Does what it says on the tin.
Names: Thumper and Cottontail
Rabbits are the worst.
My sisters and I were suckered in by the fact they look cute and are traditionally portrayed well, like Bugs Bunny, Bucky O’Hare and Buster, Arthur’s mate.
But when we got them we realised they are awful pets.
They didn’t like being held, they didn’t do much and they lived in the garden, taking up space I had previously used as a stand in for Wembley stadium.
We had the long eared pains for a couple of years but the novelty wore off pretty quick. Our only real interaction with them came as we chased them around the garden after their many escape attempts. It would have probably been better for all if we’d just let them take their chances on their own.
After a while my mum took over looking after them as we got bored of the twitchy nosed tools. It’s a sign of how much we’d gone off them that Thumper, the last bunny standing, was dead for a few days before us kids realised, my mum curious as to how long it would take (note: Mum had disposed of his body compassionately, just didn’t tell us of his untimely demise).
6. Pet Rock
Name: Forgotten as changed often.
I got these as a gift. They were basically some rocks with faces on. They sat on my shelf.
So, how are these better than rabbits?
- They took up less room
- None of my pet rocks ever bit me
- I never used a rabbit to squish a giant spider
Yeah, so Rocks > Rabbits. Unless you’re making a stew.
Names: Gwyneth, Willow and more that I forget.
For those who don’t remember, Tamagotchi were a big deal in the late ’90s. These pocket sized electronic pets were everywhere and kids were obsessed with them. One such kid was my youngest sister.
Unfortunately, the kids were so invested in keeping the crudely animated blobs alive that they weren’t focusing in class. And so, my sister’s school banned them. But I was in big school and so took on the responsibility as our teachers were more worried about stopping their students smoking or getting pregnant.
I renamed the thing Gwyneth after Miss Paltrow, which makes no sense as I wasn’t a fan of hers. But I must have had a reason.
At first I kept her alive to help my sister, but soon she’d lost interest and I was obsessed with keeping it going. Gwyneth lived quite a long time before she bought the farm and I replaced her with Willow. Willow didn’t live as long and after that, jaded by the losses, there were a few others who didn’t last long.
I inherited Pablo after my second attempt at uni. He was our flat pet and originally belonged to my flatmate Phil. However, I took custody and he lived with me for a while.
Hamsters are odd pets. They’re quite shy and dislike being held, which limits their fun factor. However, they are very cute and at least do stuff like running on their wheel.
I spent a lot of time talking to Pablo, jabbering away to him when I was alone. It was company while everyone else went about their lives and I stayed in, hunting jobs.
He put in a good innings by hamster standards but sadly went to play on the big wheel in the sky.
Names: Squishy and Fang.
I expected Squishy to die from the moment I got him.
I won him at a funfair, and he was tiny. I gave it a couple of weeks before I had to flush him.
But the little guy surprised me. He grew quickly and seemed in good health. He even survived a fire in our halls. And the drive home from Lampeter.
In fact, Squishy would live for another seven years, joined in 2006 by Fang, who is still going.
They might not be the most entertaining of pets but I loved Squishy for his survivor attitude and the connection to my uni days. They’re also quite calming to watch and, like hamsters, easy to talk to.
Honourable mentions: Phoebe, Millie, basically every other dog I’ve met.
My little sister really wanted a dog. After years of pleading and promises my parents relented. Unfortunately, the dog we got was Carrie.
Part Jack Russell, part English Bull Terrier, part unspecified dog and part hellhound, a family new to dogs couldn’t have picked worse.
We had her a few years during which she moved from cute puppy to raging bitch. She’d lunge for other dogs, for cyclists, for pretty much anything that walked or crawled. She would drag our cat about by the scruff of his neck, the cat too soft and dim to run away.
Finally, she bit all three of my sisters. My mum realised my little sister, driving force of Team Dog, was scared of the white ball of rage. Carrie was rehomed and the Page family chalked up dogs as a failed experiment.
Two of my sisters are now firmly on Team Cat. But me? While I love felines, I still want a canine buddy.
This is because every other dog I’ve met has been tidy. I’ve dog sat for friends and I love dogs. I mean, cleaning up their shit is a drag.
But I genuinely love dogs. MWF’s mum has a Jack Russell who is amazing. All my mates’ dogs are ace too.
And so I would really like a dog in future, with my preference being for a French Bulldog.
Names: Tom, Jerry, Tiger, Yoga, Tad, Llew, Midnight and Pumpkin.
As the above list shows, cats are the most consistent pet I’ve had. There were cats when my mum brought me back from the hospital, and there has been at least one cat in the Page house since then.
MWF is a crazy cat lady waiting to happen, and so early on we knew that we would always have cats.
Enter Midnight, our wonky eyed cat who was followed by Pumpkin, a manic ball of energy who speeds around the house like a white and orange Tasmanian Devil. Sadly, Midge and Pumps didn’t get on, so Midnight has returned to MWF’s mum’s house while Pumpkin is now the boss here.
Cats tick a lot of boxes. They are cute and like attention, without being needy about it. They have distinct personalities, and are entertaining to watch, there’s a reason cats dominate the internet. You can play with them but they’ll also just curl up and chill with you. And they are loveable.
In my opinion cats are the best pets. You can disagree. But you’re wrong.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read- Groucho Marx
I’ve been reading since I was a little kid, and by the time I left primary school I’d already developed a massive love of reading, devouring books over my holidays or on rainy days. I was pretty good at reading, but there was one thing I hated-
Reading aloud in class.
We all had to do it, and while I wasn’t the worst I was aware that I still stumble over words, or worse, come across a word that I’d never seen written before and mispronounce it horribly.
Unfortunately, reading aloud continued throughout comprehensive, and I continued to be nervous, shaky and stumbling whenever I was called on to read. I loathed it, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.
So, I thought it was pretty cool to hear that over in North Carolina, USA, a library has started an initiative where kids who have issues with reading, learning disabilities and anxiety disorders. The idea is that they get to visit a library and read to a dog.
The idea being that a dog is a non-judgmental audience and won’t laugh when they cock up, criticize them or generally be a douche to them. By reading to them they get used to reading aloud and gain more confidence. It’s a lovely idea, and I think would be of benefit if it was rolled out in more places.
I mean, think about it, there are plenty of dogs that need homes and attention, so why don’t we just train them as therapy dogs, add a little room off the side of a library, or in a school, and put them there (the librarian/teacher can feed and walk them, or even better a kid can walk them around the yard, as a form of reward system).
So, you’ve re-homed a bunch of dogs and given them a purpose, and a bunch of kids have been helped with their reading. Everyone’s a winner.
And it doesn’t end there, apparently, you could also use dogs to help uni students with stress, as one Canadian university did. And it’s not just dogs, cats are great for calming you down as proven by the cat cafe in Budapest, so why not re-home even more shelter animals in places where they get warmth and affection, and you help folks out.
But not just at universities and schools, why not at offices? The pet would serve as both a stress reliever and a sort of mascot for the workplace.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
I’m a bit of a soft git at heart. I like love songs, happy endings and get choked up during the “It’s Not All Doom and Gloom” section of Russell Howard’s Good News, so the story I’m writing about today was bound to warm the cockles of my heart (an expression I’ve never really thought about before, but which seems to make no sense now that I do).
Recently a bunch of Swedish athletes took part in an adventure race, which is a race that involves hiking, orienteering and other tough things that look extremely knackering, but oddly appealing, in a way that you sit on your couch and think “that looks cool” before being distracted by the Coca-Cola trucks advert.
Anyway, these uber-fit Swedes were down in Ecuador doing their thing when they came across a stray dog. They gave it some food and the dog started following them. At first they just thought it was following a few of the teams who were bunched up, but when they all spread out a bit the dog stuck with his new Scandinavian friends.
The team adopted him, naming him Arthur, as a sort of mascot and took him with them, although it seems to me as though the dog adopted them as his new pack. He followed them for the duration of the race and the team became so fond of him they raised cash to get him some veterinary treatment and then to fly him all the way to Sweden where he began a new life with a new family.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
I doubt it needed to be said but Iran really doesn’t sound like a fun place to live. This is a country with extremely strict laws which curtail the rights and freedom of it’s people and still uses physical punishments like lashes and executions. These are two things I am definitely against.
Earlier this year there was a case of a woman being executed because she murdered a man alleged to have attacked her, I was pleased to see that a lot of folks got up in arms over it, but couldn’t help feel that for many the reason to argue against it was either (a) her gender or (b) her apparent motive. If the lady in question was attacked and killed this fellow while acting in self defence, I agree that should have changed the ruling of her guilt, but whatever a killer’s gender or reasoning, capital punishment feels wrong to me.
That however, is not what this blog is about. This is about another news story coming from Iran, and also dealing with excessive punishments. Recently hardline members of parliament in the country have submitted a bill proposing a punishment of 74 lashes.
Being whipped 74 times seems excessive for any crime but it’s particularly shocking to discover that this plan is being suggested as a punishment for people who play, pet or walk dogs in public.
I understand that in Islamic culture dogs are regarded as unclean, and are kept by many only as working animals, not pets. I must admit that my grasp on Islam is shaky at best and so if anything I write in this blog is incorrect, I apologize and am always keen to receive polite corrections.
The subject is open for debate as some Islamic scholars like Malik ibn Anas deviated from this view and some feel it actually has roots in pre-Islamic traditions. Others feel that while dogs are ritually unclean they should still be treated with kindness.
But that’s all irrelevant.
I think everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs and so long as their beliefs and/or practices don’t harm others then it’s a case of live and let live. For people of the Jewish or Islamic faiths eating pig meat is not allowed, as someone who doesn’t conform to that view, I feel that I should be allowed to eat bacon sandwiches, but also be expected to take into account the beliefs of others and not just serve up a hog roast before checking with everyone.
It’s about respect and acceptance. You have to accept that not everyone in this world is going to think like you, or feel the same way about things. Nobody appreciates being told what to think and how to behave, but far too many people are quick to tell others how to.
I like dogs. I want a dog. I think that dogs are perfectly fine.
However, if I knew a Muslim I’d tell them I had a dog at home before they visited, and ask if they’d prefer me to keep it in another room while they were there, just as I’d ask if it was okay to take the dog over to their place first, and not just show up with the dog in tow.
I’m not going to give someone a hard time for not liking dogs. I’m not going to force someone to pet or play with it. Doing that would be seriously uncool.
Clearly there are folks in Iran who don’t mind having dogs. That is there choice. Some people who live near them may disagree, and that is there choice.
But it just seems horribly unfair to punish someone for doing something you see as wrong but which doesn’t actually hurt anybody.
So what if Barry down the way is stroking his dog in the street? Does it really “harm the Islamic culture” as the bill suggests? Is that pat on the head really going to bring a centuries old culture and tradition crashing down around you?
Sure, Barry should ask if he can bring his dog round to your house, and he should clean up after the dog, and he should respect other people’s views on dogs, but they should also respect his viewpoint too. If Barry wants a dog, let him have one, as long as he treats it right and keeps it under control is it really a problem to anyone else?
The whole bill seems to be a depressing example of trying to force your views on the population and is saddled with a frankly ridiculous punishment. 74 lashes for playing with a dog? A crime that literally hurts nobody. If the dog is unclean then surely the only impure person is the owner, and as long as they cleanse themselves after it’s a case of no harm, no foul.
I hope that the law doesn’t get passed, especially as dog ownership is increasing in the country among urban middle and upper classes.
There are far more important things that the Iranian government should be dealing with, and forcing everyone to follow a religious law they may not believe in is utterly wrong. The world don’t move to the beat of just one drum, and that’s fine. Forcing someone to follow Islam in Iran is just as wrong as stopping people from observing their faith in the West.
There are 7 billion people on this world, and we should worry less about what everyone else is up to and more about how we’re living ourselves, and how we feel about that. Unless what they are doing is causing hurt or distress to others, let them get on with it, just as you’d want to left alone yourself.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
A lot of people have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that their kids are gay and may not provide them with grandchildren. If what I’ve learnt watching Mulan and various kung fu movies is right, this must be even tougher in China where family is very important. I think the parents should get over themselves, but I can appreciate that it can be quite tricky at first to get used to it, although I’d like to think people have the sense to overcome this surprise and realize that if they love their kids they should support their kid and want them to be happy.
Clearly disagreeing with me is Chinese billionaire Cecil Chao Sze-tsung, who so wants his lesbian daughter Gigi to get hitched and continue the family name he’s offered a $40 million “marriage bounty” to any man who can woo his girl down the aisle.
This is a bit tricky as Gigi has been with her partner for 7 years and rumours that they actually got hitched last year. Clearly, Cecil thinks that this must just be a passing phase, in an interview where he walked around his mansion Cecil stated:
She can choose whatever she wants. But anyone who comes along to pursue Gigi, we will give them a moderately deluxe life. I would not force her to marry a man. But obviously I would, from my point of view, prefer her to be married and to have grandchildren
Hardly the most sensitive or supportive statement I’ve ever heard, and there’s the nasty taste in your mouth that he’s trying to sell his daughter. Although 33 year old Gigi (a bad enough name for anyone but must be especially awkward for a grown woman to bear) seems to be understanding. When the bounty was first floated last year she commented:
My heart is taken. I am happy. And he knows I am happy. He just wants me to be more happy.
Which, is a wonderfully restrained and nice way of looking at her dad’s actions.
Cecil appears to be even more of a hypocrite when you bear in mind that he’s commented “It’s safer not to be married” because your ex-wife can clean you out and also brags about bedding 10,000 women. I’m guessing if he was a poor man his numbers might not be so good.
That being said, if I was Gigi I’d be tempted to hook up with a male friend, fake it for a bit and then split the cash and get out from under daddy’s influence and live as I wanted.
It must be tough being an Arsenal fan. Your team plays competently enough and is consistently hailed as one of the most attractive teams to watch, and your manager Arsene Wenger was vital in turning the fortunes of the club around and making you one of the big boys. Wenger is a legend to the Gunners’ fans, but at the same time it’s been a while since they actually grabbed some silverware (8 years this summer) and it’s unlikely any will be added soon, although they are still in the mix for the FA Cup.
So, you can understand that some Arsenal fans might be thinking it’s time for a change of leader and to try a different approach, and to show this some fans made a banner:
Quite polite considering the usual signs you see at football matches:
However, this caused some tension and there are reports that Arsenal fans began scrapping with each other as tempers flared at their weekend 3-2 victory over Brighton. Personally, as a non-Arsenal fan I think the bannermen have a point and it might be time for Wenger to leave, as the longer he stays the more he’s going to alienate fans and tarnish his legacy.
Always read the label
A Newcastle university lecturer has got done for vandalizing cars with what’s been described as “polite” graffiti, including phrases like “very silly”, which he keyed into the side of cars. I can’t help feeling this is a stretch of the definition of polite and really the only polite form of graffiti is post-it notes as those can be removed without hassle or permanent damage.
The guy in question stated that he had no recollection of the events and blamed a bad reaction to a mix of booze, prescription meds and antibiotics, proving that when you’re on meds you should probably lay off the booze, the wally.
We need more zoos
When I was a kid one of the first things you learned was how to recognize animals. From the everyday ones (cats, dogs, horses, cows) and then on to your more exotic ones. One of the first and most memorable ones was the lion. Being British lions crop up quite a bit on logos and in statues and they’re still kinda trading off the fact they look majestic and regal, earning the “king of the jungle” tag.
However, it would seem that my education was not the norm and that some people have definite problems recognizing the big cat. A few weeks back a town in Virginia was struck by panic as reports of a lion roaming the streets spread and the police were contacted. It turned out that it wasn’t a lion but rather Charlie the Labradoodle.
And here’s a lion:
I’m not going to do one of those tedious “aren’t Americans stupid?” rants because (a) I don’t like those kind of views and (b) while there are idiotic Yanks, stupidity is a global problem and last year in Essex there was a similar lion panic caused by somebody seeing a long haired cat. So, maybe the key is to just spread more awareness of what a lion actually is and more kids should watch David Attenborough documentaries.
What a way to go…
A woman in the state of Washington has been accused of killing her boyfriend by smothering him with her breasts. Donna Lange, 51, apparently argued with her fella, and then used her superior size to kill him with her boobs.
It sounds like something from a Russ Meyer movie, especially when the incident took place in their trailer. It’s probably not as fun as it sounds, but still, smothered between boobs is definitely one of the nicer ways to go I’d imagine.
This isn’t the first time someone has been smothered by boobs, a while back the UK had a similar story with a happier ending:
And in that incident the busty almost-killer, Claire Smedley translated her notoriety into a career in porn.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
Okay, so the Cats vs Dog thing has been done to death, but this one did make me smile.
This is a real, honest to god advert from a dating site
I kinda get the impression they don’t have a lot of respect for their customers.
Why ban this?
They’ve clearly put all the things they don’t want on one sign, but sadly it seems that they’re after one of the coolest things you’d probably ever see- a wine drinking, cigarette smoking, skateboarding dog:
Guy drops two Hula Hoops into coffee, results in sheer beauty.
Hot picture of the week
This week is the foxy Kaley Cuoco, star of The Big Bang Theory.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
I finally got around to watching the much lauded movie The Artist at the weekend, a review of which will follow in the next few days.
After watching the movie I was reminded about a daft little argument that came up during the award season regarding whether or not the film’s canine star, Uggie should or could be nominated for a best supporting actor award.
Personally I say no, because well, a dog doesn’t act, it just does what its trained to do, and what it does is not the same as a human actor does in trying to inhabit a role and convey character and emotion. Yes, you think the dog in the flick is cute and sweet, but he’s a dog, its an easy move. Its not the same as the levels of loveliness that Ginnifer Goodwin conveys in Once Upon A Time or He’s Just Not That Into You.
But, maybe there should be a new category for best non human performance, or to be more precise Non Conventional Performances.
Bear with me on this one.
See throughout history there have been animals, inanimate objects, animations and special effects that have been astounding, even somehow gaining anthropomorphic qualities. People in suits or machinery, various critters and even props can do it.
Think of the creature in Alien, its hardly acting from whoever’s in the seat but its still great work that should be recognised.
Or Kenny Baker inside R2D2, the magic carpet in Aladdin, Wall-E or the ring from Lord Of The Rings.
But the best example must surely be Wilson in Cast Away.
For those who haven’t seen it, Cast Away is the story of a dude, played by Tom Hanks, who after a plane crash winds up living alone on a small tropical island. The film is pretty much a one man show as Hanks’ character has to struggle to survive while also trying to stay sane, which he kind of does. Apart from when it comes to Wilson.
On the island, Hanks uses whatever was being transported on the plane and washed up on the beach. Some are useful (e.g. ice skates, or rather the blades on ice skates) but others aren’t. Among the random items is a volleyball which Hanks winds up drawing a face on and dubbing Wilson, after the ball’s manufacturer, in a rare example of acceptable product placement.
Hanks’ frazzled character then begins talking and even arguing with Wilson.
To be fair, by this point he’s been on the island a while. They always ask on Desert Island Discs how the guest feels they’d manage on a desert island, and if I was on the show I’d have to say I think I’d lose it in about a fortnight. By that stage I’d be a jabbering, broken shell of a man and probably done a lot worse than talked to a volleyball.
Anyway, its quite interesting how the film does this as it cuts back to the impassive, drawn on face of Wilson. I suppose you could say the credit could go to Hanks, who in his interactions with the ball does such a good job it actually does take on a kind of character.
When Hanks finally decides enough is enough and he wants off the island he ensures there’s a spot on his raft for his spherical buddy. And then, in one of the most inexplicably sad scenes ever committed to the screen a storm strikes and Wilson is washed overboard. Hanks tries to get him back on the raft but the stormy seas carry him away and as Hanks calls out to him, apologizing for not being able to get to him I got all choked up.
By a ball bobbing away on some waves.
That surely warrants some recognition.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO
I’ve always wanted a dog, probably as a result of being having grown up in a house with cats.
You can’t have cats and dogs at the same time, it doesn’t work. In fact, as anyone who’s seen Ghostbusters will know, cats and dogs living together is one of the signs of the apocalypse.
We did try it for a short period, my little sister, Liz, really wanted a dog and after much nagging my parents relented. And so we got a dog, a small, white heinz dog, who Liz named Carrie. Sadly, this turned out to be a good choice of name, as she was a crazy bitch.
You couldn’t take her off the lead because she’d go for dogs, any size. She’d lunge at cyclists, bark at anything and generally be a menace to society.
She also tormented our two cats at the time, Tiger and Yoda (guess which one I named), by dragging them around by their necks. Tiger, a soppy git of a cat would allow himself to be dragged about the place without resistance, but Yoda just took to avoiding her, or in a masterful stroke of feline intellegence, finding a spot which drove her nuts. He’d lie down just behind the gate we had on the steps to confine the hellhound to the downstairs, he’d lie just close enough to bask in the sunlight from the window and so Carrie could see him, but far away enough that no matter how much she smacked her head between the bars she couldn’t reach him. That is part of the reason why Yoda remains one of my favourite pets of all time, he was a moody git, but for me, that’s what a cat should be.
But Carrie went too far and bit my sister. She also went for my other sisters, but never for me or my parents, I think because she’d kind of worked out who the weaker pack members were. My mum decided enough was enough when Liz, who’d wanted a dog for years, began avoiding Carrie and seemed afraid of the beast.
Carrie had to go. And we found her a home without kids where she’d probably get on better, and we all moved on. Although, truth be told while out running a while back a small, white dog made a beeline for me across the park, charging at me and the thought flashed across my mind “Oh, s**t, she’s back for revenge!”
Given the lack of success we had, there were no more family dogs. But the run of cats continued.
I don’t mind cats, like I said before, I kind of dig their surly nature and the fact you can leave a cat to their own devices. Aside from feeding them there is no effort required, and they reward you by occasionally curling up on your lap as you read and purring away. It makes you feel quite contented, until you need the loo.
Dogs are harder work, but they seem to appreciate it more. Dogs go nuts when you come back, their tails wag with glee and you can play with them. And that’s why I want a dog, I quite like the traditional image of man’s best friend.
A dog is loyal and dedicated, doesn’t matter what goes wrong, the mutt is always with you. You see those homeless people sitting there and right next to them is a scruffy dog, panting away. Its gotta make life on the streets a little easier to have a companion you can trust, also I guess you probably get given more cash by passers by, that being the power of dog.
A cat? A cat will have bailed early, finding some other house who’ll feed it. In fact it’ll probably ditch you earlier on, as soon as you switch from Whiskas to supermarket own brand catfood it’ll probably decide its time to move on.
This is a major part of wanting a dog, I want something that’ll watch my back and stick with me, a theory I’ve compiled mainly from watching movies. Like I Am Legend.
Also, if movies are to be believed dogs are a useful thing to keep around as a warning sign of things going awry. Seriously, think about it- in both The Woman In Black and Paranormal Activity 2the dogs start kicking up a fuss as soon as the ghosts/demons rock up, and try to protect the family.
I can’t help thinking a cat would just chose this point to slope off down to the nice old lady at number 12 for some free sardines.
And its not just ghosts and spirits, dogs also know when someone isn’t what they seem. In the brilliant World War Z dogs can smell the infected and so can single out who’s gonna turn into a zombie early on. And remember in Terminator 2 its the dog barking on the phone that alerts Arnie that its not Connors’ foster parents they’re talking too.
So I want a dog for three main reasons- companionship, warning against evil and thirdly, I could take it with me for my runs.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO