Saturday, January 31, 2009

Barak Obama: Restoring America's International Image

... as weak and appeasement-minded.

A tip of the toque to LauraW. at Ace of Spades HQ.

US President Barack Obama's offer to talk to Iran shows that America's policy of "domination" has failed, the government spokesman said on Saturday.
"This request means Western ideology has become passive, that capitalist thought and the system of domination have failed," Gholam Hossein Elham was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.

Welcome Back, Kotter Carter.

Mission Nothing Accomplished

Iraq wraps up election with no major violence

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Memento Miko

A few pictures of Miko:

This one was taken when The Lad was The Wee Bairn:

The Queen

This one more recently:

Lazy Dog

And this past December, her last snow:

Last Snow

Cold Comfort

"Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda, Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart."

- Proverbs 25:20 (NASB)

Sorry to continue on a down note, but the posts on my dad and LBD have me reflecting on something -- particularly the nature of mourning, especially for a Christian. It started following the death of my father -- I remember feeling guilty about being so sad, especially since, as a believer, I was (and remain) sure that my father's spirit lives on. in a different way, but with the same assumption of comfort, I've been reminded today (by a well-meaning vet tech) that Miko's suffering is over and she is no longer feeling anything.

But in both cases, the point is missed. I no longer feel sorry for her, and never did for my father. I felt, and feel, sorry for myself. I mourn their loss not in the sense of them having lost their lives, but in the sense of me losing them.

When my father passed, similarly well-meaning people told me, "at least you know where he is". And I remember thinking, "yes, and I also know where he isn't. He isn't here".

Life goes on -- some of us believe it even goes on for those who have left this world, and we carry with us the hope of seeing them again. But in the meantime, we have to muddle through this world without them.

That's the reason for our tears.

Chew Toys in Paradise

"Every pet is a little tragedy waiting to happen"

-George Carlin

We lost Little Big Dog today. She was just a few months short of being 7 years old. She developed a serious case of AIHA (also called IMHA), an autoimmune disease in which her body's immune system attacked her own red blood cells. She wasn't getting oxygen to her body, and the waste wasn't flushing out. The vet told us her chances of surviving were very slim, and she was suffering, so we decided to have her put down.

I remember the day we got her. We had just recently moved into an apartment after months struggling to get on our feet following our move back to Oregon. We'd talked about a dog for years, but our income and living situation had not allowed it. We were for the first time in almost 2 years both gainfully employed, and living in a place that allowed pets. It was tax season, and we had a modest refund coming. TFR began searching the paper for ads, and one day she called me at work. A family living in Elmira had a litter of Lhasa Apso puppies, and was only asking $250 for them. She was headed over there to look, and would call me back. She did, informing me that she had found a pup she liked, and wanted to pick me up after work and take me out there to see it. On our way out, I made it clear that we would LOOK at the dog, but that we would not buy until we had discussed it.

Well, that didn't last long. We got to the farmhouse, and the woman put this tiny puppy in my hands. I took one look at the dog, one at my wife, one more at the dog, and got out my check book.

Her breed wasn't supposed to like kids, but she was potty trained while living in an apartment complex, and every time we took her out, the kids would gather round, and she adored kids her whole life. In fact, she got along with just about everyone, except select other dogs -- especially Onyx, her nemesis, a black mutt who gets walked past here regularly. She was more aggressive the bigger the dog. In fact, the only thing that really scared her was... I kid you not... houseflies. She would hide from them under our legs and tremble. She hated being on a leash, loved the outdoors, but seldom got to go off a leash, because she didn't get along with other dogs at the dog park.

She never acted like a small dog -- she was feisty and loved to play rough, loved to chase balls, liked to try to carry sticks that weighed almost as much as her. She was the best dog I ever had. She was loyal, obedient (usually) and affectionate. She was also very good with The Lad -- she put up with a lot of harassment from him, and they developed an almost sibling-like relationship. She loved him. Even today, as she lay helpless in my lap, waiting for him and TFR to return from his daycare so he could say goodbye, just the sound of his name perked her up momentarily.

We stayed with her until the end. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life, but it was the right thing to do. She'd given us almost 7 years of unconditional love, the least we could do was end her suffering and comfort her during her passing. It took just a few seconds... one last sigh and she went to sleep forever.

Goodbye, Miko. Run free in Heavens fields -- no more leash for you.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Keeping Eternal Watch

I've had a request from one of my readers for pictures from our trip to San Diego. Most of the pictures include TFR, The Lad, and friends, and due to privacy concerns, I won't be sharing them here on the blog. That reader, however, is one of TFR's best friends, so Wanda, we'll be sending you pics.

However, I did want to share one set of pictures from the trip. While I was there I spent an afternoon at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetary, visiting my father's grave:


It was the first time since we buried him there that I've had time to really spend time there -- when we went down to bury my grandmother, there just wasn't time. So this time, we spent a good amount of thime there, making sure it was cleaned up and leaving flowers:


I also asked TFR to take the Lad away so I could spend some time alone with my dad. I know he's not there, but it helped a lot to have a place where I could connect with my memories of him. My father was the best friend I ever had, the best man I ever knew, and by far and away my hero. My life has never quite been the same since he died. It was good to talk to him, to weep for him, and to let myself face the loss.

But my father loved serving in the U.S. Navy, probably as much as anything else he did in his very busy life, so I'm convinced he would have loved knowing that he was up on Point Loma, keeping eternal watch on the shores of the country he loved. In fact, as I reflected on his final resting place, I had two thoughts that gave me some consolation:

He has a great view, and...

He's in really good company.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Yesterday was the only day of the year I ever root for the OSU Beavers in football. That's because when it comes to the bowls, I'll always root for a PAC-10 team over a non-conference opponent. Even the Beavers. Even, if they ever make it to`another bowl, the Huskies. Though I'm not holding my breath for that one.

This bowl season is proving to be especially sweet for the Conference of Champions -- 4-0 with only one Bowl, the Grandaddy of Them All, left. If SC can hold up their end of things and beat Penn State, it's a clean sweep.

This from the conference that I heard Oklahoma State fans referring to as the PAC-1. I can only imagine how they felt being beat by a "Nobody" like the Ducks.

Hopefully the PAC-10 will start negotiating a more challenging set of bowl match-ups, especially for the PAC-10 runner up, who deserves to face better than the #3/#4 in the Big 12. Meanwhile, this should quiet those who questioned the worthiness of our teams to even be in these games.