Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"I've Got A Theory": When Buffy Meets Scooby

My friend Liz sent me this, and truthfully, you'll only understand it if your a Buffy "The Musical" Fan. If you make it through to the end, you'll see a succinct message about the mash-up, which I fully agree with, but it's brilliant nonetheless.

And remember: bunnies ARE evil!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Worried about Pet Food? You ain't the only one

I've been away from the blog for a bit. It's been a rough birthday month, but I promise to write more. There's at least one person out there who's been asking about the blog. You know who you are, Greenspend.

As you can see, Paikea has been on the Internet (or at least on my computer) since she first heard the news of the massive recall of dog and cat food that happened on Friday, March 16th. Paikea and I (OK, let's face it, just me) were a bit concerned that the company, Menu Foods, put the notice out on a Friday, the traditional day when news that one wishes to die upon release, is released. That may be a tad unfair, but seriously, Friday is not the day to issue news that your pets may be in danger.

Due to a self-imposed news media blackout last weekend, we didn't hear about the recall until Monday morning, just like many vets and pet health care workers. Unfortunately, vets, being on the front line of care when it comes to ill pets, received no special faxes or broadcast messages in their mailboxes to be on the alert for illness, death, or both.

To say that Menu Foods (a Canadian conglomerate company traded under the name Menu Foods Income Fund) handled this recall badly is to bring light to the obvious. Last Friday, they sent their news release out in Canada with the notice "not for publication over US newswires." When that release went out, there was little or no indication of what the problem was, how whatever was in the food could cause harm, and their website was stripped of all information except for the list of recalled foods and the admonition that only "cuts and gravy" style foods were affected.

I was going to write more on this subject, but truthfully, it's all been too much this week. Almost the moment I came back from Detroit to attend Brandon's funeral, I confronted horrific wall of animal death. The week brought up so many memories of Zanzibar "wonder girl" kitty dying, that my heart was bursting for all those who were losing their dogs and cats left and right. I felt so helpless for all those Gothamist commenters writing about their animals. I felt hopeless as the good folks at Petconnection, who earlier in the week set up a self-reporting database of sick and dying dogs and cats, reported their database numbers, which grew daily. The worse part of that was consistently hearing day after day (which continues) that "only 16" pets had died from eating tainted food. No one who even read one page of comments in one source could believe that only 16 animals had died.

The silence over the week from both the FDA and Menu Foods was deafening. I would like to say they did a good job, but I would be lying. Thankfully, the Internet came through. In addition to Petconnection.com, the Howl911 site popped up, acting as a clearinghouse for information that just wasn't coming from the company or the government. Itchmo in Seattle (a pet blog on the West Coast) and Catmanager (a vet and vet industry blog) took up the battle as well. The Yahoo pet care groups I'm on gathered their own sources and helped members get through it. I'm sure there are hundreds of other sites that helped out, but I am unaware of them. (Notice that I didn't mention the ASPCA or the Humane Society, major pet and advocates groups which did not step up to the plate this week.)

The four sites are to be commended for their work this week. Thousands of people were desparately seeking information on what foods were recalled, what the onset of symptoms were, what to feed their animals... and there was no help or information coming from Menu Foods or the major food companies they manufacture for. In fact, the vet site Dolittler.com has produced its "Second Annual Pet Food Recall Awards" (the first was awarded to Diamond Foods' recall last year). They pretty much nail what was right and what was wrong in this situation for the past week.

To all of who are suffering with the thought that they may have fed their animals tainted food, really, it's not your fault. To those whose pets died, my sincere condolences to you. To all those whose pets are sick, I wish them all a speedy recovery. To those who are searching for the right foods to feed to your dogs and cats, I hope this opportunity affords you the chance to learn more about dog and cat nutrition.

To Menu Foods, I hope this last week has taught you that you need to step up your game in public relations. It's best to talk to the people on a wide-scale basis than let others talk for you. I'm still a little ticked at the timeline. If it's right according to news sources, you've got a lot of barking and meowing to do in explanation of the last three months of food production. We'll see.

Friday, March 09, 2007

An Update on Brandon

The Detroit News published an obituary for Brandon on Tuesday, March 6, 2007.

His funeral will be held at the Coles Funeral Home on Saturday, March 10, 2007 beginning at 10:30 AM. Please note that the Detroit News has the location of the funeral home incorrect. The location is: 2624 W. Grand Blvd. at Rosa Parks.

James H. Coles Funeral Home
2624 W Grand Boulevard
Detroit, MI 48208
Phone Number: (313) 873-0771

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

4 Out of 5 Ain't Bad

Appeal, pardon, or whatnot, you're guilty Scooter. As McLaughlin says... "Bye Bye!"

Read more at the Washington Post.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Do You Realize?: In Memory of Brandon Wolfe

Redford High School "The Family Team," Detroit, Mi.
Championship Photo, University of Detroit
Brandon stands in the middle, with his arms crossed
Do You Realize - Oh - Oh - Oh
Do You Realize - that everyone you know
Someday will die -
Flaming Lips - "Do You Realize?"
I woke up this morning and NYC was rainy and nasty. I thought to myself, "Wow, if only this were Saturday, I could stay in bed all day and listen to the rain come down."

Unfortunately for me, it was Friday, and no matter how I cut it, I had to get out of bed and go to work. I finally dragged myself up, fed the cat, brewed the coffee, wrestled with the broken shower, splashed on the makeup, and sat on the bed for five minutes when the phone rang. It was my mother. It's never a good sign when your mother calls before 9:00 in the morning. This time was no exception.

Unfortunately, the news was that my foster brother, Brandon, all of 20 years old, had died the night before due to the flu coupled with his existent asthma. There is no autopsy yet, but that's what my mom says happened.

Brandon and one of his brothers and two of his sisters came to live with my mom and dad when Brandon was about 10 years old. He and his brother grew up to be giants, Brandon at 6' 7", his brother a little shorter. He played high school basketball at Redford High School in Detroit, and went on to community college basketball before heading to college ball. Unfortunately, his time came much too soon, and now this young man, who struggled through so many troubles in his short life, is gone.

It just doesn't make any sense.

I was reading Andrew Sullivan, and he had posted a video of the Flaming Lips' "Do You Realize."
Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize - we're floating in space -
Do You Realize - that happiness makes you cry
Do You Realize - that everyone you know someday will die
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round
Do You Realize - Oh - Oh - Oh
Do You Realize - that everyone you know
Someday will die -
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round
Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize
Unfortunately, I have been all too aware lately that someday everyone I know will die. Sometimes they die too young. Like Brandon.

Brandon would laugh at the Flaming Lips. They are certainly not his kind of music. Nonetheless, here's Brandon's beautiful face. Rest in peace, Brandon. Your struggle is over.