Sunday, June 29, 2008

Praying for a Miracle

Those of you who have read my blog for a while probably know about my beloved dog, Duff. Ten years old with the physique of a five year old, nearly a hundred lbs., and as robust and good an animal as any I've had the privilege to know, the fellow was stricken with a mystery illness last Wednesday evening. Characteristically healthy as a horse, and practically built like one, he worked with me all day with no sign of discomfort or fatigue, then refused to get up when the work day was over. I got him to walk across the street to our house, after much cajoling, but he collapsed in a heap in the hallway and refused to budge. He couldn't even lift his head without crying out in immense pain, this same boy who busted my windshield with his head without so much as a whimper when he was a teenager.

I spent the night on the floor with him, trying to catch sleep between his whimpers and small restless movement. The next morning, my birthday, I took him into the vet, who shot him full of cortisone, took x-rays, ran bloodwork, and ended up stymied as to his diagnosis. One thing seems certain - he has a neurological problem which could be a tumor, a muscular disease, or even an adverse reaction to a simple bee sting or insect bite. He is much improved as regards his pain, and is now drinking and eating well, but aside from raising his head and wagging his tail, he can neither stand nor walk.

I remarked to a friend how beyond the obvious attachments and the less obvious fact that this shiny black friend of mine is clearly a replacement for the children I don't have, one can't underestimate the attachment of a being that is always in our presence. It isn't just that I love him, and I do immensely, it is that he is a part of my physicality - he is integrated into every step I take during the day. If I cook, I reach down to place on the floor the bowl with remnants of dinner for his enjoyment. If I go out, I consider how long I can rightly leave him alone. When I doze, I know that I will sleep better hearing his breath, and even the constant mounting and dismounting of the bed as he changes his position to find a better temperature equilibrium. In our time together, I'm sure I have swallowed and breathed in enough of his hair to choke a cat. He is in some ways the closest living being to me.

I know it's easy to dismiss the depth of a bond between humans and animals, to trivialize it as something less real, but I am sure it is not. What it is is less complicated, less fraught with neurotic longings, conflicts, and expectations. It is easier to have a more "pure" relationship to our pets, and I sincerely wish more of us could learn to behave more like them and less like us, because they really don't take things too personally, they just love.

Anyway, if you have time for a little prayer or something else you believe in to send his way, I would be grateful, because I'm just not ready to let go of him yet.

Friday, June 27, 2008

More Political Bicker

Just got back from the theater. Go see this movie. I'm not generally a fan of war films (nor particularly averse), but I'll see any sort of historical piece or costume drama. I really enjoyed this one. The cinematography, landscape, and people are just gorgeous. The clothes aren't half bad, either.

Political Bicker

This sign stands outside of Hollywood Billiards, a monster sports bar with quite a diverse clientele - douchebags of all varieties flock here when the game's on. If crowded, it takes 45 minutes to get a pitcher. Lame. Anyway, I don't necessarily agree, but I thought the sign was amusing.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

For Bobby and his new bride

On Marriage

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

- Kahlil Gibran, 1923

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pop Secret

No fucking way...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

On Anxiety

"Just because you're watching Nightmare on Elm Street doesn't mean you're going to get killed."

- My very good friend Joe.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Politics of Facial Hair

My excessively handsome BF is going through what I like to call his "Jim Morrison: American Prayer" phase. First the hair grew long, which I love, especially since it turns into perfect, soft sausage curls, like Gainsborough's Blue Boy, the Fauntleroy craze in the late 1800s, or those Orthodox ringlets they wear down in the Fairfax and Wilshire areas. Next came The Beard. I'm not a fan of any sort of stylized facial hair. Soul patches, Fu Manchus, moustaches, Van Dykes and the lot really give me an impression that the dude sportin' is having serious self-image issues, or that he's going to slip a Ketamine in my latte. Judgemental, superficial and unfair? Perhaps. Probably, but moustaches are the province of 70s porn stars, and unless you plan on buying a Chevy Van and trolling local school yards, I suggest it's not a prudent choice of veneer. The Van Dyke can sometimes be maybe sorta ok. (Who made me arbiter of facial hair style? No one. Now, shut up and do what you're told.)

But an honest beard? Despite the tendency of some of those upper lip hairs to wiggle up into a girl's nose when in full embrace, and the abrasive growing out stage, I can get behind a full beard. A bit of grooming is fine, but I really have a hard time being attracted to a man who looks like he overly primps. Dressing well is nice and good hygiene essential, but too sleek, too hyper-obsessively clean, is not sexy to me.

So I'm good with BF expressing his inner Grizzly Adams. Too bad his mother screamed when he landed back home in Texas this week. It seems The Beard may be coming off soon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Little Ralphie Parker's Friend, Flick

In a few years, that kid will get himself stuck to a cold metal post. I must say, my first reaction was, "Eww..." Then I had to admit to myself that it is precisely the sort of thing I'd have done as a child. Or now. But you know, pigs are very clean. Or so people like to tell you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On Releasing Blame

Forgiveness is the fragrance
that the violet sheds
on the heel that has crushed it.

- Mark Twain

(painting by Godward, With Violets Wreathed and Robe of Saffron Hue, 1902)

Friday, June 06, 2008

6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World

Sorry, he's not telling you to take the "magic" kind.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Understanding Serendipity*

Amy Tan: Where does creativity hide?

If you are unaware of the annual TED Conference in Monterrey, acquaint yourself with these amazing lectures that cover arts, sciences, and human life, available on YouTube and on the TED: Ideas Worth Spreading website. I'll be posting more of my personal favorites over the weeks to come.

* 1. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
2. good fortune; luck

Word History: We are indebted to the English author Horace Walpole for the word serendipity, which he coined in one of the 3,000 or more letters on which his literary reputation primarily rests. In a letter of January 28, 1754, Walpole says that "this discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word." Walpole formed the word on an old name for Sri Lanka, Serendip. He explained that this name was part of the title of "a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of...."

Sunday, June 01, 2008