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Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Can't Make This Stuff Up #423

While waiting for my S.U. to pick me up, a car pulls up at the building I'm standing by.

A younger gal and two older folks, obviously her parents, get out of the car, the younger gal first, marching into the building. She had on pants with a pattern and weird looking shoes.

Dad: "She's wearing her PAJAMAS? G----d---it, she's wearing G---D---n PAJAMAS?"

(I'm not sure how he didn't notice this when she got into the car but never mind the details.)

Me: I feel your pain. I have one of those too.

Dad: Want another one?

Me: Nope.

Dad: Too bad.

I am going to put on my curmudgeon hat.

What is this latest fashion faux pas with people wearing, in particular women, what can only be pajama pants and slippers and sometimes bathing robes out in public? I think People Of Wal-Mart should have a special website: People In Pajamas. Is it just me, or is that just an extra kind of trashy? Lazy? Am I missing the fashion boat?

Speaking of People of Wal-Mart, every since that website came out, I have been a little more conscious of what I wear into a store like Wal-Mart. Seriously.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Australian Poppleschnotz Breed History

The Australian Poppleschnotz is a very, very ancient breed, believed to have been developed in Ancient Eygpt as a companion for temple cats. Several rare tomb paintings depict the APS along with Gods and Goddesses and as companions for wealthy ladies. The short legs were desirable and carefully bred, as was the distinctive spotted coat.
Through trade, the APS went then to Cyprus and thence onto the European continent where the short legged dog became the rage of what is now Germany in the Dark Ages, having been brought from Rome by the conquering Franks. This dog, relatively unrefined, became the Deustch Poppleschotz.
Another branch went from Eygpt to what is now modern Jordan, thence to Persia and then India. If you look carefully, there are some highly rare pottery portraits that show this journey. East India traders then brought several APS to Australia where refinements where done to the breed. Down Under they were called Short Legg'd Mates.
In the late 18th century, a German immigrant Baron Heinreich von Schtopp brought a pair of Deutsch Popplesnotzen to Virginia. Unfortunately, this pair was lost in a card game to an unscrupulous Whiskey distiller from Kentucky, Max "One Eye" Darrow in 1792 in Williamsburg.
The breed was thought extinct until the early part of the 20th century, when Frau Freida Schtopp (one of the early women automotive pioneers), having lost a tire in the Blue Ridge Mts. saw a little short legged dog and immediately recognized it as indentical to dogs she had seeen in etchings and paintings at her Great Uncle Carl's schloss, in the Black Forest. She bought the little dog back to Pennsylvania and called him "Popple." The little dog was being used to turn bourbon stills.
At a party Frau Schtopp attended on Long Island in 1912, she met an attractive Australian from a sheep ranch near Alice Springs, Mac McFeirson. He noticed her portrait pendant of Popple and declared that he, had a "bloody bonzer little dog who looks like yours, sheila! And she's a Sheila too!" Mac, at great expense, brought his female over to the US. Popps and Pippi produced 3 fine ltters; Mac and Freida produced 2 fine sons, Mac Jr. and Fritzie.
Alas, for the APS, as the breed in known amongst inner circles, Mac Sr. was lost at Gallipoli in WW1, Freida was never the same and the boys were eventually adopted by their Nurse, Nanny Darrow along with the entire known stock of APS in America. Nanny Darrow and the McFierson sons went back to her home state of Kentucky. Fritzie returned to Germany to try and regain control of the Schtopp fortunes but was lost during the Second World War. Mac Jr. upon his majority, sold off the remaining APS stock that he had to settle gambling debts incurred by his foster mother, Nanny Darrow (who was a lineal descedent of that same 19th century gambler, Ol' One Eye.)
Once thought lost, specimens were spotted by rare breed fanciers here and there, mostly in the back woods of PA, KY, VA, and W. Va. A resilient woman, Martha Winsom, a great world traveler, recognized the little back woods' dog for what it truly was, the rare Poppleschnotz. In 1960, she bought 5 APS, (2 males and 3 females) and 3 cases of fine Kentucky bourbon. With a stud she found in Australia, near Adelaide, began a very controlled breeding program.
Her granddaughter, Matty Windom-Zoblocnik is the current President of the APSCA (APS Club of America).

Thanksgiving, is in many ways, a rather strange holiday.

(Written 2004)

For all of our friends outside the US:

Thanksgiving, is in many ways, a rather strange holiday.

Obviously, it is a time to reflect and give thanks for things we're grateful for. Some years are easier than others.

But it's really the only American holiday that is based almost completely on FOOD! I don't know if you Canadian folks have the food thing going; I'm betting you do.

This is when family recipes come out in force. Stuffing, breads, muffins, potatoes, etc. This is when folks try and fit tank-sized turkeys into tiny ovens. When I was a kid you had ovens that could take a 25 pound turkey and not even flinch. Is it my imagination or have ovens gotten smaller? And we had two ovens, one smaller than the other. My husband doesn't believe me. We even argued about this in Loew's the other night, much to the bemusement of the sales people. (Am I dating myself? He's only 6 years younger than me.)

But I digress.

It seems to be the only time of year that folks eat pumpkin pie, the fall holidays, especially T-day. Now, I know this sounds so anti-Thanksgiving but I hate pumpkin pie. It is sooo wasted on me. Last year, at my in-law's Mongol Horde Thanksgiving dinner, they must have had 6 pumpkin pies and NOT one apple pie What's that about??

Oh, yeah, the other thing about Thanksgiving, even more than Christmas/Yule/Chanuakah et al, is you see family/extended family you never see at any other time of year. Last year, at my in-laws Thanksgiving there must have been 50 people. Easy. There were tables in every room of the house except 2 bedrooms and the bathrooms. I kid you not. I don't know 9/10ths of these people. Cousins, second cousins, third cousins, babies, in-laws, step-this and that. I wish they had a score card. My adopted Jewish family is the same. But, at least, I know all those people, giggle!

Then after you stuff yourself (diets be damned) there comes the Thanksgiving Ritual. Every family has one. In mine, it was card games. Marty's has a walk in the woods to a huge walk in a former stream bed. They call it "elephant rock." It does kind of look like an elephant's butt.

However, the most common American Thanksgiving ritual is Football Games. Some families have every TV in the joint tuned to a different game. Now, understand, this is mostly a male T-day thing, although lots of gals watch them too. The key word is "watch." After pigging out on all that food, the men retire to "watch" football. However, in most cases, they are watching football with their eyes closed, snoring.

Then more family recipes come out. What to do with the leftover ham and turkey?

This is Thanksgiving, large or small, with family or friends, or both, in the States. No matter where you are, have a happy day!

Mia Knerly-Hess

The Red Pup (A Story of a Puppy Mill Dog)

Mia Knerly-Hess©2001


It was hot. Hot as July, the air thick with the promise of thunderstorms lingering to the southwest. The mother sighs, clicks off the Weather Channel. No pool for the kids today. Not with those thunderstorms. And the damn air conditioning is on the fritz again. Great. Joey and Tessa, her six and eight year olds are complaining already. “There s nothing to DO!” The age old summer whine. September seems so far away.

Wiping the sweat from her forehead, the mother suggests a trip to the mall. Eyes sparkle: the toy store? Maybe a movie? Well, we’ll see. She loads them into the car, resigned to shopping with two recalcitrant kids in tow. “At least we’ ll be cool,” she resolves.

An hour later, armed with bags from the toy store, The Gap (and, oh, yes, that new bottle of cologne), they pass by the pet store. Eager puppy faces peer at the children from behind their glass cases, noses rooting in the cedar shavings. There are Bostons and Bichons, Newfoundlands and Norwich Terriers, each one more beguiling than the last.

But Joey’s brown eyes settle on one pup. Red, gray and tan hairs vie with a soft red patch over the pup’s left eye. On his forehead is a distinctive white strip.

“What kind of puppy is THAT, Mom?” the boy asks. This inquiry leads the family into a small white room and soon Joey and Tessa are playing with and fawning over the Australian Cattledog pup with the patch over his left eye. “Oh, I’ll regret even LETTING the kids see this puppy…I’ll never hear the end of it. What WAS I thinking? Must be the heat.”

“Can we get him, Mom, can we, can we?”

Where did this little bundle of energy come from?

Was he born in a large box lined with newspapers and clean blankets in someone’s bedroom? Was his birth eagerly awaited? Was he born of a mother whose owners spent hour upon hour searching the just the right dog to breed to their special girl? Did they check for health, bloodlines, temperament? Was his mother cared for dearly, with no expense spared? Was she perhaps a champion, retired from the show ring? Did she garner green ribbons with her partner in obedience trials? Or did work tirelessly for her owners, bringing in the (proverbial) beef?

Was his father a splendid herding dog, bred for generations to boss around reluctant cattle? Did he, too, prove his inheritance in the show ring or did he gaily surmount obstacles on an agility course? Was this breeding carefully planned for months, if not years? Did his mother’s owners agonize over the wisdom of breeding right now? There are so many unwanted dogs, millions in fact. We don’t want to contribute to that. Are we prepared to back these pups up for the rest of their lives? Were they worried about genetic problems that the pup might have? Did they spend far more money than they could hope to recoup?

Was this pup tenderly cared for from the moment of his birth? Did his mother have a waiting list a mile long just for one of HER special pups?

The answer is no.

His mother’s name is Alice. Well, that’s her name now.

In the past, she was just a nameless red bitch whose whole life was spent in a cage. A cage barely big enough for her to turn around in. A cage that was never cleaned, leaving her to live in her own filth. She ate when someone remembered to throw a little kibble her way.

From the time Alice was old enough, her life was one continuous, never-ending cycle: being bred, pregnancy, whelping her puppies with no kindness and no help. Sometimes they forgot to feed her and she might eat her dead puppies to keep herself alive.

Eventually, she would die. Her body, old before its time from countless pregnancies would be thrown into a shallow grave. Or torched with gasoline. Or other dogs might eat her as she lay dying.

She would never know a kind hand to stroke her head, the joy of playing any game, trails to hike, cows to herd, a human’s feet to rest her head upon.

No, the red puppy’s mother was destined to live and die in a place of horrors called a Puppy Mill. A place where animals are bred to supply that same pet store where Joey and Tessa were enchanted by a red pup’s antics.

But, Alice, after six long years, was rescued with her last litter. The puppy mill was busted. For some dogs, their agony would end in a gentle death. For Alice, and others like her, the magic could begin.

For the first time in her life, Alice was examined and cared for by a strange man with a stethoscope. He, who had seen so much, groaned over her teeth, worn to the gums as she chewed trying to escape her never-ending prison. His experienced eyes filled with tears as he ran his hands over the old unattended scars and her still-swollen teats. Her last litter’s pups were well on their way to their new homes, to play and give their new owners love and joy. And to receive it as well. Gentle hands gave Alice her first bath, cleaning years of filth and debris away.

A feisty, out-spoken lady took her home to begin learning how to be a dog. She met others of her kind, but these ones were blues. So much activity! Her crate now boasted a clean, soft blanket to sleep on, good food to eat and a bone to gnaw on. Everyday, she was touched and fussed over. There were new lessons to learn. This is a leash, you go potty outside, there is love here.

But Alice’s eyes remained empty and bewildered. And the lady knew it was time for Alice to go to a new place, a foster home, to continue her education for her new life.

So Alice flew across the country. Alone, terrified, confused, Alice could not fathom the new tall lady who cooed at her and stroked her scarred head. She could not understand the lady’s two rambunctious dogs. The lady would hold her close, talk to her, kiss her wounded head. Alice couldn’t know it but the magic was beginning to take hold. Her eyes began to brighten. At night, she would sleep with the other dogs on a huge bed. In the daytime, her nails would click on hardwood floors. One day, miracle of miracles, she stole the lady’s dirty pantyhose. More magic. And always the love. From the lady and from strangers who came to admire, love and cry over her.

Soon, Alice will go to her new home. No more puppies, no more endless years in a cell. Just love, kindness and another dog to teach her how to play someday.

And what of the red pup with the patch over his left eye?

The wise mother, for she WAS a wise mother, softly said to her children, “No, we can’t take him home. We don’t know where he came from and we don’t know what to expect from this kind of dog. No begging, pleading or whining on a hot summer’s day would make her yield. For you see, she knew about the puppy mills. If she relented, and it broke her heart a little to leave him there, she knew that she would be supporting the cycle of Puppy Mills.

“Let’s go home and learn more about this kind of dog. Maybe on the Internet we can find a breeder nearby who knows all about his breed of dog. We could visit and learn even more! Or maybe there’s a dog show soon? Wouldn’t that be fun? I bet that kind of dog has a Rescue so we could adopt a Rescue after we learn more about them. Maybe next weekend we could go to our shelter and adopt a nice dog from there! There are better places to get a dog from than here!”

If only all mothers were as wise.

Mia Knerly-Hess


Addendum: Alice was a real dog, and her story is very true. She was a Puppy Mill brood bitch who was rescued in a bust of a Puppy Mill out west and found her forever home in Columbus, Ohio. I knew Alice and I know her parents. Even though she is now at the Rainbow Bridge, her story still haunts me.

The Messenger

I thought I'd lost first (paid) published story! Here it is....


Monday was the day from hell. Nothing seemed to be going right. Delays, stupidity, forgetfulness, frustration. An all-over feeling of blah. And it was cold. When my ride to dog training class fell through, I decided to take my cattledog, Dru, for a nice walk. Maybe the day could be redeemed. Maybe we'd meet a canine playmate at the park.

As I was walking down West Boulevard, two people hailed me. "Hey, do you live around here?" There was desperation in their voices.

"Sure do."

"Can you help us?" I approached and I could see that the man was holding something in his hands. Being rather near-sighted, I couldn't see what it was. What stuck in my mind were his painted-black fingernails. As I drew closer, I could now see that he held a big black crow. "He's really hurt," the woman said, "we don't know what to do! I think he got hit by a car." I whipped out my trusty cell phone, called my friend, Alana, who works for a vet. "I have an injured crow. Can you come pick me up?" (I don't drive.) Of course, she said she would. I gingerly took the squawking, twitching bird. His head was thrown back, his eyes flickering madly. I placed him inside my coat and asked the fellow to zip me up. I tied Dru's leash around my waist and back home we went, the crow struggling and caw-cawing, Dru dancing excitedly around me.

After I arrived home, and put Dru in his crate, I decided to wait on my side steps for Alana to come. I spoke softly to the crow, "Shhhh, it's OK, it's OK" and gently settled him in a more comfortable position. His cries had taken on that burbling, harsh sound that usually means blood is in the lungs. Not good. I reached inside my coat and stroked his breast with my thumb. I cooed quietly, "There, there, Thunder" (for I'd named the crow that) "you'll be OK. Poor baby!" I had visions in my head of seeing Thunder nursed back to health and eventually seeing him set free. I'd help as much as I could. The thought thrilled me.

Thunder started to settle under my caress. "This is good," I thought, "He'll get well." The cawing and burbling had stopped; he was just breathing now. I kept up the tender talk, hoping I was soothing him. He WAS calmer. This was such a good sign. I felt so good, so helpful. I want to say it was sudden but I guess it really wasn't. One moment, it seemed, I could feel his breathing and heartbeat under my thumb; the next moment I couldn't feel anything. I cautiously opened my jacket just a bit, and laid my hand on him. I held my breath, hoping against hope, but he was gone. I bent over him and wept.

I kept him inside my jacket, next to my heart, until his body's warmth was gone. I held him next to my heart until Alana came and took him out of my hands. Tears glistened on his feathers. Tears for an animal I did not even know. Alana took him to the park and laid him to rest underneath a tree and covered him with leaves.

It was the first time I had felt the last vestiges of a beating heart. I had arrived too late to witness my father's last moments. To say goodbye and let him go. I had not been able to cope with my mother's removal from life support. No, my brother was there for her last sigh as the machines stopped breathing for her. But, here on my side steps, on a cold November evening, perhaps this had been my chance to help a soul make its transition from life into death and beyond. Maybe Thunder the Crow came into my life for that very reason. He needed my help and love. I don't know. I am sure that someday I will understand the significance of Thunder's brief interlude in my life. That I will understand what it all meant. For all that happens to us and around us is part of the tapestry of our lives -- the color, pattern and weave of who we are becoming every moment. Right now, I don't know.

I have heard it said that Crow is a messenger, that he represents magic and luck. I don't know. But I do know that when I pass on, I will meet all my animals at the Rainbow Bridge. There will be an assortment of wonderful dogs and cats, and my pony, Pooh. And one other to greet me. A crow named Thunder.

©Mia Knerly 1999

Saturday, February 11, 2012

That Guy Who Shot The Laptop

There is a YouTube video that has gone positively viral, almost 4 millions views as of 2.11.12. So many people have such strong opinions, most "like" it and have given it a Thumbs Up. Me too. But there are others who think it's extreme, wrong, childish, etc. Do watch the video and judge for yourself. However, to all the folks who think he was wrong to shoot the laptop.....IMO.....

Does nobody get this??....

Teenage girls can be real sh*ts!

Think about this: She ragged on her parents on a public forum!!! She was repeatedly disrespectful on a public forum. She is posting crap about her parents ON A PUBLIC FORUM. She is posting crap on a public forum that most likely her parents are paying for (DSL, Wifi, etc). They sure as hell are paying the electric bill!

First of all, she's stupid. And it's come back to bite her in butt. Even without her dad shooting her laptop and the thing going viral, posting what she did ON A PUBLIC FORUM has screwed with her going to college and getting a job. Colleges and employers find this stuff. She was an idiot! Whatever happened to diaries??

Should he have shot her laptop? Probably not. It was a little extreme but he's pissed and frustrated and I can't blame him at all. I will grant you that he probably did contribute to the creation of the brat she's become because he probably indulged her. However, that whole laptop thing..... It's NOT HERS, she did not pay for it and even if it was a gift.... she sure as hell did not pay for the upgrades he did ---- which adding in his time was about $400+ and 6 hours out of his life for an ungrateful brat who, understand, the next day, posted that stuff.

I would have taken it from her along with every other privilege. Frankly, I would have not gone for the gun, I would have either donated it to some worthy cause or person but most likely, I would have run it over with a truck!

You know what her parents "owe" her --- love, food, shelter, clothing. "Dr. Pill" (not one of my Spousal Unit's favorite people) is right about that. Love is not a laptop and it sure as hell is not letting you sit on your princess ass, doing nothing and diss your parents ON A PUBLIC FORUM.

I know tons of people who never got an allowance and were expected to do stuff around the house and property. What the hell is wrong with having to do chores and contribute to the running of a house? Why are people so honked off about kids doing chores nowadays?? Shoot, you'd think they were working in a cotton gin! Come on! She lives there, her parents are NOT her servants!

I am so bloody sick and tired of all these entitled kids thinking the world owes them this and that. Since when do you need a cell phone, laptop, tv in your room. Since when???? If parents of teenagers and even younger kids don't make them do stuff like cleaning, laundry, cooking, taking care of animals etc THEY ARE NOT HELPING THEM! They are ENABLING & CRIPPLING them and not preparing them for the REAL world where you have to cook, clean, take care of your house, animals etc.

Come on, people ---doesn't anyone get this?? If someone doesn't stand up against this brattiness and teenage b.s. YOU will pay the price because they won't know crap and you, yes YOU personally will end up in some way supporting them down the road.

It'll be your kid living in your basement for years not contributing and busting your bank. You'll get stuck with their bills, animals, kids, whatever and it's out of your pocket, it'll be YOUR tax dollars, or because they're lazy and shiftless at work, you get overloaded and stressed at your job. People are all lah-dee-dahing with kids these days and no one sees the long term repercussions of The Permissive Parent or Being Your Kid's Friend Instead Of Their Parent.

Somebody has to step up and be a parent and set limits, rules and boundaries. Somebody has to be the Bad Guy. Put on your big boy/girl pants and be a damn parent.

This guy had it. She'd been warned. Reason, grounding etc. most likely did not work. I can't blame him at all.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

More Artie Pictures

Taken Jan. 28 and 30, 2012

I Cannot Make This Stuff Up #473

I'm on the phone with my cell phone's carrier, getting some technical help. The VERY NICE customer service lady suggests a couple of things to do. While I'm waiting for my phone to come back on, I told her one of my favorite customer service tales, then I think about what she had just suggested as a help for me.

"Well, sh-t," say I very abashed, "That was six kinds of stupid, I should have done that BEFORE I called you guys. My husband is an IT guy, I should have known better! I feel like an idiot."

"Oh, NO!" she exclaims, "Not at all! Not even close!"

Really? thinks I. Do tell! Other than the monthly whine from some ding-dong of "my phone won't work...uh did you put the battery in it?" thing. And yes, they get those AT LEAST once a month.

Here is the customer's service rep's story. I kid you not and neither was she. You can't make this sh-t up. And of course, this is recorded somewhere because you know they record these things for Quality Assurance!

CSR (Customer Service Rep): Welcome to _____, how may I help you?

AH (A---h---e Irate Customer: I have an damn huge bill for a damn call that says it's international. (By the way, the bill for the call was under $10.)

CSR: OK, sir, let me pull up your bill.....yes, I see you called Blah-Blah, Ontario, Canada. That would be an international phone call.

AH: (getting really pissed off): That's in the goddamn U.S.

CSR: Uh, no sir, that's in Canada.

AH: Canada IS in the U.S. Any idiot knows Canada is part of the U.S.

CSR: Uh, no sir, Canada is a foreign country. Therefore you got charged for an international phone call.

AH: It's NOT a foreign country! You don't have to go in a plane. You can DRIVE there! Any idiot knows that Canada is part of the U.S.

They go back and forth, with much the same results, finally the CSR says:

Um, sir, if I go to California or Maine I don't have to have a passport. But if I go to CANADA I have to have a passport. That means Canada is a foreign country.

AH: (now really irate) well, you're an idiot! You need to go BACK to whatever the hell school you went to and take Geometry again because CANADA IS IN THE UNITED STATES.

CSR (putting him on hold for a moment, then): Uh, sir, I'm not sure what NUMBERS and ANGLES have to do with Canada being another country. Did you mean GEOGRAPHY?

AH: (SUPER IRATE) I know what I meant, I meant GEOMETRY and it just goes to show you how STUPID YOU REALLY ARE!

She transferred him to International Calling.

When she told me there would be a Customer Satisfaction Survey coming in my email, I asked if I should put in the part where I almost snorted coffee out of my nose because I was laughing so hard, she replied,"Well, if you want to!"