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The ‘Free Pete’s Pig’ campaign and how you can help

I am currently in a bit of a dispute with my landlord. No, it’s not about back rent or a security deposit or whether I am keeping the yard in decent shape. No, this dispute is about a little pot-bellied pig named Hamlet.


How could anyone resist this little guy?


My girlfriend and I wanted to get him instead of a dog. They make very good pets and are a lot of the time smarter than dogs. We were all set to go buy him from Cincinnati, but before leaving we wanted to talk to our landlord about it.

Now, a little background is necessary. We live off County Road 25, on 23 acres of land. We moved there with two cockatiels as pets. In addition, the house “came with” two cats, who roam the land back and forth between our house and our landlord’s (Oh yea, she lives on the property with us). It is written into the lease that we have co-ownership of these cats, meaning we have to pay for half of their food.

The lease also says that IF we had a dog or cat of our own, we would be required to pay a $150 security deposit. It does not mention pigs. Hence, we wanted to talk to our landlord before just buying Mr. Hamlet here.

Our landlord’s reaction blew me away. She hated the idea. She said that pigs serve no purpose except companionship – they don’t scare raccoons away or protect the house. Yea, I know. Ridiculous. She also was worried that the pig would do some kind of major damage to the house. So we didn’t get Hamlet.

Now, I saw several issues in her argument. One, what purpose is a pet supposed to serve first and foremost if not companionship? And what utility do these two cats have that makes their existence “worth it?” Two, if our lease allows a dog with a $150 security deposit, that means she is willing to bet that a dog would not cause more than $150 in damage. So is a pig really more of a risk to the property than, say a Great Dane? I wonder if she’d let us get Marmaduke.

This is not over. We have not conceded defeat.

If you’d like to help, please post your thoughts, feelings or questions about the Free Pete’s Pig campaign. If you have a good pig story or picture, I’d love to see it too. Follow the campaign on Twitter for the latest news and updates.


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I’m all a-Twitter

I recently had the chance to cover my first public event live on Twitter. Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, came to Ohio University to speak about his research and to promote his views on the fast food industry.

I was eager to hear what he had to say, as recently I have been reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, a book by Michael Pollan that deals with a lot of the same issues presented in Schlosser’s book. I was joined by many of my classmates under the hash tag #OHJ314 – check it out for some great quotes, observations and other miscellaneous chatter.

I was happy with my experience. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was that while furiously trying to tweet a quote, I would miss what Schlosser was saying – I’m not the best multi-tasker.

Live twitter coverage is great, but I think it is more appropriate for say, a multi-day convention where many events are taking place in the same area. That way, not only would the coverage benefit those not present at the convention, but would also be able to alert other convention goers of interesting booths or events they might otherwise miss. Let’s leave nice live streaming video and running transcripts for the speeches and presentations.

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What you may not know about your dirty kitchen

As you get older, it seems that your cleaning habits get better. At least that’s how it has happened for me. Now that I have my own house, I understand why my parents always made me and my brothers clean ALL the time. It’s a lot of work to keep a clean home.

And according to this story out of Los Angeles, CA, it’s even harder to keep a clean kitchen.

The survey the L.A. County Health Dept. conducted said that 14 percent of respondents’ kitchens wouldn’t pass the same inspection restaurant kitchens have to go through. Now, some things are obvious – no one has commercial-grade, restaurant-approved appliances and countertops – but some things are completely controllable.

Simply storing raw meat or eggs in the lowest part of the refrigerator, not just on the bottom shelf, can reduce your risk of contamination. That means a lot of times storing your meat in the produce drawer. It seems most refrigerators are actually designed to promote poor food storage practices, leaving millions of us at risk of contaminated foods!

Be careful, and THINK!

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The Unanswerables

These days, many people immediately jump to Google or Bing for their Web searching needs. These sites are fantastic, I’ll be the first to admit. But I came across this list of “unanswerable questions” compiled by Ask, or Ask Jeeves.

According to this BBC article, the site compiled the list based on over 1.1 billion questions asked over the past decade. Most are predictable, but some are not – I love the “Did Tony Soprano die?”Ask Jeeves gave a minimal attempt to answer each one but left the floor open to comments. It’s worth a look.

So in the same spirit, I’d like to offer a few of my ‘Athens Unanswerables:’

1. What is the University saying about its students’ level of fitness if they installed escalators in place of just three flights of stairs in Baker Center?

2. If Thursday is the new Friday, and Monday is the new Sunday, do we need to have classes anymore?

3. If a paw paw tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

4. How many hours will I have to spend on my thesis?

If you have answers to these, or your own Athens Unanswerables, please share.

Maybe we will unearth some universal truth.

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