Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Other Girl

.Sassafras, is the last member of the family. Sassy, her nickname quite apropos, is the feistiest and most feared of the furry denizens of our house.

Her markings are referred to as tortoise-shell. While they cannot all be detected in the photo, there are five distinct colors in her fur. The Vet said she is probably a tabby-Maine Cooncat mix. She is the smallest of our pets, but you'd never know it to watch the dogs walk around the room to stay clear of her path. They give her a wide berth.
....Just as the other beasties had stories of how they came to be here with us, Sassy is no exception. She and a sister were within moments of meeting the maker, unlike her mother and three other siblings.
....I was driving down a street that day eight years ago, when a woman flagged me down. Her car was parked with the flashers blinking. Thinking she was having car problems, an easy mistake to make because she was driving a Yugo, I pulled over behind her. She was snuggling two tiny kittens in her arms. Their high-pitched meowing could be heard the length of her car as I came closer to her.
...."I just rescued these two kittens," she said to me. It was unfortunate, but that particular day I had forgotten the world's smallest violin which I usually carried in my breast pocket. She pointed up the hill above where we stood. There were two snarling Doberman Pinschers standing on a rock outcropping. She then pointed to the ditch below the shoulder of the road next to her door.
....I usually have a strong stomach, but the mutilated bodies of the unfortunate cat and her three kittens was sickening. They had quite literally been torn to pieces. The woman had been driving by and witnessed the mayhem. She said she laid on her horn and had even hit one of the dogs with her bumper. They then ran up the hillside and stationed themselves on the rocks. The woman was terrified that the dogs would comeback to finish what they had started, even if she were holding the kittens.
....I had to tip my hat to her, that was a brave act on her part. I had to admit that even with my presence, the dogs looked poised to come down at any moment. For all I knew, they may have been trained guard dogs or even worse, rabid. I ask why she didn't slowly move to the door of her car and get in. It turns out though, that in her rescue she had locked the door with the engine running.
....I asked if she happened to have a spare key, it was a stab in the dark. Sure enough, she did have a spare, and to this day I still wonder if she ever removed it from the same ring as the other keys. She did happen to have five metal coat hangers - also locked in the car. Oh yeah, she had a cell phone...In the car!
....I took one of the kittens from her and told her to move slowly to my truck. My plan was to at least to put them in the cab out of harms way. If necessary we could jump inside also - out of harms way. It was then that I saw something moved dumb past brave on the list of her qualities. The passenger door of her car was not locked! In the end though, I had to give her a mulligan. I didn't exactly enjoy walking in the ditch and stepping over the remains of the other cats. With one kitten safely stashed on her front seat, I reached across and unlocked the driver's side door.
....Without a thank you or a f**k you, she handed me the other kitten and jumped into her car. She cracked the window and said that she'd keep the one in the car. "You can find a home for that one, right?" She asked or was it an order? Holding a crying kitten, I stood dumbfounded as she sped away, or at least moved as fast as a Yugo could go. A couple of sudden yelps and a heartbeat later I was in my truck.
....I realized, as it squirmed and dug its claw into my bare arm, I had just been saddled with a kitten, weaned maybe for only two days tops. We had a dog and a cat at home already. We were not looking for another pet. I thought that the least I could do was to take it home and give it some milk and some food. We could probably find a home for it.
....I didn't count on my daughter being home from work early. When she saw the tiny head peeking out of my unbuttoned shirt, she was instantly attached to it. I told her the story and thought that maybe that was a mistake. When I mentioned that it happened on the side of a road under a sassafras tree, she had made up our minds for us. Seeing its strong determination to get at the bowl of milk she held in her other hand, she said it sure was a sassy little thing. There it was, Sassy had been given her nick name and the tree I mentioned became her full name. - Sassafras.
....She eventually fit in and became number three on the role call of pets. Now, her gradual acceptance by Queen Oreo, the resident cat in charge of animal affairs, is another story, perhaps for another day.


Friday, July 29, 2005

Dog-gone Cute

.I am posting this picture for no other reason than I thought it was cute. It also means that there are other people out there who dress up their animals in costumes. MY daughter buys a new Halloween costume for the two dogs each year. Let's see, there has a bumble bee costume, a lady bug, a fireman, etc.

But none of them looked this cute! Of course, I think by their very nature, small dogs are more "suited" to be dressed up.

Looking it in the eyes, I wondered how long it had to pose before its master finally got the desired shot. "No, no. Sit! Stay!" Like Ralphie in the pink bunny suit from the movie "A Christmas Story," did the suit come right off after the photo session?

What must it be thinking? Ah, that's the idea, folks. What is a good caption for this pic?

"One wave of this wand - Poof! - You're a fire hydrant!"

"You show that picture - I'm telling the wife you've been wearing her underwear!"

"No, Rocky-boy don't want to go out!"

Well that's three quick ones from me. Maybe someone else can come up with a good one.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

One of The Girls

Oreo said, "Hey! What am I chopped liver?" She is miffed because the two dogs had starring roles in recent blogs, while all she got was a basket too small for her to sleep in.
....Oreo is the senior member of our menagerie. She is an 11 year-old calico mouse catcher supreme. She is noted for a well known quote which was plagiarized and altered by Will Rogers: "I never met a bowl of food I didn't like." Around our house if you just happen to think about opening a can of anything, she is there lickety-split before you can retrieve it from the cabinet! She can hear the crinkle of a deli bag while you are still at the store! She loves roast beef, the rarer the better.
....Oreo come to live with us because her former owner had to get rid of her ten years ago. How anyone could look into that feline face and not want to keep her, I have no idea. (But I'm glad I happened to be around when the decision was made.)
....The former owner was an elderly widower for whom I did some once-a-week-cleaning. He also had a bichon-poodle mix of a lap dog. As most people know, cats are self-efficient low maintenance creatures. (Feed 'em, pet 'em when they want to be petted, let 'em out or keep their litter boxes clean -- no warranty needed.) Dogs, on the other hand and as dog owners will attest, require some hands-on attention. Dogs in turn return the attention with loyalty. Now, cats tend to be more aloof. They say you never own a cat, it owns you!
....The social worker, VNA, and health department I think used gestapo-like persuasion to determine that the old man could not take care of the cat. The dog could stay, but the cat had to go! As I said, I was doing the house cleaning for him. He was also getting some assistance from his grand-daughter who lived on the second floor of his house.
....Now the three Nazi arms of Elderly Services did not do any cleaning. I could call to question just how much assistance the grand-daughter actually provided. Apparently, I was the only one who was skilled enough to locate the dog's seven or eight "secret" latrines throughout the house. I am eternally grateful that doggy-doo comes in sizes commensurate to the size of the doggy-doer! (Little dog = little doo.)
....Within a week, the confused cat bid adieu to the only home she had ever known. Never again would she wander the large back yard and huge park across the street. The birds, squirrels and field mice in the neighborhood threw a block party that evening. As stated above, she was a mouser supreme. Did I say earlier that cats are aloof? Oh, yeah. Once inside her new home, she was rarely seen for the first three days or so, coming out only when she was hungry or to use her facility - the litter box. She couldn't understand why she was no longer let out. Like it or not, she became a house cat.
....Since cats don't answer to names anyway, Oreo didn't seem to mind that she was no longer going to be called Muu-Muu. As we were to learn later the name was appropriate. She had a dicriminating taste for almost everything. The slender sleek cat is now a plump contented feline, a fact of which my stomach and chest can verify. No longer aloof, she has become the social butterfly of the household. My daughter calls her Queenie, because she rules the roost, even the two dogs respect her.
....Hail the Queen! She's one of the girls.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Could You Throw In an Ox?

Nairobi, Kenya - 7/22/05

Godwin Kipkemoi Chepkurgor, a government official, made an offer he thought could not be refused. Keeping with Kenyan traditions, he made what was considered to be a "very generous" offer. Offers such as his are the time-honored practices of convincing a father to give away his daughter's hand in marriage.

Chepkurgor, a 36-year-old city councilor in Nakuru, was said to be waiting for an answer or a counter offer from the father of the girl who had caught his eye. His offer, a formal one to observe proper protocol, was made through the Kenya's Foreign Minister.

Former President Bill Clinton had not responded to the offer of 40 goats and 20 cows for his daughter 25 year-old daughter Chelsea. Generous as far as African maidens' dowries go, news of the offer had made news wires world-wide. Another Kenyan official said that acceptance of Chepkurgor's offer could go a long way in soothing relations between the U.S. and Kenya.

The love-struck Romeo, who is also an Electrical Engineering graduate, had become enamored with Chelsea in 2000 when Clinton visited that country. He vows to remain single until he receives an answer. In a letter for the benefit of news agencies he wrote: "Had I succeeded in wooing Chelsea, I would have had a grand wedding." He said that the Nobel Prize winner, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa would have presided over the ceremony.

Chelsea's would-be suitor praised Clinton for his accomplishments while President. He also praised Hillary Clinton for standing by her man during the Lewinski scandal, saying she acted with the grace of an African woman. He added that Lewinski would fetch 4 goats and 2 cows in some villages. (One is left wondering, what offer did he make for Hillary? How about throwing in an ox? Let's make a deal!)


A Chip Off the Old Blog

I thought I would just post a mish-mash of thoughts and a few new quotes I stumbled upon. Besides, the short story business can be a little taxing. I am getting so involved in the plot that I am starting to get ahead of myself. I have posted four installments so far, and am a third of the way into composing the fifth. In a nut shell, I compose my postings twice. First, I write it out long hand on a legal pad. Because to me pencils are for drawing and pens for writing, there are no erasures but there are certainly quite a few cross outs. Then I type it onto the my site, editing, rewriting on the fly, and running the spell check. Like advice to a carpenter's apprentice to "measure twice, cut once," I edit twice, publish once.

Did you know that dogs make poor farmers? After all the thousands of years of evolution, they still try to grow hams by burying bones in the yard.

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward." - (Vernon Law, former Pittsburgh Pirates' pitcher)

"There is a Vitamin for being a friend, B1." - ( This actually my rewriting of a quote by a Sunday School teacher. Her quote used Christian instead of friend. By the way, I think hers is good too.)

"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - (Warren Buffet, Investment Guru)

"Some people say that motivation does not always last. Well, neither does bathing -- that's why we recommend it daily." - ( Zig Ziglar, Motivational Maven)

"There are two things you can do with your head down: Play golf and pray." _ (Lee Trevino, Golfer)

"I once read this quote by the Rev. Joel Olsteen: ('You can't do anything about what is gone, but you can do something about what is left.') So I looked at the second muffin and promptly ate it too." - ( The Pointmeister, Blogger)

The answer is: Zellig Harris and Stephen Douglas.

And the Question is: Name a cunning linguist and a master debator.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Art Imitating Life

Have you ever noticed how life seems to imitate art? Or is that art imitating life? More specifically, have you ever observed how life imitates the movies? Or is that the movies imitating life?


For example, I'm sure most of you have thought about buying a house. (Think: The Money Pit.)

Have you ever went out on a blind date? ( Night of the Living Dead )

Have you ever gone out to eat at a new Italian Restaurant? ( Attack of the Killer Tomatoes )

Have you ever visited the Aviary at the zoo? ( The Birds )

Have you ever seen a fat person climbing out of a swimming pool? ( The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms )

Do any of you women find yourself attracted to men in uniform? ( The Cable Guy )

Have you ever wondered if you'll be able to afford to send your kid to college? ( Mission: Impossible )

Have you ever worried about your daughter's first date alone with a boy? ( Girls Gone Wild )

Do you like to pick wild flowers? ( Day of the Triffids )

Have you ever been worried about your kid's performance at college? ( Animal House )

Do you have to take a bus to get to work? ( Speed )

Have you ever had a visitor that just didn't know when to leave? ( What About Bob? )

Are your landscapers suspicious looking? ( The Texas Chain Saw Massacre )

Have you ever had a problem with mice? ( Willard )

Guys, do ever think of the consequences when you cheat on your significant other? ( Attack of the 60-Foot Woman )

There's 15 examples of the movies imitating life, or vice versa, that I could think of. Can you think of any more?


Monday, July 25, 2005

Busting Out

Well I worked up the nerve. I have begun posting a short story on my blog. The first installment is in three parts. I originally wrote this story several years ago in response to a contest sponsored by
a Sci-Fi/Fantasy magazine. The magazine was celebrating an anniversary of its publication. I forget now just what anniversary it was. To be accepted for consideration, I had to fill out an application for entry into their Short Story Hunt.

One field asked for a brief synopsis of my story. It seems they weren't going to burden themselves with reading every short story submitted, but rather they reviewed the synopses to determine if it met their magazine's standards and format. I had completed the story before I received their rejection notice. Apparently my yarn failed to meet their criteria. Imagine, getting a rejection notice without even submitting a manuscript. I never even got around to typing it. Over the years, that hand-written manuscript has disappeared. My searches for it have been fruitless.

I had been toying with the idea of attempting to write a short story to post here, but I wasn't sure if I was up to creating something from nothing. But I remembered my old script of The Quill and the Quire. I could remember the basic story for the most part. The character's names, the names of the establishments, etc., however were lost. What the heck I thought, after all what's in a name? As for the dialog, that would come as the story unfolds.

The first three parts, Welcome to Edinburgh, The Antique Shop, and Dinner and Drinks have all spewed forth rather easily. Here's hoping that the rest come as easy. I could make the dialog more interesting if I actually tried to capture a true Scottish genuflection, but I decided not to go there. (It canna take more, Cap'n!)

I am looking forward to the project through its end, as well as looking forward to any and all comments any readers may post. Pour it on folks, especially those of you who been published. A critique whether positive or negative, is most welcome. Structure, spelling, grammar, tenses, etc., all are subject to your approval.

Thank you in advance for your candor and patience.



Sunday, July 24, 2005

Coming Soon To A Blog Near You

The time has come. Inspired by Karyn's Short Story Wednesday, I have decided to try my luck with a short story. I must admit that I am not creating this story on the fly. This idea was once in a hand written manuscript form, ready to be typed. Alas, I never had it typed up. That was about fifteen years ago. Unfortunately, I have never found it since. I'm not even sure that it still exists. This is an attempt to recreate it. Certain elements of the story will be updated to allow for new technology that did not exist then, such as the lap top computer and the cell phone.

I suppose the story could be classified in the suspense genre. I will attempt to follow a posting schedule also, probably as a Short Story Weekend. That will allow me either Saturday or Sunday, or both days to have a chapter or two published. With a deadline to pressure me, it should prevent me from letting it slip by the wayside.

I have one chapter completed and it will be posted later this day, Sunday. As it is now closer to dawn than it is to midnight, I will probably post it sometime in the afternoon. By the way, the name of the story is:

(In olden days letters and other writings were written with quill (feather) pens dipped into ink. A quire was an equivalent of a ream, and generally parchment was used.)


No Ginger Snap She

Ginger is an intimidating looking dog. Ginger is a good natured slob. By far, the largest dog we have ever had, she is even larger than a standard poodle we had once, but also she is the biggest baby we've ever had.

What she is exactly, no one seems to know. Her brown markings on a black background are exactly the same as those of Rottweilers and Doberman Pincers. Her size is that of a Great Dane. She's too long and lean in body to be part-Rottweiler it seems. She's too large and muscular to be part-Doberman. Her snout and jowls are two long to be part-Great Dane. The only other breeds that possibly could come into play are Mutt and Mongrel.

My window sills come to my upper thigh. Our Lab mix, profiled in Lucky Lady Bug (No.252) has to put her front paws on the sill to see out of the window. Along comes Ginger to have a look see, she just rests her chin on the sill to see what's going on outside. Another clue as to her size, would be for us to buy a saddle and rent her out for pony rides to kids five and under.

Like Oliveah, Ginger also has an interesting story. When she younger, my daughter would have brought home this dog and asked, "Can we keep her, please?" My grown up daughter however, said, "We are going to keep her to keep Liv company." Now when I set my foot down, I have to be careful where I put it!
Yes, that's how Ginger showed up here and remains to this day.

She was at work one day when the security guard called her on the walkie-talkie. He told her of a dog tied to a utility pole. A rope was tied around her neck in a hangman's noose. She ran out to the parking lot where the guard and dog were located. They led the very nervous and skiddish dog into her office. While she was giving the dog a bowl of water, she sent the security guard to McDonalds for a couple of plain hamburgers.

Right from the start, rather than acting traumatized, the dog, sans the noose, was happy-go-lucky. When she got up from her desk the dog tried to follow her. When she was seated at her desk, the dog laid on the floor by her feet. It wagged its tail and playfully greeted anyone who came into the office. If a person's face was positioned anywhere near its face, that face was promptly washed. If anybody had any fears of bodily harm from this dog, they discovered that it would be a slobber drowning.

We had a new Veterinarian by this time, and when she finished checking out Ginger, as we had named her, it was determined that she was between nine months and a year-old! A dog that big was just a puppy? The examination over, shots given and a follow up appointment made we had officially increased our animal population by one moose. As it turns out, this Vet happened to sell special puppy food. I kindly declined saying that because of the size of the dog, we had no room for that much dog food.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

It Figures (of Speech)

In the recent posting, It's Your Write!, I was discussing tips for writing by offering my own methods. I mentioned that I try to use figures of speech as much as possible. I listed a few that I try to use while also noting that there were others I might use without knowing I had used them. Schnoodlepooh commented that she would have to look some of them up if she were to try to use them.
....That got me to thinking that I should provide a list of them and give an example(s) of each. While such a list can be useful to others, it will be helpful to me as well. Perhaps I will reacquaint myself with them. Also by posting a list of them, it will be here in the archives to refer to from time to time. There are some that I really am not familiar with, let alone to use them. A definition is one thing, but by including an example of each, the list may prove useful for anyone so interested.

(a) Simile - a comparison of two things by using like or as: "White as chalk." "A baby's feet, like sea-shells pink" "Quick as lightning"

(b) Metaphor - unlike a simile, a metaphor does not use like or as, but instead makes an implied or direct comparison: "A tower of strength" "Hours and minutes are dollars and cents"

(c) Personification - inanimate things are given human attributes: "the hands of time" "The ball screamed when hit by the bat." "the flowers danced"

(d) Alliteration - the use of a succession of words with the same initial letter: "fine feathered friends" "babbling brook" "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers"

(e) Onamatopeia - the use of words or a phrase to imitate the sound of something: "the buzz,buzz of bees" "Bow Wow!" "Rat a tat"

(f) Euphemism - a mild expression used in the place of an unpleasant statement: "He passed away" (instead of He died) "fender bender" (instead of accident)

(g) Epithet - descriptive word or phrase used important meaning or a vivid picture; there are two kinds of epithets:
  1. Essential - names or qualities that are always associated with thing described: "green grass" "blue skies"
  2. Conventional - adjectives that become associated with certain names: "Honest Abe" "Doubting Thomas"

(h) Epigram - short forceful expression that implies just the opposite: "The silence was audible."

(I) Interrogation - phrase that asks a question with an implied negative answer: "Am I a dog?" "What am I chopped liver?"

(j) Antithesis - a contrast of opposite terms or ideas: "Rich and poor" "Hot and cold"

(k) Irony - expression stating the opposite of what is meant: From Julius Caesar, Marc Antony's "..And they are honorable men."

(l) Allusion - a reference is made made of something to which reader is familiar: "A Napoleon of finance" "A Daniel come to judgment."

(m) Assonance - a recurrence of the same vowel sound in a group of words: "Hark! Hark! The lark!"

(n) Synecdoche - figure where part of an object is used to signify the whole, or vice versa: "A thousand hands waved farewell." "The city welcomed the returning soldiers."

(o) Metonymy - figure by which the cause is put before the cause, or vice versa: "Gray hairs should be respected." "He was the sigh of his mother's soul."

(p) Litotes - figure by which a strong affirmative is expressed by a negative to the contrary: "The storm of no small force drove our vessel before it." "a citizen of no mean city."

(q) Climax - arrangement of words in ascending order of importance, with strongest expression last in order: "I know it, I concede it, I confess it, I proclaim it!" "Veni, Vidi, Vici!" (I came, I saw, I conquered.)

(r) Hyperbole - an exaggeration to gather attention: "Every word that Webster used weighed a pound."

(s) Apostrophe - expression that turns aside usual order of words addressing an object: "O Grave! Where is thy victory?" "O Death! Where is thy sting?"

(t) Vision - similar to an apostrophe, but less forceful, describing a scene, object or event as if it were in view: "I see before me the gladiator lie."

(u) Euphony - pleasing effects of sounds produced by combining words in sentences or of phonetic elements of spoken words: "The bells of Shandon that sound so grand on/ The Pleasant waters of the river Lee."

For both Hyperbole and Euphony, I had to do a search to find sentences. I don't know if I ever have used, ever tried to use, or ever thought about using either one of these two figures of speech.

Armed with these, you are primed to write!


Friday, July 22, 2005

Lucky Lady Bug

Lucky Lady Bug/Demon dog?
That's Oliveah, our Lab-mix, posing on Halloween night in her Lady Bug costume. There is a head piece to this costume, a hood with two antennae. Try as she might, Gretchen my daughter could not get to her keep the head piece on long enough for a picture to be snapped. Surrounded by a Pilgrim teddy bear and a Winnie the Pooh Trick-or-Treat bucket, the green flash glow in her eyes was reminiscent of the dogs in The Omen.
....Liv or Livvie, as we call her came to us in 1995. Like all four of our pets, she has a story. My wife's best friend, was not particularly a dog person, she preferred cats. Her youngest daughter had taken a summer-placement job at our local police station. As it turns out, an abandoned dog was brought in to be turned over to the pet control department. Working when the dog was dropped off, Erica fell in love with he dog.
....Talking her mother into, they adopted the dog and named her Deja. She was long-haired mongrel part-Lab and part-unknown. The dog was in their home for about two weeks when Elaine said to Erica that dog sure is putting on weight. A trip to the Vet found Deja to okay. When asked if the dog was pregnant, the veterinarian said no and suggested that they put her on a special food, which they just happened to have in stock and sold to dog owners. By the way, this product could only be purchased through pet hospitals and Veterinarians. Can you say collusion?
....On our advice, she did not add to the Vet's coffers. As it turns out, he could have used the dough to put toward a refresher course at Veterinarian School. Perhaps he skipped class on the day his class covered "Puppies and Where They Come From." Two weeks later, it was surely a canine version of immaculate conception, Deja gave birth to five bouncing puppies. Red-faced, the Vet offered to check them out for no charge. The Vet and his two assistants were not the Magi and they had followed no star to find their way to the examination room.
....A clean bill of health given to mother and her pups, they did not fail to mention that they had a special puppy food which was highly recommended for puppies, and could only be purchased through them. Elaine and Erica were not confident when it came to their knowledge of nutrition, and kindly declined.
....It just so happened that night while I was watching some BBC reruns of Monty Python, that they ran the "Dead Parrot" episode. I wondered what would happen if someone showed up at that Vet's office with a dead animal. "Ah, nothing to worry about. It's a sleeping disorder caused by not eating Dr. Good's Pet Food. It just so happens that we sell it to the public."
....My wife and daughter were given first choice to pick from the litter when they were weaned. So it was that "Oliveah Taylor Ashley" came to live with us. As it turned out, they chose the friskiest most rambunctious one of the five. Elaine kept one of the puppies to be a companion for Deja-mom and found good homes for the other three. Brother Caspar and Deja dropped in from time to time to say hello to Oliveah. Deja was spayed, no one wanted any more puppies, thank you. Wisely they found a new Vet and have had no problems or mis-diagnoses. However, some things never change, it seems every Vet around here has a side business selling "special" pet foods.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Poached Poodles

I am certain that someone must have looked upon the title of this posting with horror or disgust. (I refer to you who shall remain nameless, although everyone will know of whom I speak.) No, this story is not about carnivorous meal preparation, that has not come to the forefront as the story has broken. The poaching is not in reference to someone shooting poodles for game or sport. It centers around the disappearance of a large number of them.
....Initial reports had suggested that the recent encroachment of wolves into urban areas may well have been the explanation. There have been several reports of pets being killed and eaten by small packs of wolves. While that evidence seems to support that theory, the sheer number of reports relating to missing pets was considered too high to be explained away by predation.
....The expansion of human intrusion into the few remaining sanctuaries for wildlife has forced the wolf, as well as bears, to seek food and shelter ever closer to man's settlements. Small pets such as domestic cats and dogs are easier prey than rabbits and squirrels.
....A recent compilation of facts and reports over a nearly two-year period, however, is presenting a different picture of what may be really going on. A pool of information gathered from several states started to form a more sinister picture. The larger number of dogs missing was a particular breed of dog. Nearly 80 percent of the dogs reported missing were poodles. The numbers included toy, miniature and standard poodles of all colors.
....Although outlawed in every state of the Union, there are many raids and arrests involving gambling on fighting dogs. There are millions of dollars passed on the wagering at dog fights. These operations constantly are on the move to avoid law enforcement intervention. For every one that is busted in raids, two or three more are up and running within weeks. Dog fighting as well as cock fighting are very popular among Mexicans and Asians.
....Interrogations of some of those arrested have revealed a grim connection to the missing poodles. High strung, especially those close bred pedigrees, standard poodles are the favorite training dog for owners of pit bulls, rottweilers, dobermans and shepherds. The poodles are put into training fights with the more vicious fighting dogs. The poodles are sacrificed to ensure that the fighting dogs maintain their thirst for the kill. As for the toys and miniatures, they are apparently taken to hide the fact that standards are the actual targets. The owners of the fighting dogs pay upwards of $300 apiece for these dogs. Under arrest, one man said they never see the smaller dogs. They assume they are disposed of somehow.
....Investigators say that what few poodles they do find have been mistreated and are trained to become vicious themselves to provide sport against the fighting dogs. These recovered dogs cannot be deprogrammed to be returned to the former owners. As a result, these animals are put to sleep.
....In the meantime, by the time the dogs have disappeared from the homes, yards and streets it usually too late. It is several days to weeks before these disappearances are sorted out and separated from all the reports of missing dogs. Resources of the many small towns as well as some cities are stretched too thin to be used to monitor missing pets. The dog-nappers keep a low profile by hitting different areas in different states in attempt to avoid setting patterns. One investigator compared the operation to that of the drug trade. He said some of these dogs are in fact taken by wolves, but most are abducted by "wolves in sheep clothing."

(I for one, found this article disturbing. I had once read of this, but I had no idea that it was so well organized and on such a large scale. I suppose because of on-going investigations and trials pending, that is why very little facts, if known, were included in the article. It was at the bottom of p.32 next to ads, probably inserted as a filler. I tried a little internet searching, but didn't find much of anything.)


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Freezing Inferno

The spray from the waterfall seemed to caress me, giving me relief from the noon high sun. Sitting in the shallow cool water beneath the cascade, I looked around my secluded haven. The small lagoon was an oasis, an asylum from the tropical heat. Unencumbered by a single thread of clothing, I thought that this must have been the paradise Adam relished in Eden. He and Eve must have frolicked in such an idyllic spot.

The crawlway was like an oven, the heat radiating all about me. Even though it was shielded from the direct sun and had me shrouded in darkness, there was no comfort. The passage in which I found myself was narrow, barely affording enough room for my shoulders as I crawled onward. Perspiration, copious in its flow ran in rivulets from my brow into my eyes. What would I find at my trek's end through the cauldron of metal ductwork? Dante's Inferno?

The cold wind was unexpected, but welcome. I shuddered at the bite from from the chill that had stowed away upon the gusty express. I swear, I could see the puffs of vapor as my warm breath collided with the algid breeze. The first of the snow flakes had begun to fall even as the temperature plummeted. I wouldn't last long unless I could find some kind of warmth and shelter.

The blazing fire was out of control, consuming everything in its path. The conflagration had created super-heated blasts that threatened to boil my very blood. What was left standing around me had been reduced to charred obelisks of branchless wood. The choking smoke made breathing all the more difficult. Every breath felt like it might be my last.

The cases of bottles and cans were stacked, monuments to be worshipped, beneath the chilled air from the fans lining the walls of the refrigerated chest. It was strange, but surrounded by a myriad of brands of beers and wines, I was craving a piping hot cup of coffee. But I was trapped, inexplicably locked in the chest overnight. Clad in but shorts and a tee-shirt, I would surely be nearly frozen to death by the time the liquor store would open some eight hours hence.

The small caldera had seemed at the time a good vantage point to look out over the ocean. That a fissure would open up, spewing molten rock in my direction, had not crossed my mind. The advancing barrier of lava had in effect cut off any avenue of escape I might have had. I was cornered at the edge of a precipice, the ocean pounding on the rocks a hundred feet below. So close was the lava, it felt as if I were standing in front of an open kiln. The heat was becoming unbearable. My lungs were on fire!

I had been in the frigid water for only a few minutes, but already hypothermia had begun to set upon me. I was not among those fortunate enough to have to get into a lifeboat. In fact, I had found myself struggling in the icy water with not even a life jacket. Clinging to a piece of flotsam, I watched in horror as the huge ship began to slip beneath the waves to a watery grave. As close as I was to the ship, if the freezing water didn't kill me, then surely I would be pulled under by the suction of sinking vessel.

I had had enough! I leapt from my chair and crossed the room to where the industrial floor fan stood. I turned it down to its lowest speed and unceremoniously disengaged the oscillation control switch.

It was a pleasant seventy degrees. The warm sun's radiance was tempered by a gentle sea breeze. A good book, a nice frosty beer, and a comfortable hammock stretched between the two elms; it doesn't get any better than this!


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Meet My Family

Say hello to my family. Meet Gretchen, my daughter and Jeanne, my wife. The two dogs Ginger and Oliveah, as well as the two cats, Oreo and sassafras were not invited to this particular event.

This was at a lovely outdoor wedding reception last summer. The bride was Nicole, who will be a maid in Gretchen's wedding this coming October. Winnie-the-Pooh is pictured here because Gretchen loves everything that has anything to do with the Pooh bear.

Family, say hello to the nice Bloggers. Don't worry, their blogs are much worse than their bytes! Seriously, they are a great bunch of people.

Bloggers, contrary to all the rumors, the Pointmeister family sees no resemblance to us and the Flinstones! It is only a matter of bad lighting that the picture of me in a tuxedo made me ever so remotely resemble Fred Flintstone. See for yourself -- there is no resemblance! Just because I was born in West Virginia, I do own a pair of shoes!

Yes, our family car does have a few miles on it, but isn't THAT old! Our car isn't much different than that of anyone else in the town of Bedrock ... er ... Everett, Massachusetts. We live in a country cape, not in a stone house.

Hmm, it appears that my family sees some resemblance in some of you to some celebrities. John, Duke of Earl, reminds them of George Jetson. Hoss, brings El Kabong to mind. Schnoodlepooh conjures up images of Sweet Polly Purebred. Because of her murder story, Karyn gets to be Jessica Fletcher. Blue, it seems you are likened to Droopy.

This is shaping up to be a challenge! Fellow Bloggers, your mission, should you accept it, is to come up with your own characters, real or toon, that you feel you might resemble, and who you think others may resemble. Obviously, not everyone has a pic to go by, but each of us do exhibit traits in our posts and comments to each other. If I had to choose someone to whom I might be compared, perhaps I would pick the Pink Panther. Why? Well, I am kind of mischievous and I try to be cool!

This is all meant to be for a little fun and few chuckles. Now, why did I choose those particular characters for all of you? This would be a good spot for some Henry Mancini. I did say mischievous! John, George Jetson was chosen because I see you in an important office position. Hoss, I picked El Kabong aka Quick Draw McGraw for no other reason than the Old West motif of your blog. I chose Sweet Polly Purebred for Schnoodlepooh not because I picture her as a femme Fatale needing to be rescued, but as a nice sweet person, especially as an animal lover. BlueDillyDilly is a friend most of you probably don't know, but he is a good ol' boy from W.Va., who aspires to write a children's book based on his own life. He is linked on my site. But he is a funny guy in a dry droop-along way, thus he is Droopy.

Apologies to one and all for my characterizations, buy hey, they say payback is a bitch! I am looking forward to see if anyone wants to play along. I have thick skin, and I think we all can take a joke. ... As always should any of your team be captured or killed in this endeavor, your actions will be disavowed. This blog will self destruct .....


It's Your Write!

The recent buzz among some of the denizens of the blogosphere has been centered around writing tips. There has been an on-going comments conversation by Scnoodlepooh, Duke of Earl, Old Hoss, and others. There were some excellent tips suggested. Well, I guess I should chime in too.

Rather than offer some tips, I'll just throw out some of the things to which I try to adhere. I would be remiss if I didn't say that some of their suggestions are usually in play in my postings. Taken one way, that suggestion might suggest that I subscribe to the obvious. However, taken as it was intended, those suggestions should be used depending on the style of the author and not as iron-clad rules. That they are usually in play in my postings, it should be noted that usually is an operative word here, folks.

Title: I too, like to come up with catchy titles. I then try to keep the posting to the theme promised by the title. For me, this is not always easy. Which came first, the title or the blog? Now, that is an interesting question, to which I am wont to answer with a less than interesting response. In a word, I haven't the foggiest idea! This is because I have posted under both scenarios. I have a large list of potential titles, which I have harvested from newspaper headlines, book titles, movies, conversations, other blogs, etc. One source of titles comes from incorporating the word blog and making up words; an example of this is the recent post, Discomblogulated.

....Tonight I found myself in a quandary. I had the idea for the blog, but instead of having no working title, I had several. These were: Write or Wrong, It's My Write!, It's Your Write!, Rites of Writage, Righting The Writing, and the onerous Wright's Rite: Write Right. As my intent was not for myself but for any who read this, I feel the one used was appropriate.

Posting: Assuming a topic has been chosen, I like to first sit down with pen and legal pad. I gather my thoughts and jot them down usually in a rough draft or outline. Most of the time I have a completed draft, spelling and punctuation checked, before I even sit down at the computer. It is rare that I sit down and compose directly from my thoughts to the screen. I find this difficult. I admire those of you who can post in this manner.

Grammar: Obviously grammar includes not only spelling and punctuation, but verb tenses and complete sentences. I try not to end sentences with prepositions. I often find my self correcting plural and singular verbs as well as direct and indirect objects. I try not to dangle a participle, not only in my writing but in public too. It could be considered indecent if your participles are exposed. I shall have not mixed present, past, and future tenses.

Structure: When a thought changes, it is wise to start new sentences and of course paragraphs. It is here that John's advice to show plenty of white works well. The typical reader can lose interest rather quickly if he/she has to plow through long sentences and paragraphs. I have been taking this piece of advice to another level by inserting visuals to break up a long page of text. I feel it gives the reader some eye candy to digest while reading my ramblings. Initially I just threw in pictures that I liked, usually cartoon characters from my youth-wasting hours in front of the TV set. Lately, I have tried to choose images that reflected the theme of the blog.

I try to use figures of speech as much as possible. The ones I tend to use the most are: metaphors, personification, irony, hyperbole, onomatopoeia, alliteration,allusion, and John, of course assonance. I'm sure I have used other figures of speech but didn't realize it, such as euphemisms, euphony, synecdoche, etc. I do tend to avoid similes, I think they are over used.

I tend to agree with Old Hoss that writing in third person is refreshing. The Pointmeister likes to use third person writing from time to time. I like to use quotes and whether used as originally quoted or paraphrased, the person should be identified. The same goes for copied material, and as Schnoodlepooh mentioned, not only should the source be named, but a link to their site is especially respectful.

I feel that a writer can never have enough source and reference material. Besides the obvious dictionary, a Thesaurus is a must. I also use a Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms, a book of quotations, a rhyming Dictionary, a Medical Dictionary, an Encylopedia, and an Atlas. Of course, the internet has many sites covering those mentioned as well as many not mentioned.

In the end, advice or no, it is your blog and you must first satisfy yourself with what you write and how you write it. No matter how well or poorly written, art, and writing is an art, is ultimately in the eye of the beholder. None of the advice and methods cited here are absolute, but taking some of them into account can only improve and enhance your writing. You read me, I read you, and to what end? We read to be entertained and perchance, to learn. Besides, if they don't like what you write, then our friend Bart Simpson says it best! After all, It's Your Write!


Monday, July 18, 2005

history of the pc

The Neanderthals didn't have computers. Since they didn't have any numbers, they would have never been able to program it anyway. With no numbers, they had no accounts on which to charge, thus they couldn't even purchase one. Microsoft back then made clubs. Without numbers these cavemen couldn't even count to three when the little hairy ones acted up. They had to send them to rocks (they didn't have beds either) without any mammoth stew. They only knew a crude counting system; either they had enough mammoth meat in the fridge, or it was time to go hunting again. So it would be that Ugh, Ugh and Ugh would set off to hunt. As a series of grunts that sounded like "ugh" was the only sound they could make, everyone was named Ugh.

It wasn't until the arrival of the first nerds that things began to change. It took the earliest of the nerds, the Egyptians, to put numbers to practical use. They engineered and built the pyramids. (With the help of the Vegans.) Pythagoras taught the Greeks how to calculate the tips for their bar tabs. It was a Chinese man who dropped and broke his abacus one day, that was the first known occurrence of "down-time." It was then we were well on our way to a computer age.

The first real break through in computers was the Sperry UNIVAC. Although it was the size of a small building, it eventually made it possible for employs to play solitaire on their PC screens. One of the first wide-spread use of computers was when the Internal Revenue Service replaced its "knee-breakers" with electronic accountants, known today as auditors.

Today, computers are an integral part of nearly every facet of our lives. Practically every home has at least one PC. To use these marvels of technology, we have all had to learn how to use them and to understand the terminology. Some of those terms are:

Hardware -- The part of the computer that doesn't work when you spill beer or coffee on it.

Software -- These are the programs put on the hard drive to send instructions to the CPU, which in seconds sends you an error message. This requires you to call technical support or to refer to the users manual that usually harder to read than a doctor's prescription order for the pharmacy. In most cases these manuals are usually copies of Stephen King's The Stand with a Microsoft cover.

By the time you have learned those terms above, you will have learned about all you will ever need to know until you figure them out your problems on your own. And you will, in spite of yourself! Then you find pics like the sexy woman at the left -- oops! Ahem ... Heh-heh. Sorry.

(The idea for this posting has been "borrowed" from Dave Barry In Cyberspace published by Crown Publishers, Inc., 1996. You can read Dave Barry's columns at


Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Ten Cyber-Nots

  1. Thou shalt read no other Blog but mine.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any copy-righted image.

Thou shalt not take the name of another Blogger in vain.

Remember your password to keep it secret.

Honor thy Web Host and Servor.

Thou shalt not delete.

Thou shalt not comment rudely.

Thou shalt not plagerize.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against another Blogger.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's Blog.


Saturday, July 16, 2005


...............Miss Adventure's Lustrological Horoscopes July 15, 2005

Aries: Sex will take a different turn when your lover calls you "Mama" in bed, especially if you are male.

Taurus: Go buy some candles for some dim-lit loving; that you forgot to pay the electric bill doesn't matter.

Gemini: A sensationally sexy person will grope you in a club. Grab that hand, head for the coat check, and hail a cab.

Cancer: Try some puppy play this weekend. Don't let the neighbors see you peeing in their sandbox.

Leo: Whip out the handcuffs and "arrest" your mate. Just remember where you put the keys.

Virgo: Add some dairy to your diet. Lick whip cream off your lover's body.

Libra: Seduce the UPS person in the elevator. So what if other people are seeking the 4th floor? The more the merrier.

Scorpio: If you just broke off a relationship, celebrate some break-up sex. Then celebrate again with make-up sex.

Sagittarius: You and your lover will try body painting and come away with a new appreciation for art.

Capricorn:: It's fun to insert unusual things where they haven't been before. Just make certain 911 is on speed dial.

Aquarius: One is fun. Two is a coup. Three is nice. Try four. Stop at five because you aren't good at multi-tasking.

Pisces: You're going to have a surprise visit from an old lover. Hide the toys and get reacquainted.

Miss Adventure's Sex Tip #3 "Sucking toes is nice. Sucking clean toes is nicer."

The above "Lustrological Horoscopes" appeared in the July 15, 2005, Boston Phoenix. The Phoenix is a free "to-the-left" publication which depends heavily on personals and advertisements by the adult entertainment industry to operate. If you are unfamiliar with it and are interested, you can check out their web-site: