Not sure I will continue here. Look for a new blog. Maybe in parallel for a while. Scotties are fun.
You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2014.
This morning I had the misfortune to hear Powerline guru John Hinderaker guest host for Laura Ingraham on her show. I’ve read and learned from his blog, which is especially acute on legal issues. He’s clearly a good lawyer and a very smart man. But he threw me a curve when he announced that the first hour would be a victory lap following the Washington Post’s announcement that “The War on Christmas is Over and Jesus Won.”
Okay. He had a producer in studio to prop him up as an inexperienced talk show host. No problem. But Hinderaker’s idea of celebration was slightly off-color Santa jokes. Mostly unfunny Catskills type comedy, but, you know, okay. He was trying to honor the season in a humorous tone. Except that his exchanges with the producer disclosed that Hinderaker had no knowledge of, or interest in, Christmas movies as a genre. Or, in fact, of movies and pop culture in general. He was unaware, for example, of the phenomenon of marathon broadcasting of A Christmas Story, a movie he was delighted to concede he had never seen except for a clip about a tongue on a frozen flagpole. Beneath him.
Really? What country does he live in? Not mine. Make no mistake. I’m no fan of Christmas movies. My wife actively hates It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street, and she didn’t recall having seen White Christmas with Bing, Rosemary, Vera, and Danny — until I reprised the plot for her and she reluctantly remembered.
My point — sorry I’m taking the long way round — is that we’ve all seen, even grown up with, these movies. Who do you have to be to know nothing of any of them?
More importantly, who do you have to be to assume you have the right to comment on American life without knowing anything about what everyday Americans regard as part of their annual, monthly, and weekly cycles of life? Who the hell do you think you are?
As with so many questions that keep cropping up in the current (oh so puzzling) meltdown of American civilization, I’ve written about this before.
So here are three links to the first Instapunk blog, written when I thought there was still something to be done.
That one was an ass-kicking of the blogger Patterico. (Followup here.) He gave me enormous grief in defending his pop culture ignorance. My own readers gave me equivalent grief for similar charges against conservative icon Victor Davis Hanson. Which you can read here.
Interesting, though. Since then, VDH has published numerous columns referencing pop culture. Not claiming it’s my influence. Rather, that as a gifted and insightful man, he sought out more knowledge about what’s going on in America. Why he is still one of my most esteemed sources of wisdom.
But Mr. Hinderaker needs to do some homework. I’ll stand by that at least. And so would Laura Ingraham. She’s the one who opened her last broadcast with a song from the “James Brown Christmas” album. If she’s not publicly embarrassed by Hinderaker’s sexist Santa jokes (Why is Santa smiling? He knows who all the naughty girls are), she is embarrassed in private.
As all we conservatives should be.
My paternal grandmother was no student of politics. She was your standard lifelong WASP Episcopalian Republican. Nevertheless, her judgment of Richard Nixon was absolute, many years before Watergate.
“I don’t like his eyes,” she said. No political argument would budge her from this pronouncement. “There’s something wrong with his eyes. I don’t trust him.”
She was right. Who knew?
I’m keenly aware there’s been a bit of a Rand Paul bubble in the Republican presidential sweepstakes. Otherwise sane conservatives seemed to be clambering, if not leaping, onto his bandwagon. Even some of National Review’s writers were open to his candidacy and promise.
Most distressingly, my wife seemed to have gotten her head turned by his sudden ascendant celebrity. At a rational level, I argued that his notions of foreign policy were naive and ill considered. When that failed, as is often the case with the war-weary, I reverted like my grandmother to irrational convictions. Here’s a distillation of my entirely private rants about this guy.
“How can no one see? I don’t get it. There’s something deeply wrong with him. No one but me sees he has the eyes of the Runaway Bride? Just listen to him. He consistently hits that high pitched iambic keening note of a woman who is making reality up as she goes along. What happened to “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”? His father is a crazy, isolationist anti-Semite. The son is also a crazy, isolationist anti-Semite. Who can take this guy seriously?”
Thank God for the recent public battle between Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. It resulted in this realization at National Review:
With his enthusiastic support for Barack Obama’s normalization of relations with Cuba, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) again shows that his foreign-policy views are wrongheaded. With his bizarre mislabeling of his views and of those who disagree, Paul shows himself (yet again) to be truly ignorant about foreign affairs. And with his juvenile, nasty, strangely personal attacks on fellow Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Paul shows himself temperamentally unsuited for the presidency.
Rand Paul is no conservative; he’s a quack…
One could write much more about the perilous loopiness of Paul’s antipathy to American arms and diplomatic robustness, but let’s concentrate on his meltdown concerning Cuba. Alone among potential Republican presidential candidates, Paul wholeheartedly embraced Obama’s prostration to the Castro brothers. Rubio, whose father emigrated from Cuba, quite naturally bristled when asked about Paul’s comments by Fox News’s Megyn Kelly: “Like many people who have been opining, he has no idea what he’s talking about.” Rubio then explained at length what he meant, without mentioning Paul again. It was neither a premeditated attack on Paul nor a deliberately personal one; he was taking aim at the “many people” he thinks are wrong on the issue.
Paul then had a hissy fit. First he took to Facebook with a two-paragraph, full-scale assault on Rubio’s position, including this strange passage: “Seems to me, Senator Rubio is acting like an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat. I reject this isolationism.”
How, pray tell, is it “isolationist” to take an active stance to penalize another country? Existing sanctions against Cuba don’t isolate the United States; they isolate Cuba in ways that, as the Washington Post has pointed out, have actually worked to keep Cuba’s harms in check. To call American policy “isolationist” means that the United States is retreating behind its own borders, not that we are insisting (with significant, if tacit, support from other nations) that an evil regime remains within its own.
Paul didn’t stop there. Continuing his highly personal attack on Rubio, Paul emitted a series of at least four Tweets, each mentioning Rubio by name, mocking the Floridian and again accusing him of wanting to “build a moat.”
This is the kind of name-calling that middle-school debate-club members resort to, putting down others with snark to hide their own adolescent insecurities. Paul’s tweets were not so much reasoned debate as a variation of “yeah, and so’s your mother!”…
But this is part of a pattern with Paul. He seems utterly unable to disagree on any matter involving arms or diplomacy without insulting his adversaries or questioning their conclusions, intelligence, or motives — or all three.
My grandmother had an eye for character and temperament. I’m hoping that even Paulistas can learn from her example.
The upside? I’ve gained a lot more respect for Marco Rubio. Heard him this morning on a talk show. He sounds exhausted. But his knowledge of Cuba is encyclopedic. Seems like a man who can learn as much as he needs to. And willing to do it.
Having an odd afternoon. Listening to Rostropovich. Watching Raebert sleep. My wife put carrots in his bowl this morning because they were left over from the stew. Here’s what he did with them.
As I said, an odd day. My wife is bringing me a nice corned beef sandwich.
Heard a guy on SportsTalk this morning declaring that you know you’re married to your soulmate when after 10 or 20 years you still get excited at seeing her after a day at work. I do. Even without the sandwich.
So I guess it’s a good day. But I’ve never taken her to the Berkeley Plantation. Which is not full of tourists. Just a house on the river where you can sit and feel peaceful. My bad.
Hopefully, we have more time ahead of us. Though we’re both sad about the young’uns. So much time ahead for them and so little curiosity, so little fever to know more than they do. We spent some hours last night reminiscing about our educations, arguing about Latin, and we were both so happy that we’d gone to school when you could still get an education. We compared notes, teachers, courses. Hard times. Good times. Then we remembered the sorry plight of those who came after. Sappy curricula, propaganda instead of tutelage in thought and knowledge. And we grew sad. We have grandchildren who know virtually nothing. And children who don’t seem aware that their kids know nothing.
But we remain soulmates. We held hands and fussed about each other’s legs and knees. Enough for us. But it doesn’t do a damn thing for you. Think about it. In the meantime we’re just taking in the view.
From the site Ricochet…
Once again, Barack Obama’s imaginary son has found himself unfairly in trouble with the law. If you recall, his imaginary son was also shot by an imaginary neighborhood watch guard in the same style as Trayvon Martin. But Obama’s imaginary son is plucky and resilient and has lived a hard life in the hood so he keeps bouncing back.
In his life, Obama’s imaginary son has been shot at, concussed out of football, and racially profiled. Yet he keeps picking himself up and carrying on. Obama’s imaginary son should be an example to us all. No matter what kind of imaginary circumstances we find ourselves in, we can continue on with our imaginary lives.
One day this country can hopefully move on from racism experienced by imaginary people — and, let’s face it, the country doesn’t have the best of history of its treatment of imaginary people. We have, however, made progress in the civil rights of imaginary people and for that we, as a country, should be proud. We shouldn’t ignore, however, the real truth that racism toward imaginary sons is still a real problem, as our President constantly reminds us. We can’t be afraid to have the conversation, no matter how painful it might be, about continuing the racial healing of imaginary people.
President Obama, however, also should look inward and ask why his imaginary son continues to put himself in these situations. Perhaps it is also his own failings as an imaginary parent. Maybe his imaginary son is trying to rebel against the pressures that come with being the first imaginary son of the United States. Perhaps the President can get him some better-fitting clothes and tell him to stay in school instead of having constant run-ins with imaginary police…
The President of the United States seems more comfortable citing the struggles of his imaginary son than the privileged successes of his real daughters. In truth, Obama’s son would have attended private schools in Chicago, just like his daughters. He would then be attending Sidwell Private School in DC, just like his real daughters. Obama’s imaginary son would get his pick of any college in the world, just like his real daughters. His imaginary son would then go on to any career he chose, in medicine, law, Hollywood, or Wall Street, just like his real daughters. But that doesn’t fit the divisive racial narrative — so his son lives the hard-knock life.
According to Obama, we still have much work to do in the race relations of imaginary people. Unfortunately, the healing can’t begin until the country moves on from this imaginary President.
Funny, yes. But there’s a larger point too. We have become a nation of imaginary men. Which is a problem of the right as well as the left. Life is a bruising business. What us oldsters know. We grew up competing with one another, frequently disrespected and insulted one another, sometimes for decades. Somehow we got over it. Today’s boys don’t get over anything. We have a generation of imaginary men.
They’ve been taught to sulk and pout and posture. In future there will be no long lasting male friendships. A single inadvertent text will end everything. Because YOU HURT MY FEELINGS. Like our current president. When the press hurts his feelings, his gofer boys call immediately to cuss them out. It’s not just his son who’s imaginary. It’s Obama himself.
Maybe why we deserve him. Imaginary men need an imaginary man as president.
As I said, life is a bruising business. Political correctness won’t take that away. Only manhood will. (Have you seen the offensive new PSAs about domestic violence and sexual assault? “Can we start the conversation?” No. No conversation needed. Real men don’t hit women and they don’t rape them. Period.) What manhood is before it’s anything else people have forgotten. If anyone remembers what manhood is (uh, loyalty, bravery, resilience, principle, honesty, and honor). The ones who need to remember most are the women, with their paranoia about micro aggressions and triggers. Next are the legions of imaginary men who can’t accept truth, can’t speak the truth, and can’t live the truth.
The last boys choir school in the country, St. Paul’s Choir School. They have an album out for Christmas. It’s on the charts. You should definitely buy it. Here.
Glorious music by one of the few remaining descant choirs. If you send it to someone else, they’ll give you an MP3 version for yourself right away.
I wake up in the small hours of the night, usually at 3:03 am. Don’t ask me why. I just do. It’s almost always my worry time. I worry about my wife, things not done around the house, names I can’t remember (Does anyone else have a problem remembering the name of Christopher Walken?), the alarming state of my knees, my teeth, my pancreas, my everything. Then I fall back to sleep and all is well when I awaken.
The other morning, though, I woke at 3:03 am and felt the necessity of remembering the totality of The Gashlycrumb Tinies. An alphabetic poem by the late Edward Gorey about murdered young children.
I was thinking, at 3:03 and beyond, that we used to learn poems and have to recite them in class. I did that as well as anybody. But they were mostly bad poems. James Whitcomb Riley and Washington Irving stuff. What I remember is the stuff I taught myself at an early age. Mostly Poe. And this one, singularly catchy and not politically correct epic by Edward Gorey. My wife hates that I know it so well. But I do.
Know it by heart. Except that I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t remember it. All I could recall was “K is for Kate, who was struck with an axe.”
Call it poetic justice or whatever you want, but it took me 90 minutes to remember all 26 names and lines. I was afraid, you see, that I had contracted Alzheimer’s.
Do any of you suffer from that fear?
I mostly had it down within the first half hour. But I couldn’t recall the ‘S’ and ‘T’ line. Again and again and again. For a long long hour. It finally came to me. ‘S’ was the name of my own sister. Deal with that in the middle of the night.
S is for Susan, who perished of fits. T is for Titus, who was blown to bits.
And then, thankfully, I fell back to sleep. What a bad boy am I.
Upstaging Mozart is impossible. Unless you’re Paul Scofield on stage.
The beginning of my multimedia education was at the Mercersburg library. We had LPs of great music and great Shakespearian productions. Earphones and the great Kiel Hall. We were told Laurence Olivier was the greatest Shakespearian actor. Listened to his Hamlet. WTF. Reminded me of John Barrymore’s film roles. Overacting without much (positive) impact on screen. Worse when you can only hear it.
So I listened to Richard Burton’s Hamlet. Please. Awful. A ham hamming it up. By default I picked a recording by a guy I’d never heard of. Paul Scofield.
I was blown away. The man should have been a major movie star. But he preferred to work on stage. I think I’ve only seen him in three movies: The Train, A Man for All Seasons, and a truly startling version of King Lear.
When he’s on screen, he’s all you can look at. I know nothing of his biography. I don’t care what his sexual persuasion was. An old Hollywood anecdote was that a sage told Robert Wagner, when he was going to costar with Spencer Tracy in The Mountain, “Grab a prop and work it. The only way anyone will see you.”
My reaction to Paul Scofield? If there had ever been a scene between Scofield and Tracy, I’d have advised Tracy to grab a prop and work it. I don’t think it would have worked any better for Tracy than it worked for Wagner.
Scofield was quite simply the best.
When something old sounds completely new, you are in the presence of genuine greatness.
Jeb Bush is a generation out of date. Last night, the DC pundits were virtually unanimous in agreeing that Marco Rubio is done. He isn’t. For more than 50 years, leftists in the U.S. have been apologizing for and promoting Cuba. They’re all crazy — from Michael Moore to dozens of other Hollywood types who thought Cuban cigars offered by Fidel were more attractive than human and civil and economic rights for thousands of Cubans who starve and suffer and languish in prison and sometimes die for North Korean style government.
Wrote about it, oh, close to 30 years ago.
It would be funny if it weren’t so pitiful. Read, if you can, the internal irony of this screed from a moron professor at the University of Michigan.
A University of Michigan department chairwoman has published an article titled, “It’s Okay To Hate Republicans,” which will probably make all of her conservative students feel really comfortable and totally certain that they’re being graded fairly.
“I hate Republicans,” communications department chairwoman and professor Susan J. Douglas boldly declares in the opening of the piece. “I can’t stand the thought of having to spend the next two years watching Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Ted Cruz, Darrell Issa or any of the legions of other blowhards denying climate change, thwarting immigration reform or championing fetal ‘personhood.’”
She writes that although the fact that her “tendency is to blame the Republicans . . . may seem biased,” historical and psychological research back her up, and so it’s basically actually a fact that Republicans are bad!
Douglas said that in the 1970s she did work for a Republican, Rhode Island’s senate minority leader Fred Lippitt, but she hates them all now because Lippitt was a “brand of Republican” who no longer exists in that he was “fiscally conservative but progressive about women’s rights, racial justice and environmental preservation.”
Republicans now, she writes, are focused on the “determined vilification” of others, and have “crafted a political identity that rests on a complete repudiation of the idea that the opposing party and its followers have any legitimacy at all.”
[Apparently, the irony of this accusation given the content of her own article was lost on her.]
Douglas adds that Republicans are really good at being mean because studies have proven that they usually have psychological traits such as “dogmatism, rigidity and intolerance of ambiguity,” and that “two core dimensions of conservative thought are resistance to change and support for inequality.”
“These, in turn, are core elements of social intolerance . . . which could certainly lead to a desire to deride those not like you — whether people of color, LGBT people or Democrats.”
“So now we hate them back,” she explains. “And with good reason.”
U of M’s anti-discrimination policy forbids “creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive, or abusive environment for that individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a University activity.”
It seems as though, for a student who votes Republican, knowing you had a teacher who assumed you were an intolerant bigot and blatantly advocated for hating you would likely create an “intimidating” educational environment…
Oh forget it. Hypocrisy and idiotic irony cubed.
It’s possible we’re looking at the Revolution of 2016. It will be 240 years even. Both major parties may fracture. Both parties have an establishment group who are reasserting the smoke-filled rooms of the 19th century. But it’s not the 19th century.
Why Jeb is an anachronism. He thinks he can ascend to a throne. Because Bush. If true, end of what he purports to believe in. If not true, a revitalization of what he purports to believe in. Withdraw, son. Prove yourself a statesman.
In a story they would normally prefix “Bombshell Study,” Hotair has now assured us that all dogs do go to heaven, even if the current gas station attendant Pope is now waffling on the subject.
There’s been a lot of Internet chatter about this nonexistent question. But no one to my knowledge has addressed the much more complicated question of whether or not all cats also go to heaven.
Admit it. Anyone who has ever seen a domestic feline torturing a mouse without getting around to just killing it has asked this question of himself. Or anyone who has read the results of a Brit study proving that house cats are responsible for something like 50 million deaths a year of birds, moles, chipmunks, squirrels, mice, rats, and –let’s face it — other cats.
So. Do these stone killers get the same pass dogs do? Even if they treat their human masters like servants? Even if they are mostly as conscious and intelligent as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator?
Yes. All cats go to heaven also.
Evidence? All the years of extra life enjoyed by old ladies because there is a loyal something purring on their lap.
How long has it been the express objective of the National Football League to achieve the ideal known as “parity”? Every rule change regarding player contracts, revenue sharing, salary caps, and drafting opportunities has been aimed at achieving at least rough equality of outcomes. How do you think that’s working out?
Have you noticed what my wife just flagged out of the blue this morning? (Don’t yell. She’s sleeping peacefully through Johnny Manziel’s august first start in the league…) that there are five teams out of 32 sporting 2-11 records, and nobody’s giving a snowball’s chance in hell for the Super Bowl prospects of any but four other teams out of the 32, even though some of the also rans still have a chance of going 12-4.
Huh? No wonder the left has set its cap on destroying the NFL. It stands as a crystal clear proof of the failure of socialism to make the weak as strong as the strong. It also fails to make the strong as weak as the weak. Talent will prevail. And the entitled crybabies will continue to defeat themselves for generation upon generation. Welcome to the NFL.
Please discuss among yourselves. We’re not through napping here yet.
It’s been a heck of a week. The new pack is finding its center of gravity. Eloise the pug and Muppy the Scotty are upstairs with the deerhound for most of the day. Raebert is perkier, has his appetite back, and after a full set of weekdays of this is sunk in profound sleep. My fault, I suppose. I had a heart to heart with him in which I impressed on him the need to take responsibility for the well being of the pack. Prior to the arrival of Muppy, he was the newest member. Now he’s the biggest, smartest, and therefore senior member.
He took me seriously. Every move by every member required his close attention. Two small dogs stepping on his head for no discernible reason. And other stuff like that. Now he’s done in.
But so, thankfully, are the rest of us. Eloise is snoring on top of the couch like an advertisement for sleep apnea remedies. Elliott is passed out in a dog bed once meant for Eloise. The missus is failng to stay awake in front of NFL football games that matter vitally to her Baltimore Ravens. And Muppy is dead to the world on the floor, her insatiable desire for crumbs momentarily sated, it seems.
Only I am mostly awake and still documen
Getting ready for today’s annual Navy Beats Army Game, I spent the morning watching two documentaries about Neanderthals.
It turns out the Neanderthals had some skills, including language capability, and that they beat Homo sapiens to the punch in developing the first industrial process, namely, the creation of mass quantities of pitch produced by cooking birch bark at exactly the right temperature, which attached their deadly spear points to the spear shafts. They had cleverer cutting tools too. Though they failed to invent naval guns and aircraft carriers.
Which brings us to game time. Actually, their DNA was more like ours than we’d like to admit. They had their own Eden, which lasted for a very very long time and was located either on the shore of Gibraltar or the Hudson River.
The scientists have even penetrated the Neanderthal genome. They didn’t have as much facial and body hair as we’ve been led to believe. Many of them may have been redheads. And it’s possible they interbred with modern humans. Can we see their presence in our own advanced and thoroughly progressive human race? Sure we can.
So, just like it was 30,000 years ago, so will it be today. Modern man…
..against the Cavemen.
Go Army! For my dad and my granddad. Even though it’s fruitless, bootless, and all that. I. Don’t. Care.
For those of you not familiar with The Boomer Bible, I have some news. Today, my quarter century old predictions have come to pass.
Here is the entirety of the Book of Swarthmorons, the fulfillment of the teachings of my fictional Boomer messiah called Harry. Read it and tell me the writing hasn’t been on the wall for a long long time.
Of course, Swarthmorons isn’t the only directly relevant epistle of The Boomer Bible’s Present Testament. There’s also Mawrites, Broad Streeters, Hallites, and Annenburghers. Not to mention the Book of Exploits, which reminds us who these new autocrats are who insist on running roughshod over the rest of us for personal gain. All of which you can read with live online references here.
Frequently the flow of commentary speaks for itself. The nation has become a nutty place. So I’m going to give you some reading, which is a service in that too little of what’s going on merits attention.
I begin with something that is NOT nutty, unless it gets to the real nut inside the shell of MSM misinformation. By a guy I don’t usually like, the condescending Conrad Black of National Review.
What else is hot in the nuttiness category? RAPE! People insist on deriding Ann Coulter as a sideshow. She’s not. Here’s a perfectly valid question she poses.
Read it and weep. Or laugh, depending.
Does anyone remember Madame Nhu, the Dragon Lady of South Vietnam?
Seems we’ve got our very own version of the autocrat who lived high on the hog while subjugating her countrymen in oppression and want.
Nutty is one word for it. But there are other words too.
When does nutty become completely over the top insane? How about here?
[If you want to see a simple and total rebuttal, go to my Facebook page, i.e., Robert Laird. See Liberty Eagle photo.]
There’s also Insanity Squared.
Then there’s the Mixed Nuts category. Victor Davis Hanson wrote this.
The next day he wrote this.
But I understand. We none of us want to believe it’s really over. Why we conclude with the best nuttiness of all, otherwise known as Peanuts.
Maybe we should despair. But we’re not supposed to.
Yeah. Little boys. Maybe they’re not inherently evil. Merry Christmas, one and all.
The art and humor of James Thurber.
As Clint Eastwood once famously said, “You’ve got to know your limits.”
…If it weren’t for this:
Yeah. Raebert was lookin’ at her. But he just thinks she’s cute.
Our backyard. Click on the pic for bigger. And here’s a soundtrack.
Music for watching the snow fall. Sometimes we just sit back and take it in.
Grand strategies work or they don’t. And there are always unintended consequences. A lesson liberals never learn.
Thus far, Raebert doesn’t know what to think of the Scottie. Neither does Elliott.
Oh. Yeah. You thought we were going to leap out of bed into a new day? No.
Except for the inexhaustible missus, all of us were fatigued, crashed in fact.
It takes me two cups of coffee to decide that I’m still alive every morning. It takes Raebert three (speaking metaphorically now). When I went downstairs to check on Eloise and Muffie, they were both snoring in their crates.
Elliott and Raebert filled up the couch till I decided I had to go down again and check. Muffie was curled up in a dog bed on the floor of the breezeway. As I dashed upstairs for my camera, the UPS came. Eloise barked and Muffie began her wandering routine. I just picked her up and carried her upstairs. Raebert was interested, followed her for a while and then returned to the couch and sleep.
Where was Raebert? Sorry. Forgot to show you. Here.
Boring? Sure. Wonderfully so. I picked Muffie up and held her. She allowed me to. She hasn’t been held much, I’m thinking. Then she wandered again. Resulting in the picture up top. Still outside. I started talking to her. Asked her to come closer. She did. (The Dog Whisperer btw is a control freak idiot.) She came all the way to my feet and I picked her up and held her again.
Raebert was right there and he said nothing while I explained that all her earlier life was no indication about this life. We would always be here for her. I told her I knew about terriers, and Scotties, and that she would always be free to be herself, that I would never spank her, that she would always be free to be independent and all I hoped for was that occasionally she’d want to be held.
She understood. I swear. In my 50 years of experience, Scottish dogs know English. People call them stupid. Stupid is the people who can’t perceive dogs smarter than they are. (The Scottie Rescue Directorate was arguing whether Scottie’s had five brain cells or one. Uh, then why bother?) If you think dogs who are supposed to be stupid really are, read Deerhound Diary. Enough said.
We conversed in this way for a full five minutes. Then she got down and followed my urging to go downstairs and into the breezeway. No leash involved. She was content to follow. But not into the garage and thence outdoors. It’s nasty outside. She gets it that I love her, but it’s much much more comfortable to pee and poop inside and let your human friends clean up after you.
As I said up top. Impasse. Scotties aren’t stupid.
Unintended consequences. We thought — er, I thought — we were getting a dog for Raebert. That was not quite right. He IS an only dog. He thought WE were dying when three died in a row. He doesn’t need to like the Scottie. He just needs to know that WE are not planning on dying anytime soon. Repopulating the pack is all he needs.
Welcome to deerhound life. Still a Scottish lord. He’s happier, but he has little to no interest in his new friend.
Fortunately, Muffie’s also Scottish. She had even less interest in him.
How has a tribe like this lasted for two thousand years?
Easy Answer: Sheer cussedness.
Right Answer: I’m the pack leader. They do what I say, as long as my wife agrees. So there.
It starts simply. We had a big dog & cat pack. Three dogs, four cats. They all got along, visited with one another every day. Then three of them died suddenly. The one who took it the hardest was Raebert. He fell into a depression. Moaning and groaning as theatrically as John Barrymore in a bad thirties movie.
Why my wife relented on her commitment to let the pack dwindle from here on in. It’s too much work, not to mention the vet bills. But Raebert was threatening to crush me to death with his need to lay his full weight on me all the time. Moan. Groan. Mostly he missed Molly, our insouciant old greyhound doll. Not like they hung out all the time. But when she was gone he couldn’t stand it. The sighthound thing. They all do have a thing.
Last time we had a big loss it was my wife who suggested the unthinkable, replacing a deerhound with a deerhound.
This time it was my turn to suggest the unthinkable, replacing a greyhound with a Scottie.
Not as crazy as you might think. Deerhounds are sighthounds. They are also archetypal Scottish dogs. She’d had a couple in her youth. I’d had a Westy, a cairn, and two wire-haireds. Scottish dogs have as much in common as sighthounds do. Just different things. Sighthounds like couches and stuffed animals they can steal and cuddle. Scottish dogs like being in charge, defying human authority, and sleeping late. Never knew one who mostly didn’t have to be waked up to begin the day.
So I proposed the Scottie idea. To my surprise she was open to it. We looked into the puppy world. Nobody available. With her long history of greyhound rescues, she investigated Scottie rescues. She found one.
Ten years old. An orphan who drifted from one owner to another, none of whom returned her, but all of whom were enfeebled or incapacitated in one way or another. She was a dog without a country. Or a real home. We were happy to take her.
Which is when the ordeal begins. Greyhound rescue is like the Underground Railroad. Dogs suddenly reprieved from slavery and needing homes quick. Yes, they talk to you on the phone, and they care that you care, but the delivery occurs in mall parking lots like drug deals. Here he/she is, good luck, and please let us know if you can’t cope.
Scottie rescue. Ah. A whole different story. Muffie is a dog who was considered nearly unplaceable because of her age and history. And yet we had to prove ourselves.
I struggle for a comparison. Scottie rescue isn’t the Underground Railroad. It’s the rescue of aristocrats from the French Revolution. The administrators are the Scarlet Pimpernel. My wife had to do an hour long FaceTime performance revealing our house and its amenities to the Rescue Directorate. Then, when we rode up today for the transfer, it wasn’t like a drug deal. It was like a combination genealogical interrogation and mortgage closing.
While I waited with a snoozing Scottie, my wife disappeared into a NJ Turnpike rest stop with the Scottie Lady for close to an hour. She had to provide my birth certificate, my aunt’s Colonial Dame certification, my maternal grandmother’s DAR credentials, my grandfather’s ranking in Scottish freemasonry (fortunately my wife brought his sword), and documentation of my family’s history of fighting for Bonnie Prince Charlie in the Scots’ final bid for the throne. She was then required to endure a line by line recitation of the dog’s entire veterinary history, more than $2,000 worth, all of which resulted in no diagnosis of permanent physical ills but a prescription for twice daily tranquilizers. Because she spaced out twice at one dubious vet’s office in Ohio.
Well, at least Muffie arrived in a Maybach limousine.
Too bad she had to come home in a Jeep.
Despite her aristocratic ancestry, she reminds me most of Mickey, our feral cat. Someone who hasn’t had enough human contact. She wanders and avoids human contact. But she’s a gorgeous little girl. I used the same approach I used with Mickey. Picked her up — had to teach my wife the chest pickup that works with terriers — and held her close. She accepted and let me hold her for several minutes.
Right now, I think we’re going to be fine. Raebert seems happy. He heard her coming up the stairs and he smiled for the first time since Molly died. He’s interested again.
Wish us luck. I believe she’s home now.