Monday, May 25, 2020

Numbers don't lie, but I'm not a number.

It’s Decoration Day. We should all be out tending the graves of the fallen, or at least eating grilled wienies and potato salad in the park. We should be pitching horseshoes in our shirtsleeves and yelling at the kids to stay away from the water for an hour after eating. We should at least be grateful for advances in civilization. For instance, every participant in the Great War died, and most all from WWII. Many survive from the Korean Conflict, and even higher percentage from Vietnam. So it can be shown statistically that each war is safer than the last.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Speaking Parenthetically

I’m out walking the dogs again. (I wouldn’t want my readers to think I spend all my time walking [because I also spend time feeding {and picking burrs from dogs} dogs] dogs.) I have a full life. I’m standing in the street, one pocket containing plastic bags for poop, another with nutritious peanuts for my friends the crows. I am under a tree, torn as to which way to proceed – the dogs are tugging in opposite directions. A little fat gray bird above me is emitting one chirp every two seconds. And I think, “That thing needs a fresh battery.”

Monday, May 11, 2020

For shame

People say they can tell when their dogs are ashamed but I have my doubts. Your average dog brain is about the size of a cue ball and just as smooth, lacking convolutions wherein regret might lodge. Humans on the other hand have all these notches and crannies that promote the construction of narratives. That means as we get older we build a richer story, gain a sense of perspective. So instead of tormenting yourself about some dumb or unkind thing you did last week, you can torment yourself about some dumb or unkind thing you did 50 years ago.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Our Wacky Planet!

Okay. So. Norway is not the tulip and windmill country. It is not the flatpack furniture country. It is not the sauna country, the marijuana country, or the mermaid country. Not the wooden shoes, not the Legos. When you think about Norway, the two words that spring to mind should be “toxic mucus,” because Norway is home to the bootlace worm (Lineus longissimus), maybe the longest animal in the world. Like, 150 feet long and about a quarter inch thick. It feeds by squirting poison snot from its nose to immobilize its prey. I just thought you’d want to know.