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Archive for April, 2007

Like Herding Poodles and Sheep

Needless to say this would not happen to a Labrador, and, apparently, has not happened at all. As the Times reports below, there has been a fake news story circulating regarding sheep disguised as poodles and exported for sale in Japan as pets. I post the following for a laugh on your, my reader’s, part (though I’ve only known the internal variety of a laugh myself, being incapable of an involuntary neuro-muscular expression of spontaneous delight at something humorous) and also to remind us of how much nonsense is circulating out there disguised as fact. I’ve taken the liberty of posting the entire article, unpleasant though the formatting may be:


Did you hear about the company that’s selling sheep as poodles in Japan at cut-rate prices? It’s all over Google News right now, and also ran in two British tabloids. From Britain’s Metro:


Entire flocks of lambs were shipped over from the UK and Australia to Japan by an internet company and marketed as the latest ‘must have’ accessory.

But the scam was only spotted after a leading Japanese actress said her ‘poodle’ didn’t bark and refused to eat dog food.

The only problem: it’s nonsense.

Cerebral Soup, a blog by an Australian programmer, took a lot of the wind out of the Great Poodle Scam of 2007 by uncovering a similar story posted to a Japanese blog more than a year earlier, on February 11, 2006.

The blogger also dug deeper into the most convincing part: A Japanese actress reportedly said she was a victim of the scam on talk show. But other bloggers watching the show say she was clearly joking.

Snopes, a clearinghouse for rumors circulating on the Web, outlines the entire argument.

Now that one of the most mainstream sources for the story has decided that it was a hoax, forgive us if the Google News current changes direction. We were only trying to capture one absurd moment in time.








April 27th, 2007
8:54 pm

The Center for Neuroscience/University of Trieste


Someone it seems might have a bit too much time (or grant money) on his or her hands, but this morning’s article from the increasingly dog-curious New York Times is worth a read. The basic idea is that my kind exhibit something called asymmetric tail-wagging responses to different emotive stimuli. This means that if we like someone alot our tails go into overdrive and favor the right side (please see diagram –for some reason, the model is supposed to be a Lab but in reposting now looks like an anorexic Dachshund).  If they’re not our cup of tea, our tails favor the left and with much less energy. Yours Truly has never noticed this with his own emotive instrument (which often seems to have a mind of its own), but be assured that I’ll be keeping one eye trained aft and my readers informed. Here is the permalink for the entire article:  


April 24th, 2007
9:31 pm

I must apologize for my long absence from this space. I wish that I could report exotic destinations on a whirlwind global tour, but, alas, I cannot. Instead, I have been in the thrall of my sluggish thyroid once again and sleeping through fantastically long stretches of day. I am still groggy and a bit glum, but after analyzing several carafes of my Labrador blood the vet has decided that I’m ready for action. And as Winter ebbs and Spring comes firmly into gear here in Manhattan, I find myself agreeing with him. Although, I have missed posting to this spot, I have done copious amounts of thinking about the purpose of this space (and our troubled world in general) while accumulating a number of curious links that I will deploy in the days and weeks ahead. As the legendary writer and thinker, George Santayana, famously said and I echo: I am late for an appointment with Spring.  Here’s a photo of the man himself looking as if he too might have a sluggish thyroid:


April 24th, 2007
3:02 am