July 9, 2010

"Every shoe has a hamster in it."

Is that so much harder to understand than "Every toothbrush is in a mug"? It is, for a lot of people. We're talking form here. Grammar. Not why anyone would be putting hamsters in shoes.


But if you're reading this post because you're interested in hamsters... did you read that the City of San Francisco is considering a ban all the sale of all pets except fish? And hamsters are getting singled out as the core problem the sensitive Friscans are aching to solve:
The real problem, [the city's animal control] staff said, is hamsters.

People buy the high-strung, nocturnal rodents because they're under the temporary impression that hamsters are cute and cuddly. But the new owners quickly learn that hamsters are, in fact, prone to biting, gnawing through expensive wiring and maniacally racing on their exercise wheels at 2 a.m.

So the animals end up at the shelter. Just about every species has its own rescue group in San Francisco, but no one seems to want hamsters. Hamsters are the No. 1 animal euthanized at the city's shelter, said San Francisco Animal Care and Control director Rebecca Katz.

"It's definitely a concern," she said. "They're an impulse buy, and we do sometimes get tons of them, especially babies."
Ms. Katz is upset about the death of baby hamsters. Presumably, there is also a Ms. Hamsterz who's upset about the death of kittens.


I hope you understand this blog post. I know there are a lot of people who don't understand some sentences. Do you understand my sentences? Is it the grammar... or is it something else?

What's the hardest part of reading these blog posts?
There's some strange grammar here.
Too many questions, not enough answers.
I'm never quite sure what Althouse's point of view is.
There's some crazy topic switching here and I don't know why.
I'm dogged by the feeling that, like some evil kitty cat, Althouse is toying with us.
pollcode.com free polls


E.M. Davis said...

San Francisco sucks.

AllenS said...

You have a pet peeve?

john said...

I think it's more accurate to say "Every slipper has a hamster in it". However, I am losing interest in this subject and am now wadding up a spitball to throw at my puppy, who is chewing my slipper.

danielle said...

emotional Althouse is right.

what's this new caring about what people think nonsense ? I like this blog because you're smart, and because I read opinions here that I typically don't encounter. And that's why I put up with some of your unnecessarily mean commenters (and that's the only 'hard' part of this blog).

Meade, I think she needs some help this morning.

john said...

Vicious vermin, they never die soon enough.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I never met a meta-post I didn't hate.

chuck b. said...

There's a gay joke about gerbils in here somewhere. In a dark, warm place where many people won't go.

Chip Ahoy said...

Two *click* two *click* two posts in one!

This is why cakewrecks.com is such a riot. You read in the icing where the comprehension of a telephone order went off the rails.

"Happy Birthday Name in Blue"

Shame about the S.F. hamsters though. I can see how a specific problem with particular rodentia leads directly to overarching ordinance affecting all pets ownership. It's only natural. But I'm still more concerned about all those feral rats running around without any owners to care for them directly. (Discounting the Chinese restaurants I've seen that set up attractive little feeding shrines on the floor specifically for their house rats.)

rhhardin said...

It might be that there are no shoes.

A.W. said...

i think if you are a "sympathetic reader"--that is a person who is actively trying to understand your point, its not so hard to understand.

Lucien said...

I'm shocked to think that San Francisco euthanizes hamsters.

There is a more eco-friendly way: take them down to the python-rescue headquarters.

(Al Gore would be appalled.)

Also, there is a typo in your link to the SF law. (Muphry's Law at work?)

former law student said...

Yes, things that don't make sense are harder to follow. The classic example is "My hovercraft is full of eels."


former law student said...

And hamsters live only two years. Just separate the boys and girls and the problem will be self-limiting.

michaele said...

Love the last poll choice for 2 reasons:
1. It gave me an easy out.
2.It has a layer of cleverness with the use of the word "dogged".

Bob said...

Will they even ban gerbils?

blake said...

This just in: People are illiterate.

blake said...

Wait, what's hard to understand about accidentally driving your hovercraft through a swamp?

Irene said...

Driving in a city with too many hamsters.

Oligonicella said...

Hamsters are snake food. No more.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

My nephew gave my son a hamster for Christmas several years ago, right after our dog died (the day after my son's birthday, 2 days before Christmas, on my granddaughter's birthday.) His name was Zippity. He was a nice enough hamster. My son, who was about 11 at the time, liked watching him and holding him. Zippity did like to run the wheel in the middle of the night, but we mostly thought that was funny. One evening, I heard a lot of commotion--banging, things being dragged around, etc. I went upstairs, and my son was dragging everything out of the closets, looking for Zippity, who had gotten out.

He found him, and Zippity lived almost 3 years. He developed some severe edema, and could barely move, so we took him to the vet. That was at the same time that I'd caught a mouse in the basement in one of those swinging door traps that keeps them alive. We were going to let the mouse out in the field near the vet's office. Rounding a curve, the trap fell onto the floor of the car, the door swung open, and that little black mouse started scurrying around the car, under my feet. I was a little distracted. Fortunately we were close to the vet's office, and one of the staff came out and helped my son get the mouse out of the car. The mouse got out, the hamster was put down, and is now buried in the back yard, against city ordinance.


Geoff Matthews said...

Just find the guys who own pythons and the problem solves itself.

edutcher said...

San Fiasco is weird when it comes to domesticated animals (not to mention cats, dogs, etc.). They think it's cruel and unusual to dock a dog's tail. The Blonde was there for a conference a few years ago and saw an undocked Yorkie. Said it was the weirdest thing she ever saw.

As you may imagine, the hotel was right by Chinatown and she didn't venture far from it.

chuck b. said...

There's a gay joke about gerbils in here somewhere. In a dark, warm place where many people won't go.

Go to the Darwin Awards and read about the gerbil rocket. You don't need a joke.

Fred4Pres said...

What about gerbils?

former law student said...

Gerbils are illegal in California, because they could spread and decimate crops.

Henry said...

Still, "Every shoe has a hamster in it" has to be easier to understand than "Every shoe has a companion animal in it."

Please don't put fish in the shoes.

Henry said...

Or, as Obama would say, "Please don't put fish in my shoes."

Smilin' Jack said...

Do you understand my sentences?

Raise your hand if you can't hear me.

Hagar said...

Walk softly today and do not speak if you do not have to.

lemondog said...

re: Zippity, fine outline for a childrens book.

Zippity and the Mouse.

At least Zippity's last moments had excitment.

Walk softly today and do not speak if you do not have to.

Walk softly but carry a big hamster.

Every shoe has a hamster in it.

dave1310 said...

Three issues here:
1.)I always suspected, based on urban rumor, that hamsters died in more, umm, un-natural scenarios in SF. Who would have ever thought they would at the Humane society ever end up?
2.) Perfectly good sentences lose their meaning when they become entangled in a bit of local conjugation, especially in southern Wisconsin. No matter how you try to avoid it you will pick up a bit of "down the alley ran the dog"
3.) Meade, thx 4 warning. Guess I shoulda put this on a paper airplane.

David said...

Is that a hamster in your shoe, or are you just glad to see me.

jimspice said...

I've learned from commenters here never to trust pointy headed liberal academic scientist socialists. So this study is dead to me.

JAL said...

I did CPR on a hamster. Maybe 2.

One of my kids was on a date to the movie Garden State. When the mom shows up with the hamster my daughter's date could not figure out why she was on the floor in hysterics.

The immediate message on leaving the movie to the other siblings was "You've GOT to see this movie."

We liked our hamsters. One slept on the nape of youngest daughter's neck while she read.

We *did* have an hysterical one that we took back. Couldn't stand the little screaming act it did ....

wv jimene

bagoh20 said...

99.9999% of all the hamsters that ever lived are now dead. I had nothing to do with it.

"And hamsters live only two years. Just separate the boys and girls and the problem will be self-limiting."

Your asking for a lot of furry sin there boy.

AST said...

Those drawings aren't very clear. The confusion could be with identifying what look like poodles in doggy dishes as hamsters in shoes. They certainly don't look like hamsters and they certainly don't look like shoes.

Before you get to grammar make sure the pictures are clear.

From Inwood said...

Every Althouse post has a clue in it.

s/Sigmund Freud

Duncan said...

I reserved comment after seeing the pictures because I had my doubts about whether the shoes were shoes or the hamsters hamsters. The soldier and the sailor seemed to be such.

I'm guessing the language differences have little to do with training but lots to do with practice.

I've tended to read all day for more than 50 years (proud Rush and Anne birth cohort member). I've tended not to shoot hoops all day for 50 years.

My reading's a lot better than my hoops.