Tag Archives: rafael nadal

first, pill-popping pets. now suing simians?

This morning, while poking around the New York Times, I read that “Spain’s parliament recently passed a resolution granting legal rights to apes,” which is good news for Rafael Nadal. The law will allow chimps to be kept in zoos, but they will no longer be allowed to perform in circuses or other performances, and any research that would harm them has been banned.

I’m torn about my thoughts on this news. I’m a big fan of animals — though not to the point where I’ll give up my sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches — and in a lot of ways, apes certainly seem deserving of some legal rights. As the author, Adam Cohen, points out,

Great apes are biologically very close to humans; chimps and humans share about 98 percent of their DNA. Apes have complex communication skills and close emotional bonds. They experience loneliness and sorrow. They deserve some respect.

Still, I can also see where the worry about a slippery slope would come in. Sure, it might be easy to agree that because they are so close to humans, apes deserve some protection, but could this open the door to offering legal rights to dogs, cats, even hamsters? Maybe not, but it’s worth thinking about, especially in light of another recent NYT article that Kathleen briefly posted about: “Pill-Popping Pets.”

In the article, James Vlahos visits a German shepherd, Max, who has recently begun taking psychoactive drugs for the treatment of, essentially, doggy OCD. Max’s symptoms sound awfully familiar. For starters, he has separation anxiety. About a decade ago, my family got a dog named Granby, who was sweet and loving and mellow — while we were around. When left alone, he could break free from a kennel that was secured shut with bungee cords, and would, among other things, knock our TV from its shelf and eat the insulation from our pipes. After two months, we had to send Granby away to live on farm, where he had room to run around (I’m still not completely convinced that “farm” doesn’t mean “heaven,” but my mom swears Granby’s fine). If given the opportunity to get Granby to calm down with a little doggy Prozac, we might have jumped at the chance.

On the other hand, our current dog, Copper, is also a bit of a terror, but I don’t think we’d ever consider medicating him (besides “calming pills” that my mom used to give him, three at a time, which had absolutely no effect). Sure, Copper occasionally eats entire cakes or finds a way to shotgun a Hansen’s soda or hides my favorite shoes, but although his behavior is frustrating, we can handle it. 

Along with his love for human food, Copper has a need to always be close to people, like the dog in the article. About Max, Vlahos writes:

For starters, there was his overpowering need to be near people, especially Allan [his male owner]. If they put Max outside, he quickly relieved himself and then rushed back indoors; he raced into rooms that Allan was about to occupy; he rested his head against the bathroom door during his master’s ablutions.

That’s Copper in a nutshell. He’s not content to just be in the same room as me, but he feels the need to actually be on my lap (he’s not a lap dog). Waiting outside while I shower isn’t enough; he needs to sit directly in front of the shower door. And to get super cheesy on you, it’s these qualities that make Copper so endearing. The thought of medicating them away is appalling.

Cohen makes perhaps the most important conclusion we can take from both of these articles. Sure, we are obligated to take care of our animals (in the various ways that can manifest itself), but only so long as we are taking care of our fellow humans first:

American law is becoming increasingly cruel. The Supreme Court recently ruled that states are not obliged to administer lethal injections in ways that avoid unnecessary risk that inmates will suffer great pain. If apes are given the right to humane treatment, it just might become harder to deny that same right to their human cousins.

[Posted by Mallory]

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Filed under animals, news

monkey boy prevails over roger federer.

You’re so getting the wrong idea about Kathleen and me with all this sports coverage, but hey, exciting stuff is on TV, and it is our duty as bloggers to watch and report. I’ve been casually following Wimbledon, so as a follow-up to Kathleen’s post about the wonderful Williams sisters, let’s talk about the men.

When I watch any sort of sporting event, I need to choose a team/person to cheer for in order to get invested in watching. For tennis, I like to select the more attractive player and then enthusiastically root for him. So when Roger Federer was playing against Marat Safin, I rooted for Safin:

In retrospect, I think I may have made the wrong decision, considering that my Google image search turned up a lot of these douchey model-like photos of Safin. Anyway, in the Federer-Nadal championship match, there was no question which player I’d cheer for. Sure, I’d rooted against Federer a few days before, but a moderately good-looking human (which Federer is) will always prevail over an actual monkey:


And yeah, that might be an unflattering photo of Nadal, but dude looks like a monkey. He even eats bananas as a mid-match snack. So for this match, Roger was my man. My sister and I watched the match from the gym, feeling kind of lame as we struggled to run for more than ten minutes while ol’ Roger and Rafa battled away for nearly five hours. After watching Federer come back from two sets down to tie things up and get into a fifth set, we thought that the match would be postponed until the next day because of the rain. We thought it was safe to step away from the TV and go to the pool, but no! As we were ordering lunch, we noticed that the match was still on, so it was back into the locker room to watch the rest.

Man, that thing was intense. Federer and Nadal have played each other in the past five Wimbledons, and even though Federer won each time (beating Nadal in the championship just last year), this sixth meeting was insanely evenly matched. The two went game for game until the bitter end, when Nadal finally broke Federer’s serve and went on to win. (And that’s no easy serve to break.) After about four and a half hours of play, the final score was a crazy 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7. My sister and I were glued to the TV, chatting excitedly with all of the old ladies that came into the locker room to watch with us.

As much as I was rooting for Federer, I’m quite impressed by Nadal. The guy is only 22 years old, and he’s already played in six Wimbledons (not six finals — thanks to commenters Sinead and Em for correcting me on those facts). Sure, he looks like a primate, but I can’t even say anything snarky about that record. What have I done in my two decades of life? And I can’t do anything for four and a half hours, let alone bust my ass running around a tennis court. (I also have to admit that it was pretty cute when Nadal monkey-climbed his way through the stands to hug his parents…that got a tear or two out of me.)

When Federer put a cable knit sweater on over his sweaty tennis clothes about 10 seconds after the match ended, I forgot about Nadal and decided I was actually in love with Roger. Then I noticed that the sweater was monogrammed with his own little logo that was on the hats all of his supporters were wearing. Is that pretentious? I’m still undecided. Also, I discovered that he and his cute longtime girlfriend/fiancée/wife (I can’t figure it out) had a photo shoot with Annie Leibowitz featuring photos like this:

I’m sorry, but seriously, Roger? (See more of the slideshow here.) And then in my Wikipedia research, I discovered two more disturbing facts: he launched his own FRAGRANCE back in 2003, and he’s good friends with Tiger Woods. Sigh. Now I’m all conflicted. Anyone have any insights on Roger? Or Monkey Boy, for that matter? I’m just going to lie down and have a cold beverage.

[Posted by Mallory]


Filed under crushes, sports