Sunday, November 2, 2008


If we believe all the political pundits when they talk about a historic election this week, then it is up to each one of us to contribute our vote to the record number of votes being predicted. However, making the right choice can sometimes prove to be difficult when today's politicians have a tendency to gloss over the big issues and give generic and generalized answers to questions. No other authority than Teddy Roosevelt made this observation: "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Also, it's not easy to tell if a politician is telling the truth or not when confronted with tough questions. They might not even know the difference between the truth and a lie. Alexander Haig, Nixon's Chief of Staff and a former Army general, illustrated this when he said: "That's not a lie, it's a terminological inexactitude." George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright, took the opposite tack when talking about the truth: "My way of joking is to tell the truth. It is the funniest joke in the world." And, to bring this question full circle, Jack Nicholson's character in A Few Good Men declares emphatically the line: "You can't handle the truth!" American voters will have to decide where they perceive the truth to be and proceed accordingly.

Of course, the two main party candidates have been getting all of the attention, while the canine convention in Boston and the feline convention in the Catskills have gone virtually unnoticed by the media. It didn't help that neither the canines nor the felines had raised any campaign funds. The dogs had reached their destination by going "Greyhound," and the cats moved silently in on little cat feet(tribute to Carl Sandburg, Fog)....

The dogs chased each other around for a few days, stopped at a few fire hydrants, and generally "howled at the moon" before settling on Snoopy and Benji as their party's candidates for President and Vice-President.

The Snoopy poster is from:

The Benji picture is from CafePress, at:

Enjoy this campaign production for the Canine Party ticket:

Meanwhile, over in the Catskills, the cats were hardly talking to each other, except for the occasional cry of "hairball, hairball!" They finally agreed to quit fighting over whose litter box was which and make their candidate selections. Garfield was chosen as the Presidential candidate and Sylvester was picked to fill the Vice-Presidential role.

Garfield and his friend can be found at:

In an exclusive interview, Garfield has even described how he envisions his first few days in the White House, if elected:
A humorous analysis of Garfield the cat's presidency is presented. He explains that taking a nap would be his first priority. He also wants to abolish Mondays and make lunch the most important subject in schools.
If I were president, the first thing I'd do is take a nap. After a long campaign, I'd be exhausted. (Actually, after a walk from the couch to the refrigerator I'd be exhausted.) Next, l'd have the White House kitchen fix me a truly "presidential" snack. a 50-pound pepperoni pizza shaped like a map of the United States.
Properly rested and fed, I'd get right down to business. My first 100 days in office would see sweeping changes in government. (Then I could spend the
... read the remaining story in Saturday Evening Post (May 1, 1996)

OK, faithful readers of Questions On Dogs and Cats, Helpful Buckeye wants you to cast your votes for our next President and Vice-President...will it be Snoopy and Benji of the Canine Party or Garfield and Sylvester of the Feline Party? Send your vote to: and we will reveal the winner next week!

The "VOTE" picture shown on Helpful Buckeye's profile this week is from:

Helpful Buckeye will close this political section with a very pertinent sign seen on an Indianapolis building: "If only cars could run on political gas!"


1) This unsettling piece of news from Great Britain:

Britain has more rats than people -------------

LONDON - Pest control experts say population figures indicate there are more rats living in Britain than people.
The pest control company Rentokil estimates there are as many as 80 million rats in the United Kingdom, which has
a human population of 60 million, The Times of London reported Monday. Nationwide, calls to pest control units
in Britain have risen by 17 percent, the newspaper says. Figures show the city of York in the north of England tops
the list of problem towns with a yearly increase of 208 percent in its rat population, Others with a significant increase in rats are Carlisle, Exeter and Salford. Director Peter Crowden of the National Pest Technicians Association
warns there will be an epidemic unless citizens reduce food waste. Many local councils in Britain have reduced
garbage collections to every other week instead of weekly. "Fortnightly bin collections now mean it's vital we
recycle," said Crowden. "Just putting extra food scraps on compost heaps means fantastic breeding grounds for
rats to spread disease."

Perhaps what Britain needs is an influx of cats,...very large ones!!!

2) A second frightening thought comes from the digital world:

Scientist warns of 'digital dark age'

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (UPI) -- A U.S. professor says an unintended result of our rapidly digitizing world is the potential of a "digital dark age" where information could be forever lost. University of Illinois Assistant Professor Jerome McDonough says the issue stems from the mass of data being produced -- at last count, 369 exabytes worth of data, including electronic records, tax files, e-mail, music and photos. An Exabyte, he explained, is 1 quintillion bytes -- a quintillion is the number 1 followed by 18 zeroes. The concern is much of the data we produce today could soon become inaccessible. "After all," McDonough asks, "when was the last time you opened a WordPerfect file or tried to read an 8-inch floppy disk?" He said according to the National Archives Web site, by the mid-1970s only two machines could read data from the 1960 U.S. Census. One was in Japan, the other in the Smithsonian Institution. Some of the data collected from NASA's 1976 Viking landing on Mars is already unreadable and lost forever. "If we want information to survive, we need to avoid formats that depend on a particular media type," he said. "When the old media dies, the information dies with it."

Intuitively, we all are probably aware of this somewhere down the road, but...when you think about how much we all depend on digital memory, to hear someone say that it will "soon" be inaccessible is potentially alarming!

3) Just when we thought the melamine contamination problem was history, now we learn that melamine is definitely in the global food chain. What originated in China as a contaminant/additive is now a major concern for humans and their pets. The global economy has some negatives as well as some positives, I guess. Read this report:

4) With all the reports of voter fraud and ID problems preceding this election, this story should come as no surprise:

Man's dog gets card to vote ----------------

ALBUQUERQUE - An Albuquerque man said he was shocked to receive a voter registration card for his dog after he
jokingly filled out a form at Wal-Mart. Don Pizzolato said he filled out a voter registration form for his dog, Tuckup
Koepke, with a phony birth date and Social Security number, the Albuquerque Journal reported. However, Pizzolato said he never expected the form to result in an actual voter registration for his dog. He received a card for the canine
only weeks after filling out the form. "I fully expected the form to be returned to me," Pizzolato said. He said he feared the situation was symptomatic of a larger problem that could lead to voter fraud. "I just have one data point to go off of, but in my opinion, if it's this easy to thwart the system, I'm sure it's not an isolated case," he said. Pizzolato said Tuckup Koepke will not be voting in the upcoming election. County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver contacted law enforcement officials after reading about the matter on a Web site. Voter registration fraud is a fourth-degree felony in New Mexico, the Journal said.

Of course, "Tuckup" might be voting for Snoopy or Garfield, right?

5) The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has an interesting web site available that will provide public access information to pet owners about medications that have been prescribed for their pets:


1) Human medical literature is full of conclusive tests concerning the dangers of second-hand smoke coming from cigarettes. Recently, a study has emerged with some alarming conclusions for house pets which are exposed to second-hand smoke:

Smoking Can Harm Your Pets
By Debra Guevara

A study from Colorado State University brought to light that dogs with long snouts presented with nasal cancer, after exposure to secondhand smoke, more frequently than dogs in a smoke free environment. Unfortunately these dogs most often died within twelve months. Short nosed and medium nosed dogs had greater instances of respiratory cancer. Cats with flat faces also present with respiratory cancer after being exposed to a smoking environment. A Tuft College of Veterinary Medicine study discloses a substantial link between certain kinds of cancer in cats and smoke from tobacco products. More felines with mouth cancer repeatedly came from homes in which their owner smoked as compared to those who lived in smoke free environments. Cats living with owners that smoke for over five years had a much greater percentage of oral cancer. Felines residing in a home of smokers get cancer of the lymph nodes one hundred percent more often than cats living with nonsmokers. Seventy-five percent of cats die within 1 year after getting this disease. Birds are dying from tobacco smoke in the home, as well. Birds’ lungs are highly vulnerable to pollutants and they can get pneumonia or even worse, respiratory cancer from cigarette smoke. These pets can have difficulties relating to their reproductive organs, skin, eyes, and their heart. Not only is smoking harmful to your pets; cigarette butts, leaf tobacco, and cigar stubs also pose a threat. Ingestion of nicotine can prove deadly to animals. Never leave your ashtrays full or throw your butts on the ground. This will only lead to trouble if your pet gets curious and chews them. Smoking can be as harmful to pets as it is to their human counterparts. Take in to consideration the health of your pet before exposing them to tobacco smoke in your home. Remember they are the innocent victim in this circumstance.

A follow-up article from Oklahoma State University provides further information: (sorry, you'll have to copy and paste this one).

Veterinarians will now need to consider second-hand smoke on their list of differential diagnoses relating to any respiratory or nasal cavity disorder.

2) The AVMA has produced an interesting podcast dealing with obesity in dogs and cats, often leading to complications from diabetes. The podcast only lasts about 6 minutes and is time well-spent if you learn to be more watchful of your pet's weight. Watch the podcast at this web site:

Helpful Buckeye will be addressing Diabetes Mellitus, an increasingly diagnosed disease in dogs and cats, in an upcoming issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats.


Polydactylism--noun; the condition of having more than the normal number of toes. Cats will usually be seen with this variation much more often than dogs. Normal cats have four toes and one dewclaw on each front paw and four toes on each hind paw. Polydactyl cats may have as many as seven digits on front and/or hind paws, and various combinations of anywhere from four to seven are common, although each of the front and rear paws are typically the same. Polydactyly is most commonly found on the front paws only, with polydactyly of all four paws being less common. It is rare for a cat to have polydactyl hind paws only. A Canadian cat called Tiger was recognized by Guiness World Records as having the highest number of toes on a cat, with 27 toes. Sometimes these extra digits can present a problem which may require surgical a minimum, these claws should always be kept closely trimmed. One of Ernest Hemingway's surviving cats at his Key West, Florida, home is a polydactyl:


1) To reverse the bad luck curse of a black cat, as discussed in last week's issue, comes this advice:

To reverse the bad luck curse of a black cat crossing your path, first walk in a circle, then go backward across the spot where it happened and count to 13. Helpful Buckeye has it on good authority that this will work; however, we'll need someone to independently come to the same conclusion as my source before we can declare it conclusive! Helpful Buckeye sort of feels that one of Willie Nelson's quotes applies right here: "The success of a rain dance is largely a matter of timing."

2) The question posed last week about The Witch Doctor song was correctly answered by my Aunt Cathy in FL, who is pretty sharp on this kind of stuff! She remembered David Seville as the assumed name of Ross Bagdasarian and that he was widely known for his Chipmunk Song. Enjoy it here:

The Chipmunk Song was a #1 hit in 1958 on the Billboard Hot 100


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