Stupid Human Interviews
Merrill Markoe, Cool, Calm & Contentious
Emmy Award–winning writer Merrill Markoe lives in Los Angeles, California, the garden spot of America, with four dogs and a man. She has authored three books of humorous essays and the novels Nose Down, Eyes Up; Walking in Circles Before Lying Down; and It’s My F---ing Birthday and co-authored (with Andy Prieboy) the novel The Psycho Ex Game. Merrill is also the brainchild behind the idea of Stupid Pet Tricks on David Letterman.
Cool, Calm & Contentious is by far Markoe's most personal, affecting collection yet—honest, unapologetic, often painful, but always shot through with the bracing, wicked sense of humor that has made her such a beloved and incisive observer of life, both human and canine. In Cool, Calm & Contentious, she goes there: from the anal-retentive father who once spent ten minutes lecturing Markoe’s forty-year-old, Ph.D.-wielding brother on how to fold a napkin, to the eternally aggrieved mother who took pleasure in being unpleasant to waiters and spent most of her life, Markoe says, in “varying degrees of pissed off”; from the way she surrendered her virginity as a freshman in college (to her, it was “something to be gotten rid of quickly, then never discussed again, like body odor”), to why, later in life, she ultimately came to find dogs so much more appealing than humans, Markoe holds nothing back. It’s all here, in all its messy, poignant glory, and told the way only Merril Markoe knows how—with honesty, wit, and bite.
Merrill loves her dogs and states that they sit around all day starting at her like she has something good planned for everyone. She then states that she lets them down all day long because she really has nothing planned. Merrill says that while her dogs inspire her and make her laugh, she still thinks of them as exchange students from Neptune. She always wonders what they make of her and what would they say if someone asked them what she did for a living? Merrill gets a lot of laughs out of trying to write the answers to these questions!
A lot of additional information about her—including a long bio, goofy videos, etc.—can be found at merrillmarkoe.com. After great amounts of hesitation, she is also on Facebook. But since she thinks about pulling the page down on a daily basis, check fast.
Top 5 Pet Gadgets
Geoff Mott, PetGadgets
Geoff Mott from PetGadgets lists their Top 5 Best Picks for 2011. At PetGadgets, you'll find innovative, high tech, unique pet products and modern pet furniture that fit with your lifestyle and make life more enjoyable for you and your pet.
Click here for some great Holiday Gift Ideas and to see what made it on the list.
Know What Leftovers Mean For Dogs And Cats?
Upset stomachs! Thousands of pets each year get sick from eating food that’s been thrown in the garbage. Just as you could get ill after eating leftovers kept at room temperature for hours, your cat or dog can, too. The best advice? When you throw away scraps, take the garbage outside right away.
Does Super Mario Promote Wearing Fur?
Does Nintendo's new Super Mario 3D Land game promote the wearing of fur? That's what the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is asserting in the organization's latest attempt to grab attention for its pro-animal, anti-fur agenda. PETA explains its gripe with Mario, a graphic character from a video game, on its website: "When on a mission to rescue the princess, Mario has been known to use whatever means necessary to defeat his enemy, even wearing the skin of a raccoon dog to give him special powers. Tanooki may be just a suit in the game, but in real life tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur. By wearing a Tanooki, Mario is sending the message that it is OK to wear fur.
How Do You Create The World's Fastest Two-Legged Robot?
One idea is to look to the animal kingdom. That's what Johnny Godowski did when he first conceived of FastRunner, a two-legged robot modeled on an ostrich, which researchers say will be able to reach speeds of up to 27 mph. That's still slower than a biological ostrich, which can sprint in short bursts up to 43 mph and maintain a steady speed of 31 mph. Godowski works for the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, where he is both "research associate" and "ostrich investigator." He was the idea originator of FastRunner, a joint project between IHMC and MIT. "The reason we chose the ostrich, even over the kangaroo, is because the ostrich is doing the fastest running in a way that is also efficient," Godowski said in an interview with The LA Times. "When most animals run faster they also bounce higher and kangaroos show us that limit. But the ostriches move their legs back and forth super quickly without lifting them that high off the ground." FastRunner is still in the early phases of development. Now, why does the world need a super fast bipedal robot? The answer is maneuverability. On its Web page about biologically inspired robots, IHMC puts it like this: "Although a quadrupedal robot offers increased stability, a bipedal robot has the potential to match some of the impressive mobility capabilities of a human."
The Secret To A Perfect Relationship?
Act like a dog. A recent survey found that both men and women seek dog-like qualities in a partner. For instance, the top dog-like qualities that men find attractive in women are: Always in a good mood; just as happy to hang at home as go out on the town; and always greeting the guy enthusiastically when he gets home. The top dog-like qualities that women find attractive in men are: Always in a good mood; always willing to spend time together; and always up for cuddling on the couch.
Dog Takes Mobile Home For a Joy Ride
A two-year-old German Koolie is back to sticking his head out the window after recently taking his owner's mobile home for a joy ride. According to "The Sun," a bystander in Darwin, Australia spotted the runaway vehicle. He says he caught a glimpse of the dog, named Woodley, jumping out of an open window, just before he managed to get into the mobile home and put the handbrake back on. Woodley's owner, Richard McCormack, explains that the dog often sits in the passenger seat and watches him drive. McCormack says Woodley was just copying what he's seen time and time again, admitting that it isn't the first time he's tried to go for a spin.
61 Beached Whales
A pod of 61 whales beached themselves at Farewell Spit in New Zealand recently. Officials decided to euthanize the 18 that were still alive. It’s not clear why whales beach themselves, but one theory holds that when a sick individual heads to shore to die, the others follow. Is suicide a thing in the animal kingdom? Sort of. There is plenty of evidence that animals engage in self-destructive behavior. In addition to the beached whales, ducks and dogs have been observed drowning themselves, cows have walked off cliffs and naked mole rats (like some insects) leave the colony to die when infected with a communicable disease. It’s not clear that any of these behaviors are comparable to human suicide, though, because suicide involves a set of higher-order cognitive abilities. It requires an awareness of one’s own existence, an ability to speculate about the future, and the knowledge that an act will result in death. There are indications that certain animals have some of these capacities. Dolphins, many primates, magpies and elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror, suggesting self-awareness. Some animals know how to pretend during play activities (PDF), which indicates an ability to imagine counterfactual worlds. Still, no one really knows which animals, if any, can combine these capacities to perform an act similar to human suicide.
Dogs Better Watch Their Backs At The Occupy SF Camp.
Three pooches residing at the Justin Herman Plaza space have tested positive for the highly contagious and deadly parvovirus, putting all four-legged friends there at risk, according to San Francisco Animal Care and Control. The San Francisco SPCA and Animal Care and Control visited the camp to offer free veterinary services to dog owners after the SPCA confirmed an outbreak of parvovirus last week. The station set up for the clinic was visited by dozens of dog owners, according to campers. Two more cases were confirmed recently.
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