Back to previous post: Open thread 109

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: That sounds painful

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

May 31, 2008

Just a lotta animals
Posted by Avram Grumer at 08:56 PM *

Several years back, I read about a rhesus monkey being given the gene for green florescence from a jellyfish. I anticipated a series of followup stories — first the monkey escapes from the lab, then nighttime muggings being interrupted by a mysterious, small, green-glowing figure. Sadly, I see that of the three monkeys given the gene for glowing, the one who survived is the one who doesn’t actually glow.

More recently, though, we’ve had news about a macaque monkey with a robot arm, and a frog with extensible claws like Wolverine. Taken together with the genetically-engineered super-mice, we’re clearly seeing the emergence of some modern-day Legion of Super-Pets. For the Batman figure — the hero without powers who gets by on smarts, perseverance, and blatant auctorial favoritism — I nominate the cat-washing chimp.

Comments on Just a lotta animals:
#1 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2008, 09:23 PM:

I preferred the legion of super canines, whatever the exact name was. It had Tusky Husky, Paw Pooch, Hot Dog, the dog with the giant crystal ball head that foretold the future, and, of course, Krypto. We got to see them wearing costumes, walking on their hind legs, and giving a clumsy authoritarian salute (which led me to suspect it might be a krypto-fascist organization). Best of all, there was the panel where the fortune telling dog invited Krypto to look into his giant crystal head, and there was Superboy under a green rock. "Yip! Yip!" Krypto said, "My master is in danger!"

Oh, man, they just don't make comics like that any more.

#2 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2008, 10:04 PM:

I remember one Batman story which ultimately hinged on the fact that Batman memorizes every license plate on every car that he sees -- in Gotham City, for heaven's sake -- and retains this information for at least several days. I don't know if it counts as a "power" but it sure isn't normal human cognition.

#3 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2008, 11:36 PM:

Tusky Husky et al were members of the "Space Canine Patrol Agency".

No, I didn't remember that off the top of my head; I had to google it, because I knew it would drive me crazy not to remember.

"Ah, the Silver Age. When every comics writer spent all his free time sniffing glue."

#4 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 12:31 AM:

Boing Boing had a picture the other day of a pig riding raccoon.

#5 ::: Sten ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 12:37 AM:

Spkng f nmls.....

S, lk, my wf s th dg prsn n th hs nd m th ct prsn. W'v hd bth cts nd dgs vr th yrs, nd ftr 5 yr dg bsnc (fllwng th dth f r wht Grmn Shphrd) w pckd p tw mr grwn dgs frm th shltr tdy.

Th frst s btfl nd sm-trnd Mlmt-Cll mx, th thr s gfy, ntrnd Lb-Bsstt mx.

W blvd (ths tm) n gttng tw dgs bcs r lgc ws tht th tw dgs cld gt thr nrgy t plyng wth n nthr n r flly-fncd bck yrd, nstd f cnstntly flng lnly nd pstrng s fr ttntn 24/7.

S fr, s gd.

Bt th Lb-Bsstt s prvng t b smthng f brkr.

nyn gt ny ds hw t trn dg t f brkng fr ttntn, r jst brkng n gnrl? gn, m nt th dg prsn s dn't kp p n ths thngs. Bt cn lrdy tll hs brkng s gng t b prblm nlss w gt t ndr cntrl. t's nt nly nsnc t s, bt thnk t's rd t nghbrs t hv brkr wh jst brks p strm nd th wnrs dn't d nythng bt t.

Mnwhl, r tw rsdnt, ldr cts r n shck, nd xprncng PTSD flshbcks frm th lst tm cnn nvdd thr spc.

'v hd t mv th lttr bx nd ct fd t scr lctn; bth fr thr cmfrt nd s th dgs dn't hlp thmslvs.

#6 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 12:48 AM:

Sten: Try the book Don't Shoot the Dog! about animal (and people) training in general.

Two classic strategies to address barking I remember from that book are

  1. train an incompatible behavior - for a made-up example, train him to pick up a toy and shake it when he's excited - and,
  2. train him to bark on cue, and then don't give the cue.

Never had to try those because neither of our dogs were barkers.

#7 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 02:31 AM:

Karen Pryor's web site is great

http://www.clickertraining.com/

Maia does a lot of wortk with horses and has attended at least two "ClickerExpo"s, where she's worked with Karen, and some other really good Positive Reinforcement trainers.

emme parsons "click to calm" is good, and that website has links to other places Maia reccomends.

#8 ::: Kate Tinning ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 03:12 AM:

There is a dog who lives near us who has been de-barked. But that has always seemed like a pretty cruel option to me. It hasn't stopped the dog from attempting to bark- it goes through all the motions, but all that comes out is a soft, pitiful yelp.

#9 ::: Christian Severin ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 03:33 AM:

A fine addition to the Legion of Super Pets would be We3, cybernetically enhanced soldier animals. Armored mine-layer rabbits, anyone?

It's just a matter of time before we see remote controlled suicide bomber critters, you mark my words.

#10 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 05:18 AM:

Joel at #2: I don't think this is outside the range of human memorization capabilities, the thing that is outside the range is that Batman has managed to train himself in all these things that a subset of which would take a lifetime of dedicated training.

#11 ::: Bernard Yeh ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 05:43 AM:

But is anyone developing a countermeasure for the CIA's highly trained cybernetic spy cats?
Given the increasing cost of oil, I'm not sure we can rely on vehicular traffic to take them out for much longer...

#12 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 06:04 AM:

I preferred the legion of super canines, whatever the exact name was.

Big Dog! Big Dog! Bow Wow Wow! We'll Fight Crime Now how How!

#13 ::: Marcos ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 08:07 AM:

I'm impressed by the obscurity of the article title; "Justa Lotta Animals" are/were meta-fictional constructs within the fictional universe of Captain Carrot, which is already not exactly the most well-known of comic franchises. :)

#14 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 08:23 AM:

What? No Muttants?

#15 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 08:40 AM:

Based on my sample of one, debarking doesn't qualify as cruelty -- I know a Papillon (sometimes described as 60 lbs of dog smarts and personality in a 6 lb body) who was debarked by a previous owner, and gets along quite well, if quieter. Particularly, I can see no evidence of straining to be louder or frustration or any impact on his happiness.

#16 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 08:56 AM:

Debarking can be pretty horrendous if done by an untrained person--there have been cases where puppy mill owners just rammed a metal rod or pipe down the dog's throat (this is still legal in some places). On the other hand, debarking (no matter who does it) is illegal in New Jersey. The ASPCA opposes it unless you've already tried behavior mod/training and the animal is in danger of euthanasia or losing its home.

Here's a pro-and-con by 2 vets.

#17 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 09:18 AM:

Sadly, I see that of the three monkeys given the gene for glowing, the one who survived is the one who doesn’t actually glow.

IIRC, the same was true when they spliced the luciferin gene into cats, a year or two ago. I know that luciferin is toxic -- I don't know for sure about jellyfish GFP, but I'd be unsurprised.

#18 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 09:28 AM:

Captain Carrot, which is already not exactly the most well-known of comic franchises.

Oh, come on. Everyone's heard of Roger Rabbit ...

#19 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 10:07 AM:

Shouldn't that be an ape washing a cat?

#20 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 10:18 AM:

Christian Severin @9-- It's just a matter of time before we see remote controlled suicide bomber critters, you mark my words.

Don't seagulls count?

#21 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 10:29 AM:

Debbie @ 20... Don't seagulls count?

Coming soon, Jonathan Livingston vs Tippi Hedren...

#22 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 11:07 AM:

You mean de-barking is a surgical procedure? I do find that somewhat horrifying.

There are commercially available dog silencers which echo the dog's bark in the ultrasound range. It's an irritating sound to the dog, so this trains it quickly that barking for the fun of it just isn't very fun. It won't stop the dog barking when it's in distress or needs to communicate, so that's positive. I'd highly recommend trying one of those, but since I've never needed to, I can't say how effective they are. (There are DIY instructions, too, so if you're into electronics it could be both fun and useful...)

Fortunately, our dog isn't much of a barker. Although lately, she's had another growth spurt and her energy level is through the roof, so she's been barking at odd noises. And here in the middle of Ponce, PR there are always plenty of noises a dog can consider "odd", in the sense of, "OMG, unknown intruders are encroaching on our territory!" But if you tell her to stop, or show her there's nobody outside the door, she'll stop, then look a little embarrassed while still putting up a good front -- after all, there might have been intruders, and she wants us to realize it's better to be safe than sorry.

#23 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 11:09 AM:

I swear my hamster has five fingers on each hand. And I swear she has opposable thumbs.

#24 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 11:10 AM:

Serge @ 14: What? No Muttants?

That was something that bothered me about the X-men universe: why was it only humans who got the special physics-defying mutant powers? Why weren't there pigs with levitation abilities, hamsters with laser-beam eyes, fields of teleporting dandelions? (Actually, I suspect that the last might exist in real life, considering how many times I've completely weeded a lawn and then found it dotted with dandelions the very next day.)

#25 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 11:33 AM:

For dog-related humor, I like today's Non Sequitur.

#26 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 12:14 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 24...

Well, in Earth X, Alex Ross proposed that Celestials used the insides of planets as hatcheries for their progeny, and that they seeded the local tool-making species with mutations so that, while protecting their homeworlds from the depredations of Galactus, they'd also protect the next generation of Celestials.

Then again there is Lockjaw.

#27 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 12:36 PM:

Sten@5, my wife has pretty much worked with animals her whole life, from vet tech to trainer to groomer to you name it.

I could ask her specifically about your situation, but based on what I've picked up from osmosis, bassets are natural barkers. Any kind of "hound dog" is going to be a natural barker.

The first thing she usually recommends people try to deal with barkers is to train them to "speak" on command. You can't train them not to bark, but you can train them to bark on command, and some dogs make the connection that they shouldn't be barking all the time.

After that, she usually recommends a bark collar. Part of the this is because owners are generally lousy trainers. She's trained dogs to sit, come, stay, speak, shake, lie down, and roll over. But when she send them back to the owner, a month later the owner can't get them to sit. My wife will show up and the dog will follow her every command, but the owner can't get the dog to do anything. Mostly, the owners don't want to do the work to do the training, so the dog learns how to avoid listening to the owner.

At that point, training isn't going to help, because the owner isn't willing to do the work to keep the training active, so my wife usually recommends a bark collar.

The initial reaction to bark collars is often that it is some gruesome torture device. But being the designated battery changer guy, I've been zapped with them a bunch of times and its like getting shocked with static electricity. Rub your feet on the carpet in the wintertime and then touch someone and zap.

Good bark collars are auto-adjusting. You turn them on, they start on a low setting, and if the dog keeps barking, they increase the strength of the zap after each bark. If it stops, the strength resets back to minimum.

Even collars can be a training/owner problem because you can't just leave the collar on the dog all the time. You don't want the little zap probes to wear a spot on their skin, so you have to take the collar off for periods fo time so the skin doesn't get problems from constant rubbing. And dogs have to be allowed to bark sometime. You can't make them mute. Usually, you put the collar on when the dog is in the house but take it off when it is outside. And then you have to be sure to give it time outside to run around and play and bark.

But some owners aren't always consistent, and then their dog doesn't associate "indoor->no barking", but instead associates "no collar->barking". or something.

#28 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 12:49 PM:

Re hound and barking: I've found them to be a mixed bag. We have an English Foxhound. He doesn't bark. He's also completely unflappable (he can be goaded to respond, but it's never happened with a dog he doesn't live with; and that only after steady provocation).

Make him unhappy (easiest done by taking one dog away... that means he is being left behind) and he bays. Barking would be better), but that's rare.

Put him in the chase, and I suspect it's a different matter. Most of the English Foxhounds I've known have been much the same.

Then again, the German Shorthair taught Oliver to bark (Token, the hound, nope, not interested) so anyhing is possible.

#29 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 01:15 PM:

#26: Then again there is Lockjaw.

But is he really a dog?

[ /comics religious war]

#30 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 01:52 PM:

Joel Polowin @ #24. Serge @ #26:

Actually, that wasn't new to Earth X! It's been Marvel Universe canon for many years that the Celestials implanted one of their young in the planet (known as the Dreaming Celestial) and tampered with humanity, creating three races. One was the nearly indestructible Eternals, IIRC the Inhumans were the second, and "majority humans" were the third, these last gaining a set of "sleeper genes" called the Celestial Seed. Earth X revealed that there were also a few original-type humans left, represented inter alia by Wolverine and Sabertooth.

Note that the Inhumans use their "terrigen mist" to mutate their children; I have no problem believing that Lockjaw was originally human, but got mutated into a doglike form. (Given the milieu, he could also be of alien origin. In the MU, there's a fair number of aliens wandering around Earth, both humanoid and otherwise.)

#31 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 01:56 PM:

PS to above: Walter Mosley took a much darker view of this theme in his novel Blue Light. Excellent writing, but... well, it's not quite as disturbing as Ellison's stuff.

#32 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 02:01 PM:

David Harmon @ 30... I stand corrected. Still, isn't it Earth X that introduced the notion that Galactus's purpose isn't really to devour a world's life essence, but to eliminate Dreaming Celestials where he encounters them otherwise they'd overrun the universe?

As for Lockjaw, who knows? He might be a Skrull whose shapeshifting got jammed into that shape. Heck, a few of them got stuck into cow bodies, in the early days of the Fantastic Four.

#33 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 02:07 PM:

(Cont'd from #32)... In the end, I think Lockjaw is a dog, a very big and very fat dog, but a dog nonetheless. And housebroken too, as Franklin Richards found out in a recent issue of Son of a Genius.

#34 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 02:16 PM:

Serge @#32: Still, isn't it Earth X that introduced the notion that Galactus's purpose isn't really to devour a world's life essence, but to eliminate Dreaming Celestials

Nope, that's been discussed a few times in The Fantastic Four.

#35 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 02:30 PM:

David Harmon @ 31... I guess I should take a look at Blue Light. Did you know that Mosley is one of us comics readers? I'm not sure that he still reads them, but he obviously feels a lot of affection for the genre.

#36 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 03:21 PM:

I kind of wish Heinlein had done more with the neodogs that he mentioned in Starship Troopers.

I've wondered on occasion if they were partly an inspiration for MacCaffrey's dragons, who went Between, when they lost their riders.

Love, C.

#37 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 03:50 PM:

Nancy #19 -- Are you referring to the video title? Yeah, it should be ape (or chimp, as I said), but I didn't put the video on YouTube. Blame David Letterman.

#38 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 04:55 PM:

Oh, come on. Everyone's heard of Roger Rabbit ...

But not necessarily Roger Rodney Rabbit.

#39 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 06:16 PM:

David Harmon @ 17: GFP isn't luciferin, though. The problem in rhesus is getting the GFP into the DNA, and that's just not as easy in other species. However, it has been successfully spliced into a rhesus, as well as into pigs, fish, and the usual rats and mice.

It's not used to make any animals glow in the dark, and even the original jellyfish don't glow from GFP. It's used to make things show up under UV light, and in genetic research it is used to identify your protein of interest. You splice GFP to your PoI, insert the piece into the genome, and look at your progeny. Now you know where the gene localizes, and where it's activated. That's the helpful part.

#40 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 10:47 PM:

I see your pig-riding raccoon, and raise you a manta-ray-riding iguana.

#41 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 10:58 PM:

These comments all provide wonderful writing material. Probably most will produce better stories than my own effort, Beasts R Us, which was published by Hard Shell Word Factory.

#42 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2008, 11:27 PM:

If you want to read fiction that includes cybernetic spying squirrels, try Paul Levinson's The Pixel Eye. This is the third of his Phil D'Amato novels (The Silk Code and The Consciousness Plague being the others) where D'Amato is the forensic scientist for the NYPD. I would consider these near-future thrillers rather than SF, but I really enjoyed them. He says there's two more coming. This is my review of The Pixel Eye and the comments include links to my reviews of the others (as well as comments from the author himself).

#43 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 07:33 AM:

I would definitely buy and read a series in which the only mutants with superpowers were non-human.

#44 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 10:13 AM:

Sorry, Avram-- I saw the youtube title, and didn't check back to your article.

#45 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 11:17 AM:

Stefan Jones @4:

I've yet to find a satisfying answer to why the raccoon is riding that boar. I really want to know as I suspect it means something. What, time will only tell.

#46 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 11:22 AM:

#43: Like, uh, turtles?

#47 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 11:44 AM:

#9 ::: Christian Severin :::
It's just a matter of time before we see remote controlled suicide bomber critters, you mark my words.

I do remember hearing that the Russians in World War II trained dogs to want to spend their time underneath tanks, and then strapped bombs to them so they would blow up German tanks.

Remote control?
I think I remember hearing a story about electronic jockeys replacing boys as riders in camel races, because there was a child labor issue there.

I don't remember where I can look up either story.

#48 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 11:47 AM:

It bothers me when they kinda make lab animals look like mascots, e g the chimp who went into space etc.

#49 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 11:53 AM:

The trouble with YouTube is sometimes attribution gets lost.

Was the cat-washing chimp by any chance Vicki, the one chronicled in the book The Ape In Our House?

#50 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 12:23 PM:

Krypto starred briefly in an animated series a few years back; since Superman was too busy and too grown up to play with Krypto when his rocket reached Earth, Krypto became the pet of an ordinary human boy.

Streaky lived next door, but was not Supergirl's cat, though in at least one episode he had superpowers. Squeaky was, however, Krypto's sidekick (almost more than the human boy).

Ace the Bathound also appeared in several episodes, as did Catwoman's Siamese cats and the Joker's hyenas.

It was very silly, especially when Krypto would spin around until he was a blur and when he stopped, he would be wearing his cape (or not, when he was reverting to his secret identity).

#51 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 12:58 PM:

9&47: Along the same lines, World War II also had the bat bomb. Not remote controlled, alas.

#52 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 01:10 PM:

The awesome thing about the bat bomb is that it actually worked. They lost some largish chunk of a base in Carlsbad NM when some loaded bats got loose.

If it weren't such blatant cruelty to animals, I'd love the bat bomb without reservation. As it is, I think it's a seriously clever idea.

#53 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 01:29 PM:

Carrie S @ 52... some loaded bats got loose

...bowels?

#54 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 02:33 PM:

Serge (53): No, 'loaded' obviously means they were drunk.

#55 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 03:23 PM:

My dog stopped to sniff a pile of coyote crap during this morning's walk. After sizing it up she carefully positioned herself over it and gave it a good soaking.

She's always interested in coyote crap, but never marked it before.

It would be interesting to know what emotions were involved in decisions like that.

#56 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 04:22 PM:

Joel @ 24:

You are Piers Anthony, and I claim a mini-swarm of five telepathic Bs.

--Dave

#57 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 04:26 PM:

Stefan Jones@ 55: I would guess that this particular pile was from a female coyote, and was pheromonally marked in a way that made your dog think there might be a territorial challenge, which was met with her response.

#58 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 04:37 PM:

#57: There's "why" and there's "why." There's got to be an emotional component to canine peeing. That's what I'm interested in.

Sometimes after lifting her leg Kira kicks the turf around. While she does this she has a wonderful defiant / happy expression. Kind of like "so there!" or "take that!"

#59 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 09:17 PM:

David DeLaney @ 56: It's been a long time since I've read anything by P.A., so if that's a reference to something specific, I'm missing it (and glad of it).

"You are Piers Anthony" -- eww.

#60 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 10:27 PM:

58: Dog emotional content, translated during the walk: "Blah, blah, blah. Yadda yadda -- HEY! Hm. Hmph. HMM. I don't think so, missy! Take that! Ahhhhhhhhhhh. La la la...blah, blah blah, blah-di-dah."

YMMV.

#61 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 10:59 PM:

I distinctly remember that the US Navy was trying to train dolphins to carry bombs up to enemy ships. Don't know if the dolphins bought the idea or not.

#62 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 11:08 PM:

Serge @#35: Did you know that Mosley is one of us comics readers? I'm not sure that he still reads them, but he obviously feels a lot of affection for the genre.

I didn't know... I wonder if he was in the audience for that comics program at the VA Book Festival? I wouldn't have recognized him in any case, but he was a featured guest at the festival. (Which might well have kept him too busy to attend that program, anyhow.)

#63 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2008, 11:24 PM:

Bruce #61 & others: Back in March 2000,there was a story about 'kamikaze dolphins', see, for instance news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/670551.stm. An extract:

Dolphins and other aquatic mammals were trained by Russian experts to attack warships and enemy frogmen, but when funding for the project ceased, many were moved to a private dolphinarium to perform for tourists.

Their chief trainer, both in military and civilian life, was Boris Zhurid, who began his career as a submariner before graduating from a medical academy.

Earlier this month he sold the entire collection to Iran, because he could no longer afford to feed [& keep] it.
And I first heard about the WWII Russian tank-attack dogs on the BBC show 'QI' (www.bbc.co.uk/ comedy/ qi) — it appears the official BBC videos, like so many of theirs, aren't playable outside the UK and they also have only released Series 1 on DVD, so I had to watch it thru' YouTube — can't remember which episode that was in.

#64 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 05:49 AM:

David Harmon @ 62... I found out about his youth's brain-rotting love of comics in an interview he gave Locus. One of the characters I remember him mentionning was the Submariner.

#65 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 07:54 AM:

#64: He was a fan of Boris Zhurid?

#66 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 08:49 AM:

Ginger @ #60, as I type I am looking at my coffee mug (though it has tea in it) with the Gary Larson cartoon of 'what we say to dogs' ("Okay, Ginger! I've had it! You stay out of the garbage! Understand, Ginger? ....") and 'what they hear' ("blah blah GINGER blah blah blah blah blah blah blah GINGER....")

Bruce @ #61, didn't that program inspire a science fiction novel? I don't remember the title but the dolphins were named "Fa" and "Bee" (short for "Alpha" and "Beta").

#67 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 08:52 AM:

66: "Day of the Dolphin" by Robert Merle, which became a film starring George C. Scott.

#68 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 09:01 AM:

Okay, Ginger! I've had it! You stay out of the garbage!

You too, Ginger?

#69 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 09:02 AM:

Thank you, Jon! I was racking my brain to no effect. Never saw the movie, but I read the book back in high school (1970s).

#70 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 09:06 AM:

Pertinent article from Time magazine, 1971.

#71 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 09:07 AM:

Jon Meltzer @ 65... Not that one. I'm talking about the one about whom the Human Torch once said "Those nutty little ankle wings sure do their thing!"

#72 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 09:08 AM:

ethan @ 68... That Ginger. You just can't take her anywhere.

#73 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 09:13 AM:

Mary Aileen #54: When I was 14 I sealed some ripe pimento (allspice) berries in a plastic bag to see what would happen to them. My mother made me throw the half-fermented berries out. Our chickens ate them. I had never before seen chickens get drunk.

#74 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 10:04 AM:

Fragano @ 73: I remember hearing Mary Cook on CBC Radio, describing an incident in her youth when she and her brother had fed grain mash residue from the adults' brewing operation to the farm chickens. Falling-down drunk, they were. I've occasionally wondered if something similar might be a useful step towards dealing with a pigeon problem.

#75 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 10:13 AM:

Fragano @ 73... I had never before seen chickens get drunk.

Now I know why the chicken crossed the road. It was too drunk to know which side was which.

#76 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 10:30 AM:

Fragano and Joel: I've seen june bugs (beetles) get drunk on fallen peaches in peach orchards. They buzz around in spirals then fall over on their backs and wave their legs vaguely in the air.

#77 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 10:30 AM:

Fragano and Joel: I've seen june bugs (beetles) get drunk on fallen peaches in peach orchards. They buzz around in spirals then fall over on their backs and wave their legs vaguely in the air.

#78 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 10:32 AM:

This thread is starting to sound like something out of Gary Larson's most fevered dreams.

#79 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 10:56 AM:

I've seen footage of elephants gorging on fermented fruits...

The larsonesque possibilities are immense.

#80 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 11:39 AM:

Terry @ 79

I've heard that elephants can be mean drunks. They sometimes get mad and trample villages (and anyone in their paths) into the ground. ObLarsen: Elephant looking at the flattened person stuck to his foot in disgust.

#81 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 11:51 AM:

Bruce Cohen (StM) #80: I like how that Far Side has two alternate captions: "I thought I smelled something!" and the much better "I thought I heard something squeak!"

#82 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 12:46 PM:

Bruce Cohen (StM): Yep, and that's the sort of thing I could see him riffing on:

"No Fred, that's the last tree of Fermented Apricots for you", with a flattened village in the background.

Brings to mind the Jungle Books story about letting the jungle in.

#83 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 02:51 PM:

Lila @ 66: I love Gary Larson, and he liked to use my name (in vain, although not in vein). I have many of the cartoons in which animals named Ginger are listening, lost, or slithering. ;-)

ethan @ 68: I'm quite certain I don't know what you're referring to. And I can neither confirm nor deny any rumors about garbage cans. Next question, please?

Serge @ 72: Ah, but would I want to be seen in public with such puny humans? Wait, that didn't sound right.

Re: Fermented Fruits: we had a large (70+ foot tall) cherry tree in our back "yard", and I distinctly remember watching drunken --ok, inebriated birds around the fallen fruits. They were definitely FWI and FUI. Schnockered chickadees are particularly belligerent ("DEE DEE DEE!!!") albeit prone to listing to one side.

I wish we still had a cherry tree. I love cherries...and by "love" I mean I would happily eat a pound of them by myself.

Not all at once, of course. Over a few hours.

#84 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 03:04 PM:

My mom has a number of large apple trees in her backyard, but as she has things to do other than make applesauce there are fallen apples on the ground from the end of July through the autumn. This leads to drunken deer on a fairly regular basis. You have not lived till you've seen two drunken bucks* jousting.

* Can whitetailed deer be referred to as stags, or is that limited to European species?

#85 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 03:07 PM:

Ginger @ 83...

Puny humans?
What's next?
Of course.

"Ginger smash!"

#86 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 04:26 PM:

Serge @ 85: Haven't you seen the cookies in the stores?

"Ginger Snaps"

My partner swears that will be the headline.

#88 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 07:00 PM:

What!
People "de-bark" dogs?????!!!!


Grrrrrr.
I'd rather de-bark the owner first.
I can't say I've ever heard of it being done here in the UK, although I'm not involved in doggy circles, we merely had several labradors when I was growing up and knew the breeder quite well, not to mention the neighbours and relatives who also had dogs.
But obviously the first thing to do is try and change their behaviour so they don't bark so much.

#89 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 10:22 PM:

Friends of ours had a dog named Ginger, and my first reaction was to say, "Blah blah blah GINGER..." and my friend's face lit up, because I was the first one who knew the reference.

Captain Carrot -- feh. Bunch of weak puns with no binding material. The only good smile I got out of it was the Gardner Fox character.

Speaking of translating barks: Barkis! (By Crockett Johnson.)

Thanks for the memory jog(s) on the SCPA. Heh. SCPA. The mention of Ace, the Bat-Hound brings to mind (as it always does) a fan letter in WIZARD where someone is asking why Ace wears a mask. Who is he hiding his identity from? Other dogs? Dogs identify by sniffing butts, so shouldn't he have the mask under his tail? (Unfortunately, I know the real answer to this question, but I won't demean myself by saying it.)

#90 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2008, 10:23 PM:

One other observation I made, years ago: Being in a house with cats [or other animals, I'd guess] is like living in an animated cartoon. Discuss.

#91 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2008, 09:20 AM:

Kip W @ #89:

Now I'm picturing the scene of Ace running into another dog in his "civilian" life and the dog grabbing its face in disbelief. "Ace Wilker is . . . Bat-Hound?"

Drawn by Shelly Moldoff, of course. But I want to call the dog "Silver St. Bernard".

#92 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2008, 07:27 PM:

74: I have heard of corn soaked in rum as being one solution to a persistent pigeon problem, or at least a way of replacing it with the different problem of disposing of a bunch of drunk and incapacitated pigeons.

#93 ::: Carol ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2008, 11:06 PM:

Whiskers scratched
His cookie's map
That's what made his
Ginger Snap

Burma Shave

Choose:
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.