Friday, February 25, 2005

The dog, the myth Posted by Hello

Hey, Pavlov! You wanna piece a dis?!

Well, it's no big news that we have a beagle puppy in our household. We picked him up the day after Thanksgiving, and that was pretty much the sum of my Black Fiday shopping.

The deal was that he would to be our daughter's dog. She has her mind set on becoming a small game hunter and, as I mentioned to my hubby, "It just ain't no fun unless ya' got a hound." However, having grown up with beagles, I know how they are. Or can be. I decided to leave the final decision in my husband's naive hands.

Now don't get me wrong - he did meet my family's last beagle, Spike. Everyone liked to explain away Spike's odd behavior, excusing him because he was the unfortunate victim of an electrocution when he was rather young. Well, like they say, excuses are like ...well, you know what they say. The truth is, he was just evil. Plain old evil incarnate in the form of a 13 inch beagle.

I guess I would not be completely honest if I didn't admit that Spike was never really trained. And as far as top dog status, he was always testing the hierarchy. He did figure out that he was somewhere above my mother but still a little sketchy when it came to me or my father. I was determined not to take any of his shit. Even though it meant donning leather welding gloves and holding his snarling little demon muzzle in my hands when it was time to go anywhere, I knew I could not afford to yield my place on the Slippery Ladder of Dogdom.

And so, with these precious memories in mind, I told my husband that I didn't care if we did or did not get a beagle, I just did not want to hear him crying about it later.

Enter Jasper.

I have to admit, he's cute. Darn cute. So darn cute that he's spent way too many nights in my bed under the down comforter (don't tell the guys at the hunting club!). He is not so cute, however, that I can let the lessons I learned with Spike slip into that same fuzzy part of memory that tells you "You weren't really that nerdy as a kid..." I am taking this very seriously.

One of my main concerns with having a nose dog is their tendency to follow that nose with wild abandon and never come back when you want them to. They eventually will come back but not until they've impregnated your neighbor's dog, rolled in some crap, drained your bank account and leave your car abandoned on a dirt road across state lines. This led me to search the internet for some advice.

First, I must admit how surprised I was to find the amount of information posted by old timey beagle guys. Who ever would have thought? Not me. At any rate, my search led me to the site for Beagles Unlimited where I found a wealth of information on dealing with the animals. No dog is gonna get my goat, no siree...

The advice I found suggested to get a whistle and some pieces of hot dog. So far, so good. The idea is to have the dog associate the sound of the whistle with the oh-so-delicious treat of hot dog. Fair enough.

I went to the local farmer's market and began my search for a whistle. You would think there would be a rather large assortment considering most of the vendors at the farmer's market are not, in fact, farmers but folks of various East Asian persuasion, selling everything from Nike sneakers to laser thingy key chains. You would think. But no, that is not the case. The only whistle to be found at the farmer's market was a shiny purple affair on a gigantic ring - something like a prison guard would wear hooked onto his belt. The whistle comes home with me.

Next for the hot dogs. Fortunately, I remembered to pick some up during the Big Meat Sale (see previous post). I take a hot dog ( will he like turkey franks or would he rather beef?) and slice it into 1/4 inch chunks. Now to try out my stuff...

I pick up the whistle and give two blows. Tweet, tweet. Jasper is already sitting at my feet. He smelled the hot dogs before I even sliced open the plastic package. I look at him, say "Come on, Jasper", feed him a slice of hot dog and tell him "Good boy." He never moved an inch. We are both very happy with the progress we're making. It is time for the Great Outdoors.

I put on my Woolrich coat, slip the hot dog pieces in to a sandwich baggie and put it in my pocket, put my cell block whistle on my wrist and out the door we go.

Jasper immediately bounds off into the snow. Tweet, tweet. He looks at me, doing that head-tilt thing that dogs do. I wiggle a piece of hot dog at him "Come on, Jasper." He runs over and takes the hot dog. "Good boy."

A few minutes into the woods. Tweet, tweet. "Come on, Jasper." He pauses, sees the hot dog and bounds toward me. As he takes the hot dog his eyes say "I love you. You give me hot dogs. You are my world. Give me more. Please just give me some more." "Good boy."

And so it goes, walk a little, whistle, give the prize, give the praise. Things are gonna be ok.

If only it was that easy all the time, for everything.

"Oh, you brought in the second deposit on your home? Good boy. Here's your hot dog."

"You took care of that glitch with my account? Oooh, aren't you a good girl! Hot dog for you!"

"Your homework is done and you decided to clean the house with your free time?! Yay! Hot dogs all around!"

I guess I should just be happy that it only took me four days to remember to take the leftover hot dog treats out of my pocket. Good girl.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Rest in peace Hunter S. Thompson

A Very Sensitive Person


So last night I decide to go out grocery shopping. I get in my car and I'm driving. Driving, driving. All of a sudden, I see an animal in the middle of the road. It's dead already so I decide to do the ol' split rather than the ol' swerve. Much to my chagrin - and no, I didn't hit it again - as I'm closing in on it I realize it's a little dog. Ugh. A little brown dog with a blue and white collar. Ugh, ugh.

Of course, I have to go back and make sure it's dead so I go around the block (which is anything but a block because I live out in the middle of Wherethehellisthat) and come back to the spot. However, this time, there is someone riding my ass so I can't stop. Over the dog again.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick red subaru drives over the dead dog.

Turn around and go back. No one there this time but I can't stop. I'm chicken. I don't want to pick the dead dog off the road. What if the owners think I'm the one who ran it over? I'll tell them I found him already dead but they won't believe me.

Turn around again.

Where's the dog? Someone less cowardly already picked him up to deliver him to his heartbroken owners. They'll probably say they saw a red subaru driving back and forth very guiltily.

Off to the grocery store.

Tonight is a very special night at the grocery store indeed for they are having a big sale on meat. All the meat you can fit into a shopping bag is a whopping 20% off. Unfortunately, the events of the trip to the store still weigh heavily on my mind and, therefore, I cannot fill my shopping bag full of meat. Everything I pick up reminds my of the little brown dog. London broil of little brown dog. Top round roast of little brown dog. Spare ribs of little brown dog. I decide to buy some chicken and bacon. I buy a lot of chicken and bacon so I can feel like I got a good deal.

After the grocery store, I head to Pizza Hut because it is already 8:30 pm and my family hasn't eaten yet. I place my order and get back in the car to wait out the 20 minutes.

I take a little drive but eventually find my way back to the Pizza Hut parking lot well before the 20 minutes has passed.

Radio, radio, radio. I finally settle on public radio, letting the etheral sounds of an English carol wash over me. There is the long, low drone that anchors the song. The rolling penny whistle that fills in the middle. And above it all floats this amazing voice, pure and beautiful. All of this juxtaposed with the very offensive backlit lights of Buddy's New York Bagel Factory (closed for the evening) stabbing me in the eyeballs.

As I sat trying to balance the two in my mind, a car pulled into a parking spot in front of me. It was a new sedan of reliable make and trendy color. A young couple exited the car and headed toward the restaurant (using terms liberally here). The young man, with baseball cap askew, strutted across the parking lot in a manner very reminiscent of Vanilla Ice. And as Vanilla Ice, this young man was about as black as my Irish Catholic ass.

I'm not sure what came over me at that point. Surely it was the trauma of the earlier events with the dog but, at that moment, with Emma Christian's voice in my ear and Buddy's lights in my eyes, I knew I had to get out of there.

I raced into Pizza Hut and, thankfully, the pizzas were ready to go. Tossing the pizzas onto the seat beside me, I gunned the engine and threw the car into gear. Sideways into the road - hold the pizzas, hold the pizzas - I went through the gears a la dragracer and prepared myself to run the gauntlet.

Long John Silver's. Radio Shack. Nathan's Furniture. Arby's. West End Ford. Donnut Connection. McDonald's. Friendly's.

The sign's raced past in a bazillion kilowatt blur.

Taco Bell. Econo Lodge. Turkey Hill. Ollie's Discount Outlet. THE MALL.

Finally, on my two right wheels, I careened onto the entrance ramp and then into the safety of the relative darkness of the interstate. Heart rate back to normal. "We think she's going to make it."

What the hell was all that? Why does that happen to me? It's like sensory overload or something. I don't do well in the world sometimes.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Thursday Night Muse Lemonlight Blues

This blog thing...I just don't know.

What am I doing?

What is the reason for sending my random thoughts into cyberspace? Who cares?

I suppose I could email a link for my blog to people but, really, I'm even having trouble staying interested in it.

Is this where I'm supposed to chronicle my life and then hurl it into the Web hoping someone will happen upon it and answer saying "Yes, you are a valued member of society" ?


What if no one reads it? Then what? Who will validate my existential parking ticket? I will be left standing, ticket in hand, while everyone cruises by in their well-read blogs, intently pondering the latest comments of readers.

On the other hand, no readers - no pressure. That's right. No need to entertain. Just me, my blog and our devil may care damn-the-world-you-can-keep-your-parking-ticket low profile. Which, I think, is ok by me.

The limelight is a bit difficult for me. Hell, I even have trouble with the lemonlight.

Sometimes the thing that worries me most about myself is that I am bizarre without an audience.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Are we rolling yet?

Hi and welcome.

So this is my blog.

I still don't even know where the term "blog" came from or what it exactly means (I can at least guess "log" of some sort) and, truth be told, do not have the ambition to find out. Yes, yes, I realize it would only take a click of the button to set the World Wide Web in motion, chugging and churning in order to deliver 64,790 possible web sites for me to visit and quench my thirst for this droplet of knowledge. I guess I'm just not thirsty enough yet.

And there it is. This thing about me. My blissful ignorance.

Sometimes I feel kind of bad about it. I mean, I do hang out with a rather clever group of people - if I do say so myself - so I often find myself mentally adrift during a conversation. For example, my husband is currently reading a book about the superstring theory of particle physics. Now, imagine if you will, our dinner conversation.

Me: How's that book you're reading?
Him: It's really interesting. You should read it.
Me: Really? What's it about?
Him: Superstring theory. It's amazing. This theory hypothecates that there are actually eleven dimensions, possibly more, through which strings of particles vibrate. What they think is...
Me: Could you please pass the applesauce?
Him: What?
Me: The applesauce. Why eleven dimensions? Why not thirty seven?
Him: What?
Me: How do they know it's eleven?
Him: Well, in the book they explain. I mean, it's a theory...
Me: I'm sure they will eventually find out it's really thirty seven dimensions.

And so on.

Ok, so he wouldn't actually say hypothecates but you get the drift.

So there is the beginning of my blog. The blog I do not, nor do I pretend to understand. I don't expect you to either.