Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Calling All Artists and Craftspeople to Help the Greyhounds!

Our local adoption group, Greyhound Rescue and Rehab, is having their annual picnic in June. It's not all fun and games (well, it's SOME fun and games) but there is also an auction to raise money for the GRR medical fund.

If you can donate an item of artwork (photo, painting, sculpture) or craft (jewelry, clothing, household item or dog leashes or collars (martingale style), PLEASE email me at mvpublic at mac dot com) right away. It's a great way to do something generous for the hounds, but also a way to promote your work! There is going to be about 110 people at the picnic this year.

As for the fun and games, here's a recent picnic costume winner:

And here's a timely rerun of "Myths vs. Truths about Greyhounds"!

Myths vs. Truths about retired racing greyhounds:

MYTH: People who own racing greyhounds just keep them when their racing days are over.
TRUTH: When a racer is retired (anywhere between 18 months and 6 years of age), an adoption group will take the dog and find a home for it. No one knows the exact numbers, but in some parts of the country and at some tracks, dogs are still euthanized when they can no longer race. Thankfully more and more adoption groups are springing up every day.

MYTH: Greyhounds, since they were racers, need a lot of exercise.
TRUTH: Greyhounds, since they are retired, just want to lay on your couch. They don't need any more exercise than an average dog. During their working life they raced (for 30 seconds) every three or four days and slept in a crate for 16-20 hours a day in between. These guys were sprinters, not distance runners.

MYTH: Greyhound are high strung.
TRUTH: HAHAHAHAHAHA. Stop, yer killin' me.

MYTH: Since greyhounds are relatively large, purebred dogs, they must wind up with hip dysplasia and other genetic maladies and have relatively short lifespans.
TRUTH: Racing greyhounds are bred for health and performance, not for looks and "personality". They have a life expectancy of 12-14 years and do not suffer from the health issues that other pedigrees have. And they still have great personalities.

MYTH: Greyhounds were abused, so they must be skittish and spooky.
TRUTH: While we don't love greyhound racing, the abusers are in the minority. Practically speaking, you wouldn't abuse something that you are counting on for your livelihood. It would be more accurate to say that in racing, greyhounds are inventory. They are not pets while working, so they need to learn how to be the object of your affection. They are quick learners.

MYTH: Greyhounds cannot live with cats or other small animals.
TRUTH: This is true for some greyhounds, usually the ones who were excellent racers and have a high prey drive. However, many are retired early because they didn't care much about chasing the lure, and go on to live happily in homes with kitties and/or small dogs. Mine is not cat safe, but is fine with small dogs. The adoption group will tell you.

Other truths you may not know:
Greyhounds don't have a "dog smell".
Many dog-allergic people (like me) can live happily with greyhounds.
Because they are on a strict schedule at the track, many are very easy to housetrain.
They make great apartment dogs. They spend most of their time curled up in a little ball.
Most rarely bark. Some never bark. Mine only barks when he sees a dog who is not a greyhound. (He's a 'breedist". What can I say?)

And maybe the MOST important truth about greyhounds if you are considering adopting:

They can never, ever, EVER be trusted off-leash unless they are completely fenced in. They can see clearly up to 1/2 mile away, and if they spot something of interest (even a blowing paper bag), they will "lock on" and go for it, regardless of oncoming cars, trucks or trains. Oh, and electric fences don't work with greyhounds. If you don't believe me, put the collar on, get in your car and drive through the electric fence at 45mph. You'll be, oh, about a mile away before you feel the shock.
If you are serious about adopting, you will (or should) go through a pretty thorough screening. If the adoption doesn't work out, you don't give the dog away or bring it to a return it to the group. So, they like to be pretty certain that the dog will be right for you.

Bottom line: If you want an incredible companion, don't have the time or energy to raise a puppy, and would like what is basically a cat in a dog costume, then a retired racing greyhound may be the ticket!

If you can't adopt but want to help (adoption groups have to pay for all medical costs when a dog leaves the track, including neutering and dental work but sometimes repair of broken bones as well) click HERE and be sure to say that panthergirl sent you!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

Why I Love "So You Think You Can Dance"

Because unlike "Dancing with the Stars", which is moderately amusing, the dancing and choreography on this show are SICK... (to borrow a Shane Sparks term). The music is great (and real, as opposed to the muzak-reworkings offered up on DWTS), with a lot of indie and alternative choices that are worthy of an episode-by-episode soundtrack list.

I think it's sad that there doesn't seem to be the same opportunity for fame and fortune for these dancers (as opposed to, say, singers on American Idol). They are ridiculously talented, yet what can they really "win"? A spot in the background of a J-Lo video? (ok, sometimes you get to MARRY J-Lo as a result, but not usually). Unless they are a "triple threat" (sing/dance/act) they won't get a job beyond the chorus line of a Broadway show, but although that's steady and decent-paying work it's not "stardom".

What's with the double standard? Singers don't have to be able to dance... why are there only a handful of REALLY famous dancers who don't do anything else?


Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Book Find AND A Blog Find!

Found this through the fabulous Deni Bonet, who sent me to Marc Acito's blog, which is great in its own right. The premise of the blog is that he does something new every day and posts about it. This was actually done by his brother, so I guess the new thing was that he had never posted a video made by his brother before. ;)

Seriously, check out his blog. He's also an author and I'm heading over to Borders tomorrow to both see my daughter and to pick up a copy of his new book, The Attack of the Theater People.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Riding in Cars with Marge

Happy Mother's Day to all who are mothers, have mothers, or have made someone a mother. I'm reposting one of my favorite Marge stories for your Mother's Day pleasure.

Marge, on left, and pal

My mother Marge has been a continuous (yet unintentional) "sauce of entertainment" to the sane members of my family over the years. She comes out with the most inane and ridiculous things and always at completely inappropriate times. (A recent example of this was posted here, but long-time readers of this blog are quite familiar with this trait.)

When we were kids, she loved bragging to us about what a popular teenager she was, how many guys were after her, and how she was the first girl in her neighborhood to drive and own her own car. She'd go on ad nauseum about how many hands she had to slap from her knee while driving.

The love of cars and driving is something that she and my father Sal had in common. As such, on my dad's paltry mailman salary we always owned brand new vehicles ("You don't want to buy someone else's headache!") which my father would eventually plow into the trunk of a car he was tailgating. (Once he did it on the way home from the dealership. At 10 years old, I felt very much like Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" as I was simultaneously shocked and thrilled by the stream of obscenities that followed.)

Fast forward to the point in their lives well after they had moved to Florida. They were in their 70s, driving a gold-package Ford Crown Victoria (or, "The Police Car" as we liked to call it), with my two nephews in the back seat (15 and 13 years old at the time). Sal was driving with Marge riding shotgun. Cruising down I-4 at 85mph, they had the front windows open all the way and big band music was blaring. When the wind inside the car reached gale force, my mother turned around to my nephews and yelled, "HEY...ARE YOU KIDS GETTIN' A BLOW JOB BACK THERE?"

I guess we know why she was so damned popular in that car of hers!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Blow Up

Crappy weather weekend here, which means I'm catching up on some of my Netflix movies.

Ryan Gosling is one of my very favorite young actors. I loved him in Half Nelson and Fracture, but Lars and the Real Girl puts him right over the top for me.

If you think this is a silly film about a guy who falls in love with a blow-up doll, you couldn't be more wrong. It's a film about mental illness, compassion, and the about suspending disbelief: both for the film audience and for the characters in the movie itself.

I laughed at myself a few times as I wept for "Bianca". But the fact that I did is a testament to the wonderful cast and to the screenwriter. Don't miss this one.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Hilarious

The Good:

The letter I wrote to my local newspaper generated several calls to me from other parents who have been dealing not only with the same issue, but with the same KIDS. Some since kindergarten. The paper wrote a followup article, ran an editorial and published a letter from another concerned parent who has taken up the bullying cause, but ultimately pulled her child from the school district.

The Bad:

Lucas is now being targeted verbally by friends of these boys ("Alec said that he and Jimmy stuck their d***s in your face.")

The article is just ok. I think the quoted expert focuses too much on school situations, when that's only half the problem. He also implies that the victim needs to find ways to cope or to avoid being targeted. That's like blaming the victim of rape for wearing a short skirt. I'm also disappointed that they did not interview a psychologist about the effects of bullying on children.

Watch this:

The school says they are taking "appropriate action" regarding these incidents (another occurred last Monday), but due to privacy laws they can't tell me what. I spent an hour with the police who basically throw their hands up and say "We can only do what the law allows. And the law doesn't consider this behavior to be assault." They described an incident where a girl gave another girl a huge black eye, but when the judge said "Does it hurt?" she said not really, and he thew the case out. When it comes to juveniles in this county, apparently a bone has to be broken in order for it to be considered assault. Yet, one of these kids HAS broken a child's arm in the past and is still not incarcerated.

So, again, anything that occurs outside the school's jurisdiction seems to have no consequence.

My next step is to take letters from the other parents, other members of my condo (they don't only target children) and go to the County Attorney to see if we can get an order of protection for my son. We are also looking into the possibility of a class action civil suit against the parents. These people have children who aren't just "bullies". They have real problems and need medical treatment. Anything less is neglect, and in the meantime the kids are a public menace.

Maybe the District would like to fund private school tuition for my son. That's sounding like a good idea to me.

OK, now to the Hilarious.

You'll need to wear these:

to see this:

Although I didn't expect much, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is the funniest movie I've seen since Team America: World Police. And I am proud to say that I was the only person in the theater who laughed at "I need to B my L on someone's T's".