Saturday, December 29, 2007

Close Down The San Francisco Zoo

(Photo: Matt Knoth) Tatiana - Victim Of San Francisco Zoo

I can not understand how anyone who even has a cat could not be flabbergasted at the pure negligence of those in charge of the San Francisco Zoo.

I was particularly amazed at the statements made to the press by the Director of the San Francisco Zoo which was the Zoo involved in the horrible mauling of two young men, and the death of a third on Christmas day (2007).

Here's a quote portion of a CNN article:

San Francisco Zoo Director Manuel A. Mollinedo acknowledged that the wall around the animal's pen was just 12 1/2 feet high, after previously saying it was 18 feet. According to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the walls around a tiger exhibit should be at least 16.4 feet high.

Mollinedo said it was becoming increasingly clear the tiger leaped or climbed out, perhaps by grabbing onto a ledge. Investigators have ruled out the theory the tiger escaped through a door behind the exhibit at the zoo, which remained closed Friday "She had to have jumped," he said. "How she was able to jump that high is amazing to me."

Amazing yes, but not to have been anticipated - no!

Our cats have no trouble at all making incredible leaps from a sitting position. For example they regularly jump from a sitting position on the floor to the top of the CRT computer monitor which is sitting upon the computer desk I am using right now. They look up, appear to be making some kind of calculation, position themselves again, reevaluate, and then leap. In less than a second they are up on top of the monitor several times their height. This is normal cat behavior, and ability.

When motivated, that is chasing after a rapidly moving light reflection emitted from a laser pointer, I've seen our cats nearly reach the ceiling - that's right - nearly climb a straight horizontal wall coming within inches of the ceiling - twelve feet high! They do this on a mad dash after a rapidly moving laser reflection. They do it without even thinking - no thoughts, or inhibitions - and perhaps that's why they are able to do it at all, as cats are usually rather cautious creatures, until they are playing at hunting, or actually hunting. Then things change.

I've had the freaky and scary experience of being in a small closet with a frightened cat which was bouncing - that's right, not jumping, but bouncing off her feet to the height of my face at least five feet high.

I've seen one of our cats jump right out of my arms clear off of a porch, and land at least twelve feet away in a dead run towards a rabbit.

And I've seen one of our cats make an incredible dash up a tree while being chased by a dog covering twelve feet vertical in less than time than the blink of an eye.

Cats possess abilities that far surpass humans in the ability to jump, and dash at prey, or away from predators. Some people believe that cats are wimps because they are very cautious and shy by nature, but that is in their programming, and has kept them out of trouble for a very long time. It would be a very frightening world indeed to wake up to a world in which cats were not cautious and shy. Imagine living with an aggressive feral cat - quite scary indeed.

We may live with the smaller cats, but they haven 't lost their abilities, and we may cage up the larger cats and foolishly put them on display, but they're still the remarkable creatures they are in the wild.

Even with a twenty feet wide moat, which the San Francisco Zoo has in place around the fence separating it's tigers from visitors, it is quite obvious that a twelve and a half feet high wall was no match for a Siberian Tiger. I'm guessing that the teenage boys, which were victims of the mauling, taunted the tigers, and finally the dominant tiger decided to put an end to the abuse.

Putting any creature on display for hundreds, even thousands of gawkers each day must be quite stressful on those held in captivity, and I know that cats tire quickly, and need fourteen hours of sleep each day to stay in a positive mood.

I find it hard to fathom how those in charge of the San Francisco Zoo could have been so unprofessional as to have allowed such a dangerous set of circumstances to have taken place. It seems as if they neither understand the ability or psychology of their captives, or those who come to gawk - and sometimes abuse.

The San Francisco Zoo must be a very poorly managed institution to have ignored such a safety oversight. One expects more from a civic institution staffed by well paid "professionals". The San Francisco Zoo should be closed down until it can prove that the animals held captive there are not being abused, and neglected, and should not reopen until it is safe for humans to gawk at the captive animals again.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My Sparse Blogging Of Late

My blogging has been rather sparse lately, but I have been busy with Christmas, and now with Overtime at work.

I bought my daughter a new PC, and I spent several evenings last week installing software, and hardware too. I wanted it to be just right for Christmas morning. Little did I know her MP3 player needed to be authorized, and that the firewall would interfere with her music listening pleasures.

I had to head off file sharing by beating it to the punch - is that a mixed metaphor - by getting our Rhapsody software installed on the new PC.

I could go down the list of software I installed, and configured so that on Christmas morning she'd have a great experience instead of what usually happens when one installs a new computer.

I'll be putting in some OT all the way up to New Years so expect sparse blogging until the new year arrives.

In the meantime I had a really nice Christmas - now if I could just take a small nap please.

Local Blogger Gifts Fellow Blogger

It's not often that I am taken by surprise so it was my pleasure to experience a sense of fond surprise when I received a Christmas gift from a fellow blogger.

While I can't tell you who gifted me, as I've been asked not to, I did want to say thank you for the wonderful collection of teas, and the infusers. I haven't made any tea yet, but I have indulged my olfactory curiosity and openned a few of the tins - wow! Talk about flavor!

Also, the little booklets about tea are really neat.

I've never infused whole tea, and so I'm really looking forward to it. So too is my spouse.

I wish I could respond by gifting you, but I'm totally financially unable to, but maybe one day. Plus I'd have to start scanning over your older blog post to see what you're fascinations are.

In the mean time, once again, I wanted to say thanks. I hope you had a merry Christmas, and I wish you a wonderful new year!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Number Twenty Three

Items Randomly Lined Up In The Bathroom - Twenty Three Is Everywhere, But Who Cares?

Tonight my daughter insisted that the family watch a movie together. She was quite convinced that it would be well worth our time, as she had seen it before, and was impressed.

It was The Number 23

As I watched the movie I found myself half interested in the plot, and almost fell asleep at several points. My daughter on the other hand continually looked over at me, excited by the various implications of the movie. The number twenty three is everywhere.

The fact that the number 23 is made up of two low numbers, numbers which are used in common everyday life, or can be easily obtained by simple counting, subtracting, dividing, or multiplying other common numbers didn't cross my daughter's mind.

She was after all under the spell of the number 23.

Just as the human brain is designed to find facial patterns, which makes us all vulnerable to seeing cloud creatures looking down upon us on a cloudy day, so too does the mind attempt to organize the world about us into other more easily understandable patterns. This is after all how human beings managed to survive in a world of faster, and more ably equipped predators. We organized the world outside ourselves to match the ever more organized mind within.

The number 235,742,100,300 for example will never have a movie based upon it, because it is simply too long of a number, and no human on this planet seemingly relates to the fact that this is the number of sentient, and quasi-sentient creatures in the Zebulon star system wiped out by Neader Colonial Invaders in a rather unremarkable spiral galaxy two billion years ago. Yes, I just made that up, but who knows - the Metaverse is an awfully big place.

It is therefore left to the shorter numbers, which the human mind can more easily grasp and manipulate, to act as harbingers, and portents - of betrayors of hidden connections, and worth. It is the human mind which insist on making the numbers 666, 7, 11, and even 23 important. It is the human imagination which assist such numbers in raising both goose bumps and hairs upon the back of the neck, and in giving them a meaning at all.

This is not to suggest that hidden order does not exist within a greater level of chaos, or that hidden meanings can not be devined from applying a simple filter upon reality. Conspiracies exist too, however, it is obvious that it is the mind's desire to create a simpler and more understabable world which is the underlying significance of the number 23.

Not only is it seemingly necessary to understand our world, but it also appears necessary to misunderstand it as well. It's an old story. Numerology is just one in a long list of recently abandoned methods upon which human beings have depended upon to make sense of it all.

However, in this modern age, an age of science one would hope that numerology would have seen its final day, but the human psyche is not willing to give up what the brain so willingly wants to project - connections where none exist.

My daughter added up some numbers tonight, and is convinced of the significance of the number twenty three. Despite my attempts to explain that the movie The number 23 is in fact fiction, she is convinced that there must be something special about the number.

I guess I shouldn't have pointed out to her immediately after watching the movie that the letters which make up the names of personal care products, pictured above, add up to twenty three. Nor was it a good thing that upon quick review that she discovered that the dates of birth of her father and mother are connected to the number 23, and that her date of birth is similarly so connected. It's going to be a long night as she is now finding it difficult falling asleep.

I would never tell her that I started writing this post at 2:03 A.M., nor would I try to explain that as I look up to write this concluding paragraph that it is 2:30 A.M., or that the number of letters in the file name of the photograph above is twenty three letters in length.

No, that would be too much.

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