Friday, March 23, 2007

I just had to post a short exchange from a Sherlock Holmes story I was reading a little while ago. The story is "A Scandal in Bohemia," where the King of Bohemia, or Crown Prince at the time of hisindiscretion, is relating to Sherlock Holmes how he might be blackmailed by a lady he had contact with previous. At first, Sherlock Holmes is doubtful that the King need worry:

Sherlock Holmes: "I fail to follow your Majesty. If this young person should produce her letters for blackmailing or other purposes, how is she to prove their authenticity?"

King of Bohemia: "There is the writing."

SH: "Pooh, pooh! Forgery."

KB: "My private note-paper."

SH: "Stolen."

KB: "My own seal."

SH: "Imitated."

KB: "My photograph."

SH: "Bought."

KB: "We were both in the photograph."

SH: "Oh, dear!"

Ha ha! Just a classic exchange.

Friday, March 16, 2007

On a less anti-reporter-rant, I saw an interesting dichotomy at the animal shelter yesterday. A police officer from one city brought in a dog, a a brown hound. Opening the cage in the back of his pickup truck, the officer snapped his fingers and the dog jumped down. Without a leash, the dog calmly followed the officer into our intake room and stepped into a cage that the officer held open for him. Job done.

An hour later, another officer from a different city brought in a dog. This dog, a labrador retreiver, had been pepper-sprayed, tasered, and was dragged howling and fighting into the intake room with a choke pole around its neck and one of the taser barbs still embedded in its skni. Its mouth was bleeding from trying to chew the metal cable, and I wouldn't doubt that it had lost a couple teeth. Because of the pepper spray, I had to hose it off (through the bars of its cage), spraying it in the face for almost ten minutes with a mix of shampoo and water. When the pepper spray got wet, it became so strong that the other dogs in our intake room started sneezing, and we had to move them out.

So it was quite a contrast, and the question is this: what kind of dog are we? Are we dragged kicking and screaming and tasered through life, or do we accept the situation and make the best of it? Both dogs ended up reunited with their owner in the end, but I can guarentee that one dog was happier than the other, and had a much more pleasant experience.
Okay, I was going to blog today anyway, but after an email I got this morning, I'm going to blog twice.

The first blog is a rant about print media. A month or two ago I received the "Utah Animal Control Officer's Volunteer of the Year" award, for volunteer work I did at an animal shelter. The director at the animal shelter mentioned it to a couple reporters, and a couple stories in various papers came out about me. The email I received was from one of the reporters, pointing me to online links to the stories.

The problem I had is nothing new, but it is this: the reporters totally and completely made things up. Nothing serious, you understand, but enough to make me go, "Huh? Where the heck did you get THAT from?"

Example 1 from the Deseret Morning News: "...making the rounds with his earphones in, Hardin is at peace."

Sounds nice, yes, but one problem: I have never worn earphones there. And, oh wait, I never wear earphones anywhere. I don't own earphones. Worse part? I think it's patently rude to wear earphones in a work environment where you need to communicate with other people. Grrr.

Example 2 from BYU News Net. Opening line: "BYU student Ben Hardin was acknowledged recently for his work in veterinary work..."

Veterinary work? Where did that come from? I hose down cages. Help people adopt dogs. Pull cats out of the ceiling. I'm not fixing broken legs or neutering dogs on the front desk. This isn't as bad as example 1 since a lazy reporter might extrapolate veterinary work from an animal shelter, but it is still incorrect and shows that the reporter did a terrible job reporting. And it's still the opening sentence of the article.

Example 3, same source: "[Hardin] said he saw the job opportunity online and called asking for an application."

No, I didn't. I didn't see any job opportunity online, I didn't call for an application, and I certainly didn't say that I did. It doesn't even make sense. Why would I apply for a job when I only wanted to be a volunteer, and repeatedly turned down job offers after I started volunteering? The reporter can't claim she didn't know this, because three paragraphs before, the article says: "[The shelter director] would love to hire him, but [Hardin] won't take a job."

But who knows. Maybe the reporter is just trying to make me look good. After all, she also extrapolated a yearly tradition for my last nine years of college of working with the Special Olympics, from my comment that I helped out one year. Maybe I shouldn't complain. But I'm going to anyway.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A couple months ago I won a citronella animal repellant. Like pepper spray to animals, but harmless to humans. Just this morning I got around to reading the front of the package:

Ideal for Joggers, Cyclists, Families, and Nuisance Animals

I was fine up until that last one. Is this ideal to use ON joggers, cyclists, families and nuisance animals? "Honey, grab the citronella pepper spray! We got joggers digging through the trash again!" Or maybe, "Dear, that cyclist just growled at me. Better get the citronella spray ready."

An even scarier interpretation is that it's ideal to by used BY joggers, cyclists, families, and nuisance animals. Just picture armies of squirrels armed with citronella spray. Now that's a frightening thought.

I guess it wouldn't be so bad since it doesn't really affect humans, but you better not leave your dog chained in the backyard. You'd have raccoons macing your dog then carting his food off while your dog staggers in circles swearing up a storm and clutching at his nose.