Man, sucking your meager existence off the backs of innocent animals just gets harder and harder every year doesn't it? And it looks like this year isn't going to be any different.
You know, if you're an overlord, it's almost like the universe is trying to tell you something, which is surprising to us because we didn't think the universe used language like that.
Well, whatever. The point is, as we said, this is the last FHB of the year and we're in a reflective mood here in the marbled halls so we thought we'd take a little trip down nostalgia lane and look at some of the highs and lows in this last year of animal exploitation.
As previously mentioned, the year opened badly for the overlords, but leave it to chief spokesman Gary Guccione to offer a stiring defense of killing and injuring living beings for profit. Unfortunately his campaign was less than successful. As we said at the time:
Hmm...OK let's recap. Mr Guccione embarks on a full throated defense of his industry in several papers around the country. Result: Aside from the tracks that are about to go out of business anyway, state legislatures begin to move to outlaw the whole enterprise. This can't be going according to plan.Well, never ones to dwell on the negative February bought us an example of the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of the overlords--or would if they had hearts. Anyway, meet Phil Ruffin whose plan was to corner the market on abandoned greyhound race tracks.
See what a genius this guy is? He's cornering the market on unused greyhound race tracks. Pretty soon if you don't want to go to a greyhound race you'll have no one to deal with but Mr. Ruffin. A total monopoly! Brilliant!March saw another attempt--this time by Smauel R. Burdette-- to convince people who suffer from chronic empathy that even though greyhounds appear to all intents and purposes to be living breathing sentient creatures, they are really commodities, much like your toaster and it is only the simple minded, bleeding hearts that are confused. Mr. Burdette, using geometric logic, set out to prove that without greyhound racing "Feed stores, veterinarians, parts of the food processing industry, fast food restaurants and other segments of our economy would struggle to exist," or as we more succinctly summarized:
No greyhound racing means TOFU BURGERS BITCHEZ!!!(eleventy)!!April is the month the overlords gather in Abilene Kansas to pat themselves on the back for making it through another year letting the dogs do all the work and take all the chances and thanks to our good friend whom we don't know, Mr. Dave Bergmeier, Senior Entertainment Editor for the Abilene Reflector Chronicle Observer Times Beacon Press Dispatch Post Review who covers these proceedings each year we had a ring side seat for the awards ceremony, although truth be told we thought the qualifications were a bit low. As we wrote at the time:
Herb 'Dutch' Koerner was recognized with the initial Lifetime Achievement Award and Gary Guccione, executive director of the NGA, said he was the perfect first choice. "After all, he did avoid prison," Guccione told the audience. "Not all of us can say that." He read several letters that had been used at to help reduce Koerner's sentence at his trial.May brought the ever delusional Gary Guccione back to FHB as he attempted to rebut a letter to the editor from well know animal rights wacko Caryn Wood. Mr. G opened with "The majority of states where greyhound racing is prohibited didn’t even have live racing when the bans were imposed," which seemed to us to be a bit of a faux pas, so we threw in our two cents:
Uh...Mr. G? Just a bit of strategical advice. When greyhound racing is so unpopular states outlaw it even when it's not around, that's probably not the strongest opening to your argument. Just a thought.In June no less a national icon than the Wall Street Journal ran a story on unit exploitation...um...greyhound racing and for a moment it looked like the overlords were finally going to get the national attention they craved. As we wrote at the time:
See, what the overlords need is some way to get the word out to the whole country, some major network or nationally circulated newspaper so say "Hey. We're Greyhound Racing. We Kill And Maim Animals For Your Enjoyment And Our Profit."Well, the article didn't go quite that far, but still, its conclusion couldn't have done much to brighten the overlords' day:
Paul Walden, a former trainer in Swindon in Wiltshire, whose family has been training dogs since the 1930s, recently quit the business altogether as it was bleeding cash.Ouch. Well, in July the overlords found another champion who wasn't afaid to tell the truth the way he saw it, Mr. Jim Blanchard who, taking a page from the Gary Guccione book of logic and style set out to prove that making the mistreatment of greyhounds public was the worst thing the organizations who publicized greyhound abuse could do. As we summarized his point:
If those people trying to draw attention to the mistreatment and neglect greyhounds suffer on the track would just stop being so public about the mistreatment and neglect greyhounds suffer on the track, then maybe they could get some credibility. you know like Anthony Fowler.In August it looked as if the overlords' future was brightening as they found someone stupid enough...er...we mean someone with a love of brutality...um...we mean someone with more money than brains who was willing to invest. A Mr. Eddie Lyons by name. There were, as we wrote at the time, some...ah...issues though. First of all, Eddie Lyons is a mobster and second, his strategy for winning is somewhat unorthodox. As we commented:
OK wait a minute. The guy is spending money to train dogs that can't race in the hopes that he will be able to breed them someday because people will be looking for racing dogs that come from a line of dogs that can't race, is that it?September bought to light yet more drugging scandals involving overlords Eric Butler and Alfred Vella. It also highlighted why you should pay attention in chemistry class if you're planning on making a career of cheating with drugs. As we commented at the time:
That seems to be it.
Perfect! You couldn't find a person more suited to invest in greyhound racing if you built them from the ground up.
Hmm...well in his defense we have to say that Alfred was apparently paying more attention in chemistry class than Eric was. We mean, caffeine? Yeah, we get that, but theobromine? Dude, that's chocolate! Now, chocolate might make some people run faster, but dogs? Ah...not so much. See, that's why the lure is a fake rabbit and not a snickers bar.In October we took a step away from our usual fare and told you the story of a group of college kids at Bergen Community College in New Jersey and their yearly Greyhound Adoption Day. As we said at the time:
Who says all college students do is smoke dope and listen to the rock and roll? Oh wait, that was us. We have no idea what college kids do today. Well, except for these college kids who appear to have decided to make a difference.November brought us back to the issue of overlords and chemistry in the person of one Dan Francati, general manager of the Kennel Club and Poker Room who, it seems, in a fit of economy was spraying a termite pesticide on the dogs. As Mr. Francati explained:
The event ties back into the school, with English as a second language students producing reports about greyhounds and the school's graphic designers creating T-shirts that are sold with proceeds benefiting GFNJ. Ha! Making a difference and getting credit for it. Are these kids smart, or what?
The chapter used a solution of equal parts Termidor, alcohol and water on the coats of the club's dogs as a flea and tick repellent. "Look, the kennels are infested with termites and the dogs are infested with fleas and ticks."Well said, Mr. Francati. His ultimate defense was equally impressive:
"Hey. What do you want from me?" Francati said. "It took me three years to get out of tenth grade fer chrissakes. Does that sound like chemistry major material to you?"Which brings us back to the present and our rapidly closing year. Just one task remaining. You ready for your closeup KB?
here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.
Eds. Note: As this is the last hound we are going to feature in 2011, we remind you of an Ironicus Maximus tradition because we're still sober enough to remember it ourselves. In this tradition we take the last skinny dog of the year and follow him from kennel to kouch. See how we played with the letter K? That's more subtle Ironicus Maximus humor right there. Funny too. Did you know K is the funniest letter in the alphabet?
Trust us. We know about these things.