Saturday, July 28, 2007

You have, no doubt, wondered

This site is certified 32% EVIL by the Gematriculator

Censure? At the very least!

Think about where we are headed.

Vicarious Repentance

Anskar+ from his retreat at Desert Farne
Father Anskar (clearly a North Atlantic Anglican with a name like that) dons violet vestments and repents on behalf of Anglicans everywhere.

There, now that this has been taken care of, may we all sit at Christ's table and get along now?

h/t to Padre Mickey and the crew for inspiration

WHPC* don't do that stuff

Hard questions? Follow-up questions? The WHPC (White House Press Corpse) surrenders their gonads when they walk into the press room so they can keep their precious access to the Imperial Progaganda Machine, hosted by the WH Spokesliar, Tony McSnowjob.

Yeah, if that bloviating liar who pulls material out of his nether regions, Bill O'Reilly, can label Daily Kos as a hate site, then he can add me to the list. Sooner or later you have to become fed up with the lies, distortions, and mostly monumental stupidity that comes from the Oval Office. I am watching my beloved nation being destroyed from within by presidential (and vice-presidential) attacks on our Constitution and on the best of American values.

Here is what I would like to see asked, but it ain't gonna happen.

If a foreign nation attacked the United States, would you be angry? Of course you would. So don't try to get me to back off by calling me "angry" at what is happening. I am, and that's one proof that I am an American, and a patriot.

The bear is feeling snarly today, just so you know.
--the BB

A Rantlet


Amid the many bloggers who post cat photos, I am what one might call a "large dog person." I am fond of my friends' cats, though my allergies keep reminding me to pet with discretion, but the critters I enjoy are big dogs. This is pretty much the attitude of my whole family, which has a number of disparaging terms for small dogs that I will not use here lest I give all manner of offense. We're just not lapdog folks.

As a boy I had two German shepherds (in succession). There was also my imaginary dog as a very young boy, but that is another story altogether. During my college and post-graduate days the family dog was a malemute-samoyed mix whose photo you see above: Kazan.

He was a Christmas present to my mother, who did not think she needed a dog. The whole family came to adore him and view him as the prototypical canine. He was my buddy and I think he viewed me as a big hairless dog. We could wrestle together and if he bit me now and again I would not say "ouch" (which would be fairly meaningless except for tone), I yelped. He would immediately back off. Sometimes I would gently bite him back, which left me picking fur from my mouth.

Kazan was a cookie lover. You had to spell the word in his presence or he dashed to the corner of the kitchen where the cookie tin was kept. He and I would eat Swedish pepper cookies that mother made for Christmas; if I got one, he got one. I did not break of a tiny piece for him. When I spent a year at home and subscribed to the LA Times, he would fetch the paper for a cookie. This meant I could not so much as breathe loudly in bed, because his wet nose would be urging me to get up so he could earn his cookie.

Next Wednesday will be the 26th anniversary of Kazan's death. I fully expect him to be waiting by the pearly gate when I arrive and have informed God that I don't intend to enter unless this is the case. (Don't get all pissy-theological on my ass; one only says this when one has immense trust in God. Animal lovers will also know that I'm not being facetious about this either.)

So, Kazan, Woof, You with the furry face--may you rest in peace and rise with Christ in glory.

Where's the rant? It's this.

Last night I was deep in one of my Cecil B. DeMille dreams, cast of thousands, technicolor, the works, as usual. A bridge of architectural and engineering interest was being discussed (hey, my conscious mind doesn't write these scripts, so don't ask me why). I was dragged from the scene by the repeated loud barking of dogs.

Perhaps it was the soon-to-be-full moon shining so brightly in the high desert sky. I don't know, but the neighborhood was otherwise quiet. I try not to run air-conditioning at night because I love fresh air, I don't want my utility bills to be higher than they are, and I don't want to squander the resources of mother earth. Both my bedroom windows were open, though this also allows lots of light into the room from streetlamps and the outdoor lights of neighbors.

As I emerged into consciousness I realized I had heard the dogs bark in the dream. They went on and on. I looked at the clock. 12:44 AM. Ugh. I managed to get back to sleep eventually but not because the dogs got quiet. Auditory fatigue, perhaps.

This continued with me being awakened again and again. I finally got up at around 3 AM and took a short walk in the warm evening. My street was quiet. The noise was all on the back side, across the major street on which the back of my house faces. I found the yard and the house whence the endless barking emanated. So I know.

I was tempted to knock on the door and let the owners of said dogs share my lack of sleep. But I didn't. I had found out what I wanted to know. I walked back home, closed my windows, turned on the A/C and tried to sleep. It took a long time. One could hear the barking through double-pane windows and blinds but it was muffled enough that it would not wake me again.

This is a new neighborhood. Lots of houses are still not occupied. Old timers are those who have been her more than one year (I reach that mark in a couple more weeks). I want good relationships with my neighbors, not hostile ones. The dog on the north side of me and the dogs across the street are my friends.

The dogs are not the problem. Their owners are. People who allow their dogs to bark all night are not doing a favor to their animals. The dogs are agitated over something and if they bark all night it is not very purposeful agitation. This is not just alerting the household of a passing threat (whether a burglar, a passerby, a cat, a bird, or the wind blowing a dried leaf). Neighbors get agitated. This is the sort of thing that leads sick people to poison other's animals (and I think that is inexcusable, just for the record). It simply raises a level of negative energy in all concerned. My ranting shows I haven't discharged it in myself yet.

I am wrestling with how to do something in a positive, neighborly fashion. This is difficult when one assumes the dog owners must be a******s. I know: never make assumptions.

As we say, pray for me, a sinner.
--the BB

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A joyous birth

No, I speak of no bairns. However, after fifteen months and twenty-four days I came, last night, to the conclusion of of a grand project. I finished the first draft of my first novel.

The genesis of the whole thing goes back to November 1972 when I wrote a serial bedtime story for fellow grad students at UCLA. There followed a sequel, a novella in about 100 single-spaced pages. I was in full mini-Tolkien mode but did not pursue writing all the chronicles that inhabited my head.

It all came back with a vengeance in early 2006 and I revised the original tale, began rewriting the sequel, started the final story of the cycle, and then realized that perhaps I should begin at the beginning.

That beginning, a story that was only an outline in my head for at least thirty-two years, began to grow on the page (or disk, if you will). The adventure was far grander and more complex than I imagined (though still shorter than the seventh volume of Harry Potter).

It is fun to imagine a world and put it into words. I am now reading the whole thing through from beginning to end for the first time. Great fun.

More news will come with time, but that is the biggest thing in my life this week.
--the BB