Tuesday Night Open Thread

Working out some stuff with the Handycam, and I took it to the Rails to Trails for the inaugural LilyCam. Here she is just doing her thing:

About a mile or two in, there is a little field I go to and let her run around:

Also, don’t forget to vote for Bitsy:


You are on your own. Behave.

New Dog Book I’m Looking Forward to Reading

Cathleen Schine, whose novel The New Yorkers was a perceptive window into the difference between a person and a-person-who-lives-with-a-dog, reviews INSIDE OF A DOG: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know for the New York Times:

Dogs are, says Horo­witz, “creatures of the nose.” To help us grasp the magnitude of the difference between the human and the canine olfactory umwelts, she details not only the physical makeup of a dog nose (a beagle nose has 300 million receptor sites, for example, compared with a human being’s six million), but also the mechanics of the canine snout. People have to exhale before we can inhale new air. Dogs do not. They breath in, then their nostrils quiver and pull the air deeper into the nose as well as out through side slits. Specialized photography reveals that the breeze generated by dog exhalation helps to pull more new scent in. In this way, dogs not only hold more scent in at once than we can, but also continuously refresh what they smell, without interruption, the way humans can keep “shifting their gaze to get another look.”

Dogs do not just detect odors better than we can. This sniffing “gaze” also gives them a very different experience of the world than our visual one gives us. One of Horowitz’s most startling insights, for me, was how even a dog’s sense of time differs from ours. For dogs, “smell tells time,” she writes. “Perspective, scale and distance are, after a fashion, in olfaction — but olfaction is fleeting. . . . Odors are less strong over time, so strength indicates newness; weakness, age. The future is smelled on the breeze that brings air from the place you’re headed.” While we mainly look at the present, the dog’s “olfactory window” onto the present is wider than our visual window, “including not just the scene currently happening, but also a snatch of the just-happened and the up-ahead. The present has a shadow of the past and a ring of the future about it.”

When I got my first dog, specifically because I wanted a partner for AKC obedience training, my friends in science-fiction fandom wondered why I’d choose such a demanding and un-nerdly hobby. But the fascinating thing about dealing with dogs, for me, is that it’s as close as I’ll probably ever get to an ongoing, two-way, working communion with a non-human intelligence*. The fact that so much of the First Contact conversation is going to involve (non-verbal) dialogue like “Huh? LOLwhut?” or “Nope, don’t feel like doing that right now, get back to me later” or “Nag, nag, nag — why is this relationship never about MY needs? ! ?” is no doubt a salutary reminder about the fictitiousness of science fiction.
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Bitsy Bleg

The heat is on, and we really need to crank out some votes to keep Bisty competitive this week, so don’t forget to vote for Bitsy:


I’m always accused of having minions, so go forth, army of Mordor, and conquer.

I’m heading out to dinner and hopefully some live music, so here is your open thread.

Steelers Open Thread

Mom and dad are in town with the pups, so I snapped some shots before dinner:



Went out and had a pregame meal at one of my favorite Mexican places, and am now just pacing the house. Go STILLERS!

Cutest Dog

Don’t forget to vote for Bitsy:


Or Sammy:


Daily Bitsy


Do your duty- vote for Bitsy!

Also, open thread.

Sunday Night Open Thread

We earned this:


For whatever reason, the black snout hairs kill me. Also, she has the most pliable snout, ever, and that always cracks me up.

Also, here is a request, for the next 24 hours, stop emailing me things that are going to piss me off. Only good news. KTHXBAI.

Let the youtube wars begin.

*** Update ***

Late night potty walk: