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August 2003 Archives

August 1, 2003

Of Biblical Proportions

From one of several quick eyewitness accounts of locust-swarms:

No voracity is like theirs, the voracity of little creatures, whose million separate appetites nothing is too minute to escape. They devour first grass and leaves, fruit and foliage, everything that is green and juicy. Then they attack the young branches of trees, and then the hard bark of the trunks.' "After eating up the corn, they fell upon the vines, the pulse, the willows, and even the hemp, notwithstanding its great bitterness." "The bark of figs, pomegranates and oranges, bitter, hard and corrosive, escaped not their voracity." "They are particularly injurious to the palm-trees; these they strip of every leaf and green particle, the trees remaining like skeletons with bare branches." "For eighty or ninety miles they devoured every green herb and every blade of grass."
Also worth noting is this article about last summer's locust-plague in Afghanistan (the article doesn't mention this, but from teevee tonight, I understand that this particular swarm affected most of Northern Africa and the middle-east last year.)

Finally, a professor at the University of Bath suspects that he may have determined the pheremone responsible for causing swarm behavior in locusts.

August 4, 2003


Polly the pooch On Saturday, LeeAnn and I visited the Franklin County Dog Shelter. Though some of the smiling, hopeful families we saw there might feel otherwise, for us it was not a happy place.

But some good will come of this... The picture at left is Polly. She's a very scared little girl, with a hacking case of kennel cough. If all goes according to plan, we'll be bringing Polly home on Wednesday. We're going to foster her until we can find a loving family to adopt her. (And - yes - if we ultimately end up being that loving family, then that's okay too.)

Turnspit, Pt. II

Over on an old post, Elaine asks about the fate of the poor, forgotten Turnspit dog. “how did they become extinct and do you have any picture of the dogs?” she asks. I have to confess, when I first posted about the Turnspit dogs, I thought the name described their avocation (turning the spit round-and-round the cooking fire) rather than an actual breed. As it turns out, I was wrong:

The Turnspit dog is one of the few -- perhaps the only -- breed of dog to ever be recorded and identified, and then go extinct. The Glen of Imaal terrier is believed to be a distant relative of the Turnspit today. But Turnspits were so lowly, no one was particularly interested in keeping the breed going.

That article also has some pictures (engravings.)

If you're still interested, you should re-read that original article I linked to as well. It provides another piece of the puzzle. Apparently, once early animal rights activists succesfully lobbied for an end to dogs turning spits, the need for the breed dwindled:

Henry Bergh, a wealthy American dilettante, took up the canine cause and in 1866 founded the A.S.P.C.A. One of his chief concerns was preventing the use of dogs to turn spits (although twice when he showed up at restaurants to make sure they were no longer using dogs for this purpose he discovered that they had started using black children instead).

August 7, 2003

Dogs. Again.

Lately, Soldier Ant is all dogs, all the time. I'll get back to scary-big fish and comic books soon. But I gotta share this.

Polly did indeed come home with us tonight, and she's exhausted from fighting her kennel cough. She was a small-but-robust 19 lbs when checked into the shelter, and she weighed in at 15.1 lbs when we left with her today. Almost 20% of her body-weight lost in 2 weeks. (Of course, she may have lost even more weight in the period between becoming lost, and getting turned in to the shelter as a stray. It's hard to know.)

So her energy level is low, but so far she's being a perfect little lady. We've given her a pillow of her own, and it's definitely become 'home base' for her. She only strays from it occasionally to stretch and expectorate. And Dozer, in turn, is being the perfect little gentleman. One or two perfunctory butt-sniffs, but then he's given her plenty of distance. We think he can tell that she's sick (he's generally a pretty empathetic pooch.) We're encouraging the distance, so that he doesn't pick up her cough.

He does seem jealous as hell. I'm sure that'll only grow as Polly gets healthier and a bit more adventurous around his house...

August 9, 2003

It's a rock block of Bach

August 14, 2003

And in case you're wondering how he keeps that svelte figure

Jack Black's recipe for the Dorito Burrito.

(Link via Kottke's Remaindered links which has long ago become better than his regular weblog.)

About August 2003

This page contains all entries posted to Soldier Ant in August 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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