Saturday, December 05, 2009

I Am Not An Animal! (And Judging By Their Press, I Am Damn Glad!)

From time to time, as many Alert Dept. Readers know, I like to keep you all abreast of Important Doings in the Animal World. (I also like to give my Shift Key a workout and employ Pretentious Eccentric Capitalization, but I digress.) Well, that time has come again, and with vigor. Two of my favourite animals are in the news, and circumstances being what they are--dire--I must bring these bulletins to you.
ITEM--In a shameless display of bullying, China, who holds almost 800 billion dollars of the United States' debt, has decided to flex a little of its leverage muscle and ask for its pandas back. Especially upsetting to patriotic panda lovers is the imminent return of Tai Shan, the cub resident at D.C.'s National Zoo in our nation's capital. Tai Shan, who was born at the zoo in 2005, will be shipped to China early next year, despite the fact that he is American born--a naturalized citizen of these United States! Plus, let's keep in mind that we're giving the Chinese not the old, hand-me-down pandas that they originally gave us! No. They are getting a brand, spanking new panda. How is this fair? I am also assuming that Tai Shan does not speak Chinese. He has been around American keepers his whole life, and I am also assuming that his parents, who have been in this country now for nine years, have entirely assimilated and are pretty much Americans, too. He is ill-equipped, at the tender age of four, to go off to what will be a foreign country and live among strangers. I am worried about his wellbeing and his happiness. You should be, too, if you are serious about pandas.
ITEM--More bad press about cows, and this time, it is all conjecture and forensic revisionist literary history bullshit. Thank goodness again for my Google News Alert feature, or I would never have been aware of this travesty. This inflammatory headline, of course, drew my ire right away, and I knew right then that I had to take the bull by the horns: WAS JANE AUSTEN KILLED BY COWS? "Of course not!" I shouted at my computer screen. Jane Austen is one of the most beloved of all Victorian novelists, and certainly in the sacred pantheon of woman writers. The last thing cows need is her death on their heads. They've already been saddled with global warming, and now this? The headline leads the casual news skimmer to assume that she was perhaps trampled or gored by rampaging bovines. One has to get past an entire lead paragraph and well into the second to finally read the far more tame and tepid crux of the theory: "Austen may have succumbed to tuberculosis contracted from cows." Oh, is that all? A glass of milk? Yawn. Listen, people, in this day and age we can die from eating spinach. Or drinking water. Lay off the cows, already. But, really, they still have it better than the camels. Read on.
ITEM--Listen, I am not a big fan of camels. I rode one once, and it was okay, but by and large, they don't do a thing for me. Still, no animal deserves this. Okay, maybe snakes. Or the dogs in my neighborhood who never shut the hell up. Or maybe certain republican radio show hosts. But not these poor camels. True, no one wants to be invaded by 6000 rampaging anything looking for a drink--that's for sure--but to round them up by helicopter and then pick them off and allow them to rot (read: die in agony if not killed, only wounded) sounds just terrible. First of all, these camels didn't ask to come to Australia; they were brought to the continent. Is it their fault that the experiment didn't go as planned? Why didn't the conservationists and wildlife experts there control the population before the feral herd topped a million? Why hasn't Camel Control been a priority? Besides, look at the photo of that camel opening a door by using the knob! That camel did that without being trained! Don't tell me that some of those camels don't have a future in the Entertainment Business! Why can't Australians look into Camel Exporting? I feel like there are any number of solutions that just haven't been explored here, the least of which might be: Camel: The Other White Meat.

I think you're all up to speed now with our friends in the Animal Kingdom. Remember, they share our planet. When it's all over, who do you think will come back first? Better be nice!


  1. Tuberculosis can be transmitted by milk? I had no idea.

    Rampaging feral camels in Australia? Again, I had no idea.

    Pandas in China, I did know about. I'll be sorry to see this one go home to the land of his forefathers, though, and separated from his parents. Being an animal must suck.

  2. I'm glad I clicked over to read the story about Pandas. I had no idea they were 'on loan' to us, and that even the parents may go back soon. Interesting. The writer of the story clearly had some fun putting it together, as evidenced by the following:

    "Tai Shan, or "Tai" as the male bear has come to be known, had this sometimes divisive and cutthroat town from the moment he emerged from his mother the size of a stick of butter."


  3. I didn't know the pandas were on loan to us!

    I also didn't know that camels could open doors. Maybe it was a camel that broke into our apartment this summer. Those thieves! We should run them out of town with the hobos who smoke crack on my front steps!

  4. I thought that was our Panda! I was really shocked to hear about this. Well, there are worse things. Elin thought Tiger was her husband. Maybe he's taking his name too literally.

  5. Anali--Oh, all the pandas are merely on loan. Even the ones that may be born here! How is that even FAIR?

    Mikey--Zip over to Australia and rescue a camel. Bring it back and teach it some trapeze moves, and you two could have your own show.

    J.@jj--Isn't it a good article? Unfortunately, the subject matter itself: not so funny. I think the agreement should be renegotiated so that we get to keep some of the cubs. After all, they are naturalized citizens. As far as TB and Jane--I'm just irked at the implication that a cow purposefully knocked her off. Sigh.

  6. My friend Adrian is going to Australia for winter break. I should ask him to get me one for Christmas. Or eight for Hanukkah!

  7. Hope the pandas enjoy Chinese food for every meal.

  8. I call even stevens on the debt thingy if the panda goes back. But nobody ever listens to me anyway.

  9. Laura--That's one expensive panda! LOL!

    apathy lounge--I do like Chinese food, but for every meal...yikes. Yet, they eat bamboo almost exclusively, I think, so maybe not a problem.

    Mikey--eight camels take up a lot of room and are smelly. plus, that's a lot of spit.

  10. I did a Froogle search for camel spit (to see how much it retails for, obviously), and one of the first things to come up was gay porn. I kid you not.

  11. Oh,Nance, I have a funny TRUE story to tell you about camels.

    Two years ago, my husband and I were at the Rose Bowl and after the game, we decided to visit the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove.

    They were putting on their Christmas Extravaganza and we wanted to see it. The show was all about the Nativity so naturally is was rife with sheep and lambs and camels.

    At this point I must tell you that my husband lost his right leg because of Diabetes and wears a "Wooden Leg". He was seated on the aisle in the cathedral and before the pageant began an usher came down the aisle asking everyone to keep their legs out of the aisle because the camels were coming in that way. The usher said to my husband," Keep your leg out of the aisle,Sir,these camels can be nasty." To which my husband responded by pulling up his pant leg and knocking on his prosthesis, all the while saying, "I know, I was here last year."

  12. SirEen1:58 AM

    I would love to bring pandas into the interdependence debate. Forget our reliance on foreign oil, we need to curb our alliance on foreign pandas!
    The solution: genetically engineered grizzly bears (if there are any left in the US, that is). If we can't maintain a reliable source of Pandas, we need to MAKE OUR OWN.

  13. SirEen2:07 AM

    Also, @~Mikey~ , I froogle searched "camel saliva" and 2 and a half men showed up. I jest not.

  14. Hey, SirEen! So nice to see you here! Re: making our own pandas. While I applaud your initiative, genetically altering a native species seems risky to me. Remember the dire warning of Jurassic Park: Just because we can doesn't mean we should. Leave our grizzlies alone and let's try to work something out with our Chinese friends.

    Nancy--Oh good one! Your husband was so quick! I would have loved to have seen the reaction on the usher's face. I'm all for using exciting "stories" to explain away things like that. I told the kid next door after I had my knee surgery that it was a hockey injury that had laid me up. He still thinks I'm a helluva goalie. LOL.

  15. Nance,

    My husband loves to say spontaneous things like that.

    Someone asked to see his driver's license and noticed that Roy was an Organ Donor. They said," Oh, I see you are an organ donor." and quick as a flash he responded,"Yes, I am, and I take it very seriously,too. Last Winter some guy in Philadelphia needed a new right leg."

    Our kids were all upset when they learned that Dad had to have his leg amputated. He told them," Don't feel bad ;there is always a silver lining. All my life I never had enough socks."

  16. Nancy--I simply love both of these anecdotes. Your husband is a treasure. An absolute TREASURE. Kiss him for me immediately. And tell him it's from me. If necessary, I will even send you my picture should he need to see who he is kissing by proxy.

  17. I have told Roy in the past how much I enjoy visiting your site and reading your blog, so I am certain he will be very pleased when I tell him that you appreciate his comments and humor.

    Yes, it will be my pleasure to give him two kisses. One from you and one from me.

    We will be married 60 years next year. He will be 82 in January and is just as sharp and funny as he was when he was a young man.

    By the way, I had a story published at the Elder Storytelling Place today and I would love to have your comments.


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