Thursday, April 29, 2021

A Older Monument has been Redone

More than three years ago, I posted about a monument in Montenegro that had fallen off everyone's radar. It was a monument to and antifascist war hero that fought against the Nazi's and their allies in WWII. Well, I just looked and last year the state cleaned and updated it. 

This is an image before it was cleaned and repaired last year.  It was dedicated towards the war hero Sava Kovačević. He is at the front of the statue.
The various blocks are arranged in groups. Until the final picture (below) I had no idea how these were set in relationship to the original. They are each dedicated to the antifascist fighters from the region.

From the July 2020 fix to this. Now cleaned and reset.

Steps lead up the hill to the monumental statue at the top. 

With this arial shot I finally see the relationship between the state and the concrete blocks.

This state was abandoned originally due to an earthquake, not general neglect. But the government of Montenegro decided to repair it recently. I want to go see it.

And THIS is why we STILL love Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg

On James Cordon's late night show, the band leader often asks a bizarro question of a guest. Watch this question, and Pete's immediate answer to understand why I love him so much.

How American Police are Radicalized

America is unlike many other countries in our policing and police training. Each of our police jurisdictions are a little different with different hiring and training programs. Many, like Los Angele County Sheriffs, create an "us vs. them" mentality right from the beginning that makes police brutality seem a responsible response to crime. (For Americans, most other countries the "police" are organized as one unit at the state or federal level.) 

First remember that in America in general, more people have guns than in any other country except Afghanistan and parts of Africa in civil unrest. So the police are rightly worrieda bout their own safety.

Signs that freaked me out in Sarajevo ("Hand guns NOT allowed in this bar." in two different languages) are common throughout America.

But even where guns are less legal and possibly less prevalent (like Los Angeles County), the police training creates hatred and mistrust of the general population. It does it like this:

In Los Angeles County, if you want to be a sheriff (the 3rd largest force in America after the New York Police Department and the Los Angeles Police Department) you spend the first tour of duty for 1 or 2 YEARS inside the A County Jail. 

So your first interactions with "the public" as a newly installed Sheriff are with the hardened criminals and small time operators that populate the LA County Jail. For at least a year!

And, in the jails, the prisoners usually self-divide up ethnically into gangs that fight it out for territory. So you come out of your first 1 or 2 years having lots of knowledge about Black, latino and white racists gangs. When they put you in a minority neighborhood, you aren't thinking, "Oh these folks are just like me". You remember they are gang members and violent.

LA County has been trying to change this for decades, but there aren't enough people that want to be jail guards, so the new officers have to do it.

Now imagine this same problem but repeated 17,985 times. Because that is the number of independent police jurisdictions there are.

Americans typically think everyone is like us. But look at the United Kingdom. Knowing they have about 1/6 the population they should have 1/6 the police forces or about 3,000 jurisdictions. They do not. They have 43.

Other countries?

France has 3.
China has 47.

Ed can explain how many of our various police departments were actually started as public and private institutions to hunt down escaped slaves. And this patchwork system developed into the complicated and often inequitable system we have now.

Before you think there is a simple answer, realize that it is not a simple problem. It is all but impossible to implement uniform change across 17,985 police departments.

Rusty, Scott and Food

Rusty and I have too much in common (one reason I cannot give up on the little guy). We both have to pee all the time. We both rock a Scottish plaid. And food affects the hell out of us.

This little graphic is basic and, for those of us with food issues, bullshit. You see, like Rusty, my mood is massively affected by my food intake.

Pasta, pizza or cakes, and my mood tends to go down (or crater with too much) with wheat intake. I don't know exactly what it is, but sourdough bread and flour tortillas don't seem to effect me as much. Bread, in smallish doses is okay too.

But give me a great tasting, lovely pizza (yumm!) and I will be depressed the next day or two.

Rusty is much more dependent on his crappy digestion. I par-boil most of his veg (yams and carrots) so he can eat them. I create a mis with little protein, because his (non)- liver can't handle too much.

So when, like the last 2 days, he craters; Eddie and I have to play the "guess what he ate wrong" game. I think this last round the problem was I was layering home made food on the kibble. And the kibble is much harder for him to digest (which is why I cook his damn food). Taking the kibble out, hopefully will make him feel better.

I will say the well-rounded food that I make for Rusty is much healthier than the food I make for Ed and I. Bt it is also much grosser (a little ground chicken mixed with chopped carrots, yams, green peas with a  mix of sardines in oil to give it a nice stink and Omega 3s).

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

A Spoonful of Sugar

While down in Key West, we bumbled across the original home of Pan American World Airways (PanAm). Now, if you don't know, Pan Am was America's first international airline. And, back int he old days when routes were carved up by the FAA, Pan Am was the main European / Atlantic International Carrier (Continental was the main International Carrier across the Pacific). That first home is now a Patio Restaurant.

Interestingly, later we ate dinner in the restaurant, an it was quite good.

Monday, April 26, 2021

A Trip to the Van Vleck house

This weekend was very nice on Saturday here, then not so nice on Sunday. We took advantage of the weather Saturday with a trip to the Van Vleck House, in New Jersey.

It is an old mansion with amazing gardens. It is in a town without a lot of land, so the gardens were all the more impressive for the small size. Apparently the family lived here Fall through Spring, with summers spent in Newport or the Hamptons. So all the gardens are geared towards Spring flowers. The rhododendrons had not flowered yet, but most things looked great. Pics below:

Obligatory selfie

Eddie just past the blooms of a tree

It's very hard to tell here, but there are 3 different trees blooming with different colors.
Purple closest, orange to the left rear and white to the right rear

Me just showing off with portrait mode on my phone

That is the base of a Chinese Wisteria!

The House. the garden in front is being set up for a plant sale.

The "Tennis Court" garden (was a tennis court) - not quite blooming yet

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Happy Birthday Jane

April 25th, the perfect date.

The last time we saw Jane was in December of 2019, back before the word Covid was uttered. I wish we could go back in time, but since we cannot, we will go back to the UK asap.

Template for another Yugoslavian War or for Yugoslavian Peace?

A curious "non-paper" is now floating around the European Union HQ. A "non-paper" is a working proposal for discussions. That is, it is a what-if document. In this case a what-if document that might be a solution or might be a new cause of war in the former Yugoslavia. This is a pretty good map of the issue area.

At the very top left corner is the country of Slovenia, which was part of Yugoslavia and is now the richest part of ex-Yugoslavia and the only part that uses the Euro. In this map, the EU countries encircle the non-EU ones. Croatia (upper left), Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece encircle the non-EU members. And EU membership keeps drawing further away from Montenegro and Macedonia (now called north Macedonia). As for the others, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia and Albania are much further behind in EU discussions.

So what the paper proposes is to

1) Allow Serbia to absorb about 1/2 of Bosnia (the Sparsk Republic portion), Croatia to absorb about 1/3 to 1/4 of Bosnia. Bosnia would be divided or reduced to a lump around Sarajevo, but be given membership in the EU. Note: This was the direct cause of the last Yugoslavian War as Croatia and Serbia tried to divide up Bosnia.

2) Allow Albania and Kosovo to merge into a Greater Albania.

3) Serbia to get some slice of Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro that have Serbian majority populations.

4) Croatia to gain a slice of Montenegro

And then, with these new boundaries, let the countries into the EU with peace keepers. It is an interesting idea and one that will probably (very probably!) lead to a new war. Particularly since this "solution" would be imposed on Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia.

Now, if it really came with EU membership, it might be okay. But much of this benefits the long held dream (pre-WWI) of a "Greater Serbia" that would inflame old passions. Oddly, this is at least partially the result of Serbian Covid Diplomacy. That is, Serbia has been gifting Covid vaccines (made in China) throughout the area to build good will.


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Well That is AMAZING

AMAZING. I mean truly. A step towards a future I can barely imagine.

After I am dead, and not too long after, there should be humans living on Mars. One of the biggest roadblocks has just been fixed.

To the left is a picture of MOXIE . And this week it demonstrated the (almost) impossible.

MOXIE was able to create oxygen from the Mars atmosphere, which is fantastically thin. We know there is water trapped on Mars and now we can create oxygen.

All that is left is the determination to put an outpost there. I would love for America to do this. I would love for the European Space Agency to do this.

Hell I would even love Russia and China to do this. 

Getting humans on another planet is the great work of science fiction turning into science reality.

So cool.

Kirstie Alley is selling a DREAM Home in Los Feliz

The article with all the pictures is here, but look at these images of Kirstie Alley's house in Los Feliz part of LA. It is on an acre (acre!) up in the foothills of Griffith Park. GORGEOUS... (link for all)

The Grounds with a glass greenhouse! (Pool in back)

One of 7 bathrooms (not the master!)

Your basic foyer with Victorian era wallpaper

The house is so over the top, old Hollywood, it's amazing. One tidbit from the story here..

Privately situated on almost an acre of land, the home features a heated swimming pool, a pool house, grottoes and a turtle pond. It also has decadently colored Victorian wallpaper throughout the mansion.

Renowned architect Armand Monaco built the opulent Italianate home for restaurateur and hotelier Victor Hugo Aleidis, whose Victor Hugo restaurant in downtown Los Angeles was a popular destination during the 1920s and ‘30s.

So cool.

Here is a image of the restaurant:

Looking east down Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills toward Victor Hugo restaurant and the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, circa late 1930sIn this circa late 1930s shot, we’re looking east down Wilshire Blvd from the Rodeo Drive corner. On the right, we can see the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, and on the left, the Victor Hugo restaurant. Its listing in the Los Angeles Guide for 1941 said: “The Victor Hugo – 233 N. Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills. Couvert after 9pm. The continental lunch is a gourmet’s favorite. First-rate French cuisine. Advance reservations necessary for the movie star’s impromptu Sunday night shows with dancing to name-bands.” Sound fun to me!

And inside

Mazel Tough

This is not, despite what you may think, a political post. Yes, it does make fun of Marjorie Taylor Green, (R - Floridiots) and her comment that Jewish Space Lasers caused the California Wildfires last year. But that is only a reference point for a hilarious T-Shirt that was presented to me in my Instagram feed.

I present - the T-Shirt of the year (so far) - with the perfect model.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

I Do Live In Fear Of This - UPDATE

UPDATE: Lynn, who saw me recently, says what is going on so far is normal aging, and forgetfulness, not dementia. I feel a bit better. I guess it is just the obviousness of how I fared on Jeopardy a few years ago versus now.


I do not want to be one of those Alzheimer-y type old person. You know, the one that cannot remember anything. And the ones that seem to exist, not enjoy life.

Somewhere between what I fear to be, and what I was, is where I am now. An old person with too many thoughts, memories and experiences to hold at once. I watch Jeopardy now and forget the words to many of the answers. Not the answers, which I know, but I can't seem to reach the right noun in those seconds. And I used to be able to. This is happening 9 years after I went on the show. It is a mental decay I feel a lot, and one I see too much.

The worst is not knowing the speed of my mental deterioration. I know it is natural, so I am not freaking out. Yet. 

But it is worrisome watching it happen. I feel myself reach for words and, worse, feel them too far away to grab. Right now it is random trivia which is, by its very nature, not important. But how long until my mind decides other things are random trivia, and not important. How long before seeing something new loses its perfection in my mind. Because then I am done.

I wish I knew how long my mind had left. A decade? A year? Thirty years? I wish I knew if it was bad right now or not.

I don't like it.

Up the Key West lighthouse

In Key West, Eddie and I walked up the light house one day. It was 88 steps up, and it almost killed us, but we persevered. 

Stock picture from internet of the lighthouse

Fo me, the 88 steps in the heat and humidity were a lot. For Ed the fear of heights and a rickety set of stairs barely anchored to the wall were a lot. So it was tough for both of us, but at least I got to catch my breath at the top.

Our pics below:


Relieved and Optimistic, not Thrilled

Eric Chauvin was found guilty. He was guilty, but that is usually not enough for a conviction of a police killing of a black man in this country. And, in looking at myself, I find I am relieved and optimistic.

Relieved that the killer was found guilty. Relieved that the person who started at a camera for over 9 minutes - as he pushed the life out of George Floyd - was held accountable. Relieved that this once,  we did not watch the killer walk away after trial, or worse, not even be charged.

Optimistic that maybe things might change a tiny bit. Optimistic that the police, in this case, actually came out to testify against a fellow police officer. Optimistic that one family might now know peace.

But not thrilled. There is a still an ocean worth of headway to make. We all understand this. It's (hopefully) 2 steps forward and 1 back.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Hemingway's Bathroom

While in Key West we visited Hemingway's House. It was very interesting. He had a gorgeous place in Key West that he refurbished from a old mansion in disrepair. (Aside: 'disrepair" is an odd word. "repair" means to fix, but "pair" doesn't mean fix. So repair, doesn't follow the language of  repaint, or reboard, or remind. And there for "disrepair" seems to imply a double negative (dis and re) to get back to the positive or pair, which is not what disrepair means at all. Go figure.)

Anywho, one of the fixes was to the bathroom floor, which has some lovely deco-ish tile. Take a look and then realize there are fish and birds in the patterns.

He was also a fan of six-toed cats. Apparently a friend had one and when it had kittens, they gave one to Hemingway. He then had more and more so that now there is a plethora of six toed cats roaming the grounds.

Friday, April 16, 2021

One Last Thing to Leave You With

 One last thing that made me smile yesterday (it's old, but I mean it).

Getting TF Out of Dodge

Well kids, Eddie and I are finally going away for a week-end. It is the first flight we are taking (besides flying directly to St. Louis and back home with Rusty) since January of last year. We are heading to Key West for a long week-end.

I am hoping that the few days away will clear my mind, give me time with my sweet baboo, and let me relax my shoulders. they have been tightening up bit by bit with ever news report lately. Multiple black people killed by cops, check. Multiple mass shootings, check. Cases of maskless fuck-sticks attacking schools in the state where infections are causing hospitals to use parking lots, check. My anger at 98 on a scale of 1 - 10, check.

So I am hoping this week-end allows me to focus on my honey and my sanity. God speed to all.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

NY Times Editorial I am Reprinting here

I simply cannot take this any more. I am not alone. From the NY Times (link)

One of the first times I wrote about the police killing of an unarmed Black man was when Michael Brown was gunned down in the summer of 2014 in Ferguson, Mo. Brown was a Black teenager accused of an infraction in a convenience store just before his life was taken. Last summer, six years on, I wrote about George Floyd, a large Black man accused of an infraction in a convenience store, this time in Minneapolis.

Both men were killed in the street in broad daylight. Brown was shot. An officer knelt on Floyd’s neck. In both cases there were multiple community witnesses to the killings. In both cases there was a massive outcry. In both cases the men were accused of contributing to, or causing, their own deaths, in part because they had illegal drugs in their systems.

Between those two killings there have been a depressing number of others. In January of 2015, The Washington Post began maintaining a database of all known fatal shootings by the police in America. Every year, the police shot and killed roughly 1,000 people. But, as The Post points out, Black Americans are killed at a much higher rate than white Americans, and the data revealed that unarmed Black people account for about 40 percent of the unarmed Americans killed by the police, despite making up only about 13 percent of the American population.

Something is horrifyingly wrong. And yet, the killings keep happening. Brown and Floyd are not even the bookends. There were many before them, and there will be many after.

These killings often happen during the day and in public, not under the cover of night, tucked away in some back wood. And they are often caught on video. Tamir Rice was killed during the day. There was video. Walter Scott was killed during the day. There was video. Eric Garner was killed during the day. There was video.

Now there is another: Daunte Wright, shot and killed during the day in Brooklyn Center, Minn., not far from where Floyd was killed. There is video.

Very little has changed. The aftermath of these killings has become a pattern, a ritual, that produces its own normalizing and desensitizing effects. We can now anticipate the explosions of rage as well and the relative intransigence of the political system in response.

That is not to say that absolutely nothing has changed, but rather that the changes amount to tinkering, when in fact our whole system of policing must be re-evaluated and fundamentally altered.

That examination, oddly enough, starts with gun control. The police justify their militarization and armed-and-ready positioning, by correctly observing that they can be outgunned by a public with such easy access to guns, including military-style guns.

But once they are armed and anxious, they can be that way in all cases: against an armed suspect as well as one who is unarmed. To all interactions, they can bring personal biases, some of which they don’t even know they possess. And, in the blink of an eye, something tragic can be done, something that can’t be undone.

In addition, municipalities can deploy officers as a malicious arm of urban planning as well as a profit-generating enterprise. Police officers in gentrifying neighborhoods can make new arrivals feel safe by controlling and correcting existing residents. They can also be used to generate funds from fines to keep budgets in balance. All of this increases tense contacts between officers and citizens, so that even though only a tiny fraction lead to deaths, that fraction can still feel overwhelming.

It is all so perverse. And too often it is Black people, particularly Black men, who bear the brunt when all this pressure culminates in a killing.

So, it becomes hard to write about this in a newspaper because it is no longer new. The news of these killings is not that they are interruptions of the norm, but a manifestation of the norm.

There is no new angle. There is no new hot take. There is very little new to be revealed. These killings are not continuing to happen due to a lack of exposure, but in spite of it. Our systems of law enforcement, criminal justice and communal consciousness have adjusted themselves to a banal barbarism.

This has produced in me and many others an inextinguishable rage, a calcification of contempt. As for me, I no longer even attempt to manage or direct my rage. I simply sit with it, face it like an adversary staring across a campfire, waiting to see how I am moved to act, but not proscribing that action and definitely not allowing society’s idea of decorum to proscribe it.

A society that treats this much Black death at the hands of the state as collateral damage in a just war on crime has no decorum to project. That society is savage.

I am also no longer interested in talking about Black pain and Black trauma. (I am becoming ever more convinced that there is a prurient interest in gawking at Black suffering rather than a genuine desire to remedy it.) I now focus on my rage.

I’m sure that pain and trauma are present in me, but I’m choosing to subjugate their import. Rage has ascended to my position of primacy. America scoffed and was unmoved when, for years, we spoke out of our pain. So be it. Now, rage is the only language I have left.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

What is happening?

 What is going on, and how do we handle it?  Let me start by saying I am working this week with new slides AND THEY SUCK!

I will be explaining later. For now trust me, this fucking sucks. 

So the on-going shit show is killing me. They shot another black driver, a 22year old father, during a traffic stop. They first said it was for air freshener hanging from the mirror (illegal in Minnesota), then it was expired tags. They decide to take him but an experienced officer “accidentally “ used a pistol not a tazer. DURING THE TRIAL OF A DIFFERENT POLICE OFFICER IN THE CITY KILLING A DIFFERENT BLACK MAN!

In Virginia, a good old boy (white ass) police officer pepper sprayed a black active duty Marine Lt. (black and Latino) at point black range, while he was sitting in his car with legal plates.

I  don’t get it anymore. I hurt. Does anyone else?

Saturday, April 10, 2021

I don not understand why this keeps popping up!

 You know how you get ads based on your searching the web? And those ads, usually for things I want, follow me around from platform to platform? AND, it is usually something I want or have expressed interest in previously?

This does not fit the bill. I don't bike and I don't enjoy being old. Certainly I would not wear it out, as I am - quite rightly pointed out here - old. And not in a tight bicycle shirt shape.

No where to pee when you're on the Golf Course - Try This!

Real product, one MUST watch!

Friday, April 9, 2021

Netflix movies are weird as hell - UPDATE

UPDATE **JUST A NOTE: Ed and I were sold a bill of goods. This is a horrible movie. NOT so bad it's funny. But so bad, it's painful. And I loved the Eurovision movie!**

Netflix is blessed with lots of movie and a burning desire for programming. This has changed American TV in many ways. Some are simple and expected.

Netflix brings in lots of non-English movies, TV and TV series. For a people that used to hate subtitles in all things, Americans during the pandemic have become surprisingly tolerant of voice dubs and subtitles. For many British TV series, sub-titles make the experience much more interesting.

And then there are the movies. Netflix has, what my grandmother would have said, more money than sense. Sometimes these lead to funny, albeit inconsistent movies with fairly big names. Sometimes it leads to Academy Award Winners or nominees. Often it leads to romantic comedies with unusual leads.

And then sometimes it leads to this. A ripoff of "Shape of Water" where the handsome sea-monster is both much more handsome and much more monster. A truly what the hell moment.

He is a beautiful. albeit finned, killing machine.

Americans Do Not Understand or Expect War for Territory Anymore

File this under, "Usually, Not a Bad Thing", but Americans no longer expect war for territory. This is perfectly understandably for us, but perhaps not true for others.

Let's start with our (American) thoughts on this. Throughout  our time in school, we view history (and discovery) as a distinct time period with a beginning, middle and end.

We may argue about when the beginning actually began; usually we assume Columbus' Voyage to be the "real" beginning, although sometimes we allow that maybe the Vikings got things started - albeit without the follow through.  Then (to American students) not much happened until the 13 colonies got together to start the Revolutionary War. This was the "prelude" to history. And, like the prelude to books, can be easily skipped over. Aside: Want to blow an American's mind? Tell him there was more history between when Colombus "discovered" America through 1776 than there is from 1776 until now.

The "middle" (of all history) is the time from the Revolutionary War through the end of World War II (for older Americans) or through the collapse of the Soviet Union (for younger Americans). 

Non-Americans probably can't image this to be true, but it is. Our history books have the United States expanding into blank sections of the map during this time. It doesn't show us beating the Native Tribes or forcing them out. Our history books really do show the United States abutting, and finally expanding into, unclaimed lands. Even when we won a war with Mexico, we might speak of gaining Texas or California as. result, but not that that is the REASON for the war.

And, now that we are no longer expanding, "history" is over. Ta da!

So we cannot fully wrap out heads around the fact that China or Russia and some other countries don't feel this way. Russia has sellers remorse that Ukraine left? American think, "tough". China wants Taiwan back? Some of us wanted to keep the Philippines or the Panama Canal Zone, "get over it. We did."

Americans, perhaps all people worldwide but I can't speak for them, believe the everyone thinks like we do. If we think the maps are done because all the "blank space" is used up, we assume everyone thinks like this.

It is said that the first Gulf War happened because Saddam Hussein thought we gave him the green light to invade Kuwait. We probably didn't even know that is what Saddam was asking. We would no more think he would invade another country than we would think about invading Cancun or Vancouver.

Here's the thing. Other countries don't think like that. For many of them, the maps' blank spaces have been gone more than hundreds or thousands of years. Russians, Chinese and others don't see a progression from beginning to end. They either see expansion and contraction in cycles, or see the current map has unfair to them. And they may go to war to change the maps. 

And, when they do, either over Ukraine or Taiwan or "Spanish Sahara" or Palestine or the Korean Peninsula, we will again be surprised. And probably unprepared.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

A PodCast about Unexplainable

Vox has a very cool podcast called "Unexplainable". The preview episode I listened to talks about 2 items. 

The first (I listened to) dove into two topics. The first was "Skeleton Lake". It is all about Roopkund lake 16,000+ feet up in the Himalayas. It is normally ice covered, but occasionally thaws in the summer.

The lake is "famous" as it is super high, super cold and they have found a bunch of dead bodies up there, where no one lives at all. As in hundreds. Found in 1942, no one knew who they were. There is an old story of a pilgramage which I will copy from wikipedia.

Local legend says that the King of Kanauj, Raja Jasdhaval, with his pregnant wife, Rani Balampa, their servants, a dance troupe and others went on a pilgrimage to Nanda Devi shrine, and the group faced a storm with large hailstones, from which the entire party perished near Roopkund Lake.[9][10]

Legends say they were killed by the god Nanda Devi, because they made their pilgrimage not in penance, but with harems, dancing girls and entertainment. Nanda Devi rained destruction on them. The dead bodies do have huge skull crushing head wounds. And it seems there are freak hailstorms up there that might cause head trauma. So there is truth in the legend.

Now, when carbon dating was first discovered in the late 1950s, they dated them back over 1,000 years. So the "story" may have a kernel of truth.

Then in 2019, they did more work and found the weirdest thang! There are essentially 2 groups. The DNA-Indians from over 1,000 years ago. AND a group of about 100 people who were genetically Greek or from Crete who died in the lat 1700s. Which makes no sense. And, in fact, caused everyone to reevaluate, regather bones, check for compromised artifacts - but now. The Greeks seemd real.

They have some tests now to see what they ate (the podcast explains how, but just believe me) and these people seemed to have eaten a very Mediterranean diet, which is very different from an Indian diet.

So, how did these Greeks (and 1 Cambodian) get to this lake? Where they taking the spiritual pilgrimage to the Indian Goddess Nanda Devi (as the Indians probably were)? It is fascinating.

The second topic was about how ancient DNA testing has completely upended how we think of the mankind evolutionary tree. I'll write more on that later.

The Good and Bad of the Smart Pup

As you now, Rusty has issues. In particular, the lack of a liver means I have to be very careful with his food (which I make every few days) and we have to give him lots and lots of water.

Rusty: Pre-cut

This lots and lots of water means that he pees all the time. This would annoy me, but I pee all the time and I get it honestly from my mother, who pees all the time. However, of course, both my mother and I can make it to the restroom. Rusty, being a dog and unable to press the down button at the elevator, cannot. So he is always in a diaper while in the house.

Here is where the annoyance of intelligence comes in. He doesn't really like being "wet" (he doesn't stay "wet" since the diapers for dogs turn the liquid into gel) and having his diaper saggy and heavy. He has found that coming into my space, and shaking his head (so I hear his metal name tag ding) alerts me to check him. And, if i find him wet, I change his diaper.

This is great, insofar as it keeps him cleaner and drier. It is, however, a little annoying to be working on something only to have the dog burst and say, essentially, "change me, Jeeves." And, if I don't hop to it quite fast enough, I get a loud jangle which hits my ears as, "Damn it, man! I said Change Me!"

Again, I admire he does this, but it is odd have your dog nag you.

The Blue One

A picture of the blue rubber band here is kind of the "before" picture.

On Tuesday I went on a road trip to Massachusetts (New York just legalized pot, but the stores here won't open for 18 months, so then it is still a drive to Great Barrington for sleeping pot). I return to a clean house, lovely husband, but hurting dog. We gave him some more water, which he drank like a camel, then drank some more. 

After a few hours, and a lot of water, he dropped a huge deuce (#2), which sounds horrible, but better than most alternatives. That night, Ed walked him and again, giant poop.

So he was feeling a lot better, but still not perfect. Then, yesterday morning, we are walking and he stops and poops a large poop, but as he walks away, there is still some stuck in his ass. Now, this is disgusting, but normal with dogs occasionally, so I put my hand inside a bag, a pull on the stuck poop. It comes off, but something pops back out of the bag. I see a shot of blue.

Well I reach down (and, yes, still with the bag around my hand) pull on a blue rubber band which is half in and half out of his ass. Rusty is not thrilled with this action. Given that last time this was tugged on, it shot back against his sphincter, I understand his trepidation. But remove it, I must.

So, I grab the loop that is out and pull. It wasn't a particularly long band, but it did stretch to a surprising size before finally popping out.

Rusty came home, had a cigarette and a long, blissful nap.

The tale of Chiselborough

 Our second dog sit in England this past month was in Chiselborough. Which is a village of about 100 - 125. It was in the middle of nowhere....