Monday, April 30, 2007

Marques Colston Welcomes Robert Meachem to the New Orleans Saints

As Marques Colston's Unofficial Publicist, I'd like to make sure that you all know that Marques welcomes the addition of Robert Meachem to the New Orleans Saints*. His presence will keep teams from double teaming Marques and will improve the Saints already potent offense. Here are some highlights from Robert.



*- this is a hypothesis as I don't actually correspond with Marques and I doubt that he knows that I, Jacob the Syrian Hamster, am filling this role.

Tongue Twister

Since I'm small and scurry a lot and tongue twisters are the verbal equivalent of random scurrying, our Maximum Leader has put me in charge of posting our tongue twisters as we come up with them. Today's is very short. Try saying it three times, fast. I've yet to do it successfully.

"Paprika pachyderms."

Me, the physical embodiment of a tongue twister.

Blogging Later, Rick Lee Now

If you haven't ever visited Rick Lee's photography blog, go see it now. Here's why.


Photo used with permission from Rick Lee.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Is the War Lost?

...is the wrong question. The real question is, "How do you stop suicidal maniacs with car bombs?" We have yet to figure that out. We can run away and move our forces into Afghanistan, but the problem will follow us there. If the Islamofascists see that it works, they'll keep at it.

So just how do you stop suicidal maniacs with car bombs?

No Motivation


See also: Cats, Carnival of the.

Totally Flummoxed by the New Orleans Saints Draft

As a huge N'awlins Saints fan, I cannot understand this draft. We had the #1 offense last year and a pretty porous defense. What did we draft?

Offense: WR, G, OT, RB

Defense: CB

Unless we plan on winning games 41-38, this doesn't seem to make any sense at all. Don't get me wrong, I think our #1 pick of WR Robert Meachem was great. He's going to open up the field for our running game. The rest of them are stunners.

A running back? When you have Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister?

Update: In round 5 we drafted another CB, David Jones out of Wingate. Where the heck is Wingate?

Update 2: Randy Moss just got traded to the Patriots for a 4th round choice. That's about the only way Randy can succeed, to get dissed with such a low value and go to a team with a total authoritarian coach and a deity at QB. Just try and take a play off now, you creep.

The Right has Completely Missed the Point

Hugh Hewitt has written and broadcast repeatedly questioning the Iraq withdrawal strategy proposed by the Democrats. Other bloggers have also written persuasive posts discussing the consequences of retreat and the way in which the enemy will take advantage of it. They talk about mass slaughter in Iraq and how it will free up enemy fighters to pursue the same tactics in Afghanistan, where we would presumably withdraw again, whereupon those fighters would be freed up to pursue us somewhere else.

They are talking to themselves. There's no one on the other side who can hear what they say because they're speaking a foreign language.

To the Left, it's not Islamofascists that is our enemy, it is conflict itself that is the enemy. When you ask, "If we lost, then who won?" the question is nonsensical becausee to them, in war, no one wins. The reason that only American deaths are reported by the left-leaning MSM is that it shows, over and over again, that war is bad.

Not only is conflict the enemy, but moral judgment is the enemy to the Left as well. The reason that Abu Ghraib was on the front page of the New York Times for 40+ days was that it showed how we were no different than the Islamofascists. That's also the source of fascination with the "torture" going on at Guantanamo Bay. It's why a preposterously stupid story about flushing Korans got published in Newsweek. This is why some on the Left support financial aid to the Palestinians despite their election of genocidal loons. Who are we to judge?

Harry Reid's goal is to stop all conflicts because there is no end result worth acts of violence. If that is your goal, then withdrawing from Iraq is a clear path to success. He does not see a human enemy in any of this so questions about what the "enemy" will do are nonsensical to him.

Meanwhile, the Right goes on yelling about tactics and strategies and winning and losing with no effect on the debate at all. The underlying debate, one which is not occurring and needs to occur, is about good and evil. Do they exist? Can you define them? Is one or the other dominant in a particular culture or country? Until you have that debate out in the open, the current one will go nowhere.

On the Advantages of a Proper Relationship with a Dog

In our previous post, I spoke of a conversation that I had with our Maximum Leader that left dogs, er, hanging. As our Holy Ambassador to the Kingdom of Dogs rightly points out, this is a great affront to dogs. And so, in the interest of setting things right, we have done some research on the proper relationship between dogs and cats.

Our Holy Ambassador in all his glory.

First, we discovered that having a dog in the house helps cats live longer lives. Research suggests that the dog gives us stimulation we need. There are other ways of getting this stimulation, but as our Mother Superior of the Holy Order of Ocean Whitefish shows us, they are less effective.

Second, dogs keep out the larger predators that come through our pet door to devour our crunchies. Had we shared the Theocracy's Cathedral with a dog, this would never have happened.

Lastly, dogs can be patient and gentle despite their tremendous bulk when it comes time for wrestling and play.

We hope that this corrects the errors in our previous post and invite all blogging dogs to share in the warmth and radiance of full Feline Theocratic enlightenment.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Dogs and Ropes

Our Maximum Leader and I were sitting on the front steps watching the world go by this evening when we saw a couple walking a dog go by. Horrible. Truly horrible. Oh sure, it looked friendly and fluffy and cheerful, but we knew that was all a facade. After all, it was a dog. The dog was at the end of a rope-like object. I think it was a leash, but our Maximum Leader was certain it was a rope. In any case, we both agreed that the only proper thing for most dogs to be doing at the end of a rope was swinging.

Update: Written in the terror of the moment, overcome by the horror of a close encounter with a strange dog, this post is in error and has been corrected here.

The Sneaky Chef

Our Nun of the Above posted a link on her sidebar. I checked it out. It's fiendishly clever. It's...The Sneaky Chef! It has recipes for hiding nutritious foods inside of dishes kids will eat. Muuhahahahaha! Glorious!

I alread do some of that now when I puree onions and put them in the spaghetti sauce before anyone can see, but this is much more sophisticated than that. I'll say it again. Muuuuhahahahahahaha!

Not a rut, but a Turning Point

Yesterday I posted about my recent lack of creativity. I complained about my brain drying up and not having anything interesting to say. As I puttered about yesterday thinking about it, it dawned on me that it might be a natural consequence to having several things resolve in my life all at the same time.

It's not a rut, but the culmination of a long winning streak. A few months before I started this blog I went through a major catastrophe that left me with plenty of debt and little free time. My daughter was having trouble in school. My job was incredibly frustrating and unrewarding.

I followed Dave Ramsey's financial advice and I took up blogging because it was the only thing I could think of to make a little money that was available in the odd moments and irregular times I had at my disposal. I scoured the mom-blogs and tried a variety of things to help my daughter. A month or so ago I was blessed by God and given a golden opportunity at work to work for someone who "got it".

In the intervening months, I paid off my credit card debt, my car loan and various other bills until I'm right where I like to be financially. In the last month my daughter finally internalized the value of school and has taken off scholastically, doing better than anyone but me predicted. My job is so much fun now that I work on it on the weekends for pleasure. Meanwhile, my son has been the same old rock of support and love that he always is. He thinks I'm helping and supporting him and doesn't realize just how much pleasure I derive from his company.

The end result is that with the last payment I sent out and the last set of test scores my daughter achieved, all of the pressing motivations I had have dissolved. I'm left with the wind at my back and a freedom at the tiller that I haven't had in years, perhaps decades, perhaps ever. The question is, which way do I steer now?

Avast there, mateys! Steer a course for...?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Just a Down-Home BBQ

I think this is how the Europeans see us.


I love it.

In a Rut

So no sooner do I get a very nice compliment from Jake Silver about being a thinking blog he loves to read, but my brain dries up. No photos of our Maximum Leader for the Friday Ark, no issue-related posts, no photos of flowers or sunsets, just a dry, barren desert of creativity. I've been visiting my favorite inspirational sites and coming up empty. I'm in a rut.

On the positive side, I recently changed jobs at work in part to spend more time helping my daughter with her schoolwork and she just got her first test packet back reflecting our new strategy. Her grades jumped one and a half grade levels. No bad grades at all. I guess having dad around to help does make a difference!

I'm sure this rut is temporary. I've been working so hard with my little poppet that I think my brain just ran dry. I'll be back later, I'm sure.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

No CNN Filter Required

I don't think you need Wolf Blitzer to interpret this.


John Edwards is right. There really are two Americas. He's just got the distinction wrong. There's one that thinks the rest of the world is just like the Comparative Lit faculty at the local university and one that's ready to take it's turn on civilization's dangerous borderlands.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tongue Twisters

Scrounging around the web, I found this page of tongue twisters. Here are two of my favorites.

Wishy-washy Wanda watched her watch get washed.

Which wrist watch is a Swiss wrist watch?

I love it!

World of Good, Lumber Yard Style

Welcome to The Scratching Post and another Wednesday WOrld of Good (WOG)! A very nice reader emailed me this story so I thought I'd share it with you for this week's WOG.

A little while ago, I wrote about getting stuck in the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) airport while on the way home from a business trip. Bad weather had rolled through the area and DFW was a mess. Every flight was delayed and many had been cancelled. Lots of people in the terminal were outraged at having been inconvenienced. Anger and recriminations were commonplace as the airlines struggled to cope with the weather.

At a nearby lumber yard, the story was evolving differently. An F1 tornado had ripped through the area causing tremendous damage.

The owner of the lumber yard, Jerry Kurosky, remained hospitalized Sunday. He suffered a serious facial cut, numerous bruises, and nearly lost an ear when he was struck by a piece of flying wood.

But one of the company's employees, and a resident of the neighborhood—40-year-old Marc Patterson—was killed in the violent storm. Doctors said he suffered a heart attack while trying to hold on to some lumber as the storm blew in.
Neighbors, friends and members of local churches turned out soon afterwards to do what they could to help.

On Sunday more than 100 people from the neighborhood and several nearby churches pitched in to help a family in need, and Kurosky's family was grateful...The move to clean up the lumber yard started as a word-of-mouth effort from several pulpits. "We heard about this Sunday here, today at church," said volunteer Ben Brights. "We decided to come out and do what we can to help."

"The fellow here needs a lot of help," said volunteer Monte Roths. "Obviously, it hit here the hardest. The love he has for other people—he's the type of person who would help another before he helps himself."
It wasn't just about the lumberyard. It was about helping others in need.

The Oakview Street volunteers, about 70 in all, worked quickly and by 3 p.m. had moved from the lumber yard to Kurosky's neighbors.

Linda Cisneros, whose family has been staying with her mother-in-law since the storm, returned to her home Sunday afternoon to find a stranger dragging tree limbs from her yard.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you," said Cisneros, who is married with two children. "A man came and told us it would cost $3,000 to fix everything, but we don't have that kind of money."

About a dozen members of the Tarrant Baptist Association's disaster response team came to help on their own accord, member Delbert Timmes said.

"We'll probably be here tomorrow, too, until it's done," Timmes said. "This is what God called us to do."
Now that's a World of Good.

April Sunset


Click on the photo for a higher resolution image.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Brach Recreates Pavlov's Experiments

...with hilarious results! Read the whole thing.

I'm Back!

Blogger moved our blog to the new Blogger, not the old Blogger so I can now come back and blog with new Blogger!

Yay!

Errr, what did I just say?

Anyway, Blogger moved us to the new version without trashing our template. We are very happy. When I heard the news, I ran for hours!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bishop Takes Queen, Checkmate

I loved this scene. It shows a little slice of America at its best.

Happy as a Hairdresser

Scott Baradell over at Marketing Profs has an outstanding post about Seven Secrets to Being as Happy as a Hairdresser.

Seriously. It turns out that hairdressers are among the happiest people in the world. Stop by Scott's post to learn why.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Feline Theocracy Hosts the Carnival of the Cats

Welcome to this week's Carnival of the Cats! Our host and the Maximum Leader of the Feline Theocracy, K T Cat herself, will now open the Carnival with an invocation.


Oh Lord, we beseech thee, bring all of these kitties tuna in their bowls, sunbeams on their sofas and fresh catnip rubbed on their toys. Amen.

With that, let's get started. This week we have many tails to tell.

Tails of Heroism

Catherine Cantieri presents The first casualty of pet ownership is dignity posted at I am screaming and punching myself.

Jacki Wolfe presents Sophie: Forsaking all toys for the care of her kit... posted at Keeping in Touch.

howtoholdacat presents How to Pill a Cat posted at How To Hold A Cat Without Losing An Eye.

Megan presents Bad Kittens Five posted at Bad Kitty Cats.

Marilynn presents Special kitty-mom posted at Momma Grace & Company.

Tails of Beauty

Aloysius presents A pear-shaped cat quarrels with his muse posted at Catymology.

Rahel presents Missy and Her Ladyship: Friends At Last? posted at Elms in the Yard.

Mog presents Tongue ‘n Toes Thursday #10 posted at Mind of Mog.

Allan presents Sigh posted at AllanThinks.

leucanthemum b presents Friday Catblog: Matinee Idol posted at composite drawlings.

ACM presents Thursday kittens posted at Just Between Strangers.

Omnibus Driver presents The Divine Miss Marilyn is feeling demure today. posted at Leslie's Omnibus.

Omnibus Driver presents Friday Cat Blogging posted at Lincoln State Cat Club.

maggie katzen presents this is typical of so many afternoons posted at maggies meanderings and shameless plugs.

john presents Close-ups posted at StrangeRanger.

Sissy Willis presents Oedipus Ax posted at sisu.

Tails of Happiness

Monkeybizness presents Good news story posted at Monkeybizness.

Blueberry presents Catblogging - Alex is filling out his form posted at Texas Oasis.

srp presents Mr. Rhett and His Doll posted at Mélange.

Tails of Relaxation

Elisson presents TUMMY TUESDAY posted at Blog d'Elisson.

Mog presents All Of Us posted at iInfidel.

srp presents Napping, Always A Good Choice posted at Mélange.

Mog presents Love Me Pet Me Love Me posted at Mind of Mog.

Wes Phillips presents Stereophile: Are You Experienced? posted at Stereophilia.

Maya presents Baby Wylie posted at Babyfied.

John + Pat presents Friday Cat Blogging: Kelly, you rock posted at It's all Good..

Mog presents Tummy Tuesday #39 posted at Mind of Mog.

Tails of Fine Dining

Michelle presents Ways to increase your cat?s water intake posted at When Cats Attack.

Tails of Adventure

jams o donnell presents just a ted in a (smaller) box posted at The Poor Mouth.

Debra presents The Brothers posted at MANX MNEWS.

Mog presents Having Second Thoughts posted at Mind of Mog.

Sissy Willis presents "The lamest Nor'easter I've ever seen" posted at sisu.

Lab kat presents Friday Cat Blogging: Clean Sheet Edition posted at Lab Kat.

Cassie presents Feline Friday: Inspection Time! posted at Scribblings.

barry campbell presents Guest catblogging: Buddy the Wonder Cat posted at enrevanche.

GrannyJ presents The Balloons Look Down posted at Walking Prescott.

Laughing Muse presents Cat…in the bag on Title Deleted for Security Reasons posted at Title Deleted for Security Reasons.

There's a Panther on the Prowl in this late entry to the Carnival. Check it out!

Tails of Mystery

Cassie presents Wordless Wednesday posted at Scribblings.

Susan presents Busted posted at pages turned.

Chris Dolley presents International Nocturnal Kittens of Mystery posted at Chris Dolley's Page.

Wes Phillips presents Stereophile: We Are Not Amused posted at Stereophilia.

Megan presents The Ghost In Me posted at Bad Kitty Cats.

Valerie presents Cat Food Recalled posted at Val's Bien.

Mog presents Mind of Mog » The Recall Expands posted at Mind of Mog.

Sissy Willis presents Breathtaking banality posted at sisu.

And a great finale, one of my favorites of the week...

A Love Story

Kimberly presents Feline Friday: My new chair posted at Music and Cats.

Whew! We're exhausted. Just look at how beat our Maximum Leader is.


Thanks to everyone who took the time to submit something and a big thank you as always to the blogfather of the Carnival of the Cats, Laurence Simon.

Take care and God Bless!

Iraqi Video Poll Analysis

What follows is my brief analysis of a recent post I wrote asking readers to view two short videos of constructive things being done by Coalition forces in Iraq and vote on which they preferred.

A poll was taken on two videos that had come out of Iraq. One was a heavily produced version created by the Army Corps of Engineers discussing the construction of an Iraqi kindergarten. The other was a candid, home-movie style video of some soldiers handing out soccer balls to kids. The post offering the poll was widely marketed and garnered about 500 hits. Following the standard statistics of Internet users, only 10% of the viewers voted and about 1.5% of the viewers left comments. The poll was linked at several high-traffic blogs, most of which are conservative-leaning and pro-Iraqi Freedom. The vote ended up tied, 22-22. An insufficient sample of written opinions was given to allow objective analysis. The author offers some conjectures based on personal experience.

Given the sources of the visitors, mostly conservative and pro-Iraqi Freedom blogs, it’s reasonable to assume that the visitors were already pro-military and inclined to support the effort. The fact that the candid video did as well as the produced one indicates a substantial demand by the public for information direct from the field without editing from military authorities. Speculating further, information insertion by the rear echelons decreases the trustworthiness of the video. Consumers do not buy willingly from sources they do not trust. Any indication that the information, which in this case is the consumable, has been tampered with reduces the confidence in the viewers that what they are seeing is real.


Conclusion: The market for information can be segmented into two substantial groups – those that prefer videos with high production values and those that prefer candid videos straight from the field. A third group of people who will not want to see anything pro-Iraqi Freedom under any circumstances exists, but they’re not potential consumers of this information and do not impact this study.

The author’s struggle to find source material for the candid video portion of this poll indicates that the market for information direct from the field is extremely under-served. Coalition forces are making a huge mistake not supporting this kind of information sharing. Influence Operations, which is crucial to any anti-terrorism campaign, cannot succeed with large segments of the market underserved.

I want to thank the bloggers that supported this effort, Laurence Simon, Rusty Shackleford, Mark Shea, Jeff Miller , Ogre and Mog. If you linked to this video and I've forgotten, please drop me an email and I'll add you to this list. I also want to thank CPT Anthony Deiss, U.S. Central Command Forward Headquarters, CENTCOM Public Affairs for his very kind reply and recommendations for finding official DoD videos. Brent Walker, the MNF-Iraq webmaster, also sent me a very kind note. I hope to continue this relationship with all of you. I believe that victory over Islamofascism will require a sophisticated information campaign and we all play a part in it.

A more detailed discussion of market segmentation in this context can be found at this post.

Gratitude

Yesterday I planted the little sprouts that had competed in my Seed Racing experiment. If you were keeping score at home, the Painted Daisies won, if you measure by the size of the roots breaking out of the little peat pots, the Gold Dust Alyssums won if you measure by the number of roots breaking out, but they all won by being ready to be planted at the same time.

One of them, a tiny English Daisy, had been attacked by various bugs while she struggled to grow. I used every weapon in my arsenal to kill off the bugs and give her a chance to survive. Recently, she sent me this little love note to show her gratitude.

Thanks!

Any time, little one. Any time.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Which Side Are You On?

First, a video from the Americans in Iraq.


Next, text of a speech from the Acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Sheik Ahmad Bahr. Not some random nutjob, the Speaker of the Legislative Council of a nation of millions of people. Here's his photo and bio.

Oh Allah, vanquish the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, vanquish the Americans and their supporters. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them all, down to the very last one. Oh Allah, show them a day of darkness. Oh Allah, who sent down His Book, the mover of the clouds, who defeated the enemies of the Prophet – defeat the Jews and the Americans, and bring us victory over them.
Hey, I know. Let's retreat and surrender! After all, we're just as guilty as they are, what right do we have to shove our values on them? We can make peace with these guys by just leaving them alone. Then we can all go back inside and watch Two and a Half Men.

Yep, that will work.

H/T: JihadWatch

Friday, April 20, 2007

I Think I'm Going to Have an Aneurysm

I have introduced blogging to my workplace. We use a very capable Movable Type system. It is growing in popularity all the time. I recently took a business trip to the East Coast and while I was there I blogged a meeting report. In that report I recommended that some of our folks come back out for a follow-up meeting that was very important. I asked people to leave comments if they wanted to go or thought it was interesting.

One very enterprising individual cut out the text of my post and pasted it into an email to his colleagues. They all replied to this with very intelligent thoughts. By email. I had no idea this was going on, since I was not on the email chain.

I was finally included in their most recent email chain which contains about 8 responses, none of which are in the comments of the post.

I think I need a stiff drink and then I need to lie down for a while.

It's like going hunting with someone and noticing that they're using a club to beat the deer to death. You hand them a rifle and explain it to them. They nod their heads and then run off and beat a deer to death with the rifle.

I'm at a total loss for more words.

My coworkers after being given upgrades to their computers.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Not Batman, Mothman

Where I live, I can see the searchlights of Sea World play on the clouds at night. As we were driving to school the other day, my son and I were talking about this and I remarked that I don't understand how Batman could ever have seen the BatSignal. I mean, it's one thing to shine a light on the clouds and see a blob at a distance, it's another thing altogether to shine a bat-shaped light on the clouds and have anyone be able to figure out what it is.

If you can't tell it's a bat, then what you're really being attracted to is the bright light. He's not Batman, he's Mothman.

Dadadadadada-dah-dah! Mothman!

Can't you just here the dialog?

Commissioner Gordon: Look, he's here!

flutterflutterBAPBAPBAPflutterBAPflutterBAP!

Commissioner Gordon: For the love of God, Chief, turn off the light! He's beating himself against it again!

Forget about the BatSignal, he can't see it anyway. Just turn on the porch light!

Moth photo used without permission from Rick Sastro.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Of Course She Won

...she's our Maximum Leader. How could she lose?

World of Good, Reach Out and Care Style

Welcome to another World of Good (WOG) here at The Scratching Post! This week we highlight the work of Reach Out and Care (ROC), a group that donates wheelchairs to people in developing countries.

I've spent quite a bit of time in the last two weeks looking for YouTube videos of constructive and kind things being done by the Coalition troops in Iraq. I've now got a substantial queue of videos to share. Here's the one that inspired this post. Michael Yon, private citizen and blogger wrote extensively about this effort.

These wheelchairs were donated by ROC. ROC describes their mission as follows.

Providing wheelchairs and other mobility products for people in developing countries without regard to political affiliation, religious beliefs or ethnic identity. ROC Wheels Inc., (Reach Out & Care) is a 501 (c)(3) faith-based nonprofit corporation organized to facilitate the supply of wheelchairs and other mobility devices to disabled individuals within developing countries and to further programs and education that will help reduce barriers to, and enhance mobility for these individuals.
ROC isn't just about donating wheelchairs, though. It's about setting up the construction capabilities in the developing nation so they can make their own.

The ROC Wheels Team will design and set up the production process for the pediatric wheelchairs that are designed specifically for the conditions of developing countries These wheelchairs or other mobility aides would be initially manufactured in the U.S., with future plans to manufacture them in the country of distribution. We will provide the tools necessary to set-up the manufacturing operation, complete with fitting, custom seating and repair capabilities. Our goal is to train and empower the Nationals working at manufacturing facilities to eventually gain ownership of the operation, and provide economic support for them and their community. We hope to not only provide a free wheelchair, but help people gain hope and dignity where they previously may have had none.
ROC is staffed to a large extent by volunteers. Think about that for a minute. Instead of going waterskiing or going to the baseball game, the free time of these volunteers is spent constructing and distributing wheelchairs for kids like this.


Trips made to donate the wheelchairs are family affairs. Their newsletters are filled with stories of these trips and how giving enriched the givers. Here's a snippet written by a ten-year-old who traveled with her family to Mexico on one of these trips.

I think the thing I liked most was the day I went with my parents to the wheelchair distribution place and helped give wheelchairs away. It was really cool seeing kids who had been carried around all there life, and then, in one day they are able to mobilize themselves. I had a great time in Mexico with the team.
You can find their newsletter here.

Reading this is inspiring me to look into trips like this for my own family. A vacation centered around giving of ourselves to others might be more refreshing than anything else we might do.

My WOG posts are a weekly series. I've done a whole bunch of them. You can find the full list here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Blaming Each Other Over VaTech

I haven't spent much time perusing the blogosphere nor listening to talk radio in the wake of the VaTech shooting. I've heard enough to see that the engines of blame are revving into high gear. The anti-gun people are yelling that the problem is too many guns. The pro-gun people are yelling that there aren't enough. People are blaming the cops, the university and the students.

Enough already!

Whatever the guy's motives were for shooting the first two, whether it was a love triangle or something else, when he came back to get the next 28 or so, it showed he was crazy. The key feature of crazy people is that they're crazy. Who knows, maybe he had psychotic episodes and heard voices or saw things no one else saw. Whatever it was, he wasn't sane.

Dealing with crazy people poses incredible problems for the sane. All that nonsense you see on TV about "getting inside the mind of the madman" on CSI shows is just garbage. They're just freaking nuts and expecting your average set of cops or school administrators to predict their actions is expecting miracles.

For the anti-gun crowd, if your dog, Fido, is telling you to kill everyone and you don't have access to a gun, you'll run them over in a car at a bus stop. When Fido talks, you listen. A while back there was a fellow here in San Diego who commandeered an M-60 tank and drove around crushing things.

He had no gun and he was nuts.


For the pro-gun crowd, I don't think that someone who thinks Fido is telling him to kill everyone is doing reasoned cost-benefits analysis about how many students might be armed.

And is there a worse idea than arming the student population? What you'd end up with when rumors of a shooting started would be every 19-year-old running to his dorm room to grab his gun to look for the killer. The campus would be filled with armed kids creeping around looking for an armed kid creeping around. Imagine a massive, on-line first-person shooter being done for real.

Some people go crazy. Sometimes they become violently crazy. Sometimes you draw the short straw in life and you or someone you know ends up hurt or killed. Being enraged that the rest of the world didn't protect you from statistically anomalous insane maniacs in an efficient and clever manner is fruitless.

The officials and students and general population is just as helpless and flummoxed as you are. Give them a break. It's not like they wanted the guy to kill all those people. They'll be agonizing about what they could have done differently for the rest of their lives. So lay off the criticism and blame. There's enough agony already.

Dean Barnett posted a good take on this as well.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Market Segmentation and Iraqi War Videos

Market Segmentation - Dividing a market into distinct groups of buyers who have distinct needs, characteristics, or behavior and who might require separate products or marketing mixes.

Nissan sells three makes of sedan. The Sentra for the budget-conscious buyers, the Maxima for the luxury buyer and the Altima for those in between. They all do the same thing. They take you, some passengers and some stuff from point A to point B. Each seats 5. There is some difference in luggage space. There is distinct difference in the who they are marketed to, how they are sold and how they are priced.

A Sentra, built for those with small budgets.

If you own a business, from time to time you re-examine your product line to see if you have any gaps. When I look at the way the news from the war against Islamofascism is presented, not including the enthusiastic count of dead Americans from the MSM, I see two market segments being served.

The first are the professional military officers. If you watch the videos on any of the DoD websites, you see a polished product with high production values. If I worked for that company, I wouldn't want to see anything else. Grainy video, mumbled voice overs and poorly framed shots would be an embarassment to the organization.

The second are the action videos taken by people at the front. These are red meat for the war supporters who are sick and tired of only one score being given by the MSM. Every night, the ghouls on CNN recount just which Americans died in as much detail as they can. If possible, they show film of the surviving family members and talk about how many Americans have been killed so far. No mention is made of the number of enemy dead and no map is given of the peaceful provinces that have been handed over to Iraqi control.

By the way, this is an old technique. Lord Haw Haw did this in WW II on his radio show broadcast to the Allies. He would interview Allied POWs, give lists of dead Americans and report the nightly count of Allied bombers shot down. Of course, he worked for the fascists, but then again, a good argument could be made that Wolf Blitzer does the same. This site has a collection of archived broadcasts from Lord Haw Haw. It's chilling to listen to them and then watch CNN. I digress.

That's it. Those are the only two markets being served with any regularity right now. The professional military and exasperated war supporters. Is it any wonder that the Islamofascists aren't taken seriously by many? There's a large segment of the population that doesn't know anyone in the military and can't relate to these two approaches. Multicultural sensitivity is central to the American value system. Our children are taught that each culture has something good to add to the mix and that our ancestors weren't perfect, they were flawed just like everyone else. For those who are indecisive because they think both sides are equally destructive, there is no marketing campaign at all.

That's a huge market share to just leave lying on the table. That's why I'm working hard to find candid videos of the Coalition doing constructive things and why I'm encouraging others to post them. Like this one.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Leaf Cutter Ants as a Metaphor for Bloggers

I was musing over a discussion I had with Rusty Shackleford from My Pet Jawa recently when I achieved an epiphany about bloggers. We're the information equivalent of leaf cutter ants!

Each of us brings a little bit of information and insight into the overall blogosphere to make a much greater whole.

Rusty very kindly linked to my little focus group effort comparing a candid video of soldiers handing out soccer balls to Iraqi kids and a heavily produced video of the Army Corps of Engineers construction of a kindergarten in Iraq. Rusty thought it was more important to show videos of military victory.

Personally, I think the most important message to get out to the American public is that we are winning, not that we are nice.
I understand his point of view, but would argue that we need more than that. From a market segmentation point of view, showing cool videos of Islamofascists getting smeared will only work with one segment of the populace. There's another that needs to see soccer balls and soldiers dancing with the kids. That's when I came up with the leaf cutter ant analogy.

Despite my frequent deviations into snarkiness, the goal of this blog is to show that kindness and cooperation is the foundation of civilization. Rusty's point seems to be that an unprotected civilization is doomed. Both are right, but it's hard to do both well on the same blog and so each blog has its individual purpose for the greater good. One of us carries a bit of leaf with World of Good stories and the other carries a bit with signs of success against the Islamofascists.

The result? A relocated rubber tree plant.

Sorry, I couldn't resist posting this when I found it. :-)

Gettin' Down with the Kids


Yesterday an Islamofascist suicide bomber blew himself up in a Baghdad market killing 18, some of whom were children. There is good and there is evil. All cultures and value systems are not equal.

If you're a blogger, please grab the code and post this video. No link back required. If you're not a blogger, here's the link to use if you want to post it in comment threads on other sites.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_glbZuR7tw

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Requiem for a Ho

Don Ho died today. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were seen making a beeline for the airport to fly out to Hawaii to lead civil rights protests at the memorial service.

(Sorry, but this was just too good to pass up.)

More about the Kukka Maria Experience

As some of you know, our Maximum Leader spent a wild day cavorting with the Feline Empress and Mother Superior of the Holy Order of Ocean Whitefish, Kukka-Maria. Kukka described their adventures including an astounding escape from the set of Dancing with the Stars. There were a couple of things she missed. For one thing, Kukka and KT spent quite a bit of time laughing as they went through the love quizzes in CosmoCat. Here’s one example.

What kind of lover are you?

Q: What’s your idea of a dream date?

1. Staring silently into your BF’s eyes, saying deep, meaningful things

2. A fifth of vodka, a bag of catnip, a hot tub and a sworn statement from reliable witnesses claiming you were actually three states away doing your nails

3. Stuffing your cheeks with seeds and running for hours

4. Rolling in filth and dragging yourself along the ground

Q: What’s the most important thing about your BF?

1. His devotion to his spiritual journey

2. His ability to buy you both a yacht and an airplane and still have some cash left over to give you a night you’d never forget if you had remained sufficiently sober

3. Their ability to bring seeds to you

4. Their ability to knock over trashcans and allow you to devour the rotting putrescence that spews forth

Q: What should your date smell like?

1. Incense

2. Rum

3. Sunflower seeds

4. Someone’s pants leg

Q: If you and your BF could double date with anyone, who would they be?

1. The Pope and Mother Theresa

2. Antonio Banderas and Brad Pitt for a truly wild foursome

3. The guys who make those bags of sunflower seeds

4. The garbage man and a sewer inspector

If you answered mostly:

1’s: You are a holy and reverent creature

2’s: You are super-sexy!

3’s: Are you sure you shouldn't be reading CosmoHamster?

4’s: You're disgusting. Put down this magazine at once and head for the nearest landfill.

There was lots more that went on. Hopefully I'll get a chance to blog about it.

Post-Airport Gridlock Blogging

I just flew in from the East Coast and not only are my arms tired, but the rest of me is tired, too. I went through Dallas-Fort Worth airport (DFW) which was a mess because of the hailstorm and tornado that went through the area. I finally landed in San Diego at 2AM this morning and got home at 2:30. Our Maximum Leader decided to pluck the carpet and demand attention at 4AM and then a smoke alarm in our house had to tell me it's battery was dead at 6AM.

Thank you, all.

The scene at DFW was predictably crazy. Flights were out on the runway when a brief, golfball-sized hailstorm swept through. Every plane had to be inspected for hailstorm damage before they could take off. That took hours. Some planes had dings and had to come back to the gates. When they came back to the gates, they filled them for the planes that were landing, so massive airplane gridlock set in. During the wait, some of the cockpit crews went past their legal limit of hours in the plane (written into law to prevent tired crews from flying) and couldn't fly any more leaving some planes without crews, sitting at the gate.

Meanwhile, more planes continued to land. One of them was mine. We got in line for a gate waiting for someone to take off and free up a spot for us. When we got in, the line was eight planes deep. We sat on the taxiway for more than half an hour waiting for a spot to free up.

Once we got off, the scene inside the terminal was chaotic. Apparently there was a NASCAR event in the area and the cancelled flights from planes that got damaged quickly sopped up all excess capacity in the hotels. Families with little kids were stranded in the airport with nowhere to spend the night. Plenty of people were angry and for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why.

One black guy in particular was telling everyone around him in loud tones just how American Airlines had screwed up. Comparatively speaking, he didn't have much to complain about as he was middle aged and without kids. I guess he and the rest of the angry people didn't realize just what it meant to fly on the safest air travel system in the world. They might be a little angrier as they slammed into a mountainside because the planes they were flying were unsafe.

Well, they'd be angry briefly. Then they'd be dead.

Despite all the chaos and the angry people, everyone still formed organized lines and waited for gate agents to help them out. Unfortunately, most of the gate agents had gone home. By this time it was past midnight. This is the only thing where I find fault the airlines. Our flight was delayed for 30 minutes while American scrambled to find a gate agent. I would think that they ought to be able to work out a clause in the contract with the union where the agents could be given double pay to hang around during emergencies.

Our flight attendant crew was great. When they realized what the problem was, they quickly got organized. Some of them ran off to get a gate agent, others shanghaied one exhausted, bedraggled gate agent as he walked by to get the process going. The gate agent that finally showed up had run through most of the airport to get to us and was gasping as she called for us to board.

So now I'm home, safe and sound with a story to tell. A little tired, maybe, but what's so bad about that?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Only Two Things Will Survive Nuclear War

...cockroaches and Keith Richards.

"Dissipated" doesn't quite cover it. Maybe "embalmed" fits him better. Although embalmed connotes tranquility and doesn't cover all the twitches, tics and minor spasms.

Perhaps he needs a new term coined just for him.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Today's Headlines...

...can be found here. Enjoy!

Fire Don Imus

The more I hear about the Don Imus flap, the more I think the jerk ought to be fired. Perhaps by now he already has. For me, I don't care if the comments he made were racist or not, I'm just ticked off that the girls on the Rutgers basketball team had worked their tails off with practicing and playing and their parents and coaches had sacrificed so that they could reach this point and here this moron goes and soils the purity and nobility of their achievement so he can get the attention.

They did all the work to get to the championship game. He used their achievement to get ratings. A lifetime of their work burned up in an instant on Imus' lips. If one of those ladies were my daughter I would be beyond anger right now.

Update: He was fired. Good riddance.

Thursday Thirteen, Right Now Edition

I haven’t participated in this for a while, from a lack of inspiration, I think. I got the idea for a Thursday 13 with the theme of immediacy out of the blue. It must have been a sign to come back and join the TT crowd. Enough introduction. On with the list.

Here are thirteen things about me right now.

1. Right now, I’m listening to Louis Prima. Yes, I know, I always seem to be listening to Louis Prima, but it’s great to go out to the folks’ house for Easter dinner and have ham and hear the kids warbling, “The closer to the bone, the sweeter is the meat, the last slice of Virginia ham is the best that you can eat…”

2. Right now, I’m watching King of the Hill. My son turned me on to this one. The Simpsons just don’t do it for me any more and the gentle humor of King of the Hill is just right.

3. Right now, I’m reading The Screwtape Letters. Any good spiritual tome needs to be revisited from time to time. Time and lives change and you get a completely different reading based on where you are at that moment.

4. Right now, I’m playing Star Wars: Battlefront on the Xbox. We’ve had it for a while, but the kids and I have gotten back into it. We play a game where we rotate the three of us through two controllers and a splitscreen game. It’s loads of fun.

5. Right now, I’m shopping for plants. My front yard has been rototilled and it and the vegetable garden have been fully outfitted with irrigation. This last weekend I got two tomato plants, two bell pepper plants, an eggplant plant, oregano and rosemary for the garden. As I was checking out, it dawned on me that I was planting a vegetarian spaghetti sauce.

6. Right now, I’m luxuriating in the blooms of my pet Gerber daisies. I’ve collected a glassful of seeds from their most recent blooms and will be starting seedlings very soon. I plan to have a whole flower bed of mom daisy’s daughters and granddaughters in the front yard.

Mom's redheaded daughter.

7. Right now, I’m helping my daughter learn electricity and magnetism. That just happens to be what she’s studying in 4th grade. We already had a great electronics kit that she loves to play with and a few months ago we all made little electromagnets out of nails, copper wire and D cell batteries. She loves to experiment and I help her pick up the theory.

8. Right now, I’m teaching my son to drive. He’s not quite old enough to get his learners permit, but on Sunday mornings we find a local parking lot where he can get the hang of very basic driving. Ahh, the excitement of youth!

9. Right now, I’m cooking a lot of spaghetti sauce. I don’t know why, but I’ve gotten on a spaghetti kick. I use whatever leftover meat comes to hand and all of the vegetables I can find.

10. Right now, I’m working hard to find videos of all of the constructive things our troops are doing in Iraq. There’s a difference between guys in uniform building schools and protecting kids and lunatics in civilian clothes blowing themselves up in schoolyards and markets. Good and evil are not the same.

11. Right now, our Maximum Leader is involved in a stakeout. One of my blogging friends (the Feline Theocracy’s Knight-Protector and Defender of Yarn Balls) pointed out that the reason she positions herself to watch as much of the house as possible is to keep an eye on all of us. She doesn’t like to move, but she wants to know where we are and what we’re doing.

She sees all. She knows all.

12. Right now, Jacob the Syrian hamster is fast asleep. Unless you’re reading it at night, in which case he’s scurrying.

He sleeps all day and scurries all night.

13. Right now, you’re reading my blog. Thanks!

A Stylistic Note

I've been posting quite a bit lately about the good things Coalition troops are doing in Iraq. In the process of doing this, I've picked up new readers. Because I've been focused on this and have marketed it hard, I'm not sure that they realize that this is an eclectic blog and I write about a great many things. I've spent some time debating on whether or not to concentrate on this subject as it is a passion with me, but I've decided not to. The emotions surrounding the subject are intense and if I concentrated solely on this subject, they would wash away the tone I've tried to achieve with this blog.

I have a cache of great videos from Iraq that I will post and share with other bloggers as time goes by, but in the meantime, I'm planning on writing about whatever pops up at that moment. If you're one of my new visitors, thanks for taking the time to stop by and check out the site. I hope you like the hodgepodge of nonsense that hops out of my head and jumps onto the blog.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

World of Good, WOG Contest Style

Welcome to another World of Good (WOG) here at The Scratching Post. Today I have something special for all of you. A WOG contest! I have two really cool videos of Coalition soldiers doing good things in Iraq and you get to vote on which one you like best. You can even write a short comment letting me know what you liked about either of them. The videos are both only 90 seconds long, so you don't have to sit through a lot of blather. Enough introduction. On with the show.

Many of us have had donation drives at our schools or workplaces to send goods to the children of Iraq. Have you ever seen what it looks like when they're donated? Well, now you can. Brent Walker who is in Baghdad, Iraq, posted this video of our troops handing them out on YouTube.

Soccer Ball Video



Some of our troops are in the Army Corps of Engineers. These fellows working all across Iraq on construction projects. There's not enough time in the day to talk about all of the great things they're doing. Here's just a tiny bit about a kindergarten they built.

Kindergarten Video


Now that you've seen them both, let the games begin! Go ahead and vote now. Remember, after you make your selection, you have to click on "Vote".


Which Video Did You Like Better?
Soccer Balls
Kindergarten
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

If you'd like, please leave a comment letting me know why you chose the one you did. Comments can be left anonymously. All you do is leave all of the identity fields blank, type in your comment and click on Publish. It's easy!

Click here to go to the comments.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thermal Control

Here's our Maximum Leader in her natural state. Laying around.


Note how she has wisely positioned herself in striped shadows to maintain proper temperature equilibrium.

For more clever cats, visit this week's Friday Ark and Carnival of the Cats.

America the Neurotic

What's with this country that we always want to believe the worst about ourselves? Nancy Pelosi just got back from a trip to see one of the worst dictators in the world and a bunch of people think this was a good idea because it could lead to a dialog with him. Just what kind of conversation are we expecting to have?


Tony Blair, after running to the UN to tattle on Iran, gratefully accepted the return of his 15 kidnapped sailors from Iran, a country that used massed waves of its own children to sweep minefields. Playing nice with these maniacs is going to lead to...what?


What's with all this self-loathing that gets us to put ourselves on par with total scumbags and maniacs? Evan Sayet has an excellent theory that it's all about the elimination of any discrimination of the differences between good and evil. After having watched the YouTube of his talk on the subject and reading his blog, I've yet to find a place where his hypothesis doesn't fit the facts.

My daughter's social studies text is full of this neurotic self-loathing. Every chapter is a catalog of the evils done by European immigrants or Americans themselves against everyone else. No context is given for any of it. The latest chapter in her book talks about the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II. It starts with the following sentence:

In 1942, America was at war with Japan.
No mention of Pearl Harbor, the Rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March or their alliance with Hitler, just "we were at war with them" as if it was some mutual attack and both sides were equally to blame.

We need to fall in love with our country again and get over this garbage.

Pay Per Post Payout

So far I've made $40.31 from Pay Per Post. On a per-hour basis, it's about ten times better than AdSense. It also doesn't flood my blog with ads for cat u-r-n-s. I have to spell that out because if AdSense saw it, I'd get another wave of idiotic ads for u-r-n-s.

So far, I've used my Pay Per Post blog marketing earnings to buy a soil test kit on eBay. Yes, I know, it's an exciting life we lead here at The Scratching Post. Gardening, blogging, testing the potassium levels of our soil...

It's amazing Kukka-Maria doesn't come over to our place to party!

Sunset Through the Palm Trees

We're at that time of year here in San Diego where there is a marine haze that blocks the sunset most evenings. Yesterday it was oddly inverted, with low clouds over the shore and clear skies out at sea. The result was this, a strange sunset that just happened to fall directly between Castor and Pollux.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Monday Funny

Two caterpillars were inching their way across a leaf when a beautiful butterfly fluttered past. One of the caterpillars stopped and looked on in awe.

"Wouldn't it be great to soar on colorful wings?" he asked his comrade. "To float with the breezes and fly wherever you wanted to go?"

His companion, a much more pessimistic type, just kept inching across the leaf. Finally, he muttered, "You'll never get me up in one of those things."

If we Lose at Soccer to Iraq we Know who to Blame

Check out this video of Americans protecting and caring for Iraqi kids. The whole thing made me smile. Because of the population distributions of both groups, it's a good chance that these were Christian Americans taking care of Moslem Iraqi kids. Not converting them, but protecting them so that they could grow up safe, healthy, successful and free. So much for this being a racist, imperialist war.


Meanwhile, the enemy was blowing up markets full of these little guys and their moms.

Any questions?

Update: A few days ago I posted another really nice video I found. You can see it here.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

He is Risen

A happy and blessed Easter to all of you. May you find redemption and renewal in your lives.

We'll be back again on Monday.

Best wishes,
K T Cat and Jacob the Syrian Hamster

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Tongue Twister

Try this one, three times fast:

Peppery, papered hippopotomi

Alternately, try:

Peppery papaya hippopotomi

Were you able to do it?

Proud to be an American

There is a difference between right and wrong, good and evil. One side is using suicide bombers to indiscriminately blow up civilians in markets. The other side does this.


Someone is getting the idea about the kind of material we need in the blogosphere to show the truth. Here's the description from the YouTube entry.

Another video of my best friend Ritch's 2nd tour in Iraq, This video shows what the liberal media won't, look at the kids face who gets the ball, He is so happy just to have rubber ball! How Spoiled are we in our rich nations, most kids would just be like gee thanks and throw the ball as far as they could. God loves the Iraqi people too and he is showing his love here through my friends Unit through the Marines. Innocent people die in war but We do care about these civilians. Looking through all the pictures I was hard pressed to find one Marine not smiling. This was my friends favorite mission he went on while in Iraq.
I'm greedy. I want more. Lots more!

If you're a blogger, it would be great for you to host this video on your blog, too. Let's get this kind of thing out in front of as many people as possible. It's a publicity war and it's up to us to win it.

Update: I sent the links to my previous posts asking CENTCOM to give us stuff like this to the Public Affairs (PAO) groups all across the operational commands in the area and the services. I didn't even get an email response saying, "Thanks, but no thanks." I got nothing. That was rude and pathetically weak.

Recently at work I saw a briefing on our Influence Operations work at CENTCOM and elsewhere. It was totally depressing. A positively Byzantine bureaucracy had been constructed to try and influence public opinion across the globe. It was clumsy and hopelessly out of date. What we need is material like this and a chance for those of us who believe that there is a difference between good and evil to start some viral marketing.

I'll be sending this link to all the same PAO groups. Let's see if they even bother to respond.

Update 2: It just dawned on me that since the Navy has blocked YouTube from its utterly crippled NMCI computer network, some of the recipients of this email won't be able to see the video. How marvelous. Perhaps the next national strategy document ought to be called "Winning the Information War by Tying a Blindfold Around Your Head and Slamming Your Hand in a Car Door Over and Over Again."

Friday, April 06, 2007

Flagstar Bank Insults the Theocracy

Our Maximum Leader recently received this email from Flagstar Bank.

We recently reviewed your account, and suspect that your Flagstar Bank account may have been accessed by an unauthorized third party. Protecting the security of your account and of the Flagstar Bank network is our primary concern. Therefore, as a preventative measure, we have temporarily limited access to sensitive account features.

To restore your account access, please take the following steps to ensure that your account has not been compromised:
What followed was a URL.

First, I had no idea that cats were so heavily involved in banking. When I asked her if she had opened an account at Flagstar she told me that her only interaction with them would have been to demand a tithe for the Theocracy.

The Maximum Leader of the Feline Theocracy scopes out the situation in the front yard.

When I explained to her about phishing, she thought it was a good idea because she loves tuna. When I explained to her that it wasn't that kind of fish, she became quite angry.

The Feline Theocracy is not pleased by fraud.

Bush is Hitler

Today's Wall Street Journal details another of his crimes.

U.S. payrolls jumped last month and the jobless rate fell, boosting the odds of moderate, consumer-driven economic growth and lowering the chances of any near-term reduction in official interest rates.

Outside of manufacturing, payroll gains were broadly based, with construction and services posting healthy increases. Previous months' employment increases, meanwhile, were revised up.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 180,000 in March, up from a revised 113,000 in February and 162,000 in January, the Labor Department said Friday. Those months were previously reported as increases of 97,000 and 146,000, respectively.

The unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage point to 4.4% last month, matching its lowest level since May 2001. Average hourly earnings increased six cents, or 0.3%, to $17.22. That was up 4% from a year earlier, suggesting wages remain an inflation risk.

March's payroll gain exceeded Wall Street expectations of a 142,000 rise. Economists had expected a 4.6% unemployment rate and 0.3% rise in wages.
Will this nightmare never end?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Dinner and a Show

I came home tonight to find that our Maximum Leader had brought in a house guest. This one, to be precise.

It's a young sparrow and it's completely confused by our atrium skylight. It keeps thinking it can get out that way.

Unfortunately, that skylight is 15' up at its closest. Even if I had a net, I wouldn't be able to reach it.

Our Maximum Leader watches, fascinated.

The only thing I can think of to do is to wait until night when the skylight won't seem like a way out and then coax or frighten the bird into a bedroom where the ceiling will be low enough to catch it.

For some hopefully calmer animal-related posts, visit this week's Friday Ark and Carnival of the Cats.

Update: That didn't work. The sparrow has hunkered down for the night and I can't find where in the skylight it is. I've been throwing rags up there, trying to spook it out into flying, but it' not coming out. Tomorrow I need to get my dad's fishing net and attach it to a pole...

Update 2: I got the net and the pole, but never had to use them. After coming home with the net, I found the sparrow down out of the skylight and was able to open a door and shoo the poor little guy out. Our Maximum Leader slept through the whole thing.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

World of Good, Trucks-N-Paws Style

Welcome to another World of Good (WOG) here at the Scratching Post! Thanks for stopping by. I think you'll like it.

Today I decided I wanted to look for volunteer trucking organizations and I came across this one. Trucks-N-Paws is a large network of animal rescue volunteer organizations. Essentially, it boils down to the animal rescue folks saving dogs and cats and other critters from death in the shelters and truckers volunteering to carry them to their new homes. The Yahoo! group linked above is an enormous confederation of groups and individuals that connects all of these kind-hearted people together to match needy dogs and cats with truckers. The extent of it is amazing.

For example, NEARR is one of the members. NEARR is Near East All Retriever Rescue. It's a volunteer group that takes in abandoned or orphaned retrievers of all sorts into foster homes and then finds them owners. These folks save the dogs from almost certain death in the shelters.


If kept outside, Colby could be used to keep away that most hideous of all things, other cats.

As an aside, I just have to say that this must be one of the most difficult things a volunteer can do. Everyone knows that dogs are noisy, smelly, unpleasant creatures that spend most of their time sniffing ghastly things and rolling in God only knows what. Very little of their time is spent laying in sunbeams or purring like a proper animal. My heart goes out to these hardy volunteers and the horrid creatures they care for.
The truckers are volunteers who carry the pets from one stop to another. A route is laid out to take the pet from its foster home to its new family. The truckers volunteer to carry the animals on segments of the route until the pet is brought to its new home.


With some work, Charlie could be rehabilitated to properly worship cats.

There's a great story of a rescued dog being taken to its new home on the Trucks-N-Paws website. Here's just a tidbit.

Roscoe sat back down and sized me up some more. All of the sudden, a look of rapture crossed his face. Not only was I his new best friend, but I had a truck, and for Roscoe from West Virginia, that made us kindred spirits. Even though he'd been neutered a few days earlier, I believe he had a sudden surge of hormones. He flung himself on me, slurping my glasses askew, his front paws locked around my neck in a choke hold. Then his hind paw flipped my travel cup of scalding hot coffee into my lap.

"AAAGHHH!!"

**Flashing blue lights behind me.**

"No, officer, I have NOT been drinking," I protested nervously. "This blast...blessed dog just dumped a cup of hot coffee on me at 75 miles per hour. You don't say? 55 mph, huh? Well, that's certainly good to know!"
If it doesn't make you smile, check your pulse. Read the whole thing.

Sifting through the messages on the Yahoo! group and surfing the various websites was such a pleasant experience. It's great to know that such a caring and kind-hearted network of people is out there giving of themselves to rescue pets and bring them to good homes.

There's a World of Good out there.


Legend says that reading World of Good (WOG) posts will lead you to be elected president of your Rotary club or at least find a five dollar bill on the sidewalk. If you're a blogger, linking to the WOG posts can increase your visitor count one hundred fold! (Notice I said can, not will.) Stop by this post to read more WOGs. There are lots and lots of them!

Why Text Is Sometimes Better Than Video

Today's Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has an article on Sam Zell's risky purchase of a newspaper conglomerate, the Tribune Co. On the WSJ website, they have a video accompanying the story. I embedded it below. As you watch it, don't worry about the words, watch the camera motions and the cuts. It's the same style that the History Channel uses when they don't have real video clips to use. This pan/zoom style drives me crazy. Why, look! There's a picture of Zell now! Let's zoom in on it. Here's a picture of a newspaper. Let's pan back. Here's a fellow talking. He's fiddling with his hands, see?

Argh! It's so distracting!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Police Lineup

Can you please identify the flowering houseplant that attacked you?
You may click on the photo if you need more resolution.

It's Time to Partaaay!

The Feline Theocracy has won an inestimable honor, the right to party with the Feline Empress herself, Kukka-Maria. Our Mother Superior of the Holy Order of Ocean Whitefish held an auction to spend a day with her and after consulting our accountants and our Sunday collection plate, we outbid all of the infidels!

Glorious!

It's time to show the world how the Maximum Leader can get down.

K T Cat getting down.


Kukka-Maria, already down.

I can't wait to see what that wild party animal has in store for us!

Update: WOW! Can that cat show you a good time or what? Tom Cruise and Tom Bergeron. We had all the Toms in a tizzy, if you know what I mean. The Empress dished about our day here. Well, most of it, anyway. I've got a few more details to give you later!

Pet Urns?

No, I don't mean keeping an urn as a pet. (What do you feed an urn anyway? Do you take them for walks?) I mean urns for the ashes of your pet.

AdSense gave me a ghoulish ad suggesting that you buy an urn for the ashes of your pet. Either that or a box. Like this.

If you have small children keeping pet goldfish, can you buy these coffins in bulk quantities?

I love my pets. Even the hamster has become a close friend. I just don't see springing for an urn or a coffin.

Am I missing something?

A Social Studies Text I'd Like To See

I've posted before about my disappointment in my daughter's 4th grade social studies textbook. Last week, it finally dawned on me what I'd like to see. She goes to a Catholic school and as far as I can tell, her text is a standard one, Our Golden State. Let me start by telling you what's there.

Her text focuses on the history of California. Every chapter takes the story a few years farther. She just finished the chapter on the transcontinental railroad. Every chapter lays out a timeline and gives a basic idea of what life was like back then. Each chapter also details how one group or another was oppressed. In her current chapter, it's the Chinese. Chinese workers were brought over to help build the railroads. Once the railroads were done, they looked for other jobs. The locals didn't like the competition and passed anti-Chinese laws. There was plenty of racism and oppression.

Dittos for racism against the Indians, the Mexicans, the blacks and lots of others. Sexism is detailed as well. All of this happened and it was fought by brave, visionary people. Why did it happen in the first place? How is it that the Americans got the upper hand? The Chinese weren't importing American workers to build railroads. Why? If someone came to you today and offered you sub-minimum wage work to pick tomatoes in Mexico, would you go? Why not?

The study of success is what's missing. All cultures are not created equal. If they were, then you'd see equal outcomes. The Aztecs didn't explore the globe, the Portugese, British and Spanish did. The Ashanti in Africa didn't develop railroads, America and Europe did. The Japanese didn't develop the germ theory of modern medicine, the French did. The Kumeyaay Indians of California didn't develop a banking and investment industry, others did. How come?

Christian Europe and America blew the rest of the world away. In any objective terms, they completely out-competed everyone else. By objective terms, I mean that wealth is better than poverty, education is better than illiteracy, health is better than sickness and so on. How did that happen?

I want my kids to be successful. If they're going to be successful, they're going to have to learn what promotes success. I want them to be moral and caring, too, so the lessons in racism are important, too. Both need to be taught. Leaving out any critical analysis of the causes of success or even mentioning the concept that one group outperformed the other doesn't make sense to me. Until I asked the kids why Americans didn't go to China to build railroads, it had never occurred to them to wonder about it.

Do all textbooks out there omit this as well? Do you think this is an important lesson, too?