Sunday, December 10, 2023

Morning Has Broken

Fog and sunrise. I shot this off the bedroom deck this morning. The tree border at the back of the house falls away 150 feet to a pasture and creek below. Without that steep vertical drop, there would be no morning sunrise out my bedroom window every morning. 

Yes, it’s a lucky thing.

Chuck Darwin Explains Life to Bobby

Just 20 Years to the Death Knell

In 1893, Rawdon Lee, Kennel Editor of "The Field" magazine, published “Modern Dogs” and noted the absence of Devon terriers on the show ring bench:

"There appears a semblance of strangeness that the wire-haired terriers from Devonshire have not been more used for show bench purposes, and by all accounts some of them were as good in looks as they had on many occasions proved in deeds. Those owned by the Rev. John Russell acquired a world-wide reputation, yet we look in vain for many remnants of the strain in the Stud Books, and the county of broad acres [the north] has once again distanced the southern one in the race for money. But, although the generous clerical sportsman occasionally consented to judge terriers at some of the local shows in the West, he was not much of a believer in such exhibitions. So far as dogs, and horses too, were concerned, with him it was 'handsome is that handsome does,' and so long as it did its work properly, one short leg and three long ones was no eye-sore in any terrier by the late Rev. John Russell."

Lee went on to note that the best working dogs, even in his day, were not found in the Kennel Club:

"As a matter of fact, those [terriers] best adapted for hard work either with foxhounds or otterhounds are cross-bred, hardy dogs, specially trained for the purpose, although many of the 'pedigree' animals will do similar duty to the best of their ability, but their 'pedigree' and no doubt inbreeding to a certain extent, has made them constitutionally and generally weaker than their less blue-blooded cousins."

Finally, to put a cap on it, Lee wrote:

"I have known a man act as a judge of fox terriers who had never bred one in his life, had never seen a fox in front of hounds, had never seen a terrier go to ground ... had not even seen a terrier chase a rabbit."

Only 20 years had passed since the founding of The Kennel Club, but already the death knell was being sounded for the fox terrier.

Saturday, December 09, 2023

Teach Your Children Well

Milo and The Mask

ONE YEAR AGO, my daughter had her first child, my first grandchild, a son named MILO.

Now, I have NOT mentioned that that was the name of the Jack Russell terrier in “The Mask” movie of 1994. Nor have I mentioned that the original mask, for which the movie is named, is in my downstairs study, still empowered by the mysterious force it had when we purchased it from a juju man in West Africa in 1961.

Some secrets are best kept close.

Keep Your Expectations Low

Fubar (fucked up beyond all recognition) is second cousin to Snafu (system normal, all fucked up).

Thursday, December 07, 2023

How Becky Lost Her Lip

Newtonian Bombing

"The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everybody else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw, and half a hundred other places, they put that rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now, they are going to reap the whirlwind." — Arthur "Bomber" Harris, 1940
As you read that quote, think about how it sounds in Washington... Baghdad... Damascus... London... Paris… Tel Aviv… Gaza… Kyiv… Moscow.

The Gullible Evangelicals

If you believe in invisible people in the sky, you’re halfway to believing in conspiracy theories. A pedophilia ring operating out of a pizza parlor? Tracking chips in vaccines? Why not? Is that any less likely than talking snakes and virgin births?

An Outlier of a Country

▪️Map One is standard page size (A4 versus letter 8.5x11”).

▪️Map Two is imperial versus metric (ounces and pounds vs grams and kilos; inches, yards and miles versus centimeters and meters and kilometers).

▪️Map Three three is Celsius versus Fahrenheit.

▪️And Four? Not a map, but another American outlier or oddity.

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

And To All a Goodnight!

The rear of the house tonight. I took this picture as the Wee Wolves ran around before bed. 

The fenced area under the deck is where the Wee Wolves stay when they are not running around in the yard with me. They have access to the warm dry basement from the fenced yard, but also have three elevated loafing benches and two double-insulated and woodchip-filled dog houses if they want to hang out semi-outside and keep America safe from squirrels and deer. When outside the hard fence, the terriers like to graze on loose seed fallen from the five bird feeders.

Walt Whitman Under Your Boots

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,

I stop somewhere waiting for you. — Song of Myself

Planting for the Future Unseen

I just ordered 75 slip trees and bushes from the Maryland state arboretum at $3 each, including delivery. They will come in March or April.

Native dogwood, beautyberry, and blackhaw viburnum.  

These are all designed to pull in birds and other wildlife, and will go in various parts of my wee forest.  

The dogwood is not deer-resistant, but if I plant those on the edge, near the driveway and house, they may yet make it.  We’ll see, I guess! 😄

I hope the next guy who occupies this house after me appreciates the effort. When plants go in this small, there’s no guarantee you will be there to see flower or berry. 

No matter.

The state arboretum I ordered these from were the folks who picked up the 35 gallons of acorns I collected and bagged this fall.  If those thousands of acorns end up producing 100 adult trees, I will be happy.

God Often Answers Obliquely

When you pray for a wolf hunter… and god sends a stock-protection dog.

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Local Deer As the Light Gets Long

Whitetail Deer this afternoon. It’s actually harder to get pictures of the deer in my yard than it is to get them in the floodplain, where berm height and distance work in my favor by keeping the deer calm.

Sunday, December 03, 2023

Remembering Ingvald Fischer

Another find from the basement: the folding top hat and harmonica of my Norwegian great grandfather, Ingvald Fischer.

Ingvald Andreas Fischer was born November 5, 1867 in Fet Church, Akershus, Norway.

Ingvald died April 10, 1949 at the age of 81 in Cass County, North Dakota (i.e. Fargo). 

He is buried in the Halstad Lutheran South Cemetery in Halstad, Norman County, Minnesota, which is just a short distance north of Fargo.

Halstad, Minnesota is right on the border between Minnesota and North Dakota, and the town had a population of 597 in the 2010 Census. The township was founded in 1879, and was named for Ole Halstad, a pioneer farmer from Norway. The city was platted in 1883, and incorporated as a village on February 13, 1893. The town's motto today: "The way rural America is supposed to be."

Walking in the Foggy Woods This Morning

Hannah Arendt On the Gullible Cynics

Why doesn’t Trump’s cult care he’s lying? 

Hannah Arendt offered the best explanation:

“In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. ... 

“Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.” 

― Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951

Saturday, December 02, 2023

My Father’s Syrian Permit Card

My wife and I are trying to clean up the basement, where things were consigned in the move if we didn’t otherwise know where they should go. Finding a few things, some treasures, some junk, some things I’m not sure I’ve ever seen.

Among the latter is this bit of paper detritus — my father’s Syrian ID card from 1955, noting that he was born in Pineville, Kentucky and working for the US Embassy in Damascus. The day after my folks got married in Augusta, Kansas, they flew to Syria, which was my father’s first post. Other posts followed: Iran, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, Mali, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. My folks were brave. Dad would have been 95 on December 1st.

Friday, December 01, 2023

My Father Would Be 95 Today

My father was born into crushing poverty in eastern Kentucky, left home at age 14, joined the Air Force at age 17, got his GED, went to Princeton, taught himself French and Arabic, and could play the piano, the trombone, and the bass fiddle as a professional.

An amazing man,
 with an amazing story, made possible only because he had the good fortune and common sense to marry an amazing wife, my mom. My brother and I would have been lost without her.

I am grateful, every single day, for the his example.

Married 40 Years

Still married, still happy. ❤️

Thursday, November 30, 2023

The Correct Title

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