Curtain to Rise on Broadway Barks on July 8th

Setting the stage for a better tomorrow for dogs and cats who have been waiting in the wings in the hope of being cast as a special someone’s fur baby, stars of The Great White Way will step on…



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DogTipper

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Aug 24, Free dog food for a year

Hey all, just wanted to let everyone know that Petfood.com is giving away free pet food for a year!

All you have to do is sign up, here is the link: http://www.petfood.com/free-pet-food-for-a-year-giveaway/

I received this tip from one of our readers. Thank you Marc!

All the best and paws up,
Barbara
Dog Food Blog | Best Dog Food Guide

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Grandpa’s Bird

aududbon wild turkeyIf you were to travel the back roads along the wild border between Calhoun and Gilmer Counties and mention my name to some well-worn local, you would probably get “You mean that guy who kills all the turkeys?”

I am Scottie V. Westfall III.  Junior is my father. The elder has passed on.

I have never killed a turkey, though I’ve certainly seen the birds slinking along on gray November days, the sort of days when you hope against all hope that a white-horned stag might come slinking out of the thickets and into rifle range.   When the bipedal fantails come trudging out of the gray gloom, I’ve been sorely tempted, but I’ve held my fire.

Not in season. Let them be.

My grandpa killed 8 turkeys in one season. The limit is 2.

He saw them as the Holy Grail of wild game.  He made his own calls and spent hours scouting and “chumming” them.  “Chumming,” of course, meant the copious dropping the “yellow call” in the March woods,  and “yellow call” was cracked corn. Baiting turkeys was illegal as taking more than the yearly bag limit.

He and often argued over conservation issues, but he liked playing the scofflaw, a sort twentieth century version of the old European poacher who loved to flaunt the king’s edicts about the king’s game.

Turkey hunts in spring begin before the sun rises.  The birds start moving and then start courting once there is just enough light to see, and the big tom birds drop from their treetop roosts and go about the business of fighting and fanning before the often reluctant hens.

The trick is to hit the woods before the birds come down and begin the process of “talking turkey.”  The talk a man gives the tom bird is supposed to be that of a dopey but receptive hen that is looking for a male company but just can’t make her way toward him.

If a tom is “henned up” with plenty of female company, he’s not likely to leave them to look for the yelping idiot on a distant ridge. He’s going to be content to stay with his harem and fan and puff  up for them.

The best hunters have strategies for the birds, but the very best– the ones who shoot 8 birds in a season– use the yellow call. They risk the game warden’s fines, but if he really wants the bird, it’s a risk that some will take.

Before there was ever a turkey season, my grandpa set out a bunch of game-farmed Eastern wild turkeys in the back country. The dumb things were too tame to be sporting birds, so he took to harassing and harrying with sticks.

And they soon learned to fear man, and they thrived in the backwoods.  When their numbers were high enough, my grandpa opened his own season and shot a tom.  He was totally flaunting the North American model of wildlife conservation. He’d set out private birds on private land, and now he was opening his own private season.

I can’t say that I approve of such things. I’m more or less in love with public wildlife model that has served our game species so well. I don’t hate conservation laws, which are mostly based upon the most rigorous science available.

But a few days ago, I saw a few big toms out fanning in a pasture. The greenness of the new April grass painted a pastel promenade ground, and the bird’s iridescent feathers were shining in the April sun.

I saw in them the beauty that had so beguiled my grandfather. They drove him into the scofflaw world of sniping turkeys with a .243.  They were what led him the regular haunts in the March woods with buckets of yellow call.

“You gobble. You die,” said the vanity plate on my his Ford pickup.

And for the turkeys he took, it certainly meant death.

But in their gobbling, he truly lived. He was a wild beast of the woods as his ancestors were, hunting hard the wild game without any regard for such artificial abstractions as law and conservation science.  It is the way that our kind lived for much of our 200,000 year existence. It is a way that has brought down many species, including the passenger pigeons which used to fill the skies on warm spring days.

The pigeon died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914, more than 19 years before my grandfather was born. They died off as the wild turkey nearly did. We just couldn’t stop killing them.

The turkey was saved, though, and is doing well.  And the bag limits and seasons get more liberal every year.

I think of my grandpa when I see these birds on clear April days. I know that he would be out there questing for them, yearning for them, coaxing them, ready to harvest as a wild hunting man should.

And I can only come up short. I’m an ersatz hunter-gatherer, wet around the ears, domesticated by the post-industrial world.

Yet still seeking that essential wildness that lies in gray woods of my people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Natural History

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I live in a low-income building at 618 S. Wabash. …

I live in a low-income building at 618 S. Wabash. When signing HUD re-certification papers I had to sign a document stating that I was aware that as a HUD rent subsidy client with a disability I had a right to a service animal with a doctor's note. My landlord did not want any animals in the building. There had never been one before in the 11 years or so of it's existence. I had to get a lawyer but next week I will adopt my dog.
-James
BAD RAP Blog

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Millennials and Their Music

Today at the gym I got into one of those really useful insightful discussions with a bearded, man-bun BilaBong millennial – yeah those guys – about the best workout music so to get out of my ‘Why so serious?’ posts tonight I write about 80s dance music.
Warning – be prepared to relive your youth or learn how to really be hip

Exhibit A for the prosecution.  New York, New York by Micro Chip League (MCL).  A staple at Curfew Austin and when it played the whole club lit up with glow ropes.  Listening to it now it’s some strange synthetic segue from 50s swing to the rave scene incorporating the Atari man voice.  How cool is that?  
Exhibit B.  Why the newfound unhealthy obsession with Russia eludes me but hey kids this song came out before the wall came down when we were at the brink with communism.  Look if you’re going to spazz out about the return of the good ole USSR – at least do so to dance and what better than CCCP American Soviets 
Exhibit C.  And while you’re getting a history lesson I know this may burst your little snowflake bubbles but you didn’t invent protesting racism, sexism, fascism.  Gen 80s didn’t either but unlike the great lyricists before us viz., Lennon & Dylan, we made it all freaky cool.  Lose the anger on the FLOOR!  Consolidated.  
Definitely on the playlist tonight:  A Split Second Rigor Mortis, Front 242 Headhunter, Nitzer Ebb Join in the Chant 
There’s more – oh so many more – but at this point I fear the millennials are running for their safe zones.  
——–
YBD’s Notes 1:  Actually, I have a fondness for Millennials – they’re rather cute.  In all seriousness, fool is the one who doesn’t learn from the youth.  However….
YBD’s Notes 2:  The sooner millennials learn this French phrase the better prepared for life you’ll be:  ’Plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose.’  You’re really not that special my friends.  And your music kinda sucks although some of it is retro 80s now and getting interesting. 
YBD’s Notes 3:  Back in the day, us old timers didn’t have no Internet and we couldn’t understand a single thing most of these songs were saying.  But that wasn’t really the point to it.  So if’n one of you whippersnappers look up the lyrics, don’t waste yer time posting if you’re offended.  I don’t care and I’m too busy dancing.   

2 Dogs 2000 Miles

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