Monday, August 1, 2005

You Have Pet a Chicken 1 Times

Dear Friends,

This month's Hard Taco song, "Give Up the Kibble," is now available for download! Put 500 copies of it in your iPod shuffle and go for a nice long jog!

Have you ever wanted to start a charitable foundation, but couldn't find a worthy cause? Would you like to see your name on a wall somewhere under categories like "Sponsor," "Patron," "Benefactor," or, "Supreme Beneficent Godfather of Philanthropy?" Well, you're in luck. As soon as I find someone to front the money (roughly $300) I am going to build the world's first and largest...

The concept is so simple, it's amazing nobody has done it before. A webcam will be installed in a real petting zoo, allowing around-the-clock visuals of docile barnyard animals. The arrow icon will be replaced with an open hand, and when the mouse button is clicked, the hand will close its fingers in a gentle scritching motion. Much like animals at a real petting zoo, the online animals will not react to the contact in any way.

"Traditional" Petting Zoo

Contemporary Petting Zoo

When I was six years old, I broke out in hives after my first (and last!) visit to a petting zoo. I'll never forget the day the doctors told my parents that I am allergic to sheep dander, and that I would never be able to go to another petting zoo again. 

As the years went by I became a troubled teenager, spiraling into a cycle of self-destructive behavior. I came this close to losing everything. Finally, when a court-appointed social worker badgered me into joining a support group, I learned that I am not alone. A lot of kids with farm-related allergies hurt themselves and the people they love as a way to fill the void left by the absence of petting zoos.

It has been a long and difficult journey back from the edge, but my burden is lightened by the knowledge that by building an online petting zoo, I have the ability to help others like me. I look forward to a day when everyone can enjoy the satisfaction of rubbing a goat behind the ears without getting watery eyes or itchy throat.

Plus, it's not just for asthmatics! Here are some other people who could benefit from an online petting zoo:
- Urban children and/or prisoners who do not have access to a traditional Bricks-and-Mortar Petting Zoo
- Farmhands who want to "practice their chops" after hours when they are back at the farmhouse.
- Children with no hands, who would otherwise not know how real livestock respond to human touch. (Note: The answer is that they don't respond, as mentioned above.)
- Australians. They don't have mammals in Australia, so most of their petting zoos are stocked with marsupials and kiwi birds.
- Shift-workers who only have the time to pet animals between the hours of 2am and 7am.