The Week in Dogs: December 15  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

This week in dog blogging:

This little puppy is known as a Catahoula leopard dog (Wikipedia). It spent a lot of time crawling up my legs and jumping on my back.

And barking.

He didn't much care for the walking part of walking, mostly just running between my legs and begging for attention. And barking at other dogs.

Here's an actual picture so you can see what he looked like. He'll get a fair amount larger than he is now.

I loved this female pit bull mix. She was so friendly and energetic.

Loved that dog toy.

Getting a little run in.

Chewing. Lots of chewing.

She liked to nuzzle up too. She was affectionate for a pit bull.

A nice profile picture, mid-trot. I got the leash on her and then she broke away.

You can barely see in the last picture, but Miss Bee was out with a pit as well. She was soo cute.

Here's a better picture:

A proud mama, probably a pit mix.

Here's a close-up of the little black thing in the other picture.

A gigantic St. Bernard.

This behemoth is known as a Neapolitan mastiff. I didn't get a picture of the one at the kennel today but I noticed this monster (especially since it had a red "Quarantine" tag).

Turns out that it had bitten someone, and there was one agency that would consider adopting it (the owner gave up all rights, technically allowing immediate euthanization by the shelter). They chose to pass, and we happened to be right there as they removed him from his kennel. He was so strong that he pulled the shelter man into the cage with him; he told us that he almost hit his face on the back end of the kennel.

He also told us to go check out his former cage; the dog had actually eaten through chain link fence. See:

Goodbye for now from MCACC, maybe we'll get one more in before home for the holidays.

Where a Kid Can Be a Kid  

Posted by Wayne Bretski

Went to a birthday party for a girl in Miss Bee's class. I got a pretty good camera phone picture of Abril with Chuck E. Cheese himself.

Negligent puppy blogging  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

Should have done this last weekend..I'll try to be more regular (like, um, tomorrow).

I'm going to start off sad: a French bulldog in a cage.

Such a lovely dog. He was stray so we couldn't walk him.

How about this guy?! Some kind of Shar Pei mix. He sat in the kennels with all the chaos and barking and keeps this placid expression, like "I don't even care.."

Not to say he didn't get excited about getting outside. Here he's straining to get out of the complex.

Would you take a look at this tail! Such a goofy-looking dog. He's my favorite walk so far, outside of the pit bull/Basset hound mix from last week.

This girl was so cute, a labrador retriever. The only good shot I got was this one with Miss Bee.

A Pit bull mix we took out. She was a very lovely dog; really strong.

This lab mix reminded me so much of a huge version of our old dachshund Buster.

Here's the profile:

Basically the ears are too "up"-oriented and the legs too long. Otherwise she's a ringer.

Leslie's favorite, a real heartbreaker. Same female German shepherd mix from last week. Such a pretty dog, really friendly, it's so sad she's still there. Out for a run:

This is what black and tan coon hounds do:

I think hounds are really cool; there's a couple of coon hound brothers at the shelter I think I'm going to take out if they're still there. Check out the floppy ears.

Boxer mix with Miss Bee:

Turns out Miss Bee really loves German shepherds and that I really love boxers. So look for a few more of those!

R.I.P. Ike Turner  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

I would be remiss as an R & B enthusiast to skip posting this YouTube video of "the first rock and roll song" with the recently deceased Ike Turner on guitar:

That's where I live  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

Check out this NYT article about the immigration issue in AZ. I live at 36th and McDowell, which is two stoplights from 35th and Thomas. Click here. These are the parents of the children Miss Bee and I teach, their tios and primos and friends of their parents.

Definitely check out the slideshow that goes with the article. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is overboard, but he's got a lot of support here.

My take? The January 1st law, which punishes businesses for hiring undocumented workers, is one of the most overt displays of racism you're likely to see. We allow the import of cheap foreign goods and export service jobs to foreigners for lower wages.

On the flipside, it certainly is much more difficult to compete as a blue collar business when your competition is using underhanded techniques like paying wages and taxes in cash, for lower than market prices.

Without local government intervention, perhaps we could see the markets respond appropriately, but given the response from the sheriff's department, we're more likely to see an exodus of hard-working men and women.

Economics is the study of trade-offs. When these families move back to Mexico, it contributes to instability in the schools, generally lowering class sizes. Smaller class sizes, decreased local tax revenue, and already poor support for school districts all contribute to a reduction in the number of teachers, and prohibits increases in salaries for teachers. As a result, there are fewer talented people attracted to small, poor school districts, perpetuating the cycle of lower-quality education for what is labeled a lower-quality district, school, and community.

Raise wages for teachers and I promise that you'll see an improvement in the long run...but what administrator can plan for the next three to five years when their job depends on the next one or two?

As Lawrence Downes narrates, "These are men who want to work". Regardless of whether they are in the U.S. or Mexico they are very poor, and seeking the best for their family. Is that so horrible?

Basmati, zucchini and pomegranate  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

Take-off on Heidi Swanson's Bulgur, Celery & Pomegranate salad over at

The dressing is just pomegranate juice with some garlic powder and oil.

Here's the whole pile:

Before the dressing:

I used rice instead of the bulgur, and adding the pom seeds and some Craisins gave me this.

You can see the zucchini frying in there too, just added these on top, roasted some pine nuts with the second batch of zucchini, and topped with some Parmesan cheese. It was a good way to use up a pomegranate, as it required both the juice and the arils.

For the record, I've determined that pomegranates follow the so-called 80/20 rule: with 20% of the effort required to get all the seeds out, you can actually get probably more than 80% of the seeds, without washing away the delicious juice by putting the wedged fruit in water to separate the pith and skins. My recommendation: if you need Every Last Seed in the fruit, use two and save yourself some tedious picking through detritus.

What Really Grinds My Gears  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

Idea stolen from sports blog The Big Picture. This was a recent one

**Caution: Bad Language**

Link here, regarding using the brights on a crowded freeway. Key quote:

Flashing your brights on the freeway is different. I do that s*** all the time. Especially in Seattle where everyone drives like a student driver. I'll come up behind a c***weasel who's doing 55 in the fast lane. I'll flash my brights at him to change lanes so I can continue driving like a person who has a sack. If he moves over, a courteous wave follows; flashing the brights worked.

You probably don't want to know what he'll do if they don't get over...

But what really grinds MY gears is the extra lyrics to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and other Christmas songs. I taught music to K-3 students last week. The real lyrics were sung, sometimes even with joy; the extra words (like a light bulb") were SHOUTED. Same with "Jingle Bells", which went like this:

Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle .... (trail off)
Oh what fun .... (mumble)

Mumbling until chorus.

Why don't people explain Christmas songs to kids, so they know what they're singing? And what is with the 'extra' lyrics? Those things really grind my gears.

To alleviate the irritation, here's a song off the new Gorillaz album.

Direct Download Link

Food Catch-ups  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

Starting with the best, although it doesn't look hugely appetizing in the photo. This was a Miss Bee creation, flash-fried eggplant with wilted spinach and cherry tomatoes, served with Parmesan cheese and yogurt cheese over rice. Our "Hear No Evil..." lamp is in the background. Thanks Carrie.

It was delicious as leftovers too, with zucchinis fried with Parmesan added in.

Next up was Breadsticks night. Breadsticks rolled up from Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough, red sauce is tomato paste thinned with water and yogurt cheese.

Catch-all salad with cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, Craisins, etc. and Dijon and oil dressing.

State of the Union  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

I just became aware of this television show "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader". This is a pretty good one:

Saturday Beer Blogging  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

I'm not a huge fan of spicy Christmas-style ales; I'm not a huge fan of many spices to begin with. I prefer herbal flavors, and hops being an herb, Alesmith Brewing Company's Yulesmith is right up my alley. Definitely a West Coast Double IPA, with almost barleywine levels of malt and viscosity. As noted above on Beer Advocate, comes in a winter and summer edition. Haven't had the pleasure of a summer, but enjoyed 2006's winter and this one tonight. Recommended if you can find it. My rating came to 4.35 out of 5; average was 4.37.

Also, the Trappist monks of Westvleteran were featured in the august pages of the Wall Street Journal, who apparently sent their most irritating reporter to check in on the brewing brothers. The article is perfectly harmless, with all of its facts straight I believe, but the video included with the online edition is just super-annoying. Read about what is possibly the most sought after beer in the world today with its combination of rich flavor and rare production here.

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in ,

Miss Bee and I are the newest volunteers, walking and feeding dogs, and helping out when the public comes in to look at dogs and cats.

A six year old German shepherd mix. Miss Bee found a friend. For posterity, our first dog that we took for a walk.
Playing ball in the kennel.


A little Pit bull mix puppy while I clean out his kennel.

His brother, whose not as reticent as you might think from this picture. They were both adopted.

A Basset hound/pit bull mix. He's low-slung and friendly, but you can see the pit in the coat, face, and strength.

This pictures shows his left paw turned out like a regular basset. This is one strange-looking dog.

I call this "Stray Cat".

Guess what. It rains here too.

Two Field Trips to the Same Place  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving saw Miss Bee's class at the Mesa Southwest Museum. I chaperoned for another class that day, and then the Tuesday after Thanksgiving I subbed for a third grade class that went to the same place. Not many good pictures on the cell phone camera, but here's the best.

Sleeping on the bus back:Here's Fuad:
All the chiddlers:
Miss Deisy:
Goofing off:
The view from from the top of Dinosaur Mountain:
The kids looking at T-Rex:
Here's from third grade, by the Columbian mammoth:

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