Archive for January, 2010

What’s a little poison between friends?

Friday, January 29th, 2010

To quote whatever the heck news source published the following tidbit that I accidentally stumbled upon and thought worthy of your attention:

“Black lab Bronson’s owner, Deborah Allen, trundled home from the nearby fields with a poisonous reptile hanging from his face.

Poor Puppy. :(

Bronson is often bringing objects he finds in the fields back to his owners’ farmhouse at Yarragon, near Melbourne, Australia, but the day he brought home the deadly copperhead snake topped them all for Deborah and her husband Peter.

The snake’s tail was in Bronson’s mouth, its body was wrapped around his jaw and the reptile’s head was dangling down between the dog’s feet.

Deborah and Peter were terrified that the snake might raise its fangs and give Bronson a deadly bite, but it appeared to have come off the worst in the battle between canine and reptile and was in a dazed state.

‘The first thing we did was grab a camera and take a picture, because this had to be believed,’ said Deborah. ‘The look on Bronson’s face left us in no doubt he was feeling very sad about having his mouth clamped shut by the snake’s body.

‘You could see by his expression that he just wanted the picture session to be over with as soon as possible.’”

Yes. He was hoping you’d get past the pictures and get on to the snake removal.

However, when Bronson didn’t realize is that the first thing you do when a snake bites you or a pet is take a photo of it. That’s snake bite 101. Snake bite = photo time.

Better yet, bust out your video camera and take your best shot at “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”

Imagine the hilarious voice-over they’d give this venomous situation! A veritable laugh riot! Hilarious stuff!

So anyway…

The couple were eventually able to remove the snake by lowering a grain bag to the ground and then pulling it up over the reptile, while at the same time pulling its body from Bronson’s mouth.  ’As soon as I said “give” Bronson dropped the snake right into the bag and we sealed up the ends.

They then rushed Bronson to a local vet, where a blood test confirmed he had received a bite from the snake. He was put on a drip and after four days was allowed to return home in the best of health.

Now first off, being no stranger to vet overnight visits, let me tell you a mere ‘four days on a drip’ is going to run about $4000. Seriously. And if they start doing EKGs and whatever the hell else they deem necessary? Well, it’s worse than a mechanic who realizes you have no idea how a car works.

Secondly, the photo thing really does kind of blow my mind. Especially now that I know that the dog had already been bitten. On the other hand, without the photo there probably wouldn’t be much of a news story…so I guess I should bear that in mind the next time Dozer eats a huge Costco package of dried mangos (last night) or a 14 oz. container of chocolate cover-espresso beans or a box of raisins or whatever other toxic substance comes his way next.

A picture tells a thousand words, so (obviously) photos make it an awesome story!

And thus, here one is, repeated in my blog for your reading enjoyment. Maybe not so much because it’s fascinating or news-worthy or life-affirming, but because it makes me feel better about my own idiot dog. Sure he’s been stung – in the mouth – snapping at yellow jackets, but he’s never brought home a poisonous snake.


Good boy!

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“For this to work … There has to be altruism in the universe”

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

And judging from so much of what goes on around us, their ain’t much altruism here on earth.

I could go on and on – foot binding, suicide bombers, The Darfur genocide, child pornography, the destruction of the environment, human trafficking, evil multinational corporations, famine, animal abuse, zombies, Fox News, and Tom Cruise’s ego – but it’s super depressing, so why bother recounting the endless list of our shortcomings as a species? You know what they are.

My dad used to do this SETI@home thing. Maybe he still does?

Regardless, the title of this post got me thinking. It came from this article I read entitled, “Scientist: Alien Life Could Already Be On Earth,” which wasn’t nearly as exciting nor fulfilling as one might’ve hoped. But I digress.

After suggesting the rather ho-hum premise that things such as organisms that live in hot springs (or my hot tub?) could have alien origin, he then digressed into a reflection about how our chances of having more exciting alien life show up are dwindling. You see, our former din of analog TV noise is disappearing as we switch to digital broadcasting, and we will soon become undetectable to other worlds. So not only is Comcast running an extortion scam on every last one of us, they’re ruining our chances of getting rescued off this rock and taken to a land where HBO is free.

Anyway, due to this looming lack of SOS, the scientists at SETI were excited by the possibility of using lasers to send super-bright flashes of light into space for a tiny fraction of a second and which could theoretically be seen by an advanced civilization up to 1,000 light years away. The issue, in the end, isn’t the signal so much as would any alien civilization would want anything to do with us in the first place?

Not the most attractive aliens on the block.

“For this to work … There has to be altruism in the universe.”

And not only altruism, but a complete and total lack of access to our media.

That or technological advancement combined with a stunning inability to judge character. Because, as we darn well know, unless they’ve come to blow us up, alien life would be best served to make a right turn at Jupiter and keep on going because we are one nasty and greedy plague.

Have you noticed that there are less and less true monster movies, and more and more ‘humans as monsters” movies. Where even the bad guys (aliens, vampires, vicious wild animals) in the end are the good guys when squared off with human beings? And don’t even get me started on all that “Saw” stuff.

I’m not saying it’s not all plausible, it’s just depressing.

Like District 9? I was despeartely hoping for the aliens to get out of South Africa and get away from us.

The Navi, on the other hand, are downright hot.

And Avatar made me wish I could move to Pandora, instead of walking outside to once again mingle with the kind of jerks that blow up and strip mine a beautiful and magical world in order to get at something they could sell for money.

I think what makes those plots so uncomfortable for me is that it’s not just feasible…it’s likely. It’s stuff we do every day to our own species and our own home. And it makes me wish the Navi existed and would be open to adopting me. Or even the District 9 ‘Prawns.’ They’re not much to look at, but I could adjust.

So what am I talking about?

I have no idea.

Maybe just that there probably is alien life out there, and they’ve gotten our Hitler broadcasts and Ku Klux Klan footage and listened to five minutes of The Howard Stern Show and realized we are not worth their time.

And perhaps our only hope is the fact that we’ve finally started to realize it and maybe can learn to collectively change our ways.

Or does that kind of stuff only happen in the movies?

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Since I brought it up

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

I just thought I’d mention that my dear friend’s valiant two and a half-year fight against her brain tumor ended today.

She was more graceful, grateful, cheerful, and selfless during the worst days of this than most people are when everything is going their way. It was an honor to have known her and been her friend.

The blog has officially lost a very dedicated and enthusiastic reader, and I’ve lost a fellow writer, dog-lover, seeker, traveler, cook, co-conspirator and steadfast believer that there is nothing so awful that you can’t find the humor in it…including terminal brain tumors.

She will be horribly missed.

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” ~Anne Frank

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Island dogs

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

I sometimes get this idea to move to Kauai and bring Dozer and open some kind of business called “Island Dog” that features his smiling face with a big lei around his neck.

Island dogs spotted in the distance

I have no idea what this fantasy business does, I simply have an unshakeable knowing that Dozer’s happy and newly Hawaiian mug would make for fine advertising.

Anyway, I was at the beach yesterday and these two dogs were running around, tied together with a surf board tether.

Now, the inherent arrogance of the dog chain gang is the assumption that at least one of them is not a raving idiot…and that the ‘good’ one is the dominant dog.

In my case, back when I had two dogs, this would have been a terrible plan.

Pixie, my German Shepherd, was physically much smaller, but she was also about three hundred times more clever. And she lived to run off. My nickname for her was “The Bolter” as there was nothing that dog loved better than to catch the scent of a rabbit two miles in the distance and take off after it…with Dozer in tow.

Headed my way.

The amazing thing was if you called Dozer, he would often come back.

Tether them together?

Not so much.

So anyway, back to my point, these two dogs – a Jack Russell Terrier and ???. I don’t know. Maybe a white Jack Russell? Or a Jack Russell mixed with something white? – were tied together and roaming the beach. I can only assume from both locale (Donkey Beach – rough waves for anything but surfing) and circumstance (the surfboard tether holding them together) that their owner was a surfer who’d left them to do as they pleased as he rode the waves.

I saw them walking around and kind of waited for the moment when one would try to go one way and the other would have none of it and there’d be a battle of wills…but that didn’t happen. Rather, in tandem, they sensed the vibe of a sucker and came and hung with me. And they were super mellow and kick-back, which I suppose is befitting a Kauai-based surfer dog.

Unsure about sloppy kisses from a strange island dog. The SPF 500 I favor gives me the appearance of an escaped member of a Kabuki theater troupe.

I didn’t have any food, but they didn’t seem to mind. The white one (the male) content to hang out on my towel, and the bi-color female not far off. And not to imply there’s some magic power I have over dogs, when I got up to leave, they simply rearranged themselves a few feet from where I’d been, and continued hanging out on the sand. So there’s really no point here. Just I wanted to share my humorous observation about the arrogance of tying two dogs together and letting them roam. And publish these cute doggie pictures. And I suppose that has led to the realization that I could dress Dozer up like an island dog, but he’d never really be one.

Even five minutes alone on a beach could result in a wide variety of disasters:

General barking and growling at small children – He’s afraid of toddlers…and most pre-schoolers…and anyone with a really high-pitched or shrieky voice gets him amped out of his mind.

Food snatching – I tell people that living with Dozer is like living with a black bear. You have to hang all your food from the trees or store it in bear-proof containers. He’d pretty much go through a car windshield if he thought there was a slice of pizza in it for him.

With my new best friends.

Separation anxiety – If he’s left alone in a strange place, he gets anxious and starts howling and digging at the door.

General mayhem – That could run the gamut from digging a large hole right next to someone’s blanket to heading off into the hills in search of adventure to more of the food snatching previously mentioned.

In other words, even if he does one day become an island dog in name, I will never tie a surf board tether to him and let him roam freely. So you can rest easy in that regard.

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Feel the burn

Monday, January 18th, 2010

And now, back to our regular programming…

Apologies for the derivation into sadness yesterday. I suppose sometimes it cannot be helped. Meanwhile, I’ll try to resist getting all somber and sorrowful in the upcoming days/weeks. I will say it was kind of a relief to ‘purge,’ so thanks for listening.

Gotta work the biceps.

Moving right along, it’s 8:00am here in Kauai, and I just finished a rather grueling upper body workout.

It was the same workout I usually do, just…altered in a manner that made it notably harder.

Usually I do the workout using neoprene-covered five and eight-pound hand weights.

Seeing as the last thing I would put in my luggage is ten pounds of dead weight as it’s much easier to do so with shoes I never end up wearing anyway, I was forced to improvise. And after testing a variety of objects around the house for sufficient poundage and grippability, I finally discovered my muse.

Don't forget the deltoids!



Certainly you recall the great champagne athletes of Haute-Marne, France? The spectacle as they would wind up and throw the bottles as hard as they could into the side of a ship, often tearing a hole in the hull upon collision? The glorious sight of champagne spray and shards of glass and wood flying everywhere? Admittedly, many people lost their sight standing a little too close to the flying shrapnel, but there are always risks when beholding history in the making.

Who can forget Etienne “Napoleon” Beauchamp, who revolutionized the sport in 1903, tearing sixteen cannon-sized holes into the side of the previously mighty and water-tight Dupuy de Dome before collapsing into an exhausted heap on the grass-covered ground? Not only will he live on as the greatest champagne thrower to ever live, but he is also the sole reason the sport was outlawed and ultimately abandoned altogether. When the French Navy returned and saw the damage inflicted on their once-proud vessel, well, clearly this had to stop.

Rounding it out with some triceps kick-backs.

Although I have neither the strength, passion, nor the financial backing of the French luminaries, I did feel I was launching my own mini-revival of the tradition in my decision to employ champagne bottles as hand weights. I’m no pro, but I would estimate they fall in the five-pound range, whereas the wine bottles were only about three…and mostly from California, which simply will not do. True, they’re freezing cold and the weight is a bit unevenly distributed on one end, but that’s the price of greatness.

As with any workout, it’s really important that you employ proper form. When working with champagne….hell, form goes right out the window. Just make sure you hang on tight and don’t drop them! Ignore the early signs of frost bite in your finger tips. It’ll wear off.

Simply put and stated despite the obvious, I am willing to go the distance and improvise in the (fruitless and futile) pursuit of Linda Hamilton T2 arms. And improvise I must. One final tip: No mimosas for breakfast…unless you like licking them off the ceiling.

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