Monday, July 21, 2014

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Surveying before the build...

Marveling at spiders' architectural skill once again, I am struck by something I'd never considered: Their scouting process. Seeing a spectacular glistening web strung between a telephone pole and a sign, it occurs to me that this spider chose this site. Why? By what spider mind criteria? How many options were rejected before deciding on this place? Did this tiny creature walk along the side of the road with those eyes pointed upwards as it considered the best location for catching prey? Were aesthetics involved? Options were reviewed and decisions were made. This might have happened while I was sleeping. A sudden awareness of the independent souls around us can cause goose bumps. 

("Female Jumping Spider" by Thomas Shahan)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Arabian Knights' Stallion Desalination Plant...

("Al Shaqab Swim" from Moving Postcards)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Towards a post-dominion ecology...

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals.  Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion.  We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves.  And therein we err, and greatly err.  For the animal shall not be measured by man.  In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.  They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.”

- Henry Beston, American Writer-Naturalist

("Yellow Belly"  by Hannah Whitaker)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We want to touch some part of the animal world...

... because it reminds us of something long forgotten. 

("Beluga whale at the Georgia Aquarium" by John Amis)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nature must not win the game...

...but she can not lose.

- C.G. Jung

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Who is he?

This jolly roguish mountain gorilla definitely reminds me of someone... His expression taps a fleeting facial recognition reflex that tickles dendrites deep in the memory banks. An actor. The mouth. The smirk. The eyes too. Who the hell is it? Harvey Keitel? No. Close, but not him. I feel as though it's a character actor who played a lot of wise police chiefs in the 40's, or 60's maybe. Black and white. I may lose sleep over this... Help!

(Click image to embiggen)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

They will make us better (if we let them)...

Humans are relational creatures. We build and shift our reality and our identity around perceived contexts. We are different when we are alone to when we are with a group of strangers to when we are at a funeral to when we are a leader of a nation. What is our perceived context as a species and how might we evolve such a massive and under-considered thing?

My mission is to use the immediate, penetrative, emotional, consciousness-expanding properties of the arts to weave threads of awareness for all living things into the cloth of individual consciousnesses. As we (in the West) plunge deeper into a 'reality' framed by techno-economic civilization, my gut tells me that we'll need good reminders of the natural and instinctual forces we're working very hard to distance ourselves from.

I find animals to be our most enduring hope for maintaining soul in the face of soullessness. If we can allow ourselves to look at animals as mirrors (without discrediting their own lives), we will discover startling reflections in them: Our blind spots, our lost powers, and our self-intoxication on the one hand, and our grace our strength and our true creativity on the other.

It seems we've been killing god for a long time now. Showing him or her (even though he or she is dead right?) that this is our game now, that anything it can do we can do better.

Tell that to a tomato. Or a baby octopus. Or a mandrill with a toothache.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Eating crow...

I suspect, that at some level, we feel we've gone too far. We've strayed out of earshot from the natural source we have focused so hard on co-opting and reinventing for ourselves. Greedy godlets lose their way and forge ahead because progress is a slow moving massive wheel we've jumped upon, whose steady momentum carries us wherever it goes. It's a ride. Still I think there's a clear undercurrent of nostalgia, fear, and shame in all of this. I believe it account sfor much of the animal oriented art we're seeing these days. I'm interested in this emerging phenomena, a call to the wild in the digital void, and notice its manifestation all around me. All us beasts are modern animals now, standing around glancing furtively around the globe at each other, wondering who's running things now, who's confidence rings true, and secretly, if anyone remembers their way back to the garden.

("Carroña" by Javier Perez)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Which side of the glass is empty?

The best thing about zoos is the juxtaposition of schlubby gawkers lost in space and graceful athletes making the most of their spatial confinement.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sea Song...

By Robert Wyatt (video by Olive Booger)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Removing the blubber blanket...

Though the excruciatingly noisy and omnipresent chatter of marine shrimp, aurally gifted whales can filter out important sonic communications from their cetacean kin. We know this because military researchers in the 1950s were interested in acquiring this selective hearing ability for themselves. Mid-century scientists and politicians were convinced that whales and dolphins held many secrets, and therefore countless well-funded brutal and murderous sea mammal experiments were conducted in the quest for the key to some unknown holy grail. Perhaps this was spurred by the finding that "whales and dolphins quite naturally go in the directions we call spiritual, in that they get into meditative states quite simply and easily," a fact reported by D. Graham Burnett in his new book The Sounding of the Whale. Certainly some of our most compelling mad scientists came out of this ugly research, notably the lovably cracked John C. Lilly who swore he heard dolphins repeating English phrases to one another upon being returned to their holding tanks after an experiment. "After hammering his way into hundreds of mammalian brains," Burnett writes, "Lilly suddenly heard a voice." Countless of these charged and chilling inter-mammal experiences lead to the popular understanding we have today of whale-dolphin intelligence.

Have we found a more humane way to continue the conversation with our cetacean cousins or did we lose interest when vivisection and blubber-filleting "flensers" fell out of popular fashion?

(with ideas and phrases borrowed from the NYTimes Book Review by Paul Greenberg)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It benefits as it obscures...

As we bring animals into our world, we admit that we can not understand theirs, and that we will not try. Even our most loving, well intended gestures towards them, obliterate points of view we could stand to occupy.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My attention is mine...

by Mauo Folci

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More Modern Animals...

If you can, try to see this beyond the cute, beyond the funny, beyond the absurdity even. Where do you land?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Is this interesting or not?

I'm fuzzy as to where all of this animal/civilization obsession of mine is going... Its meaning has always transcended logical thinking. Animals offer a fascinating and ghostly inverse to our human dominion of Earth. That has been enough.

I suppose logic had to enter the picture. It's my biological duty. So now there's ambivalence. I'll look at a photograph, a story, or a piece of footage that has anthrozoological significance, such as the above, and I'll either be held in glorious aesthetic arrest for a good long while - synapses firing, endorphins dancing, filled with renewed faith that civilization can benefit from catching these inverted reminders of its grotesque self. Other times, crushingly, I feel nothing. I clearly recognize the existence of non-human life forces and no triggers are triggered. No eureka moments aha! themselves into the jacuzzi of my pineal gland. Maybe there's a "porn" effect here - the instant, effortless delight has met with overexposure. Maybe I'm changing.

Of course I'm changing. Evolution is afoot. And I do sense a new understanding emerging here. One that will lead to a greater embracing of this wonderfully puzzling subject matter. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Underground Order of the Pug...

Around 1740, a series of pug related items were designed as secret emblems for a German underground Masonic-styled lodge known as the "Order of the Pug." It is believed that the Order of the Pugs was created as a fraternal group for Roman Catholics who had been forbidden to join the Masons by Pope Clement XII. Members were required to wear dog collars and had to scratch the door of the lodge to gain entrance. Initiates were said to have been blindfolded and led around a symbol-filled carpet nine times while the assembled "Pugs" of the Order barked loudly and yelled “Memento mori” ('Remember you shall die').

A very rare Schrezheim porcelain snuff box in the form of a pug dog is expected to fetch £12,000-18,000 when it goes up for auction at Bonhams, New Bond Street on 5th July in the sale of the Helmut Joseph Collection of Porcelain Snuff Boxes.

(Thanks Ted)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Meow mix...

I have a hunch what Werner Herzog's reaction to this scene would be, but I've always known that simply fearing animals with sharp teeth has more to do with the fear than the animals.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The real 5th Beatle...

There's been lots of talk over the years, but when all is said and done, everyone knows the real 5th Beatle was Gaston. He invented their mod look - the hair, the suits, the sound, and in return they pushed him out to the street where he quickly became the band's (guilty) inspiration for Nowhere Man.

(who is this gent? any avian taxonomists out there?)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

RIP Fateh Singh Rathore...

The 3000 or so tigers alive today lost a human ally in Mr. Rathore on March 1. He was a man who fought for them single-handedly, against the wishes of people and . The Tiger Guru, died of cancer at his home just outside of Ranthambhore the 116 square-mile tiger preserve he helped create.

The Indian government banned tiger hunting in 1969, and three years later started Project Tiger to create preserves. Persuading villagers to move “was one of my most difficult assignments,” Mr. Rathore told Sanctuary Asia magazine, which is published by a nongovernmental organization of the same name.

“The people hugged the trees and wept,” he said. “I was crying with them because, inside me, I knew they were paying the price for something they may never understand.” The government compensated them with money and land, but there were violent confrontations. In 1981, a mob armed with clubs fractured Mr. Rathore’s skull and kneecap.

(via NYTimes International edition)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nim Chimpsky...

Were you aware of the new film "Project Nim"? It's the story of Nim Chimpsky, the chimpanzee who in the mid-1970s became the focus of a landmark experiment which aimed to show that an ape could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. It doesn't go well...

(monkey painting by Allison Schulnik)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

5,000 Blackbirds fall from sky on New Years...

Apparently an hour before midnight on New Year's Eve, as many as 5,000 Red-Winged Blackbirds fell dead from the sky in Beebe, Arkansas and no one knows why. Some say it was fireworks that confused the birds and caused them to bump into things (but 5,000 times over? Really?) Others are waiting for toxicology reports.

The NYTimes reports: "State scientists believe one thing to be almost certain: that the bird deaths were not related to the roughly 85,000 fish that died a few days before near Ozark, in the western part of the state, the biggest fish kill in Arkansas that anyone can remember."

Phew. Glad there 's no connection. Still, I'm going to go out on a limb and blame humans in both cases until proven otherwise.

Meanwhile, roughly 500 dead birds were found on Monday outside New Roads, La.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Saved by vanity...

"Throughout history, prominent men have identified with the majesty, power and machismo of large cats. Leaders especially like to think of themselves as having the virtues of large cats,” said Stephen R. Kellert, a professor emeritus and senior research scholar at Yale University who studies human-animal relationships. “They like the image of the stand-alone, solitary yet fearsome hunter.”

Read entire article here.

(Vladimir Putin helps fix a satellite transmitter on a tranquilized tiger)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A split after the primordial soup...

I love animals for how NOT involved they are in our civilization. There are certainly days when I feel that nothing we've done in our hubris and our "dominion" over them outshines their simple exquisite being. And then the phone rings...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Porpoises save DVD from watery grave...

"On screen, Dick Van Dyke has been rescued from untimely death by flying cars and magical nannies. Off screen, the veteran star of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins had to rely on the help of a pod of porpoises after apparently dozing off aboard his surfboard. "I'm not kidding," he said afterwards."

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of this story (and there are many) was the realization that DVD was still alive in the first place.

Read all about it here...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Addicted to the rhythm...

Ant colonies, like genes, work without blueprints or programming. No ant understands what needs to be done or what its actions mean for the welfare of the colony. An ant colony has no teams of workers dedicated to fighting or foraging. Although it is still commonly believed that each ant is assigned a task for life, biologists now know they move from one task to another.

Colonies are regulated by networks of interaction. Ants respond only to their immediate surroundings and to their interactions with the other ants nearby.

What matters is the rhythm of interactions, not their meaning.

Ants respond to the pattern and rate of their encounters with each other, as well as to the smells they perceive in the world, such as the picnic sandwiches.

(continue reading…) and (more great pics here )

Saturday, October 30, 2010

David Kroll...

David Kroll's paintings are calmly arresting. His work is driven by some powerful thoughts that fit into these pages nicely... Enjoy!

"It is not my intention to create an accurate depiction of a particular creature or habitat, but to create an invented, imaginary moment touching upon man's complicated, perplexing relationship with nature. I try to do more, in other words, than compose a visually interesting collection of wild creatures, objects and spaces. I try to create an emotional and intellectual connection - however fleeting - between the viewer and the power of landscape, the interdependent web of life, the idea of nature itself."

(David Kroll)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pushmi-pullyu balance...

This city-slicker NYTimes editorial about a number of recent human deaths by wild animals (including a goat) raises a number of interesting questions (as do the responses). One that comes to mind is: If we anthropomorphize animals to have "cuddly" human qualities, do the "ugly" ones come back at us in tow?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Just animals and television...

An animated mind melt into a post human New York where TV and animals rule.

(Directimated by A.F.Schepperd, "The Music Scene" by Blockhead)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Galaxy of ants...

When army ants lose the path of the pheremon trail that drives them forward, they revert to following each other in what soon becomes a writhing spiraling mass. The ants will eventually die of exaustion.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Where and how animals die...

Sarah makes a good point: If animals die, then where are all the dead animals? How come we don't see, or more likely, smell them after the fact? The numbers don't add up. If I had a hundred lives to live, I would dedicate one of them to writing a book that explained in great detail exactly how animals die and where they go to do it.

(From the "Dying Birds" series by Nicolai Howalt)

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Elkpen is a Los Angeles street artist whose project, Elkology, deals with relations and interactions between organisms and their environments. It's sensationally beautiful and informative work that proves you don't need none of that agro Banksy-esque angst to make provocative street art.

Check out Elkology here.

("Birds of Hollywood II" by Elkpen - found at 6010 Fountain Ave. in Los Angeles)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Expressionless maw...

Fish are mute. . . so one thought. Who knows?
Is there not a place where the language of the fish,
in their absence, is at last in common parlance?

- Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Excuse me waiter, this raw fish tastes a bit mammally...

One of my all time favorite restaurants, The Hump, (at the Santa Monica airport) has some serious 'splaining to do. Apparently, they've been serving up whale sushi on their special "omakase" menu (chef's choice). It's illegal to eat whale in the US because they're mammals.

I could never afford the omakase, but I have certainly tasted the ants and the grasshoppers downstairs at the Hump's sister restaurant, Typhoon. But those critters, they're not... mammals. I mean, how could anyone in their right mind eat a nice warm-blooded mammal? Hope the public doesn't catch wind of this. Their might be mass bouts of fainting and vomiting in the streets if they heard that someone somewhere actually ate, shudder to think, a mammal!

Story here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March is: Explore your inner animal month...

Or your outer animal... Either way, take a minute to think about animals as they exist in an increasingly human-centered planet. What do they make of us? What do we demand of them? What might we be losing as we get further and further away from the wild as our experiment in civilization progresses.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Anthropomorphic sub-species...

I know this is old news, but let me get this straight. Mickey Mouse is a mouse who has a pet dog, Pluto, and a best friend, Goofy, who is also a... dog? Pluto walks on all fours and wears a collar, but no gloves. Goofy, a biped, wears shabby street clothes and white gloves, and though goofy, seems to possess a certain rational capacity. I can't tell if this is a form of divine madness or ruthless cartoon apartheid. Curious to see how Disney's anthropomorphic puzzle evolves in the coming makeover.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Where are the whites of the eyes in other animals?

In most primates, the outer fibrous covering of the eyeball, or sclera, is pigmented and appears as a uniform or dark brown color. Brown coloration of the sclera provides little contrast with adjacent tissues, including the facial skin surrounding the eyeball and the pupils (brown pupils are the norm for all primates, save for humans and some lemurs), making it difficult to detect the position of the iris and thus the direction of gaze in nonhuman primates. Humans have a transparent conjunctiva and lack pigmentation in the sclera, giving us the distinctive feature of “whites of the eyes.”

The white sclera in humans contrasts markedly with the pigmented skin surrounding the eye, and with the pupil, facilitating the detection of the orientation of the iris and the direction of gaze. In addition, humans have more of the sclera exposed (relative to face and body size) than do other primates, making the pupil (and direction of gaze) all the more conspicuous (relative to orangutans, the amount of visible sclera is two to three times larger in humans).

Since humans are heavily dependent on cooperative social interactions, and frequently engage in joint attentional interactions with others (in which gaze following may play an important role in coordinating the attention of cooperating individuals), selection may have favored a loss of pigmentation in the sclera as a means of facilitating social communication, an idea known as the “cooperative eye hypothesis.”

Interestingly, visible whites of the eyes are a feature of many domesticated dogs.

- from The Museum of Comparative Anthropogeny (MOCA)

("What?" by John Siskin)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cat wigs...

Believe me you... you, human, I have better things to do with my very important self than to worry myself with such trifling things as feline hairpieces, however... I would like to point out, for the record, that I very clearly stated at a (drunken) dinner in 2008 that cat wigs would be the solution to all of our problems. And now this. So, all I need is for everyone to agree that I was right, and then we can move on. OK? OK.

Friday, February 5, 2010

On moving bees (& them colonizing your psyche in return)...

And, here's a short movie of the move. Be forewarned, colorful language abounds as I get stung. Enjoy! PG

full bee story to come...

(Photos: Augusta Quirk, Sarah Bay Williams, Paul Gachot; Song: "Bees" by Caribou)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Birds on Guitars...

Hendrix reincarnated no doubt...

(by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Total Bee Mayhem...

Please stand by...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Which gharānā does that monkey adhere to?

Drumming in the new year with a Himalayan Langur Monkey at the tablas. Actually it looks a bit more like a cross between Dr. Zeus and David Bowie in his Thin White Duke phase, but who's counting? And why shouldn't a monkey play the tablas? Apes experience music. Read all about it here.

("MonkeyBIG" by Robert P. Meyer)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pecan-Toucan Pie...

It's delicious, it's colorful. This Thanksgiving won't you consider devouring the flesh of another species besides Meleagris gallopavo?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Torture Room...

(film by Danilo Parra)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Seraglio Felis...

Cat Shopping. Today we learned that dogs at the Santa Monica Animal Shelter are much happier than the cats. Strangely so. We also spent a good deal of time at over the Cat Expo at the Civic Center. Tiki themed. Beyond beyond. And to round out the day, we hit up a tiny rescue on Robertson Blvd featuring 180+ full-grown felines lounging about like odalisques in a seraglio (see short film above.) Ah the scent of wet Friskies being devoured at sunset. It's enough to make a tear duct weep. The song clip, Fantastic Cat, is by Takako Minekawa. I'm sure she wouldn't mind us borrowing it for this exposé.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Clever Hans the math horse...

Clever Hans, or Der Kluge Hans, was one bright German horse. Or was he? He could add, subtract, multiply, divide, work with fractions, tell time, keep track of the calendar, differentiate musical tones, and read, spell, and understand German. His owner, Wilhelm Von Osten, would ask Hans, "If the eighth day of the month comes on a Tuesday, what is the date of the following Friday?” Hans would answer by tapping his foot. Questions could be asked both orally, and in written form.

It was later discovered that Hans was picking up subtle cues from his questioners. After formal investigation in 1907, psychologist Oskar Pfungst demonstrated that the horse was not actually performing these mental tasks, but was watching the reaction of his human observers. Pfungst discovered the horse was responding directly to involuntary cues in the body language of the human trainer, who had the faculties to solve each problem. The trainer was entirely unaware that he was providing such cues.

In honor of Pfungst's study, the discovery been referred to as the Clever Hans effect and has continued to be important knowledge in animal cognition.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dogs and cats are cinematic condiments...

By now we all know that many Hollywood screenwriters are practicing masochists who lay themselves at the mercy of soul-sapping studio committees with a talent for clipping the wings and de-fanging interesting material into pablum. It's as old as the medium.

Dramatic quagmires in movies are frequently rescued by the insertion of a "cute and crazy" pet. You can see the meeting: "Put a cat in there to liven things up." This is a testament to the effortless watch-ability of our animal cousins, (and a probable sign that clever contrivances aren't working). Don't get me wrong, as much as I love an animal in a movie, I can often feel the cop out, a quick fix to a complex human situation that would have been interesting to explore. A thinking person's battle was lost and covered up by fur.

(Asta from "The Awful Truth")

Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Like a drill on an ingrown toenail..."

Dum dee dum... Summertime, sipping soda... What's that? !!! Oh jeez. I've been stung !!!! By what? Oh, Here it comes... Pain!!!!!! Holy mother of !%*$#ing God !!!!!!

Wasps love to climb inside a sweet soda can. But better to be stung in the mouth by a common yellow jacket than anywhere by a Pepsis Wasp a.k.a. the "Tarantula Hawk." Only one man could have described this particular venom as giving "...immediate, excruciating pain that simply shuts down one's ability to do anything, except, perhaps, scream. Mental discipline simply does not work in these situations."

Dr. Justin O. Schmidt, an entomologist recently retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Tucson Carl Hayden Bee Research Center, has come up with a system for ranking the pain of insect stings and bites fittingly called: The Schmidt Sting Pain Index. Dr. Schmidt is a connoisseur of pain. His descriptions, based on a scale of 1 - 4, are deeply imaginative, like a vintner recalling a rare fine wines...

1.0 Sweat bee: Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.

1.2 Fire ant: Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet & reaching for the light switch.

1.8 Bullhorn acacia ant: A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.

2.0 Bald-faced hornet: Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.

2.0 Yellowjacket: Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.

2.x Honey bee and European hornet: Like a matchhead that flips off and burns on your skin.

3.0 Red harvester ant: Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.

3.0 Paper wasp: Caustic & burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.

4.0 Pepsis wasp: Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath.

4.0+ Bullet ant: Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail in your heel.

He describes Pogonomyrmex badius (pictured above) as an average-looking ant whose bite yields "pain that might be caused by someone turning a screw into the flesh or ripping muscles and tendons." More on the science of stings here.

Waterboarding waterschmording! Apparently, the finest tortures come in small, venomous packages.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Wise Old Mule...

A wise old mule fell into a farmer's well. Well what kind of wise mule falls into a well? An old one with cataracts you see. The farmer came in from the fields and noticed his mule in the well and his heart went out to him. But, the sympathy soon relaxed into complacency. He decided that neither the mule nor the well were worth saving. He called his workers over and instructed them to fill the well in with dirt. They did and soon the mule's back was covered with dirt. His ankles were buried. So this is how it would end thought the mule. He prepared to meet his maker, but then a new thought: what if I shake the dirt off my back and step up? With each new shovel full of dirt, the mule shook it off and stepped up. After a few hours, the old mule reached the top of the well, battered and exhausted. Still, he climbed out triumphantly before the bemused workers. He walked right passed the farmer and gave him a kind but knowing look. The mule had learned something new: What seemed like it would bury him actually gave him the strength to live. His refusal to see problems negatively, no matter how painful or distressing they were, gave him the power to rise out of his predicament. Shake it off and step up.

The farmer thought the mule burgers were a bit chewy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Resist outrage...

IF you are outraged by the idea of an emaciated street dog being tied to the wall of an art gallery and left there to die in the name of art, you are: HUMAN. IF you are outraged by this act, and have eaten meat at any time in your life, you are: HUMAN. If you understand the hypocrisy of people being outraged at the idea of this cruel art show, but not caring about a dog dying in the street, you are: HUMAN. If you care about a dog dying in the street, but for some reason don't care as much about a person starving in the street, you are: HUMAN.

Regarding Guillermo "Habacuc" Vargas' exhibition, it has in fact, been widely reported that the dog was only tied up for a few hours and that he was fed throughout his time at the gallery. The dog is said to have escaped the gallery after one day. Still, this information is overlooked, since it threatens to assuage people's outrage.

The internet is filled with heartfelt, venomous clips insisting that the dog died, they even use images of the dog with it's head down, to imply that it is dead. No one bothered to research the reality, because the idea was so deliciously outrageous. Are you seeing what I'm seeing here?

Yes animal cruelty is wrong. Yes, people are prone to fall in love with their own outrage. Yes, dogs die in the street every day. Yes, art can lose itself up its own ass. Yes, everyone perceives things differently.

But what if the dog had died in the gallery? It would surely cast the artist and the gallery owners in an unfavorable light as exploiters of cruelty. But the waves of international outrage would have also carried another message: suffering, cruelty, and death can only outrage us if they are extracted from the shrouds of denial we place around these things.

I think one variety of successful art manages to trigger our outrage in the hope of moving us beyond it to a larger truth. The artist puts a frame around something and asks us to evaluate it from all angles. In this case you have to ask yourself is the frame around the dog or around our sliding scale of denial when it comes to acknowledging suffering, cruelty, and death.

If you like this sort of button pushing animal art, or you love hating it, can I point you in the direction of Adel Abdessemed?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bozo the Cobra says...

"My tiny tricycle routine is worse than my bite!"

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Last Hour Cat...

A cat called Oscar who lives at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, RI has a chilling knack for curling up with terminally ill patients who have between two and four hours left to live. Oscar's accuracy (currently standing at more than 25 reported instances) led the staff to institute a new and unusual protocol – once he is discovered sleeping with a patient, staff will call family members to notify them of the patient's (expected) impending death.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Breaking away...

Animals are so patient with our experiments in civilization. Even so, every now and again, an animal says, "Enough!" This is always the point where it gets interesting.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mouse mouse...

The ancient art of taxidermy has finally entered the digital age. This intricately wired dead mouse will keep your fingers warm and your inner animal on full alert as you surf the internet.

(via Instructables)

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Woman Attacks Polar Bear"

"All of Berlin Zoo’s polar bears are safe after thwarting a home invasion on Friday. An apparently unstable woman invaded their habitat by scaling a fence, wall and line of prickly bushes. Acting quickly to prevent her from climbing ashore, an elder bear bit the woman’s arms and legs until zookeepers arrived to remove the human attacker."

(Source and the real story)

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Antinaturalism is a movement started in France that denies Nature any "sacred" status that must be preserved for its own sake. They believe that animals (epecially humans) have a right to live oppression-free and that it is OK for humans to ignore so-called Natural Law, especially in terms of eliminating predator/prey imbalances. To this end they encourage veganism in humans and, quite shockingly, in predator species as well. I'm not sure if you can train a carnivore to eat veggies, or if they're physically capable of making such a switch. I wouldn't want to be the first to offer an arugula salad to a hungry jaguar.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Seek Monkey Boners...

I'm very proud to announce a new skill set. Hunting down pictures of erect monkey penises for artists in need. I even contacted the LA Zoo to see what they could turn up... You might be shocked to learn that the mighty gorilla doesn't swing much lumber, especially when sized up against his slighter cousins: the chimp and the man. You might also take some aesthetic delight in the blue balls of the Vervet Monkey and the fire engine red member of the Proboscis Monkey. Why not? These colors exist to spike our attention and consider the fever of spring that is in the air (through the foggy lens of hot monkey sex).

("Space Monkey" by Walton Ford)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Animals defy our systems of logic...

But then again, so do many of the beliefs we hold so close to our hearts.
I recommend that people keep an antenna outside of human civilization. It can't hurt and it can only enhance the absurdity of our dominion on Earth.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Earth laughs in flowers...

Curiosity is an emotion that many animals exhibit. The appreciation of beauty is always limited to individuals regardless of their species.

Monday, March 9, 2009

White Diamond...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The scent you're in...

"Dogs read the world through their noses and write their history in urine."

- J.R. Ackerley from "My Dog Tulip"

Monday, February 23, 2009

Nulcear Fish and Chips...

Enneapterygius pusillus has found a creative way to communicate with other fish in a world dominated by blues and greens: The fish literally glows red.

A core relation...

Have a look at Robin Schwartz' wonderful Amelia's World project. It's a haunting exploration of the profound relations that can occur between a pre-society child and a host of amazing lifeforms. Robin is the newest honorary member of the Hypnogogic Zoo. With this series she takes me back to all the petting zoos of my childhood. Come to think of it, the one at the Bronx Zoo may be the place where I first hatched the notion that people weren't real. They wore masks and were probably aliens from another galaxy. I have a distinct flash of this feeling while petting a devil-eyed goat kid in overalls.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Dogs can't wear condoms"...

...announced Pam Anderson upon hearing of the imminent slaughter of countless stray dogs in Mumbai India. Appears the mongrels are out of control and have become a public nuisance of the highest order, a charge which includes the biting of monkeys it seems. City government has decided that a mass culling program is the only way to go. The Baywatch star/animal activist doth protest, much to the chagrin of prideful Mumbaiers who don't like to be advised by such folk.

Speaking of biting monkeys on the Subcontinent, I've learned that the deputy mayor of New Delhi was recently killed by a mob of angry macaques. Pushed off his balcony. Aggressive city monkeys are indeed prone to fight, especially when they think you've got food. But in all fairness, they will always give you fair warning before ripping your arms off and using them as drumsticks on your head. Here are the signs:

"First, the animals will look at you in the eyes, open their mouths, and bare their teeth. Rhesus macaques, the aggressive monkeys that cause a lot of the trouble in Delhi, will then warn you with a grunt. Next, they might fake a lunge toward you; this often causes a victim to lose his balance. If you're still withholding food, they'll grab at your knees and legs, and put their mouths on you so that you can feel their teeth. Finally, if you still won't cooperate, they'll sink their canines into you. The study in Bali found that most macaque bites don't break the skin, but a wound could allow transmission of herpes B, which can be fatal to humans." (reported by Michelle Tsai)

So now you know. And for the record Ms. Anderson, dogs can wear condoms.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Eagles not fond of hen peckers...

...get the full story here.