Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
If you paid any attention at all to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, even merely looking at story headlines, you'd have known that Mia was supposed to do an agility course and muffed it up big time before a large press audience.
"She starts off admirably with the first few obstacles, but then distractions come into play.
The turf suddenly smells too interesting to ignore. Mia's handler gets her back on track after a little coaxing.
At the weave poles, Mia decides to pull over and thank her handler for helping her earlier and then does a little bit of grooming. She snaps out of her cleaning regimen as the crowd roars with laughter."
Her trip through the course was called, "Delightfully entertaining."
Mia's distraction kind of fits how many of us feel as we debate even turning on the news or even trying to concentrate on daily life knowing things have gotten primal scream crazy.
This is a question I ask every year. I even tweet at Westminster-#WKCDogShow and never get an answer back. Well, finally someone else thought to find an answer to this question. I mean, seriously? A Golden Retriever has never won? Labradors get only cursory looks? Great Pyrenees? Nope.
So what's the deal here? Why so many very small dogs get to win. Or Poodles trimmed up like a joke? Last night the last group to be judged was the herding group and judging by the loud extended applause, they were fan favorites. But the announcer told the tv audience that only once in all the decades (141 years) has a herding dog received Best in Show.
Watch tonight and the first group will be the Working Group which includes a Golden and the cheering for that dog will top about any other, but the judge will ignore. I hope I'm wrong this time. At least put one into the final group.
So when I saw this story I read it to find out what the deal is.
"Ask anyone who has a golden retriever or a Lab or dachshund, and it just doesn't seem fair. Because when it comes to those breeds, they wind up in the Westminster doghouse. Same for Dalmatians and Chihuahuas, complete underdogs.
Some say they're too common. As in, it would be hard for any of the 65 goldens entered this year to stand out. Rather, the ribbon is more likely to go a pert wire fox terrier (14 wins) or a perfectly coifed poodle (nine wins)."
Too popular!? And that's about all the author of this piece could come up with to explain the absence of wonderful dogs in favor of gussied up, teased up, or tiny enough to hold in the palm of your hand.
Some say the German Shepherd who was a big favorite last year and is back again, has a good chance to win overall. He did get out of his group and make the finals. But so did a miniature poodle. And speaking of that. One judge explained how they decide on winners of groups and one item was how that dog fits the standard for that breed. Well. Tell me how a Poodle which originally a water dog, tracker and herder. How does that fit a standard which now has a poodle cut and fluffed so very unnaturally?
Yes, that is what I'm going to tonight and tomorrow night. The dogs. The annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show takes up two nights and this just has to be better than all the cable news screaming.
Each year I hope against hope that the Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever or the Great Pyrenees or some such big furry dog will win and each year I'm disappointed. The crowd at Madison Square Garden always cheers loudly for these breeds but the judges really like small dogs or if they're big, they're an usual breed.
Am I right or is my prejudice showing? Well here is a list of past winners:
The Wire Fox Terrier has won the most times-14
English Springer Spaniel-6
If you look at the list of Best in Show winners from the beginning you'll see an whole lot of various terrier breeds who won. The odd man out was the Old English Sheep Dog in 1914.
This has been all over my news feed. Evanger's dog food company has recalled 5 lots of their Hunk of Beef food due to possible pentobarbital contamination. I've never heard of this brand and the image on the can of Hunk of Beef would keep me from ever buying it.
The groundhog takes over the news today as the most famous among them, Punxsutawney Phil, is hauled out of his hibernation to look for his shadow in front of national news cameras. But, did you know?
Groundhog's Day began in 1887 or 1841 depending on the source! "Groundhog Day has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas Day, ( the mid point between the winter and spring soltice) when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. Germans expanded on this concept by selecting an animal–the hedgehog–as a means of predicting weather. Once they came to America, German settlers in Pennsylvania continued the tradition, although they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were plentiful in the Keystone State."
Other states have since found their own groundhogs and go through a similar ritual locally.
And, "in 1723, the Delaware Indians settled Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania as a campsite halfway between the Allegheny and the Susquehanna Rivers. The town is 90 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, at the intersection of Route 36 and Route 119. The Delawares considered groundhogs honorable ancestors. According to the original creation beliefs of the Delaware Indians, their forebears began life as animals in "Mother Earth" and emerged centuries later to hunt and live as men."
Who knew groundhogs had such a venerable history. We have attempted to trap several of these in our Collinsville yard the past several years with no luck. They just won't take the bait. But they hunker down in the ground in the back of our yard, heading out to waddle around the neighborhood when it warms up. These guys are huge, but fairly non-plussed about much of anything.
"Ms Holten, a vegan and animal rights activist, has campaigned against the use of cowbells in the village and her actions have annoyed the locals. The resident’s committee argued that if she does not accept Swiss traditions and the Swiss way of life, she should not be able to become an official national. Ms Holten told local media: “The bells, which the cows have to wear when they walk to and from the pasture, are especially heavy. The animals carry around five kilograms around their neck. It causes friction and burns to their skin. She added: “The sound that cow bells make is a hundred decibel. It is comparable with a pneumatic drill. We also would not want such a thing hanging close to our ears?"
Here is what one of the local people said in response to this: "Ms Holten has a “big mouth” and that residents did not want to grant her citizenship “if she annoys us and doesn’t respect our traditions".
This woman says she is a journalist, model and drama student and has previously has also campaigned against a number of other Swiss traditions like hunting, pig races and the noisy church bells in town.
If you go to the story link you'll seem some amazing pictures of cow with fairly huge bells around their necks and others without them. I can just imagine this person constantly fussing about one thing or another as she attends local council meetings.
A squirrel story from England with headline: "Fat Squirrels on rampage at country park as children are attacked for food"
Don't you just want to click that story link? I know I did. It seems Great Britain had a mild Christmas season and people and kids were out in local parks with snacks which often ended up on the ground. The squirrels ate and ate and got fat and are now addicted to eating in those places. They've gotten quite fat.
In one instance a child was feeding a squirrel when six others ran out from a bush and bit his hand trying to get the food. Two youngsters have also been attacked at the woodland, including a three-year-old boy who needed emergency hospital treatment.
Of course feeding them isn't the best idea. The story continues on and on.
Thankfully the many squirrels around here don't attack, they just keep eating our cedar fence.