Sunday, November 29, 2009

Life's Little Mysteries: #1

Why do they do it?


What compels dogs to eat large quantities of grass - or as in the case to the right - straw - and then hork it up all over the house?

I knew something was afoot when the dog kept licking his chops in that frenzied way peculiar to dogs about to hurl. That he was going around and eating soil out of the house plants within reach also was a tip-off.

The technical term that vets use is "bolus". But they dont have any better explanation for this irritating and downright nauseating aspect of dog ownership than I do.

Since I was awake and active, I was able to drag the bolus-afflicted mutt off the rugs and onto the lino.

But this is highly unusual. Much more typical is the nocturnal bolus-ejection event, which I am convinced is canine contrived to maximize the gross-out factor. First off, most bolus production seems to coincide with the periods of the deepest human REM sleep - how else can one explain the fact that most dog owners manage to sleep through the ungodly amount of noise a hurling dog makes??? Secondly, it cant be coincidence that, at least in my house, deposition occurs precisely along the flight line between my bed and the coffee maker.

Thereby guaranteeing a morning barefoot encounter with a slimy, congealed, cold mess of yak.

I am not one of those dog owners who view their dogs as little furry humans, but.... this case, I am not a little suspicious of some kind of canine conspiracy, which I would be only too happy to further expound on, EXCEPT, I gotta run ----

The dog is about to hurl again.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Forswearing originality and a bit belatedly, here is the list of things that I am thankful for:


...this Thanksgiving, I have a friend who is going to professional cooking school, and wanted, nay, begged, to do all the cooking for our communal dinner (dessert pictured at right).

...I didn't lose my dog on Thanksgiving Day. Oh, he went missing for a couple of hours - spooked by a dog team on the Goldstream trails - but he found his way home.

... of the 22 dogs I have had over the last 22 years, I have lost none of them, thus being spared the horror of repeatedly calling the pound, putting up signs, combing the trails, roads and woods, and facing many months of wondering what really happened to my dog.

... despite all my crazy athletic antics over the past 20 years, my knees, hips and ankles are still intact and functioning, and I can ski jor with my dogs.

...I have yet to burn down my house, despite a few close calls with creosote and,

....I have a huge stack of dry spruce to keep the chill at bay.

...they invented LED Christmas lights.

...I live in the Goldstream Valley and can ski whenever I want among trees covered in snow or hoar frost, on afternoons that are every shade of the palest yellow, orange and rose.

...I have not-so-new extended family that has not only taken me in, but has given me incentive to learn their language. Ma'shii cho, shalak naii.

...Apple makes a "shuffle".

...I have the opportunity to experience aspects of Interior Alaska that many often do not, even if at times it has been chaotic, unsettling and, a few times, downright scary.

...'Dweller passed on the wireless headphones - those might just have saved a budding relationship.

...I have a job, home and lifestyle that has turned out to be exactly what fits me.

...I live in Fairbanks, because even though it gets a lot of shit for being the stripmall arm pit of Alaska, it has everything I need, and it is only one small airplane hop or trail ride away from hundreds of miles of remote country.

...I have a core of solid friends who are particularly adept (especially Dweller) at pulling my fat out of the fire. Thereby enabling me to do some crazy-ass things.

....twenty years ago, I accepted an old Singer sewing machine from a very elderly lady; this sewing machine is still working for me, so that I can quilt, sew beaver hats, and otherwise keep myself occupied through long, dark winters, and finally,

that health insurance pays for happy lights, thereby enabling me to really enjoy this time of year without fatal leg chewing.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

From Squarebanks With Love

Forgive us, Alaska, we knew not what we did.

In choosing Luke Hopkins as borough mayor over Tammie Wilson in the last local exercise in the democratic process, we inadvertently paved the way for move to Juneau.  How could we know Gov. Parnell would appoint her to John Coghill's empty seat?  And in what strange world does a person lose an election and get a bump up?

I'll say this, Wilson is, by all appearances, a very Coghill kind of Fairbanks Republican, and will absolutely delight the folks out at North Pole.  

One need only refer to the campaign materials sent out by the kind people at "Tammie Wilson for Borough Mayor" shortly before the runoff election.  Now, we don't have a lot of the major statewide issues here in the borough, it's usually about school bonds, our inherent right to suck down polluted air in the winter, or the fact that people want services but don't want to pay for them.  So, what platform was Wilson running on?  Based on her the flyer that arrived in my P.O. Box, Tammie was running to save Greater Redneckia from the green hordes.

"Protect the Right to access borough land for Hunting, Fishing and recreation," it read.  "The opponents environmentalists will show up at the polls in force.  Will you?" On the flip side was an endorsement by Craig Compeau, National Rifle Association/Alaska Outdoors Council member and Director of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife.  A trifecta!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rumors of Our Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated

Really, neither of us has sold our belongings and hied off to Mexico, nor decided to camp out in a wilderness setting in a wall tent. 

We've just been busy.  In my case, work has eaten my brain.  

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

It's Coming Up Orwell All Over

'Tis election day and I was going to type a wee rant about the political spectrum here in Greater Redneckia, but I went and paid attention to things in the larger world again.  Yep, read the news this morning, and I have news for all you folks who think Obama is going to fix things:  this country has gone so far off track it will take decades to find the freaking train, let alone drag it toward the tracks. 

Really, and what is more important?  Our collective loss of decency or whether or not Squarebanks elects a lefty or a righty?

I'm speaking vaguely, of course, of the disposition of the case Arar v. Ashcroft.  (And all this info is a summation of a Glenn Greenwald story at Salon.Com. Go read that one.) In 2002, an innocent man (Canadian citizen of Canadian and Syrian descent) was sent to Syria through rendition by our government - where he was brutally tortured - all in the name of 'the war on terror.'  His crime? Uh, well, there wasn't one.  He did switch planes at JFK Airport, though. 

Arar sued.  Our court system, the Second Circuit specifically, ruled 7-4 in favor of the our government's position and tossed his case.  What's that smell?  That's the smell of the Constitution being burned.  And, well, yeah, torture is illegal, but the court majority seems to think that no matter what the government does, nor how illegal it might be, people should not be able to sue for damages.  The court should defer if the government tosses around the terms 'national security' and state secrets.' 

Excellent quote in Greenwald's article:
"Reflecting the type of people who fill our judiciary, the judges in the majority also invented the most morally depraved bureaucratic requirements for Arar to proceed with his case and then claimed he had failed to meet them.  Arar did not, for instance, have the names of the individuals who detained and abused him at JFK, which the majority said he must have.  As Judge Sack in dissent said of that requirement:  it "means government miscreants may avoid [] liability altogether through the simple expedient of wearing hoods while inflicting injury" (p. 27; emphasis added)."
Repeat after me, "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."