17 June 2008

The Lip Bone's Connected to the Trombone

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14 June 2008

Captain Jack Russell and His Crew

Drink up, me hearties, yo ho.

Ever since the premature heat wave this time last week, I have been suffering from that special brand of restless insomnia that can only strike PMSing women whose homes have no air-conditioning. The past two nights, dawn has broken before I was able to sleep, and even then I was up again every two hours to untwist the sheets, find a dry spot in the puddles of sweat, growl something surly to the cat at the foot of the bed demanding breakfast (which was already downstairs if she'd just get off her furry ass and go look), and try to return to unconsciousness. It hasn't been great for morale here in Three Feathers. Fortunately I'm the only one here these days, so I don't feel guilty when I finally slouch downstairs at the crack of noon.

This morning was particularly rough. The humidity is starting to build again, and after finally relaxing at 5:30, I was awake again just after 6:00 and 7:00 to reassess the ORSP situation, not to mention wander down the hall to check on the peeing situation.

Then, at about 8:30, my neighbour walked his dog. The aptly named Jack is (of all things) a Jack Russell mix who suffers from the twin behavioural issues of being part Jack Russell and spending his life with Paul as his full-time companion. They're a good match for each other. They're both wholesomely cute, though in a way that would never encourage me personally to take them home with me; they're well-meaning, enthusiastic, and friendly, sometimes to the point of exhaustion; and both a little bit clueless about social norms. Fortunately neither of them has ever tried to sniff my crotch. In short, I like them both all right, but in short doses and not first thing in the morning. I'm antisocial that way. I think of it as my contribution to world peace.

One of Paul's biggest difficulties with the world is that he grew up across the road on a horse farm of about 40 acres. This has left him with a certain perception of the world and his place in it. Not that he feels a righteous ownership, or that the world owes him anything--he's far too disarming for that. No, the difficulty is that Paul just honestly sometimes flat-out forgets that other people occupy space too, having had so much of it to himself growing up. It's an honest mistake, one we are taking great pains to subtly correct now that Paul and his family occupy land on three sides of us on this side of the road. (The fourth side is railroad tracks.)

Enter Jack. Like all dogs, Jack likes to be walked first thing in the morning. Like all owners of large tracts of land, Paul eschews the conventions of leashdom whenever possible. Like all grouchy neighbours, I am of mixed opinion about this. My problem is not that Jack frequently gets a bug in his puppy little terrier brain and shoots like a rocket in search of a groundhog or a bee or a tennis ball or whatever else might catch his canine fancy at any given moment. Jack is a dog. Dogs are wired that way. Lord knows I've fielded enough phone calls from the next county over because Juno wanted a bobcat for lunch. My problem is that in the summer, the family's alarm clock sounds like this: "Jack! Jack!! Jack, where's your ball? Jack, come! Jack!!!! Who's the good boy, Jack? Jack?? Jack!" This occurs not only because of the aforementioned off-leash tendencies, but because it hasn't yet occurred to Jack's owner that he does not own forty acres of land with no neighbours, and that--get this--sound does not bend to follow property lines.

This has been particularly hard on my father because his name is John. His family nickname? Is, of course, Jack. Early on, he tried to break Paul of this habit by throwing open the nearest window and yelling, "What?" in his sourest Brooklyn accent. Sadly, rather than taking the hint, Paul was amused by this.

One good thing that's happened in the two years we've all been owned by Jack is that this phenomenon has started occurring between 8:00 and 9:00 AM, instead of the less-than-godly 6:30 at which it often used to take place. I don't know whether this is a concession to Paul's schedule, the sleeping habits of his neighbours, or simply the crate-training of a dog with an infinitesimal bladder. As someone who often needs to pee at the crack of dawn myself, I can sympathize with poor Jack. It's his owner who drives me to early morning uncharitableness, especially when I've only just gotten into some semblance of sleep. I do not need to hear a running monologue about what is happening outside my window, in (I may point out) the strip of driveway that he's actually technically trespassing on. Frankly, when I am asleep, I don't care where Jack's ball is, though I do have an idea of where I'd like to put it.

But this morning? Jack did not have a tennis ball. Oh, no no no. No, this morning Jack had a squeaky toy.

Later this afternoon I may post a request for bail money.

07 June 2008

Just in Case You Thought I Was Crazy

Consider my friend Toby, who at this very moment is running the San Diego 100 Mile Endurance Run.

That was not a typo. My zero key is not sticking. Nor it this a relay run, with Toby running a leg composed of mere tens of miles. Nope. This beautiful, friendly, funny, encouraging young man is running a hundred miles today. I will repeat that. One. Hundred. Miles. At one time. In under 24 hours. By himself.

Now that? Is a beer well earned tomorrow morning when he finishes. (Thanks to Arch Fuston of Active for the photo)

06 June 2008

I Have to Get This off My (Puny) Chest

After watching John McCain's speech the other night, and hearing yet another blatant rip-off of an Obama slogan (it was bad enough that Hillary turned "Yes We Can" into "Yes We Will" after accusing him of lifting speeches from another politician) I feel I must speak. It is my duty both as an American citizen and as a professor of the English language.

I love Senator Obama. I truly do. I think he's just the kick in the ass this political system, and this country, needs. I think that right now, Ghandi, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King are doing some serious cosmic fist-bumping. (Though, I confess, the thought of Abraham Lincoln doing the "cabbage-patch" is a little frightening.) However, every time I see or hear his slogan I have to physically stop myself from grinding my teeth and correcting his campaign officers aloud. Or at least his press officers. Another generation of voters--used, misled, brainwashed.

There. I've said it. His slogan makes me crazy. Because it is wrong. 

On the other hand, I'm thinking "Change In Which We Can Believe" probably wouldn't sell as many votes.