Chaser’s Story is First — Wars? What Wars?

Remember Rico, the German border collie who knows 200 words? Here comes Chaser, whose owner grew tired of teaching him even more than 1,022 nouns. They moved on to grammar lessons.

Chaser’s story made it to first on the New York Times “most emailed” list. I’ll include the full list below, for future reference, when we’ll have forgotten that one week ago, Rep. Gifford (D-Ariz.) was shot and many died.

Paul Krugman’s piece on the Health Care problems hangs on at number 6, despite addressing important issues. I can’t resist a quote:

    “And it’s not about the money. As I tried to explain in my last column, the modern G.O.P. has been taken over by an ideology in which the suffering of the unfortunate isn’t a proper concern of government, and alleviating that suffering at taxpayer expense is immoral, never mind how little it costs.”

David Brooks deals with matters of education and training choices that reflect how our society thinks about children, as much as Chaser’s story reflects how we think about animals. And yes, there are correlations.

    “I have the opposite problem with Chua. I believe she’s coddling her children. She’s protecting them from the most intellectually demanding activities because she doesn’t understand what’s cognitively difficult and what isn’t.
    Practicing a piece of music for four hours requires focused attention, but it is nowhere near as cognitively demanding as a sleepover with 14-year-old girls. Managing status rivalries, negotiating group dynamics, understanding social norms, navigating the distinction between self and group — these and other social tests impose cognitive demands that blow away any intense tutoring session or a class at Yale. ”

Like humans, like horses: all differences aside, do keep those horses in a social pasture environment whenever possible; allow dogs play time.

Back to the dog story, here’s the NYT most emailed list:

    1. Sit. Stay. Parse. Good Girl!
    2. David Brooks: Amy Chua Is a Wimp
    3. Personal Best: Close Look at Orthotics Raises a Welter of Doubts
    4. Defying Conventional Wisdom to Sell Glasses Online
    5. Paul Krugman: The War on Logic
    6. Mind: When Self-Knowledge Is Only the Beginning
    7. In Florida, Virtual Classrooms With No Teachers
    8. Bending and Stretching Classroom Lessons to Make Math Inspire
    9. By Bob Herbert: How Many Deaths Are Enough?
    10. Israeli Test on Worm Called Crucial in Iran Nuclear Delay

What is missing?
We’re in TWO WARS. I can’t find front page updates on either today. I can’t find the most current numbers of Americans who died in these wars on the front pages. I can’t even find them on the back pages, although I did see those grim numbers –with the estimated Iraqi and Afghani deaths there as well – somewhere but I can’t remember where. I’ve heard John Rothman, talkshow host on KGO-San Francisco, expressing his concern about the apparent lack of interest in discussing the wars.

Oh and the Chinese pres is visiting and we have tons of issues with China, don’t see that on the top 10.

Chaser’s story is first!
Ok, this post is not turning out the way I intended! I was going to to talk dogs. A bright border collie? Fantastic training? A dedicated owner? My kind of stories to love. Chaser’s vocabulary adds date to the growing file about animals showing us just how smart they are if we give a chance, if we foster their intelligence — intelligence that religions and traditions denied animals, women, blacks, assorted “savages,” and so on.

America needs a break from economic woes and endless wars and here’s Chaser. I’m glad feel-good news about dogs and humans are appreciated.

Still, shouldn’t we talk about the two wars?

More about Chaser and the scientific tests of his knowledge later.


Sit. Stay. Parse. Good Girl!
By NICHOLAS WADE, January 17, 2011

OP-ED COLUMNIST: The War on Logic
By PAUL KRUGMAN, January 16, 2011

OP-ED COLUMNIST Amy Chua Is a Wimp
By DAVID BROOKS, January 17, 2011


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