multi-organic and therefore multi-souled).

This unique concept of nonviolence also explains why some Jain monks and nuns wear masks over their mouths and noses or carry whisks with which they brush chairs before sitting. To inhale or squash even a microbe would constitute violence to a living thing, resulting in unwanted karma.

As I said, the rabbit hole is cavernous.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Spit the dummy, what.

Dear Olivia and Petey from NYC, 

Thank you for asking me the question "What does spit the dummy mean?"know I can sometimes be unintelligible, even when I'm not on the iPad and I appreciate brave souls who ask questions.

For example, I use BWAH haha! quite a bit in this blog. But what does it really mean? It 1st made an appearance in this strangely popular post, strangely also published on a Friday the 13th. I use it quite often in my comments as well. For me, it sits somewhere between a polite cackle like LOL or BOL and *!>!**#f*!!! hysteria and definitely has a sinister tone to it. 

But I digress! To get back to your question, it might be clearer if I gave you a few real life examples, all of which happened this morning.

Example 1.

This is the 1st time in a week that I'm sitting down at the real computer in the study. Wouldn't you know it? When I turned on the computer, there was no internet connection. It took 2 hours before the connection came back, it's still a little patchy and I'm hoping it doesn't drop out while I'm typing because that would really make me spit the dummy.

Example 2.

Twice a week, I wash bits and pieces from The Other Half's CPAP machine. I'm very unsure how to dismantle one bit despite having been shown how to do it 2 times before. I asked The Other Half when he came home from walking Georgia and he spat the dummy. Then he spat it again when I hogged the bathroom to do the wash up. Little did I know I forgot he was running late for an appointment with the mechanic. [I think he may also be over being sympathetic to my sore knee BWAH haha!]

And lastly.

Georgia ran off in the park this morning to eat something in the bushes. No one knows what it could be. Her tummy looks like she might have swallowed 1/2 a possum [hopefully dead] and she looks like she might chuck up any minute. What's more worrying, she didn't want to eat her fresh turkey leg for brekkie. Struth! I will spit the dummy if she gets crook again, just one week after her tummy got well and I will really get the shits if I have to hobble around cleaning up her chunder.

There you are, Olivia and Petey from NYC! I hope that cleared things up! Please let me know if there are other words I can help you with. As you may have gathered, I'm quite bored here.

[Just in case I was garbling again,  here's a possibly more concise little dictionary.]

Hooroo for now! and of course, please do have a great weekend :) Much love, The Typist X

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Some things I'm frightfully grateful for.

#1  Being able to shower and wash my hair again! 

Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext/

Took off the compression bandage yesterday. The knee's looking good and nowhere near as swollen as the 1st arthroscopy [below]. I hope this means it's going to heal faster too.

A very close #2  My Cushion who, despite coming down with the flu yesterday, is taking care of the house, Georgia and me all by his snotty self. Where would we be without you, lovey? 

[P.S. Please don't buy me any more palmiers, muffins and sugar lips no matter how hard I beg.]

[At least, not till next week.]

#3  Shanghai Mahjong. 99 cents for 200 layouts. Even more addictive than Panadeine Forte. 
My top score so far, 541,000+. A fluke I'm sure. And I still have more than 100 layouts to go. Wheee!

#4  My Kindle. Finally reading the 1st book in the Game of Thrones series. Not quite as much fun after watching Series 1 and 2 on telly. Boy, is that Catelyn Stark horrible.
"Don't worry, Jon. I'll bite her if she dares to be mean to you again."

And last but not least.  My dog, who brought me home a gift from the park.
"Do you like it, Typist? I stole it from a kiddie, specially for you."

And who's been faithfully keeping me company through the long lonely hours.
[Though I suspect she might just be making herself comfortable on my bed].


I've started some simple rehab exercises! At this point, I'd like to thank my mestre for making us do 100 push ups and 800 sit ups in every class because, seriously guys, even with a bum knee,  this is not hard.
What's next?

Housework, I suspect. The dust balls under the bed are calling.