We're in a motel room at Dewey Beach. The weather has been foggy since we arrived at 11:30 last night; one can only see about a hundred feet out to sea, which makes one wonder whether the world actually continues past there. As shalmestere
put it, it feels like being in a giant snow-globe. But it hasn't been too hot, too cold, too sunny, or too wet to go on several walks on the beach with the Things, or to walk up and down the main street visiting vendors of greyhound-related paraphernalia.
We had take-out cheese steaks for dinner in the motel room and turned on the TV, which afforded us an interesting glimpse of "how the other half lives." There was a local news story with the headline "Two pit bulls attack and kill owner". The anchorwoman, in dialogue with the reporter on the scene, elicited the information that a woman who had raised the two dogs from pups took out the trash, and when her son didn't see her return as soon as he expected, he looked outside and saw her dead body. "What did she die of?" "Being mauled by the dogs, of course -- there were extensive cuts and lacerations all over her upper body." "Had these dogs previously attacked anyone?" "No, the police report no previous complaints about this address, and the neighbors say they've never seen these dogs attack anyone." Which was starting to sound a little odd to me, but never mind.
The anchorwoman then broke away from the reporter on the scene to interview several "expert talking heads". "So, outlawing pit-bull ownership -- good idea?" The first "expert" replied "Absolutely. It isn't just pit bulls attacking people; worse yet, it's pit bulls attacking children. How long will it take, how many children have to be hurt or killed, before we take this obvious step to protect our children and also our people?" The second "expert" said something similar, and (I think) kvetched that the first hadn't gone far enough. The third "expert" said "Well, I've said it before: there are no bad dogs, only bad owners." The anchorwoman got a disgusted, "how stupid IS this guy?" look on her face, and interrupted "So it's the dead woman's fault?" "No, I didn't say it was her fault, but if we outlaw pit bulls, what's next? Outlawing Rottweilers? Doberman pinschers? German shepherds?" As he said this, the anchorwoman's face was replaced with a window of statistics: "pit bulls are responsible for 32% of all dog attacks", and so on. The anchorwoman returned and argued with him for a few sentences, then switched to her fourth "expert", who explained "There's some research that pit bulls have something in common with psychopathic killers..." "Wait a minute. Are you drawing an analogy between pit bulls and serial killers?" "Yes, in a manner of speaking. Many psychopaths are perfectly safe as long as they're the center of attention, but when they're not..." "Thank you, I've always respected you and your opinions -- until today." The anchor then went on to a fifth "expert" to ask "Are there other places that have already outlawed pit bulls?" He listed half a dozen towns and cities around the country that had done so; neither the anchor nor the "expert" said anything about how well it had worked.
Is this really called journalism? There was no time for followup or reasoned discussion, nobody seriously questioned whether the dogs HAD killed this woman, nobody pointed out the difficulty of enforcing such a law (what if you have a pit bull/black labrador cross? Is it half illegal? What about one quarter pit bull, or three quarters pit bull, or a stray mutt who looks sorta like a pit bull but you don't know its ancestry so you can't tell for sure?), nobody drew analogies to humans (if a black man commits a murder, do we outlaw blacks living in our town? After all, blacks are disproportionately involved in violent crimes. If a white man commits stock fraud, do we outlaw whites working in the financial sector? After all, whites are disproportionately involved in financial crimes.) And the one voice that opposed such a law was ridiculed, interrupted, argued with, and made to look like a fuzzy-brained liberal intellectual; of the three or four in favor of such a law, one was insulted (I guess to make the anchor look unbiased) in a way that didn't make any sense, and the others were left to speak their pieces uninterrupted.
Anyway, we changed the channel and watched "Goblet of Fire", which the front desk of the motel was playing from DVD over the in-house channel.
Friday morning's weather was similar, but despite the short range of visibility, we saw dozens of dolphins swimming along the shore, less than a hundred yards out (the beach is quite steep this year, so the water gets deep before one has gone very far). The sun came out, sorta, on Friday afternoon. More walks on the beach with the Things, and we were able to go swimming. The water was warm and pleasant, which I suppose is the up side of a remarkably warm and dry autumn.
Saturday and Sunday were gorgeous: clear blue skies with the occasional puffy white cloud, temperatures in the 80's. Went swimming several more times, walked on the beach a lot with the Things (the limiting factor being Thing One getting tired, although we can't see anything actually wrong with him).