Digital Chum - Virtual fish guts and other nonsense

April, 2009:

Farewell, Pokey

This Monday was a sad day for me. I had to take Pokey, my cat, to the vet to get put down. He was 18 years old and had been getting weaker and losing some weight over the past week, but Sunday night, he fell on the stairs and hurt himself to the point where his back legs wouldn’t support him. He seemed to be in pain when he’d try to move his back end, so it was best to end his life peacefully.

Pokey claiming the computer for himself

Pokey claiming the computer for himself

I got Pokey at a friend’s farm while visiting for his wedding. He and his brother Casper (who died in 2001) were about 8 to 10 weeks old when I got them. Pokey was the runt of the litter, but was only a little bit smaller than the other kittens. He was a great cat and was always super-friendly… to me. He was pretty much scared of almost everyone else until his last few years when he lost his hearing which seemed to make him a lot more laid back. He also became a lap cat in his last couple years. He’d always preferred to lie right next to me on the couch, but had taken to curling up in my lap when I watched movies.

Eighteen years is a long time to have a pet, especially a cat, and he’ll be missed… a lot.

So Much for Catwoman

I’m not even sure how to begin with this one. It seems that the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops finds it necessary to have Senator Danny Martiny file a bill that will prohibit Louisiana scientists from creating human-animal hybrids for experimentation. I’m not kidding.

Conference lobbyist Danny Loar said the bill is designed to be a “pre-emptive strike” against scientists who might want to mix “human and animal cells in a Petri dish for scientific research purposes. . . . It is becoming more of an issue globally.”

Then there’s this statement…

Martiny and Loar said they are unaware of any attempts to do that type of research in Louisiana.

However, that won’t stop them from proposing legislation to ban it. I mean, it’s becoming a global issue! It’s not like there’s more important stuff that should be dealt with in Louisiana right now, anyway. Maybe they should also propose legislation banning the use of insects in space-flight research. I’m unaware of any attempts to do that type of research in Louisiana, but it could happen!

Martiny’s bill would make it illegal to “create or attempt to create a human-animal hybrid, . . . transfer or attempt to transfer a human embryo into a non-human womb . . . (or) transfer or attempt to transfer a non-human embryo into a human womb.”

That’s a far cry from doing some stem cell research. It seems that, about a year ago, the British Parliament approved legislation allowing scientists to mix human and animal DNA in cloning experiments. Any human embryos created this way would be destroyed after 14 days, the goal being to create new stem cells for use in research into the curing of diseases. They did, however, reject using sex cells of a human and an animal.

The Louisiana bill, however, seems to take issue with creating growing creatures in the womb… sort of a Doctor Moreau thing (though he was a vivisectionist). There doesn’t seem to be any attempt by scientists to create any sort of viable human-animal hybrid, yet it seems to be a fear of the Catholic Bishops… enough so to persuade a state senator to propose legislation banning it.

I’m not really sure what’s sillier: the fear that scientists are going to make mutant human-animal hybrids or the fact that a state senator actual proposed a legal ban on the act, presumably with a straight face.

At least Vincent gets grandfathered in.


Central Station in Antwerp, Belgium…