Scattershot: Dogs, Dogs, and Blobs

  • Wonder Dog? In Toronto, a dog may well have prevented a massacre. The dog—whose identity has yet to be confirmed (sounding more and more like a superhero)—approached a man who was planning a killing spree, thus defusing the situation. The man’s plan was to load his weapons and then drive around, killing at random, etc., etc.; fortunately for everyone involved (or not involved), the plucky pooch melted his heart, averting disaster. Said Det. Nick Ashley: “He happens to be a pet lover, and decided that since there was such a nice dog in the area, that people were too nice and he wasn’t going to carry out his plan.” Police found the following in the man’s car:
    • 6,000 rounds of ammunition
    • two rifles
    • a shotgun
    • a semi-automatic pistol
    • a revolver
    • an air rifle
    • a machete
    • a hunting knife
    • a throwing knife
    • a camouflage mask
    • netting

    People are betting it’s either Elvis Presley, a black border collie, or Dante, a husky-Australian shepherd mix, though it also could’ve been park regular Mattie.

    (Reuters: “Friendly Dog Prevents Killing Spree?” [June 25, 2004]; and Reuters: “Mystery Hero Dog Captures Toronto’s Imagination” [June 28, 2004])

  • sands dogsA Gamble. In other news, less civic-minded dogs were found gambling in Atlantic City (right). To be fair, it wasn’t entirely their fault. Employees at Sands Casino used dogs to re-create the scene of the famous painting with dogs playing poker (called “Looks Like Four of a Kind” and painted by C. M. Coolidge around 1910, for all you trivia buffs). Here’s the original (below, center), if you’re itching to make a comparison:
    C. Coolidge's painting

    (via AP/CNN: “Dogs gamble in Atlantic City” [June 24, 2004]; other informative links above left uncited)

  • Rest Easy. In July of 2003, something appeared on a beach in Chile. A very large something: 13 tons, more or less; a giant, amorphous blob. To the dismay of those hoping for proof of some as-yet-unknown species of enormous deep-sea squid (keeping in mind that known deep-sea squid can get large enough, thankyouverymuch), scientists have recently proved that the blob and others like it are nothing more than the remains of dead whales. These same scientists put to rest the question of numerous other beach blobs, including

    …the “giant octopus of St Augustine” from 1896, the 1960 Tasmanian west coast monster, two Bermuda blobs from the 1990s and the 1996 Nantucket blob…

    (New Scientist: “Beach blob mystery solved at last” by Jon Copley [June 27, 2004])