Woof-woof Woof-woof-woof – Translated … Happy Thanksgiving

The holidays are on the way – Happy Thanksgiving, all!

The Holidays are HERE. I hope that the following season is a happy one for each of you.

May your disappointments be few –

May your successes be many –

May your opportunities be plentiful –

May you enjoy good health –

May your football, basketball, and baseball teams win –

May the “calorie sucker” do a good job on all the goodies you’ll eat today –

May we all understand the blessings we have and be thankful –

 

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Is it worth your time to train your human?

Geezer & I share a Christmas kiss

By word (or treat) of mouth – My human is well-trained

One question arises at our meetings of the Canine Chowder & Marching Society: Is it really worth the time it takes to train your human? My personal experience tells me the answer is a resounding YES! 

I know, I know, I know. Working with intellectual inferiors is frustrating and a slow tedious process. Some humans are easily preoccupied with extraneous matters like their job, their significant other, politics, cell phones, hobbies, computers, housework, etc. Even television can distract this species. Be patient. Remember many Homo sapiens have an attention span shorter than the average flea you’ll meet. That’s the very reason training them is so important. When you are able cut through the fog that surrounds their thinking process, you must make the most of it. Common sense decrees you do the best you can with the human you’re stuck with.

Here are some things you can do to be more effective in getting their attention which is crucial to training your human.

Establish a clock in their diminutive minds. Humans are creatures of habit and this allows them to think less frequently. (This function seems to be painful to some — they vociferously avoid it.) Be sure they perform the same functions, at the same times, daily. Gentle reminders are in order. E.G. Standing in front of the cupboard door where your food is kept at the same time every day works for me.

Provide them with signals. Humans respond to these very well. Wagging tails get their attention, particularly if you beat them against a wall, door or other item that sounds like a drum. Sitting up with your paws held in front of you, where your human can see you better, is very effective … particularly when you’d like a snack. Other signals that work include rolling on the ground, lifting one paw and extending it to your human, and barking. Don’t over-do the barking, humans don’t have much patience. Yes, I know the whole idea of shaking paws is based on the archaic greeting humans use. Humor them. Just remember my previous posts pointing out how the butt sniff is a far superior means of introduction.

Leading. A human saying is “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” That’s probably true of horses since I’d guess their IQs are higher than some humans. (They do let humans ride them so the IQ thing is in question.) Humans can be led and you can get them to “drink.” I find going to my humans, then going to the door will normal connect in their restricted cranium. “Open door.” Daaaaaaaa. You may have to repeat this procedure or even step on their foot. You have to lead when outside or they get lost. For really slow learners, I suggest a leash. Canines lead and humans follow or get out of the way.

Contact is effective in connecting. I love my human. He is an inferior species, but this is even more of a reason to look after him.

Contact. Humans are touchy – feelly creatures. I’ve found that this really gets their attention. I make sure they’re aware I’m around and they depend on my presence. This is true in the car, in the living room, or in their beds. Inferior creatures need our reassurance. I rest my head against my humans and look into their eyes to tell them, “Hey, I’m here, it’s okay.” Trying curling up next to them in bed or on the couch, laying on their feet, or sitting in their lap (This is size sensitive) and watch them respond to the stimulus.

Take some time to train your human you’ll be glad you did. You’ll find the rewards and treats proliferate!

It’s frustrating. but needs doing.

 

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A Scary Fairy Tale for Halloween ……

 

Telling a scary Halloween story to my niece!

This is a scary fairy tale I told my nice niece Remi for Halloween.

Once upon a time there was this beautiful, kind, and loving dog. Her name was Large Gold Sandrahood, princess of the country, Hambonia. It was said of Sandrahood that she wouldn’t hurt a flea. Of course, that was easy for her because she lived in a flea-less castle and was protected by a monthly ritual where one of her human vassals removed magic potion from a silver package and with great ceremony offered the magic, mystic material to Sandrahood as an epicurean delight.

Everyone in the castle and all that came to visit loved Large Gold Sandrahood. They performed all shorts of traditional acts to exhibit their affection and loyalty for her like the ten minute ear scratch, the ball toss and bend over, and the offerings of Pupperoni and Milkbone biscuits. Sandrahood lived in an unending world of love. It was hard for her to believe anyone was baahh-hhaad.

Then one day, when all her human servants were away, a strange person came to the door. That person knocked and knocked and knocked. No amount of barking, to tell the stranger her servants weren’t home, did any good. Large Gold Sandrahood finally went to the door and opened it, but left the safety chain in place. She said, “Okay Dude, whatcha want?”

Standing in front of Large Gold Sandrahood was a huge fat figure completely covered by a cloak with a hood on it. The creature’s head was small and so far back in the hood its features weren’t visible. A squeaky voice said, “Hello, Large Gold Sandrahood. I’m your Granny Hoody Hood come to visit.”

“My Granny is dead.” Sandrahood wasn’t buying the Brooklyn Bridge today.

The stranger’s voice dropped four octaves. “Would you believe Grandpa Hoody Hood?”

“Would you believe I’m Nicole Kiddman?” Sandrahood replied.

“Nope.”

“You got your answer.” Large Gold Sandrahood started to close the door.

“No! Don’t do that! Can I interest you in an apple or maybe some Fuller Brushes?”

Sandrahood left the door open a crack. “No … GO … AWAY!”

“Wait! Wait! I’m a great kisser. I often change into a toad … oops I got that one wrong. If you go up on your balcony, and stick out your tail, I’ll climb up and save you.” The caped crock was getting desperate. He changed his approach. From the rusty annals of TV channels a voice from Laugh-In spoke, “Would you like a piece of candy, little girl.” It sounded just like Artie Johnson.

Sandrahood snorted, “You have more lines than Harvey Weinstein.”

“No problem. I can get you a part in a movie.” The creature moved exposing six odd-shaped arms and legs.

Sandrahood was alarmed. She screamed, “What a strange number of arms and legs you have!”

“The better to hang on while I eat you!” The creature threw off the cape exposing its 300 pound blob body beneath. In horror, Large Gold Sandrahood couldn’t tell if the monster was a giant tick, or a giant flea, or Michael Moore! She screamed as the monster grabbed the door and tried to pull it open.

But ……….. Large Gold Sandrahood was part Boyscout – she was prepared. She held two pictures up to the partly open door. The monster took one look at them, shrieked, and fell over … quite dead.

When her humans returned they were so concerned for her and apologized for her endangerment. One asked, “How did you dispatch such an ugly, vile, evil monster?”

Sandrahood smiled. “Easy, I held up these. I knew one or the other would do him in. If Hillary didn’t, Don would.”

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This coming Weekend the Geezer (DL Havlin) will be at the Deltona Book Fair with his publisher Taylor & Seale and several of their authors. It will be held Saturday (October 28th) from 9:30 until 4:00. The location is at the Deltona Regional Library, 2150 Eustace Ave., Deltona, FL  32725. He’ll be there most of the day and at the fair sale area 1 to 4.

 

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Glory! Hallelujah! I’m glad I’m a dog!

It’s discouraging to know that when you go home with your human they’re as smart as they will ever be…….

I watched my human as he struggled with numerous government agencies and insurance companies trying to straighten out the mess hurricane Irma created for him. It’s times like these I so happy that I’m canine, not human. He is so miserable, I’m not. I got to thinking about many of the reasons I’m glad I’m not human. Here are some of the many reasons I’m happy to be a dog.

  • I don’t have to wear clothes. My coat is an all-weather garment. I don’t need a closet full of expensive stuff I only wear once in a while. Fur is always in style.
  • April 15th is just another day to me. No thoughts of suicide or robbing banks.
  • All the things I enjoy are free. No car payments … no boat payments … no credit card payments for last night’s dinner out or that new fishing pole. A stick, an old shoe and being scratched behind my ears don’t cost me anything.
  • I don’t own a phone. When I watch TV, go for ride in the boat, or eat … I’m not constantly interrupted by someone wanting money for The Society to Preserve the Rights of Left-handed Pregnant Male Zombies.
  • I don’t have to go to college to have evidence I was born with a brain.
  • Since humans have decided to take the “news” out of them, I can once again put the New York Times and other big newspapers to good uses, like emergency toilet facilities or to wrap garbage.
  • Nothing I have has to have insurance. Why pay money to a company to tell you that what you paid for isn’t covered because the damage wasn’t caused by the Tooth Fairy.
  • I can feel free to like or dislike any dog on this planet without being called a “dogist” and having old Rin Tin Tin movies burnt in the park.
  • Unlike humans I feel no need to blame my bad-breath and farts on other species I live with.
  • My canine friends consider my ability to smell birds, or bark loudest, or chase a squirrel up a tree, or pee on every dandelion in the yard more important than my AKC papers, where my mom and dad were from, and the color of my coat.
  • I never have the desire to half-straggle someone I claim to love and drag them around with a rope.

 

 

Wow! I’m glad I’m a dog! To all you humans … Try to have a nice day.

 

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“I speak to you from hallowed ground.”

 

“I am speaking to you today from hallowed ground.”

Just for the period of time it takes to read this post, I’d like you to imagine the words are being read to you by Charles Kuralt. All of you under forty are probably asking, “Who in the hell is Charles Kuralt?” Charles Kuralt was “the voice” of a CBS program that aired for years. It was titled On The Road. His distinctive voice was the signature for this show … a show that was all his.  On The Road was just that, Charlie nosed around the nooks, crannies, highways, and byways of the US. I know it may be hard for the younger folks who read this post to believe, but once upon a time their were actual journalists on national television that were true to their vocation, not their political beliefs. It was a time before we were divided into blocks for political opportunism. Kuralt found and touched the heart and the soul of his viewers. As you read my words, hear them through his voice.

The historical marker for Camp Blanding. Though it tries to tell the story it can only hint at the brave people who traveled through history here.

I’m speaking to you today from a few hundred yards off of Florida Highway 16. It’s about midway between two places you probably never heard of, the towns of Starke to the west and Green Cove Springs which lies eastward. The grass field I’m sitting in the middle of, is part of the Camp Blanding Museum. Around me are the tools of wars past. They’re reminders of what this place was, one of the important training areas for a war that would engulf the world. What remains of this site as an active military center is behind the entrance south of the museum. It’s only a token of what was once arguably the largest city in Florida. Over 300,000 men and women trained or worked here. Look around and you see what young men came to this place to learn to use. They had to do this to help win a war we could have lost and as importantly to give them their best chance of surviving it.

One of the artillery pieces on display. An artillery barrage was an infantryman’s worst nightmare.

This 1 1/2 ton truck was a World War II workhorse. Men road in it and supplies it carried kept them fighting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sherman. This M4A1 version was a medium tank. Shermans were the primary battle armor used by US forces in WWII. Its numbers offset the German armors superiority.

Looking inside the drivers compartments of these vehicles is a shock to some. The levers, switches, and mechanisms are crude by 2017 standards. A young man asked, “Did they really fight in these things?” An old man answered, “We sure did and we did a damned good job of it!” There was more in his voice than pride in having served and survived. In his eye and tone there was that reverence those who have experienced combat have for those they knew who did not return to stand here today.

The lawn around the museum is home to many vehicles. Half-tracks, DUKWs, ambulances, trucks, field pieces, all are pages of a book that tell us a story. Even a C-47 transport plane with D-day markings graces a concrete pad, a reminder of 508th Paratroop Regiment who trained in the sands beyond the guard gate.

Mixed in with the vehicles are monuments to the Army units that trained here and the people that were flesh and bone that gave them life. Among them was the Big Red One – the first army division. Nine infantry divisions lived here and learned about war on these grounds. There are monuments to the extra brave who began their journey into hell at this place. One honors distinguished service cross recipients and another the nations highest award, The Medal of Honor. Both have a significant number of names chiseled into stone to remind us of sacrifice and that sometimes forgotten word – honor.

Going inside the museum is like stepping through a time portal on Star Trek. We see what we were. What we did. Right and wrong.

A D-day newspaper. This sealed Hitler’s fate.

A GI dressed for battle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pictures and exhibits show us what a base for a quarter of a million men looked like. Row upon row of small cabins, barracks like the one the museum is housed in, hospitals, theaters, commissary buildings, maintenance facilities, everything that a city of that size needed to exist was built in Florida’s wilderness. Work on Blanding was a seven day a week, three shift schedule in 1940-1941. Today, most of the 150,000 acres that is Camp Blanding has been reclaimed by the pine barrens and swamps from which it was hacked. Concrete foundations, weathered and hidden by nature, dot the ground and are the ghosts that haunt these woods.

Reminders of the past always bring bitter to go with sweet. Exhibits remind us of where we’ve been, some of them telling us of what we did wrong. The Army of 1940 was one that was still segregated. Separate facilities, living areas, even swimming lakes are indictments of what just one of our societies mistakes has been.

It tells us of things we did correctly. Few know that many German POWs were transported to the USA. Camp Blanding hosted around 2,000. They lived in the same type facilities as our GIs. They were given jobs and paid to do them. Contrast that to the fate of POWs in German or Russian hands. Less than 10% survived the war and literally this amounted to millions of deaths. More than 15% of Germans elected to stay in the US and become citizens and over 98% survived.

Places like this, Camp Blanding, are places that should bring us together. We can attempt to change history, there are those who do, but it really won’t change. Camp Blanding is a string tied around our finger, like ones used by our country men before computers, to remind them of something they had to do. If we forget the good and bad that history teaches, we’ll neither continue our virtues or avoid our mistakes. Humans are on a long voyage of discovery. That discovery is how imperfect we really are. We have to embrace what we have become, not languish in what we were, but learn from where we’ve been.

The Medal of Honor.

 

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Golden Buddy — Where does all your energy come from?

Me and my niece Remi. This younger generation makes me tired just watching them.

I’m recuperating. My muscles are sore, my joints are jingling, even my tail hurts. Keeping up with the relatives isn’t always a good idea, particularly if the relative is ten percent of your age. The Geezer and Mrs. G took me to visit my niece, Remi, this weekend. She lives in the Jacksonville area. She’s Golden. Yep, she’s a Golden Retriever, too. Remi is a little over one year old. I love her, but she makes Niagara Falls look inactive.

We’ve been together before and I new she was energetic, but I didn’t expect to step into a situation equivalent to a nuclear explosion. When the front  door closed behind me at her human’s house, the action began. In the twenty feet it took to get from the door to the living room, Remi had circled me four times, jumped over me three times and crawled under me once. She was as quick as the animation in one of those super-hero cartoon films. Maybe she thinks she’s The Golden Flash or something.

“Let’s play tug-o-war.” Remi bounded around and picked up a rope with handles on both ends. When I didn’t respond, she added, “Come on, live a little!” I rolled my eyes, but she didn’t receive the same message I was trying to send. “How about we do the tug thing and run and jump into the swimming pool at the same time. How’s that? Huh? Huh?”

I needed some excuse that wouldn’t admit I was at the age that a discussion about the literary classic “Lassie, Come Home,” or an in depth analysis of the pros and cons of dry foods versus canned was more to my liking than a serious romp in the park. The best I could come up with was, “My winter coat is coming in and I’m shedding very badly right now. I need to stay out of your humans pool.”

“OH! Okay! Lets play with a ball. I’ll go get one. We can play take away. I hold it my teeth and growl when I’m ready to begin. You grab it with your teeth and try to pull it away from me.”

I had to think of something. I lied —– “I have false teeth.”

“Oh, that’s too bad. Lets play tag, instead of take away. I hold the ball and runaway until you catch me. Then I give you the ball and I chase you until I tag you. I’ll even give you a five second head-start.”

“Honest, Remi, I’m tired from my travel. Right now I’d have a rough time summoning up enough energy to chew my dinner.” I thought that would end the conversation.

“Poor Sandy! Those horrible false teeth. I’ll help! I’ll chew your food for you! You might lose some in the process, but it’s better than starving.”

I knew I was cooked. I said, “Let’s go play.” No other three words have caused me more misery.

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The Geezer had a successful visit to the Florida Heritage Book Festival on Saturday in St. Augustine. His publisher and a number of her authors attended to support this literary event. I’ve included a picture of his display and pictures of our visit to the Camp Blanding Museum on the way home. I’ll being speaking of both in future posts.

DL (The Geezer) in his taylor and Seale tee shirt talking to other T&S people at the Florida Heritage Book Festival

C-47 cargo plane with D-Day wing markings. Aircraft like this one were what our brave paratroops jumped out of to land in France.

Inside the Museum. A room like this was where GIs lived while they trained for combat.

 

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Butt buddies.

Me and my butt buddy, Ruger. We became mirror images … sort of.

Irma wasn’t a lot of fun for my humans, not one bit. However, it did give me an opportunity to see my cousin, Ruger. The storm chased us all from our Pine Island home all the way to Mooresville, North Carolina. That’s where the Geezer’s daughter lives. The dogs that own her, her husband and her two children are Ruger and Bandit. Both are Australian Sheperds. Bandit is my age plus a couple and Ruger is a puppy. But a fast growing one!

As you can see from above, Ruger idolizes me. What ever I do, he emulates. We became the “buttsee twins” after the Geezer noted that Ruger would consistently lie down with his rear toward me.

 He does it again! I had to ask — “Do I have bad breath?” — “No,” he answered, “I just like to be like Mike!”

It was a quick trip. Irma couldn’t make up her mind where she wanted to go, so we changed evacuation plans as frequently as a roofer changes underwear in the summer, the President changes cabinet members, or politicians change their reasons for losing elections. The Geezer kept trying to figure out where the storm’s eye was going. We were going to stay put, then we were going to the east coast, then off the island but staying local, then toward Jacksonville. It seemed like the storm was chasing us. The old boy gave up guessing and headed for the mountains … knowing if it got that far … there wouldn’t be much left.

It was a stressful week for everyone but me. The Geezer and Mrs. G were racing around storm-proofing the house, racing from location to location looking for gas, racing from point to point to avoid the storm and finally racing to NC. It was even stressful for Oreo, my feline half-brother. He and Bandit didn’t see eye to eye on some things. Bandit’s ear and paw ended up in Oreo’s mouth and Oreo’s leg resided in Bandit’s mug for a second or two. Neither hurt the other. Maybe a little pride, but nothing physical. Me … I enjoy traveling. And … I avoid altercations. I prefer taking Edwin P. Dowd’s advice on living with others. He said, life is a choice of being ever so strong or ever so nice. He chose nice as do I. (For the young and the uninitiated, the words are from the play and movie “Harvey.” Great flick, go rent it.)

Irma visited our neighborhood. The Geezer’s house was okay, but ……… the seawall wasn’t.

 

Coconuts! Coconuts! Coconuts any one! Two for a dollar. Get your green coconuts here.

As you can see Irma deposited her share of doggie dew on the Geezer. Our house came through like a champ. Not so his seawall and boat. There is much doom and gloom, but that to will pass. The Geezer is a lot like a sponge … he manages to absorb a lot.

On a more positive note —– I’ll be attending the Florida Heritage Book Festival in St. Augustine this coming weekend with the Geezer and his Publisher, Taylor & Seale. It will be held on the Flagler College Campus in the Ringhaver Student Center, from 9 AM to 4 PM, Saturday, September 23rd. It’s free to the public. You can get more information on the event by calling 904-819-6339. If you’re in the area … come see the Geezer! I’ll be staying with Remi a friend in Jacksonville. Tell you about it next week.

 

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