Man Bites Dog

We need to get emotional support dogs out of the airplane cabin. Recent incidents of biting, here and here, are evidence that the dogs need our protection, not the other way around. Those bites only happened after the dogs had been pushed beyond their endurance. The New York Times Op-Ed page rails against the scam. A Yale researcher has pointed out evidence that reliance on pets for emotional support may be harmful. I speak for the dogs. Continue reading “Man Bites Dog”

At the moment, gun control matters more

Of course the gun nuts, their lobby, and the elected officials who have traded their souls for the money trot out the platitude that mass shootings demonstrate the need for better mental health care, not gun control.

On Saturday morning, a young man with a background full of warning signs walked into the public library in Winchester, Massachusetts, armed with a large knife, and fatally stabbed a young woman who was reading at a table. Bystanders, including a 77-year-old man, rushed to help and were able to keep the man at bay until the police arrived. One is dead, another injured.

It’s awful. But it’s not another 17 dead bodies. Jeffrey Yao lived in Massachusetts where it’s a lot harder to get a gun and there is much less “rah rah, we love guns” in the culture. When the madness seized him, he had only a knife.

Certainly we need a better system for dealing with mentally ill people who behave like Jeffrey Yao and Nikolas Cruz. Perhaps we could ask the psych experts instead of the police and courts to work on a system that protects the public and the individual. That will be a hard task. Gun control is not a hard task. Get it done.

Share the “road” with a paddle-boarder

I’m preparing for a open-water swim across Provincetown Harbor (charity event) in September, so I train at Walden Pond in the early mornings. It is a gorgeous place. There are a fair number of us swimming across and back, as well as trout fishers on the shore and the occasional boater. This morning I was making my way across for my first lap when a man fell off his paddle-board. I switched to the sidestroke and asked if everything was okay. “Yes,” he said cheerfully, clambering back aboard. “Happens all the time.” I wished him well and returned to the forward crawl, and then it occurred to me that I had just had a mundane social interaction, in 40 feet of water. I love my weird life.

While we’re on the subject of airplanes . . .

Could we resolve to be kinder to large people? I had an eye-opening experience on a recent flight.  I was seated in coach, the aisle seat, with 2 other women.  One was a little smaller than I, the other a little larger, but we all fit easily into the seats.  Before takeoff, I heard some raised voices, and then the flight attendant came by, eyeballing each row. I saw her lock in on us, and sure enough, she stopped. Speaking quietly, she said there was a problem up front, with a passenger who refused to put the armrest up to accommodate a larger man.  It was getting ugly.  Continue reading “While we’re on the subject of airplanes . . .”

Do I really need him in the cabin?

Happy to answer a question posted by NCG, and I apologize for hijacking the RBC with service dog issues . . .  I guess I’m not that sorry.  I didn’t start it.  NCG wanted to know if I need my balance-walker dog in the airplane cabin.   It’s a familiar question.  Children often ask to pet my dog when we’re in a restaurant, for example, and when I explain that they can’t pet him because he’s working, I get the kind of withering look that only a pre-schooler can give, and they point out that he is just lying there. No, I don’t need my dog once I’m seated in a restaurant or the airplane cabin, but I need him to get me there and back. If I can’t have my dog in the airplane cabin, here’s what my business trips would look like:  Continue reading “Do I really need him in the cabin?”

Boston was great

These are some of my fabulous neighbors.  Susanna is wearing the hat she knitted. Her mom is a doctor who works for social justice.  Dad is wearing a hat Susanna made for him by sewing pink cotton socks to a baseball cap so Dad could be a bunny, not a pussy.  To make his position clear, however, Dad carried a sign that read: “Bunnies for pussies.”   I drove 8 people in my Forester to the train station (you’re right, that meant three people in the cargo space) and we all marched.

Thrilling to see all the girls and boys who came.  Check out the girl with the sign written in French.  Oligarchs beware.  

Please don’t send me to the back of the bus

We’re working on it, Mike.

All due respect, you’ve made a couple of significant legal errors. Those dogs you’re complaining about? They are virtually all “emotional support” or “comfort” dogs. The status derives from a letter from a clinician saying that the person has an emotional condition and needs the dog to comfort or calm him or her. Yes, there’s a lot of abuse. And I don’t know why those dogs are allowed to be held in a lap during a flight.

Service dogs are different. I have had two and I’m waiting for my third to complete his training. The photo above shows me and Cormet, with the BOTEC team in DC. For a better explanation of how these dogs can help, take a look at this: Continue reading “Please don’t send me to the back of the bus”

Again, Commissioner?

Take a look at the video and read the article:

Here it is, 7 years after the arrest of Professor Gates, and the Cambridge Police have done it again. I will not tar the whole department with the brush properly applied to Det. Sgt. Ahern, (and a breath test notwithstanding, I’m betting he had been bending his elbow at the tavern across the street just before this act of testosterone-fueled lunacy) but for his acquiescence, the Commissioner deserves a thrashing. Continue reading “Again, Commissioner?”