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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Dentist Vs. The Lion


Now I might be stirring up a hornet's nest here but this recent crud with the dentist luring the lion and then not even killing it, but letting ti suffer for HOURS. OK, here goes....

I'm not against hunting, say deer, per se, but this was basically a canned hunt which I think is despicable.
I have friends who hunt and BELIEVE me they don't let that deer suffer at all. And they use and eat (or donate to food banks) every bit of the deer. Folks who live up north in Alaska take a moose and eat it all winter.

I get where hunting in Africa is very big business and actually contributes to the big parks' survival. Very controversial, yes, I know. Photo safaris don't bring in nearly the money that big game hunting does You can go on a good photo safari for about $3,000-5,000. Hunting is about $20,000 and up. .

And the white rhino??? This guy has killed a white rhino. That one really got me. Those suckers are so endangered. Why the hell are people killing endangered animals?

But come on....a basically friendly lion? That's canned hunting, period I think it should be kind of equal: hungry, mean lion versus dentist with a spear and a loincloth and nothing else. I get hunting to eat but I don't get trophy hunting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I'm Honored


I'm not often at a loss for words.  But getting this in the mail today drove me to tears.  I am honored beyond comprehension.
An old friend rode 150 miles. in my name.  I can't believe it.
I will treasure that he thought of me.  To think I'd have to get damn cancer to have someone ride for me.
I'm a survivor.  Bet your ass I am. The last two bouts of Dragon's Blood took it out of me in the most embarrassing way, but having someone think of me makes all the shit worth it.  
Thank you, Reid, for thinking of me.

To My Friends, Dale & Paula


Dale & Paula in Florida, May 2015
May 14, 2015
Dear Dale and Paula,

What can I say? 

Well, being a Gemini, a lot. J

I absolutely LOVED being with you this past weekend.  What a pleasure and privilege!  You two are such special people.  I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me that we’ve reconnected.  A positive gift from the old HH legacy. You both are a gift to me and I’m grateful beyond words. 

Paula, I forgot what a cool lady you are!  You are funny, smart, beautiful and have such a radiance about you.  I just admire you so much.  Nothing gets past you; you don’t suffer fools.  You’re such a bright star.  Dale is lucky to have you as his partner and spousal unit.  I feel humbled to know you and wish to know  you better.  Distance ain’t got nothin’ to do with it, I feel.  I’m glad you got to yak with Marty a bit.  I figured you two might have a lot in common.  Like putting up with your Performing Spouses!  ;-)

Dale, there are so many things to say to you.  I’m not sure where to begin.  Truly.  I’m almost at a loss for words.  (Almost!) What I think I love about you is there are you are; so tremendously talented, such a showman, and yet there is humility and a lack of prickiness.  And you’d have every right, in a way, to be an arrogant prick.  You, more than any of us, after what happened to you, would have every right to be shattered, broken and nasty. You aren’t.  I admire your resilience and grace!  You have so much talent and experience!  I’m in awe of what you know and how you share and sell it.  For years, even before we reconnected, I would speak of you in the most glowing terms.  Honest and true!  No bullshit!

I remember when you came into the band.  I knew instinctively I stood in the shadow of a giant.  I was very intimidated by you, actually.  I still am in a way. I know there is a shy side to you; I picked that up right away. I figured if I hung with you a bit that some of the glorious glow might rub off on me.  My mom used to say, “Water seeks its own level.”  Your level is pretty damn high and it makes me a better performer and person, knowing you.  Knowing you both!  You have an uncanny ability to lift up other people to your level. (On a personal note, I’ve been told by a director that I have that too, but you REALLY have it, brother!)

I’m really glad we all dissed the dirt Saturday night.  I think we all needed to do that; it kind of healed some old wounds and it was stuff we can kind of laugh about, years on.  There is nothing like a good gossip session, I always say!  Marty said Ray was agog; he probably had no idea of the treatment we all received and of the personalities involved  I think, and this may be a bit “out there” but it was driven home to me that perhaps we are all a little more “elevated” people in that we can be nice people, fun people and not be jerks.   Looking back on it, it’s sad that HH and people like Wonnacott  and even Barbara couldn’t and can’t do that.  Massive insecurity, the more “elevated” part of me would say.  I think it’s a case of thinking there isn’t “enough” for everybody.  That someone has to be overshadowed in order for you to shine and vice versa.  You are proof positive that, just like the millions of stars in the heavens, there’s room for us all to glow.  We enhance each other,. Just as the night sparkles with  thousands of lights and becomes more beautiful in doing so.

I’ve worked with a lot of people over the years in music and theater and I truly think you are one of the funniest, kindest, most talented, most generous guys (or gals) I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with and get to know.  I’d walk through scorpion-infested muck to work with you again.  I know if I do you’ll lift me up and support and encourage me.  And make me laugh too! 

(By the way, thank you for being so caring about my lame attempts to learn to play the ukulele, you have NO idea what that means!  I’m not a “natural” at instruments and I doubt I’ll ever be as good as one-tenth of you but I can pluck away!)  

We’ve all been tempered by the negative fire that was the old HH days.  We’ve come out stronger.  You, in particular.  I admire your self-knowledge that said, “Yeah, I need to fix my old shit.”  A lot of people wallow in their crap.  You don’t. Because we’ve walked through the fire, we are (I’d like to think) bonded.  We are family.  As far as I’m concerned, we always will be. 

You both are my brother and sister.  You always will be in my heart.  You both are a blessing to me.

I love you two! 



Thursday, July 23, 2015

Music: Start 'Em Young

 I had my great nephews over today....I'm exhausted!  I showed my older great nephew (B) the rudiments of drumming (can you imagine THAT, LOL!) and he actually had a good sense of rhythm!  I also taught how to do the C chord (the easiest one on the uke) and I sang Frere Jacques along with him while he strummed, LOL!  I have an old candlestick phone with a rotary dial that works and those kids are simply fascinated by a rotary dial phone!!!  B was so interested that I could change the batteries and clean the terminals on my poor old Lighting McQueen plastic car; he watched in utter fascination as I made it "talk" again.  I am so NOT mechanical (and it's a big family joke) but I felt like Go-Go Gadget because I could figure out how to get the sucker talking again!  I felt like a genius!  LOL! Trying to think of things to do with a 5 year that don't involve planting him in front of a TV is very challenging!  He's not a coloring book type of boy! Phew, I'm exhausted!!!!  I need a nap!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Re-evaluating Training

Bath time today for my hairy beasts. They are blowing coat like it's their job!  I know everyone's dogs are!  It's a crazy year for shedding dogs.

I miss my two old cattledogs, Wingie and Jesse Ann. You could vacuum them.  Jesse would attach the vacuum and the lawn mower!

Now we have to work on "the vacuum is not evil." Elke is better at this than Artie...but she had been vacuumed when I had the other two older dogs. Artie doesn't want ANYTHING to do with the evil vacuum. So we're going to leave it in the den (dogs' room) and turn it on every day while Evil Vacuum dispenses treats. This is totally do-able but I admittedly should have started this whole grooming thing when Art was a wee lad!  Lazy owner.

I had a really good long talk with my Mastiff friend about training.  She's been working with dogs all her life (has Ch. CGC, Therapy, CDs on most of her dogs; all have Ch. and therapy certs.). She threw out the idea that when I was throwing treats when Artie was getting all honked off over Jimmy( the cat) being out there, that I was probably rewarding the behavior I didn't want.

This was a really good discussion and one I really think I needed to have. I've been pretty much surrounded by AP trainers and while THEY get the whole  "treat the dog when he's throwing himself at the door like a total asshole", I just don't get it. I couldn't wrap my head around it.  I have a lot of respect for Molly Mastiff; she really knows her stuff. She is a PR trainer but when she has to yell at her dogs or give a correction, she does it.

This is the way I learned years ago and I'm wondering how "wrong" it was. My dogs in the past were pretty well behaved, learned training quickly and were happy to work.

She suggested, and this is kind of old school, to give him a verbal negative (if he's not completely over the top) and the minute he turns to me, reward him. THIS make sense to me.  It's kind of what my old trainer, Pat Piazza, would have done.  The method of throwing treats while they were in high honk waiting for them to de-escalate, didn't make any sense to me at all.  I couldn't wrap my head around it.  She speculated that by working with Artie the "newer" way, it might have caused him to escalate when he got out and went after Jimmy.  

She also said, and I found this interesting, that since Elke starts it with a grumble which causes Artie to get all weird, that Elke decides to like Artie "take care of it."  She's NOT a leader-type dog.  Neither is he, I don't think.

We're also working on Mr. Artie NOT being focused on the French doors. and re-learning "go lay down." Kind of doing it the "old fashioned" way:" an "acckkkk" when you're being stupid, treats and praise when you do what I want. I am not always walking around with treat hanging out my bra, for God's sake. Praise works too WHEN they are calm.

And we're working on not charging the damn door. I'm tired of that too.
 I am tired of my dogs being arse-holes.  Time to grow up!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Awful Artie

I just had this horrible, awful thing happen.

When did my dear, sweet Artie Bloo turn into an utter arse-hole?  I've always been able to take this dog anywhere; dog parks, hikes, over-nights with other dogs.

I am beyond upset.  I'm still shaking.

I f----g hate squirrels, I f---g hate cats who think my backyard is their highway.  I don't think training can help this situation.

Damn-damn-damn that stupid den door for not closing.  (The dogs are in the den; that's their hang-out place.)

Artie marched through the kitchen and right into the basement to help himself to the damn cat food.  Jimmy the cat (we're babysitting him) came from the second floor down to the first out of curiosity.  He was just curious, "What going on?" I was calling Artie to come upstairs from the basement and they spotted each other.   Artie whipped around and went from him.  Jimmy is pretty fast but Artie was really going for him.  This was not playing or chasing; this was I'm going to kill you.  I managed to chase him downstairs to the basement as he was going after the cat.

I am ashamed to say it but I had to wack him with my leather folder (which for some odd reason I had in my hand) to get him off the cat.  It was f-----g awful

 The cat is OK, I checked him.  But if anything had happened to him, I would have been devastated.  I also probably would have put Artie down. I just can't have a cat killer.  It's unacceptable.  I have 2 old cats.

Luckily (Thank God) nobody or any animal was hurt, but I am just absolutely shattered. .I've been trying so hard with him and it all just blew up.   He's been kind of grumpy with other dogs lately.  That stupid year of cancer and recovery has really taken its toll.

It's kind of my fault for not working harder when he and Elke were younger to integrate them with the cats.  He's 4 now so I imagine this isn't fixable.

There aren't a lot of people I can tell this to.  My all-positive trainer friends would be livid if they knew I damned near wacked Artie into next year.

I just hope the cat isn't traumatized. In his new there are dogs.  I have these horrible visions of Jimmy being super afraid of dogs now and him coming back to us for fostering.

(Insert a big string of swear words here.)   I think I need a drink and a cigarette.  This is NOT a good day to quit.  I have to calm down. I have rehearsal tonight.

Debbie Downers

Did you ever meet someone and think, "Wow, what a fatalist and downer you are? Man, you are a REAL Debbie Downer" (Even a guy can be a Debbie Downer, by the way).

The "good" angel on my shoulder wondered, "What the heck happened to you to make you a cloudy person?"

The little "devil" on my other shoulder said, "Extricate yourself from that negativity! Who the hel needs that shit!"