Monday, September 15, 2008

Eighty Percent Dog

Have you ever noticed how dogs are like people?  No, I don't mean dogs have hairy legs and some people have hairy legs, or, dogs love salisbury steak with gravy and onions and many people like it too.  No, I'm talking about something much deeper than that.  Dogs have personalities. And that makes them at least a little human.  And not just personalities, but personality disorders too. That really makes them human!

Let's consider Chester.  From the name you can probably guess, I'm talking about a dog, since no one is named Chester anymore.  Chester is our family mongrel.  He is purportedly part dachshund and part chihuahua.  He clearly has a personality.  For one, he is a big lover.  At no provocation at all, he will jump up on my lap and sprawl himself out, assuming a sort-of reclining nude pose deserving of Edouard Manet's brush strokes. He will gaze into my eyes awaiting strokes to his furry belly.

He incorrectly assumes I feel as he does.  But to placate the poor thing who knows no better, I give the furry surface a gentle stroke or two, providing an illusion of affection to satisfy him.  Chester doesn't seem to understand, I'm not really a "dog person."  Still, he bubbles with love towards me. (In this way he will eventually conquer me.) I give him water, take him on walks, and discuss alternative energy sources and precious metal investment strategies with him, maybe that's why the feelings.

OK, so that is the healthy part.  Now for the disorder part.  Chester had an abusive upbringing before he was rescued by us.  I'm not sure what happened to the little creature before we got him, but...don't show him your foot, he will transform into a miniature grizzly bear.  And don't say the word "cage".  If you say "cage", even if he is being a grizzly bear, he will instantly cower, put his tail between his legs and do his "humble walk" to his cage.  So there, two personality disorders.  Seems human enough, no?  

Some dogs have more humanness to them than others.  You can observe them, then affix a score, how much is dog and how much is human.  You might say, oh, this one is basically pure dog, that one is about sixty percent dog and forty human.  Chester would have a fairly high "humanness quotient" were it not for one curious behavior.  He sleeps with my son John.  If I walk in the room while John is still sleeping, he will growl excitedly, show his teeth, with a wild look in his eyes.  Even though it is I who makes sure he has food and water, it is I who takes him on his walks, I who stroke his furriness, and it is I who carries the do-do bag and picks up product left behind after assuming his signature "arch of Saint Louis" position, I am a stranger in that moment.

I put him at about eighty-percent dog.


Friday, September 5, 2008

How to Catch a Large Trout

So, you'd like to catch a trout, eh?  In case you're thinking you should stop here first and read what I have to say, let me warn you, I'm not an expert fisherman, in fact, I know little of the sport.  I do, however, have some fishing experience, which I'll be sharing this evening with you.

For me fishing goes like this.  I arrive at the pier.  Of course, I'm with my sons who love to fish because this is something that would never occur to me to do.  The first thing that happens is I look around and see all the happy fisherpeople, but I, alone, am sad.  I am feeling sorry for the fish.  I look at their big round eyes, they seem helpless and disoriented, like a fish out of water. Well, they are out of water!  But, my kids won't be satisfied unless I join in on the fun, so here I am.  I get my hook and affix a worm or some bait facsimile.  Out into the water it goes, ker-plunk!  

At this point, a few feet away from my hook, the fish gather and hold a brief meeting.  "Its him again," the leader says "stay clear of that hook."   The huddle disbands, my hook remains in place supported by a red and white floater.  Time passes.  I'm watching 5 year olds reel in fish, grandmas and grandpas get some too.  Oh, and there, my son John just got one.  

After about an hour of this punishing, humiliating experience, my feelings towards the fish begins to change.  The sympathy and compassion I originally felt is being slowly transformed into - no not into-  yes, into anger!  I am being ridiculed by an aquatic vertebrate. How dare they!  I am now developing a sincere urge to catch one of the beasts, to  irreversibly hook one of the gilled non-tetrapodal chordates, pull it out of the water, fling it in to the air and smack its slimy, gilled body on the deck, round eye or no round eye!!!

I begin to fish in earnest.  This continues for some time without success.  Those around me all seem to be catching something, the whole scene starting to look like slow-motion popcorn going off...except for my limp, lifeless kernel of a hook.  

Yes, the hook against which the fish conspired sits there suspended in the water still bearing the faux worm. I, am about to go into my third and final phase of the outing. It's time to go.  I'm bored.  No revenge catch occurred...Now, trying to save face.  How to make a graceful exit without anyone noticing I'm leaving empty-handed???  The thought of the people lining the dock smiling at me as I slowly walk down the pier towards my car, head down in shame is painful. And thinking of all those fish, laughing underwater at me, a dejected Charlie Brown.
I can't garden either, but I'll save that for another posting. 


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Morning After

Hmmmm, OK, we'll let's see.  It's been up a first blog post.  Exposed to billions of people, any responses? No? 

Was my content lacking in excitement or freshness?  Or was it a marketing failure?  Gotta find that essay I wrote a few years back and post it to see if it draws any interest.

Before I sign off, I'm sure you have been enjoying the Olympics.  Are you a Michael Phelps fan, or perhaps a Usain Bolt fan?  I understand they had BMX bicycling as an event this year, did you catch that? 

Now what if they had philosophy as an Olympic event?  How would we score the entrants? I would think part of the score should rest on their personal sense of satisfaction or happiness.  Can you imagine, people like, Nietzsche.  So much thinking!  Sophisticated thinking, and ... very little happiness.  Perhaps he should have been a dentist.    

Oh, but you say, it's right that he was not happy, there is little to be happy about, and he figured it out!  Had he been able to achieve happiness through his thinking that would be evidence only of the ability to create illusion.  

Isn't it all an illusion anyway?  Did you not study your quantum mechanics in college?  If you're going to create something, make it good.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

40 Y.O. Virgin

I admit it, I'm over 40 and have never blogged before.  So I thought I would give it a try.  Let's see, I could discuss the meaning of life, or whether it has meaning, what to do about it in the event that it, in fact, has none.  Or...I could discuss God, or whether there is a God, or what we mean by the term "God". 

Perhaps I should choose something lighter.  This is, after all, my maiden voyage and if I'm not careful I could get blood all over myself.   It will take me a while to figure out what to do with this blog, but eventually, I should be able to get it on some kind of track.

I don't write much fiction.  I have been working on a book,  though a technical book.   I'm almost finished.  Perhaps I'll try my hand at fiction when it is finished. In the meantime, I'll try to find a short essay I wrote a few years ago, which generated a variety of reactions and offer it up to you for your consideration.

Have a great night, if anyone actually visits this, I will be most pleased and encouraged.