"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Friday, December 08, 2006

Random News Tidbits

Wrapping up a week when, it seems, trivial world events such as the war in Iraq and politics on the home front were pushed aside by the dramatic media appearance of Britney Spear's cooch, (Related story: K-Fed says he's "doing great") here are a few other headlines you may have missed:

Bad Kitty

In Miami, a 7-year-old child's birthday party went horribly wrong when a 62-pound cougar named "Georgia", hired as part of an exotic animal show for the party by the child's father, mauled a 4-year old guest. The declawed cat grasped the child's head with her teeth, causing severe lacerations to her eyelid, left cheek and ear. Doctors sewed back part of her severed ear. Georgia was later euthanized as part of a rabies test, over the objection of the cat's trainer, Cory Oltz. Oltz, the owner of "Wild Animal World", says the child "sneaked up behind" the big cat and startled it, despite being cautioned to remain calm and still while the animal was being brought out. Oltz faces a misdemeanor charge of allowing injury to the public, as well as a lawsuit by the child's family. According to an attorney representing the injured girl, who has not been identified, ''the family wants this to be the last child who is attacked by these animals.'' Two similar incidents have occurred in the last seven years.

Wild Animal World is a non-profit organization which offers a ''wide variety of educational, exciting and professional interaction with exotic animals,'' charging about $300 for a one-hour birthday party show, according to its website. Oltz, a former model, says on the site: "I always wanted to do a photo session with a big cat. They provided one on a modeling shoot and I was hooked!'' Her least favorite part of the job: "The inevitable bites get tiresome.'' While there are lots of cute pictures on the website of foxes, lemurs, monkeys and other animals posing with kids, oddly, none of the photos depict a big cat ripping a child's face off. I guess that would be bad for business.

Flight Grounded by Giant Fart

Meanwhile, considering my recent post regarding the side-splitting humor of simulated flatulence around the ol' Christmas tree, this story from Nashville seems especially apropos: An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing earlier this week after a passenger lit a match to disguise the scent of "a body odor".

According to the Associated Press, the Dallas-bound flight was diverted to Nashville after several passengers reported smelling burning sulfur. All 99 passengers and five crew members were taken off and screened while the plane and luggage were searched. The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal flatulence from an "unspecified medical condition."

An airline spokesman said, "It's humorous in a way, but you feel sorry for the individual. It's unusual that someone would go to those measures to cover it up." The flight took off again, but the woman, who was neither identified nor charged in the incident, was not allowed back on the plane. Apparently, authorities decided that the extreme mortal embarrassment was punishment enough.

Hot Panda Sex

In other news, from Hong Kong comes encouraging word from scientists who say that a plan to stimulate giant pandas to breed by showing them "panda porn" has paid off. They claim to have sparked a baby boom among the endangered animals by showing them DVDs of pandas mating.

"It works," Zhang Zhihe, a leading Chinese expert, told the Xinhua news agency. "It is the same idea as chimpanzees seeing people smoke and then copying it."

In the first 10 months of this year 31 cubs were born in captivity in China and 28 survived, said Zhang. That's an increase from 12 births in 2005 and just nine in 2000.

Let's hope the pandas are not shown the Britney Spears video.

Sorry, No Refunds or Exchanges

Finally, the Wind in the Wire "What Were They Thinking?" award for the week goes to a 52-year-old German man who tried in vain to get a refund for 400 euros worth of what he said was "bad marijuana" from his dealer by turning to the police for help.

"It is un-usable," the man told police in the hope they would help him get his money back. Not surprisingly to anyone other than perhaps the man himself, police then charged him with violating drug possession laws and confiscated the 200 grams of marijuana he brought with him to the police station.

You can't make up stuff like this. Have a great weekend!


  • At 12/08/2006 01:02:00 PM, Blogger BigCatRescue said…

    Thank you for reporting on the insidious business of “edu-tainmnet”. These people claim to be educating when in fact they are only supporting themselves and sending exactly the opposite message of that which they proclaim to be one of respect for the animals. While their lips say, “These animals make bad pets” their actions show wild animals being leashed, bottle fed and fondled and actions speak louder than words. The hypocritical message is, “Do as I say and not as I do.”

    Last year Big Cat Rescue championed a Florida bill that would have limited this sort of activity and it passed every committee in which it was heard, but never made it to the floor of the last committee necessary. We will try again this year with a bill that was called the Python Bill last year, but this year hope to include all dangerous exotic animals, especially the cats. I hope that you will help us by generating awareness of the issue because 76% of the public polled is opposed to the notion of keeping exotic animals as pets, and that includes fish, lizards and the like.

    The following is a partial listing of incidents involving captive big cats since 1990. These incidents have resulted in the killing or deaths of 234 big cats, 68 human deaths, more than 238 human maulings, and just since 2003 there have been 88 exotic cat escapes and 362 confiscations.


    The Journal of Internal Medicine in 2006 estimated that 50 million people worldwide have been infected with zoonotic diseases since 2000 and as many as 78,000 have died. Read more about zoonotic diseases here: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/zoonosis.htm

    To see the number of exotic cats abandoned each year go to http://www.bigcatrescue.org/animal_abuse.htm

    Many states and countries are beginning to ban the private possession of big cats. See who here: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/lawsbigcatbans

    Summary of last year’s Python Bill and links to actual proposed text which will probably be similar to what we do this year: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/laws/2006python.htm

    For a video clip of why these cats make bad pets visit: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/podcats.htm

    Thank you for your comment. This is more of a problem than I had realized. Although I have the greatest respect for the late Steve Irwin, I also think his "Crocodile Hunter" image did much to foster the popular idea of wild animals as entertainment. Perhaps if anything good comes of an incident like this one, it will be to make people realize that these wild creatures should remain exactly that: wild.

  • At 12/08/2006 02:12:00 PM, Blogger sumo said…

    Too bad for the kitty. What was that father thinking?! That was just dumb, and that cat lost its life for nothing in my opinion...because it shouldn't have happened.

  • At 12/08/2006 06:15:00 PM, Blogger Sphincter said…

    Cool post, as usual. Cool comments from Big Cat Rescue, too.

  • At 12/08/2006 07:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So, what does it say about me that I was more interested in the fart grounding the plane than the big cat attack? Sure, I'm sad about the cat and I think it's super crappy, but the fart? THAT I can relate to.

    It doesn't say anything bad about you at all. I personally think that drugs, sex, and passing gas are a riot. And if I can find a story that combines all three (it seems likely that Paris Hilton might somehow be involved) I will post that too!

  • At 12/09/2006 03:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have a co-worker who flies a lot. I sent him the fartulence story. He says whenever he farts on a plane, he turns around and gives an old person a dirty look.

    Mrs. Toast and I have a running joke: whenever we're in the car and happen to come across l'odeur de la dead skunk along the road, I will do an exaggerated "sniff sniff", then look at her and say, "did you fart?"

    It's much funnier in person, honest.


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