If you are an HVAC engineer or building maintenance manager, do you prefer to do things the easy way—or the hard way?
The answer should be obvious; yet the question is more than a rhetorical one.
In the masterful 1985 sci-fi comedy Brazil, filmmaker Terry Gilliam depicts a bleak, dystopian industrial society where everything is done the hard way. In this satirically imagined dysfunctional world, all machines are Rube Goldberg devices that function poorly, if at all. Electric wires dangle from shower heads. Individual telephones each have their own switchboard. Computers consist of bare cathode ray tubes from which big black hoses protrude. And—as seen in this clip from the film—the hardware innards of buildings are revealed to be an impossibly complex, hopelessly tangled muddle of unlabeled cables, ducts, pipes, valves, and rubber bladders. It is a plumber’s and pipefitter’s worst nightmare.
There are strange and mysterious sounds
When the winds of winter blow,
The long nights are crystal clear and cold,
And the fields and meadows are covered with snow.
~ Joseph T. Renaldi (from “Winter Wonderland”)
Even for those who don’t much like the season, winter does have its charms. Is there anything more serene than the sight of newly fallen snow on a frozen meadow, or more enticing than festive holiday lights illuminating a city street? Yet behind all that beauty lie dangers, hidden and unhidden, that every pet owner must be aware of once the winter months roll around. Now, with daily temperatures dipping below zero in New York, New England and other northern states, we will end the year with cautionary advice for pet owners keen to protect their animals from these perils and keep them safe, healthy, and happy. Continue reading
With Christmas rapidly approaching, perhaps you have already started making your list and checking it twice. Good luck with that. Finding just the right present for family and friends can be a tough job. But if that special friend or family member is also a pet owner, then here’s a unique, affordable gift idea that will make the job much easier… Continue reading
Meet Our Favorite Creatures of the Night
When people think of Halloween, they usually picture pumpkins, bags bursting with candy, and hordes of kids roaming the streets in cute costumes. They also imagine witches, ghosts, ghouls, and all manner of creepy, crawly things guaranteed to make one’s hair stand on end.
This darker side of Halloween stems from its earliest pagan roots, particularly the ancient Celtic festival of Samain. That word in Old Irish literally means “summer’s end,” the season which ushers in the darker half of the year, with its longer, colder nights and gray, lifeless landscapes. For our pagan ancestors, this was a transitional time of year, full of magic and mystery, when the boundary between the world of the living and that of the fearful spirit world was at its thinnest. Thus, occasionally, those creatures of the gloomy Otherworld—deities and demons, ghosts and fairies—would more easily be able to cross over and dwell among us.
Over the centuries other folklores and superstitions attached themselves to present-day Halloween customs, so that now we have quite a menagerie of seemingly monstrous beings to contend with when October 31 rolls around—including certain real-world animals.
Granted, all animals are beautiful in their own way. However, the appearance and behavior of some of these animals lend themselves perfectly to the eerie atmosphere that Halloween inspires. Here are the most popular ones, with a little explanation as to why and how they became associated with Halloween. Continue reading
Below is a guest blog article by our social media editor, Frank Weaver, who just returned from a trip to the Balkan region of Eastern Europe.
If you are an animal lover, one of the first things you will notice when traveling through the Republic of Croatia is the large number of stray cats you encounter wherever you go. Especially in big cities, but also in small towns, they are everywhere!
While there are cat sanctuaries and rescue shelters to be found here and there in Croatia, they are few and far between, and no doubt their funding is marginal. That being said, such organizations would in some degree be serving a need that may not really exist. In this country, the human and feline tribes seem to cohabit independently yet connected in a kind of perfect symbiosis. These cats belong to no one, yet belong to everyone. Continue reading
An engraving depicting animals from the Royal Menagerie at Exeter Change in the Strand. [Source © Museum of London]
Now that the dog days of August are long past and the evenings have started to get ever so nippy, we at Ketchum…wait—dog days
? What does that even mean? What do dogs have to do with August? Curious, we looked it up; and in the process discovered a slew of other interesting animal-related idioms commonly in use in the English-speaking world. Herewith—our favorites. Continue reading
When visitors first pull into the parking lot of our manufacturing facility in Lake Luzerne, New York, they are immediately struck by how small it looks—from the inside. But no one should be fooled by first impressions. For once they step inside, they are dumbfounded by how big it is in reality. Continue reading
Most people, when they think of cows, picture them in numbers grazing contentedly on rolling green hills. That is, the average person does not see them as individuals but in the plural as cattle, as part of a herd: nameless, indistinguishable one from another, a little un-fantastical, never to be acclaimed, and certainly not destined for “great things.” Once you’ve seen one cow, you’ve seen them all, right?
Yet, don’t be fooled by their seeming docility. As any cow-owner will tell you, each has in fact a distinct personality. And while most have remained anonymous throughout the long history of human-domesticated livestock, there are those that have made their name and achieved fame, if not notoriety—from Pauline Wayne, President Taft’s prized Holstein, who once grazed the grounds of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue; to fearsome Ratón, the Spanish fighting bull responsible for the death and maiming of dozens of toreadors foolish enough to face him (hence the bull’s nickname, el toro asesino, “the killer bull”).
Here are five more brilliant bovines that have made their mark on history. Continue reading
Attic red-figure cup in the shape of a cow’s hoof and depicting a herdsman along the rim
A family-run business for four generations, Ketchum Mfg. Co., Inc. has been manufacturing high-quality livestock and pet tagging products since 1928. But did you know that the history of our industry can be measured not just in years—but in millennia? Continue reading
Celebrating Animals for National Poetry Month
Throughout our short but spectacular history, we of the bipedal mammalian species known as Home sapiens have been utterly fascinated by our quadruped cousins in the Animal Kingdom (not to mention our finny friends and wingèd companions on this Earth). For centuries we have written learned books about them, recounted their exploits in ancient fables and folk tales, celebrated them in song, drawn their figures on cave walls and canvas, and we began photographing them relentlessly almost as soon as the camera was invented.
And, it goes without saying, we have composed countless poems about them. The sheer volume of poetry dedicated to our fellow creatures—all manner of flesh, fish, and fowl, from monkeys to microbes, from the common to the exotic, limbless and many-limbed, the living and the extinct, and all inhabiting every corner of this amazing terraqueous globe of ours—is daunting, to say the least. Where to start?
This April, to celebrate National Poetry Month, Ketchum Mfg. Co. showcases just a few of our favorites among the most famous poems about our brother animals—both wild and domestic. Continue reading