Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Monkids? As if there aren't real kids out there?

In "Monkids as newest pampered pets", the Toronto Star's Trish Crawford investigates the life of people who try to treat monkeys as children:
As a child, her [Camille Dorian's] son developed sibling rivalry with the pet monkey, who'd "take his favourite toy and run to the other end of the house and break it."

Now that David, a business major, is away from home, Dorian has gotten the monkeys their own pets – cats and guinea pigs.

"They'll groom the guinea pigs," she reports, "and hold the cats."
Sounds cute, except,

Sherri Delaney runs a monkey sanctuary in Sunderland, Ont., near Whitby, for up to 20 primates. Some are no longer needed in labs or who have been in roadside zoos, but others have been rescued from people who've found "the monkeys are more than they can handle."

Canada seems to have escaped the "monkids" phenomenon, she says, adding that having one in a cage is bad enough. Monkeys are social and need to be in groups with space for running and playing, she says.

They're also strong and wild. Delaney says she has been "ripped apart" when she wasn't careful.

I bet. Read the whole article.

My own monkey story: This happened in the mid-1970s in mid-summer. One of my kids ran in to tell me that there was monkey swinging in the weeping willow tree in the back yard.

That sounded pretty amazing for Toronto. But it turned out to be true.

Well, the kids went off somewhere with their father and I went on with my chores. After all, there was nothing I could do about the monkey swinging in the willow tree.

Meantime, my ginger cat woke up from his perennial afternoon nap and wandered out into the back yard. In some way, he immediately detected the monkey high up in the tree. And the monkey immediately detected him.

The monkey decided to come down and have a look at the cat. The cat waited for him. I thought that was a stupid idea on the monkey's part. The cat was clearly trying to decide whether to kill the monkey.

I was surprised that the monkey did not notice what even I, a mere human, could clearly see. I got hold of a towel, thinking I would have to rescue the monkey.

The monkey, now on the ground, skittered toward the cat. The cat sniffed him carefully - and then shook his lead paw, signifying utter, total disdain! He did not even try to seize the monkey by the throat.

I, meanwhile, seized the opportunity to come up from behind, grab the monkey, and srop him into a dog cage. The business tenant in the building happened to be a dog grooming firm, so a dog cage was always handy. Later, the monkey's human friends came and took him home.

I don't think a monkey would be a good substitute for even a cat, let alone a kid.

Lots of kids need homes or foster parents. Real kids. Not monkeys, not cats.


Fake pills for kids?

Megan Ogilvie, health reporter for the Toronto Star, reported recently on Internet-marketed placebos for kids.

Obecalp is nothing more than a fruit-flavoured sugar pill meant to calm and soothe a child using the power of placebo. Though it may seem harmless, it raises a flurry of ethical questions about whether it conditions kids to always look for a cure in a pill.
I wouldn't worry about "angst bunny" grievances, but I do wonder about this:

When I was a kid (yes, fifty years ago), if an adult kissed the bruise, it got better.

Does anyone know how and why that stopped working?

Or ... is it illegal to kiss a bruise now? Is that the point?


Charles Darwin and Kemal Ataturk have been spotted by devotees

As if to prove that modernization and secularization are not the same thing, as sociologist Peter Berger maintains, long-deceased cultural icons are "appearing" again. Darwin's face has been discovered in a tree and Turkish secularist Kemal Ataturk's face in a hillside shadow in a remote Turkish village. All the more interesting because Darwin is the icon of North American atheists and Atatürk was a devout secularist.

Apparently, the silhouette of Turkey's revered founder appears on the shadow that falls on these heights between June 15 and July 5. And thousands of Atatürk lovers, including military officers, bureaucrats and urban professionals, visit the region in order to observe this fascinating solstice.

Mr. Gülcemal Fidan, the mayor of Damal and a member of the ultra-secular People's Republican Party, or CHP, recently announced that the “Damal Festival in the Shade of Atatürk” will be observed every year, and his office has spared YTL 200,000 (about $163,000) for this year's organization — which is quite an amount for a tiny and poor area like his. Mr. Fidan also added that they expected Turkey's Chief of Staff Gen. Yasar Büyükanit to attend the celebrations.

Did Atatürk get "time off for good behavior" to come back and get his devotees favours from the Turkish government?
Now, I ask you, reasonable folk, does this - or does it not - beat the "Virgin Mary on a piece of toast"?

Toronto hack's view: Devotees - of Darwin, Ataturk, or kitsch Catholicism - "see" things.

The Florida toast cult claims that their piece of bread has mystical power. It never went bad in a whole decade - or anyway, no one ate it and got sick. Or got well. No one ate it at all. It was offered for sale.

Match THAT, Darwin and Ataturk!

(Note: The Catholic Church thinks that Jesus's mother Mary has sometimes appeared to help people. But read this for qualifying details. Do not phone the Pope about your toast. If you have not been living a really holy life, Mary prays for you. But if you are not listening to usual sources of good advice - why not start by listening to them, instead of waiting for a visit from her?)