Sunday, February 28, 2010

my weekend trip or how I spent a day in detroit...

Anne is loaning me some blog space to I can get this out in the open


so here is how it all rolls out

4:00am - I roll my sorry ass outta bed on three hours sleep to hit the shower, get dressed, grab a cup of coffee and sit with my fave girlie for a couple before my ride shows up to take me to the airport.
I should have known at that point bad, bad things were coming down the pike

I came down the stairs just about 4:30am, fill the coffee pot and try to wake up
Those who know me even tacitly know that I am far from a morning person, the only way anyone should see 4:30am is on the tail side of a night.
And without coffee I am never going to wake up
I pour the coffee, peek out the window and what do I see?
My ride is early
damnit... ok I finish my smoke (don't bust my balls about that) get some quick kisses from Anne and out the door I go

now my driver is chatty as hell and I mention that I didn't get my coffee.. he offers to stop so I can grab a cup as he's got a couple min on the schedule
I start to salivate
but you know, no one in the county of racine is open at 4 damn 30 in the am, especially on the backroad his GPS has us on to make it to the next pickup
anyways, he gets to the next pickup and off we go...
WAIT.. I see a gas station up ahead YAY
sorry, the driver says, we lost the window of time

Off we head to his last pickup before the airport
We pull up to some hotel and he goes to get his people
comes back out and tell me and the other guy that he's 5 min early
I say well there is a gas station across the street so I am going to get coffee
Dude looks at me and says you only got 10 min
10 min to cross the street get coffee and get back
yea not a problem

and that was the ONLY thing to go right yesterday
believe it or not

Coffee in hand, and feeling a tad more alive, we get to the airport. I check-in, suck down the elixir of life, and breeze through security
a feat unto itself

so I'm on a 7:00am flight to Detroit
hour layover, and then onto White Plains
yea right

6:30am - boarding call comes over the speakers
6:35am - oops we're having mechanical issues
6:45am - still no boarding
6:55am - nada, nothing sitting on my ass waiting
7:10am - we finally get to board they fixed whatever problem they were having
7:30am - we finally take off
now I'm thinking I'm pretty well fucked on my connector but the flight attendant assures me I'll have 30 min to make it

yea right.. lying bitch

we land at scenic detroit airport

I've got maybe 15 min to make it from concourse A to B which is about a mile away
people are running past me, rushing here rushing there

I decide to call my wife and walk there
and I tell her fuck that I'm not running for no one

good thing I didn't kill myself because when I got to Gate B10 in Detroit to catch Delta Flight 3408 to White Plains airport, what do I see?
in flashing bright red letters?

Well WTF do I do now?
well I get to have a whole ton of fun

ok quick rundown of the next hour or so
I go to the help type person at the counter
she tells me I have to go to ticketing
ok where is that?
oh all the way over there on the other side of the airport
no problem yet I figure I'm already pretty screwed with all the delays and cancellations going into NY

I get into a line that I swear is longer than the log flume line at 6 flags and wait
and wait
and wait
and just for a change of pace, wait some more
I called Anne and Laura (my ride from White Plains) and my Mom
at this point Mom says... turn around and go home

that's sounding like a good idea

after just under an hour I get to the ticket counter and a very nice lady tells me that I am booked on a flight bound for White Plains on 2/28/10

but, but, but today is 2/26
big, deep breath
ok.. how about this
can I just go home?
she says I have to call this number as she hands me a bright red card
poor marketing Delta.. I'm already pretty red.. maybe it's supposed to be an angry card

so I call the Delta 800 number, get another very nice lady on the phone and she sneaks me onto a 3:20 flight back to Milwaukee
ok pretty cool.. it's noon eastern time at this point I have time for a snack, a nap, and a cup of shitty airport coffee

I get my boarding pass after waiting another 30 min in the log flume line
sneak in another smoke and thru security I go again

another security breeze thru.... maybe, just maybe, it'll be OK

and then it all goes to hell

I booked into a hotel with Orbitz and I thought I would call the hotel and cancel my reservations
Mr Super 8 clerk says you can't cancel it.. it was a web special and no refunds
but Mr Super 8 clerk.. it's a fucking blizzard and my plane was cancelled
oh so very sorry Mr John (yes the dude called me Mr John) I can give you a credit if you want to rebook the rooms now

yea piss off Mr Super 8 clerk

so I call Orbitz and tell the help line there what's going on
the dude was nice enough and put me on hold to call Super 8 in Nyack, NY to get the low down
well after 10 min Orbitz-guy comes back on the line
apologizes and says 5 min please
yea ok
apparently Mr Super 8 clerk was being a complete fucknut

well after 10 more min Ortbitz-guy comes back on the line
apologizes and says 5 min please
yes ok
apparently Mr Super 8 clerk was being a complete douchebag too

well after 10 more min Orbitz-guy comes back on the line
apologizes and says 5 min please
Mr Super 8 clerk pissed him off and he's calling the Super 8 home office
yes ok

15 min this time
Orbitz-guy comes back on the line
apologizes and tells me
This was a web only special and non-refundable
but to hold again for 5 min he's making a plea
yea sure Orbitz-guy

My new friend Mr Orbitz-guy comes back on the line and says that Super 8 home office dude is yet another douche
but he was able to get 2 of my 3 days refunded
best he could do

Thank you Mr Orbitz-guy
Fuck you Mr Super 8 clerk
and Fuck you Mr Super 8 home office dude

at this point I have about an hour till pre-board
so I decide to take a little nap at the gate

I wake up about 3:00 eastern time and check the flight status
instead of 3:20 it says 3:40 now
The incoming plane was delayed out of Philly and will be late
well fuck me
ok chill not a big deal I just wanna get home now

3:40 comes and goes and at 4:00 it finally lands
4:30 we are allowed to board and at 4:45 the captain comes on the line
the nose gear is stuck
we have to deplane and they have to find another plane for us to use

oh fuck this shit
I wanna get out of Detroit
I wanna go home
fuck you
shit how long is THIS gonna take

oh we don't know.. we are estimating 8:30pm
excuse me 8:30?
well shitfuck

200 angry people trying to book other flights onto the other flights bound for Milwaukee

at this point I'm thinking, I'm just gonna sit here and sleep till morning
screw it

about 30 min later, after all the people who wanted to rebook, well re-booked, the lady at the gate announces that they did indeed find us another plane way on the other side of the concourse
so me and a bunch of other people start heading that way

The departure time is 5:35 eastern time
At 5:24 I text Anne and tell her I am on the plane
and at 5:43 the captain comes on the air and tell us that we have to turn the cells off and get ready for take off

now I'm pretty smoked from being on the road, in the air, and waiting in scenic detroit all damn day so I promptly fall asleep

at 6:45 eastern time I wake up look outside and way WTF
this looks exactly like Detroit

quick text Anne and tell her we never left the gate

She tells me that the damn delta website says we are currently over Lansing Michigan and heading over the lake

yea well they lie.. lie like a dog

Anne was just about ready to leave the house with Jenna and Tiana to come get me because the Delta Website says we are on time to land

I showed the text to the flight attendant and he says... and I quote... Holy Shit
and he trots his ass up to the captain

I'm mid-bitch when the captain himself shows up and starts talking to the people in my area of the plane
He's just as miffed as we all are... you see it's his birthday and he has 20 people waiting for him in Minnesota

anyways.. apparently when we deplaned they left the luggage on it and they had to go find the plane in the hangar(how the hell does one lose a plane?), off load it then load it onto the plane we were sitting in

as the captain is talking to me Anne drops me a txt telling me that we have officially landed in Milwaukee

funny... it still looks like Detroit to me

The captain assures us as soon as the luggage is loaded on and we are de-iced we'll be under way
The flight attendants ply us with coffee and cookies

Finally the crew show up and starts loading luggage aboard
7:45pm eastern the plane finally takes off.. 2 hours late
apparently it takes two hours to offload and reload a plane

8:06 central time we land in Milwaukee.... 16 hours after this ordeal began

now I've tried to keep this short and gloss over some of the more boring details but let me wrap it up this way.

All I wanted to do was go to NY, see a couple friends, spend some time with my mother and drive my dad's car back for Alexi.

What I got was a run around, a hassle, and headache and the loss of a lot of cash

Delta had offered to rebook my flight to White Plains from Detroit 2 days later, so what I had to do was ask them to book me home instead
so I am out $118.90 for that flight... for the "privilege" of hanging out in Detroit
I am out $60.00 for a hotel room that I didn't use
oh and out $90 for a flight I had to reschedule because the airline policy is no cancellations and wanted to hit me with a $150 rescheduling fee.. but that is another story.

Delta mucked it up big time with flight information, plane changes and passing false information to the general public
Granted most of us on the plane had cell phones, but there was this older couple that had a cell phone but it died on them... if I didn't lend them mine how would anyone know when to pick them up?

I did find out that my cell has about a 14 hour limit on constant texts calls and websurfing
and I was thankful for it

at this point I don't want to fly delta
and I never ever want to go to Detroit again

Friday, February 12, 2010

Graphic Goodness

I’ve been doing some graphics work lately for a couple of websites, and some photo editing just for fun, that I thought I’d share with you.  John says I need to post more often, and since I don’t have anything to talk (complain) about today, I figured I could fill some space with pretty pictures.  :D

A couple of months ago we started redesigning the website for the radio station that we broadcast Tommy D’s Nutz and Indie Playground on.  A lot of the women I know who hang out there had been complaining about the previous design.  Frankly, and no offense intended, it looked like a soft core porn site.  I’m not sure what half-naked women on motorcycles have to do with radio, but there you are.  It wasn’t a bad design, it just didn’t have anything to do with the content of the site, and that’s a little pet peeve of mine.

So, John convinced them to go to a PHP forum, which would allow the DJ’s to post content like up coming events and interviews, and would encourage interaction from the listeners as well. 

I, of course, got the job of customizing the graphics.  The station owner picked purple as a base color (it wasn’t his first choice, but we talked him out of that one), and I got to work coming up with a new logo for the station.  Wicked Spins made me think of old vinyl records, and so I started with one as the base for the logo.  I wanted it to be edgy too though, so I turned the record into a saw blade, and put the station name along with a skull on the vinyl.  The owners wanted the word Radio in the logo too though, but it wouldn’t fit nicely on the record.  My solution was to make it large, and have the saw cutting into it.  So the final graphic is this:


Click here to see the rest of the site: Wicked Spins Radio

I love how it turned out!  Yes, the site is purple, but if you look, there’s really not that much purple.  It’s just a bright color, so it catches your eye.

I’m also currently working on a personal logo for the site owner who goes by the handle ICM.  He’s a Harley guy (which is probably where the half naked motorcycles from the previous design came into being), and wanted something similar to the Harley shield, with his nick on it, tearing out of the background.  Here’s what I have so far:


The tear on that is transparent, so it will take on the properties of any background it’s put on.  That way, no matter where he sticks it, it will look like it’s supposed to be there.

Now, awhile back, John and I redid our business site; Storm’s Cellar.  I made this banner graphic for the site to keep with the storm theme.


That’s a composition of about five different photographs from my favorite stock site, Stock.Xchng.

It’s not a logo though, it’s a web banner, and it doesn’t work very well on business cards.  So John asked me to come up with a real logo for the business that we can use on printed materials.  Keeping with the same theme, I came up with this two color logo.


It’s simple, but it looks pretty cool on a business card.

We also totally revamped the Storm’s Cellar site, going from a forum format, to a Nucleus blog instead.  It’s easy to update, and we don’t have to worry about moderating spammers.  John and I are getting pretty good at customizing Nucleus Blogs and Stargate Portals.  John’s even thinking about re-doing My Favorite Pinups, because we’ve learned a lot since we originally designed it.

Speaking of, John got a Twitter account to help promote his blog, and I must say, his blog is doing quite well.  He gets a lot more daily hits than any of my blogs do.  It’s probably the half naked women that brings them in though. 

So now on to some photo editing…  Alexi wants to try some pinup modeling, and as long as she keeps her clothes on, I don’t mind at all.  For her winter formal dance this year, she purchased a vintage dress.  So when her and her boyfriend let me take some pictures, I decided to have fun with them.

Here’s the original:


Now you can see that my house is not a very pretty backdrop.  The dogs ball is on the floor, the snake is looking for food in his tank, toys are all over the floor.  It’s a cute pose though, so I had some fun with it.

Here’s Alexi’s favorite:


The background is a vintage sepia, and the subjects have a color wash which gives them a bit of pop.  It’s a popular photo effect right now.  The background photo is one I took when we were at the Cord, Auburn, Duesenberg festival a few years ago.  I thought it worked pretty well for this comp.

Next up is John’s favorite:


Old school all the way with a vintage, distressed, sepia photo.  They look like Bonnie and Clyde.  lol

Here’s another one I did that’s a little different:


I don’t know what this one is.  Vintage Paris maybe?

And the last one I put together is something resembling a prom shot":


I wanted one without the terrible background of my door, but that hadn’t been edited too much.

I’m happy with them.  I’m not entirely crazy about my extraction, but her red hair is almost the same color as my door, which makes it really tough to pull out of the background.  I ended up cutting out some fly away hairs that I would have normally kept for realism.  They still turned out pretty cute though.

In that vein, I got a new background creator for Photoshop that’s pretty darn cool.  Inspired to play with my new toy, I did this one of Jack:

IMG_2879 Comp

He’s so cute.  :D

So there you go, a little eye candy, and as a bonus, John has something to read today.



Thursday, February 11, 2010


You may, or may not, know that I’ve been waiting to go to Nail Technology school for awhile now.  That, in and of itself, is a little ironic as I’ve been an unrepentant nail biter since I got my first tooth, but that’s besides the point.

I’ve been waiting a long time for classes to start…  A long, long time.  In fact, I think I just hit the seven month mark.

It really hasn’t been a big deal for me to wait though.  First, there is at least one student who has been waiting even longer than me.  Second, as soon as I toured the school and talked to the owner, I knew it was where I wanted to go, and I’m willing to wait to get a quality education.  The school, The Salon Professional Academy, not only trains some of the best beauty professionals certified today, but they also work very hard on teaching the business aspects of being a beauty professional in a competitive market.  Things like how to get new and repeat bookings, how to encourage customers to try services they might not think to book, and how to recognize what products a client should use at home, and how to encourage them to modify their beauty regimen.  In other words, how to make the extra cash.  Because those skills not only make you a better paycheck, but they also make you a professional who is in high demand with clients and employers alike.

And if I’m going to get a real job, then I want it to be worth the effort.

So I’ve been waiting, mostly patiently, for them to fill the class with enough students to get started.  They needed six to be able to pay the instructors fee, you see, and when I registered last summer I was number two.  So it’s been a long wait.

Yesterday was the big day though, I finally got THE call.  Classes are starting in just a few weeks, and since it’s only a four month program, I’ll graduate in early June.  Awesome!  Right?


It would be if I could expect life to cut me a little slack once in awhile, and just go according to plan.  No, no, no.  Life doesn’t work that way.  At every turn it has to see if you’re on the ball; if you have your coping skills in place.  Things can’t be easy, that would be too…  Well…  Easy.

Now before you think I’m whining, I’m not (well, maybe just a little bit).  My life is no harder than anyone else's, in fact I have it really darn good most days.  I’m just saying that every once in awhile it would be nice if things worked according to plan.  Maybe every ten years or so, something could work the way I had originally arranged it.  I’m sure you’re with me, and probably feel the same way.  So I say we petition the deities (whichever one you prefer) and file a formal complaint.  Life just shouldn’t have to be that difficult all of the time.  Right?

Anyway, back on track… 

I was really excited to hear that classes were starting, until the details started filtering through the phone line.  With each one, my heart sank a little more.  Instead of being able to jump right in to my new career path, I was going to have to find a way to rearrange my entire life for the next four months.

First off, just a few days ago John purchased tickets to fly out to New York for a weekend to spend some time with his Mom and Tommy D.  We spent a couple of weeks planning the trip, trying to decide when the best weekend for him to go would be, then finding the cheapest air fares.  March 5th was finally picked as the date he would leave, and he would return Monday, March 7th by driving his Dad’s car back for Alexi to use (if she ever gets her license). 

Want to guess when my first day of class is?  Come, on, I bet you can do it!  That’s right, classes start on Friday the 5th, with a full day on Friday, and another full day on Saturday the 6th.  To top it off, my kids are off school on the 5th, so not only would I need to find someone to watch the girls on Saturday, but Friday as well.

OK, so… That sucks.  Maybe John can change his flight that he JUST BOOKED, for a small fee that actually costs more than the tickets did, or maybe I can switch weekends with my ex so that Alexi and CJ can watch their younger sisters for me.  Not really thrilled about spending extra money on the trip though…  Nor is it how I like to spend my weekends with Alexi and CJ, especially since I don’t get that many.  We’ll work it out though, right?  No big deal.

Oh wait, they’ve also decided to change the class hours from a five hour day four days a week to an eight hour day three days a week.  Oh crap, now that’s a whole new load of trouble I’m going to have to figure out!

See, with the five hour schedule I would have been here for Jenna (the only one who really needs me at this point) either in the morning or in the afternoon (or all dang day if they’d stuck with the evening classes I originally signed up for), and would only need to find care for her for one or the other.  With an eight hour day though, I won’t be here for either.  So not only to I need to arrange for her to get to school, but also for her to get home as well.

And I don’t even want to talk about the fact that the dog is going to be home alone for eight hours a day either.  He is SO not going to be happy about that.

Well, let’s look on the bright side, at least it’s only for two days a week now; plus Saturday’s, but John will be home for most of them.  Also, the longer days will cut some time off of the length of the course, so I’ll graduate sooner.

Of course, with only three weeks notice, I have to cross my fingers and pray that my financial aid goes though fast enough.  Not to mention the other stuff like purchasing the school clothes I need (there’s a uniform/dress code), making sure that Tiana has someone to walk with and carry her trumpet home for her because she’s still not allowed to carry the weight of the instrument in its case, and making sure Alexi and CJ can find rides home with friends.  Now I just need to start riding Alexi’s rear-end about getting her license so that she can just drive her own dang car instead of leaching off her friends.

It just feels like an awful lot to figure out and rearrange in a short amount of time.  Considering the history I have of things not working in my favor though, you’d think I’d have known better.

Oh well, it’s only four months of my life, and then I’ll get the joy of trying to figure out how to work a job into my schedule.  Fun!



Sunday, February 7, 2010

Who Attacks Who?

In my previous post I spoke out against a website for promoting a fear campaign against Pit Bulls.  If you found the website I spoke of (and there were many clues in my post if you cared to try and hunt it down), you’d find that they posted graphic photos of the damage that pit bulls inflict, in an effort to make you sympathetic and fearful. 

And really, who isn’t sympathetic to a child who will live with scars her entire life because of a dog bite to the face?  Who doesn’t cry with the mother who’s child was injured or killed by a beloved family pet? 

However, the person who advocates eradicating a breed as a solution, is part of the problem, not the cure.  You see, it’s been proven time and time again that Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) does not work.  The reason is because, as I’ve said repeatedly, any dog is capable of biting someone.  Smaller breeds can scar a child’s tender skin, large breeds can maim and even kill when they bite.  Communities who implement BSL often find no reduction in dog bites or fatalities over time.  The best way to manage and prevent dog bite incidents is to encourage training of all dogs, to teach children the dangers of approaching strange dogs, and to implement dog laws that target animals who commit dangerous acts, instead of breeds of dogs perceived to be dangerous.

When all is said and done though, it’s not the dogs who are truly dangerous, it’s the people holding the leash.  As I said in my previous post, .001% of Pit Bulls are responsible for attacks on humans, and yet they are the most abused breed of dog in America today.

Part of it is because the dangerous reputation encouraged by the media and the internet.  That bad reputation appeals to the lowest of the low, the people who shouldn’t be allowed to roam the streets unleashed, let alone care for dogs.  They want mean dogs, aggressive fighters, guard dogs, but Pit Bulls don’t live up to their reputations, which angers their owners, and guess who bears the brunt of that anger?

The sweet dogs with the bad rap.

So she posted pictures of what a big, strong dog can do to the human body.  For every one of her pictures I’m sure I could find two of what a measly human can do to a big, strong Pit Bull.  In fact, I see these pictures, handfuls of them, come through my Pit Bull rescue feeds on a daily basis.

So here’s my first challenge.  Last year an estimated twelve people were killed by Pit Bulls, how many pits were killed by humans?

“It is estimated that 5,000,000 dogs per year are killed in shelters. Since in many places pit bulls make up 30-50% of the shelter population, and are less likely to be considered for placement than any other breed, guessing that 25% of those dogs killed is a reasonable estimate. Therefore, it can be assumed that perhaps 1.25 million pit bulls are killed per year.
Therefore - it is at least a HALF MILLION TIMES MORE LIKELY that a pit bull will be killed by a HUMAN than the other way around.”

Not enough? Here are twelve specific cases from 2009.

Man Killed Puppy over Steelers Game

At least 3 dogs starved to death at Memphis shelter

Decomposing Pit Bull Found At Home

Shooter Targeting Dogs Leashed in KC Yards

2 pit bull terriers euthanized after being set on fire in Dallas

Six Months Jail for Man Who Burned Dog Alive

Dog Owners Arrested For Starving Pit Bulls

Dogs found dead, chained to trees

Dog found starving, another found dead

Dog Found Fatally Shot In Colchester

Chained dog dies in heat

Dead and dying dogs found at gas station

There’s twelve, and they were easy to find.  I only went through two pages of search results to get them, and I didn’t even include the cases where the dog survived against the odds, or the dog fighting busts.  In total there are seven pages of such cases from 2009 on  They estimate that over 20% of dog abuse cases are perpetrated against pits, and that as a breed they are the most abused pet in America today.

So it’s pretty clear that when it comes to murder, Humans have the edge over Pit Bulls, hands down.  Yet I don’t see any websites calling for the eradication of our species.

And what of the dogs that survive the human attacks?  Many are euthanized by shelters that are over crowded with pits already, or believe that they cannot be rehabilitated.  Many recover, pulled by no-kill shelters, rescue groups, and fosters who nurse them back to health and help them heal the horrors they’ve endured.

Many, many, go on to lead happy lives in a new and loving home, where they die of old age; having never bared their teeth at the people who so rightfully deserved it.

So now my next challenge.  I found twenty-two photos and videos on that site showing the results of Pit Bull attacks.  Do you believe I can find double that showing the results of human attacks on pits?  Watch me.

I’ll take an additional step that you weren’t granted at the other site and allow you the choice of viewing these graphic photos if you wish to do so, by linking instead of posting them.

  1. One  Two Three  Four  Five  Six  Seven  Eight  Nine  Ten  Eleven  Twelve  Thirteen  Fourteen  Fifteen  Sixteen  Seventeen  Eighteen  Nineteen  Twenty  Twenty-one  Twenty-two  Twenty-three  Twenty-four  Twenty-five  Twenty-six  Twenty-seven  Twenty-eight  Twenty-nine  Thirty  Thirty-one  Thirty-two  Thirty-three  Thirty-four  Thirty-five  Thirty-six  Thirty-seven  Thirty-eight  Thirty-nine  Forty  Forty-one  Forty-two  Forty-three  Forty-four

Do you want to vomit yet?  I do.

Again, not hard to find, I could have found many more, and the stories to accompany the pictures are beyond belief.  Pit Bulls starved, burned, thrown from moving vehicles, forced to fight, ears cropped with scissors and no anesthesia.

Makes me so proud to be a human being (sarcasm again).

As a Pit owner, that website labels me, and not too flatteringly I might add.  Yet I’ve gone through the majority of my life not wanting a dog.  When I finally considered getting one, Pit Bulls weren’t even on my radar.  I was looking at a cute, but hyper, Beagle.  Jack kind of fell into our laps, and we decided to give a sweet dog a home to match.

Yet before we committed to bringing him home, I did some research because I’d only heard bad things about Pit Bulls, and it was that information, coupled with the time spent loving and training my dog, that has turned me into an advocate of the breed.

If I’m crazy for that, then so be it.  If you can honestly look at those pictures, read those articles, and not believe that these dogs deserve better than what they get…  Well, I just don’t know…


Dogs Bite, and so do I

Today I came across a website that made me mad enough to spit.  If you know me, you know that’s no mean feat.  My temper flares occasionally, but it’s quickly extinguished.  It’s rare for me to be hopping mad for longer than a few minutes.

What has made me so angry? Well… let me tell you…

I subscribe to a blog called KC Dog Blog - Unofficial Watchdog on Animal Welfare Issues.  They cover all sorts of things dealing with animals, and as an animal lover, I find it informative and interesting to stay up to date on current animal events.  As a Pit Bull owner, I also find it imperative to keep up to date on the Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) that’s being passed across the country.  I’d hate to be driving through a city with Jack in the backseat, only to be pulled over and lose a family member (for the record, I will never be visiting Denver for just that reason unless the BSL there is repealed).

Every weekend, the blog does a weekly round-up, linking to media stories that they were unable to cover during the week, and it was in reading one of those stories that I discovered the website that pissed me off so badly.  You see, Glendale, AL recently passed a law banning Pit Bulls, and of course the city’s pit bull owners protested the new legislation.  In the article covering the protest, the author mentioned the website in question as a source for some quoted statistics.

I’m not going to link to the website, just in case you were wondering, because I usually do in such cases.  Why?  Because I don’t want the owner to see any hits on Google Analytics coming from my blog.  I debated my stance on this long and hard, because part of me would love to have it out with the owner of said site.  From the comments on the blog portion of the website though, I’m pretty sure that my sane and rational arguments would fall on deaf (and perhaps criminally stupid) ears.  So in the end I decided that I didn’t want to give the site any more advertising than it deserved. 

Now back to my story… I went to this site thinking that it would be an impartial website, listing the statistics of dog attacks in the US.  I believed that mainly because the name of the site made it appear to be nothing more than that.  However, the name was a touch misleading.  When I got there what I found was hate mongering, aimed at pit bulls and a few other large breed dogs, a site filled with misleading information, and mangled statistics.

In all honesty, it made me sick to my stomach.  In fact, I’d really like to meet the author so that I can vomit on her shoes.

To put it simply, the entire argument that you can breed widespread aggression into a dog is a total load of bull s***.  To believe that is to believe that all African American’s are violent, all Hispanics lazy, and so on and so forth.  While we’re at it, women shouldn’t be in the military because their constitution is too weak, mentally disabled children should be institutionalized because they can’t be functioning members of society, and anyone without blonde hair and blue eyes should be put in internment camps and gassed to death (dripping sarcasm, just in case you weren’t sure).

Yup, you read that right, I made that leap.  I’m comparing the website owner to Hitler and the eradication of the Jews, because it’s based on the same flawed logic.  The human animal is not the sum of its DNA, our thoughts, actions, and beliefs are based largely on our life experiences.  People become violent when they live with violence, is it really so hard to believe that a domesticated animal is any different?

Apparently, for some, it is.  Yet we’re talking about animals who have lived side by side with humans for thousands of years.  They rely on us for food and shelter, and in fact cannot live well without human intervention.  Instinct for them, is to protect and love their human pack mates because without them they cannot survive. 

So why do dogs (not just pits) sometimes turn on their owners, or attack other humans?  In some cases it’s for the same reasons that people sometimes do the same thing.  They are abused, neglected, or twisted in some form at an early age.  They go insane chained in a small area, just like a human would if imprisoned in a small room from an early age.  Some are abused by the people who should be the ones caring for them, turning the dogs into psychopathic killers like we see in human form on the news so very often.  When it happens to a Chihuahua it’s unfortunate, but not often deadly, when it happens to a large breed dog, the outcome is tragedy.

However, the website in question says that argument isn’t true, that happy, healthy, well cared for pit bulls will snap, and attack for no reason at all.  No perceived threat, no history of abuse, no anxiety or aggression behaviors prior to the attack.  Again, I call bull s***.  Frequently we don’t hear about the background of the dogs who attack, because if you learn that the dogs had been abused and neglected you might just blame someone other than the dog.  All dogs will show signs of aggression in their behavior prior to attack.  The problem begins when the people around them fail to recognize those signs and signals.  If a dog growls when someone walks near their food, that’s a sign, separation anxiety is a sign, territorial behaviors over toys, space, and people are a sign.  There are always indicators in the history of the animal that lead up to attacks, no dog just snaps and bites as the website would like you to believe.

Additionally, almost all of the negative statistics quoted on the site are notated as if they were from official outside sources, but if you take the time to follow the links, you’ll find that they link back to articles on the site; not outside resources as the author would have you believe.  The links that do go outside the site, are to positive press for pit bulls that have been misquoted and twisted to suit the authors views.  In fact, one of the links goes to the United Kennel Club site, where they state:

“The essential characteristics of the American Pit Bull Terrier are strength, confidence, and zest for life. This breed is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm. APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children. Because most APBTs exhibit some level of dog aggression and because of its powerful physique, the APBT requires an owner who will carefully socialize and obedience train the dog. The breed’s natural agility makes it one of the most capable canine climbers so good fencing is a must for this breed. The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable. This breed does very well in performance events because of its high level of intelligence and its willingness to work.”

To add to the rampant misquoting, there is a healthy dose of missing information.  For instance, attacks and fatalities perpetrated by other breeds are completely absent from the website.  It’s a little funny if you ask me, because in researching the dog attacks that made the media in the last week we find that seven attacks occurred in the US this week, and only one was reported to have been perpetrated by a Pit Bull.  One was by a Jack Russell Terrier, three were by Labradors, and the rest were mixed breed dogs.  Now, let’s broaden our search and look at world wide dog attack fatalities in the last week, and we find that two Rottweiler's, three Bull Mastiffs', and five mixed breed dogs were responsible for killing three people world wide in the last seven days.

Then we have an attack in California where mistaken identity played a major role in supporting the Pit Bull stereotype.  From KC Dog Blog:

“And the most popular story of the week came from San Bernardino County, when a family was attacked by 5 dogs, leaving a five year old girl in critical condition. The evolution of the story has been interesting to watch, as originally all five dogs were reported to be 'pit bulls'. Then, it was said that they were a Mastiff and four "pit bull mixes' -- with the Mastiff causing the most damage. And has since evolved to being a Mastiff, a 'pit bull' and three 'mixed breed' dogs.”

So if this website is supposed to be providing information about dog attacks, then why are the stories about the Labs and the Mutts missing from the pages of the site blog?  Oh, because it’s a hate blog parading as a legitimate source of information, that’s why.

However, according to the site, I’m just a “lion tamer.”  Someone who gets one of these horrible vicious dogs and trains them to be a “breed ambassador” to lull people into thinking they’re great dogs so that you’ll get one and allow it to chew of your children’s faces.  I obviously cannot be trusted.

It’s pretty clear the website has an agenda, but that begs the question why?  It turns out that the owner was bitten by a pit bull a few years ago, and has since been on a mission to eradicate the breed.  She was hospitalized with a fractured bone, because as I’ve said before; pits are strong and when they bite, they’re going to bite hard.  Why was she bitten?  Who knows, she doesn’t deem the particulars of the attack important enough to describe on her website.  Had the dog been mistreated, did it perceive her as a threat?  Was it being controlled on a leash by a responsible owner?  Again, those are details she doesn’t care to share with the rest of us.

No matter the reason though, it’s probably a good thing that she wasn’t attacked by a German, or I’d be in trouble.  That whole Nazi thing a while back is proof that as a race we’re just not to be trusted.  You can’t put a single one of us in a room with a Jew and not expect some bloodshed.  (Hi Lisa!  *kisses*)

Now just in case the site owner does manage to stumble across my humble pit bull loving blog, I do have a few words for her…

You, Madam, are among the worst sort of fear mongering coward.  You were randomly attacked by a big dog, and while I sympathize with the fear that incident instilled in you, I cannot abide you trying to pass that fear onto the entire population.  Posting graphic pictures of the worst sort to instill fear and hate towards creatures that are mostly victims themselves, you should be ashamed of yourself. 

Terrible things happen every day, women are raped (and yet not every man is a rapist), children are abused and killed by the parents who should love them (yet not every parent is a child killer).  You were attacked by a Pit Bull, and while I know how much I would be afraid if the same were to have happened to me, I would still have the sense to understand that not every Pit Bull is an attacker.

If (as I have been sarcastically implying throughout this post) you had been attacked by a person would you go after the entire race for the behavior of one?  No, nor would you be allowed to do such. 

There is an estimated 5.3 million pit bulls alive today.  In 2009 there were 600 estimated pit bull attacks, 12 of them fatal.  broken down, that means only .001% of the pit bull population were responsible for the attacks, and of those .000022% responsible for fatal attacks.

And, my dear Madam, those are your cold, hard numbers.

Is it reasonable or responsible to wipe out an entire race for the actions of .000022% of the population?  No?  For .001% of the population?  let’s step outside reality and say the numbers were higher, 1-2%? 5%?  Again, a resounding NO!

“we are the only source of information on this topic that is not owned, controlled, or funded by pit bull breeders, owners, veterinarian or animal welfare groups.”

Perhaps it’s time to turn your “educational website” over to a more unbiased source, for you are on an emotional mission to punish millions of individuals for the crimes of a few.  Because while you may not be owned by someone who cares about a dogs welfare, you are not without your own agenda.

For everyone else, if you are interested in reading a non-biased, scientific research paper on Breed-ism (based on over 150 years of reported dog attacks), and the stigma that seems to surround certain types of dogs (what causes it, what encourages it, and how it evolves), I highly recommend the Pit Bull Placebo.  It’s available for free download by clicking the link.  In it you will find that many breeds have been deemed dangerous by the public over the years, including Blood Hounds (yea, with the droopy ears and soulful eyes.  I bet you didn’t know that underneath that innocent appearance they were hiding the souls of vicious brutes.)  It is a very informative, yet entertaining book.

Thanks for sticking with me and reading this novella in it’s entirety.  Jack loves you for it, and so do I.



Friday, February 5, 2010

Jack: Then and Now


It seems a little strange to be making a post like this when we’ve only had him for about four months, but the changes in my dog have been so dramatic in that time, that it’s most certainly called for.

Remember this picture from when I first introduced him to you?


Here he is now, with Jenna (who has grown a little, but not a lot) for size comparison.


My teeny little puppy is now bigger than my seven year old!

Or, how about this picture of him sleeping on Alexi…


Now, a more recent one of him trying to sleep on Alexi…


Yes, my dog has transmogrified into a moose.  A moose who thinks he owns the couch, and since he now weighs over fifty pounds, it’s a little hard to disagree with him.

He’s still the same happy, loving puppy we brought home a few months ago though, just a lot bigger and a little better behaved.  He knows all of the basic obedience commands, and actually listens to them most of the time now.  Even when he’s excited he will sit if you tell him to sit.  His butt may only touch the ground for ten seconds, but the important thing is that it does touch it.

We’re now working on the training that he just did not have the impulse control to master a few months ago, things like wait (stay), leave it, and drop it.  He’s doing well so far (he’s a really smart idiot, remember?), and once he has it all mastered he’s going to be an awesome dog.  He’s just so funny and cute, it would be impossible not to love him.

He’s become really attached to Jenna, in fact I believe that, under the right circumstances, he would die to protect her.  Say, if a bear attacked while they were out on a walk in the middle of the city.  Because, you know, that happens all the time around here.  If a person attacked however, he would probably just wag his tail and lick the attacker’s ankles.

In the mornings, Jenna uses him as a pillow (or vice versa) and they watch TV together.  When she gets up to start getting ready for school, he cries in hopes that his pitiful-ness will make her feel sorry for him and bring her back to the couch.  It rarely works though, because I’m a mean mommy and insist that the puppy will survive without her.

He cries a lot actually.  I think it’s a trade off because he doesn’t bark.  At all!  He can bark, he just doesn’t.  I could probably count the times I’ve heard him do it on one hand and have fingers left over.  So instead of barking, he whines to get your attention.  That’s fine with me, the crying is easier on the ears, and no trouble to ignore when the situation calls for it.

Now I’m sure you’ve heard people defending pit bulls by saying that they’re not people aggressive, just animal aggressive.  It’s partly true, they’re not people aggressive at all.  Shelter workers will tell you that most of the pits who come in from horribly abusive situations are still quite loving towards people, as evidenced with the Michael Vick dogs.  I would go so far as to say that they’re not really all that aggressive toward other animals either though.

Most types of terriers can be aggressive towards other animals, as their breed was refined to help control pests and other animals on farms.  Yet I recently read a study (I’d link it but unfortunately I didn’t bookmark it) that tested for aggression in known breeds of dogs.  While pits were found to be more animal aggressive than some other breeds, they were not among the breeds to be found the most animal aggressive.  There were a handful of breeds that ranked above them.

So really it comes down to a nature verses nurture thing.  If you socialize them from a young age, you’re not going to have any problems in the future.  Since we have so many animals in the house, we’ve been working with Jack to desensitize him to the presence of animals, even ones as small as a hamster.

While he gets excited when he sees the other animals, we’ve never seen any form of aggression in him.  My main worry at this point, is not that he’ll attack another animal, but will get too excited and hurt one by playing too rough.  He has no idea how big and strong he is right now, so we’re working with him on that too.  Every few days one of us will get a grip on Jacks collar, while someone else will bring one of the other pets to him (cat, guinea pig, hamster, no one is exempt from suffering through Jack training).  If he sits calmly, we bring the animal closer for him to greet, if he gets up, or gets excited, we take it away.  He’s learned really quickly that the best way to be able to check out the other members of the family, is to be calm and relaxed.  Now his furry siblings usually end up getting a lick or two at the end of the training session, much to their dismay (puppy slobber, ewww).

Eventually this training will trickle down, and he’ll understand that when we meet other dogs on our walks, or at the vets office, he should approach calmly, and he’ll get to greet and maybe even play.  He’s still just a puppy though, and sometimes it’s hard for him to repress his excitement.  It will improve with age, especially since he has the training to back it up.

I honestly feel that training is the key with any dog, no matter if they’re a Chihuahua, or a Great Dane.  If you want to have a happy dog, and a relaxed home environment, spend fifteen minutes a day on positive reinforcement based training.  You’ll be amazed at what your dog can do, and how much easier it makes life.



As you can see from the pictures, Jack is starting to look less like a plain terrier, and more and more like a pit bull terrier.  It doesn’t bother me at all, I think he’s still awfully cute with his floppy ears and permanent smile.  As his chest and head start to broaden though, I’m noticing more and more that it’s bothering other people.

And that just stinks.

For one, it just makes Jack’s day when he gets to meet someone new.  He LOVES people, and wants to make friends with everyone he meets.  When people go out of their way to avoid him, he’s missing out on socializing opportunities and the training that goes with them.  The more people he gets to meet and greet, the more he’s able to learn the proper way to behave around people.  If you don’t give these animals a chance to learn how to act in the presence of a stranger, then you’re just adding to the problem.

I’m not saying you should approach every pit you see running around without caution, but if the owner is there controlling the dog on a leash, then it’s typically safe to approach.  And if you think that the ankle biter you passed a block down is safer to walk past than a pit bull, you’re insane.  Any dog has the potential for aggression, and a Shih Tzu’s teeth will make you bleed just as fast as my Pit Bull’s will.  The difference is that I have my dog under control when we’re out walking; Owners of small, “harmless” dogs, don’t always take the care they should.

Just use some discretion and common sense, that’s all I ask.  If a dog looks well behaved, and is accompanied by a human who looks well behaved as well, then chances are good that the dog poses no threat, no matter how big and strong they might be.

Jenna is totally baffled when she sees a grownup cross the street to avoid walking too close to Jack when we’re out.  How can anyone be afraid of a happy dog, wagging his tail, and being loved by a seven year old?  How scary is a dog that serves time as a couch pillow every morning?

He’s not, and I hope that in her lifetime the stigma goes away, that people start to get it, because I think she’s going to be a life-long pit bull lover too.  Until then though, I made her a shirt to wear:


She loves it!


Now doesn’t he look vicious?