Sunday, September 28, 2008

More tributes to Paul Newman, from the car racing community

Racing community saddened by death of Paul Newman
Paul Newman, Christian Fittipaldi and Carl Hass sport lucky cigars after Fittipaldi won the CART race at Road America in 1999
Paul Newman: A racer remembered

Paul Leonard Newman was a racer who supported his habit by acting. That’s how he would have wanted to be remembered--and was, in an outpouring of condolences from the racing community.

Racer/actor/philanthropist Newman, who managed to succeed in all three fields, died Friday after a long battle with cancer. He was 83.

He came to racing late in life, driving his first race car in his forties. Bob Bondurant trained him to drive for the 1969 movie Winning at the then-brand-new Bondurant School, which at the time was using Datsun 510s, Datsun roadsters and a single Formula Vee at Orange County International Raceway in California.

Newman was the fourth student at the new school. Co-star Robert Wagner was the fifth.

“I asked him why he wanted to go to my school and he said, ‘I had two other movies I could make quite a bit of money in, but I wanted to see if I could drive a race car.’ ”

Turns out he could, and Newman fell in love with racing from the start.

"The first thing that I ever found I had any grace in", Newman once said.

He would race for the rest of his life. Many of his first rides were in Datsuns prepared by Bob Sharp, who was an accomplished racer himself and became a Datsun dealer in 1969. One of Newman’s earliest rides was a Bob Sharp Datsun 510 in SCCA B Production. He piloted BSR Zs, too.

“We spent a lot of Tuesdays up at Lime Rock with him following my line and me following him,” recalled Sharp. “He wanted a Z car but I put him in a 510 sedan instead. I thought he’d learn more in a less powerful car.”

Newman’s first race win was probably in one of those Bob Sharp 510s, though an early win is listed in a Lotus Elan in Thompson, Conn., in 1972. Whichever was first, there were many more to come in one of the longest racing careers on record.

Newman co-drove a Porsche 935 at LeMans in 1979 with Dick Barbour and Rolf Stommelen to first place in the IMSA class and second overall.

Among drivers who piloted his race cars was Elliott Forbes-Robinson, who raced for Newman in Can Am and became a friend. Robinson was impressed with Newman’s acumen behind the wheel.

“He was an excellent driver the whole time,” Forbes-Robinson recalled. “It was an absolute pleasure to work with him--if you showed him something, he wouldn’t come into the pits and say he couldn’t do it or complain about something, he’d go out and do it. He was great.”

Newman raced sports cars in endurance events, which meant he had a lot of co-drivers over the years. Among them was Sam Posey.

“Paul was guided in much of what he did by the attitude, ‘Why not?’ ” recalled Posey, who remained a friend throughout life. “He embraced projects that called for a leap of faith. Become a racing driver, starting in your mid 40s and putting your acting career at risk? Why not? Turn a few cases of salad dressing made in your basement into a commercial food empire--and then use the profits to create camps for sick children? Why not? If this sounds naive, it wasn’t. He calculated the odds. In real life, he never asked, ‘Who are those guys?’ He knew.”

From the mid ‘70s to the early ‘90s, Newman drove for the Bob Sharp Racing team, mainly in Datsuns and Nissans. He won four SCCA national titles: D-production in 1976, C-production in ’79 and GT-1 in 1985-86. He raced in Trans-Am and even in the Baja 1000.

As a team owner he joined Carl Haas in 1983 to form Newman-Haas racing, which went on to win 97 races and seven championships.

He never seemed to tire of the other side of the sport, though, staying behind the wheel long after most reasonable men had given up even playing golf. At 70 he co-drove a Mustang to victory in the GTS class of the 24 Hours of Daytona, the oldest driver to win a major sanctioned race. A decade later he was still at it.

“My last recollection of him was a few years back when Panoz was just finishing the front-engined LMP racer,” said designer Peter Brock. “The Panoz crew had the new car out at Road Atlanta for a test with a couple of notable shoes who were looking for the ride. Since P.L. was there he was offered the chance to test the car. He hadn't been in a race car for over a year and in truth looked pretty frail. The shoes had just put up some pretty impressive times so the bar was set. P.L. got in and within five or six laps had matched 'em! He got out and quietly thanked the crew for the opportunity and left. Just amazing.”

“He drove less frequently in the last few years,” recalled Posey. “But his car was a brutish Corvette which had his age as its number. I remember when it was No. 81 and he was racing at Lime Rock. It was raining, and the track had standing water at several places. Any sensible 81-year-old would have put the thing on the trailer, but Paul got out there, out braked the field into Turn One, got into a slide at about 120 mph, corrected deftly, and shot through into the lead, which he never lost.”

The Newman’s Own Foundation, which has directed over $250 million to charity over the years, gave perhaps the best summation of his life:

“Paul Newman's craft was acting. His passion was racing. His love was his family and friends. And his heart and soul were dedicated to helping make the world a better place for all.”

On Saturday, Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO and Indy Racing League founder Tony George said: "On behalf of my mother Mari Human George and the entire Hulman-George family at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar Series, our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and loved ones of Paul Newman. To all his fans world-wide and those close to him in our racing community, we share a deep sense of loss, but cherish the many fond memories we will forever carry with us."

More Reaction:

“On behalf of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, my wife Bernadette and myself, I want to express our most sincere condolences to Joanne and the entire Newman family on the loss of a great human being. Paul and I have been partners for 26 years and I have come to know his passion, humor and above all, his generosity. Not just economic generosity, but generosity of spirit. His support of the team’s drivers, crew and the racing industry is legendary. His pure joy at winning a pole position or winning a race exemplified the spirit he brought to his life and to all those that knew him. We will truly miss him.”

-- Carl A. Haas, co-owner of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing

"We truly lost a great man. Most of us knew him as Butch or Fast Eddie from the theater or from our living rooms at home. He was much more than a great actor. His legacy will be his five children, his wife, Joanne, and all the sick children around the world who desperately needed his help. Paul was a man of character who cared about the world and the people who lived in it. Putting a smile on a young person’s face and helping people in need was a virtue he excelled at. Little did anyone realize a child born of such humble beginnings could affect our lives in so many positive ways. We should all learn to live by his example. We will miss him dearly but will never forget him."

-- Michael Lanigan, co-owner of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Newman. He was a man of great courage, determination and integrity and gave a lot not only to the world of auto racing, but to the world around us. His generosity knew no bounds and his work with helping children as well as what he achieved with aiding the environment will prove to help people for many years to come.”

“I had the pleasure of driving for Mr. Newman in 1981 and I was richer for the experience. He was a man of class and he was also deservedly very highly regarded for his driving skills. The world is a poorer place today for his passing.”

-- Bobby Rahal, Rahal Letterman Racing

"Paul Newman--a real American hero, an inspiration to me in much that I have attempted in my adult life. Not so much for the parts he played, but for the man that he was. He was one of Hollywood's greatest. He could not only talk the talk on film, but more importantly could walk the walk as a private citizen. As a young man he was an American hero who served his country in one of the U.S. Army Air Corps' most dangerous assignments in Western Europe. Additionally, his charitable enterprises have generated tens of millions for the benefit of hundreds of thousands of underprivileged Americans. He will be never forgotten. May he rest in peace."

-- Jack Roush, owner, Roush Fenway Racing

"It’s truly a sad day. Paul was one of the most iconic figures not just in motorsports, but through his life in general. He was so much more a contributor to the world than a taker. He was a dear friend and will be missed.”

-- Don Panoz, founder of the American Le Mans Series and a close friend of Newman

“I probably wouldn’t be racing today if it wasn’t for Paul Newman. The first time I got in the car that year, he was faster than I was. Even recently, he was still incredibly quick and could get around Lime Rock (his home track) better than anyone. He has been such a huge influence on my career and has been a close friend of our family for a long time.”

-- Gunnar Jeannette, driver who first raced with Newman in 2000

“We were introduced driving Ferraris in 1977 at Daytona, and we developed a mutual friendship. Paul was so passionate about driving. He told me a few times that he didn’t really care for Hollywood, and that it was just a business. He really wished he had started driving earlier and made that his career. He was very consistent, never put a wheel off and was easy on the equipment.”

-- Dick Barbour, Robertson Racing

“There was a legend quality to Paul Newman not unlike Mario (Andretti). He was a guy who you’d see and be around and just realize how much love and passion he had for racing. I always admired, as did others in the paddock, how he would often put racing before his movie career. I remember a time when he missed an important movie awards show in order to be at one of our events. He was a very sweet person to talk to about everything, not just racing. He will be sadly missed.”

-- Adrian Fernandez, Lowe’s Fernandez Racing driver and owner

“Most of the world knew Paul as in incredible person and one of the best actors we were ever able to witness as well as a great philanthropist. But those of us in racing were very blessed to witness his passion for this sport, which was very apparent. He was one of the few high-profile owners to attend tests and this made all of us see him as one of us. This is very sad news indeed and we will miss him tremendously.”

-- Gil de Ferran, a two-time CART champion and former Indianapolis 500 winner

“Everyone treated him as a fellow competitor, not as a celebrity. He came here as a racer, was serious about his racing and…he was good. It was amazing that he was as good as he was at his age. And, he liked going fast. Back in the day when Bob Sharp was building the incredibly fast Nissans/Datsons, Newman was racing at Long Beach with Sharp along with the Indy Cars. Newman was the fastest guy down the straight--faster then the Indy Cars. And when I say fast, I don’t mean lap time…I mean speed. He always enjoyed having a car with a big motor. He was a huge supporter of the track. Everyone (the staff, friends and myself) at Lime Rock Park will miss him.”

-- Skip Barber, president, Lime Rock Park

"Paul Newman's craft was acting. His passion was racing. His love was his family and friends. And his heart and soul were dedicated to helping make the world a better place for all. Paul had an abiding belief in the role that luck plays in one's life, and its randomness. He was quick to acknowledge the good fortune he had in his own life, beginning with being born in America, and was acutely aware of how unlucky so many others were. True to his character, he quietly devoted himself to helping offset this imbalance. An exceptional example is the legacy of Newman's Own. What started as something of a joke in the basement of his home, turned into a highly-respected, multi-million-dollar-a-year food company. And true to form, he shared this good fortune by donating all the profits and royalties he earned to thousands of charities around the world, a total which now exceeds $250 million."

-- Robert Forrester, vice chairman, Newman's Own Foundation

“I am extremely saddened to hear about Paul’s passing. He was a great guy to be with around the track. He was one of a kind. Obviously I am just thinking of his family and wishing them well while they are trying to deal with this. It can’t be easy. He’s going to be missed, not just in the motor racing world but in every area that he participated in, in his life. He affected so many people in a positive way. I’m going to miss him and am fortunate to have known him.”

-- Justin Wilson, driver of the No. 02 McDonald’s race car for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing

“It has been a very upsetting 24 hours for the team and my family. Paul has been a huge part of both my success as well as my father’s. and he will be greatly missed. He was a tremendous man, one that everyone should model their lives after. My sincere condolences go out to the Newman family.”

-- Graham Rahal, driver of the No. 06 Hole in the Wall Camps race car for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing

R.I.P. Paul Newman

This is so sad. My mom will be really sad. She was forever in love with Paul Newman. I didn't know his cancer was so advanced. Cancer is scary! Rest in peace Paul. Thank you for all that you gave and all that you inspired in our lives.

Paul Newman: Rebel, rogue, hero

By Neil Smith
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Paul Newman
Newman was voted the greatest actor of all time by film experts in 2001

From Butch Cassidy and Cool Hand Luke to Fast Eddie Felson, Paul Newman brought an integrity, vigour and wry impertinence to his roles that clicked with the anti-authoritarian spirit of the '60s and '70s.

Initially hamstrung by those piercing blue eyes and matinee idol features, he deliberately sought out more challenging, anti-heroic parts that ensured his career outlasted many of his contemporaries.

His characters - convicts, outlaws, con men and hustlers - were far from admirable. His gift, however, was to invest them with a charm, humour and crumpled nobility that made them irresistible to men and women alike.

It was this that enabled him in later life to become a distinguished character actor capable of elevating films like Road to Perdition, Message in a Bottle and The Hudsucker Proxy by his sheer force of presence.

Screenwriter William Goldman, who worked with Newman on Harper and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, once described him as "the least star-like superstar" he'd ever met.


"He's an educated man and a trained actor and he never wants more close-ups," he wrote in his 1984 memoir Adventures in the Screen Trade.

"What he wants is the best possible script he can have. And he loves to be surrounded by the finest actors available, because he believes the better they are, the better the picture's apt to be."

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Newman (right) was due to play Sundance until Redford joined the film
That was certainly true in Butch Cassidy, in which Newman forged one of cinema's most iconic screen partnerships with co-star Robert Redford.

When he wanted to, however, the Ohio-born actor was more than capable of stealing the limelight.

Take The Hustler, for example, in which, as brash and cocksure pool shark Eddie Felson, he effortlessly upstaged the likes of Jackie Gleason and George C Scott.

Reprising the role in 1986's The Color of Money opposite an up-and-coming Tom Cruise landed Newman his only competitive Oscar.

In truth, however, he'd done better work earlier that decade in 1981's Absence of Malice and The Verdict the following year.

In the former, directed by Sydney Pollack, Newman played a businessman whose familial ties to organised crime saw him persecuted both by the US judiciary and an irresponsible press.

In the latter, he played an alcoholic lawyer who tried to salvage his tarnished reputation by taking on a daunting medical malpractice case.

One man alone, fighting the impossible fight against the odds, was a role Newman would return to many times.

And even if that fight was ultimately unsuccessful, as in Cool Hand Luke, his refusal to back down ensured he'd always be a winner in the audience's eyes.

"What we've got here is a failure to communicate!" cries his non-conformist prisoner at the end of that 1967 classic.

That, of course, was something the actor himself could never be accused of. Whatever the role, whatever the film, his inherent decency always came over loud and clear.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The hugging lion Christian

I'm not quite sure when this happened but I found this on one of the blogs in my Google reader tonight. This is the sweet story of Christian, the Hugging Lion, and his two owners and their story. This just shows more evidence that if you're in an animals age either from a young age, where you have raised them into an adult or if you spent several years getting to know and bonding with an animal, that he or she will always remember you!

Good days, bad days and everything in between...

So quite a lot has happened over the past month or so. All good, bad and neutral. During the middle of July and some into August, I had the opportunity to take care of a client/friend's dog, named Tango. He was a med sized Corgi, much more red than ones I have seen previously but very handsome and with quite a character/personality. He was a great dog, you could tell that he really got a lot out of everyday life as a dog, really lived each day to its' fullest. And I could take him with me, the next best thing for me as a pet sitter - any dog/animal that I can take with me in the car and go on errands, hiking, camping, to events, etc. So where I went, he went. He just loved being center of my world, he always paid attention to me. We went into this coffee shop and instead of him paying attention to the pets he was getting, he only looked up at me with a big grin on his face. When we went to the Pescadero Beach and I brought Blue with us, he and blue chased each other all over the place, and there was Tango chasing Blue down, acting like he was twice his size. I had so much fun with him and he loved to spoon and cuddle in bed. It was amusing sleeping next to a slightly overweight Corgi, who was cuddled up right alongside of you and also snored! He was in my care for almost a month, as his owner took about an extra 4 days over to be away. When she got back, I learned that something was wrong with him all of a sudden, he could barely walk the next day after she got home. I felt bad, like maybe I had walked him too much or he just got sore from all of the running around he had done at the dog park. Unfortunately when he was taken to the vet a few days later, it came back that this lymph nodes under his elbows were super swollen and then the biopsy came back and said that he had very advanced Lymphosarchoma. When I got that email, I cried for hours and then off and on throughout the day. I started emailing people who had gotten to meet him over the previous weekend. He got to meet my Gramma and neighbor and brother and family when he spent most of his time under my chair in the dining room while he took part in a dinner party for my Gramma and he was so good, inside my house of all places! It only took me half a day to bond with Tango and for me, that was very special. He was practically my dog when his owner finally returned. And it was hard to say goodbye that day but in my mind, I would see him soon. About two weeks later, right before I had planned to meet his mom and Tango in Woodside to visit with him and 'say goodbye' to him, I got a new email from his owner with a really wonderful note describing him and his life and she told me that they had put him down the day before, that he was in too much pain and there just wasn't anything worth doing. I cried all day and night and off and on for the next week or so. I'm still very sad and it took me almost a month to load the pictures from my camera onto my laptop to be able to look at pictures of him without loosing it. Here are my favorites that I took, the only pictures that I have of Tango: R.I.P. Tango

The next pet sitting job was for my friend M in San Jose. Crash is such a great dog and one of my new buddies. He is so great that halfway through our first long amount of time with each other, we bonded so well that I secretly wished he was my dog. I've never felt that strongly about that feeling with any other pet I have cared for, whether it was a friend's pet or not. The story about how we bonded is very cute: I had met him previously but it had been months so I doubt he remembered much since we didn't have a chance to play before. I came in the house to greet him and he was really shy and nervous, with his tail between his legs:( I got him to come to me with all the treats I found in the kitchen and I sat on the floor in the kitchen so he could get to know me on his terms. He walked around and sniffed me a bit, then when I saw his confidence, I started talking to him and finally he sat right down beside me and it was then that I just wrapped my arms around him and squeezed and he nearly exploded with excitement. It was so cute, I was laughing and expressing positive noises in his presence. He was suddenly so happy and just wanted to play with me and shower me with kisses, which is what I got. He snuggled together in bed, he would wake me in the morning by watching me and he has such a unique personality, it's like he was once human. He's got a big sturdy, long body with a vicious tail that likes to wag and knock things off tables as he walks by! He also reminds me of the guy in Zoolander, especially because he does the same 'pose' with his head as he whips it around to look you in the eyes. It's so incredibly funny to see! I tried to capture it below. There is also a picture that I caught of him in my front seat in the car. I had let him outside to walk around with me while I packed the car, getting ready to head home and after 5 minutes, I suddenly couldn't find him. I found him in the driver's seat, curled up, not wanting to get out and as if to say, 'where you go, I go'! He's my new fave and I can't wait to take care of him next. I will get to take him with me to the Bark in the Park Festival in San Jose on Sept 20th. Can't wait for that.

Here are a couple pics taken with Crash and Goldie. Goldie is the Collie/Aussie Shepard that I walk 3x week and she is one of my faves as well, obviously we have a special bond, as her mom calls me her 'best friend'. Crash really liked Goldie a lot and even affectionately let her play with his ball. She was running and chasing the ball and would carry it around in her mouth. And she's not even a 'ball dog' which is funny! Happy Dogs!!!:)

Two weeks ago I found out that my Aunt on my dad's side has breast cancer, and a scary type at that. It's one that is in the form of a large tumor, in her left breast, inside the milk duct! It was never a lump that she felt so when she went in for her yearly mammogram, they saw something on the films and requested she get a biopsy done. It now appears that it has been growing inside of her for 10 years. Fuck! :( So I've been in such shock and just haven't been sleeping well for a few nights on and off. I've known of several women who have gotten this disease but not actual close family members or close friends and no one that has gotten such an advanced case of it Originally when they discovered it on the film, it was thought that it had already spread to all of her lymph nodes, not just the ones in her left breast. It is just devastating! I didn't' get much done last week and was just thinking good thoughts. She had surgery last week on my brother's birthday, to remove the 22 swollen/infected lymph nodes under her left arm and to remove a good chunk of breast tissue under the left to get all the margins as well as the same amount on the right side just as backup. Don't want to have to go back in later. She stayed in the hospital for two nights and was back home on Friday. She was in a bed for a bit, with a very sore left armpit and places where the tissue was removed. At least she was on lots of nice drugs! Both cousins K and G went down to Newport Beach for that weekend when Ka got home from the hospital. Today she finally got the results back from her biopsy on the stuff that was removed and thank goddess, her excellent surgeon got all of the margins and the equal amounts on the right side so all of the tumor has been removed completely. Yay! She is in really good spirits as of right now and is thinking very positively I'm sure. :) We all feel much better about all of this now. I think G and K are still there and Gr is supposed to be up this coming weekend I believe. Now she just has to get through Chemo, having her hair fall out and radiation. Obviously this can be pretty rough too but she feels lucky to be past the part where you keep waiting on news.

Other news, include: Kineivel turned 5 on August 9th. I still remember today seeing him on that curb on the side of the road and watching C catch him and scooping him up in my arms, listening to his tiny purr. He is the purrmeister today, as his purr has different tones but I was woken yesterday by his loud, impressive purrs, as he exclaimed his excitement that it had finally cooled off weather wise and he could go back to taking naps that resemble hibernation under the fuzzy fleece horse blanket that is on my bed.

*It is now official!!! I am moving to Portland for sure, sometime around the end of January. I promised my loyal pet sitting clients that I would stay here through the holidays so that they could plan their holidays and I also have one last job beginning of Jan. I will for sure be having a great big 'Going Away' party/bash and you'll get invites in December sometime! I'm looking at housing now and I will be in Portland from October 7th until the morning of the 12th. I'm taking advantage of flying, since I can't drive that far alone and I just want to get there, instead of doing a drive that takes all day and night. I can't wait, as it is much needed and I need to look at some housing options and visit with friends/new friends. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Why I refuse to watch The Dog Whisperer

Some people, mostly my mom and a few friends, know how strongly I feel about the guy in the show called The Dog Whisperer. I would hope that any kind, caring animal lover who watches or has watched this show, would be intelligent enough to realize that Millans' training techniques are inhumane and very cruel. The fact that thousands of so-called animal lovers and owners watch the show and praise the techniques used on the show, makes me incredibly upset and I usually just walk away if someone brings the show up. I have tried countless times to convince people that the show is only doing harm and it's teaching people to be cruel to their animals and cause them pain as a way of getting them to listen, to become scared of their owners. And after I have explained how the techniques used on the show were wrong and people were being misinformed about proper, humane ways of fixing behaviors and training problems, they will often brush me off and go on and on talking about how wonderful Ceser Millan is. Please! Gag me with a spoon. Are you serious???

So I was very happy when I found this article today, written by American Humane, which is an amazing organization who protects the rights of animals and children and goes out of their way to educate the public about cruel and inhumane treatments. They oversee filming laws in movies and videos that use animals and children, they advocate adoption and they are the people responsible for implementing emergency animal rescue relief in times of crisis, like when Hurricane Katrina stuck New Orleans. In September 2006 they wrote this article to the National Geographic channel, asking them to cancel the show. Here is what they wrote:

'Dog Whisperer' Training Approach More Harmful Than Helpful

Denver (September 6, 2006)

The training tactics featured on Cesar Millan's “Dog Whisperer” program are inhumane, outdated and improper, according to a letter sent yesterday to the National Geographic Channel by American Humane, the oldest national organization protecting children and animals.

In the letter, American Humane, which works to raise public awareness about responsible pet ownership and reduce the euthanasia of unwanted pets, expressed dismay over the “numerous inhumane training techniques” advocated by Cesar Millan on “Dog Whisperer.”

Several instances of cruel and dangerous treatment -- promoted by Millan as acceptable training methods -- were documented by American Humane, including one in which a dog was partially asphyxiated in an episode. In this instance, the fractious dog was pinned to the ground by its neck after first being “hung” by a collar incrementally tightened by Millan. Millan’s goal -- of subduing a fractious animal -- was accomplished by partially cutting off the blood supply to its brain.

The letter requests that National Geographic stop airing the program immediately and issue a statement explaining that the tactics featured on the program are inhumane, and it encourages National Geographic to begin developing programming that sets a positive example by featuring proper, humane animal training. In its letter, American Humane said: “We believe that achieving the goal of improving the way people interact with their pets would be far more successful and beneficial for the National Geographic Channel if it ceased sending the contradictory message that violent treatment of animals is acceptable.”

“As a forerunner in the movement towards humane dog training, we find the excessively rough handling of animals on the show and inhumane training methods to be potentially harmful for the animals and the people on the show,” said the letter’s author, Bill Torgerson, DVM, MBA, who is vice president of Animal Protection Services for American Humane. “It also does a disservice to all the show’s viewers by espousing an inaccurate message about what constitutes effective training and appropriate treatment of animals.”

Torgerson noted that the safety of a woman and her German shepherd were jeopardized in one episode by the use of an electric shock collar, which forced the tormented dog to redirect its aggression at its owner, biting her arm. “Furthermore, the television audience was never told that Mr. Millan was attempting to modify the dog’s behavior by causing pain with the shock collar,” he said.

What you read above has not been blown out of proportion, rather when the show first came out, as always when something animal related comes out, I sat down to watch it in hopes that I would be learning some new methods of animal training that I could apply in my own workings with dogs in my life and in my pet sitting business. But unfortunately I was appalled! I remember tears streaming down my cheeks and getting very angry and I didn't even watch the entire show. I got up, left the room and emailed The National Geographic channel about my thoughts and something about 'how dare they show a program that tells people it is okay to be cruel to their dogs. I never heard back from them but I also never watched the show again and I believe that by not supporting the show, I am making a difference. Now I just want to spread the word about the show and try to get the show pulled. So while this article was written 2 years ago, by us bombarding the channel website with emails, it would really help I think to bring this issue back to the present and advocate the cancellation of The Dog Whisperer.

Now and again, I talk to people and when I first met Heather and her dog Gracie - who happens to be a Katrina rescue dog - she asked me my opinion of The Dog Whisperer. I frowned and carefully told her my thoughts. To my surprise, she agreed with me. She told me about the show that she had first seen and that it was a case where the dog was scared of other dogs because it had had no social interaction with other dogs as a puppy and apparently the owner couldn't take her dog anyplace where other dogs were. In the show, when nothing else worked, Millan proceeded to use force to try to 'scare' the dog into submission. I had tried to wipe my memory of that show, but as it turns out, this was actually the episode that I had watched as well, so Heather told me what happened. Millan put this dog into a little fenced area, about 4 feet in circumference so the dog was trapped there and had no way of escaping. Dogs who have been abused should never be left trapped like that. Then he let loose about 5 or 6 different dogs, I think a few were his and the dogs just started barking at the dog in the fence and circling him and this poor dog was whimpering and just got down on the ground because there was nothing else he could do. He had the shit scared out of him and he was probably scarred for life after that incident. Millan proceeded to praise the dogs that were outside of the fence, for their behavior and he praised the dog inside the cage for submitting to Millan and his technique. Then he had the owner walk the dog over to another dog, both on leashes. This poor dogs' response was to immediately get down on the ground and cower, not making eye contact or acknowledging that there was another dog in its presence. Watching that made me so extremely sad and I was just appalled at the fact that they - whoever they is - would allow such a thing to be shown on public TV. But of course, I'm blown away by a lot of things that are shown on TV, even just basic cable. But don't get me started on that tangent.

So if you want to be a part of this cause, you can email National Geographic and tell them what you think of the show and why you want the show canceled. It makes a bigger difference when lots of people get together and contact a TV channel to get their opinions heard. So if you care, please take the time to do so.

National Geographics' contact info is: There is a form that you fill out. If you want to contact Millan himself and tell him how you feel about what he does, go here: Thank you!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Michael Phelps is my new hero!

For those of you not watching the Olympics - and if you aren't, WHY??? - you are so missing out! Our country rocks the summer olympics this year. We have done so well. But I am happy to say that because of the Olympics I have a new hero - Michael Phelps. Not just because he's just done the impossible - won 8 gold medals in one Olympics and broken 8 world records in each of his 8 events. But because he is an amazing swimmer and he swims a lot like I do, at least in freestyle, with his shoulders up out of the water and leaves a powerful wake behind him. It has been so awesome and mind blowing watching him swim LIVE on TV and win so many things - plus out two men's relay teams did amazingly well and also broke world records in both of those events. At one relay, we were half a pool's length ahead of the rest of the field. Just amazing!

Here is a list of his medals:

Men's Swimming
Competitor for Flag of the United States United States
Olympic Games
Gold 2004 Athens 100 m butterfly
Gold 2004 Athens 200 m butterfly
Gold 2004 Athens 200 m individual medley
Gold 2004 Athens 400 m individual medley
Gold 2004 Athens 4 x 200 m freestyle relay
Gold 2004 Athens 4 x 100 m medley relay
Gold 2008 Beijing 200 m freestyle
Gold 2008 Beijing 100 m butterfly
Gold 2008 Beijing 200 m butterfly
Gold 2008 Beijing 200 m individual medley
Gold 2008 Beijing 400 m individual medley
Gold 2008 Beijing 4 x 100 m freestyle relay
Gold 2008 Beijing 4 x 200 m freestyle relay
Gold 2008 Beijing 4 x 100 m medley relay
Bronze 2004 Athens 200 m freestyle
Bronze 2004 Athens 4 x 100 m freestyle relay

Here's a link to news on his 8th Gold Medal. So cool!!!

Here is a news video:

And lastly, on this site, under Swimming, you can watch Phelps win all 8 Golds!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Recent California fires

These are a collection of shots taken during the recent Calif fires. So sad how much has burned and has prevented me and others from going camping as well as canceling many different endurance rides :(

Glad they are starting to go out!