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Pugs and Crime Scene Investigators…

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I own a pug. His name is Lewis and he’s reasonably agreeable little guy. He loves everybody unless they happen to be walking/biking/skateboarding/driving past then house – then they get barked at. If one of these people happens to come inside, though, they are most welcome and Lewis will run up, introduce himself, and beg for attention.

This is the face that's going to get me sent up the river...

This is the face that’s going to get me sent up the river…

So, generally, he’s a good dog. But thanks to centuries of inbreeding, pugs have a host of medical problems. Besides the bug

eyes, bad hips, wonky legs, and the tendency for parts of his nose to fall off in chunks, Lewis occasionally gets bladder stones. This has led to several expensive vet bills for me, and a medicinal diet for him. He is only allowed to eat his prescription dog food and nothing else.

This creates problems because dogs love treats, and Lewis is no exception. Before his bladder problems started, I would keep some dog treats around the house for him. At first I used them as rewards for training purposes, but if you’ve ever had a pug, you know that training them is a pointless and unrewarding endeavor, so eventually I just gave him the treats if he made it through the day without pooping on the carpet.

But once he started the medicinal diet, I couldn’t give him treats and I felt bad about it. At our normal treat time, he would look at me, breathe loudly (as they do), with one eye looking into my eyes and the other pointed over my right shoulder, appearing to wonder why I was holding back on the treats. EventualIy, I asked the vet there were any treats he could have, and she recommended carrots or celery.

That sounded pretty unlikely but I tried it anyway. I got a nice baby carrot, cleaned it off and set it down in front of him. He sniffed it a bit and then turned around and  waddled away. Frankly, I was a surprised. Lewis isn’t known for his discerning palate. I’ve seen him lick up puddles of brown water from an overflowing toilet. I’ve seen him eat another dog’s poop. I’ve seen him drag a used maxi-pad out of the bathroom trash container and chew on it.

Yet somehow carrots are beneath his contempt?

As for that maxi-pad – my girlfriend at the time (now my wife) came over one night and left one in the bathroom trash (which is way better than flushing them, so I was grateful for that). I walked in sometime later and found Lewis sitting in the middle of the bathroom floor contentedly chomping on the pad, blood everywhere.

So, I cleaned it up and eventually got the kind of bathroom garbage can that Lewis couldn’t get into. But I can’t help being afraid that one day, for some reason, I’m going to be falsely accused of murder. And the CSI’s will be in my bathroom, looking for evidence, spraying it down with Luminol, then checking it out with their special black light:

Ruggedly handsome CSI with a vaguely British Accent: Chief! Come check this out!

Former 80’s movie actor who still retains some of his good looks and whose age gives him a paternal bearing: Whaddaya got?

CSI: Blood everywhere. And look over here. It looks like somebody licked it up!

Chief: Sick bastard. He’s going away for a long time.

Written by sfcox

September 6, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Posted in Chatter

From the Mind of a 20-Year-Old

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I Found this old piece of paper in a box of old college mementos at my mother’s house. These scribbles were almost certainly made in Western Civilization class at Lower Columbia College around 1987. My friend Bart and I are the authors of this particular archeological find, which offers a window into the minds of bored 20-year-olds. We were in our second and last year at the community college and were anticipating transferring to four-year schools in the Fall. It may not make much sense as it is, so here are some annotations:
1. That was my plan for paying for my first year at Whitworth College. I didn’t have a plan for paying for the second year. Seems like a bargain now. I can’t remember the last time I had that much money in the bank.
2. We were trying to come up with names for the baby that some friends were about to have. “Pidge”, “Incontinentia” and “Guillotine” were apparently the best we could come up with. There’s a very clear Monty Python influence here.
3. We really hated people who asked a lot of pointless questions in class.
4. We lived in Longview, Washington which was small, boring mill-town about an hour away from the exciting metropolis of Portland. Everything seemed better there, including the weather.
5. See #3. I remember this one. She was a middle-aged know-it-all and was always trying to brown-nose the instructor. I don’t think he liked her either.
6. Another great name for the baby.
7. Hello ladies! Yes, we were horny young guys. Bart was a handsome guy and he at least had an outside chance with the girls around campus. I was several years away from developing enough personality to distract from the fact that I was weird looking.
8. “Wicked butts.” Yep. I was a real wordsmith…

Written by sfcox

August 26, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Posted in Chatter

The Apollo 11 Plaque

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I’ve been reading the excellent book Rocket Men about the Apollo 11 moon mission specifically and NASA in general. I’ve been a fan of space exploration and particularly the moon-race since I was a kid, but there was some material in the book that I was unfamiliar with. One anecdote that surprised me concerned the plaque that was attached to the leg of the Lunar Module’s descent stage.

The plaque is attached to one of the legs, and of course it is still there because the descent stage was left behind when the ascent stage took off to rejoin the Lunar Orbiter and began the journey back to Earth. It says:

The plaque left behind by the Apollo 11 astronauts.

The plaque left behind by the Apollo 11 astronauts.

“Here men front he planet Earth first set foot upon the moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.” Apparently, Richard Nixon, who was the President at the time, and whose signature is on the plaque, insisted that the last line must be changed to “We came in peace, under God, for all mankind.”

Nixon was adamant that the change be made, but NASA employees were not so sure, with one noting that “all Mankind” involves a lot of different gods, and occasionally no god at all. The change was not made, and with all of the hoopla surrounding the mission, Nixon’s directive was forgotten about.

Nixon may not have known that his order wasn’t followed and potentially went to his grave thinking he had done a great service for the Christian religion. If Nixon was right and the Christian God exists, I expect their first conversation after Nixon’s death in 1994 would have been noteworthy:

God: Welcome, Richard. Please have a seat.

Nixon: Thank you, Lord.

God: First off, I would like to thank you for your many years of service. And especially for attempting to get my name placed on that Moon plaque.

Nixon: You’re welcome, Lord. I’m sorry that didn’t work out.

God: Oh, that’s quite alright. You made the effort, and that’s what counts.

Nixon: Lousy NASA hippies. I always tried to be a Godly man.

God: Yes. Well. Here’s the thing – you did some Godly things. But what about all that other stuff that wasn’t quite so “righteous.”

Nixon: What do you mean?

God: Well, there’s your enemies list, the bombing of Laos, authorizing the surveillance of political opponents, authorizing the break-in at the Wat…

< Eighteen minutes of the recording inadvertently erased.>

God: …lake of fire. So, anyway, we’ll just forget about those incidents for now. Please enjoy your stay in Heaven. But you will not be allowed to have recording equipment, and you, Haldeman and Ehrlichman are to stay away from each other. Understood?

Nixon: Yes, Lord. What about Colson?

God: He’s not here.

Nixon: Oh.

Written by sfcox

August 13, 2014 at 11:55 am

Posted in Chatter

To (sic) Sexy

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After dropping off my daughter at school the other morning, I found myself driving down the street behind a truck with a license plate that read “TO SEXY.” I assume the driver was trying to get the message across that he or she had an amount of sexiness beyond the legal limit. But, unfortunately, “Too Sexy” and “2 Sexy” were taken, so he or she had to settle for “to sexy.” The problem is, of course, that “to sexy” is an infinitive, making “sexy” a verb. I mulled that over for quite a while and found myself trying to conjugate (so to speak) this new verb: I sexy, he sexies, they sexy, she is sexying. Then I tried working through the tenses: sexy, sexied, will sexy, have sexied, will be going to sexy. Then I tried to use it in a sentence, “John tried to sexy for Martha, but she had other plans.” It’s all very complicated and I’m still not sure what it means. The next time I see that truck, I think I’ll flag down the driver and ask what exactly it means to sexy. It’s probably something I should know about…

Written by sfcox

February 2, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Posted in Chatter

“Steve never has a second cup at home…”

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Personally, I can’t drink coffee. It seems like most of the country is fueled on caffeine, but I can’t tolerate the stuff. Sure, I like the taste of coffee, but it’s the side-effects I can’t handle. First, I get shaky. The I have this general feeling of anxiety. Then the hunger sets in. Hunger that I don’t get just going without food for awhile. This is hunger I feel down to my bones. The only cure for it is to eat. Obviously. But even then it takes quite a while to get back to normal.
I know what you’re thinking. “What about decaf?” you say. coffee_half.jpgWell, you see, there’s still plenty of caffeine in decaf coffee. Not as much as the regular stuff, but enough to trip my shake sensors and send me into the kind of hunger known only to post-apocalyptic vampires who have run out of victims in the charred, radioactive remains of civilization.
Okay, that all seems a bit arch for a beverage discussion. Even without coffee I get by. I drink a lot of water. And (decaf) iced tea. It still give me a little twinge. So, mostly water.
Many years ago I had a girlfriend who was a coffee fiend. She was small – maybe 5′ 2″ and 90 pounds or so. But she drank enough coffee on a daily basis to give Mrs. Olsen a caffeine-fueled, anxiety-related breakdown. I would get the shakes just kissing her. Just smelling her breath. She was cute, though. And smart. And we had a lot in common. After all these years I can’t really remember what broke us apart. Maybe it was a coffee intake gap. I should have tried harder. Maybe if I would have forced myself to drink coffee I would have developed a tolerance toward caffeine and we would still be together. Nah, she would have left me anyway. If I drank as much coffee as she did I’d be a violent, anxiety-ridden, 300 pound, quivering mass of insecurity and I would prefer to be the passive, anxiety-ridden, 200 pound, quivering mass of insecurity that I am.

Written by sfcox

March 18, 2008 at 10:55 pm

Posted in Chatter