Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Million Writers Award

It's time to make your nominations. To be eligible, the story must have appeared on-line during 2005, and it must be at least 1,000 words. Make your nominations here.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Puppy Mills Do Not the Best Dogs Make

Don't buy your best friend.

Dogs Like Us
Full Essay here by Ted Kerasote.

Here's an exerpt from the NY Times:

"Of the 180 breeds listed on one popular Web site for choosing purebred puppies, 42 percent have chronic health problems: skin diseases, stomach disorders, a high incidence of cancers, the inability to bear young without Caesareans, shortened life spans. The list is as disturbing as it is long, and poses a question: dazzled by the uniqueness of many of the breeds we've created, have we the dog-owning public turned a blind eye to the development of a host of dysfunctional animals?

...If every dog buyer did research, it would also help shut down the 5,000 puppy mills that, according to the Humane Society, provide most of the half-million purebred dogs sold through pet stores and the Internet. Poorly regulated, unsanitary factories in which females are imprisoned their entire lives, puppy mills survive because people get charmed by that puppy in the window.

Unlike the wrong computer or an automobile, however, faulty dogs can't be readily exchanged or resold. They can be "given up" to an animal shelter, and they are, at the rate of about four million dogs each year, this soothing phrase disguising the end of 50 percent of them a gas chamber or a lethal injection.

We owe our dogs more than this. After all, it is we who have shaped them. Even when we err, they continue to put their trust and their lives in our hands."

--Ted Kerasote is the author of the forthcoming "Merle's Door: How Dogs
Might Live if They Were Free."

Friday, February 10, 2006

BASS 2006

My friend, the most excellent writer Paul Yoon, just learned that his story "Once the Shore" was selected by Ann Patchett for inclusion in BASS 2006! This is fabulous. You can read an excerpt from this story and an interview with Paul at the One Story website. Go Paul!!

Thursday, February 09, 2006


"Humans -- who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals -- have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and "animals" is essential if we are to bend them to our will, wear them, eat them -- without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret."

-Carl Sagan, astronomer and author (1934-1996)
& Ann Druyan, author (1949- )

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Winter again

If you were reading my blog last winter, you know how much I usually gripe and complain about winter, snow, etc. I live near Buffalo, NY and get a lot of the stuff, for a long time. Except for this year. We had a short stint of snowy weather in December, but had a green Christmas and no appreciable snow since then. Until today. We still only got about three or four inches, but it was enough to require shoveling and it made the world beautiful again. I know, I know, "Who am I and what have I done with Mary-the-winter-hater?" Well, maybe I'm feeling so optimistic because I'm going to the ITME field station in Dominica on the 15th. I can't wait to see the Caribbean in February. I'd always been going down in July--what was I thinking??

And my middle daughter is going with me this year. Each child gets a chance to make the trip with me when he or she turns 13. This year is Cady's turn. We're getting very excited. :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Okay, I'm tagged

I've been resisting this for several reasons, mostly because I can't think of ten interesting things about myself that I want to share. But thanks to Cliff I'll try:

1. I am always hungry. I love food. It's one of my great pleasures. I will eat virtually anything... so long as it isn't flavored with licorice. I hate licorice. Can't bear it, even the smell of it. Fried baby eels? Yum. Brussel sprouts? You bet! Alligator? Sure! Licorice? Gag-a-maggot.

2. I am a funny person when you talk to me. I love to laugh and joke and I do--lots. But I write dark stuff, depressing stuff, occasionally twisted stuff. So don't use my writing to judge whether or not you want to hang out.

3. I love my children more than I can ever convey. Having said that, I am NOT afraid to be the parent and play the bad cop. Hate to be the bad guy...have to be the bad guy. It's my job. I really hope they understand this and we can be pals someday.

4. I plan to spoil my grandchildren so much it isn't even funny. I want to be called "Nana" and wear an apron and cook myself silly and read books until I'm blue in the face. Then I want to send them home and get on with my life of (whoo-hoo!) freedom.

5. I believe I will be a published author. I can see myself giving readings, answering questions. I can almost touch it. I will not be denied. (That doesn't mean I picture throngs of people hanging on my every word...maybe scads, but not throngs.)

6. I believe I have a purpose to fulfill in this life. Still trying to figure out what it is, but I really feel like there's something important I am meant to do before I die.

7. I believe that my grandmother and my father (both deceased) are still looking out for me in their own ways.

8. Animals in my house are very well treated. Adored, even. Held to normal standards of etiquette (get off that table!) but adored, nonetheless. I believe animals are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. They have talents and abilities that we will never understand.

9. I am a manly girl. I love to fix things, cook outdoors, get dirty, be tough. I am also a terrible softy. I cry at the drop of a hat over silly things like Hallmark commercials and touchy-feely notes from my kids and It's a Wonderful Life.

10. I don't know myself as well as I thought I did...or maybe I know myself better than I thought, because here I've come up with ten things in no time.

I'll tag Chris Duncan.