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Why, a question we need to ask more frequently, but alas … don’t.

 

Here I am in the act of pondering why things are as they are. Anyone have an aspirin?

I wonder if there is a more powerful or disturbing word in any language than why. It’s a painful word. Why? (There’s that word) It makes us think. That is something many don’t like to do. I find thinking is particularly distressing for human’s to attempt.

Dogs’ “why” questions normally can be logically answered. Consider our questions and our answers.

Q. Why do dogs chase cars?  A. We feel like bullies chasing squirrels.

Q. Why do dogs have to go outside for bathroom duties?  A. Humans put the toilet paper in places we can’t reach when sitting on the john.

Q. Why do dogs fetch balls or sticks when a human throws them.  A. Humans are too stupid to give treats to their dogs unless prompted.

Q. Why do dogs hate cats?  A. We don’t, but we have to pretend we do so humans think we’re normal … don’t humans all hate some group? Republicans? Democrats? I could go on forever.

Q. Why do dogs chase their tails? A. We only do this when we are bored and need exercise. This can be the result of watching too much television. It is also caused by trying to emulate Congress.

Notice that canines have straight-forward, logical answers to our “why” questions. Dogs admire logic. I’m sure a canine poll would disclose that Mr. Spock would be among our favorite media characters.

Dogs tend to admire strong minded, low key people who control their emotions. That’s why we bite so many TV commentators and politicians.

I think its interesting to consider some of the common “why” questions that humans struggle with.

Q.  Why did the chicken cross the road?  A.  Human’s actually debate this. My question is … Why is there any doubt? The damned chicken wants to get to the other side. So simple, yet humans wrestle with an answer. Who knew ………..

Q.  Why do humans cheat on their spouses?  A. They wear clothes. No one knows what they’re getting until its too late!  (Note: We dogs have a clear vision of what the “possibilities” are!)

Q.  Why do politicians lie?  A. Humans struggle with this and try to come up with all manner of explanations that have to do with ideology, character, etc. Come on humans! Politicians lie for 5 reasons: 1) They believe voters are stupid. (in some cases this is correct) 2) The shape of their tongue (forked) makes telling the truth impossible 3) Most have no idea what the truth is 4) They want to get elected and don’t care about honesty. 5) They will get their own health care plan and don’t have Obama care if elected.

Q. Why do humans buy fancier cars and bigger homes than they can afford?  A. They need the space to contain and carry around their egos.

Q. Why do dogs develop conditioned responses while humans continue to repeat the same errors? A. Pavlov never had to try to teach a human.

Thinking is painful and difficult for homo sapiens. They do other things better. As an English poet once wrote, in part … “Ale man, ales the thing to drink … For all of you it hurts to think.”

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Vindicating vacation value …

“Where do you want to go, Geezer?” I asked.

He thought for at least two minutes, that’s a long time when you’re waiting for an answer. Finally, he spoke, “Remember Seinfeld famously said his show was about nothing? So, I want to do the Seinfeld thing … Nothing. I want to go where I can do that.”

I looked at him wondering if the steam in his boiler had escaped. “Nothing? You can do that at home.”

“No Sandy, I can’t. The phone rings, the Internet calls, my next chapter demands to be worked on if I stay here. So … I’m going where no phone will bother me, where there’s no wifi, and to a place I’m far away from my research notes and computer.”

“Is there such a place beside heaven?”

“Yes, I think I’ve found utopia.” He smiled. “We’re going to Amity.”

The view from Amity Cabin’s front porch – A beautiful 38 acre lake we had to ourselves. Except for fish that lined up to strike our lures.

 

The place DL found was off the beaten path. Let me rephrase: This wonderful piece of seclusion was off a once used game trail. Located in Mississippi near the Alabama line, the farm Amity Cabin is built on isn’t close to anything most Americans recognize as a “destination.” The rolling terrain, the beauty of the unspoiled pines, magnolia blossoms, curious deer, and mirror-like-lake, wrapped  a serenity blanket around us.

Pines in the morning mists

A full house … The Mississippi Martin Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’d been at Amity for three days when the old boy’s wisdom became undeniably evident. He’d found the ultimate location and way to relax. We sat on the porch, watching martins pilot their bodies over the lake, dipping, zigging, zagging, and intercepting insects that would be their babies’ lunch. “I have to tell you, Geezer, I thought you were crazy. You weren’t. This is the closest thing to a battery charger for humans I’ve ever seen.”

He nodded. “The one solace accumulating years brings is the wisdom experience imparts. I spent years going on vacations that were scheduled tighter than my work regimen prescribed. I’d race from attraction to attraction, take advantage of sight-seeing or night-life at any place I happen to stay, and squeeze in some work to salve my misguided conscience. The result … I was exhausted at its conclusion. A vacation from the vacation seemed necessary. Then, I discovered this is what I needed. When I returned from a true rest, I found my productivity and creativity returned to the 150% I strive for.”

Mrs G and I had time to read our favorite magazine, Garden & Gun – Wow – what a luxury.

The Geezer rockin’ the day away on Amity Cabin’s front porch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While our life style was definitely not an episode of “Naked and Afraid,” we were able to commune with nature. Deer visited daily … herons, owls, hawks, martins, robins, cardinals, and a multitude of other birds flitted around us … quail whistled “bob-white” from sun-up to sun-down, and a raccoon peered through the glass front door each evening, daring me to give chase. I didn’t even bark at him … not after his first appearance. It was my chance to relax, too.

 

A magnificent magnolia blossom. – The candle holders in the photo show size – each is 5″ in diameter. These flowers’ fragrance sweeten each day at Amity.

 

Most importantly, it was away from the filth Washington and the New York media dumps on us daily. There are no (vomit) politics on the farm. There are no assassination attempts at Amity. The only ABC we saw was in books we read. The FOX we watched had four legs. The Washington Post found its best purpose … to wrap garbage.

Yep, the value of our vacation was vindicated.

 

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Do you ever wonder???

I reflect best when I ride. Some of the things I’ve wondered about recently are shared below.

A couple of days ago the Geezer and Mrs. G were running errands and took me along. They know how much I love the car. This is particularly true when we’re going somewhere … you know, like on vacation or a book signing trip. This wasn’t nearly as much fun.

The half-day was a series of short drives from uninspired stop to uninspired stop. The car would get hot after a few minutes parked in the Florida sun. It’s May. It’s 90. It’s boring! I shared this emotion with either the Geezer (most of the time) or Mrs. G as one or the other sat with me while the other performed some mundane task. The expressions on their faces said, “Ennui!” If anything, they were more bored than me!

Don’t get me wrong. I love being petted and having my ears scratched. The Geezer always has treats to reward me for just being his buddy. The windows were down in back so I could exercise my nostrils. But all these enjoyments have limits. I was bored to the point of distraction. That distraction started me wondering if other canines (and humans) wondered the same things I wonder. I’ll share a few of these wonders with you.

Do you ever wonder, if a few generations from now, human babies will be born without hands? If Darwin is correct they’ll be replaced with a cell phone on one side and a game tablet on the other. Will they be called right celled or left celled?

Do you ever wonder what television would be like if every program wasn’t a vehicle for pushing a political view or an ideological agenda? I’ve seen archaeological artifacts like, Ozzie and Harriet, Fantasy Island, and Dragnet that entertained without rubbing manure in your nose every minute.

Do you ever wonder why human ladies spend so much on the “latest style?” It would be smarter to just keep your old clothes for a long enough time so that some high-priced designer re-invented something that was done forty or fifty years ago. Hey, pants suites are now rompers. Remember the “chemise” and the “sack dress?” They’ve come back under a new title. Micro-mini skirts do keep their same title, though the Geezer calls them “water cooler stop lights.” Anybody know why? Anyway, my coat is always in style.

Do you ever wonder if we’ll get the politicians and TV anchors to settle their arguments Roman Style. In the Coliseum. Televised. With appropriate weapons. How about Sean Hannity versus Chris Mathews with battle axes? Or Hilary Clinton versus Sarah Palin with maces? Why not Ted Cruz fighting Chuck Schumer using long swords? Think of the attraction of Jon Stewart matching up with Rush Limbaugh. They can fight each other with shovels and huge piles of manure. The first one that covers and smothers the other, wins! After all, it’s these individuals creating the huge divisions in the country. Really, 75% of the people would just like them to go away.

Do you ever wonder when humans will figure out that reading is the best way to get information? Stuff on TV, in movies, or on the radio, effects people primarily based on presentation … NOT SUBSTANCE! If humans read most speeches or documentaries made on/for TV, etc. they’d learn something completely different than the quick view that’s intended to trick them. Reading actually gives you time to think and question information.

Do you ever wonder why canines are so far superior to humans as a species? No further explanation required.

I love my human. He is an inferior species, but this is even more of a reason for me to look after him.

 

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Who’s mug would you prefer to see on TV … Me or He!

 

Wouldn’t I be beautiful as a spokesperson on TV?

 

Compare this pic of the Geezer to mine above. This one might be better for scaring monsters and driving out roaches, but not on a TV commercial!

 

I need to save the Geezer from himself! They are making a regional TV commercial for the introduction of his latest novel, The Bait Man. He is planning to be the featured face in the ad … like he’s doing signings at one of the book stores that sell his books. Mistake! Who wants to look at DL? He looks like a cross between the Pillsbury Dough-boy and Santa Claus.

The Bait Man has real mystic about it … class … suspense … pizzazz … flair. That book calls for a top of the line countenance to represent it. It needs to be me in the shoot! Look at my face. See the class and charisma I exude? Sneak a peek at the Geezer. What you see there is boring balderdash.

He says they want him signing a copy of the book in the ad. I’ve explained that I can sit in a chair and hold a pen in my paw. No problem. He doesn’t have to say anything, the whole commercial is done using a professional voice-over, so he can’t complain about my bark. The publisher tells him he has to be in the commercial, or so he says. If he was modest, like me, I might believe him. He just wants to hide my starlet looks from the public I should have. Woe is me.

 

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It’s Super Bowl time – I can tell by the smells

A keen nose and my sense of timing allow me to know how the super bowl is progressing

A keen nose and my sense of timing allow me to know how the super bowl is progressing

 

It’s Super Bowl time again! I’ll be shuffling off to the party my humans will attend. Everyone will be excited for it to start. I’ll be excited for it to end. That’s when the left-overs find their way to the floor.

Getting some excitement steam in my boiler is difficult when I don’t have a dog in the fight. Why? Think about it … There’s no representation for canines. There are four teams representing cats and, heaven forbid, five teams representing BIRDS! Lions, tigers and bears … yes. Dogs … no! Criminals are represented better than we are. Raiders … Buccaneers … come on NFL.

Why not the Arizona Airedales or the Pittsburgh Pit Bulls? They even have teams that represent colors. Browns? Browns! Come on! The Browns play like Pinks. Change their name to the Cleveland Collies, that’s more appropriate. They always come home and they’re not hostile.

What I’ll do is find a good spot to curl up and check the inside of my eyelids for pin holes. My nose will tell me what’s going on.

Pre-game brings the smells of onion dip, potato chips, and veggie trays.

First quarter produces the whiff of hot wings, beer, and more chips.

Second quarter brings the first odor of perspiration as one team falls behind.

Halftime introduces some more heavy weight smells. Hamburgers. Hot Dogs. Cheap wine. This year I expect baked beans and black-eyed peas to represent the regions.

Third quarter – more perspiration as lead changes hands, beer fumes overwhelm the odor of pepperoni pizza that arrived too late for the half.

Fourth quarter time! It is a literal lazy-susan of scents. Early, the aroma of feet (as shoes are removed) mixes with maximum volumes of sweat smell. As the “susan” turns, odors are topped off by beer, bourbon, and scotch. Toward the quarter’s end, beer and beans produce flatulent bursts.

When I smell the musty aroma of money as it changes hands I know the game is over. Yeah! When the game is over … can left-overs be far behind?

 

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A dog’s tale of Christmas spirit

As is my custom, I like to present my readers with a canine crafted Christmas story this time of year. This is a new one.

The Geezer and I wish you all a very "Merry Christmas"

The Geezer and I wish you all a very “Merry Christmas”

I watched the dog from my apartment window. The first time I noticed him was when I was eating lunch one Saturday. It was a blustery December day, cold, dreary … the type day best served by fireplaces, sofas with blankets, hot chocolate, and football games on the TV … not being outdoors. My apartment building adjoins the park where I saw him; that park’s lively April through October, but is as still as a mortuary in the cold Midwestern winter.

The dog was by himself, his actions rather strange for he chose to sit by an isolated park bench away from the access sidewalks that criss-cross the facility. Immobile as a statue, he faced into the wind and waited. I might have forgotten about him if it hadn’t been for the fact he was a Golden Retriever, one of my favorite canine breeds. It was for this reason I noticed the same animal, sitting precisely in the same location, after I returned from church the next day.

I’m a project engineer and elected to take a break in job assignments. Christmas was coming and with it another anniversary. My wife died, an untimely victim of a drunk driver the preceding Christmas day. Our ten years together was hardly enough and there were no children to help fill a Grande Canyon sized void in my life. Pity from relatives and friends, though well-meaning, added to my anguish. Their efforts to force me to indulge in an active social life revolted me. I was home, alone, on Monday and when lunch time arrived, I looked to see if the dog had returned to the park. He sat there, waiting for someone or something, patiently.

It was a bright, sunny day, with clear skies and cool temperatures. Between eating a sandwich, sipping coffee, and reading a novel, I kept tabs on the beast. The dog sat there, gazing intensely at the park entrance. The clock in my kitchen chimed two, I glanced at the dog in time to see him walking, alone, to the park’s front gate. I watched him cross the street and disappear into a maze of apartment buildings and homes. I decided I’d see if he’d return the next day. He did.

At eleven the next morning I saw him stroll through the park entrance, trot straight to the same bench, face the gate, sit on his haunches, and wait. Promptly at two, he left. Fascinated, I waited for the animal to change his behavior. He did not vary from his routine. Rain, wind, bitter cold … nothing made a difference. The only change I could see was his body thinning and a slightly perceivable slow-down in his gait.

A few days before Christmas two inches of snow covered the ground. I fancied I could see the animal shake. The poor dog looked as empty-hearted and forlorn as I felt. Before I gave it much thought, a pack of hamburger was in the microwave defrosting.

When I entered the park and stepped the hundred yards that separated us, the dog never looked at me. His eyes were focused on some unseen being in the world outside the park entrance. Goldens are known for their friendly disposition, but this one never acknowledged my existence, even when I sat on the bench next to him. His body was emaciated, his eyes slightly sunk into his skull.

“Hi boy.” The dog ignored me. “Who are you waiting for?” The retrievers eyes remained fixed on the gate. “You hungry?” I removed the hamburger from a cloth cooler and held it on my lap. The dogs nose twitched and its tongue circled its mouth. It did not move or take its eyes away from their vigil. I unwrapped the waxed paper from around the meat and placed it in front of the dog. It whimpered, but remained immobile. “Go ahead, boy.” He whimpered louder. “Go on,” I coaxed. The dog’s hunger won for a few seconds. He dropped his head over the meat and in a couple of gulps the hamburger disappeared. The dog returned to its watch. No amount of petting or verbal persuasion could distract it from its purpose.

“That dog belong to you?” A policeman stared down at the two of us. His expression was friendly, but sad.

“No, officer. I’ve been watching it from my window.” I pointed to my apartment. “I felt sorry for him.”

“It’s a stray. Some people reported it hanging around their home a couple days ago. I been keeping an eye on it. It doesn’t have a home. Sleeps where it can find a warm spot. One thing it does do, it always comes here during lunch time. I was hoping it was yours. Now I’ll have to call animal control and get it put down.”

“You don’t have to do that, do you?”

“Afraid so … unless someone adopts it.”

I heard myself say, “I will.”

‘Royal’ came home with me from the pound on Christmas Eve. It was obvious the dog had been well trained and cared for before his abandonment. He reacted to his new home with an attitude of grateful acceptance. As I had expected, there was a defined reservation in his demeanor. I new I was number two and probably always would be. We woke on Christmas morning … me grateful that something had entered my life to return some focus to it … he grateful for his improved chance of survival. I told him, “Well Royal, we got each other for Christmas.”

We spent the morning introducing ourselves to each other until eleven. It was then Royal barked for the first time. He changed from being calm and sedate to agitated. He went to the apartment door and scratched it and the floor beneath it. “Have to go out?” I asked. He barked and kept looking back and forth at the door and me. I had the leash on him and as we left the apartment there was no doubt where he was headed.

He led me to the park bench, and we sat there and waited, for what I had no idea. It was sunless, very cold, the wind was vicious, snow flew by horizontally and I settled deeper into my coat, wrapping my scarf over my face. Royal whimpered then began barking. When I uncovered my face he was staring at me … I thought.

From the bench next to me a soft feminine voice said, “I’m so happy that Clancy found a new home.” The voice came from a pretty young lady. Her long silver coat covered her in a manner that was surreal. Her brown hair spilled from a knitted cap, she had brown eyes, and smiling lips.

“You know who the dog belongs to?” I asked. She rose, nodded, said “yes,” and knelt in front of Royal wrapping her arms around the animal. It whimpered softly. The girl said, “Clancy belonged to Sally James. Sally had leukemia. The last weeks she lived she came to this park and sat here with Clancy.” The girl stroked the dog and scratched behind its ears. She put her head next to the dog’s ear and whispered to it. “I lost track of him after Sally died.” She patted the Golden on its head a few times and stood up. She smiled at the dog then at me.

I hoped for a negative answer. “If you’d like to take the dog, since he knows you …”

“Oh, no. I can’t have him with me. No dogs allowed kind of place. He is yours now. Besides, you two were made for each other.”

Royal, or Clancy, rested his head on my knee. His eyes were fixed on mine. It was as though a bond had passed from the dog, through the girl, to me. Looking deep into his eyes, I asked, “Ready to go home, boy?” He whimpered a positive response.

“Jessica approves.” It was the girl’s voice, but my wife’s name. My head jerked up to look at her … to ask her. No one was there. The dog and I were alone. His head and eyes were on me and are hearts were one. The weather hadn’t changed, but my life had suddenly turned warm. I spoke to the wind that howled around me, “Thank you Sally. Thank you Jess.” I will never be sure, but I believe I heard two women’s voices faintly, sweetly answer in the wind, “Merry Christmas.”

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Bald Eagles are free and so are we.

Our new neighbor is our national bird - the bald eagle.

Our new neighbor is our national bird – the Bald Eagle.

 

Maybe it’s just coincidence, but we have a prospective new neighbor checking out a home site on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. It is the symbol our forefathers chose to represent the freedom and strength they hoped our country would possess. A pair of Bald Eagles have been reconnoitering the local digs as a place for them to build their condominium. Lightning struck the pine tree in the front yard of the house across the street making it the perfect place for raising a family. I hope they decide to stay; the tree is about a hundred feet from the front of our house. Cool, right?

December 7th. What does it really mean. Yes, it is Roosevelt’s “date that will live in infamy.” We know the act, the terrible loss of life, and the war that followed. We know brave service men and women gave their lives and are a bitter reminder that living the way we choose to live has a great cost. However, there is another meaning.

Pearl Harbor is a statement on of the fragility of our system. A dictator’s decision triumphed over our democracy’s need for consensus. True, our system is fragile, but in this seeming weakness, the true strength of our nation exists. We are of different minds and we are allowed this right without fear of retribution. We can do so, as long as we do not stifle the rights of others to do, and think, and say, as they please. This diversity of thought does seem to make us vulnerable. However, it is the tyranny of singularity of thought, all that is allowed in totalitarian states, that makes the evilness of the Nazis and slime and filth of Communism, a hard strong shell, with a rotten core.

A free society allows the individual to achieve as much as he can, not settle for what the state says he may have. Has the fairness factor gotten out of balance? Yes, but those who scream for social justice would simply have to enforce the anti-trust statutes – they won’t because the people who put them in power don’t really want to do what they claim to desire. The opportunity to achieve appeals to the human spirit more than the “right” to simply exist. This is our strength in our fragility. We fight to retain the right to achieve.

Humans aren’t all the same as simpletons in some universities believe. Our cultures are different, our sense of right and wrong, our aims and goals in our individual lives … all are very different. That is the reason countries have borders; the people in those borders choose to live in a defined manner consistent their desires, culture, sense of right and wrong, and goals. We haven’t the right to impose our will on them. They haven’t the right to impose their will on us. Neither has the right to invade the other in any manner.

So on this December 7th, I’m a proud American canine. I love my country and I’m damned proud of it. Do you have the right to differ on this? Yes, if you’re a citizen … you even have the right to change the laws we live under if you go through the proper process, amend the Constitution. If the majority of the people agree with you you’ll get your change. If not, live with it. What you don’t have the right to do is to try to force or intimidate me to think like you. I won’t.

 

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