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QotD: Eagles Don't Flock

Eagles don't flock. 
You have to find them one at a time.

--Ross Perot 1930-2019 

Letter to Dog Owners

Maybe you're not like my neighbors.  They're fine people, decent people.  However, their two poodles are currently gated on the front porch of their house and barking at everything that goes by.  The constant noise pollution is not welcome.  I will remember this if I ever want to have a loud party or run a saw at 5:30am.  Consideration gets consideration.

This morning when I was done working in the garden I headed for the house only to realize on the steps that something was on the bottom of my sandal.  I scraped it off on the edge of the steps and it was dog shit.  I hosed off my shoe and the steps.  It may seem like a small thing to you, that your dog does not come when you call it and loves to shit in my garden, but it is not a small thing to me.

Yesterday I went for a walk with a girlfriend who has two dogs.  She wanted me to walk one but I begged out.  The one that she did bring, an American pitbull, was kept on leash the whole time.  It took the treats which were offered regularly regardless of behavior, and appeared indifferent to the kiddie talk tone taken in her speech.  It kept jumping on me, and slobbering on my legs whenever we stopped.  Slobbering may be normal in your world, but I don't want it in mine.

I live across the street from a park, and people walk their dogs past here all day every day.  I have a cat.  My cat hates dogs with a ferocity I have never seen in another creature.  She will go out of her way to draw blood if the dog is clueless enough to get in range.  But some dogs would kill her if they caught her, and she recognizes that kind and runs, climbs, escapes.  The park rules are that all dogs are to be on leash at all times except for when inside the dog park, which is always available.  I believe city rules are the same.  Any dog owner stupid enough to let their dog in my yard deserves the vet bill.  Any dog that is hunter enough to threaten my cat should be on leash.

My last pet was a dog.  I loved him deeply.  I did a real dog obedience training with him, with a lady who trained German shepherds for the police.  We both learned, and we had a language.  He did not run off to shit in someone else's yard.  I could call him off a chase when other dogs were still chasing.  He would sit and watch quietly when I spotted wildlife.  He would heel, really heel without a leash on, and stay.  He would stay laying in the shade while I had lunch in a restaurant.  So when you say your dog is well trained, at a bare minimum I expect that you can call them back to you and they will come.  Every time.  If he's not well trained, he should be on a leash.

Postscript: I texted my neighbors to ask for some quiet and admitted that the dog barking was getting to me.  They took the dogs indoors and the noise has stopped.  I can feel my blood pressure gradually dropping back toward normal.

I think that when this cat dies I will not have any more pets.  It is very American to have pets, it helps us with the isolation.  But I would rather hang out with my neighbors than listen to their pets.  I would rather make love to my partner than pet the cat.  I would rather not have a litter box to clean or warm piles of dung to pick up with a plastic bag.  The numbers are astounding about pet ownership in the US: could it be that we are substituting cats, dogs, computers and phones for having real connections with other people?

QotD: Life Will Break You

 Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.
~ Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum


 A friend came to me recently complaining of yoga butt.  It isn't what you might think--unless you've had it.  Yoga butt is, in medical terms, a proximal hamstring tendinopathy.  For those who don't speak medicalese, that means that an injury where your leg muscles attach to your butt bones (ishial tuberosities) hasn't healed right and is hurting for too long.  Muscles attach to bones with tendons as the connector, and when a tendon gets torn off the bone or otherwise hurt, it can be very slow healing.  This is because tendons are kind of like plastic--they're tough and hard, and not as "alive" as other tissues.

I got my yoga butt from doing a cartwheel without warming up first.  It took me 20 years to heal it because it took me that long to get serious about it.  It was just a bothersome ache at my butt bone that was worse with sitting.  Lots of people get yoga butt from doing hamstring stretches (forward bends) without building strength or warming up first.  You'd think that the muscle would be more fragile than the tendon but there's a weak spot where the tendon attaches to the bone--this is usually where the injury is.  Once it get injured, people tend to keep re-injuring it.  Especially yogis who are ever so slightly prideful about their ability to bend. 

Tendons get strong from being tensioned, but you have to start gradually.  Work out your hamstrings to make your hamstring attachment tendons stronger.  This is part of the treatment for yoga butt.  The thing is yoga doesn't have a lot of poses that strengthen the hamstrings, but it does have a lot of poses that require you to be able to touch your toes, or fake it.  And faking it teaches you all kinds of bad habits that leave you imbalanced, strong in places and weak in others, and prone to injury.

Lots of thoughts about this but I must go.


QotD: Gatofeo

An ugly cat.
Vast desert.
Smoke and fire.
Flying lead makes holes in parchment.
The ugly cat is much amused.

--- Gatodamus (1503-1566)
(Source: https://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/topic/107438-jarbidge-nevada-monster/)

QotD: Dickey on the River

The river and everything I remembered
about it became a possession to me,
a personal, private possession, as nothing
else in my life ever had.  Now it ran
nowhere but in my head, but there
it ran as though immortally....
In me it still is, and will be until I die,
green, rocky, deep, fast, slow, and
beautiful beyond reality.

--James Dickey in Deliverance 

QotD: What Atheists Teach the Religious

The Master teaches the student that God created everything in the world to be appreciated, since everything is here to teach us a lesson.

One clever student asks “What lesson can we learn from atheists? Why did God create them?”

The Master responds “God created atheists to teach us the most important lesson of them all — the lesson of true compassion. You see, when an atheist performs an act of charity, visits someone who is sick, helps someone in need, and cares for the world, he is not doing so because of some religious teaching. He does not believe that God commanded him to perform this act. In fact, he does not believe in God at all, so his acts are based on an inner sense of morality. And look at the kindness he can bestow upon others simply because he feels it to be right.”

“This means,” the Master continued “that when someone reaches out to you for help, you should never say ‘I pray that God will help you.’ Instead for the moment, you should become an atheist, imagine that there is no God who can help, and say ‘I will help you.’”

—Martin Buber, Tales of Hasidim Vol. 2 (1991)

QotD: Try New Things

 "If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good."
~ Dr. Seuss


"You don't have to shovel rain."
--Scott Gerber 

QotD: Brits on tRump

 Copied from a friend (on fb).

This is utterly brilliant. I wish I could take credit for writing it, but no.

British wit to help get you through the nightmare:

"Someone on Quora asked "Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?" Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England wrote this magnificent response.
A few things spring to mind.
Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.
For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace - all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.
So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.
Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing - not once, ever.
I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility - for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.
But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is - his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.
Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.
And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults - he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.
There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.
Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront.
Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul.
And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist.
Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that.
He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat.
He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.
And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully.
That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a snivelling sidekick instead.
There are unspoken rules to this stuff - the Queensberry rules of basic decency - and he breaks them all. He punches downwards - which a gentleman should, would, could never do - and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless - and he kicks them when they are down.
So the fact that a significant minority - perhaps a third - of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think 'Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:
* Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.
* You don't need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.
This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss.
After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.
God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.
He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart.
In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws - he would make a Trump.
And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish:
'My God… what… have… I… created?
If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set.



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