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    Tuesday, September 22, 2015

    Sad News Part Two

    Peggynol’s Alaskan Gundog – aka Bobo, aka G-Dawg, aka G, aka Old Man, aka Handsome Boy, most commonly known as Gunner. 07/17/99 – 09/24/15

    As if the Magic news wasn’t bad enough, Gunner has also been deteriorating rapidly lately. Over the past year he has started having spells where he has no physical strength and he is mentally gone. They’re becoming more frequent and lasting longer, coming now at a pace of about one a week, lasting about a day. The one he had this last weekend was especially bad, and he’s only partially back. He’s quit eating and has great difficulty breathing.

    After a long talk with Lesa after I told her about my decision with regard to Magic, she suggested that maybe it was Gunner’s time too. My mother had suggested the same thing. I hated to agree, but I knew they were right. The vet is going to put Gunner to sleep at the same time he come for Magic.

    I’ve already explained what these dogs have meant to me, so rather than belaboring that, I’d like to share some of my favorite Gunner memories.

    I wasn’t there for this, but Lesa likes to tell how she chose Gunner. Or rather, Gunner chose her and Drew. A friend of Lesa’s was a breeder of Welsh Springer Spaniels who’s main dog had a litter. She told Lesa she could come pick out a dog. Drew was about 20 months old at the time, and was roaming around like toddlers do. The puppies ignored him, except for Gunner, who followed Drew around wherever he went. Lesa’s friend told her that Lesa didn’t have any choice in which puppy to choose because one puppy had already chosen them.

    Another memory I love is from a few years back. Springer Spaniels get their name from the way they approach game. They spring at birds, causing them to take flight. Bot Magic and Gunner are jumpers, but Gunner much more so than Magic. I had the dogs in the front yard one late spring day, and the birds in the oak tree were chattering at the dogs. One bird took to swooping down and buzzing them. It was coming in for another round when Gunner jumped at it, hitting it with his paw and knocking it out of the air. If I hadn’t seen it myself, I wouldn’t have believed it. He wasn’t trying to hit the bird, he did it accidentally. He went running after the bird, but it was able to straighten itself out and take off before he got there.

    But my favorite Gunner memory is this: It took a couple of weeks after we brought Ethan home from the hospital before he would sleep in his crib at night. But once he did, Gunner slept beneath the crib every night til Ethan moved to a bed. It was as if he was saying to us ‘It’s okay, you get some sleep. I’ve got this.’

    I love both of these dogs so much. It’s only hours now til they’re both gone, at least from this physical plane of existence. (My father is going to have a lot on his hands when they join him in heaven.) I hope Gunner has had a good life, and that he knows how much he was loved and how much he will be missed. 

    Monday, September 21, 2015

    Sad News Part One

    Samson’s Merry Magic – aka Circus Dog, aka Little Miss Magic, aka Dammit Magic!, aka Magic Stop!, aka Magic No!, aka Magic Don’t!, aka My Girlie Girl, most commonly known as Magic. 11/27/01 – 09/24/15

    Magic has had numerous medical difficulties, starting in July 2010 when I rushed her at night to Bright Eyes, Bushy Tails in Iowa City. She having trouble breathing, shaking, clearly in discomfort. She was there for four days, they having discovered that she was suffering both from Lyme Disease and a completely non-functioning thyroid.

    Approximately 14 months later, she collapsed while in the front yard. By then I was taking her to Farm and Family Vet in Victor. Dr. Cheney - a great, great vet - recognized that she had the symptoms of Addison's Disease, a disease vets so rarely catch that they call it the Great Imposter due to it presenting as several different diseases. There is only one treatment, and she started on it as soon as tests confirmed that's what she had. For the last several years, I've spent about $140 a month on meds, an amount I'd gladly spend forever. Unfortunately, time had other plans. 

    Magic had a small stroke the night we had off before we opened Death of a Salesman at ICM. She had a major stroke the week after the show closed.

    The stroke really affected her balance and her sense of direction. It didn’t help that she was already nearly blind. Dr. Cheney said that if she didn’t begin to recover within the first two weeks of the stroke, she wouldn’t recover at all.  I spent the end of May and the first part of June thinking any day would be the day I would have to make the decision to have her put to sleep. But she gradually recovered a lot of her abilities. Not all. She couldn’t climb the steps to the bed anymore, meaning I have had to lift her onto the bed. She also never was able to walk in a straight line, meaning no more running free outside. She seemed to like being on the leash after that, though. I imagine it made her feel safer, knowing someone was there near her.

    I worried that she wouldn’t make it through the summer, that I would need to say goodbye while Ethan was still here. But she made it through, and was still doing okay til a couple of weeks ago. That’s when I noticed her ability to walk at all was deteriorating. Shortly after that she began having trouble standing, and most recently trouble breathing at times.

    English Springer Spaniels always look sad. That’s their thing. But there’s a light in their eyes, a spark behind the sadness. This past weekend I realized the spark had gone. She seemed tired, weary. I had silently promised her that when she was ready to go, I would do the right thing and not hold on to her for my sake. So today I called the vet, and made the arrangements. He’s going to come here on Thursday, and that will be it.

    I’m writing this with a broken heart. She has been my constant companion since Lesa and I got her in January 2002. I have spent more time with her over these 13+ years that I have with any other living creature, even Gunner (who was with Lesa in Pennsylvania for about half a year). Magic fit in a baseball cap when we first got her, and now, as I tease her when I have to lift her upstairs on onto the bed, she’s a ‘heavy heavy dog’. I love her.

    I cannot overstate how much she, and Gunner, have meant to me. I went through some very dark times when Lesa took the boys out east. There was a good three year period where I felt so meaningless, so insubstantial that a breeze could have carried me away. Many was the night on the way home, especially after Ethan had just left here to go back to Pennsylvania, where I was tempted to just keep driving until the money ran out and just start over someplace else, with no contact with anyone I knew. Magic, and Gunner, stopped me from doing that. They were my anchor, my tether to this life, my sanity. I don’t need them for that anymore, fortunately, but that doesn’t make the pain any less acute.

    She’s laying on the floor right now beside me, licking my feet as she likes to do. Of course this has been one of the rare recent days where she seems engaged with life. But that doesn’t change the fact that no matter what I do, she’s not long for this world, and I’d rather let her go out on good days, with dignity, then prolong it. I owe her that.

    I can only hope she’s enjoyed her life, that she knows how loved she has been and will always be. She will always be a part of me. 

    Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    Required Reading on Race

    Racists React To Things Are Just Passive White Supremacy by David Brothers is one of the most important things I’ve read in the past couple of years. I read it at the time it was posted, and have come back to it several times since then, including recently after seeing the response from Sanders supporters to Black Lives Matters activists. This piece, along with Coates’ The Case for Reparations, has shaped my thinking about racial issues. Here’s two pretty key passages:

     The racism this story depicts is binary. It’s on or off, is you is or is you ain’t this racist, and that encourages the idea that racism isn’t something you personally do or are. It’s something other people do. You don’t do that, right? So you aren’t racist!

    But any colored folk can tell you that’s not how racism works. Everybody is a little racist. There are hundreds of learned reactions to different groups of people to unlearn, not to mention the areas of society where racist sentiment is implicit instead of explicit, like zoning laws or the prison industrial complex or the war on drugs. It’s in all of us. We’re gonna have to live with that racism until we fix it and our selves, and viewing racism as a binary personality choice doesn’t allow for that.

    That’s why people react so strongly to being called “racist” when they say something totally racist or suspect, or their work being called “racist,” or occasionally even just hearing the word “racist” in like a fifteen meter radius or something and their “I’m Not A Racist!” alarm goes off. They aren’t like those people, no, not at all. Their personal definition doesn’t allow for internalized racism. Which is adorable. (Emphasis in the original)

    and later

    Things go around online occasionally that make people go “This is what racism looks like.” Sometimes it’s a young black male being shot down by an old white man, sometimes it’s a burning cross. It’s true: those are often indicative of racism. But by that level of racism is seen as the only level of racism. “Hey, this dialogue you wrote–that’s kinda racially suspect, isn’t it?” isn’t a personal attack, but every time I say it, no matter how hard I try and soften the blow (and I spent years pulling punches and getting blown up at anyway), somebody gets mad because their personal definition doesn’t allow for any type of racism, even accidental or incidental or institutional.

    Racism is intentional and unintentional, and that’s why looking at race like a binary proposition sets up ideas that end up hurting everybody in the end. You have to be willing to accept that a little of the poison is in you, too, if you want to understand why these ideas persist after all this time and in so many different areas of our life. (Emphasis mine)

    Read the whole thing. It’s a wonderful piece of writing. (And read The Case for Reparations as well.) 

    Thursday, July 09, 2015

    Donald Trump is Leading the Republican Presidential Candidates at the Moment


    *pause for air*


    No, sorry, this is a sad commentary on the nature of low-information Republican primary voters who have time and time again been proven to have the least amount of knowledge of both current affairs and historical trends and the way the party has leaned over backwards to pander to them and to encourage them and to deny reality and instead turn partisanship into a goal that insists on Republicans supporting the most insane possible policy positions and ultimately it's not good to have one party living in a fantasy world where things like tax cuts for the rich and starving the federal government help the economy as opposed to the real world with real history and real evidence where a higher level of taxation and higher rates of government spending have, in each and every historical period where they take place in our country's history, have actually driven the economy to its highest possible levels and


    (pausing again for air)

    Anyway, although God loves me, God doesn't love me so much that Donald Trump will win the Republican nomination. But man, he is reinforcing how out of touch the Republican party is with mainstream american thoughts and beliefs and oh is he killing any Republican Latino support for the near future, therefore ensuring that we'll see President Hilary Clinton voted into office next year.

    Wednesday, June 24, 2015

    On The Proper Care And Handling Of Infants

    If you bring an infant to a baseball game - and seriously, who the hell brings an infant to a baseball game? - and a ball comes your way, and you do ANYTHING with your body other than shield your infant in such a way to make absolutely certain the ball can't hit your infant, but ESPECIALLY if you wrap your arm around the infant's chest and hold said infant without support so you can try to catch a ball THAT'S STILL IN THE FIELD OF PLAY, then you are a shitty father and you should get a visit from Child Protective Services. You should not have the clip of said CATCH WHILE NEARLY CHOKING YOUR CHILD aired all over ESPN and other outlets while the announcers make jokes about it. We're calling Child Protective Services on parents, usually it's unfortunate but important to point out on poorer black and brown parents, who let their kids play outside, sometimes OUTSIDE THEIR OWN HOUSE. Let's call Child Protective Services on this white dude who is wealthy enough to get box seats at the remodeled Wrigley who ENDANGERED HIS KID'S LIFE ON TV.

    (And before someone whines out a 'Why you gotta bring race into it?', I'm not bringing race into it. I'm pointing out that race is an important element of why people, generally speaking but not always white people, call Child Protective Services on children, generally speaking but not always brown and black children, who are playing outside unattended. If you think race isn't a huge part of that, you're either naive as fuck or in denial.)

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

    It's A Joni Mitchell Night

    I didn't say it would be all words. I can't just quit you tubing.

    Case of You

    Changing The Sign On The Door To Open For Business

    Well, this is bound to shock anyone who might still check here every now and then. I've been thinking this might be as good a place as any to start putting my thoughts again. I've always felt less a need here to be the entertainer than I do at the various online message board homes I've had. So yeah, let's see how this goes.

    Friday, May 15, 2009

    Thanks Landru

    Like I didn't have enough things to waste time on. 

    You Tube Fun: Korean Karaoke Edition

    Caress me like a tropical priest...