Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What a Relief.

Now Margaret, who didn't know about our Meijer's boycott, won't have to return all the groceries she just walked in the door with...

After I had posted about the Meijer's donation program with H$U$, I tried to find info on it at Meijer's site, and could find nothing. Then I emailed USSA, and received this reply:

Dear Mr. Gauss:
Thank you for your message. Meijer has indeed dropped the donation portion of its photo contest. We are currently working on a news release about Meijer's decision to drop the program with HSUS. Thank you for your continued support of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance.
Sincerely,
Cory Johnson I Director of Communications
You may now return to your normal shopping habits. Never underestimate the power of thousands of pissed off hunters.

Great Television.

CARRIER Badge 125 x 40 BrownWhen PBS began promoting Carrier way back before Christmas, I knew I wanted to see it. A documentary film crew was given unprecedented access to the nuclear attack carrier, Nimitz, and also to it's crew. The program is 10 one hour episodes.. we missed the first two hours on Sunday, but caught the hours 2 and 3 last night. All episodes are available online.

For someone who spent four years in the Navy.. without setting one foot on board a vessel of any kind, (until, with only a month left in service, spending about a half hour visiting the USS Repose hospital ship in Danang Harbor), I'm finding the whole program fascinating. I'm almost glad I had the shore duty I did! Aircraft carriers are like a small town of 5000 (!) diverse residents, most of them very young, crammed into about 4 acres. And for 6 months at a time, they can't get away from each other.

Tonight, the ship and crew enters the Persian Gulf.

All hands stand by.

BONUS: The sound track is awesome. Playlist on the website.

For Midwesterners; Others May Audit the Course.

Meijer's invented the concept of the "hypermarket", long before there were WalMart "Supercenters". Groceries and dry goods and hardware and automotive and more, all under one roof. While they're slightly higher priced than Wal Mart (but not significantly so), we will usually choose to shop there when we're in their market areas (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois).

The other day, I got this email notice from the United States Sportsmen Association, informing me that Meijer's had fallen into league with the devil.

I just sent my letter of "protest" to the Meijer CEO. I urge anyone reading this in the above states... or, what the hell, outside of it... to do the same. I told them if H$U$ gets their way, they will ultimately end up closing down their pet and sporting goods departments.

Just do it.

For information on how H$U$ works, check this out from, (where else), Patrick.

Join USSA's Sporting Dog Defense Coalition here. The Sporting Dog Defense Coalition was a major player in the defeat of the anti-coursing bill a couple of years ago in California.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Raison Raisin d'etre

Fans of the puppy will be happy to know that, 36 hours after the fateful ingestion of the shriveled grapes, he's completely asymptomatic. Up early this morning, and getting in trouble... oops! There goes the bottle of antacids. Well his tummy was probably sore from all the puking yesterday.

This morning's walk eliminated the last of the charcoal and more raisins. Interesting visual: a two-tone turd; black and brown. I decided not to go back to the animal hospital for further bill padding. He's going to be fine.

Drinking normally, peeing normally, no runs, no vomiting, and definitely... no lethargy.

So You Wanna Be a Rock'n'Roll Star...

Who wanted to be in a rock'n'roll band when you were young? Admit it. We all did. In high school, a friend and I, who had no instrumental skills, but vocalized our asses off, got together with a band and performed in the Senior Talent Show... we did songs by this new group from the British Isles. The Beatles, I think they were called. We got two encores, even though the teacher running the show said we couldn't have any. Screw you man! The chicks were screaming.

That's how I got to know Jim Osterberg.

Jim Osterberg? Oh yeah, he goes by Iggy Pop now.

Anyway, it never happened for me, but one can dream... Problem is, when people dream the dream they don't think far enough into the future. I heard this song today while listening to Vin Scelsa's Idiot's Delight old-time freeform radio show on Sirius radio.. It's definitely not "work safe". Is it "kid safe"? I don't know; I don't know your kids...

Rivalry Returns... (with a conspiracy theory)

The NHL playoffs are about to get interesting... finally. (Now that those irritating Nashvillains have been put in their place.... the golf course). The Red Wings next opponent is the always-hated Colorado Evil.. Avalanche.

It's been a number of years since the teams have met in the playoffs.. Well, the Wings have been there, but the Avs have been golfing by this point in the season.

But when the rivalry was hot.. was it ever hot! What hockey fan (the rest of you can move on to another blog at this point) will ever forget this:

.

But the league is trying to effect Detroit's concentration with the most bizarre rule ever handed down: No swinging the octopus over the head! WTF is up with that? Ah well... Wings in 6. Bank it.

Back to dogs and other stuff.

UPDATE: This is too funny!. Game 1: Detroit 4, Colorado 3.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pins and Needles

It's always something.

For the next 24-36 hours I'll be keeping a watchful eye on young Mr. Sandia.

He sleeps soundly every night on a stack of blankets next to the bed. Till around 6:30 or 7:00am... then he goes into his active phase, counter surfing, table hopping, etc. This is when he gets destructive... grabbing a plastic cup from the bathroom sink and chewing it up, finding the leather sunglasses case and chewing it up, reading paperbacks by ripping out the pages... and mostly- looking for something to eat. You get the idea.

About 6:45 this morning, as I was dragging my ass out of bed, (Margaret had spent the night at her parents to prepare for their meeting with a lawyer this morning), I saw Sandia bouncing something large and cylindrical by the sink. It looked like the blank CD container. If only. It was a container of raisins. There weren't nearly as many as there had been last night when I put the container up in the overhead storage, (absently leaving the door open). He had apparently got up on the ottoman and then the chair to retrieve them.

If you have dogs, you know this is a bad thing. Potentially one of the worst things. Toxicity can occur with as little as 0.16 oz per Kg of body weight.. in Sandia's case that's about 4 oz. I estimate he ate around a half cup, possibly more.

Researchers still haven't found what it is in raisins (and grapes) that is toxic to dogs and cats. A micotoxin is suspected, but hasn't yet been identified. Toxicity manifests itself in some cases in acute renal (kidney) failure, and anuria, (lack of urine production). These are sometimes fatal, and can occur in just a couple of days.

I got on the Internet to see if I could use Hydrogen Peroxide to induce vomiting. Indeed I could. Knowing it was OK, and being able to squirt it in his mouth? Something altogether different. If Rally is the most perfect patient veterinarians have seen, Sandia is her evil twin. By myself it was impossible to hold the dog, open his mouth, and squirt the H2O2 in. Not enough hands. Time to call Margaret and wake her up. I was going to need the car anyway.

I think I manged to squeeze about 15ml into him with no result. I walked him and he started gobbling grass like a milking cow. OK... he was going to do it his way. Still nothing.

Meanwhile, Margaret had called Ann Arbor Animal Hospital and we were good to go. I dropped her back off at her parents and made a beeline to a place I hadn't seen in at least 15 years. Believe me, it didn't look like the picture you'll see at the link back then! In fact, my experience with AAAH goes back to the '70s, when Doc Hergott ran a small 2 exam room facility in a little red house at the same location. That's Ann Arbor for you. They told me Doc was still alive, which is surprising considering all the time he spent at Stadium Tavern, just across the street, where I was tending bar to supplement my GI Bill college fund.

But I digress. I brought Sandia in, and he was immediately swept away behind closed doors.. (I really hate when that happens).. to have vomiting induced. No WalMart Hydrogen Peroxide here, they gave him an injection of Apomorphine. He only vomited up about 12 raisins. He was also given activated carbon, which is an absorptive... to pick up any toxins in the digestive tract and carry them out the back.

They took his blood for a CBC (complete blood count), and a "comprehensive organ function" scan. All values at the time were normal. I have to take him back tomorrow and have this $125 worth of blood tests done again. It never ends. I believe I will follow Patrick's advice, (#8, way at the bottom of the post), and question the $25 dollar item entitled: "Nursing Care Daytime"(?) Just how is that different from the $50 office visit?

Anyway, I will be watching the boy for signs of vomiting and diarrhea (none so far), increased thirst, (about normal), and lethargy, (everybody in this house is lethargic at some point of the day... right now, for instance). Other than being a little quieter than normal, and he's had a traumatic day, he seems pretty normal. His evening walk did give up the evidence that some raisins made it out of the stomach before the Apomorphine made it in.. I made like a CSI and counted around 2 dozen,inflated and looking more like little grapes at this point. Later in the evening, more raisins were produced along with the activated charcoal... now that's something to see: jet black stools.

If we make it through the night without any incidents, I think we'll be out of the woods. And believe you me... I'll be doing a thorough scan of the counters before retiring tonight. Good practice for everyone.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tractor Supply Company Takes a Snipe at Foo Foo Dogs..

...and scores a direct hit.

I saw this wonderful new ad last night, and thought, "Wow.. I gotta find this and post it tomorrow".. but insomniac Pat Burns, Terrierman scooped me- and not for the first time- so you can watch it there.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Week in the Life...

It's been an interesting past few days.. you might say from the ridiculous to the sublime.

We shot the River Raisin Rhodesian Ridgeback Club's AKC lure trial last weekend. Saturday was soaking waves of cold rain, all... day... long. That was fine; I've worked in the rain before. Could be worse.



Sunday, it got worse. The snow in and of itself wasn't bad, it was the 25-30mph gusting Northeast wind that was driving it that really sucked. Of course, in typical coursing irony, the snow moved on, and the sun came out... 20 minutes after the trial ended. The wind didn't go anywhere, however.

This is one of the great fields we shoot at. It's a private farm, and there are great rolling hills that are actually grass.. not a mowed hay field. Makes a natural bowl. Take a look when we get the pictures from the weekend uploaded to our website. (Should happen later today). I think the Saturday Borzoi runoffs give a pretty good look at the topography, as I moved into the bottom of the bowl.

From the trial, I drove into Ann Arbor to drop Margaret off at Weber's Inn and Restaurant, a legendary local establishment. She was going to get to spend the night there, in one of the nice poolside rooms, adjacent to her parents' room. I could have stayed, too... but somebody had to go back to Jackson and take care of the dogs. I would join up with them all on Monday morning.

Why? I probably haven't mentioned this before, but Margaret's parents are HUGE Michigan sports fans, and longtime members of the M Club, the folks responsible for the "Go Blue" banner any sports fan who watches football on Saturdays will recognize. They attend countless basketball (men's and women's), hockey, baseball, softball, swimming & diving, gymnastics, meets every year.

The guest speaker at the M Club luncheon (poached whitefish or grilled chicken) would be Michigan's new head football coach, Rich Rodriguez. This was his first meeting with "the club", and it seemed he started off on the wrong foot, with a group you really don't want to piss off. He was late, leaving the host to stall for time, while the natives got restless. And dessert was not a part of the lunch. WTF??

Well, "Rich Rod" finally showed up, to a lukewarm standing ovation... I overheard one of the men at our table say, "He doesn't deserve a standing ovation.. he was late". Tough crowd. They would warm to him, though; I knew they would. This guy is a favorite of ESPN, and we were about to find out why. For a kid who grew up in a tiny coal mining town in West Virginia, he's certainly a fabulous extemporaneous speaker. I hazard to say he can probably out-charisma any coach in the Big 10.. and a majority in the rest of the country.

But why take my word for it? Just watch this clip Margaret shot.. this was his "wrap up" story, about how fortunes can change in the business of college football coaching..


video


Needless to say, at the end of the hour the crowd was a bunch of pussycats, and they were eating out of his hand. More fun than I've had in a couple of years.

Tuesday, I had to finish up my article on the Pack Hunt and Desert Hare Classic for PSJ . Finish, did I say? I had to start and finish it.. already past the deadline. What the hell... I always work better under pressure. By Wednesday morning, I got it finished up and, not to boast,... (OK... I'm boasting), it may be my best stuff yet, so make sure you get your subscription started if you don't already have one. The issue should be out in about a month. Should be a good one, because Dutch will also have a piece about lamping jackrabbits, with some of the pictures I posted here during our Winter in New Mexico.

Anyway, Jackie, the editor, had a fabulous idea. We met her at Chicago Water Grill in the little burg of Jonesville, MI. We've met her there before and we were looking forward to it, as it's one of those incongruous places: fine dining at it's best in a little town far from any bustling metropolises. It gets its name from the fact it sits on US12, known as the Chicago Road... the way you got from Detroit to Chicago before the advent of the Interstate System. I had a Grouper sandwich.. I've mentioned here before my love of grouper haven't I? I'm sure I have. Desert was a "Old Fashioned Tin Roof Sundae". They even do Bananas Foster at your table, (which, by the way, was the answer to the last little quiz, not that anybody cared apparently.) Great restaurant if you're ever in the area. Go out of your way if you have to.

And for a final little restaurant tip... how about the place we just had lunch? Los Tres Amigos. In the Top 5 of all the Mexican and Tex/Mex places we've written about in the past. We try to get there at least once every trip into southeast Michigan. Try the Enchiladas Pacifico- 3 enchiladas stuffed with at least 2 dozen large, grilled shrimp, covered with green sauce (not green chiles.... damn!), rice, guac, beans, and sour cream. The best. Really good margaritas, too- you know that's important.

Tomorrow we'll be off to Stony Run County Park near the town of Crown Point, IN. This will be our first ASFA trial in quite some time.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bone Appetít

We having Chow for dinner?

Interesting thread floating around the portion of the blogosphere that I hang around in... dog for dinner. Read Patrick's interesting piece here, and Steve Bodio's here. Further links to related posts and articles at the respective blogs.

Save me the tenderloin!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Runaways.

Well. That was exciting... in a stressful kind of way. And hard on the vocal chords. (Cords?).

What was that, Dan? See, it's like this: To get Rally out of the motor home to walk, she has to be picked up and set down on the ground.. while this is happening, the door swings wide open, because both hands (and attendant arms) are on the dog. This offers a golden opportunity for Mr. Sandia to make a break for it. Most of the time I've made a circus grab, on the fly, and tossed him back in before closing the door. Today, I got a finger on his collar, but he just slipped off and away he went.

To make today unique, Fanny took advantage of the wide open door while I was turned and yelling at Sandia. Just one, I can get back fairly easily. With two, I had co-enablers. Away they rushed... toward the campground office. They said hello to a lady getting into a pickup, wheeled and ran back toward me.. hey, this was going to be easy after all.

Not. They ran to a corner and peed, looked over their shoulder at this...

Yes... a cornfield. A big cornfield, with a couple of deer stands on the perimeter. The temptation was obviously too much, as they disappeared. When the dogs disappear in the deserts of New Mexico, I don't mind.. I know they'll be back. This is completely different. Farmers in Michigan, and most other states in the vicinity, shoot dogs that are chasing deer. I hoped they didn't jump any deer. I did see a sandhill crane launch more vertically than they're used to.

Meanwhile, I still had Rally on the flexi, and she hadn't peed yet, so I couldn't put her back in, and I couldn't trudge across the cornfield with her and her cast, and the long-promised rain just beginning. So I stood on the campground side yelling, and they cavorted on the opposite side. I just hoped they stayed in the field and didn't venture into the surrounding woods.

Rally finally peed. I ran back to the motor home, threw her in, grabbed my Fox 40 Classic, and ran back to the cornfield, hoping they were still in sight. I was now ready to venture into the field myself... alternatingly yelling their names and blowing the whistle.. Sandia, made a run back toward me, I brought out a dog biscuit, caught his eye... and he slowed,... and then decided he hadn't had enough exercise. Meanwhile, Fanny had disappeared from view. Then Sandia disappeared.

It had now been almost 20 minutes they'd been running loose. I was on my own, because Margaret had gone into Ann Arbor to visit her parents.. if I dropped dead in the middle of the field, no one would find me until they came through to plant new corn. I had to find them..

I was halfway across the field when Sandia approached. And stayed. I got a leash on him, gave him a biscuit that he was too exhausted to eat, (although he did remove it from my jacket pocket after we were back in the house), and we went in search of Fanny.

We got all the way across, to the foot of one of the deer stands, and she was nowhere in sight. There was a trail that sloped downhill toward Goose Lake, west of the stand... as we started down it, Fanny broke out of the woods behind us, and stood to be leashed. She was finally out of gas. But not out of surprises.

I'd thought the worse thing that could happen was that they'd be shot by some farmer. Perhaps not... Fanny was covered in burrs... including covering her right eye completely; and she'd rolled in something exotic. Crane crap? Deer carcass? It was black, and greasy, and stunk to the heavens. Great. She needed washing, and it was raining and only about 45 degrees. I didn't want to bring her in, but that was my only option.

And that's how I came to do a thorough cleaning up of the shower and the bathroom today!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Return to the Swimmin' Hole

Remember that slide show from last October? You know, the one with Sandia and Rally playing in the little temporary pond in the back corner of Windyglen? Good. We figured, if still shots are good, movies will be even better.. so Margaret took Fanny and Sandia back to the pond which, due to recent heavy rains, was much bigger... and deeper, and shot this video with the Fuji ...

video

Listen... maybe that's why it's called Windyglen! And look at Sandia... that's why I think he's Bipolar.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Whats the Matter With Kansas?

Hey, we're back. Miss us?

We've been on the move for the last week or so.. from Oklahoma to Kansas to Michigan. Kansas was our stop last weekend for an AKC trial outside of Wichita... which leads us to the title of this post. And no, I'm not talking about Thomas Frank's excellent book by the same name, wherein he investigates why hundreds of thousands of poor Kansans voted against their own economic self interest in the 2004 elections. (Hint: they drank the Bush KoolAid).

No, I'm talking about our own wacky experiences in Kansas. First, we stopped in the brand new Wichita World Market... where we've found a wine we really like. Once in the store, I discovered we weren't going to be there for very long. No wine and beer section! What the hell is this? When leaving, one of the employees asked if we found everything OK... that's all the invitation I needed. Like she was prescient, she said, "Ah, the liquor?... thank you, Kansas". I don't understand what convoluted statutes allow Sam's Club to have a complete liquor store attached to their building, and forbids World Market from selling wine and beer. We never did get any wine.


Then, as we were leaving the state on Sunday, we witnessed a phenomenon we saw a couple of years ago: Every Spring, Kansans set themselves on fire.

They have their reasons. Good ones it turns out, as explained at the link. It's just bizarre to drive past mile after mile of smoldering grasslands. The smell and the haze aren't all that pleasant, but they're working on that.



And then there's "Pastor" Fred Phelps in Topeka. Actually, God hates you, Fred.


Now, I don't want to leave the impression that all is bad and bleak in Kansas. Saturday night we were invited out to dinner at the Kabob House restaurant on Wichita's west side. An intimate (read: small) place, featuring Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine. This was clearly a winner. I had the "Donor Alexander Kabob".... grilled, seasoned lamb, covered with a tomato-butter sauce, together with rice and bulgar. It was sooooo good. Finished up with a delicious Turkis coffee.


Now we're back in Michigan... I'm so glad we weren't still in Kansas when Kansas University won whatever meaningless sports tournament we watched on TV last night. We might have gotten trampled by the celebratory run on the campus malt shops. "Rock. Chalk. Jayhawk." What the hell does that mean? (Can you tell my money was on Memphis?).


Michigan. Snow in the forecast for the weekend. Figures.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ontario-friendly Whippet Products.

Now the fine, law-abiding folks of Ontario, Canada have nothing to fear about putting the Shot On Site "I'd Rather Be Coursing" sticker on their vehicles... The American (and Global... except for perhaps Saudi Arabia) "Porn" version remains on the shelves.

See also new products for Azawakh, Irish Wolfhound, Ibizan Hound, Italian Greyhound, and Pharaoh Hound! (In addition to all the original breed goodies).

Where do you get them? here, of course.