May 27- The space shuttle launch, fixing slow human mental process, and Hush Puppies

May 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Books, Cooking, Current events, dogs, food, Humor, life, News, publishing, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing | 10 Comments
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I got a rare canine opportunity a week or two ago.  The Geezer put Mrs. G and me in the Ford Sport Trac and took us to see the space shuttle launch.  However, it did take some convincing on my part.  The Geezer and his Mrs. had originally gone to see the Endeavor blast off when the President went to see it, but some kind of gizmo in the fuel system failed and the trip was a bust.  I didn’t get a chance to go on that trip.  I don’t like being left behind.  I decided to drop some gentle hints.
     “Hey, Geezer, are you going back to see the shuttle go up when it’s rescheduled?” I asked.
     “Yes, I believe we are.  You know there’s only one more flight scheduled and then the program ends.”  He gave NO indication he’d take me.
     “That must really be something to see!”  I figured the old boy would pick up on my desire, but the rust in his mental system had the process really gummed up that day.  He said, “Uh-huh.”
     Maybe something a little more indirect would get the synapses firing if I took time to allow them to catch up.  “Gee, Geezer, it must really be enriching for anyone to see such important historical events.”
     The mental gears groaned.  After a few seconds, the old boy answered, “Yes, Sandy, I suppose it is.”
     “What a wonderful opportunity.  Have you seen many of these type events?  In person, I mean?”
     The Geezer went deep into thought.  You know, somethings are painful to watch.  His eyes rolled around like pinballs in a game.  I didn’t see any oil leaks, but I’m sure the strain must have caused some.  I decided to prompt him a little.
     “What about previous launches?”
     “No, that’s why I want to go,” the Geezer mumbled.
     “You know, I haven’t seen one either.”  I figured he’d have to get that one. 
     “Uh-huh.” 
     Humans can be so mentally retarded!  I tried another avenue.  “All those wonderful things you’ve seen—the first super sonic passenger jet, Lindberg’s crossing the Atlantic, the Wright Brothers first…”
     “Whoa, Sandy.  I know you think I’m ancient, but I’m not quite that old.”  He grinned weakly.  “I certainly would have like to have seen them, but…”
     It was my turn to interrupt and lie.  “Oh, I thought maybe you had.  I know how important you think it is for everyone to witness those kind of things.”  I paused.  “Because you only get a few opportunities in a lifetime.”  I paused.  “In person.”  I paused.  “First hand.”  I paused.  “To soak up the atmosphere and ambiance.”
     He answered, “Uh-huh.”  Have you ever looked into your human’s eyes and wondered if there was anything functioning back behind them?  It makes you want to shout, “Hey!  Is anything going on in there!”
     The indirect approach wasn’t working.  I decided something a little more direct might work better.  “Ahhhhhh, Geezer, you might want to think about this.  When you and the Mrs. go away, I don’t get the same kind of love from the pet-sitter that you two give me.  It makes me feel deprived.  When I feel deprived, it makes me depraved.  I want to chew things.  Dig holes in rugs and sofas.  It gives me leaky bladder syndrome and the green apple quick steps.  It makes me want to–“
     “Would you like to go along?” The Geezer asked.  The blind squirrel found another acorn.
     Seeing the shuttle blast off was extraordinary.  We drove to Cape Canaveral the night before and stayed in a motel south of Kennedy Space Center so we could get up early and get a good spot on the beach to watch the launch.  The three of us were seated on the sands in our folding camp chairs before the sun was up.  It was beautiful.  The calm Atlantic licked at the white sands while the sun rose from low clouds on the eastern horizon.  When the time came, the glow of the rocket and its roar were spectacular.  I’ve borrowed some pics from Mrs. Gator to share with you.

 
  

     That reminds me… you do meet some of the nicest people at events like that.  Gertie, a long-haired dachshund, Forrest a blue tick hound, and Trooper a shih tzu romped around with me on the sand chasing waves and shore birds until the time came for the event.  We discussed our favorite subject…eating!  And Trooper, this recipe for Hush Puppies is for you.  They’re lighter than the traditional ones you might have eaten before.
     Here’s what you need:
          2  cups of Hush Puppy mix (Autry or Dixie Lily)
          1  cup of self-rising flour
          3/4  cup of diced sweet onion
          1  teaspoon of garlic powder
          2  eggs
          1 1/2  cups of water
     Here’s what you do:
1)  Mix together thoroughly the Hush Puppy mix, flour, and garlic powder in a large mixing bowl
2)  Add the two eggs (For humans using this – take ‘em out of the shells!   Daaaa!)
3)  Stir in the eggs.
4)  Add the water and stir thoroughly.
5)  Add the onions and – guess what – stir thoroughly.
6)  Let sit for ten minutes minimum.
7)  Heat fresh cooking oil, 1″ deep, to 375 degrees (or about “6” on an electric stove) in a large pot or skillet.
8)  Use a tablespoon to drop the batter into the hot oil.  They’ll float in a few seconds.  Turn ‘em over at least once.  Don’t worry how they look. They aren’t gonna look good once they get inside anyway.
9)  Fish them out with a slotted spoon when they’re a nice light brown.
10)  And Ummmm-ummmm, put some dog slobber on those rascals!  They are good!  Makes about 40.
     Oh, if your humans have been behaving tolerably share some with them.  They’ll love them too.

www.dlhavlin-author.com

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April 20 – Reincarnation – it explains a lot, from canines to politics

April 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Books, Cooking, dogs, Humor, life, News, Politics, publishing, Reading, TV, Uncategorized, Writing | 14 Comments
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     There was a meeting of the neighborhood Canine Chowder and Ham Bone Marching Society yesterday.  Most of our members were present due to a large yard party for all the “snowbirds” (Human folks that live in Florida in the winter and travel North in the summer.) who were getting ready to depart like a flock of geese.
     Of course, over half our Society’s members accompany their humans on the annual migration.  Sparkle the Irish Setter commented, “Well, I’ll be looking forward to seeing you all, next fall.”
     “It seems as though I’m always moving.  I bet I did it in a previous life,” Lucy the Cocker Spaniel moaned.
     “You guys believe in that shit?”  Peter the Pointer saw the blank stares and added, “Reincarnation.”
     “Oui.  I certainly do.  I can even tell you about at least one of my previous lives.”  Our French Poodle, Fifi, is into all the metaphysical stuff.  “I was a Doberman ten lives ago, serving in the German Army.  I received metals and was a bonified heroine.”
     “Huhh!” Sarge scoffed.  His German shepherd blood was aroused.  “Yeh, Fifi, was your uniform a toto?  What did you have for rations?  Champagne?  Escargo?  Did you have a maid to dress you in the morning?  You couldn’t have learned to be as snobbish as you are now in fifteen previous lives.”
     Peter said, “I’d pay to see you in a hand-to-hand combat drill.”
     There was a chorus of laughs.  Fifi stuck her nose in the air and walked away in a huff.
     “Wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  I remember a previous life, too,” Manny the chihuahua said.  “I was the personal companion to Santa Anna, the great Mexican leader.”
     “Uh-huh.”  Sarge didn’t look convinced.  “Were you his guard dog?”
     “Oh yes, si, certainly.”
     Peter asked, “If somebody tried to attack old Santa Anna, what was your plan?  Bite them on the big toe?”
     Laughter ensued.
     “Oh no.  I was a mastiff in that life.  I was a mucho grande dog.”  Manny tried squaring his shoulders and looking large.  
     Before Peter or Sarge could humiliate the little guy, Opie our Scotty and resident scholar interceded.  “There is a possible scientific explanation for reincarnation.  At least, in the same species.  DNA.  It’s the building block of life.  The potential to hand down memories through parental lineage is certainly a possibility.”
     That made us all think.  Some could rationalize the theory.  Some stared at Manny, visualized a mastiff, and had trouble s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g the reality.  That would make for a difficult parental “chain.”
     “Sometimes, I do think I remember things– Well, I might have been Rin Tin Tin in a former life,” Sarge said.
     “Yes, I’m believing that.”  Fifi had rejoined our group.  “And I believe elephants can fly and will be jet propelled if they eat enough beans and cabbage and drink enough beer.”
     Sarge growled and Fifi snarled back, so I decided to change the subject to humans, something we could all discuss without ruffling neck hair.  “Well, I can certainly see that possibility in my human.  The Geezer probably descended from Mark Twain.  They’re both writers, have a strong awareness of human behavior, and a good sense of humor.”
     “Oh, and my human probably has Lady Godiva in her blood line.  She loves to go naked.”  Sparkle was doing her best to support me and lead the conversation in another direction.
     “Oh.  Oh.  Oh.  I bet I know who my human’s great, great, great, great, great, grand-mother was.”  Manny was so excited I thought the little guy would pop like a firecracker.  “She has to be descended from Catherine the Great because all she wants to do is fu–“
     “Hmmmmmm!” I interrupted.  “No exposing family secrets here.”  I did another switcheroo.  “Wouldn’t it be fun to guess who famous people are reincarnated from?”
     “I can see General Petraeus being the reincarnation of Alexander the Great,” Opie said.
     “Oh.  Oh.  Oh.  How about Queen Elizabeth the II being the reincarnation of Queen Elizabeth the I?”  Manny was getting it.
     “I bet both Nancy Pelosi and Sarah Palin had a common ancestor,” Lucy quipped.  “Attila the Hun.”
     Everyone laughed except for Heintz, the neighborhood mut.  He said, “Well, that explains a lot.  Both Bush and Obama must have the same ancestry.”
     “How’s that?” I asked through my giggles.  Heintz was serious.
     “That’s easy.  Trace them back through Nero, you know, the guy who fiddled while Rome burned, to that famous Greek leader.  What was his name?”  Heintz scratched his head with his rear paw hoping to stimulate his cerebral cortex.  Or maybe a flea.
     “Plato?” I suggested.
     “No.”  Heintz kept scratching.
     “Socrates?” Sarge asked.
     “No, no, no.”  Suddenly Heintz’s eyes shone and he stopped scratching.  “I remember.  It was the king of the city-state of Bankruptkus, Idious the Imbecile.”
     Not one of us spoke.  First, none of us are Greek scholars.  Second, it was too logical to refute.

(Thanks to Lady Marilyn Kaye, one of my readers for the inspiration)

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www.dlhavlin-author.com

April 9 – My tale (tail?) of morning destruction.

April 10, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Books, Cooking, dogs, food, Humor, life, Media, News, publishing, Reading, TV, Uncategorized, Writing | 12 Comments
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     Though I’m nearly the perfect dog, I must admit to one failing.  My dog-gone tail.  It gets me into trouble continually though I do my best to control it.  Sometimes I think it has a mind of its own, for the darned thing just does what it wants, when it wants, and I have no control over it.
     Mrs. G calls it the feather duster of doom, the Geezer says it’s a wrecking ball operated by a terrorist, and I have to admit the results of its innocent wagging might create a call to reclassify it as a weapon of mass destruction.  Its claimed more knickknacks than a two-year-old toddler, spilled more milk than the cats can lap up (and we have two of them), has swept money off coffee tables and under furniture, and has decorated numerous pieces of cake and under food items left on end tables.
     You would think humans would be wise enough to realize that more careful placement of items they’d rather not place in the trash is necessary.  That’s what canine logic would declare as an imperative.  Humans… not so much.  Remember we’re talking an inferior species here.  There are many points you can use to prove this, but let me suggest you look at any TV news broadcast as evidence and listen to the yapping homo sapiens politicos.  The result?  In the end, not much happens.  If those idiots on both ends of the political spectrum were canine “leaders” we’d gather them all up, dig a large hole, and bury them.  That thing humans call voting certainly doesn’t seem to work.
     The reason for my comments is what happened this morning.  The Geezer fixed one of his special breakfasts for he and Mrs. Gator.  Eggs Bokeelia.  Now, being a well-trained human, he fixed my breakfast first.  But, I have a hearty appetite, and I’ve learned that if the humans aren’t at their dining table, they’re more likely to share what they’re eating.  That’s particularly true if I stand at attention and stare intensely at what they’re shoveling into their pie holes.
     Rather than eat at the kitchen bar, they chose to watch TV and deposit the dishes crammed full of Eggs Bokeelia on the coffee and end tables.  Since they sat on opposite legs of the “L” created by the couch and recliner, it was only prudent I locate my body in the middle where I could quickly present my food entry point to either the Geezer or Mrs. G. 
    As another reminder of what kind of species we’re working with here, humans just don’t learn from history.  The Geezer KNOWS what happens when he feeds me a treat, the tail goes on automatic full wag.  He broke off a piece of toast and snuck it to me as Mrs. G was focused on the TV.
     The tail’s response was predictable.  To have my food receiving end by the Geezer, my food removal end was positioned by the apex of the “L” and the end table Mrs. G’s breakfast sat on.  Swish, swish, swish, swish, my tail spread Eggs Bokeelia on Mrs. G’s banana, her coffee cup, and coated the wood surface with Bokeelia sauce.  When Mrs. G said, “Sandy!” my focus was on the possibility of additional charitable contributions.
     I quickly reversed the positions of my ends, my tail remaining in wag over-drive in anticipation of Mrs. G’s donation.  Unfortunately, The Geezer, his mental gears rusted by age, foolishly had placed his cup on the coffee table.  One mighty sweep of the tail turned over the cup sending coffee flooding over “Southern Living,” “National Geographic,” and a half-dozen more magazines resting there.  The return swish sent the mug off the table to the tiled floor.  Hint, the tile floor is tougher than ceramic cups.  It was smash town.  Thousand piece city.
    The Geezer quickly arrested the movement of my tail.  He removed the Eggs Bokeelia from it, looked at the remains of his creation mournfully, before Mrs. G warned, “Don’t you even think about it.”
     Can you believe the audacity of humans.  They had the nerve to banish me to the bedroom!  Can you imagine them blaming me for their lack of gray matter?  Well, at least, the Geezer did a poor job of removing the Eggs Bokeelia.  As the Geezer cleaned up and recooked breakfast, I finished his tail cleaning job while sequestered.  Yum! 
     Since you wouldn’t know what Eggs Bokeelia is (It’s the Geezer’s concoction) I’ll share the recipe.  Try it, you’ll like it.  
     For Eggs Bokeelia. See below:
1 – start with half of a toasted English Muffin, as fattening as you wish to make it – wheat or whatever.
2 – heat a slice of ham in a skillet then stack it on the muffin – (a thin slice of tomato is okay for ham haters)
3 – place a slice of america cheese on the ham (or whatever)
4 – cook one egg, sunny side up, over-easy, or poached (if you like to go to trouble) – it goes on top of the cheese.
Top the stack with Bokeelia Sauce which is:
2 – tablespoons of mayo
2 – tablespoons of butter or I Can’t Believe or (you know the drill)
4 – green olives w/pimento diced finely
1 – Tablespoon of finely diced mushroom
1 – Tablespoon of finely diced onion (you can substitute garlic if you’re brave)
Nuke for 30 seconds in ‘wave (or heat over campfire, stove, et al), stir and spoon over stack.  Makes enough for four.  Yum-Yum.

Enjoy!

September 27 – Old dogs teach new tricks!

September 27, 2009 at 7:26 pm | Posted in Books, dogs, Humor, Media, News, publishing, Reading, TV, Uncategorized, Writing | 4 Comments
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     Getting a different point of view is always interesting and sometimes just plain enlightening.  I have a house guest.  His name is “Okie” and he’s a Scottie.  Okie’s a mature gentleman, reserved and gentle in his style and actions.  His wiry black coat looks like it would serve as a great scrub brush.  His head seems two sizes too large for his body and his legs three sizes too short.  But in that wiry haired head resides a sharp brain, with different outlooks on life and how to approach it.  And, he’s taught me a few lessons.  I’ll explain.
     The Geezer served breakfast to us a couple mornings ago.  I sprung into action, ready to devour the feast in as few gulps as possible.  As I started, Okie said, “Lassie, whoa!  Slow down!  You’re going to give your humans the opinion that you’re satisfied with what you’re being served.  Pick around a wee bit.  Look sad and disgusted simultaneously.”
     “Why should I do that?  I like what they feed me.”  
     Okie grinned.  “Observe,” he said.  I watched him walk around his bowl a time or two, sniff it disgustedly and wander off a few steps.  He looked up at the Geezer, his face saying “Is this the best you can do, laddie?”
     “What’s wrong pup?  Don’t like what you’ve got in your bowl?”  The Geezer bent over and examined the dry hard pellets.  “Want a little water on it?”
     Okie whispered to me, “Sandy, watch this, me fair lassie.”  He bounced around in a tight circle, made some joyful ‘woofs,’ and looked expectant.
     The Geezer disappeared, but quickly returned carrying a glass of water. “Here you go.”  He poured the water over the food.
     Through his shaggy eyebrows, the Scottie winked at me.  He approached the bowl, made a cautious nibble, and backed away as if he’d been slapped.  He sat on his haunches and lifted his lashes so the Geezer could see his mournful eyes that radiated disappointment.
     “Hmmmm, that’s what I was told you like.  What’s wrong, boy?”  The Geezer is eager to please. 
     I watched, fascinated, as Okie led the Geezer to the stove, did his circle dance, repeated his woofs and waited for results.
     “Oh, I get it.”  The Geezer returned to the dish, bent over, and hoisted it out of sight.  I heard the microwave door shut, its buzzing while it nuked the food, and watched the old man place the heated offering in front of my friend.  Okie immediately did an instant replay of his rejection scene that would have satisfied the director of a TV football show.  Okie paraded back to the stove and looked at the refrigerator.  He continued his back and forth viewing until the Geezer ‘got it.’
     “Okay, okay.”  The Geezer opened the fridge, poked around for a few seconds, before he removed a package.  The smell floating down told me they were luscious hot dogs.  “I guess you want these heated, too.”  The microwave purred again and soon three neatly diced hotdogs were sprinkled on top of Okie’s and my breakfast.
     As soon as the Geezer disappeared Okie said, “Sandy, me lass, enjoy your breakfast with me complements.”  I began my morning gulping  with profound admiration for my house guest.
     When I finished I said, “Wow, Okie that was fantastic.  I’m really taking notes from you.  You can teach me a lot.”
     “T’was nothing.”  The Scottie beamed as he rolled the last of his hot dog on his tongue before disposing of it with a satisfied slurp.  “Your human is a tad slow-witted.  Normally, I get to the goodies in one less step.”
     “Amazing!”
     “Oh, not at all.  Today hot dogs, tomorrow Porterhouse!”
     “Okie, is the source of your intelligence inherited?”
     “Aye, Sandy lass, ’tis in the blood lines…and from reading lots of George Bernard Shaw.” 

www.dlhavlin-author.com

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June 5 – Lie detectors, pedals, windmills, and Beano – A solution to the worlds problems?

June 4, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Posted in Books, Current events, dogs, economy, Humor, Media, News, Politics, publishing, Reading, TV, Uncategorized, Writing | 6 Comments
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       “Why do you do that?”  I watched the Geezer Gator get his tide marker out for his monthly update.  Each full moon he measures the level of the high tide from the top of the sea wall and records its height on a strip of wood.  He’s done this since I’ve been here in our Southwest Florida home– that’s 2 1/2 years.
       “It’s my version of a lie detector, Sandy.”  The old boy looked at the stick and grunted.  “I’ll set this out so I don’t miss marking it.  Full moon is on the 7th.  I forgot last month.”
       “You okay?  You haven’t fallen and bumped your head?  Or developed malaria?  Maybe we should take your temperature.”  Once in a while I get concerned about the old boy’s mental state.  I figure there must be rust on that brain of his.  “How on earth can that serve as a lie detector?”
       The Geezer Gator laughed.  “I can understand your confusion.  This started ‘BS.’  That’s ‘before Sandy.’  Five years ago when the flap about global warming was peaking, I decided to do a little survey for myself.  I’ve owned this place on an ocean-connected canal for 29 years.  I hadn’t noticed any difference in the water level, but unless you recorded the actual height would you really know?  It’s pretty important since the information some folks have been putting out is that this property will be under water in a few years.  I decided to find out for myself.  Was the book “An Inconvenient Truth” fact, or just “A Politically Motivated Lie?”
       “And the answer is?” I asked.
       The Geezer shuffled through a stack of papers stored by the stick.  “In the 63 observations I’ve made, the net increase is 3/16 inches.  That’s in about five years.  Actually, it’s gone down a couple times.   Since the average high tide level is 29″ from the seawall top, and if I use the 5 year rate of increase it means the seawall top will be breached in 773 years.  What do you think, Sandy?”
       “Liar, liar, pants on fire!”
       “That’s my deduction too, Sandy.  But, lets remember there are a lot of factors that may change.  And, while the increase is insignificant, it is an increase.  Things could get worse.  China and India are just really getting started on putting autos on the road.  The global economy is developing new industrial capabilities and power requirements world wide.”  He got his sly, ‘my tongue is in my cheek,’ look.  “And of course, there’s the continuing problem of animal life producing all those pollutants.”
       “Sounds like none of that is going to change.”
       “Let the liars, I mean politicians, have some time to dream up ways to make it appear like they’re working on the problems while at the same time strengthening their political power and padding the pockets of their friends and business partners.”
       “That sounds pretty cynical to me, Geezer.”  I have to keep the old boy in line.   “Just how would they go about that?”
       The old boy rubbed his mustache and looked into space hoping a friendly alien would beam down an answer.  Amazingly one must have.  He smiled and said, “Bicycle pedals, Windmills, and Beano.”
      I couldn’t believe my ears.  “Geezer, what are you talking about?  How do those three do anything to solve the problems of more cars in the emerging economies, the need for more power, gases in the atmosphere?  For example, China and India already have huge numbers of bicycles.”
       “Did I say bicycles?  I didn’t say bicycles.  It’s pedals, pedals, pedals.  In fact, the politicians will tell you that pedals solve the unemployment problem as well.  We’ll hook up those pedals to electrical generators, have the unemployed turn them in shifts, convert all cars to electric, and have GE make the conversion kits.”
       I enjoy a spoof as much as the next canine.  I played along, “What if there aren’t enough people unemployed?”
       “No problem.  The government will simply decree that ALL people must spend two hours, or what ever it takes, on the power tread mills.  Freedom is no longer an issue, government can do anything, like set salaries, cancel debts, bankrupt businesses, make value judgements of a persons mental judgments based on race and gender.  Why not tell us we have to do our part for the collective?”
       No sense reasoning with the Geezer when he gets those hypotheticals rolling.  He always seems to come up with another tale.  I decided to move on.  “The windmills are for generating power, right?”
       “Yep.  GE will have a monopoly on that, too.  So that fits.  Might be able to use some of the unemployed to blow on the blades.  The government is creating more of those folks in the auto industry by producing more cars in China.  They could set up a couple windmills in the studios of MSNBC, CBS, CNN, ABC, FOX, and NBC so that something usable comes out of those blow hards.”
       “I’ll drink to that!” I had to agree.  I cautiously asked, “Butttt..What about the Beano?  Explain that.”
       “Sure, Sandy.  We can get the government to hire Haliburton to clandestinely put Beano in all foods for humans and all domestic animals, world wide.  Think of the impact.  Less methane to attack the Ozone layer.  You can eat leftovers without fumigating the house for roaches.  Cows won’t poot in pastures decreasing the mating urges of bull frogs and crickets thereby eliminating those surplus populations.  I won’t ever have to worry about cutting a fart in a crowded elevator, having to look at the guy next to me like he did it, while waving my hand in front of my nose and saying, “Some People.”
       I shook my head and said, “Geezer, really.”
       He laughed.  “Okay Sandy, I take it all back except for one thing.”
       My paw covered my squinted eyes because I had to ask.  “And…what’s that?”
       “Politicians are liars.”
       You can’t argue with a universal truth.

www.dlhavlin-author.com

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May 15 – Out whating?

May 16, 2009 at 1:57 pm | Posted in Books, Current events, dogs, economy, Humor, Media, News, publishing, Reading, TV, Uncategorized, Writing | 1 Comment
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       “Hey, Geezer, what’s out-housing?” 
       The Geezer Gator looked at me as though I’d eaten loco weed.  “Out-housing?” he repeated.  “Are you sure?  You know plenty about that already.  That’s what you do every morning when we take our walk.”
        I gave him my, you’re a smart ass, look.  “Geezer, I do lots of things each morning.  Give me a break.”
       “I guess being city born and a youngster you don’t know what an outhouse is.  An outhouse is what folks used before toilets and indoor plumbing.  It literally was a small house located “out” or away from peoples’ homes.”
       “Oh.”  I still was unclear about the word.
       “Sandy, you sure you wanted to know about out-housing?  How was the word used?”  The Geezer could see I was confused.
       “I heard Mrs. Gator and Mrs. Zoomers talking about how the Smith’s were in deep doggy dew because of the out-housing happening at Mr. Smiths company.  Mrs. Zoomer said the Smiths were about to lose their house.”  I scratched my ear with my paw.  “I guess that makes sense, but wouldn’t they be in deep human poo, not doggy dew?”
       The old boy grinned the way he does when I do something dumb, like the time I tried to eat a bottle of Tabasco.  “You need to improve your eavesdropping skills.  I think you got the words wrong or mixed together, Sandy.  I think you heard them talking about outsourcing.”
       “Out-whating?” I asked.
       “Outsourcing.  That’s when a company decides to buy materials or services they previously did for themselves.”
       “Hmmmm.  Why would a company do that?  Don’t the people they buy it from have to make a profit?  Wouldn’t it cost more?”  It didn’t sound logical to me.
       “That might be hard for you to understand.  It gets complicated.”
       “Try me.”  I wanted to add, it might be for human brains, but not for my sharp canine intellect.
      
“It has to do with costs.  Sometimes you can get something done cheaper by another company because of the machinery they have or the technology they use, but most frequently it’s because of cheap labor and often the labor is cheap because it’s not in the US.  They call that offshore outsourcing.”
        “That’s not difficult to understand, Geezer.  But, how does that effect the Smiths?”
        “Well, when a company outsources, it gets rid of the expense it had to make the part or perform the service.  Mr. Smith’s job was to do work his company decided to outsource.”
        “Oh, then Mr. Smith has to get a job somewhere else, right?”
        “Yes, but a lot of companies are doing that so it’s hard to find jobs now.”
        “Okay, but…..”  I still didn’t understand the logic.
        “But, what?” 
         The Geezer was grinning at me, but I had to ask anyway.  “If people keep outsourcing, how do you humans buy the things you need?  Won’t the companies that saved the money not gain anything because the humans they sell to can’t afford it and they’ll have to reduce their price or go out of business?  A few people will make out like bandits for a short time, but everybody gets clobbered in the long run.”
        “You’re right Sandy!  That makes you smarter than most professors at Harvard, all our politicians, and the Wall Street crowd.” 
        Of course, the Geezer didn’t have to tell me that.

www.dlhavlin-author.com

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March 30 – Failure to fail

March 30, 2009 at 4:34 pm | Posted in Books, Current events, dogs, Humor, Media, News, publishing, Reading, TV, Uncategorized, Writing | 1 Comment
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       It’s been a while since I’ve been able to get to the computer.  The Geezer’s been off running around the state on reunions and fishing trips, plus he’s been entertaining his family.  That means no keyboard access for me.  Sooner or later I’ll figure out some way to circumvent his security system and I won’t be silent so long.
       I miss the old boy when he’s not around.  Well, mostly.  He’s my walking and talking companion.  The play-mate I can count on most.  The Geezer serves me my meals when he’s around and provides the bulk of treats I shouldn’t be getting.  He is a soft touch.  We’re best friends.
       But even best friends can get on each others nerves.  I could do without his rants on politics.  The ear mite medicine he treats me with is a real head shaker.  His nagging me about tugging on the leash, stopping me from trying all those delicious little tidbits lying on the road, and restraining me from running full speed to my friends is annoying, but on the whole I can’t imagine life without him.
      We were sitting on the dock this morning for the first time in a couple of weeks.  The weather was pleasant and the conversation light.  I brought the subject of his son’s visit up, thinking it would be something he’d enjoy.
       “Hey Geezer, your son sure is doing well.  Even though he works in a troubled industry, getting that company technology award has to be a real plus for him.  He seems to be making enough money to live comfortably.  Both your grandchildren are smart and work hard in school – they don’t appear to have any major behavior problems.  His wife has a good job and they seem to get along.  You must be happy he’s succeeding.”   
       The Geezer looked glum.  “He has a failure to fail.”
       “What are you talking about?  That’s crazy!”  I was afraid senility had suddenly claimed my buddy.
       “I does sound crazy, doesn’t it?  And it would be if it weren’t true.”  The old boy’s sad expression and slow head shake underlined his next statement.  “Failure is today’s surest way to be rewarded.  Want some examples?”
       The Geezer looked like he needed some humoring.  “Okay, I guess I can suffer through them.”  I braced for the worst.
       “Sandy, answer true or false to each of the statements I make.”
       “All right.”
       “The reward for failing in your job as a major business executive is a Golden Parachute.”
       “True.”  I could see where this conversation was leading.
       “The reward for a bank company failing is a Bush bailout.”
       “True.”  I struggled to think of a way to change the subject.
       “The reward for failing to pay your taxes is being made Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury.”
       “Yep, all true.”  I figured a way to clear the depression permeating the dock.  “If failing is the way to get ahead, let’s try this.  I’ll give you some failures and you tell me what reward would likely occur.  Use that writer’s imagination you like to brag about.”
       The codger can’t resist a challenge.  He took a deep breath, braced himself, and said, “Fire away.”
       “A high school student fails to turn in a paper and flunks a science class that’s crucial for his getting into college.”  I figured that would stump him right out of the starting gate. 
       “That’s easy.  The student lies, telling his teacher it was written in invisible ink on invisible paper and goes on to explain his earth-changing theories on cloaking devises.  He’s immediately offered a full scholarship to MIT, a summer laboratory in the Peekskills, and a job with the CIA.”
       I had a comeback I thought would be more challenging.  “One of the participants on a picnic fails to heed warnings about the effects eating too many baked beans will have on him.”
       “Hmmmm.”  The Geezer scratched his head, but smiled.  “Being so full of hot gas, the picnicker floated up into space like the Aunt character in Harry Potter.  An Air Force fighter confused him with a UFO, shot at him and missed.  The nearness of the rockets passing, caused him to unleash a huge burst of flatulence.  The picnicker hurtled to earth landing in a huge stack of hay.  He was able to sue the US government for a trillion dollars for mental anguish, collect from a chemical company who discovered his gaseous formula was a perfect pesticide, and was given a payment by former Vice President Gore for contributing to the background for his newest book, “An Inconvenient Fart.”
       “That’s pretty good.”  The Geezer’s colon cleansing must have had a mental side benefit.  Made me wonder if the old boy’s anatomy was standard.  I decided to make one last effort to silence him.  “You failed to make it to the airport in time to catch a flight to see your wife.  And…and…and, if you don’t have sex in 24 hours you’ll die!
       The Geezer frowned for several seconds before he smiled.  “As a result of failing to catch the plane, I was sent to a private waiting room.  Upon entering, I accidentally tripped the time lock on the door making it impossible to open for 25 hours.”
       “Damn, Geezer!  Where’s the reward in that?”
       “You didn’t let me finish.  The only other things in the room were a box containing 1000 Viagra pills and Nicole Kidman, who couldn’t see very well because she had her eyes dilated, kept saying, ‘Keith I’m glad you finally made it,’ and she told me she’d just eaten 10 dozen oysters.”
       The things Geezer was saying were far-fetched and didn’t make any sense, but then that describes everything that’s happening today.  Gee, maybe failing to fail isn’t a good thing.

www.dlhavlin-author.com

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January 7 – Resolutions Progress Report

January 7, 2009 at 12:30 am | Posted in Books, holidays, Humor, Media, New Years, News, Reading, TV, Uncategorized, Writing | 7 Comments
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       I thought it would be good to comment on the Geezer’s New Years Resolution progress.  Another way of describing this would be “Missions Impossible.”  I’m sure Tom Cruise could make a movie from my human’s struggles.  “Mission Impossible #16″  –  sounds good!  It couldn’t be any worse than some of the waste of celluloid I’ve seen on TV.
       Back to the subject.  The Geezer’s effort to keep up with those not yet a week old edicts, I’d grade as C-.  I hope that designation doesn’t offend those of you who are part of the “Society for the Universal Culmination of Kindergarten through School – of the Elimination of Grading.”  That’s SUCKS – EG, for short.  It’s hard to say anything in this ridiculously political correct environment without a storm of protest coming from some group of certifiables.  If you don’t like the C- “indictment statement,” tough.
       Okay, the old boy made 5 of those dedications to delusions, his words not mine.  One is already in “Flush Town.”  So much for giving a supreme effort to self-discipline.
       I knew the first one was doomed from the second he uttered the words… “I pledge to share control of the TV remote time equally with Mrs. Gator.”  There are somethings each of us aren’t capable of doing.  Physically.  Psychologically.  The stuff just isn’t there.  I don’t know if the Geezer was lying to himself or just plain lying.  Certainly, the football bowl games and all the related hoopla expedited its demise.  That resolution didn’t make it through New Years morning.  The Geezer hid the “clicker” when Mrs. Gator wanted to watch the Rose Parade instead of a replay of a game from the previous evening.  Mrs. Gator gave him “the eye,” waved the white flag without a struggle, and he removed the “power” from under the sofa cushion.  Scratch one edict.  I knew that one had as much chance of survival as a cat dropped into a pit-bull kennel with 10 residents that hadn’t been fed for two days.
       The two that are in jeopardy are his resolutions to, “manage my anger better,” and “clean up under the house and get rid of the junk.”
       The Geezer has one of those strange tempers that boils over at the littlest things, yet he manages to control himself when faced with some crisiss you would think should send him into orbit.  If he drops the soap while in the shower, a daily occurrence, it likely will trigger a stream of four letter wonders, connected in various combinations, shouted at the villainous bar of Dove.  However, he placed an order for Mrs. Gator’s major Christmas present on-line.  The store has botched it twice, but he has retained his composure and control when he speaks with them, remaining focused on getting the problem solved.  He dropped the soap this AM and there was no shouting, just an inaudible murmur.  I give this one 4 or 5 weeks.
       The “clean up under the house” decree is as secure as a drop of water on a stone in the desert at noon on a summer’s day.  It’ll evaporate, the only thing in question is the time involved.  The problem is Mrs. G.  She capitalizes the PACK in pack rat.  For every box the Geezer cleans out, Mrs. Gator will find at least one to replace it.  After a while he’ll realize it’s as futile as trying to keep the tide from rising, and he’ll capitulate.  He will work at this promise for two or three months until inevitability overcomes hope.
       His “lose weight” resolution is likely to be kept for four reasons.  First, the extra 50 pounds he’s toting around negatively impacts things he wants to do so there’s a big incentive there.  Second, he’s done this successfully before.  He has a diet that works.  Third, he knows the extra weight’s health impact on his ol’ codger bod’ ain’t good.  And fourth, when the needle on the scale gets anywhere close to having a three as the first number, he panics.  He’s throwing out the potato chips, Reese’s cups, buying diet sodas, and has the measuring cup and scale out.  I’m betting he’ll make this one.
       Last, and the one I thought would be the first to go, was his, “to watch less TV news and not to get angry at the idiots on these shows,” resolve.  Surprisingly, he’s doing this.  I didn’t believe he’d give up watching Fox and Friends for two hours every morning because he really likes the three humans who host that show, even the one he calls “Brainless in Long Island.”  He’s sworn off Bill O’Reillycompletely.  It’s surprising how positively its impacted his humor…it’s now generally good, not bad!  I asked him about the ease with which he’s abandoned that habit.  He grinned and replied, “You know how NBC has the peacock as its symbol?  Well, Fox is adopting an Ostrich as their’s.  That makes it easier.  I’d rather watch programs that stand for something, not nothing.”  I have no idea what he means.  I wish somebody would clue me in.  It probably has something to do with putting your head where the sun doesn’t shine and somebody named Beck, but that’s just a guess because it was mentioned at the same time. 
       That’s the Geezer New Years Resolution Progress Report.  Two are on-line, two are struggling to hang-on, and the third is already in septic tank city.

www.dlhavlin-author.com

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December 30 – New Years Resolutions? Or is that Delusions

December 30, 2008 at 4:13 pm | Posted in Books, holidays, Humor, illegal immigration, Media, New Years, News, Reading, TV, Uncategorized, Writing | 8 Comments
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      “The weather is great this morning Geezer.”  The last week in Southwest Florida has been perfect if you like the low 80’s, gentle breezes, and bright sunny days.  We sat on the dock watching a pair to Osprey hover around their nest, the female spending most of her time perched on her eggs.  “It would be nice if it stayed this way all year,” I added.
       “I don’t know, Sandy.  I think it would get boring after a while.”  The Geezer rubbed his mustache and grinned at me.  “You’ve see warm, warmer, and hot, but never cold.  Maybe I should add that to my list of New Year’s Resolutions….Get Sandy into some cold winter weather.”
       “What’s a New Years Resolution, Geezer?”  That was something I hadn’t heard about before.
       The Geezer laughed.  “New Years’ Resolutions are what we humans do to delude our conscience into believing we will make changes in our lives we have no intention of completing.”  He hesitated, blinked his eyes, and got one of those ‘I’d better come clean’ looks on his mug.  “That’s overstating a little, Sandy.  There are a few of us that really will follow through and keep them.”
       “Let me be sure I understand, Geezer.  People realize there’s something they need to do, they say they’re going to do it, but really know they’re not?”  That really sounded stupid, but then we are talking about humans here.  I couldn’t help mumbling under my breath, “Dumb.”
       “You’re right, Sandy.”
       “Are you making any New Years Resolutions?” I asked.  “Of course, I KNOW you’ll keep yours.”  I can’t help it…I was born with a sarcastic tongue.
       The Geezer leaned forward and watched one of the Ospreys leave the nest.  He remarked, “Look, Sandy, Mama Ospreys going to find breakfast.”
       He should know I’m not that easy to distract.  “No, no, no, Geezer.  You’re not getting off that easy.”  I rose up on all fours and stared into his eyes.  “Are…you…making…any…resolutions?”
       The old boy gave me a guilty glance mixed with embarrassment.  “Okay, you got me.  I’ll tell you what resolutions I should make.  Want to hear them?”
       “Yes.”
       He shook his head and sighed before he began.  After he’d put off starting as long as he could he said, “To lose weight.”
       “That’s a good one.”  The Geezer’s shape was approaching that of one of the blimps televising the football bowl games.  Though filled with gas, he certainly wasn’t lighter than air.
       “Do a better job of anger management.”  His guilt glance made me laugh.
       “Go on,” I said.
       “Watch less TV and don’t get so upset by the idiots on the tube.”  The guilt remained.
       “I can see what you mean about delusions.  Geezer, since we’re talking fantasy here, why don’t you make up some wacky resolutions for some famous people?  That would be interesting.”  The smile on the Geezer’s face swished away his anguished features.  I really think the old boy should reimburse me for psychological services.  Sirloin steak would do nicely. 
       The Geezer thought for a few seconds.  “Hmmm.  I’d start with having that Illinois Governor resolve to enroll in a criminology course on wiretapping.”
       “Good one Geezer!”  I knew that would juice him up.
       “How about having Jerry Jones resolve to make Terrell Owens the Dallas headcoach and install Jessica Simpson as the new starting center for the Cowboys?”
       I laughed, “Well, they wouldn’t be much worse than they were against the Eagles.”
       “Romo would be happy.”  The Geezer’s eyes lighted up.  “I have a good one; have John McCain resolve to suspend his campaign to coach the Cardinals in their first playoff game.”
       “Hey, the election is over!  Besides, does he know anything about football?”
       “So are the Cardinals chances of winning the playoff.  And, McCain can’t know less about coaching football than he did about running his campaign.  That gets me thinking.  How about having Bill O’Reilly resolve to not mention his Harvard education on TV for one year?  Or having Paris Hilton resolve to install cameras in her bathroom so everything she does can be covered by the press.  Maybe we could get a resolution from Ann Coulter and Barbara Pelosi to resolve their differences in one of those steel cage wrestling matches.  The loser would resolve to have their vocal cords removed.  I bet Tiger Woods could be convinced to resolve to never drive another Buick.  Or we could get Michael Moore to resolve to make a movie on the humanistic side of Josef Stalin?  Why not have Paulson resolve to stand on the Mexican border and give bailout checks to the illegals as they cross.  Or get Kieth Obermann to resolve to get a brain transplant?  How about having the people that give out the movie Oscars resolve to select the best performances instead of passing out the statues to those who have an agenda with which they agree.”
      “Now you are truly talking delusions.  They have to make that kind of movie first.”

October 19 – Is salsa the only thing made New York City?

October 22, 2008 at 12:59 pm | Posted in Current events, Elections, Media, News, Politics, TV, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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       Hi!!  I’m back.  Geezer returned my blog to me.  I’ll fill you in on today’s conversation we had while sitting by the canal.
       “Geezer, is New York City better than the rest of the world?” I asked the old boy.  We were walking to the dock to watch the schools of mullet idly swim around the tanin stained water after our morning TV watching session. 
       “Why did you ask that, Sandy?”  The Geezer looked at me like I was crazy.
       “Oh, it was something that was said on that TV show you watch most mornings.  They were talking about a bunch of women that were angry that another lady was running for vice president.  The people talking on TV made it sound like a disasster.  They said women were wanting to jump out of windows, want to kill the candidate, and the commentators seemed concerned that these women were upset.  It sounded to me that those women more important than others.”
       “They made it sound that way.”  The Geezer stepped down on the dock and plopped his rear onto the seawall.  “Let me answer your question by asking you one.  Do you think you’re inferior to the dogs that live in Naples or Sanibel?”
       “No way!  I’m just as smart, just as ethical, just as good looking, as those hounds.”
       “Sure you are.  How about those that live in Cincinnati, or St. Louis, or Dallas?”  I knew the Geezer was espousing equality, but I wasn’t sure I knew what his end destination would be.
       “I don’t know any dogs from those cities, but I can’t see why there would be any difference between them and me.” 
       The old boy pointed to the plethora of mullet swimming around the canal.  “I wish I had my cast net.  I could toss it once and we’d have fish for a month.”
       “Yuk!  I’m not a fish eating affection-ado.  Let’s get back to the subject.  What’s your point?”
       “Oh, yes.  New York City.  I take it that you wouldn’t feel inferior to a New York City dog, right?”  He looked at me as though he had a hidden agenda.
       “You’re trying to trick me, aren’t you?” I asked.
       “No.” 
       I rolled my eyes and tossed my head.  “Okay, I’ll bite.  No, I don’t feel New York City dogs are any better than me.” 
       “And you’d be right!  Those dogs are the same as you and the people that live there are the same as me or Mrs. Gator.  No better, no worse.”  The Geezer lifted his eyebrows.  “I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with New Yorkers.  There’s many brilliant, educated, and wonderful people there.  And, there’s narrow minded, unintelligent, vicious folks in that city, too.  You can say the exact same thing about people in Bokeelia, FL, Walled Lake, MI, or Folsom, CA., and the percentages are similar.  Want to know why many New Yorkers have an attitude?”  Geezer cocked his head to the side.
       I nodded.
       “The networks, publishing companies, and other media organizations are based in New York.  The difference is that people living in that city get more press than the rest of the country, and due to this many, not all,” he paused as he cautioned me, “have deluded themselves that they’re more important than those of us living elsewhere in the country, or for that manner, the world.  They think they’re better educated, smarter, and so on.”
       “Are they?”
       “No.”  Geezer laughed.  “They think they are.  They’d tell you about their Harvard educations, their control of finance, their control of media.  Think about that in terms of whats happening today.  Those folks with their Ivy League degrees and control of Wall Street have created the crisis this country is in.  The rest of us Americans are having to clean up the manure they’ve made.”
       “That’s true.”
       “And, think of this.  All those New Yorkers who are publishers and network mouths want to tell you how they’re for truth and the American way.  Would you call a person that is so intolerant of someone whose ideas are different from theirs that they want to kill them, get physically sick that person has a chance to succeed, and lash out with personal attacks that have nothing to do with the issues, 1. intelligent, or 2. ignorant.”
       “No brainer!  Ignorant.”
       “You win the prize, Sandy.”  The Geezer smirked.  “Still think those folks are better than the rest of we Americans?”
       “Nope.  Let’s talk about something more important than how the New York City ladies are upset with that Palin woman, like the price of manure in China.”

www.POW100.com

www.dlhavlin-author.com

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