Once again Scott Turner brings us his weekly missive brought to you by Miss Wit, the t-shirt queen of Red Hook. This one has some contains some very disturbing photos of dogs brutalized during dog fights. Scott runs the pub quiz at Rocky Sullivan's every Thursday night.
Greetings Pub Quiz Hans Christian Ørsted fans…
There's a lot going on this week.
White House is completely punking out — and I mean wussy to the Nth
degree — on this health care reform thing. Message sent — if you
lie, cheat, disrupt, squelch discourse, exaggerate, exploit fears and
those most at risk, you can stop the Obama administration dead in its
tracks. What is it about reforming this country's torn-and-tattered
health-care system that turns Democrats to jelly? I mean, even more so
than their normal gelatinous state?
- This was Google's doodle last week. It honors Hans Christian
Ørsted, a scientist whose experiments with wires, nails, clocks and
conductors proved…um…something about electrified, uh, thingies
doing…er… something scientific. Was I the only one that took a
look at this, gulped, and thought Hans Christian Ørsted was the Father
of the Improvised Explosive Device?
Yikes. That's all, just…yikes.
- In a stunning
development, hot weather has finally arrived in time for the end of
summer. It's a stretch of 90-degree days, the fans are on,
air-conditioners are dripping on pedestrians, and the local newscasts
have a lead story. We took our goddaughter, Nina Rose, to Coney Island on Sunday, where she tilt-a-whirled and spinning-dragoned in Deno's
Wonder Wheel Park and won a little yellow dog at the
- Best Coney moment for me that didn't have to do with Nina Rose
having a blast at Coney Island? At the balloon-popper game, Nina's mom
Fran puts down two-bucks twice, taking the barker's "only need two
players to win!" at face value. I'm thinking this guy's not doing much
business, I'll play too. I pull out my wallet, the barker looks at me
and says "no, man, save your money. Your girl's gonna get her
doggie." Other best moment: From atop the Wonder Wheel, the beach was pretty full —
endless colors of beach umbrellas. It wasn't the classic crowds of
yesteryear, but pretty close.
And now let us move on to this one other thing, this one head-spinner soul-twisting heart-rending thing…
Michael Vick getting to play football again.
Now, I have my ideas, as do all of you. But who better to talk to you about this desperate issue than…a dog?
Two dogs, actually. The dogs I live with, Sirius Madra Dubh and Daisy Tikkanen.
They've asked if you could pen this week's Quizmail. Not from inside a
pen. They just wanna pen it, as peoples say. So sure, S&T, go for
it. Don't forget to use the spell check, and don't give me the "ohhhh,
where'd our opposable thumbs go?!" I'm not falling for that any more.
Sirius and Tikkanen, your Canine Opiniers
Hi. We're Sirius and Tikkanen, and we're dogs.
This Michael Vick thing blows.
No one asked the Dog Community what we think about Vick getting to play football again. They should've. It's kinda personal for us.
deal is that we look for the best in people. By people, we mean
"human" people. Often, we find those best things we're looking for.
Sometimes, not so much.
Vick is one of those sad cases where the worst we fear in humans actually comes true.
be some obvious stuff here. A) You've already heard a lot about
Michael Vick, and B) we're dogs — obvious is our forte. But hearing a
lot of peoples' opinions since the news broke about Vick signing with
the Philadelphia Eagles, it's kinda shocking how little of the points against Vick are obvious.
And what kind of name is that? Eagles?! it should be the Philadelphia Beagles, right? Right.
The Eagles, the NFL, the Humane Society, Reebok, ESPN
and God (represented by Vick's "mentor" Tony Dungy) all got together
and decided to endorse brutality, torture and murder of dogs.
We didn't know any of these dogs — like most of you don't actually know anyone who died on 9/11. But it affected you big time, right? Some of NYC's older dogs still remember how upset their peoples were that day.
How do you think we feel every time we hear about a dog-fighting
ring. Vick's was big news, 'cause usually, dog-fighting isn't news at
all. Or at least never makes the news.
important to remember — Vick's shocking treatment of dogs wasn't a
sudden crime of passion, a
quick-acting moment of insanity that changed lives forever. Like
drinking out of a toilet or eating a nice pair of shoes. This went
on for years. Vick and others started the operation in 2001 — before
either of us were even puppies — and the
infamous Bad Newz Kennels opened a year later. Vick had been
brutalizing dogs for five years — five years — before he was caught.
We can't understand why Michael Vick thought this was fun…
When he got caught, Vick did what bullies who're used to getting
away with murder do. He lied. To authorities, the media, the NFL, and
the Falcons, who'd signed him to a $130 million deal. Rather than
accept responsibility, he blamed family members for the horror facility
on his Surrey County, Virginia property.
Lying — something else we dogs don't understand.
Vick was a very good player, we're told. It got him all the things
he could have ever dreamed about. Y'know, dreams are funny —
sometimes we're asleep and our legs just start moving, 'cause in a
dream we're chasing a rabbit but the rabbit's purple and riding a
bicycle and singing Patti Page and there's a biscuit — there's always a biscuit, and — wait, never mind, you didn't hear that from us, okay?
Why do people have to be so tough and bullying? That stuff doesn't
impress us, except when it scares us. Just spend time with us, feed
us, give us fresh water, play with us, and let us share in a pack
To this day, Vick still
maintains he doesn't know why he did it. Which means one of three
things — Vick's kinda stupid, dishonest or well-coached. Dogs can't fathom any of this. Honestly and love…that, we get.
On 60 Minutes last week, Vick said he cried when he went to
prison. What about, he was asked. "What I did, you know, being away
from my family, letting so many
people down. I let myself down, not being out on the football field,
being in a prison bed, in a prison bunk, writing letters home, you
Leslie Stahl, Morley Safer, Bob Simon? Naw, let's go off-campus and get a Fox Sports guy to interview Vick
Not so much crying over the dogs, then. That's really sad.
press conference was like a silent dog whistle — pitch perfect for all
the people Vick needs on his side. The football establishment. The
vast majority of Americans who
like us dogs well enough but don't value our lives as much as
they value humans'. A media unwilling to challenge Vick since he was
reading from the
right script and acting all contrite. Pitch-perfect contrition, as our
Scott M.X. said yesterday. Even
the Humane Society, who somehow thinks their new spokesperson Vick is
on their side for any reason other than his football career.
like a deer caught in the headlights. At least the headlights are quicker…
Wayne Pacelle says "If we just punish Mike indefinitely and don't pivot
to this problem in the communities, where kids are victimizing these
dogs…we will not be doing our job."
We dogs get confused a lot. Sometimes people sound like they're
saying "blah blah blah Tikkanen blah blah blah blah blah Sirius blah
Tikkanen." But we're good at context. That helps us figure stuff
out. There's some very bad context here, and what we've figured out
about Wayne Pacelle is that he's, what's the really bad word for that
awful way peoples sometimes think about other peoples? Right, racist.
Otherwise, what does Pacelle mean when he says "communities"? Which
"communities" are we talking about,
Wayne? Black communities? Poor communities? All communities? Dog
communities? Is this somehow our fault? Is this one of those "code"
words humans use when they're too embarrassed to say what they really
mean? Second, it's not just kids — the awful thing is that adults run
dog-fighting rings. It's not some youthful indiscretion where taking
away allowances can set things straight. (Of course, the NFL is giving
Vick back his allowance, so maybe Purcelle and the NFL are working off
the same playbook.)
what if it were this cheery, happy pooch, Wayne?
And third, how, exactly, does having Michael Vick on Team Humane
"pivot this back" to where the problem exists? Are hardened, callous
dog-fighting operators gonna listen to Michael Vick and give up the
terrible, mean things they're doing? There's so much you humans do and
think about that contributes to animal cruelty. It seems like Vick
doesn't have much to say that humans who make us fight will listen to.
Ruh-roh…even Vick won't chase that ball. Even Vick says it's not okay to blame it on "community."
No, the sad thing here is that Michael Vick needs the Humane
Society far more than the Humane Society needs Michael Vick.
Oh, and Wayne? Thanks, but we're gonna find another group to fight for us. PETA, maybe, or the SPCA or hundreds of others. They're not as confused as you.
By the way, the NFL
prevented animal rights organizations and individuals from attending
Vick's press conference at the Eagles practice facility. So much for
Helen Kennedy, in yesterday's Daily News, describes
back-to-football strategy as "treading the well-worn path to career
revival." She's right!. As long as there's an NFL paycheck waiting
only for Vick to act nice, Vick will go where his handlers tell him.
He'll gently pretend to whip himself and keep repeating children, I did a terrible thing, a terrible thing.
Vick forced dogs to fight each other — and made the calls over who
lived and who died — it for too long. Five years of electrocuting,
drowning, hanging, shooting dogs at the end of short, sad, painful
being forced to fight, starved, put into breeding machines called rape
racks, and chained outside weather good and bad.
a veteran of the dog-fighting arena
Vick found God. Not Dog…but
God. It's not quite a pawlindromes and– what? It's "palindrome," not
"pawlindrome?" Wow, learn something new every day. Like yesterday.
We learned that grapefruit taste terrible. Who knew?
Going all God is the biggest biscuit of the well-worn path to career
revival. But would that be the All Things Great And Small/All
Things Bright and Beautiful God, or the "lemme throw Pol Pot and Hurricane Katrina at humanity to see how they handle it" God? Or some other God
custom molded for Michael Vick's Days of Resurgence?
This week, Vick's supporters have been saying "he's done
his time, paid his debt to society, has the right to earn a living, and
deserves a second chance."
sounds like people who keep saying "bad dog, bad dog, bad dog" over and
over 'til it loses all meaning and we just ignore it. 'Cause, if you
don't give us a good reason to stop eating yummy stuff off the
sidewalk, we will. You guys keep smoking and driving drunk. For
humans and dogs, its hard to stop the dopey stuff.
Let's paw away at these one by one…
He's Done His Time:
Well, yeah, because Vick was allowed to cop a newspaper-on-the-nose
for the so-many terrible things he did. I know you call it The Big
House, not The Dog House. But just eighteen months? What kind of
message is that, for peoples or dogs? The sanctity of life we all
hold so dear only matters if it's humans. Society is always
reflected by the penalties we inflict on wrong-doers. When people used
to wantonly torture and execute, it proved what terrible creatures
you could be. Now that money means more than protecting animals, that
proves how peoples still have a lot to learn. And a long way to go.
Hey…we'll walk with you, if that'll help. We will.
There's no such thing as a bad dog. Not sure the same rule applies to peoples, as much as we love you.
He's Paid His Debt To Society. Again, not too terribly a
big debt. "But
he lost all that money." Well, truth be told, he should have. Money
means nothing to us, but since peoples love it so much, maybe this'll
teach Vick a lesson. You know, none of those hundreds of millions of
dollars are part of the "debt being paid to society." It's simply
money the Atlanta
Falcons' owners doesn't have to shell out to Michael Vick. There will
be ghosts haunting Michael Vick. We'll see if its the ghosts of the
dogs he hurt or the very big moneybags he's lost.
a secret. Dogs all have ghosts. We're too kind to haunt Michael
Vick. Haunting — not our thing, even for Vick. We just hang around,
usually to make sure the people we lived with and who treated us nicely
He Has The Right To Earn A Living. No, he doesn't, actually. He
has the right to try. In fact, there are millions of convicted,
released, and rehabilitated felons in this country who don't have the
right to certain jobs, and those they do, have a hard time getting
hired for. Probably not to many peoples would care about this particular felon if he weren't Michael Vick.
A right the Founding Fathers forgot to include…
Everyone Deserves A Second Chance: This is the worst. Not
because we disagree. It's nice when peoples give dogs a second chance,
especially with adoptions from shelters. The difference, of course, is
that dogs didn't do anything except be born. There's nothing bad about
putting paw after paw on this earth. Now, Michael Vick…he did some
very bad things.
This is the worst because it's such an easy, un-thinking, callous
and lazy thing that Vick supporters have been tossing around, like
scraps off the table that even we won't scarf up off the floor. Here
are four reasons why this is bad, this "second-chance" stuff…
Some peoples do such bad things, they just don't deserve a second
chance. At the very least, they don't deserve to be an sports
superstar again. If by second chance, you mean Vick
should try and earn an honest living in a box factory or as a hospital
orderly, sure. Maybe spend the rest of his life working in an animal
rescue shelter. That'd be okay.
2) The countless dogs who died in the Bad Newz Kennels didn't get a
second chance. In fact, never mind Vick's dog-fighting operation —
look at all the pooches and kitties and the other creatures that go
into shelters and never come out alive, just because no humans stepped
up and said "here, share our home with us, will you?" (Of course we will!!) It'd be nice if all living things got the same number of second chances, right?
Vick's "second chance" defense has been given a decidedly Christian
religious tone by Vick's born-again rhetoric, his mentor Tony Dungy's
heavy Christianity, and football's serious depencency on pre-, mid- and post-game prayer.
4) Those peoples against Vick getting second chances in football or riches are being painted as
horrible peoples who don't endorse the charity of second chances. Supporting a dog killer, you're being kind. Speaking about
against him? You're being cruel and inhumane. Wow, guess Vick's supporters should know. Grrrrrrrrr.
The NFL has had a run of athletes killing,
maiming, shooting and destroying lives. Ultimately, they always get a
second chance. Some say it proves the NFL's
compassion. What it does is protect the NFL. Ultimately, that's what
matters here. Michael Vick's dog-fighting reflected badly on the NFL.
If the appearance of a Vick rehabilitation can stick, it makes the NFL look good. They could
care less about the victims of all of those NFL players' who've hurt people off the field —
a woman killed by a drunk NFLer, a club employee paralyzed by a macho
NFLer, club patrons nearly shot by a gun-toting NFLer.
Whatever NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says, by welcoming Vick
back, the league has made it easier, not harder, for dog-fighting rings
to continue in this country. It wasn't such a bad thing, Goodell has declared about Vick's treatment of dogs. We're okay with a guy like that playing in our league.
"Hey, all you dog-lovers…CAN IT!" NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
money machine that is the NFL, ESPN, the media and the football jersey
companies has been too powerful for dogs and peoples who have our backs to go up against.
It's bad seeing all the comments from "dog owners" and "dog lovers" who
think Vick's return to the gridiron is okay. It makes our bellies hurt. Would
they feel that way if Vick had done it to their dog? Dog-fighting rings often do it to somebody's dog, stolen from yards or houses.
It'd be a lot healthier and honest if all parties concerned said,
simply, "we can make a lot of money if Michael Vick comes back to the
NFL. Shut up and take it. It's America, and we rehabilitate
scoundrels not because it's good for people but because it's good for
unsettling when humans get mad at each other and talk that way. It's
scarier even than thunder. But at least everyone would be clear.
The NFL, showing its concern for animals
But hey, a script's a script, and they're using an old one for Michael
Vick. Scripts are never real. They exist only to serve a purpose.
That purpose? The telling of a story that benefits whoever paid for the script.
How do you think the script would read if Michael Vick wrote it himself.
How would it read if dogs could write?
Wait…we can! Give us some time — we'll come up with a script that helps everybody.
'Cause that's what dogs do — help everybody. Cats think we're simps for still loving humans. Maybe. But we do.
love and paws in our time,
Sirius & Tikkanen