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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Negotiations

Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.


This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
BOATSWAIN, a DOG,
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18, 1808.


When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown to Glory, but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.


Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who behold perchance this simple urn,
Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one -- and here he lies.


-The Lord Byron, Epitaph for a Dog (1808)

I can tell you that a hot topic around these parts, for some time, has been if and when to get a new dog.  We've been out of that racket for 4 years now (to the day), and it's surprisingly tough to jump back in.  Things are, well, easier without a Fuzzenfarce around.  Blunt, maybe, but it's the truth.

We have the same conversation over and over again.
Jack:  Dad, can we get a dog?
Me:   Sure.  Sometime.  Err, someday.
Jack:  Ok. 
Me:  When you can take care of it.
Jack:  Dad, can we get a dog?
Caroline:  PUPPY!  RUFF RUFF!
Majesty:  Not one that sheds like Belle.
Me:  I love that breed.
Caroline:  PUPPY DAWDS!  PUPPY RUFF RUFF!
Jack:  Dad, can we get a dog?
Majesty:  NO SHEDDING.
Me:  Everyone eat your lunch.
Majesty:  What about a Labradoodle?  They don't shed.
Me:  I said eat your lunch.
Caroline:  PUPPY DAWD! 
It's like negotiating with the Palestinians.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Inconsistency, In Pictures

We're still here.  Hope you are, too.
THE GODFATHER PART ZOO.
TEA FOR ONE.
MORNING COFFEE.
AERO ENGINEERING 101

AND THEY CALL THE THANG...
...RODEO.
THAT MOMENT BEFORE YOU REALIZE THERE ARE NO ACTUAL CHERRIES.
THIS IS A TULIP.  TOO-LIPP.  HMMM.
SEE WHAT I DID THERE?

IF CHICKEN MARSALA IS WRONG, WE DON'T WANT TO BE RIGHT.
WAITAMINNIT.  THAT'S REAL?!  YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Curl at Two






















Dear Caroline,
We're in that interim space between your technical birthday and the actual invite-some-people-over-to-the-house birthday party.  So yeah, we take advantage of the fact that you have no working knowledge of the Gregorian calendar.

You are two years old.  Now that is all kinds of crazy, man.  It makes me feel a little panicky.  Or that I should know more and be more wise and be more patient and be more all kinds of junk in order to have a shot at raising you right.  Time is running quickly, and I'm afraid you're going to be stuck with whatever kind of dad and mom you have this very minute.  Lucky you!

I read yesterday where someone observed that you only have something like 6 or 8,000 days with your kids until they are just about grown.  When I think that I've already burned up maybe a tenth of that time, I just try to relax and breathe calmly.  Into a nice brown paper bag.

Anyway, I'm told there's not much I can do about this whole birthday growing up thing except play along and pretend to like it.

Actually it's not so bad.  I love to see you doing big girl things and saying crazy big girl stuff that you picked up on the fly from your big brother.  "Caroline, you want me to peel you an orange?"  "NO TAA TOO,  AH FINE."  No, thank you, I'm fine?!  You are freaking me out, dude.  I mean, you were gurgling your answers like, last week.

Where Jack was very go along, get along in many ways, you are the most stubborn, opinionated, ornery little soul that God ever created.  You are so, so sweet... until you want this deal done another way, pronto.  You reject books you don't care for me to read, and you stop me in the middle of songs you don't want sung (SERIOUSLY, WHO DOESN'T LIKE JESUS LOVES ME?!).  You stop everything and order your blanket to be put about the royal shoulders.  You demand not this babydoll, but that babydoll.  Oh, it's the one downstairs?  Well, tough Nutterbutters, Daddy.

You're like a little cute, pink Ghengis Khan, that smells really nice and doesn't (to my knowledge) drink blood mixed with mare's milk while sacking entire regions.  But it's 100% okay.  Your almost constant sweet overcomes your occasional sour, which is about all anyone can hope for.

Although you apparently hold a nasty grudge against Legos.  No one knows why.  Like Godzilla waltzing through Tokyo, buildings on fire and people screaming all around you, you have shown zero mercy for the Lego Fire Station, Lego Gas Station and Car Wash, Lego X-Wing, Lego Land Speeder, Lego Tow Truck, Lego Coast Guard Rescue Team (complete with Zodiac and trailer), and Lego Avengers 4x4 Assault Truck that have crossed your path.  You leave only the rubble of stray piles of blocks behind you, littered here and there with bits of dismembered Lego people.

Watching you patter (without shoes) after Jack at 85 mph is hilarious.  And when you crash down the stairs because you took on way too much way too fast,  it's jarring.  Like all little siblings and siblingettes, you attempt to do what Jack does,  go where he goes, say what he says (even after we tell him not to, because you emulate everything and we're nipping that in the bud right now, Mister).

But we're so glad that you two play with each other.  It's a bit of an odd match though, like when you see the weird news story about a orangutan befriending a dolphin.  You two live in nearly separate universes, occasionally colliding to exchange a superhero cape or to angrily yell at each other.  It's pretty decent comedy, but it's even more valuable because we're left by ourselves to clean up the junk you both just destroyed in the other room.

Oh yeah, I was wishing you a happy birthday.  I'll do that now.  Happy birthday, my girl.  I love you tremendously.  Many happy returns.

- Your Daddy.