Hogwash Volume 44

Pets, Pokemon and Plagarism


Issue #44 ~ December 2015 


Rosi and Gardner

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Pet Estate Planning?

To whom does Muttley want to leave his supper dish?  And his precious beef bone (and the other 37 buried on the property)?  Does your cat need to “seal” her Last Will & Testament with a paw print?  No, your animals don’t really need an estate plan.  But you, their human, may want to provide for them, after your demise, as part of your plan.
We share our homes, and our lives, with our animals. Caring for them takes time, and money; food, supplies, and vet bills add up.  What will happen to them if something happens to you?  You can, and should, identify someone to care for them. Talk to that person; if they agree, you can then name her, in your Will or trust, to receive and care for your pets.  
What about the money, though?  To fund the care of your pets, you have a couple of options.  With a trust, you can give your trustee discretion to provide funds for the care of your animal friends as needed, for as long as the trust is in existence.  That can be especially useful if the pet caretaker is not the person you want to be your executor or successor trustee.  If you have a Will, you can leave a specified amount to the person who assumes responsibility for your animals, to cover vet bills, food, supplies and care.  With either approach, you could include a handwritten description of your special pet’s needs and preferences, especially if that statement is referenced in your will or trust.

Make some provision for your pets.  None of us is guaranteed a tomorrow.  Identify someone who will take over the care of your animal loved ones, and allocate some funds to follow them.

Yes, This Really Happened: Cartoon Seizures
Move over, Janet Jackson. December 16 marks the 18th anniversary of the truly bizarre incidents in TV history, the “Pokemon Shock.”
Pokemon is a Japanese animated television series that first aired in Japan in the spring of 1997 (the Pokemon franchise also includes video games and playable cards). The show’s storyline revolves around a ten-year-old boy who collects “pocket monsters” and dreams of becoming a “Pokemon master,” whatever that means.
On December 16, 1997, the series aired its 38th episode for the one and only time. Thirty minutes later, nearly 700 children were on their way to the hospital with ailments ranging from nausea and dizziness to loss of consciousness, temporary blindness, and epileptic seizures.
The culprit was the animation technique used during a battle involving Pikachu, the show’s most well-known Pokemon. The battle climaxed with a massive explosion, animated with strobe light flashes blinking at a rate of 12 Hz for a six-second period. The rapid flashing was so intense that it caused the show’s viewers (primarily children) to fall ill.
To make matters worse, news reports covering the incident replayed the intense battle sequence, causing yet more viewers to have seizures. Although only a few children were diagnosed with photosensitive epilepsy in the aftermath, later studies indicated that over 12,000 children experienced at least mild symptoms after viewing the controversial episode.
The incident was dubbed “the Pokemon Shock.” The Pokemon TV series was immediately suspended so authorities could investigate the cause of the seizures. Stocks plummeted, government meetings were held and TV broadcasters and medical officials established a series of guidelines for animated programs to prevent a similar crisis in the future. Episode 38 was banned, in Japan and elsewhere.
From a legal perspective, it is impressive that “the Pokemon Shock,” despite affecting hundreds of children, did not result in any lawsuits or government fines against the show’s creators. In contrast, the Federal Communications Commission sought $550,000 from CBS for airing Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl; federal courts eventually tossed that fine. One has to wonder whether the FCC has similar standards for “fleshing” and “flashing.”

In April 1998, a mere four months after the “Shock,” the Pokemon TV series was back up in the air. Based on this writer’s recent encounters with young children, the Pokemon brand is still quite popular.

Justification for Plagiarism?

How many of you recall the words of Tom Lehrer in his immortal song, “Lobachevsky” in which he sang about the great mathematician Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky, who, as Lehrer claims, gave him the secret of success in mathematics, a secret presumably applicable in diverse other areas:

Let no one else’s work evade your eyes, 
Remember why the good lord made your eyes, 
So don’t shade your eyes, 
But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize – 
Only be sure always to call it please ‘research’.

You can find the song on You Tube together with such other classics as “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park,” “the Old Dope Peddler,” and “Be Prepared.”


Although Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky was, indeed, an accomplished mathematician, whether he can be truly credited for the advice claimed by Lehrer is for others to determine.  But the advice, itself, is not to far from what our own Benjamin Franklin set forth in his well-remembered opus, Poor Richard’s Almanack.

This December is the 283rd anniversary Franklin’s publication of Poor Richard’s Almanack. First published in Philadelphia on December 19, 1732, Franklin published it continuously for 25 years until 1758, often giving credit for diverse articles to R. Saunders, his nom de plume.  Gathering material from diverse sources, including, perhaps, astrologers to forecast the weather, Franklin, like others who also published yearly almanacs, included in Poor Richard’s instructions on when to plant crops, forecasts of wet or dry seasons and other sage advice.  Justifying his use of unattributed statement and information from others, Franklin wrote in Poor Richard for 1746,

“I know as well as thee, that I am no poet born; and it is a trade I never learnt, nor indeed could learn… Why then should I give my readers bad lines of my own, when good ones of other people’s are so plenty? ‘Tis methinks a poor excuse for the bad entertainment of guests, that the food we set before them, though coarse and ordinary, is of one’s own raising, off one’s own plantation, etc. when there is plenty of what is ten times better, to be had in the market.”


With such guidance, remember, “Be Prepared.” and call it “Research.”    

Time to Get Organized

As the days of December tick down, one by one, with time filled with holiday preparations involving parties, gifts, cards and shrinking banks accounts – you know the drill – it’s best to look ahead, a mere two weeks. Yes, the month of January will soon be upon us.
Since being organized in 1983, the National Association of Professional Organizers, NAPO, (say that ten times) in 2005 gave birth to Get Organized Month. Now we all know that it is time to start collecting those odds and ends so that the IRS will have everything it needs to assure you of a proper tax refund. NAPO suggests that the work of organizing should not end there.
NAPO both trains and certifies Professional Organizers whose focus is to organize homes and businesses. Get Organized Month was established to increase awareness of both the availability and potential need for a professional organizer.
It is said that research shows that people waste as much as an hour a day, on average, looking for things they’ve misplaced. Who, with a cell-phone, reading glasses, car keys and wallets would doubt that statement? Referring to the calculator on your cell phone, an hour a day, 365 days a year reveals that one may spend more than 15 days searching for misplaced necessaries. Theoretically, if one got ORGANIZED those misspent 15 days might have been used more productively.
But, is it necessary to hire a professional? As a professional myself, I do not want to say categorically either Yes or No. After all, as adults or Adult Wanna-Bes, each of us is as capable of getting organized as we are capable of gourmet cooking of writing computer code. All you have to do is to decide to do it. Think about the parallel, of regularly picking up your own dirty laundry. It should not be too hard.
So, with the year 2015 coming to a close, with the need for an achievable New Year’s Resolution, why not try GETTING ORGANIZED. If, not unlike those resolutions of the past, it too is forgotten on January 15, there is always next year. Chances are you’ll have plenty of unorganized stuff to be ORGANIZED. After all, who needs those extra 15 days, .anyway?

December Thoughts

Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind.

To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.

If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world.”
~ Calvin Coolidge
Presidential message
(December 25, 1927)                             
Robert Frost, whose surname already connotes lower temperatures, was quoted as saying; “You can’t get too much winter in winter.” I think for a lot of us Northern Michiganders we wouldn’t mind some winter in winter this year.
A woman goes to the post office and asks for 50 Hanukkah stamps. “What denomination?” asks the clerk. The woman says, “Six Orthodox, 12 Conservative, and 32 Reform.”
There were two blondes who went deep into the frozen woods searching for a Christmas tree.

After hours of sub-zero temperatures a few close calls with hungry wolves, one blonde turned to the other and said, “I’m chopping down the next tree I see. I don’t care whether it’s decorated or not!”


Gary’s in the Kitchen!

Mango-Kale Salad
This has become a Gardner house favorite.
Mango (cut into chunks; frozen works well)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh lemon juice
If using frozen mango, remove from freezer, to thaw (it thaws pretty quickly). Chop (I prefer finely) your favorite variety of kale, and add on top of the mango.
Squeeze the juice from 1 whole lemon (or to taste) into ¼ – ½ cup of good-quality olive oil.  Briskly whisk them together. (An immersion blender is makes this task easier) Pour the dressing over the mango and kale.  
Top with the pecans, which are best roasted. (My choice is roasted and salted pieces; if you have raw halves, roast them lightly in a skillet with a bit of olive oil. It’s worth the couple of minutes that it takes!).  Add salt to taste (I don’t add any if the pecans are salted), and stir well to blend.

Easy Saltine Toffee

Need an easy, last-minute toffee for a holiday gathering?  This one is good, and not difficult.
1 ½ C butter
1 ½ C sugar
1 t vanilla
Saltine crackers
Chocolate chips
Chopped nuts (optional)
Boil the butter & sugar for 3 minutes; add the vanilla  
Line a 9×12 pan (or a 2 fruit cake tins, or . . . whatever) with buttered aluminum foil.  Place one layer of saltine crackers on foil.  Pour hot mixture over the crackers and bake at 350 degrees until light golden brown (watch it closely).
Sprinkle with chocolate chips, and spread lightly when melted.  Sprinkle nuts, if desired, on top.  Voila!


This recipe comes to Hogwash! courtesy of our friend Jacquie who made several changes to the original recipe published by a pet food manufacturer. Bon appetite to your favorite canine or feline friend.

Spot’s Chicken Stew

yield: 20 cups / Serving size: see below**

2 ½ pounds whole chicken, turkey or turkey carcass with the meat your family disdains
(cook it up skin, and all – you will debone the bird once it’s cooked)
¼ cup chopped fresh garlic
1 cup green peas
1 cup coarsely chopped carrots
½ – 1 cup coarsely chopped sweet potato
½ cup coarsely chopped broccoli
½ cup coarsely chopped zucchini
½ cup coarsely chopped yellow squash
½ cup coarsely chopped green beans
½ cup coarsely chopped celery
2 Tbsp dried rosemary
11 to 16 cups spring water

For dogs only: Add 8 oz whole barley and 6 oz rolled oats, and adjust the water content to a total of 16 cups or enough to cover the ingredients. (Grains are not recommended for cats.)

Combine all of the ingredients in a 10-qt stockpot (stainless steel) with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat as low as possible and simmer for 2 hours. Remove from heat, let cool and debone the chicken or turkey – this is critical, you should never feed your dog poultry bones. With an electric mixer or food processor, work in batches and blend all the ingredients into a nice puree; the stew should be slightly thicker for dogs and more soupy for cats. Make up meal-sized portions. Refrigerate what you’ll need for 3 days and freeze the rest.

Serving size: Amounts will vary depending on age, activity level, current health, weight, and season, but here are some guidelines. The amount shown should be split into at least two meals daily.

Dog’s Weight                         Total Daily Portion
Up to 10 pounds                    1 to 1 ½ cups
11 to 20 pounds                    2 to 3 cups
21 to 40 pounds                    4 cups
For each additional 20 pounds, add 2 cups. Remember, all pets are individuals, so let your intuition and observations guide you.

December Offer

The holidays make us all think of family.  Do you have anyone in your family who has questions about adoption?  Have them call us and mention ”
Hogwash!” and we will offer them a confidential consultation to discuss their questions, whether they are about stepparent adoption, private placement adoption, or other related procedures.

Offer Expires 01/15/2016

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