The Proper Way to Greet – Sniff, Sniff

April 29, 2014 at 9:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Ahhhhh, our Southwest Florida mornings are back. It was 68 degrees with a zephyr rattling through the palm fronds as we made our morning Bokeelia Beach walk. The Geezer waved to a man walking on the other side of the road and we crossed the street to talk. Of course, the first thing they did was shake hands.

What gives with this ritual? Two humans approach, square off in front of each other in a challenge position, then extend their right hands, grasp the invader’s palms, and grind up and down like they’re operating an antique water pump. Are they trying to see if water comes out of their fellow humans’ mouth or ears?

The males seem obligated to perform this action. Many females do engage in this ceremony, but are less obsessed. My guess it’s just another example of the females superior intelligence. That’s a universal trait we gals of all zoological types share. Of course, I don’t discuss this with the Geezer. Naturally, he has a different take.

Curiosity about this fetish had me burning. I wanted to ask the old boy why this slavish devotion to a convention that makes no sense to me. However, I’m too much of a lady to rudely interrupt a conversation. I decided to wait to pose my question. The other gentleman yakked on incessantly. Eventually, I rolled my eyes and paced back and forth trying to get the Geezer moving. He was too busy talking about some stupid political thing. In desperation, I tugged at my leash to break up the gab-fest. The old boy broke off the babbling immediately. Who says you can’t teach old men new tricks!

After we’d gotten out of human hearing range, another deficiency of the species, I asked, “Geezer, why do humans shake hands when they meet each other?”

“It’s a universal greeting. It’s like saying, ‘nice to see you,’ without using the words.” The Geezer dismissed the subject by pointing out what was obvious. “Isn’t it great weather? It sure beats the hot mornings we’ve had the last few days.”

I hate it when the Geezer does that! It pissed me and my sarcastic side popped up. I growled, “Oh, nicer weather? Gee, I’d have never noticed. I guess my paw pads have lost their sensitivity and my skin doesn’t recognize temperature differences.” Before the old boy could retort, I added, “That stuff about shaking hands because you’re glad to see someone is Toro Caca. You shake hands with that Irving guy from down the street and you despise the sniveling little bastard. I know you’re not glad to see him.”

The Geezer’s anger flashed for a split second before he saw the wisdom in my comment. After the time it took to get his ancient brain in operate mode, he said, “Well, Sandy, that wasn’t a complete answer. It’s a custom that’s origin is from long ago. It’s more a “I’ll do you no harm,” than “glad to see you.” If I remember right,” I thought he probably didn’t, “Shaking hands goes back to when men carried weapons and you weren’t sure of a person’s intent when they approached. By showing an empty hand and accepting the other man’s empty palm you mutually agreed not to try cutting off the other fellow’s head.”

“I guess you’re going to tell me that’s why you always shake right hands?” I couldn’t help smirking.

“Very good, Sandy. That’s exactly right!”

The smirk continued. Either Geezer was blowing smoke up my food vent or I had another bit of proof the human race was playing the game short a few cards. “Come on, Geezer. What about lefties?”

“Since most people were trained to do everything with their right hand, I guess it didn’t occur to them.” The Geezer surprises me at times. “Anyway, Sandy, it’s just the best way to get acquainted.” Best way, I thought? I hate to admit MY human can be so simplistic.

I wanted to point out all the obvious superior points that the butt sniff has over the hand shake when greeting, but I’ve learned in my young life that discussing such issues with intellectually inferior species wastes my time. However, let me explain the differences to you.

What do you learn from a handshake? Well, you see the other person has a right hand, he can move it, and not much else. Oh, you find out the person you’re meeting is willing to smear his germs all over you. That way you can’t say he’s never given you anything. Geezer says you can tell how assertive an individual is by his shake. I won’t dispute that, though I have my doubts, and for sure, that’s a one time thing.

Now, let’s consider the butt sniff. To paraphrase old Shakey, “How do I see thee better, let me count the ways.” Right from the first, a butt sniff says, ‘I’m willing to follow behind you,’ not ‘I’m right in your face and space to challenge you.’ What’s the friendlier greeting? Walking around your new acquaintance gives you a better chance to check them out. A 360 degree view so to speak. From a ladies point of view, it lets you size up your competition and, more importantly, the male contingent. If humans adopted butt sniffing, just think how many women wouldn’t waste time on men with, shall we say, deficient virtue! I’m assuming the clothes will go, that’s the natural thing that follows. Mind you, that’s just the visual.
The sniff! Talk about information! Let’s take sexual promiscuity. It jumps out and beats your nose like a baseball bat. Not that that’s my first interest. Lets’ get right to the social aspects. A whiff gives you a great clue to a dog’s socio-economic status. I can tell an Iams, Nutro, or Science Diet canine from a Kennel-ration mutt after sampling two parts per million. Coupled with their grooming, you can see who the social climbers are, the snobs, the down-on-their luck types, etc. I could expound on the superiority of the butt sniff for hours, but I’d sound preachy and I detest that.

I do see hope for the human race. Orientals bow to greet each other. Their’s is a much longer established culture, and I see this as proof of Darwin’s theory. I’m sure the bow is the first vestige of the human species evolution to the butt sniff as a universal greeting. It’s comforting that they’ll soon be thinking like I do, which means they’ll finally be getting it right.

PS – Geezer tells me over 20,000 of you have visited my humble jottings over the last few years. He thinks that’s great. So do I. Thank you for your visits and the hundred plus plus universally kind comments. It sure makes a dog want to do more.

http://www.dlhavlin.com

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August 12- Here Gator, Gator, Gator! Gator calling video.

August 13, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Posted in Books, Camping, Cooking, dogs, Humor, publishing, Reading, Writing | 15 Comments
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“YOU RANG!”

I’ve been waiting, virtually panting, until I could get some help putting the video below on my blog.  My tail’s been figuratively wagging off my butt wanting to share this with you all.  Sometimes I find four paws just aren’t enough when it comes to the convoluted logic human technology prescribes.  The Geezer is limited help on such things.  His rusted brain, which tries to stay current, needs assistance now and again.  “Gator,” his son, a big time engineer with Ford, came to the rescue.  The Geezer and his buddies are a bunch of outdoor types who go on a once a year fishing, hunting, and camping trek.  They call themselves the Graphite Avengers.  (For those non-fisherfolk, the “graphite” references a type of fishing rod.)  It’s discriminatory – no dogs allowed.  I really don’t mind—there are alligators around most places they go.  Alligators like canines, but not in a good way.  I don’t relish the idea of being a gator’s main course.  When the Geezer returned from his trip this year, he showed me the pictures so I could enjoy, vicariously.  Among them was this brief video showing off one of the group’s gator calling skills.  Take a look:

  

The “gator caller” is the son of my human’s best friend.  I’ll call him “Bo” since the Geezer tells me it’s bad form to give a person’s real name on the ‘net.  The picture below is of “Coach,” the Geezer’s buddy, and “Bo,” in their native habitat and in one of their favorite means of locomotion.

"The Geezer's best friend with his son"

The Graphite Avengers include the “Coach,” his son, the Geezer, his son, his grandson, and “Buddha” the Geezer’s son’s best friend.  The pictures below show them and what they do, and in the case of Geezer and Coach, what they’ve done for the last fifty years.

"Geezer and grandson and canoe"

 
“Buddha with a big one”                                            “The Graphite Avengers”

All those years provide my old boy with a treasure trove of material for his writing.  That goes along with his visits around the world (to eighty plus countries) and his experiences, including being a football coach, a business executive, and a fishing guide to name just a few.  The picture below could be a scene from his latest novel, “A Place No One Should Go,” but in reality, it’s from the camping trip.

"A Place No One Should Go, territory"

I’d love to go along on these trips, but know it’s for my best interest not to.  I’ve seen the Geezer display his gator calling prowess from a safe position in the car a few times, and it is something to view.  I’d love to see it closer, but…..  His descriptions of camping life, telling stories around the campfire, and beautiful sunsets like the one below are one of the few things that could even tempt me to wish I were a homo sapien.    Oh well, every human has his day!

"A beautiful Florida camping sunset"

If  you’d like to learn more about the Geezer, visit  www.dlhavlin-author.com

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July 28- A recipe for Vega-que

July 28, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Posted in Books, Camping, Cooking, dogs, food, Humor, life, publishing, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing | 11 Comments
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     My human is fat.  There I said it.  You know all those human interest pieces you see on TV about obesity, well the Geezer is the poster…I sure can’t say child…senior for that affliction.  It isn’t like he doesn’t try to get slimmer.  We walk a mile every day, he lifts weights four times a week, he makes a bona-fide attempt to avoid fattening foods, that’s until someone comes to visit.  Then “damn the calories, full gluttony ahead.”
     A case in point.  His beautiful daughter, her wonderful husband, and his two grand boys visited last week.  That meant an interruption.  Seven straight days where there was no time for walks, weights, or much of anything that constitutes a normal day in Geezerville.  Add to that the fact that some of the daughters friends visited; there was a whole lot of eatin’ goin’ on. 
     The Geezer is a good cook.  The problem is he normally prepares things like Steak Diane, or Eggs Bokeelia, or Baked Alaska.  By the time he gets done with the trimmings, the Titanic would have sunk under the weight of the calories he cooks, without tussling with the iceberg.
     Problem is, once the company leaves the overeating and break from the routine continues.  That’s compounded by the fact his publisher is releasing one of books, he’s working on two more, and generally, he’s trying to head in more directions at once than a cat dropped into a kennel holding nine pit bulls.  All this action is done while sitting on his ample ass behind the keyboard.
     I give him a hard time.  It’s for his own good, bbuuutttt I do enjoy it so.  As he pounded the keys I asked, “Are we going to take our 9 AM walk?”  It was 4:30 PM.
     “Oh shit, Sandy.  I forgot.”  He looked embarrassed. 
     “That’s all right, I understand.  It’s just I don’t want to look like you.”
     “Come on Sandy, give the old Geezer a break.”
     “Yeh, I don’t want kids chasing me down the street with a harpoon yelling, “There she blows!”
     “Ahhh, It’s not that bad.”
     “With all the food you’ve put away the last ten days, your brain must be in your butt.  And, with all that blubber pressing down on it, I can see why it doesn’t function well.”
     “Have a little compassion, girl.”  He looked like a toddler that just soiled his fresh diaper.  “I’ll get back on schedule tomorrow.  I promise.”
     “Oh yeah?  What are you having for supper tonight?”  I figured it would be something with enough calories to power up five sumo wrestlers.
     “Vega-que.”
     “Hmmmmm.  I’ll quit bugging you if you make some for me.”  I’m a meat and potatoes type girl, but……….
     “Deal.”  He went back to making arrangements for his book signing tour.  I went to the kitchen and waited.

     The recipe for DL’s Vega-que is:

Ingredients
4  tablespoons of butter
1   zucchini   9-10″  – cut into 1/4″ disks
2  yellow squash medium to large  – cut into 1/4″ disks
1  cup of cauliflower florets  –  be sure they’re small
1/2 cup of red spanish onion
1/2 cup of green bell pepper
1/2 cup of red bell pepper
2  medium gold potatoes  – peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes
10  medium white mushrooms  – cut in half or quarters
1  can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of catsup
2 tablespoons of whole pickling spice
1  tablespoon of garlic powder

Instructions
1. Place a quarter cup of virgin olive oil in a large pan and heat to medium temperature.
2. Place butter in crock pot and melt with LOW temperature.
3. Place zucchini, yellow squash, cauliflower, onion, bell peppers, and potatoes into the pan and stir.
4. Place the mushrooms in the crock pot.
5. Cook veggies over medium heat 1-2 minutes then add to crock pot. (should NOT be soft)
6. Place can of diced tomatoes and catsup in crock pot.
7. Add whole pickling spice and garlic to crock pot.
8. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
9. Simmer (LOW heat) for 3/4 to 1  hour  – stir lightly every 10 minutes.
Serves eight – freezes well.

Yum!  Yum!

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www.dlhavlin-author.com 

July16- Is the whole poll to put a pole in the hole?

July 16, 2011 at 11:23 am | Posted in Books, Cooking, dogs, Elections, fishing, food, Humor, life, Politics, publishing, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing | 6 Comments
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     “You humans never cease to amaze me.”  The Geezer and I sat on the dock while he performed one of the obligatory functions I insist upon, brushing me.  “Your language defies logic.”
     “Oh?  How’s that?”  He cleaned the brush sending another puff of my fluffy undercoat onto the canal water.  Its surface was blossoming like the hibiscus bushes in the front yard.
     “Hmmmm, I was listening to the TV this morning.  They were talking about the polls saying this and the polls saying that.  Now, I know you have a room full of fishing poles.  Okay, okay, I know the difference.  But, why not have a different sounding word for every different meaning.  In Doganese, Woof is Woof, Arf is Arf, Grrrr is Grrrr.  There’s no guessing.”
     “That’s a good point, Sandy.  As you know, all humans don’t speak the same language.  English is the one you’re most familiar with and it’s also one of the worst for having words that sound the same, but have multiple meanings.”
     I hate it when he gets into one of his condescending, ‘I’ll explain this to you as nicely as I can, you poor unfortunate,’ modes.  It’s his Bill O’Reilly impersonation.  But, he means well, so I tacitly become his straight-man.  “And, why is that?” I asked.
     “English, as we know it, has been influenced by the Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and the Norman French.  Each was in control of the British Isles.  Each brought their own terms to describe a thing or a process.  Those identifiers were simply absorbed into the language.  That’s why we have so many ways to say the same thing.  Some sounded identical to words already in use.”  He smiled one of his patronizing, ‘I’m glad I could clear that up for you,’ lip curls.  Puke, puke, puke.
     “That doesn’t make it any more logical, or easier, for creatures and humans that aren’t steeped in your hodge-podge vernacular.”  I felt like adding, ‘Take that!’ but the old boy is free with the treats.  No sense in creating self-inflicted pain.
     “Give me an example, Sandy.  I’ll try to explain.”  He appeared to be a little contrite.
     “Okay, explain to me how a person unfamiliar with the lame logic your language employs wouldn’t be confused by the use of poll – which I understand to mean, a study to determine a group of people’s thoughts on a subject used to help influence others – and pole, which is basically a shaft.”
     “Why, Sandy, that’s brilliant!”  The Geezer smiled.  In this type of situation, that’s not a good thing.  Something smelled like a five-day-old dead fish.
     “I know I shouldn’t ask, but why is that?”  I could see the guillotine being wheeled into place.
     “You’ve connected the two meanings perfectly, Sandy.  So you’re saying that polls are designed to shaft a bunch of people by making them believe a certain way.”
     How do you answer something like that?  The whole theory has a huge hole in it.  Oh, good grief!  He’s got me doing it!

www.dlhavlin-author.com

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July 3 – The song says, “You must have been a beautiful baby.” I was! I was!

July 3, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Posted in Books, Cooking, dogs, fishing, food, Humor, life, publishing, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing | 21 Comments
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"YOU MUST HAVE BEEN A BEAUTIFUL BABY"

My human was listening to some really old music on his hi-fi. Major old. It was so old the plastic cover for the CD has iron hinges that creak when it’s opened. I mean, U-2 is dated, and the Grateful Dean ancient. But these bands… I’m almost sure they were exhumed from an archaeology dig, maybe Pompeii, or some place in Israel, or the Calusa Indian site here on Pine Island. No electric, you say. Come on, you humans haven’t figured out how the Egyptians did what they did. You know back when they were civilized and built more than they burned.

Anyway, the bands had names like “Guy Lombardo”, “Artie Shaw”, “Glenn Miller”, and “Count Bassie”. I’ve tried getting some meaning out of those names, but the thought process has turned up zero. I figure Count Basie is royalty from one of those small monocracies in Europe, maybe Liechtenstein. Oh, and maybe Artie Shaw painted in his spare time. That’s pure guess.

One of the songs they played was, “You must have been a beautiful baby”. I knew that before the Geezer told me what the title was. Back then you could understand the words when they sang. I guess there were a lot of distractions in the cave. He added, “That song certainly applies to you, Sandy. You were a beautiful baby!”

“Was I?”  I love to hear the Geezer talk about something I already know. Makes him feel good.

“You sure were.”

“That’s nice. You know I can’t see myself. The mirrors are all mounted incorrectly in this house.” Humans are an inconsiderate lot. You’d think they’d be more obliging to the other species in their houses.

“Well, we can take care of that.”

“You gonna relocate all the mirrors?” I got excited for a second.

“Oh no, I got lots of pictures,” he said. The old boy picked out an album and began showing me what I looked like in my frivolous, innocent youth. I WAS a beautiful baby. I’ve decided to share some of these with you. Hope you enjoy them.

Mrs. G and me at four weeks - me not her.

When I picked the Geezer and Mrs. G

The decision is made!

Me with my mom, Breeze, and my brothers

Mom and I were close

Nap time with my bros.

That was a long, hard day!

Yep, it sure was.

I'm on the left with my #1 bro at 10 weeks

Saying goodbye to my mentor/breeder

Goodbye Momma Breeze!

Visiting my older sister "Gracie" at 17 months

I'm the one with the tongue out!

The Geezer, his friend Randy, Gracie and me

And that marked the sunset of my youth and the beginning of my blogging career-so Walla, a beautiful sunset.

See you again soon. Oh, a PS. I’ll be accompanying the Geezer on many of his book signings for his new book, A Place No One Should Go. I hope I’ll meet you at one of them. Check his website for info on the book and in the near future he’ll post book signing dates and locations there.

www.dlhavlin-author.com

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June 21- The game of “Get It!”

June 21, 2011 at 9:31 am | Posted in Books, Cooking, dogs, food, Humor, life, Media, publishing, Reading, TV, Uncategorized, Writing | 7 Comments
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     If there is one constant with humans, it’s their inconsistency.  They drive me crazy at times.  I’ll give you an example of what happened to me yesterday.
     When we went out for our daily walk, the Geezer took one of the yellow balls with which we play “Get It!”  It’s about three inches in diameter, has fuzz on the cover, and bounces wonderfully well.  The ball fits in my mouth perfectly; it’s not so small I have to be concerned with swallowing it, not so large I have to stretch my jaws uncomfortably wide to pick it up and carry it.  The ones we have are coated with enough of my canine slobber that I could sniff them out in a field of foot high grass, in a fog, at midnight, with no moon!
     “Get It!” is a simple game.  Since humans are part of it, naturally, it has to be.  The game is played in all sorts of venues.  In our yard, the street, even in the living room.  The human must be taught to do a minimum of three things.  1-  Stand or sit in one spot.  Most can do this without extensive canine oversight.  2-  Throw the ball.  This does require some loving canine patience.  Some humans throw horribly.  No aim.  No distance.  As in so many things, humans can be quite pathetic.  3-  The human shouts, “Get It!”  Of course, thats where the game derives its name.  Some humans are incapable of remembering that simple two-word phrase.  They reduce it to a single word such as, “Fetch!” or “Retrieve!”  But remember, we’re dealing with Homo sapiens here.  Stringing two words together strains some of that species mental facilities.
     My portion of the game is, by far, the most challenging.  I must bounce around in front of my human racing back and forth to motivate the old codger to make a good long throw.  Second, at the motion of his arm, I must anticipate where he will toss the yellow spheroid.  My muscles strain to explode.  At the release of the ball, I fire off like a rocket, trying to capture the elusive prize before it comes to rest.  In one supremely athletic movement, I snatch the ball, turn, and sprint back to my human and deliver the fluffy yellow bit of rubber to his hand, so he can repeat those simple three steps.
     Yesterday, we played the game in a field near the house.  As usual, my human tired long before I worked up a good sweat.  After a measly twenty throws, the Geezer said, “Damn Sandy, you’d do this all day!”  I replied in Doganese, “Does Dolly have big boobs?  Do politicians lie?  Sure I can!”  Either the old boy failed to translate or chose to ignore me for he stuck the ball in his pocket.  He offered me a dog biscuit to buy me off.  He said, “You sure do play the game well, Sandy!”  I know that, but humans are fond of pointing out something that everyone knows.  Simple concepts for a simple-minded species, I guess.  I admit it is nice to hear, anyway.  He ALWAYS does that……
     You say, “Where’s the inconsistency?”  Let me explain what happened that afternoon.  The Geezer and his Mrs. took me to a place I’d never been before.  It’s a place that human’s hone their Get It skills.  It’s a partly enclosed arena, with painted floors, and an obstacle in the form of a fish net strung from poles.  A human stands on either side of the net and uses a handicapping device to make the ball move back and forth over the net.  Evidently, during this Get It practice, they aren’t allowed to use their mouths or paws, sorry, hands, to retrieve the ball.  I heard the Geezer call the handicapping device a “racket.”  I’ve heard other humans on TV discuss rackets and I believe they’re illegal, but….
     One of the human’s in the arena was a friend of the Geezers and my curmudgeon and his Mrs. were shouting encouragement to their buddy as he slapped the ball around.  Several other canines were laying next to the folding chairs their humans were sitting in, all, I’m sure, were waiting for the real portion of the game to begin.  I kept my muscles tense and my eye on the ball waiting to be summoned.
    It was becoming boring when a ball was hit toward the Geezer’s friend.  The ball took a big bounce on the painted area.  It was obvious to me that the Geezer’s human friend wouldn’t get to it in time to slap the yellow ball.  Finally, Geezer yelled, “Get IT!!”  Of course, I did.
    Inconsistency!!!!!!

http://www.dlhavlin-author.com

June 7 – Riding shotgun or tailgunner.

June 7, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Posted in Books, Cooking, dogs, food, Humor, life, publishing, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing | 8 Comments
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     “You want to ride along, Sandy?  We’re going to run a few errands.”  The Geezer should have known better than to ask that!  Does the economy stink?  Do politicians lie?  The answer isn’t yes, it’s HELL YES!!!!
     Anytime I get the opportunity to load into the truck, I’m ready.  Nothing but good things happen when I’m navigating for the Geezer.  If he takes me without bringing Mrs. G. along, I get to ride shotgun.  For you uninitiated in auto slang, that’s front seat, passenger side, window.  Folks wave to me and I bark back.  It’s great fun.  I’m sure they don’t mistake me for Mrs. G.  She’s good-looking as far as human females go, but pales in comparison to my magnificent beauty.  When pictures aren’t available, I feel I must be more totally honest, than modest.
     Unfortunately, I was relegated to the back seat today.  The term for being exiled back there is flying tail-gunner.  Mrs. G. went.  That’s not all bad because the Geezer puts the back seats down giving me more space to move around.  I still can navigate by sticking my head in between the front seats.  Another perk connected with riding in the back is that— if I rest my head on Mrs. G’s shoulder, she’ll continue to rub behind my ears until I fall asleep, or she does.  Neither one of us stay awake on long rides, but she has a tendency to snore by the time the car backs out of the driveway.
     The first place we went today, was the bank.  I like the smell of money that’s there and the ladies that work inside.  I have them trained really well.  As soon as we pull up to the drive through, I stick my head out the driver’s side window.  The Geezer always opens it for me as we approach.  My command to the girls is two sharp “Ruffs.”  They immediately fetch me at least three treats.  If I want more, I simply sit up in the back seat and swing my front paws up like I’m conducting a band.  That’s good for at least two more…..  Well, there is one lady who never responds.  Some humans just aren’t trainable.  You know the deplorable mental capabilities of many of that species.  That’s why the old cliché is about horse sense, not human sense.  And, heavens, equines aren’t that bright.
    The next stop was to get gas.  Normally that’s boring.  Not so today.  Edgar and Edna, two friends and former neighborhood canines were sitting in the bed of a pickup truck that was stopped on the other side of the gas pump.  Gosh its great to see old friends.   It was one big gab session.  My humans and their humans were laughing and talking as I greeted my old buddies.  “How do you two like your new digs?” I asked.
     “They’re okay,”  Edgar said, in a typically reserved English Setter manner.
     “Oh they’re wonderful!  Magnificent!  Just simply superb!”  You have to understand Edna is very social conscious.  Her lineage was “accidental” that being part Cocker and part Poodle.  What does that make her, a Cockepoodle?  Crockapoodle would be more accurate.  She’s the queen of hyperbole.
     “Now Edna, don’t embellish.  They’re just nice.”  Edgar scratched a flea under his chin.  “See, we still have those rascals.”
     “Yes, but we have a three car garage, a garbage disposal in two sinks, four bathrooms, and a swimming pool.”  Edna was trying to impress.
     “That is cool,” I said, “Anything else you have at your new place you didn’t have in the old neighborhood?”
     Edgar studied for a few seconds before saying, “Roaches.”
     Some folks are born to convert highs into lows.
     Our last stop was one of my very most favorite places.  I call it the Parking Zoo.  The Geezer calls it the mall parking lot.  There’s no better place to do some human watching, and there’s nothing more interesting to do when we take one of our rides.  We parked and Mrs. G. left the car.   I slid between the front seat backrests and took her seat, which was still warm as I plopped my butt down.
     The Geezer asked, “Sandy, were you invited?’
     I gave him my, Get real, peon, look.
     “Okay, okay.  But, get back in the rear quickly when Mrs. G returns.”
     “Sure, sure, quick as a bunny.”
     “Fine, fine,” he said.  The old boy doesn’t know sarcasm unless you hold up a sign.  He put the windows down half way.  That lets me see out without having to look through finger and nose prints.  “That far enough?” he asked.
     “That’ll do,” I answered.
     About that time the first specimen strolled up the pavement in front of the car.  It was a man from the human sub-species, concedius-arrogantus.  He had a bright green golf shirt on that had a stripe across the shoulders the Geezer called mauve when I asking him.  He had enough grease on his hair to lubricate the skids used to move all the stones that made the pyramid at Giza.  The man looked around, looking for someone, looking at him.  His head was held up and back, his facial expression was like that of a human smelling a full discharge of flatulence.  You know, the Bill O’Reilly type.
     The next sighting was a full parade.  It was a Reproductus-prolifitera.  The lady in question led her brood of eight stair-step girls toward the stores, their butt cheeks swaying in time with mama’s.  All wore blonde pony tails that swung to the opposite side their from where their rears rotated.  It was a precision drill team in training.  I mentioned to the Geezer, “That prolifitera is attractive.  And, she has a cute rear.” 
    “That’s why she has those eight ducklings following her tail,” the Geezer editorialized in a knowing manner.
     About that time, a man with a pot gut, dirty shorts, and a tee-shirt that didn’t make it down over his naval, (his belly button pushed out like a flag) came from the opposite way the parade was going.  His legs looked like pipe stems supporting a basketball.  He hadn’t shaved for a couple of days.  Or taken a bath.  Or used deodorant.  Or scrubbed his teeth.  Hey, I can’t help it that my nose is sharp.  The “T” had “Every woman’s dream,” printed across the front.  I scoffed, “See what’s on that tee, Geezer?  I know what the dream is.  Nightmare on Elm Street.”  I recognized his genus as Grossis-slobovian.  Both the Geezer and I exclaimed together, “He looks just like Michael Moore!”
     I was watching the slobovian get into his car, when the Geezer whistled.  “Get a load of this one!”  I turned my head and my jaw dropped, dog slobber decorating the front seat.  “Is it?” I asked.
    “Yes it is, Sandy!”
    “You see them, but not so…developed.”  I shook my head and rolled my eyes.  “A real Fattass-humongu-elephatanti,” I added in reverence.
     “No, but you’re close.”  The Geezer looked me square in the pupils.”  That’s a genuine, Fattass-humongu-whalus.”
    
As the specimen approached, the sun seemed blotted out by its shadow and vibrations from impact tremors made the car creak.  I swear that’s true.  “Is it male or female?” I asked in fear and awe at the same time.
    “Sandy, I have no idea.”  He studied the hulk filling the roadway aisle in front of us.  “Well, it could…but, then…I think…then again…”  The Geezer repeated in awe, “I have no idea.” 
     There was a tapping on the passenger side window that snapped our heads around and returned us from fantasy land.
    “Who wants a hot dog?” Mrs. G. asked.  The Geezer always says that woman can send you right to heaven. 

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www.dlhavlin-author.com

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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May 12- What? An award for me?

May 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Posted in Books, Camping, Cooking, dogs, food, Humor, life, Media, publishing, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing | 14 Comments
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     Cut the leashes!  Break out the doggy treats!  Convene a meeting of the Canine Chowder and Ham Bone Marching Society!  One of my readers has bestowed a great honor on this shy and humble scribe.  It’s called the Versatile Blogger Award.  While I shouldn’t divulge this information because it might spoil my image, I can’t help myself.  I love being awarded anything!  It’s in my blood lines – both mom and dad were best of show canines – so blame them.  Please give me a few seconds to bask in the spot light….

Bask….

Bask….

BASK….

     Okay, I’ve basked enough.  First, I want to THANK Jodi Stone, you can find this discerning blogger at   www.jodistone.wordpress.com  , for presenting me this award.  Next, I want to thank my parents, my teachers, especially Dr. Longfellow the Bassett who has honed my literary skills, the water meter reader who always pets me, my friends in the ‘hood, the Pope, the Academy out there in Hollywood, and Mrs. G for her love and attention.
     Let’s see, did I miss anyone?  Oh yes, I should mention the Geezer whose computer is required to produce my blog.  He also does a few little things like feeding me, walking me, and providing me with comic relief.  And, he is my best friend.
    I would be remiss if I were to not scrupulously perform the required tasks accompanying this august award.  These include:  1) Post a link back to the person who gave you the award, 2) Share seven random things about yourself, 3) Award fifteen blogs you’ve discovered and like, and 4) Drop them a note and tell them about it.  So here goes—-

First here’s the link to that paragon of literary taste and blogging virtuosity, Jodi Stone.     www.jodistone.wordpress.com  

Second here’s seven things you don’t know about me.
*  I can eat two cups of Beneful dogfood in the amazing time of 11.913 seconds.  The Geezer stop watched my time.  One disclaimer, the entrée was served with gravy on top.  I don’t recommend this behavior, it creates gas.
*  I read a lot!  I like Sparks, Cornwell, Ivanovich, Clancy, Gresham and many others, but my all time favorites are Norman Maclean, Harper Lee, Mark Twain, Bruce Catton, and Max Schulmann.
*  I’m an avowed nudist!  I haven’t been able to influence the Geezer, though.  As far as I can get him is to work at the computer in his underwear.
*  I’m a connoisseur of all types of eatables.  Particularly meaty dishes, pastas, breads, soups, cuishes, desserts, socks, underwear, shoes (left side only), the neighborhood flowers, and roadkill.  My human says I’m truly a connoisseur without the conno.  I’m not quite sure about that.
*  I love baseball, football (my favorite), softball, volleyball, basketball (the most difficult for me to sink my teeth in), tennis ball, golf ball, or just plain old ball-ball.  My specialty is chase and retrieve.  Surprise, surprise.
*  I love to get up early in the morning, watch the sunrise while sipping coffee, and look at the osprey soar and scream their “good mornings” to the Geezer and me as we sit on the dock behind our house.
*  My most favorite, number uno, bell-ringin’, supremo thing is making the Geezer look foolish.  The only problem is it’s just too easy to do.

Third, here are those 15 blogs (OH hell let’s make it 20) I’ve discovered and enjoy!
www.emmalougoldendestroyer.wordpress.com
www.france59.wordpress.com
www.conditionallysatisfactory.wordpress.com
www.DeborahValledor.com
www.JohnAdcox.com
www.musingbymoonlight.com
www.oldereyes.wordpress.com
www.doggieroodotcom.wordpress.com
www.ladyfi.wordpress.com
www.marilnkaydennis.wordpress.com
www.arleneandtangosblog.wordpress.com
www.suzicate.wordpress.com
www.charlywalker.wordpress.com
www.accordingtogus.wordpress.com
www.andienewton.wordpress.com
www.daisyfae.wordpress.com
www.shitmycakesays.wordpress.com
www.catherinesherman.wordpress.com
www.accidentalstepmom.wordpress.com
www.lifeintheboomerlane.wordpress.com

Four says to drop them all a note – which, of course, I shall do!  All of those that are receiving it – pass it along.

Thanks again JS -

Sandy

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www.dlhavlin-author.com

 

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

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