Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Play Ball! (alternately: "Taking our Ball[s] (Off) and Going Home")

Gojira is now a happy, bouncing, 85 pound puppy. He just hit seven months, and due to scheduling issues with the veterinary clinic, he's off to get himself surgically Stepfordized tomorrow. I'll be chauffeuring him on the long ride into biological oblivion.

I'm so very pleased to be doing my part.

I know I'm turning him into a person, or at least putting my own feelings into his fuzzy little (huge) head, which thinks and processes in ways that I can't begin to really see clearly. I doubt he'll have any idea that anything has happened, other than his Pop having taken him somewhere remote, that smelled weird, where he got really really high on something and then got carried back to the car. That said, I hope he doesn't hold this against me.

In reading a discussion on crate training of dogs (they were all anti-), the refrain was "...I wouldn't want to be locked up all the time..." &c &c, to which one commenter (bless their hearts) added "Well, no one asked him how he felt about being forcibly sterilized, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be crazy about that, personally."

Yeah, that does pretty much sum it up.

No matter how much we all know it's the right thing, and the healthy thing etc., no guy wants to talk about this, and I wager that none of us feel all that awesome about being a part to it. We as a society talk about our neutered and spayed animals having "girlfriends" and "boyfriends" (I'm not the only one who has heard these tossed around) when in fact it's about as sexual as a Manchu dynasty slapfight between eunuchs. They may like each other, but that stuff is pretty far from their minds, folks. Don't try and make yourselves feel that your dog still has the capacity for romantic love in them, because they didn't even if you had let them keep their full complement of original equipment.

So, to assuage my misplaced and absurd guilt, I'm just hanging out with my enormous puppy, who's been resting his head on my lap and leaning on me for the past twenty minutes and has now passed out splayed across the floor.

With his height at around 26" at the shoulder, and a length from the base of his neck to the base his tail of about the same number, splayed out makes for substantial real estate.

He is now, at seven months, the biggest dog I or any friend of mine owns. It's a slightly more substantial roommate than I thought I was signing on for, and the vet seemed to think 175 pounds was in the realm of the reasonable.

Luckily, Bernese Mountain Dog owners we've spoken to have indicated that 150 is certainly the high end of what we might expect. At least I'll still be able to pick him up in that case, which would be more of a stretch for a 175 pound dead lift and carry to the car in the event of something awful happening...

Something about a dog completely erases cynicism, and it's a part of myself I've always been very attached to. He's a tremendous little/big guy, and we're lucky for him.

Other than that, and spending a good chunk of the weekend at work (with faltering, and eventually doomed air conditioning), and sweltering through this lovely heat wave that has finally come to a merciful close, I'm fully in the midst of getting ready for a wedding.

I never knew all the things that would have to come to pass to make this happen, and I'm just hoping everything comes together.

Ladies, if you are trying to shepherd a prospective groom through this process, be aware that they may very well not have a strong opinion about something which is vital to everyone else. It's not that they don't care, it's that it never even occurred to them to consider the question. We care, but sometimes find out that there's a new surprise to care about that we didn't even have on our radar.

We love you, and that's the important thing to remember.

Go and wander over and take a look at Tigger's blog ( and get a sense of her wedding dress experience. It is roaringly funny...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

At Least Being Morbidly Obese Is Still Free

Oh, hello there New York State government!

Didn't see you come in.

So, I know I'm part of an Elephant Man-esque minority, and am still a filthy filthy smoker, and it's terrible, and I should stop, and you just really want what's best for me with your new cigarette tax, but really, $4.25 per pack for New York City residents? You really have the gall to demand over 100% tax on anything?

Fuck you. Seriously.

Don't pretend that this is to keep people from smoking, because if you look at the numbers from this study which advocates cigarette taxes as a means to get people to quit, you'll notice that with a minor decrease in smoking comes a HUGE increase in revenues! I'm really happy for you! The claim that this is all related to covering health costs for smokers is plenty cute, and I respect the Rasputinian level of bullshit and dissembling that goes into it, but the fact is that as with speeding, local and state governments need people to keep on smoking, and fact need more people to smoke more.

As of 2005, the state of New York (including local government excise taxes) alone took in several billion dollars from tobacco.

It's a really nice dodge to cut income taxes on high tax brackets, and dump the responsibility on the largely less well off population of smokers, who are now paying for the entitlement under SCHIP which provides their own kids with health insurance. So, wouldn't they be better off not paying the tax and avoiding the overhead of a major government bureaucracy and simply paying to take their own kids to the doctor?

It's even more abhorrent because if these taxes were to have the stated effect, taxpayers would be seriously on the hook for entitlement programs.

No, I guess that would make too much sense.

If you had really wanted me to quit, the best way would have been to raise the price from $2.75 per pack all the way up to $8 when I was still a college student, or immediately afterwards. No, you instead chose to raise the taxes in the opposite way: we are all frogs in your slowly heating pot of water. Too complacent to react to another little change in price, we shell out the extra ten cents here, twenty cents there until we are staring down the reality of a ten dollar pack of cigarettes.

I've cut down, and I want to quit, don't get me wrong on that point... I am down from my long-standing pack a day to a ballpark of about four or five on any given day. However, I am going to make my decision when I am good and ready.

In the meantime?

I'm driving out to the reservation this weekend, where for less than half the price here in the city I will buy as many cartons of cigarettes as I can carry, because at least then I'll be supporting a business that isn't taking advantage of me and insulting my intelligence.

They need us badly, and we don't need this mooch riding along and cadging a couple of bucks every time we want to have a cigarette. The fact is, you can only flog the goose to a certain point before it will just die, and quit laying golden eggs.

I think I've gotten to that point.

Join me, fellow consumers. If there's a reservation in Mastic on Long Island, I'm pretty sure you can find one near you. Caravan with friends! Being cheap can be construed as a political statement, and isn't that just the best news ever?

"If there are no cigars in heaven, I shall not go." -- Mark Twain

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Diff'rent Strokes

If you only had one leg, what kind of footwear would you put on the end of it if you were planning on being on a train?

Yeah, I wouldn't have thought "a rollerblade" either, but there's someone out there who disagrees with both of us...

Two canes and one rollerblade, punting down the L train platform at 1st Avenue.

Personally, I would have just gone with the idea that with nothing to brace, or brake, myself and with the "ground" moving as if an earthquake were in the offing, traction is something to which I would ascribe a lot of importance.

I can only assume there's a pretty steep learning curve involved in that decision.