31 August 2007

It's always something...

T’was a beautiful morning at Bad Dog Central. I was sitting out on the back porch, enjoying a smoke and some coffee before work. Casey was stretched out beside me, Jack lounged in a lounge chair by the pool (yes – he does that). And Sparky was at the far end of the pool enclosure, barking hysterically at some doves on the power line behind the house.

Not all bad, I thought. Friday morning, not much to do at work, should be a pretty painless –


I jumped up. I was looking directly at Jack, who is the only Bad Dog who should be splashing anywhere. Raced up onto the pool deck, spotted Sparky dogpaddling furiously to stay afloat in the not-by-the-steps end. He’s not much of a swimmer, so he was paddling his tiny paws off to keep his head above water. And he’s not big enough to crawl out over the edge.

So, down on my belly I went. In my work clothes (which are pretty casual, but still). On the wet and dirty pooldeck. Plucked the little guy out and set him down on dry land. He yakked and gakked and spit water out for a moment.

I returned to my chair and my smoke and my coffee. In seconds I had a small wet dog on my lap (with dirty paws. On my work clothes). In Sparky’s world, he’d been plucked out of water that may has well have been 400 feet deep, and he was going to stay on my lap as long as I’d let him.

And that’s how I ended up at work in slightly damp clothes that have muddy dogprints on them, and why I walked in smelling just a little like a wet terrier.

That’s also why Home Despot made more money off us, as the Mister has already procured gate-making materials to keep the Little Guy from having any other unfortunate pool incidents.

[sigh] It’s not easy being the Alpha Female around here, I tell you what.

30 August 2007

Quick update

BDC is, perhaps, what we could call "pre-tizzy" this morning. In a day or so, I think we'll be all in a tizzy.

The last remaining family members who have NOT been down here yet pulled into a neighboring town late last night. They're here for an event, but we shall have company at some point. I should probably mop or something.

Casey is acting suspicious about her back again - I'm wondering if we need a more extended course of antibiotics and steriods to whip her itchy spots.

I'm engaged in some paperwork goatropery (details of which I will share at an appropriate time) which is turning out to yet again be a goatrope involving paperwork. Since I'll be having company, I'd like to get the mounds of paperwork stowed away where they belong, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.


Blogging will probably yet again become furtive and incoherent for a few days. Sorry 'bout that.

28 August 2007

Over the edge

of madness...I think this must be the final step. I came home to this:

Which, after much hanging and drilling and cursing, looked like this:

Yes. Those are two glowing puppy eyes outside, trying to figure out exactly how this contraption works. That was finaly resolved - kind of.

Except it really doesn't work for simultaneous two-way traffic, but they've got it pretty much figured out.

Kudos to Mr. Abby. The big question tomorrow will be: how much of our stuff will Jack the Puppy drag outside while we're at work?

We're #1! We're #1

In per capita civilian firearms ownership, that is. According to this Reuters story, the United States is "the most heavily armed society in the world."

U.S. citizens own 270 million of the world's 875 million known firearms, according to the Small Arms Survey 2007 by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies.

About 4.5 million of the 8 million new guns manufactured worldwide each year are purchased in the United States, it said.

"There is roughly one firearm for every seven people worldwide. Without the United States, though, this drops to about one firearm per 10 people," it said.

That's right - U.S. firearms owners do more to combat worldwide poverty among small arms manufacturers than any other citizenry on earth.

On a per-capita basis, Yemen had the second most heavily armed citizenry behind the United States, with 61 guns per 100 people, followed by Finland with 56, Switzerland with 46, Iraq with 39 and Serbia with 38.

And we totally smoked Yemen. They should keep that in mind the next time one of our naval vessels makes a port call in Aden.

France, Canada, Sweden, Austria and Germany were next, each with about 30 guns per 100 people, while many poorer countries often associated with violence ranked much lower. Nigeria, for instance, had just one gun per 100 people.

The wording there makes me think France may be more heavily armed than Canada, which would be surprising. Then again...

Only about 12 percent of civilian weapons are thought to be registered with authorities.

And all those who opted not to participate in Canada's famously stupid and ineffective registration may have been a little hesitant to check the yes box on this particular survery.

Intriguing little read, and you all know I love to share news that points out what a wonderful country we live in.

27 August 2007

'Cause I promised

my Mom, here's some imagery from the latest round of Dog Power Games. Casey eats vegetables. Loves 'em. Jack eats most everything. Casey is Senior, and Jack wishes he was.

So when a green onion was somehow knocked off the counter yesterday evening, although neither of them really wanted it, nor did they want the other to have it.

Jack got there first, and it led to a 20-minute slow-motion chase around the house and he carried it reluctantly around, with Casey in equally-reluctant pursuit.

In the end, the onion was ground into the carpet by the back door and forgotten in a frenzy of barking related to some stupid sound from behind the house.

Really, upon further reflection, the whole thing could have been sort of a canine interpretive theater piece on the workings of Congress. Stupid, petty, ultimately smelly and, in the end, the briefly enthralling subject was abandoned in favor of trying to track down what smelled like skunk.

Socially unacceptable

It's getting so I can't be trusted to talk to anyone.

Last weekend, we had some of the Mister's coworkers over for drinks and charred meat. I managed to execute a flawless foot-in-mouth by making a rude remark about our...enthusiasticaly religious neighbors and their ongoing efforts to recruit us into their flock.

Did anyone warn Abby that the Mister's boss and his wife were devoutly religious folks? Oh, noo...

I apologized, and felt like an ass. Bad manners in the extreme, but hey - it happens.

Yesterday evening, we were standing in the cereal aisle at the local grocery-store-that-sucks-compared-to-Publix. My better half was blocking the aisle, and a couple of people a shade over four feet tall needed to pass.

"Gangway, honey," I said. "Short people to your rear."

Short people being a term I use for children.

Or, in this case, as I realized the second the words left my mouth, a for real dwarf/midget/little person and a child.

If they heard me, they were easygoing enough to not take offense.

I normally don't worry a whole lot about what I say to folks. As Popeye would say, I yam what I yam. But I do try not to say hurtful or rude things to nice people and stangers.

I'm on a roll, though, and am a little hesitant to speak in public right now. It is, it seems, one of those weeks when I would somehow manage to tell a group of schoolchildren they'd really "taken one up the ass" by missing the ice cream truck.

Why is it

that one never has guests when the house is clean?

A big howdy to those dropping by from LawDog's place - welcome!

Someday, when I get thrown a link, I'm going to be in the midst of a period of high-quality blogging. Someday.

Until then, pay no attention to the dog hair on the floor, and just scoot the toys off the couch. Please feel free to wander around and see if there's anything fresh or an old buried bone that smells good to you.

26 August 2007

The Vick Thing

So we come at last to discussing Michael Vick.

I think we probably already know the Official Bad Dog Position on whole thing, right? Vick oughta be shot. No kidding. I'll do it - if you're a federal prosecutor with the power to set that up, the email link is on the left side of the page.

So the disgust is a given. But some folks seemed a little perplexed - why are so many people so hung up on this vileness?

Well, here you go.

We are people who believe in mercy. Our culture (is it American culture? Western Anglo culture? Midwestern culture? Military culture?) believe that is is not merely wrong to harm those weaker than us, but that it is a sign of moral bankruptcy to do so.

We are men who do not abuse women, we are women who do not harm children and old folks. We do our best to raise children who do not throw rocks at kittens.

There is a basic concept of decency in this culture we have been raised in that tells us it is our duty to not harm those weaker than us - although we may well be able to do so with few or no repercussions.

We can simply think of it as Spiderman Morality. Remember the line? With great power comes great responsibility.

We can take the word "great" out and the line makes even more sense for day-to-day living. With power comes responsibility.

Thus our varying levels of disgust when we find people betraying this gentleman's understanding of how our society should run. A man abuses his wife? That is reprehensible - but on some level, we understand she is a grown woman, with the physical ability to leave. An adult abuses a child? That is more reprehensible - children cannot really leave. They cannot drive, they cannot have jobs. They are entirely dependent, and have no recourse other than to muster the understanding and bravery to ask for help.

And animals. Why the obsession with animals? We know that animals are less than humans, on whatever grand cosmic measuring scheme tracks such things. But there is an implied trust in our relationship with our pet animals that many of us take quite seriously. We have created the domestic dog and cat, and they cannot survive on their own. We, as humans, have arranged things so that these are beasts that exist in our homes and lives with no avenue of escape, entirely dependent on our goodwill for their quality of life.

And there it is. The dog in your house cannot leave, and he will not grow up and move out and take charge of his own life. From puppy to being planted in the flower bed out back, his quality of life is entirely dependent on the kindness of his master.

That's something many "critter people" enjoy. Each of my dogs was plucked from some unhappy situation, and it makes me happy that they will live out their lives with decent veterinary care, regular feedings and soft places to sleep. I could shoot them or starve them, but I know that would be wrong. And so I treat them well, and it makes me feel as if I am doing right.

Which bring us to Vick. Vick is a grown man, with money and power, and had some dogs. Not only did he allow terrible things to happen to them, he did terrible things to them. Worse yet, he did not do these terrible things "accidentally." He did not fail to feed his dogs because he had no money, nor did he beat his dogs with a stick in a fit of rage.

No - he did worse. He subjected a totaly powerless yet sentient being to pain and suffering, repeatedly - habitually - for his own amusement.

That's worse. Allowing or causing pain or damage to those below us on the power/dependence scale is vile. Doing so for our own amusement is utterly repulsive.

That's the difference between thumping your kid a little too hard for talking back, and burning her with cigarettes and giggling when she cries.

It demonstrates a horrifying lack of empathy. A horrifying lack of humanity. A horrifying lack of mercy.

Mercy, ladies and gentlemen, is what separates us from the savages. The concept of a merciful society is what keeps our Army on its posts, drinking in bars and getting tattoos rather than looting and pillaging. Mercy is what keeps our young men working rather than raping and robbing. Mercy keeps us putting up with our Grandfather's chatter at the Thanksgiving table rather than leaving him out to freeze in the backyard when he's no longer useful.

Mercy, coupled with eternal vigilance, is what allows us to live free of fear and desperation.

A society without mercy looks like the dark corners of the New Orleans Kingdome during Hurricane Katrina. It looks like a Central American banana republic where people "disappear" at the hands of gangs and death squads. A society utterly without mercy looks like Rwanda, or the Sudan.

We look at someone like this shitbag football hero, and we see someone drunk on his position in the world, and utterly without regard for anything living that he might consider "below" him. We look at that smirk when confronted with the details of brutal killings of pet animals, and we wonder how such a man might be with his women (because we know the women in his life were always "his"). We wonder how he would be with the elderly, the young.

And on some level, we know. We see that cruel smirk at the idea of strangling a dog, and we have a pretty good idea about Vick at home. About Vick in bed, Vick with elderly relatives and about Vick with children.

Cruelty is evil, and that's all there is to it. There is no cultural excuse for cruelty - this sort of behavior is uncivilized, and I think it's the fact that everyone knows it that makes folks uncomfortable.

Cruelty is uncivilized, and any defense of cruelty is a defense of savagery. Any culture which condones or enjoys cruelty for amusement is a savage culture. And there is no room left for those cultures.

That's why people are high and to the right about this. We see defenses of Vick's behavior, and we know the truth. Those defending Vick, or making light of his acts, are simply defending savagery, and there is no excuse for that.

Bath Time!

Our lives are not always a giant festival of excitement. That's usually the case, but even swingin' wild folk like the Mister and I occasionally have a quiet night in. Nights like that are when we start to notice that we may have...canine stench issues.

I'm talking about the Little Guy. The big dogs shed, and so they smell pretty okay most of the time. Sparky, on the other hand... Once in a while he'll jump up in my lap and my eyes will water.

That, folks, means it's time for a bath. Once in a while he gets washed in the sink, and occasionally we just dunk him in the pool and swish him around a little. But more often he just ends up in the shower with one of us.

This does not make Sparky happy.

It seems he works long and hard to develop a good stench, and when we try to take it away, he's less-than-thrilled. But he weighs nine pounds and there's not much he can do about it.

Some members of the household wonder why they do not get to take showers.

Someday I shall tell the story of the World's Least Relaxing Bath, wherein I was trying to relax and read a magazine while keeping Jack from launching himself into the tub with me.

Once the Evil Horrible Torture Bath has ended, a towel is applied. Sparky then races through the house, rolling on each dog bed and entry rug in an attempt to regain at least a little stench. Because that's important.

In the end, proper bath recovery requires burrowing in somewhere warm until he's dry. This is most entertaining when he burrows into the bed, because there's nothing like snuggling up to your pillow late at night and discovering it's damp and smells of wet dog.

Worse yet, of course, is snuggling up to your pillowing and realizing it is a small damp dog.

So there's your weekend helping of cute dog pics.

Things I learned in the production of this post - The Mister freaks out just a little bit if he's in the shower and I suddenly begin snapping pictures. And that's kinda funny.