Unforeseen Consequence, Still Unseen

A couple days ago, Instapundit linked to this story blaming an increase in off-premises alcohol purchases on the recession:

And there’s another, perhaps somewhat unsettling, trend pushing up Beam’s bottom line: In the wake of the Great Recession, Americans are increasingly drinking at home. According to Commerce Department data compiled by Bloomberg, U.S. spending on alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption, adjusted for inflation, has gained nearly 13 percent since June 2009, and hit a record in August 2011.

Now, that’s not necessarily bad news for anybody but bar and restaurant owners. But drinking at home is likely to be less of a social activity than raising a glass in public. And it does invoke the disturbing image of men and women across America passed out over piles of unpaid bills at their dinner tables.

Is there anything else at play here in the off-premises purchases? Pay no attention to the nanny state behind the curtain:

In one email, Ruthie’s Bar owner Jean Doublin — whose lawsuit to block the ban was denied by a local judge and now heads to an appeals court — asks council members to grant the bar an exemption.

Doublin said in her email that business at the Commercial Street bar has declined 75 percent since the ban took effect and that her requests to install an outdoor patio have been denied by the city.

Another email from Ibarra includes a message from Knightyme Bar & Billiards owner Jim Knight listing three bars that have closed or soon will, allegedly due to the smoking ban.

“This has happened in just 5 short months,” the email said. “There are others hanging on, but for how long?”

I thought of this today as I passed the corner of Golden and Republic (he’s not going to start with the parenthetical digressions again, is he? Not in this post). There’s a freestanding church that backs right up to a bar in a little strip mall. It lies outside of Springfield proper, and a lot of communities (such as West Milwaukee) like to do away with these pubs you could walk to to have a couple beers and shoot some pool or whatever. So to protect property owners’ home values and to keep the children safe from the depravity of alcohol, prohibitionists made people drive to bars or eateries with bars attached–and then made them drive home instead of walking home.

But that little bar behind the church is probably doing all right. It’s outside the city limits, so smokers can drive there to hang out, have a couple of beers with cigarettes, and then drive home.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

I Question The Timing

So as I’m driving into town, I notice today that the price of automobile fuel is slowly creeping downward, as it has for a couple of weeks now. A gallon of unleaded (a strange appellation since you can’t buy “regular” gas with lead in it any more, and now the “irregular” gas is loaded with extra corn–remember the good old days of gasohol, where the regular gas had lead, the irregular gas had no lead, and the really zany gas had booze in it? Help, I’m trapped in a parenthetical digression and am in danger of losing my thought–where was I? Oh, yes, outside the parentheses) gas is going for $3.09 on Battlefield and Fort (if ever there was an intersection that goes together, it’s battlefield and fort–oh no, here I go again…stop it!).

Doesn’t anyone else see the falling price of gas as a little <conspiracy>conveinent</conspiracy>? In the year before an election year, in a slumping economy, just when it can help prepare to re-elect/elect the President and to allow the Big Oil companies to move the most product they can to maximize profits, the invisible hand of the marketplace “conveniently” changes the price?

Crikey, I was going to go on a satirical tear about capitalism-as-conspiracy, but a couple paragraphs into it, I recognized how much my attempts at satire read an awful lot like current protest signs, albeit with better spelling. Never mind then (maybe I should have just gone on with the parenthetical digressions; they seemed to work).

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Impulse Purchase, Reviewed

So I was reading this story about how film colors are going ka-bluey in modern films compared to Technicolor films, and the image at the top made me pause:

Sophia Loren and Gregory Peck?

All right, the top image is Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, so it’s To Catch A Thief. But the bottom one…. That’s Sophia Loren and Gregory Peck. What is that?

Turns out, it’s a 1966 film called Arabesque. The trailer:

One: The film deals with an Arab prime minister, but Sophia Loren’s character works Persian magic? How much more sophisticated those of us who are paying attention are fifty years later to know that Arabs and Persians are different, as the world might find out if the Israelis don’t “fix” the Persian nuclear problem and the Arabs rankle under that. Not all Mohammedans are the same.

Two, does anyone else think that the villain looks like Bono?

Bono The Villain
Bono The Villain
Or vice versa, I can’t tell.

The story: Peck is an American professor of antiquities in London contacted by an evil Arab businessman, Bono, who wants him to decipher an inscription. Loren plays a beautiful woman who is caught between the businessman, a violent resistance movement in her native land, and the prime minister who is in danger. Peck endures a number of double crosses and overlapping lies until he discovers the truth which is….

Well, let’s not overthink the MacGuffin here. A day later, I realize it makes no sense. But the story is a 60s-paced suspense thriller. The cinematographers play with perceptions a little using mirrors, fish tanks, and special effects to emulate the experience of being drugged. So they had fun with it.

The film is also punctuated quite appropriately with lights falling on Sophia Loren’s eyes and face quite a bit. Also, between the foot massages (pronounced with the original French emphasis) and shoe gifts/shoe trying on sessions, I suspect this film might be the source of 37.98% of all foot fetishes in Baby Boomers.

It’s a good film of the genre, and I watched it in spite of Peck, whom I don’t rather like as a presence (based mostly on his work in The Keys of the Kingdom, Gentleman’s Agreement, and The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit). I’ve always found his topic matter a bit too audience-enlightening, but this turn isn’t so message-oriented. Also, during the course of the film, I had a personal revelation: I tend to like Cary Grant and Gary Cooper more than Peck and want to emulate them, but maybe Peck rankles me because I’m more like him than them. Woe is me.

(Previous appreciation of Ms. Loren here, and by “here,” I mean “there, in July 2004.”)

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

I Feel Dirty

For years, I’ve been sending back unsolicited credit card offers in their own post-paid envelopes to raise the cost of acquisition marginally in hopes these identity theft templates would stop coming, and because I’m petty and juvenile. Now, I see it’s Occupy-Approved Protest:

Well, I guess I’ll start shredding them.

Ah, the naivete of the young. This fellow thinks that this juvenile stunt is somehow going to increase communication with the banks, as they react to what they’re getting in their mail rooms and that the time they spend dealing with roofing shingles in the mail is going to cut down the amount of time bankers spend lobbying and fundraising for Oh-bah-ma! Oh-bah-ma! and the amount of time they spend foreclosing on homes.

Look at your return addresses, children. They do not go to BANK OF AMERICA, WALL STREET, NEW YORK CITY. They go to CREDIT CARD PROCESSING CENTER, SOMEWHERE, NORTH DAKOTA. Where some outsourced mail center is far insulated from the SCREWING THE POOR division you think works in the Manhattan high rises. Lobbying? Also outsourced. So you’re just clogging up the postal system and bothering some low-wage clerk in the cornfields and aren’t bothering the crony capitalists in Manhattan and Washington at all.

But the Occupy movement is all about self-expression, not results. Which is where it differs from the Tea Party and why it won’t have any real impact in a democratic republic aside from the theatre.

(Video seen here.)

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Book Report: Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan (2008)

Book coverI think I’ve talked myself into liking the book.

Which wasn’t a slam-dunk, I tell you. Its main character is a Christian formerly into S&M and drugs before his conversion experience. He’s enjoying a nice autumn afternoon with his wife and children in a Midwestern state when his girlfriend from his bad old days calls, and she needs his help. Since he’s got to go to New York City to tend to his mother’s estate, he stops into see the ex-girlfriend some 17 years after their thing and his old life ended. She tells him that his daughter he didn’t know about has run off, and she wants him to find her. When he does, the daughter is whacked out on drugs and bad living and might have seen a murder committed by her terrorist (maybe) boyfriend. And the main character, with much soul-searching, has to get her out and stop a catastrophic attack.

I’ll tell you why I didn’t care for it: For starters, it’s very slow to get rolling. Klavan uses some obvious foreshadowing where the narrator says that this or that particular incident or detail is going to be important. But the beginning of the novel includes an awful lot of navel gazing and exposition before the action takes over. Secondly, the story seems very contrived at the beginning, where the main character feels the need to see his ex-girlfriend after the elapsed time and he wonders why he’s helping her and whether he believes the girl is his daughter and he has to deal with his mother’s death and her descent into schizophrenia at the end and…. Well, it does go on so, and it passes several points where I personally would have abandoned it and the main character continues on only to continue the plot.

Secondly, it gets a little politically polemic at times, and even though it’s politically polemical in ways I agree with, it’s kind of jarring. Almost like an Ayn Rand novel with better dialog. Klavan’s not afraid to pitch this book specifically to the people who by 2008 were reading his blog and watching him on PJTV.

Third, the celebrities depicted within it are too apparently based on actual celebrities. There’s thin representations of Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie, and there’s William Shatner. It’s too obvious that these are the people in the book, thinly veiled, and instead of blending the novel into our world, it breaks up the novel’s internal reality.


The main character is a bit Hamletish in his interior anguish over his decisions (in retrospect, as this double-effect narrator recounts things in the recent past). He’s worried about his descent into schizophrenia like his mother. He bears great, almost debilitating guilt for his former sins and whether his salvation will stick when he’s in his old milieu (and whether he really wants it to). So once I accepted that the narrator might be a little tetched and unreliable (not unlike the narrator of Slaughterhouse Five), I could get over those elements. Eventually, the action rolled and things happened and now the narrator was doing things instead of agonizing over things, and I could understand the interplay of his guilt and the questions of free will, salvation, and redemption presented within the novel.

So it’s okay. I didn’t abandon it like I abandoned the audiobook version of Chasing the Dime by Michael Connelly when I tried that on audiobook (the main character is doing that, why exactly? A phone call to his new number for the person who used to have it? REALLY?), and when I immediately finished it I wasn’t so keen on it, but I thought about it for a bit, and it’s an interesting enough book for me not to pan it.

Books mentioned in this review:


Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Book Report: Whiplash: America’s Most Frivolous Lawsuits by James Percelay (2000)

Book coverThis is a short book that collects some outrageous lawsuits and notes their results. They’re grouped by topic, and each features a clever picture of an actor portraying a shady lawyer. Each explanation of the lawsuit is a couple paragraphs. It’s like someone made a book of distilled “That’s Outrageous!” columns from Reader’s Digest and distilled them. It’s like Overlawyered.com condensed and with more snark.

In short, a quick browseable book suitable for sports viewing, but not likely to leave much impression on you once you’re done with it. If you’re like me.

Books mentioned in this review:

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Overheard in the Noggle Den, As Seen On Facebook

Immediately after the Cardinals game, the Fox Sports sideline guy caught up with Allen Craig, who caught the last out:

After a commercial, we watched the presentation of the trophy:

Watching Selig speak from notes to make a two paragraph speech presenting the trophy, I made some comment, I’m sure. When it was Bill DeWitt, Junior’s turn to speak, the following exchange occurred in the Nogglestead den:

Wife: He speaks well.
Me: He speaks normally. Selig makes Allen Craig look like Cato the Elder. I’m probably the only person in the world who is comparing Allen Craig to Cato the Elder tonight. I’m going to put that on Facebook.
Wife: The Cardinals just won the World Series. Nobody’s going to care.
Me: Van will like it.

Prediction: Confirmed

That, my friends, is knowing your audience.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Just In Time For Christmas

This Washington Post chart shows percentages of gun owning households by state, or at least among the 201,881 responses received nationwide. In 2001.

I wonder if anything that would have happened in the last 10 years would have caused those numbers to change.

I also wonder why the Washington Post, which updated this graphic in 2006, used 2001 instead of the 2002 North Carolina survey wherein nationwide gun ownership had jumped from 31.7% to 34.4%.

Noodling around the North Carolina Web site, I see that the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics dropped firearms questions in 2003 and national survey coverage in 2004.

I wonder why Instapundit posted a link to this chart without comment today.

But I do remind everyone that Christmas is just a couple months away, and guns make excellent gifts. And if the Man tries to tell you that’s straw purchasing, tell them the recipient is a Mexican drug cartel enforcer. That’s not illegal, it’s just thoughtful.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Book Report: The Final Deduction by Rex Stout (1961)

Book coverThis is the third novel in the Three Aces omnibus edition I’ve been reading for quite some time now. Set in 1961, it deals with a rich woman who comes to Nero Wolfe to help ransom her kidnapped actor husband. Wolfe helps, gets his fee, but the freed husband dies in the family manse and the woman’s children come to Wolfe for help in recovering the ransom money. This leads to complications, including an arrest warrant for Archie Goodwin.

It’s an okay read, more slowly paced than modern mysteries. But I still like them, albeit paced out so that I’m going to read some quicker fiction here in a bit.

A couple things to note: One, the book makes an allusion to a contemporary (1961) television program when Goodwin explains that an FBI agent drew his identification like Paladin drew his gun. This alludes to the television program Have Gun, Will Travel. The strangest bit? I’ve never seen it. I just knew it. Two, one of the characters has a bit of information revealed about him: He was on a Nixon political campaign committee of some sort (for the election of 1960). In a stunning turn of events, this was just a note about the fellow, an attorney. He was not the bad guy.

Maybe I shouldn’t hurry back to modern suspense fiction just yet.

Books mentioned in this review:


Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Book Report: Orvieto: Art History Folklore by Loretta Santini (?)

Book coverThis book is a similar to Bruges and Its Beauties in that it talks about the history of a city in hopes of making you want to visit. Unlike the Bruges book, though, this book did make me want to see Orvieto myself.

Orvieto dates back to Etruscan times, which is before the Romans in Italy, you damn kids. Over the millenia, the city has built up and into a hilltop of tufa, a volcanic stone, and overlooks valleys ripe with wine grapes. They’ve got tunnels and catacombs as generations upon generations have mined the tufa for building, and they used it for buildings and for the walls that defend Orvieto. It was a papal and other churchly retreat, so it features a number of ornate cathedrals dating back only seven hundred or eight hundred years, although they have recently (relatively) discovered the foundation of an Etruscan temple (in the olden days, Romans and later Catholics built their churches over the remains of others’ temples, so the religious buildings were layered in most places).

I like to fancy myself a history buff and study local history wherever I am, but here in the New World, prehistoric is only 600 years ago. There’s a lot less for me to worry about than people in areas where they’ve had recorded history for millennia.

So partially on the basis of this book, I bump Italy up to second on the list of countries I’d like to see. Of course, as an untraveled American, I’m not that eager to go to foreign lands where I might be singled out for maltreatment because I’m an American, and these days I count most of Europe in that category. So I won’t see Orvieto anytime soon. I’ll have to wait for the pendulum of sentiment to shift (that is, until my children and this nation’s army bail Europe in another large war and Europe is briefly grateful) or until one of Victor Davis Hanson’s tours goes that direction. Because say what you will, I do believe that if an anti-American mob chose to attack a tour group and the shit got real, VDH would know how to form the tour group up into maniples and march us to Gibraltar. Yes, I know, Xenaphon would have used a phalanx formation, but the maniple is a more effective fighting unit, and VDH knows it, too.

Books mentioned in this review:

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Remember TJIC?

You remember in January, a blogger in Massachusetts posted a piece about an armed insurrection, and the Massachusetts police visited him and took away his guns and essentially knocked him off the Internet? I do.

I thought of that this morning in contrast to the mobs camped out in various cities, relatively untouched by the police. Some, like the one in LA, feature calls to revolution, and in a lot of cities crimes occur near or within the encampments. Yet they go on.

What is the difference between a libertarian gun owner musing on insurrection on the Internet and large numbers of leftists gathered in cities? That’s a rhetorical question.

UPDATE: Thanks for the link, Ms. K.. Hey, gentle reader, if you’re in IT, you might find my blog QA Hates You interesting. Or disturbing.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Book Report: 28 Table Lamp Projects by H.A. Menke (1953)

Book coverYou can easily tell from the title what this book is: it is 28 projects for making table lamps out of wood and lamp kits. It’s a 1950s book, aimed for the high school shop market I think (at least, this particular book came from a high school library). It talks about the different styles within the book, from contemporary to more traditional. Strangely, sixty years later, even the “contemporary” styles are traditional. I mean, how many lamps made of wood have you seen recently?

I’ve rewired some lamps, so I am familiar with that part of the process and am unafraid of it. This book gave me some ideas and inspiration, distantly, of how I could make a lamp out of a couple pieces of wood and a band saw. A number of the pieces, though, require a wood lathe, and I don’t have one of those yet, and if I got one, one would have to wonder how long it would sit in its box untouched (my new table saw is at 10 months).

A worthwhile browse.

Books mentioned in this review:

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Book Report: Jokes and Anecdotes for All Occasions by Ralph L. Marquard (1977)

Book coverThis book says “for all occasions,” but I get the sense from the nature of the gags that most were written for presentation at a Catskills resort in the middle part of the 20th century. Most of the jokes have a Jewish flavor, relying on characters named Moishe, Max, Shmuel, and so on who work in the garment district on Manhattan. Most, but not all. The books aren’t anti-semitic, but poke fun at some of the stereotypes as seen by New York comics.

Other jokes and anecdotes run to the preachy, lacking punchlines but offering a certain moral to the story. I don’t disagree with the morals, of course, but they weren’t funny.

Was the book funny? Not really; in the 34 years since its publication and probably 60 years since much of the material was fresh, humor has gotten punchier. Most of the stuff in this book wouldn’t make the cut at Reader’s Digest or the Saturday Evening Post.

However, I did find some movie ties. The joke told by Eddie Murphy (made up as an old Jewish man) in Coming to America? It’s in here. The anecdote that introduces us to Clint Eastwood’s character in The Eiger Sanction (“Professor, I would do anything to improve my grade.” “Are you free such-and-such night?” “Yes.” “Good, because you need to study.”)? It’s in here.

But that’s the best redeeming feature of the book. Also, the Cardinals and Packers have done well while I’ve flipped through it.

Books mentioned in this review:

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Today’s Joke That Nobody Got

We went to the gym this morning, my laddie and I, and the man at the front desk offered the child a hand stamp. He accepted, chose a haunted house motif, and bore the green-inked imprint proudly.

At the child care desk, he couldn’t wait to tell the attendant about it. “I have a haunted house,” he said.

“You have a house?” the attendant replied.

“It’s green,” I set up.

“It’s green,” the child said.

LEED-certified,” I said.

Nobody laughed. But children make excellent straight men.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Book Report: Great Quotes, Great Comedians compiled by Michael Ryan (1996)

Book coverThis is a simple book of one liners from famous comedians (circa 1996). The quotations are presented one to a page, and the book itself is comb-bound. So this is not Bartlett’s by any stretch.

The book chooses one liners from great comedians, and the selection has held up. You got your Carson, you got your Carlin, you got your…. Richard Lewis? Well, it is a book from 1996. Some of us in the Jeopardy! contestant pool remember Anything But Love.

I tweeted one of the quotes in the book by Steve Martin:

When you study philosophy in school, you remember just enough to screw you up for the rest of your life.

With any such book, I think that’s the measure of its worth.

So definitely worth a browse.

Books mentioned in this review:

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Book Report: Corporate Madness by Mark Lineback (1994)

Book coverWhen I mentioned this book when I bought it last week, I said it was trying to piggyback on Dilbert’s success. That’s not accurate, actually. Although Dilbert might have made a book of business cartoons palatable in the middle 1990s (see also The Complete Geek (An Owner’s Manual)), this book is more akin to the photocopied-to-death cartoons passed around the office in the era before the Internet. The cartoons are single-panel and usually revolve around a gag wherein a corporate buzzword or situation is expressed humorously with the punchline written in strange fonts. Clearly, the things were designed to be tacked onto cubicle walls.

As such, it’s rather dated and has not held up too well in the intervening 17 years since its publication, whereas Dilberts from the era have. There’s a fascinating study in that.

Books mentioned in this review:

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Good Book Hunting: October 20, 2011

Yesterday, we hit the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library’s semiannual book sale. On a full price day, but we were without children. Since it was not half price day or bag day, I found myself restraining myself and putting down books that I would have picked up in other circumstances. Which is good, because I am at a serious deficit when it comes to room on the bookshelves.

Still, the volunteers who helped count our books and take our check thought this was a lot, but they don’t know me like you do, gentle reader.

Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library book fair, October 2011

I bought:

  • Four volumes of Ogden Nash’s poetry, volumes that I already own, because these have the original dust jackets as designed by Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are. That’s right: I spent $12 for the dustjackets.
  • Several Classics Club books, some of which I might not have, as well as a Dickens club volume (Sketches by Boz) that I am sure I did not have.
  • Le Morte d’Artur by Mallory. Maybe next year, my thing will be Arthurian legend, and I can read this along with the paperback copy of Idylls of the King that I bought when I was in college.
  • Great Quotes, Great Comedians, a little collection of one liners from comedians. I’ve already read it, it’s that little.
  • Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy.
  • A daily reading guide, which is a collection of 365 or 366 paragraphs from literature with the schtick that you read one a day. I bought this as a gift for my mother-in-law, who really enjoyed a Tennyson daily reader I bought her years back.
  • A pile of sci fi, including a collection of Del Rey short stories, a Foundation book, something by John Varley, something by Robert Silverberg, something by Clifford Simak, and something by Terry Brooks.
  • A very brief history of Springfield’s first 100 years.
  • The History of Africa which is just what it says.
  • Heroes and History, a British book that talks about individual heroes like Robin Hood and their place in history.
  • An Empire Wilderness by Robert Kaplan which talks about the fragmentation and Balkanization of the United States. Or something.
  • Biographies of Edna St. Vincent Millay and J.R.R. Tolkien, who strangely enough were at their peaks at about the same time.
  • Two books in a series by the National Geographic Society.
  • A book of cartoons about business that looks like it’s trying to piggyback on Dilbert’s success.

All told, that’s 30 gross books for me, with 25 net at best (depending upon how many of the Classics Clubs are duplicates–I have yet to determine).

I don’t know if I’ll make it up to Bolivar tomorrow, so I might have to stand pat with buying this week only 50% of the number of books I’ve read this year.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Book Report: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Special Edition 2005 by Mary Packard and the Editors of Ripley Entertainment (2004)

Book coverApropos of nothing, the last book I reviewed was written by someone named Ripley about an artist, and now I’m reporting on a book by named for a cartoonist named Ripley. Believe it! Or, you know, not.

Some of you might even remember the Ripley comics in the Sunday papers, or some of you might remember the television series with Jack Palance. If you do, you know what kinds of things you’ll find in here: just nuggets of human oddity. This being a 21st century representation of the franchise, you get pictures and captions instead of line drawings. I browsed it while watching a ball game, but I’m not sure I remember anything from it, so this isn’t helping me with Jeopardy! much.

Although I did get a firm appreciation for how Ripley parlayed a sports cartoon into a multimedia empire and museum chain that continues 52 years after his death.

Books mentioned in this review:

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

We Need Sensible Animal Control Laws, Now!

Tam links to this story about a private zoo whose animals were released:

Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz. said Terry Thompson, 62, was found dead and authorities were waiting on the results of an autopsy. But he said based on preliminary investigations, Thompson released his animals and then died from a self-inflicted wound.

Thompson owned between 48 and 51 exotic animals. Lutz said most of the animals had been accounted for, but at least three — a mountain lion, a grizzly bear and a monkey — were still missing. Most of those that had escaped from their pens were put down.

Lutz said his deputies, who found themselves in a volatile situation, had to shoot some of the animals at close range. A Bengal tiger was put down after it got agitated from a tranquilizer shot.

“We are not talking about your normal everyday house cat or dog,” Lutz said. “These are 300-pound Bengal tigers that we have had to put down. “When we got here, obviously, public safety was my number one concern. We could not have animals running loose in this county.”

Ms. K. sez:

SWAT teams have been deployed, four school districts have been closed, residents have been warned to stay inside and, for all I know, the Ohio state legislature is rushing into an emergency session to ban something or other.

Strangely enough, I first heard about this story on Jay Weber’s radio program this morning on WISN. As it appears in the banter between Ken Herrera and Jay at the bottom of the 6 o’clock hour, it’s not available as a podcast, so I’ll have to sum up Jay’s position for you and you’ll have to take my word for it.

Jay said that Ohio has some lax laws on exotic animal ownership, and that there should be laws to block people from gathering a menagerie of wild, dangerous exotic animals. Mr. Weber is a conservative except when he is not (as are too many conservatives).

The government should have dominion to determine what animals you can own because they might be dangerous to you or to others around you, or the government should limit how many you can buy in a month or whatever. Sound familiar? They should. The same reasoning is often used to justify sensible gun control laws.

The only difference is that the Founding Fathers saw fit to explicitly mention guns. It would never have occurred to them that someday, somewhere, some government would see fit to ban big dogs. Probably wouldn’t have occurred to them that some people might want to keep poisonous snakes in their houses, either:

A man from Branson was changing the water in his rattlesnake’s cage this weekend when the two-and-a-half-foot western diamondback bit his right hand. The owner wound up in the hospital getting treated for the strike.

The Founding Fathers would have few words for someone making that decision. Requiescat in pace.

A poisonous snake in your house is mostly a danger to you. A tiger in your home is mostly a danger to you, but if it gets out and becomes a danger to me, the Founding Fathers did explicitly grant me and your other neighbors the ability to wield a hoe or a Weatherby Mark V in .460 Weatherby Magnum.

A government that can regulate everything, and conservatives who think the government must regulate every thing they think the government can regulate, are a danger to us all.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories