Friday, December 14, 2007

This weekend: Harry Shearer, Judith Owen, Bywater Art Market and..."the people who talk about the people in the park"

Harry Shearer and Judith Owen, originally uploaded by kfoz.

Tonight at the CAC, Harry Shearer and Judith Owen will be leading a holiday sing-along at 8pm. Tickets are $20, I think. Harry and Judith are dog people, which anyone might guess from the poster advertising this show. Last month, when I was signing books at Kiehl's on Newbury Street in Boston, Judith came racing in screaming (in a totally friendly way) "I can't believe you're here. A friend just gave me your new book." Etc. She and Harry live part of the year in New Orleans, but we'd never met before this random Boston intersection.

Tomorrow, I'll be signing books at the Bywater Art Market (at Piety and Dauphine). There is a whole section of my book which takes place in the very same park. In fact, when I was on tour, a woman in Portland raised her hand to ask "Can you tell us more about the people who talk about the people in the park?" I gave some kind of broad answer that I thought might be easily digested by the crowd, most of whom hadn't read the book yet. But the woman asked again. "I meant," she said, "can you say something about the real reason they talk about the people in the park." It was a former resident of New Orleans, it turned out, who knew very well what the answer was.

Here's the passage in question:

On the neighborhood’s online forum, people are talking about the people in the park.
Be careful of them, one says.Don’t believe anything they say.
In New York, people used to gather around the dog run as if they were at a zoo. Who were they studying: the dogs, or their owners? One day I was watching too, along with two young women who had their eye on a jack Russell terrier who was racing around in the snow wearing t-shirt. The dog’s owner removed the shirt and he continued running. One of the women turned to the other and said, with an inappropriate degree of awe, “Now he’s completely naked.” That’s when I decided to get a dog of my own, so I could be on the opposite side of the fence from them.
There are phases to recovery. There are phases to grief. There is a time when everyone is unified in their efforts, in their anger, and then most people turn inward again, get suspicious and distant.
Whatever they are talking about, I wouldn’t believe it, someone types on the forum.
Maybe they think of us the way the Puritans thought of the witches. Maybe our dogs are our familiars. They give us a power that puts others on edge.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I know my blog has become excessively dog centric lately...

But I still can't resist posting this link to a very funny account of a reading by my nemesis, Ingrid Newkirk. And I feel fine calling her my nemesis because I know she must have a great sense of humor. Here's Bad Rap on Ingrid's reading in Berkeley: BAD RAP Blog Spot: Let's have a dog party! (Pit Bulls not invited)

Brando, again

Since just a quarter of Brando's face appears in today's Mediabistro Daily Feed, I decided it was time to post his gorgeous mug once again. When we lived in Manhattan, some of the neighborhood kids were worried that he always looked like he was about to start crying--those were the neighborhood kids who didn't throw things at him.

Brando, of course, is an enormous ham. Yesterday, as we walked through the neighborhood, Brando spotted one of our neighbors in the midst of an interview with a documentary crew covering the rebuilding efforts in the ninth ward. Brando promptly plopped down on the sidewalk in the background of their shot and refused to move.

Maggie Estep's Mickey

Maggie Estep's Mickey, originally uploaded by kfoz.

I've been meaning to share this ever since Maggie sent his photo earlier this year. Here is author Maggie Estep's pit bull Mickey and his mesmerizing ears.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Two trials: Micheal Vick and Tammy Grimes

I have to say, I'm really kind of over the whole Micheal Vick ordeal and it has nothing to do with all the hate mail I get from his supporters. Vick was sentenced yesterday to a little less than two years in jail, which seems like a lucky break to me considering that this wasn't a case of "just" killing few dogs. There was also illegal gambling, illegal dogfighting, refusing to cooperate, refusing to take responsibility, and a positive drug test. Some people are complaining that the sentence was too harsh. I think it was on the light side of things. Now let's all move on and pay some attention to the other criminals out there.

The dogs seized are making their way to new homes. A large group of them just got cleared to move to the Best Friends sanctuary in Utah. I'm hoping to meet the dogs sometime in the next year. (And, speaking of Best Friends, I'll be doing a few webinars with them in the coming weeks.)

Meanwhile, in Hollidaysburg, PA, Tammy Grimes goes on trial tomorrow. Tammy is the founder of Dogs Deserve Better, and she was arrested over a year ago after unchaining a dog that had been left unattended and unfed for quite a while. It was there so long, in fact, that Tammy contacted the police and had them accompany here when she went on the property to get the dog. She was subsequently arrested and charged with theft, among other things.

I sat at the same table as Tammy at a Best Friends conference last year. Having read about her in the form of testimonials from animal rights supporters all over the web, I thought she might be some kind of strident, unrealistic radical. Of course, I'm nearly always wrong about these things. She was completely normal, although it is possible I don't know what normal is anymore.

Monday, December 10, 2007

How to make a gift to the Sula Foundation

Last month, I mentioned that Sula and I have started a foundation which will sponsor vaccination clinics, spay/neuter, and education programs focused on pit bulls. The first of these events will take place after the new year.

In response to an email asking how to contribute, I finally set up a simple web page today at The organization does have a tax ID, but non-profit status will not arrive until 2008. If you would like to contribute--or even just send my dogs a holiday card--you can do so by snail mail:

The Sula Foundation
PO Box 3780
New Orleans, LA 70117