Friday, January 27, 2012

Newt Skywalker is right!

M says that Newt "Skywalker" Gingrich is right: There will be an American colony on the moon before he reaches the end of a second--or even a first--term as President of the United States. Not sure what all that means, but it is M's computer.

PS - My curiosity got the best of me, so I Googled up this picture of Newt:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Caveat emptor.

That's Latin for "Let the buyer beware." M tells me this basically means that you should be careful when you buy something, because what you get might not be what you thought you saw. And you could be stuck with it. Here's a good example:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The loons, Norman!

Mike says this cartoon pokes fun at one of his favorite movies, On Golden Pond. He likes the flick because it's about a crotchety old professor who has a nice vacation cabin on a lake. (The guy sounds like a back-up copy of M, except for the cabin and the lake.) M likes the cartoon as well, because its humor is "edgy." I'm not sure I get it, though. Guess I'll have to watch the movie.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


*Post-Traumatic Stress - Dogs

I had a bad episode yesterday, and it's still bothering me today. To understand this, you need to know a few things about me and especially about my past:

First, since I came to live with M and J, one of my main health problems has been separation anxiety. The first year was especially rough. I hated it when either of them (especially M) went away and left me. If they both went somewhere, I hated that even worse. But I've been making pretty good progress for the past few months. I hardly ever move things around or eat letter openers anymore while they're gone, although I do still bark like crazy when they come home.

Second, dogs in general don't have much concept of linear time or the sequencing of events. We do know some things from hard experience about cause and effect. And through much study, I can tell today from yesterday and last week from last year and I think I finally know what "Later! Be patient!" means. But when different stressful things happen in a short period of time, the fine details can sometimes get muddled in my head.

Third--and this is something most of my friends already know--I used to live in the woods with a man who didn't have a regular house. We just camped out, mainly, and huddled together to stay warm and dry at night and ate whatever food was free or not too expensive. Well, long story short, the man died. Some people came in a big white truck with lights flashing all over it and took him away. But they didn't take me. At that point my life took a serious turn for the worse. I think that's why I finally picked M to be my new main human--because he looked a bit like a hobo, and being around him stirred some good memories. In fact, I think that for a while I was convinced he was really my homeless man, who woke up in the back of the big truck and somehow escaped from it. (It never occurred to me that it shouldn't take months for this to happen. There's that time-line problem at work.)

Before I get to yesterday's panic attack, I want to show you this picture I found of M feeding me treats by a field where I used to hang out. It was just moments later that I walked up and head-butted him in the chest to let him know he could live with me (again?) if he wanted to. Even though it's not a high-quality picture, I think you can tell how I might have confused M with a homeless man. He's not exactly dressed for the opera. (The reason the picture is so grainy is that J thought she had the camera set to take regular photos, when she really had it set to do video. What she ended up with was mostly a short movie of the ground and the sky and some trees zipping around.)

Okay, now on to the "bad episode": Yesterday morning as I looked out the living room window, one of those big white trucks with the flashing lights pulled up in front of our house. Then an even bigger one pulled up from the other direction. A few people got out of each truck. The ones from the first truck were pushing some kind of bed thing on wheels. Soon all the truck people disappeared behind some tall bushes that are in our front yard. Then the ones from the really big truck went and got back in it and drove away. Then the ones from the smaller big truck went back to it pushing the bed on wheels, and they had another person tied into it. They loaded the bed with that person into their truck and they drove away, too. Then M said he had to go to the store. He backed his truck out of the garage and drove away as well.

A few minutes later I looked around and noticed that M wasn't here. And I remembered the bed with the person tied into it, and the big white trucks driving away--and I guess I assumed the person in the bed was M. And I went nuts!

I don't personally remember all of these details, but I heard J telling M about my episode when he got home from the store. Basically, what she said was that I sat on the couch and stared out the window, trying to look up and down the street--but I couldn't see very much because bushes were in the way. Then I walked around the house whimpering and crying, and nothing that J said to me could make me hush. I was a wreck. I went to the door that leads to the garage and lay down beside it on the floor for a long time, making occasional whistling noises with my nose. Then I got up and went through this whole process all over again. And again. And probably again.

Finally M came home and started bringing bags of groceries into the house, and I vaguely remembered that when he'd left he was in his own truck and that this was after the big white trucks had gone away. I was relieved, to say the least, but in no mood to take any chances. I followed M around for the rest of the day and today am still dogging his tracks (pun intended).

By the way, I later heard that the person who got taken away in one of the big trucks is a neighbor who lives across the street and who sometimes reads my blog. She was sick, so they took her to a hospital where doctors can take care of her. She is a nice lady who always speaks to me when she sees me outside. I hope she feels better and comes home soon.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

"Old Long Since"

If you weren't sound asleep before the stroke of midnight last night (and who could sleep, with all those stupid fireworks going off up and down the street?), you might have heard--or maybe even found yourself singing--the above-titled song to greet the New Year. Of course you probably heard or sang it in some form of its original language, which is Scots. So you sang "Auld Lang Syne."

I did a little Googling this morning and learned that "old long since" is a literal word-for-word translation of the title. More loosely it means something like "old times" or "long, long ago" or "days gone by." I also found that "Auld Lang Syne" is one of the most-sung songs on the planet, especially at this time of year. This makes the third thing I discovered rather amazing, which is how few people actually know the lyrics. If you hear them sing it in a crowd, everything sounds pretty normal, because different folks know different parts, while they all take turns faking the parts they don't know. But get them to sing it one-at-a-time, and things turn to worm dirt pretty fast. One guy on CBS Sunday Morning today, when they shoved a microphone in his face, actually sang "Should old acquaintance be forgot . . . keep your eye on that grand old flag!" I'm not making this up.

The rest of today's post is a public service. To get everyone properly informed for next New Year's festivities, here are the words to "Auld Lang Syne" as written by Scotland's most famous poet, Robert Burns (who apparently got some of them from an old man he met in 1788, who might have heard them in another song written in 1711 or maybe other songs to boot--it gets a bit mysterious):

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
       and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
       and auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my jo (or dear), for auld lang syne, We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp,
       and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
       for auld lang syne.
We twa hae run about the braes,
       and pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
       sin auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl’d i' the burn,
       frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
       sin auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere,
       and gie's a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
       for auld lang syne.

Here's a bit of good news for those who don't like to learn anything that's not going to be on the test: You can probably get through New Year's Eve with just the first verse and chorus. But I think being aware of the whole song will make you a more well-rounded person.

I also wanted to find a really nice version of the song on YouTube. Well--surprise!--there are scads of them to choose from. I finally picked this one by a popular Scottish singer named Dougie MacLean. It seems to track along with the above lyrics better than most, though he does switch some of the verses around and adds or changes a few words here and there. But at least he doesn't say "keep your eye on that grand old flag."

The more I listen to this, the better I like it. I hope you do, too. And I hope that you all have a happy, safe, and wonderful 2012.