Online Poll Fail

So, Ron Paul (R-onulan) has announced his exploratory committee and team for Iowa. I think we should all keep in mind the sad truth about online polls:

Any online poll is worthless, and polls featuring candidate Paul are doubly so.

The Ronulans are the undisputed masters of swarming online polls to give him approval numbers usually seen only in one-party dictatorships. If he actually does throw his hat in the ring, the crazy will, just like last time, come crawling out of the woodwork and crush any online poll with him in it.

This is, I should add, simply a statement of fact, not a value judgement on Paul's candidacy. I voted for Paul in the primary last time, even after he had already dropped out. But his legions of online supporters are more than a little nuts, and don't represent the candidate well. Since I'm not the candidate, this really isn't my problem.

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Heroic Me

So, apparently the losers over at Gawker think sending out a mass email telling a bunch of people with whom you disagree 'FUCK YOU' is heroic. Or was that sarcasm? I can't tell when your network of sites includes Jezebel. The entirety of Jezebel strikes me as some sort of absurdist performance art mockery, but I'm reliably informed they're serious.

Anyhow, if your standard for heroism is telling people 'FUCK YOU', I'm a hero a million times over. Yay me! Somebody send me a medal.

H/t dbcooper.



PetFlow: Pet Food Delivered on Your Schedule

So, I'm the resident dog food freak. I get it...crazy, but my dogs definitely have better nutrition than I do. If I look at a food or treat ingredient list, and don't see words that look like the type of food that you or I would buy at the grocery store (e.g. duck, chicken, rabbit, potato, carrot), my dogs aren't getting it from me.

I got my first Westie from a backyard breeder, and as most Westies not professionally bred, she had every allergy in the book. Food allergies are one of the worst, because as anyone who has a dog with food allergies knows, you'll find a food that works, then after a couple of years of smooth going, suddenly, the scratching, the chewing, and out comes all the hair.

I had to educate myself about canine nutrition out of necessity, and luckily, my vet at the time was a fantastic resource. After I had exhausted about everything out there, he suggested that I try the old BARF diet. As unappetizing as it sounds, for us it worked, and I became a true believer. About every 6 or so weeks, I'd take a Sunday, grind meat, fruit, veggies, offal, and all the other ingredients, and freeze enough single portions of food to last her. As a result, all of her skin problems, ear problems, scratching, and misery were gone for the remainder of her life.

We have very healthy youngsters, but now that our dog to human ratio is 2.5:1, home making dog food is a little overwhelming. If time and money were no object, I would probably continue to make the raw diet at home like I did for so many years. But you know, with a full time job and 5 times the mouths to feed, for us, it just isn't feasible. Plus, food selection is different than it used to be, and honestly, there are a lot of great and convenient options. We use biologically appropriate raw kibble, but I still make treats at home.

So, because we have to buy about 60 pounds of dog food every 6 or so weeks, we're trying out this service called PetFlow. The idea is that you can set up food delivery on whatever schedule you choose, and PetFlow automatically ships the grub. The service is available for dogs or cats. There are no commitments and you can change the service at any time. It's kind of like the book of the month club, except it's dog food, and you've told them exactly what you want and how often.

They carry a very comprehensive variety of food, and surprisingly carried pretty much everything we use. As far as price, it was about a wash for us. We blend food because I like a large variety of protein sources, and a couple of the bags were $2 or so less and one was $2 or so more. The shipping is flat rate, $4.95 regardless of quantity, although signing up today got me a free shipping deal, but the absence of sales tax did cut the price back down to slightly cheaper than what I'd buy in the store.

One of the most attractive aspects of it for me though is the fact that we don't have to make special trips out to haul the 60 or so pounds of food from the shop to the car, and from the car to the house. I believe this will be a huge time and energy saver for us. I have learned that a lot of people don't place that huge a premium on their time, but we have no choice, and having dog food show up on my door on a regular schedule should be a huge convenience. I'm pretty happy about the find, but if it sucks, I'll let you know.

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Via the always informative Tam I came across this lovely story. In no particular order, I draw three lessons from this tale:

Don't carry a Glock.
Unreinforced leather is bad, mmkay?
Fix what's broken, instead of working around it.

That last one there? That, to me, is the critical one that (literally) bit this gentleman in the ass. The other two are, while sub-optimal in my opinion, perfectly survivable without injury for many people.

I work in industrial plants, and have ever since I graduated from college. Before college was 6 years in the Army on full-track combat vehicles. I have spent the entirety of my adult life around equipment which will fold, spindle, and multilate your tender self if you are not careful. A lot of accidents happen because something breaks and the operators find a work-around for the malfunction. That's okay, if they notify somebody and it gets fixed reasonably promptly. When your work-around becomes an accepted fact of life and never gets fixed, sooner or later it'll bite somebody. If you're lucky, it just affects equipment and nobody gets hurt. If you're not lucky? Well, somebody gets to make an unpleasant phone call to the next of kin.

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