As a pet-owner, I’m growing increasingly pissed off with the news coming out of this whole Menu Foods’ contaminated pet food debacle. Preliminary reports pointed to rat poison as the likely source of the problem, suggesting nefarious intent, but the latest laboratory analyses have found traces of melamine, a chemical used to make plastics, in the food. The source: tainted wheat gluten from China. My initial reaction upon hearing this was: “Why the hell are they importing wheat gluten from China?”. Alas, the answer is fairly obvious – because it’s cheaper and, really, who are we kidding, in business (and the pet food business is no exception) profits are the bottom line. I mean, I’ve seen the various commercials with their bounding cats and dogs, happy owners, and gentle-voiced narrators explaining how their respective companies truly care about the well-being of your pet. But do they really? Is there any truth to the complaint that Menu Foods was informed of the problem two full weeks before finally announcing the recall? How often do they test their product for problems? Why is it that in a April 1st MSNBC report, Menu Foods confirms the deaths of only 15 cats and 1 dog resulting from the consumption of their tainted product while The Veterinary Information Network, made up of some 30 000 veterinarians and students reported over 471 cases of pet kidney failure in just the ten days between March18th and March 27th? Pet Connection (www.petconnection.com), meanwhile, has been compiling their own database which puts the number of pet deaths at over 2 900!
While I’d love to believe that Menu Foods and the various pet food companies involved really do have the best interests of our pets at heart, I am quite frankly disinclined to place much faith (and the lives of my dogs) in them, especially after learning that grief-stricken owners looking to sue Menu Foods may get little in the way of compensation for their losses. They may recoup some of the money spent on veterinary bills but if they’re looking to get anything for their pain and suffering, forget it. In most places, pets are viewed as nothing more than property so owners are out of luck. Oh, did I mention that, according to that MSNBC report “ Dog and cat food sales in the United States reached over $14.3 billion in 2005, according to the Pet Food Institute that represents manufacturers of commercial pet food.”? Not bad. Not bad at all. Of course that healthy 14.3 could take a decided hit if, say, owners elect to bitch-slap the companies involved by seeking out alternate meal sources for their animals like: organic pet foods that don’t contain filler and crap like Chinese wheat gluten, the raw diet alternative, taking the time to cook for their pets (many websites offer quick and easy recipes. Fondy made the pugs some chicken breast and veggies for dinner yesterday.).
In the meantime, angry and inconsolable owners have taken to the net, expressing their
outrage and frustration on sites like –
Oh, and here’s one more website if you happen to be a customer of Iams pet food. Not only is the company part of the ongoing pet food recall, but it would seem their compassion for pets only extends to those whose owners purchase their product. Other dogs in their experimental care have not fared so lucky –
Okay, now that I got that off my chest and I’m in a suitably angry mood, let’s field some questions –
Alipeeps writes: “How are you in the kitchen? Are we talking gourmet standard chef here?”
Answer: I’m alright in the kitchen although, to be honest, I don’t have occasion to cook much. One time, last year, I had Gero, Hewlett, and various others over and went all out. The highlight of the dinner was a foie-gras and marscapone cheese stuffed rigatoni with black truffle butter. I’m more of an ice cream master.
Foolishpleasure writes: “Were you aware that “Red Mars” is a trilogy? You still have “Green Mars” and “Blue Mars” to read.”
Answer: Got ‘em but not sure when I’ll get around to them. So much to read…
Jason writes: “Will there be a new opening credit sequence for season 4?”
Answer: It will be a slightly modified version of the season three opening credit sequence.
Anonymous #1 writes: “Good God you eat a lot. Do you ever check your blood pressure?”
Answer: Actually, I did check my blood pressure the last time I was at the pharmacy checking out their selection of dark chocolates while Fondy shopped for shampoo and wrapping paper. My blood pressure is good.
Jesse writes: “Do you guys plan on filming any scenes at SFU for either Atlantis, Universe or the SG-1 Movies?”
Answer: Nope. Sorry.
Peter writes: “What, in your opinion, is the funniest line from both series? Oh, and whatever happened to that time-traveling puddle jumper of yours?”
Answer: Funniest line? I’m going to have to do some research to refresh my memory. As for the time-traveling puddle jumper – it’s in the shop for a fine tuning (it was off by a dozen decades either way). Hopefully, I’ll be getting it back in May. But you know how these things go.
Minigeek writes: “Back when I still had only two pug babies, I took the advice of a friend, packed them into my car and took us all to a “Pug-a-Lug”. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of these but, this is an event where people – specifically pug people and their furry companions – gather together in parks at predetermined dates and times for a giant social party of sorts.”
Answer: Yup. At the last Sunday of every month, pugs and their owners gather at Kits beach between 10:00 a.m. – noon for a furry free-for-all. Maximus likes to go bobbing for clam shells.
Majorsal writes: “When replicarter was inside sam’s head, showing her what fifth had put her through (being born, killing her friends in the gateroom); were those images what ‘really’ happened to replicarter, or where they images created by replicarter to influence/manipulate sam?”
Answer: The latter.
Pattirose4 writes: “Just curious where on earth do you store all those already read books?”
Answer: They’re all shelved in alphabetical order in my office.
Someday Scientist writes: “What’s with the sudden homosexual exposition on John’s part? Not that I’m complaining, just curious. Is our fearless leader perhaps projecting?”
Answer: No, but I believe Martin Gero is.
Kim W writes: “Okay, so you watch a lot of DVDs, try out all types of food/restaurants, read, blog regularly, and have a job. Seriously, where do you get the time?!”
Answer: My clone and I share the same hive mind.
Smiley Face06 writes: “Another Harry Potter question: What ‘ship are you rooting for? If you care at all, that is.”
Answer: I’m not a Harry shipper.
Luis Jr. writes: “Does Rob Cooper have a blog???”
Answer: Alas, the plug was pulled on his blog before he even had the chance to get started.
Royal Nonesuch writes: “What connection does the android Reese have to the replicators now (if any)?”
Answer: Now? None.
Arctic Goddess writes: “1. Is James Robbins related in any way to Ryan Robbins, who is a wonderful and talented actor (no, Ryan didn’t put me up to this :)). 2. You read a lot of sci-fi, which is understandable as a writer. Do you ever find yourself accidentally repeating themes in books you have read in the Atlantis episodes? How do you avoid that if it doesn’t happen?”
Answers: 1. No relation. 2. I haven’t yet but if or when I do, I’m sure the fans will be kind enough to inform me.
M writes: “How do you work out?”
Answer: I alternate lifting days and cardio days. Lifting: 45 minutes of 5 exercises, 4 sets of 12 plus 7 ab exercises again 4 sets of 12. Cardio – thirty minutes of high intensity running.
Tricia writes: “With the “extreme” Shep whump coming up in S4, does that mean we will also get some (juicy) infirmary scenes for Shep?”
Answer: Yup, but I don’t know what you would consider “juicy”.
Joshua Meyers writes: “1.)Has anyone ever paid you to be in an episode?. 2.)Was it alot?”
Answers: Nope and nope. Sad, no? I’m holding out for an appearance on the next season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Zabadoo writes: “How do you get a writing/directing agent? And what’s your least favorite SG-1 episode ever?”
Answers: Put together some writing samples or a short film and start knocking on some doors. Emancipation.
Anubis91 writes: “Is there any chance that we see a Wraith city?”
Answer: It’s possible.
Anthony writes: “How man season 4 scripts have been completed? And from the completed scripts, which is your favourite? Do you have a preffered food or beverage to consume while working on a script?”
Answers: Depends what you mean by completed. Of the completed scripts, I really like Missing. As for my preferred brain food – chocolate, natch.
Ankhmutes writes: “I also rec Charles de Lint and anything by Elizabeth Moon”
Answer: Loved The Speed of Dark. What a great protagonist.
Cadmanfan writes: “Could you tell us if we’ll see Cadman in season 4?”
Answer: Doesn’t look good.
Linzi writes: “Wondering if you had decided on some more backstory for Sheppard yet?”
Answer: Not yet.
Starr writes: “1) have you read Terry Goodkind’s ‘The Sword of Truth’ series – if so, what do you think? 2) have you read Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ series – and again, what did you think? 3) have you eaten at West Restaurant? Did/do you like it there?”
Answers: 1. Not yet. 2. I tried. 3. Love it. Great oxtail.
Grapesofwraith writes: “Any suggestions for a good sci fi book to start with?”
Answer: To start with Old Man’s War. More advanced, Childhood’s End.
Anonymous #2 writes: “On irrepressible, is there any truth to the “last time on SGA” part?”
Answer: Everything about the script was a gag. Except the part about killing off McKay in Adrift. Oh, and the introduction of Dr. Avril Poisson.
Anonymous #3 writes: “Just curious, do you use Final Draft to write your scripts?”
Answer: We use MovieMagic Screenwriter.