Click images for desktop size: "Minnesota Canning Company" by Andrew Wyeth
Life has been a chore lately. Debilitating heat and sweat mixed with hopeless rage and mercurial hopes.
Its like not much to walk 6 miles in a day but, nowadays, ending and starting your outside world day with that long walk and for it to be that way for 2 years is a feat, a testament to toughness and a gateway to helplessness. Independence comes at that cost most of the time.
My days have become tossing and turning in baed for 10 hours trying to get 4 hours of sleep. Then I walk around near zombie-ish for the rest of the day while I head into trying nights at work. It's a living.
So, I've been spending my idle thought cycles contemplating dogs. My puppy in particular and the species in general.
It's not that complicated. I'm not really capable of that complicated a thought process, pretty much like dogs. I'm reading this book about the emotional life of dogs: "For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend" by Patricia B. McConnell, PhD. -whew- that's a mouthful and so is the book.
It gets pretty laboured at times especially when it tries to justify things that we intuit are right and good but really have no apt words to describe. The greatest pleasures in the book are when they codify, justify and give weight to things we already knew about dogs but were generally met with derision or at least sceptism by people who don't have it in them to be able to love another species.
I've never been able to grasp why not being able to love another species is considered cool, especially in the Judeo Christian ultra religious circle. Maybe loving an abstract that depends on faith wears out all their brain pan so they the synapses are too fatigued to love something that is standing at their side watching them with loving eyes. (I blame Thomas Aquinas a lot for this and
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
the endless tripe this ancient bastard spewed out that became accepted as dogma. His whack job insistence that dogs had no more soul than a chair leg is so mean spirited and cause for so much cruelty that one can only hope he's wandering the same circle of hell as child rapists.)
I guess the best part of the book are those chunks that make you go, "HAH! I knew it!" I, for one, always enjoy being able to toss around a book with actual words that defend and protect my position on abstract and obscure matters.
I don't think that the book will convince the animal haters or move the stupider or shake the faith of those who condemn dogs to the same role as furniture and fashion accessories. It might convince doggie agnostics but just might. One thing that's annoying is that McConnell works most often with working dogs and justifies the working dog as the pinnacle of doggie achievement. My puppy is a working breed and I still feel that is hog wash. Dogs are dogs and selective breeding (further proof of evolution?) might have certain purebreds crazier than others, and selective breeding may have
distilled certain traits, in my experience dogs are dogs. While I might find acclimating to a Belgium shepherd easier as I know what to expect from specific breed traits there is no doubt that each of the Belgiums who've I've met and have lived with have been as different as human beings are different.
Environment, expectations and education have a greater impact than fur or skin color.
I also think McConnell comes close to but shows the timidity of all
Click images for desktop size: "Brenner & Kerr"
over academic thinkers. She comes close to but shies away from the logical conclusion that dogs have a certain amount of reasoning and rough intelligence. I think that all emotions and their grade and intensity are predicated on intelligence anyway.
Sadly the idea that an animal has the ability to reason, that they have an ability to discern the difference between right and wrong is earth shattering and controversial. Rah! It isn't. I mean that mutant weasel who shot Congresswoman Gifford was found unfit to stand trial as he couldn't tell the difference between right and wrong (although he was sane enough to buy and own powerful hand guns??). I think my puppies are all capable of that sort of numbskull decision. The fact that they don't bite and crush our hands when they don't get the treats they want is proof of that.
Animal behaviorists like to ascribe that complicated thought process to simple learned behavior. Which is scardey cat twaddle or it can be put down that all humans are simple behavior machines. I reject that theory out of hand, except in the case of mutant weasels.
Like the giant dog has a joke. He likes to go to the door and act like he needs to go outside to go to the bathroom but as soon as you get to the door he spins around and jumps up on the couch and
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
laughs and laughs.
It his joke. It's not a great joke at all but it's nearly as good as the jokes 4 and 5 year old humans have inflicted on me.
It also knocks the behaviorists theory for a loop. The only thing giant dog gets out of his joke is that he gets to laugh at you for getting up out of the chair. He gets satisfaction from convincing us he had to go to the bathroom. He gets no food, no treats, no physical satisfaction at all except the ability to laugh at us.
As to thought he had to imagine the result. He had to desire that result and logic out a way to arrive at that result. This is a creative complicated thought process with the payoff being laughter and amusement.
I wish the joke were better but he's just a dog.
I've also added a new guitarist to my pantheon. Evan Foster of Boss Martians, Mystery Action and a stunning solo Surf album.
The Boss Martians are his main band but he's bursting with so many riffs that he starts as many side projects as Jack White! But Evan is cleaner and edgier than White. At first its not obvious how stunning Evan's guitar skills are. He believes, like me, that the song is the main thing, so his riffs are designed to make your jaw drop, they're designed to serve the song and let the tune rip your heart out. Avoid him at your peril.
His twisted cover of Link Wray's, "Fire And Brimstone" shows he has chops to better anybody, while his album "Instrumentals" is a maniacal take on reverb drenched excess.
One bright dot on the landscape is that I'm broke. Broke because I gave all my money to an immigration lawyer who seems very confident that my wife will be an American green card holder before Christmas.
That still makes me feel buoyant and happy.
Now it just has to happen and I will be happy.