Must love dogs – the Australian Internet dating version

Oh John Cusack and Diane Lane; you were both so cute in the 2005 romantic comedy, Must Love Dogs.

And that’s why Jodie O’Brien and her husband, Tom, started, a dating website for a particularly niche clientele.

"We started to notice over the years that a lot of our friends are really intelligent, good looking people, easy to get along with. But they’re having trouble finding a partner simply because they themselves might be big dog lovers and they can’t find someone with the same passion for animals as them. Sometimes it has come down to that making a difference.:

Match-making for animal enthusiasts is just the latest service in Australia’s booming pet industry, which, in recent years has expanded from pet shops and pooch salons to doggy daycare facilities, dog sports training, pet portraits and even pet psychics.

With around 65 per cent of Australian households owning at least one pet, Sydney dog-owner Brittney Smith recognised the large market for her website,, which she set up earlier this year.

Described by many as Facebook for dogs, is a social networking site where owners can set up backyard playdates for their cuddly companions, instead of leaving them unsupervised to cause havoc at home.

Saddle up, it’s a gross one

Having worked at Subway I know better than to trust a food handler wearing gloves. During my sandwich artist days I rarely changed gloves as often as needed, and almost never washed my hands before gloving-up. And I’m not alone.

The Phoenix New Times food blog, Chow Bella
, has a section dedicated to exposing dirty diners, appropriately called Gross Out. Today’s feature is Saddle Ranch Chop House of Glendale, Arizona. Gross Out highlights findings from the restaurant’s latest inspection.

 From the report:

"Employee observed to wash hands then pull dirty towel out of back pocket and dry hands with towel."

"Observed employee on cook line to dip gloved finger into sauce and lick sauce off of finger then continue to handle ready-to-eat foods."

"No paper towels or approved hand-drying devices at handwash sinks in all bars."…

Gross indeed. You never know where that finger (or glove) has been.

Finding the right words

Valentine’s Day isn’t so much about the chocolate or the candlelight or the bling; it’s a reminder of the kind words that should be shared between lovers all the other days of the year.

I didn’t get that off a greeting card.

Finding the right words can be rewarding. As Jimmy Buffett sings,

“But the right word at the right time
May get me a little hug
That’s the difference between lightening
And a harmless lightening bug.”

Barry Glassner, a sociology professor at the University of Southern California, said
many more children will die from being hit by lightning than tainted peanut butter, which has so far killed nine and sickened 636 people.

"Are you going to prohibit your child from going outside every time it rains? If you’re rational, what you’ll do is, if there’s lightning outside, you’ll keep them in, and when that’s done, you let them go out safely and go to school in the rain. I think this is the same thing. It’s very reasonable to take peanut butter off the menu until we knew what was going on, but then it’s not anymore."

Risk comparisons are risky. I’m not sure how lightening compares to the deliberate, criminal, douchebaggery of knowingly sending out product laced with Salmonella.

Associate Professor Mark Kantor with the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Maryland blamed the current outbreak on former U.S. president Ronald Reagan (1980-1988).

"The current problem of salmonella in peanuts can be traced back to the Reagan presidency when a nationwide climate of deregulation began.”

If someone like Stewart Parnell, CEO of Peanut Corporation of America, wants to break the law, it will get broken, regardless of who is President.

Others have exploited the survey route for instant news coverage.

On Thursday, a couple of PR firms released an online survey showed that 23 percent of consumers questioned said the most recent food scare would change their long-term buying habits.

“Almost all of the 501 consumers surveyed (93 percent) said they had recently read about or heard of food safety issues and recalls.”

This is not news. It’s an Internet survey to apparently draw attention to “Burson-Marsteller’s expertise in food communications and product recalls.”

These are the same people who brag, Burson Helps Old Navy Celebrate the "First Official Day of Flip-Flops"

In Seabrook, Texas, Dayna Steele is more worried that her 9-year-old son will become sick if he doesn’t eat peanut butter. After years of trying to get him to eat other foods, his pediatrician said, "He’s fine. Let him eat all the peanut butter he wants. When he meets a girl, he’ll start eating something else."

Feel the Valentine’s Day love.