Sunday, March 31, 2019

How do you round up 500 old cows? Put up a bingo sign.

Sam signs up with the army and gets sent on basic training...

When they are handing out rifles, he is at the back of the line and they run out just before they get to him.

The Sergeant gives him a stick and tell him to just pretend it's a rifle.

So our hero goes running through the mock battle pointing his stick and yelling, "Bangidy, bang, bang, bang. Bangidy, bang, bang, bang."

The next week, they start bayonet training. Again Sam is at the end of the line and again they run out just before they get to him.

The Sergeant tells him to just pretend he has a bayonet at the end of his pretend rifle. So Sam goes running through the mock battle with his stick yelling, "Bangidy, bang, bang, bang. Stabidy, stab, stab,stab."

Well the unit finished basic training and gets called up to go into real battle.

Our hapless hero finds himself eventually on a landing craft, hitting the beach.

Unfortunately, they have never given him a real rifle and he still has his stick. He is wondering what in the heck he is going to do.

As the unit fights his way inland, Sam mindlessly points his stick at an enemy soldier standing on a hill and yells, "Bangidy, bang, bang, bang."

To his amazement, the enemy soldier falls over dead! So he
aims his stick at another and yells, "Bangidy, bang, bang, bang."

And that enemy falls over dead!

Now our hero is running madly along, pointing his stick at any enemy soldier he sees, yelling "Bangidy, bang, bang, bang."

Enemy soldiers are dropping like flies! An enemy jumps out from a bush beside him.

Sam points his stick and yells, "Stabidy, stab, stab, stab." The
other guy drops and writhes in pain.

All of a sudden an enemy soldier comes walking slowly along a path.

Sam carefully aims his stick at the soldier and yells, "Bangidy,
bang, bang, bang." But the enemy soldier just keeps coming.

Sam tries again, "Bangidy, bang, bang, bang!" Nothing. As the enemy soldier gets closer, Sam cries out, "Stabidy, stab, stab, stab."

But the enemy soldier runs right over him, crushing him.

As Sam lies dying, he hears the enemy soldier muttering, "Tankidy, tank, tank, tank."

Saturday, March 30, 2019

What do you call a bike trail for crazy people? A cycle path

My base route in Philadelphia for workouts was a 9 mile loop from Falls Bridge to the Art Museum and back.  It is an absolutely beautiful place to spend time walking, talking to people, seeing the sites. 

I used to chuckle at and cheer on the tourists running up the Art Museum Steps to do the Rocky Run and jump up and down at the top.   Yes, they did that every day!

A visit is highly recommended if you are in town and don't want to do touristy things. 

I would get on my skates, do three plus laps of the park, and see all sorts of things there.

One afternoon, I saw a police car sitting on Kelly Drive just south of Falls Bridge talking to some older guys who had just hauled in a Catfish.  The fish was at least six feet long.  If you told me it was longer I would have believed you.

Kind of a shock as I didn't realize there was anything actually living in the Schuylkill River around the year 2000.

I definitely miss Fairmount Park.  "If I hit the lottery", I'm buying a summer house just off that park so I can skate there again.

But ... At any rate, this was in my mind when I found this story.

Old man fishing truth stretching

Two old men were sitting around the coffee shop one morning sharing fishing tales as they sipped their coffee.

One man man was notorious for stretching the truth on his catches. He always had to top everyone’s stories.

The other old man was telling about him catching a 60lb catfish and how it took him 2 hours fighting it and it suddenly snapped off at the bank only to escape after all the struggle of landing it.

The other old man chimes in and said “yeahhhh well I was fishing the other morning and I felt a heavy bite so I slowly reeled and set the hook set so hard it nearly snapped my rod!”

The first guy rolls his eyes and replies “ oh sure here we go again”.

He resumes his story and said he fought the beast for 4 hours dragging it up from the bottom until he finally saw something surface.
He pulled and pulled and ripped it on the bank of the shore.
He couldn’t believe what it was. He said ”It was a lantern!”.

The other old man didn’t seem that impressed and said “ok so you snagged an old rusty lantern off the bottom? Big deal?”

The old man replies “ yeah but the weirdest thing was it was still lit!”

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Got a Dog? You Are Being Watched. Got a Herding Dog? Better Respect The Process.

Every so often, you hear this story.   For me it was the other day on BBC, this is a similar story if you want video.  In fact, the story is so common that if you do a search on "Breast Cancer Dog", you will find many videos and stories on this subject

The story went that there was a woman who has a dog.  A great dog, a Rescue Dog, friendly, they bonded deeply, and they integrated each other deeply into each other's lives.

So what she described is what you normally call a Shadow Dog.  They follow you every where.  

In my case, Rack is a Shadow Dog, but being a McNab, he does it differently.  He places
himself strategically so that he can see where I am and what I am doing, no matter who else is in the house.

Get the picture?   Good, here's where it gets intriguing.

This lady noticed a difference in her dog's moods.  The dog became less bouncy.  Less energetic.  More reserved. 

Of course, dogs have moods just like you or I, and the longer I have my own boy here, the more often I realize that he does things for a reason.

That "reason" is what was causing the mood swings.   She was getting ready to take the dog into the vet to see if there was anything at all wrong with the dog when she noticed something odd.

We're all used to having our dogs sniff around.  Mine took an interest in a bit of road rash I have on my left arm that took a little too long to heal.  He sniffed that spot every time he came over for a visit during a perimeter search in the house.  So I paid more attention to it, washed it out more often and more thoroughly than usual.  When it healed, he lost interest.

Here is the parallel.  The lady's dog sniffed her chest more than normal, and realized that the dog was sniffing one specific breast.  Since she was in the UK she was able to get the care she needed, and found out that there was breast cancer developing in that breast.

The dog saved her life, and this is one of many cases where that story works out for the best. 

Really, I have said it before many times and I shall say it again "Trust In Dog".

I have a routine.  It's very fixed in the way things are done.   I suppose I live an ordered and orderly life, although if you saw my kitchen you would disagree.

Things happen the same way daily because I have figured out that best process and the best order.  You would expect that of someone like me, a Project Manager.   We do that, we plan, we watch processes for the best outcome and tweak them and tune them like a fine piece of machinery.

However, my own ordered life is noticed by Rack down to the last detail.

He knows not to ask for an ice cube after the first one is given in the morning.  We walk, come home, I feed him and then he goes to his bed tucked away in a corner.   I then putter in the kitchen making up a mug of French Press coffee and drop five, not four or six, ice cubes in the press to bring it to a perfect temperature.

Rack knows that when I go into the freezer to come but only when called.  He gets his prize, I get my coffee, and since it is usually well before sunrise, I settle in to sip coffee and work on learning Spanish, getting caught up, and getting started.

At 7:30AM every day, whether it is raining or not, the irrigation system comes on.  It is on a timer and must run to water the orchids and fruit trees in pots.  Regardless of weather since some of these pots require a specific watering schedule, I have to go outside.

By this time, He's either needing to visit the large palm tree out back or wants to just get out for a break and a romp.  I'm not completely sure which, or both.

When I am ready, I put my keyboard away, and immediately I hear Rack doing his "Downward Dog" yoga stretch, and then a furious trot behind me to the back door.

Every blessed day.
Without fail.


"Ok Rack, I am coming." 

Rinsing out that French Press mug, I get to the door.  Rack invites himself outside, first.  I dump the grounds in the garden and go about my Yard Inspection.

It is every day.


Even during Irma's aftermath, I maintained that schedule, although since the power was out or running on a generator, I used that time to scoop debris out of the pool or just do gardening.

But Rack was there.  Watching over what I was doing and insisting on being there.

When he has had enough of marking the perimeter outside, He comes back and tries to nudge me back indoors.

It's that process thing.  One step after another, respect the process.  In order.

Now if he starts sniffing any specific part of your body, pay attention.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

What do you need for a movie about broken bones? An awesome cast

Three short and sweet.  Sounds like my coffee with three pink packets plus cream.

When I was out today, I saw a phone on the table outside a coffee shop that had been left there, so I pocketed it. It started to ring....

I took it out of my pocket and the caller I.D. said 'Mom'.

I put it back on the table and slowly backed away.

How did she know I was up to no good?

What should I do?

A guy goes running into his doctor's office.

"Doctor! Doctor! Help me! I can't control my bladder. I pee all the time, everywhere I go. What should I do?"

"Well, the first thing to do is ... get off my rug!"

A man goes to see a fortune teller.

She begins "your name is Steve", "wrong".
"Your favourite colour is green", "wrong".
"You have a dead uncle who passed away 2 years ago", "wrong".
"Your wife's name is Carol", "wrong".
"You have 2 children named John and Christian", "wrong".
"You are a painte...", "wrong".

Getting flustered the woman asks "What in bloody hell do you do then?"
"I investigate fraud".

Saturday, March 23, 2019

What do monkey police do to monkeys who drink and drive? They put them behind monkey bars.

Monkeys?  Everyone likes monkeys, right?  Cute little antics, almost human-like on a good day?

Have more monkeys!

A hat maker was trying to sell his hats on a hot summers day. 

After having no luck for 4 hours under the sun, he decided to take a short rest underneath a gigantic tree. He set his briefcase of hats down, took one out to cover his face, and laid down on the grass. With the shade from his hat and the warmth of the ground beneath him, he felt drowsy and quickly fell asleep. When he woke up an hour later, he was startled to find that his briefcase was open, and his hats were missing.

He then heard a curious sound above him. only to notice that the tree was filled with chatty monkeys all wearing his hats! He quickly tried offering them sticks or dropped fruits in exchange for his hats, but the monkeys seemed to only make fun of him. Furious, he threw a stick at one of the monkeys, which resulted in a shower of thrown sticks back at him. Ducking for cover, he backed off to another nearby tree where he thew his hat down in frustration. To his amazement, the monkeys, seemingly copying him, threw their hats down as well! He quickly picked up his hats and ran away.

The hat maker went on to have a very successful business, getting married and having many children and eventually grandchildren. He passed on his knowledge of the trade to his oldest son before retiring, who upheld the family business and eventually passed it on to his oldest son as was tradition.

A few generations passed, and the new owner and grandson of the hat maker was selling hats on a hot day, when he too decided to take a short rest underneath a very similar tree. 

One thing lead to another, and he found himself waking up to his hats having been stolen by monkeys! However, he remembered the old story his grandfather had told him about outwitting some monkeys, and threw his hat down. A single monkey climbed down the tree and took the hat before making a rude gesture and scurrying back up. Stumped and enraged, he screamed at the monkey.

The monkey replied: "Hey idiot, you're not the only one with a grandfather".

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Rum Raisins - How to make them for baking

This isn't so much of a recipe as it could be called a kitchen hack.

There isn't a picture this time because it looked like pebbles in some murky brown water, but you'll get the idea.  Really it is that simple.  You just have to let things soak and sit for a day.

It's so easy that it's one of those things you do while waiting for the kettle to boil.

Rum Raisin

Get a 2 cup or 1/2 liter container - or larger.  Feel free to double this recipe with a larger container if needed.  You want extra "room" so you can shake the mixture every so often.

Raisins, your choice - 1/2 cup or 4 ounces or 225 ml
Rum, your choice - 1/2 cup or 4 ounces or 225 ml

This will scale up or scale down based on your needs.  The trick is to make sure that the raisins are all covered by rum.

When you go to use the rum raisins, strain them with a sieve or mesh.  But reserve the extra rum because the now-brown rum tastes awesome straight up or on ice.

... or on ice cream.

To use the raisins in Tapioca Pudding or Oatmeal Raisin cookies, use the strained raisins as you would with any other wet raisins.  They will change the taste of your baked goods, and in a normal sized serving of Tapioca, you will get between 1/2 to one ounce of rum.

If you're a tea totaller or "On Recovery", substitute water or grape juice.

This also works with any dried fruit within reason.  I'm thinking dried Mangoes next time I go to the shops, or perhaps Apricots.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

I quit my job at the helium gas factory. I refused to be spoken to in that tone of voice!

With all due respect...

I believe that it is technically a Helium Gas Mine.  The helium collects at the top of a pocket or a cave underground.  Water seeks its own level, just like helium does.  

Two friends Bob and Frank are lost deep in the jungle when they encounter a tribe of blood thirsty cannibals.

They are surrounded by dozens of the fierce blood thirsty warriors armed with clubs and spears. The leader of the warriors approaches the two friends and informs them they are trespassing on sacred land and unless they can prove they are descendants of the Gods they will be killed and eaten.

Bob and Frank realize they have little choice but agree they will attempt any test to try to save their lives.

The chief warrior brings them a bowl full of angry fire ants and drops three small seeds into the bowl. He informs them they must put their lips in the bowl and suck as hard as they can. If they manage to suck up all three seeds without sucking up an ant then the tribe would know they must be sent from the Gods.

Bob looks wearily at Frank but knowing they have no other options he puts his lips in the bowl and sucks hard. He immediately gets a mouth full of ants and screams in pain as they bite away at the inside of his mouth. Frank now even more nervous takes his turn and to his dismay also receives a nasty mouthful of the viscous buggers.

The warriors leap to their feet and surround the friends, “Now you must die” declares the chieftain. Just as the first spear is raised to Franks throat he screams “Tria-Gan!” The warriors stop dead in their tracks. “What did you say” asked the chief. “Tria-Gan” yelled frank again. Immediately the chief and his warriors turned and fled into the forest.

“Holy shit” said Bob “What did you just say and how did you know it would work?”

“Well” said Frank, “my Mother always told me if at first you don’t suck seeds try Tria-Gan.”

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Why do chicken coops have 2 doors? If they had 4 doors they'd be chicken sedans

Ok, Car Manufacturers.  A Coupe in US English is a car with two doors.
A Sedan in US English is a car with four doors.
Mixing the two is bad US English.

As usual, I refuse to play along with that folly.

But since that really was all about chicken coops and not chicken coupes I will soldier onward and continue shouting at the ocean, Harald.

A man from Maine heads to Florida for a weekend trip.
The man’s wife is coming to see him the next day.

He checks into a hotel room and opens his laptop.
He sends her a brief email to let her know he got to his destination safely.

Unfortunately, he makes a typo in the address and the email is sent to the elderly wife of a minister who had recently passed away.

When the grieving widow checks her email later that day, she lets out a scream and falls to the floor.

Her children come rushing in to find the following on her screen:

Dearest Wife,
I have just arrived. Everything is prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Can’t wait to see you.
Your loving Husband

P.S. : It sure is hot down here!

An old man goes to a restaurant.

He sits down and orders his favorite bowl of soup.

After a small wait the waiter returns with his bowl of soup.

A few minutes go by and the waiter returns and asks the older gentleman how his soup his.

“It’s ice cold” says the man. “Impossible!” Says the waiter “I watched the chef pour it straight from the pot on the stove”

This exchange goes on for quite a while, until finally the old man says “if you don’t believe me just try it”

The waiter throws his hands up and says “fine! Give me your spoon”

The old man smiles looks down at his bowl and says “ahaaaaa, you forgot my spoon”

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Debian Linux - Upgrading from Stable Stretch to Testing Buster

There is a meme that explains why I use Debian Linux.

The Answer Is Always Choose Debian.

Why?  It Just Works.  First time, every time, all the time.  More stable that ever came out from anything I have ever encountered and I have tried them all.

Mind you, I am using Debian Stable which justifiably has the reputation of being a bit behind the times.  All that stability comes from the Debian team testing the daylights out of the software.

At this time, March 2019, Debian is preparing to turn its current testing version into the stable version.  Buster will become Stable some time after summer starts.

Or Fall.  Whenever Debian is ready.  It's ready when they say it is.

I've done this before, over the weekend, and a second time for practice.  The result worked, but my video editor is now the version 5 which enforces this Dark Theme that works great on a phone or tablet to save battery but is garbage on the desktop under XFCE 4.  

The buttons have pearl grey text on a light grey button face.  Whoever made that decision needs to use the software and realize it just isn't good.

The solution with that was to go to Edit/Preferences/View tab.
To get this back to the old look and feel, Change:
Buttons Style to Simple
Theme Request to Light Theme
Theme Detection to Ubuntu

I messed around with it, did a render and the render was of poor quality and glitchy.

That convinced me that it will work - later on after Debian fixes it for them and for me.

If that is the only complaint I have over a complete upgrade to a testing version of the OS, plus all the added software/apps/programs... I'll deal!

I have an afternoon so I am doing it today while listening to a Mexican radio station on the internet with my foot up on the couch.

Standard Internet Warranty Applies:  While I, Ramblingmoose, have made every step and precaution to make certain that these instructions are complete, they are presented for you to follow at your own risk.  I make no warranty expressed or implied, to guarantee your own success.  This worked for me, twice, this week.  Your success may vary.

Make sure you have adequate backups, read the instructions, and all your equipment is in working order.

While I do not guarantee your success, I will be following this instruction set and I fully expect this all to be successful...

For Me. 

To begin.
  • Clone the hard drive.  Not just back it up but clone it.  If your backup drive is on /dev/sdb and your source drive is /def/sda then "dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb conv=noerror,sync status=progress"
  • Mount the clone in a suitable computer as the boot drive.
  • Boot the computer.  
  • If you end up in the recovery with a "initramfs" prompt, as root, "fsck -y /dev/sda1" and reboot to get to your expected desktop.

Now, the computer you are working from now has the backed up/cloned hard drive as your boot drive and have full control.  You are at the desktop.

Start terminal and "sudo su" to log in as root.  If you break anything, you are on your cloned drive and can start over.

Save your old /etc/apt tree to a new /etc/apt.old tree:
  • remove any "apt.old" tree that is there (be careful with this command) "rm -rf /etc/apt.old"
  • Copy the existing apt tree to a new apt.old tree for backup: "cp -r /etc/apt /etc/apt.old"
Prepare the apt tree by commenting out any backports from prior versions and upgrade your sources.list to Buster.
  • Using your favorite editor, edit /etc/apt/sources.list.d/stretch-backports.list to comment out all lines or simply remove the file.
  • Edit /etc/apt/sources.list.d/base.list and change "stretch" to "buster"
  • Edit /etc/apt/sources.list and change "stable" or "stretch" to "buster"

This will allow you to jump to Buster while it is still Testing but make sure it will stay on Buster when the next Testing is created.

Hold your breath!  We're goin' in!

Now issue the commands to upgrade your computer to Buster:

appstreamcli refresh --force   (to force clear out the appstream system cache)  
apt update    (reports 2485 packages can be upgraded)

apt upgrade  

NOTE: It will be necessary to watch this process if you have a mature system.  
It asked to restart xscreensaver and xlockmore twice. OK
It asked to "Restart services during package upgrades without asking?"  Yes
It failed on a restart for xrdp which is no problem, I will reboot after the process is done. OK
It asked to restart xscreensaver and xlockmore again.  OK
Mine required intervention on the upgrade of multiple packages due to my making changes in the conf files.  
Verify by selecting "N" keep current version or "D" to compare versions 
Specifically crontab, tumbler.rc, smb.conf, sysctl.conf, /etc/default/ufw, xrdp.ini
GRUB wanted to be reinstalled to my boot device.  I selected /dev/sda and /dev/sda1


At this point, the upgrade has completed.

There will be more software to upgrade, it asked me to upgrade another 7xx programs when it checked.

Final Clean Up

Three last steps. 
First, the system itself asked to be updated again via the graphical software installer.  This is equivalent to running "apt update"  and "apt upgrade" once again.

Then a distribution upgrade to bring the software yet again up to date and synchronize all the software levels.  Seemed redundant since the command when issued had no effect.  However, "apt dist-upgrade" will complete the task

And Finally Finally!

To remove all redundant, unused packages as well as to clear things up for next time "apt autoremove"

At this point, you're done, reboot, and use your computer as normal.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

I wonder if Earth makes fun of the Moon for having no life.

So I'm late because my body is still on Standard Time and this is/was the time change day.   Damnit just set it and forget it, Huh?

Anyway, back to the usual frivolities on a weekend!  Dad Jokes usually have a Kid listening so here are two with both!

A child asked his father, "How were people born?"
So his father said, "Adam and Eve made babies, then their babies became adults and made babies, and so on."

The child then went to his mother, asked her the same question and she told him, "We were monkeys then we evolved to become like we are now."

The child ran back to his father and said, "You lied to me!"
His father replied, "No, your mom was talking about her side of the family."

My insanely witty five-year-old, ladies and gentlemen:

Step-daughter: "I'm hungry."

Me: "Nice to meet you, hungry, I'm dad."

Her: "Ahhhhgh could you not say that anymore?"

Me: "Aw why not, sweets?"

Her: "Because I don't like it when you call me names like hungry or thirsty or anything!"

Me: "Alright, I'm not going to say that anymore."

Her: "Nice to meet you, not going to say that anymore."

Saturday, March 9, 2019

What kind of Tick is explosive? A dyna-mite.

When I read this the first time I laughed out loud to it, and did again right now.

Then again living in South Florida, I consider this every time I get into the Jeep!

With a very seductive voice, a wife asked her husband, “Have you ever seen $20 all crumpled up?”

“No” said her husband. She gave him a little smile, unbuttoned the top three buttons, reached into her bra and pulled out a crumpled $20 note.

She then asked “Have you ever seen $50 all crumpled up?” “No, I haven’t” he said with an anxious tone in his voice. She seductively unzipped her skirt and pulled out a crumpled $50 note.

“Now” she said. “Have you ever seen $40,000 all crumpled up?” “No way!” he panted, becoming even more excited,

She said “Look in the garage.”

While you could easily flip that around to be a man telling his wife that little... story,  I rather like the way this next one is written.

Turn about is fair play!

My wife is hard of hearing . . .

A concerned husband went to a doctor to talk about his wife. He says to the doctor, “Doctor, I think my wife is deaf because she never hears me the first time and always asks me to repeat things.”

 “Well,” the doctor replied, “go home and tonight stand about 15 feet from her and say something to her. If she doesn’t reply move about 5 feet close and say it again. Keep doing this so that we’ll get an idea about the severity of her deafness”.

Sure enough, the husband goes home and does exactly as instructed. He starts off about 15 feet from his wife in the kitchen as she is chopping some vegetables and says, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”

He hears no response. He moves about 5 feet closer and asks again. No reply. He moves 5 feet closer. Still no reply. He gets fed up and moves right behind her, about an inch away, and asks again, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”

She replies, “For the fourth time, vegetable stew!”

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

To Teach Success to Your Dog Is No Harder Than Building A Team

Hey!  Rack!  Want to go Out Front?
Blank stare.

I know what you really want.  I just choose to ignore it.  I have chosen my own reality.

The smarter the breed, the more mental stimulation that they need.   Sure, you gave your dog food, water, shelter.  You take them for walks hopefully with bags to pick up after them. 

Things happen the same time every day, so now you have established a routine.  They don't know why you get up and do things in a certain order, ice cubes to cool off the coffee after you brew it, why you go outside to check the yard at a specific time of day because the sprinklers come on. 

They just like the order.

So when you throw the order off it gets strange results. 

Mid morning mug of coffee happens because you think taking an afternoon nap at 10 AM is just a bit too ... decadent for a busy day.

But you too need a break.

The feet scrape on the floor as you push from the desk and...

The dog trots to the back door.  Back door means that Rack can go explore, water my pots of Basil that keep sprouting in strange spots along with all the other involuntary plantings.

Wash the Basil well before it goes onto the Pizza, ok?

I sigh.

Rack, Front Yard.   I'm not sure if it is a request or an order.
Go water the rock!


There's a duck trying to walk across the yard anyway, I have to convince that beast to go "elsewhere". 

Rack walks to a spot and stops.

I go outside take a step off the porch, the duck walks across the street and draws a box watching me every flap of those feet.   I take a second step when it stops and convince it otherwise.  I'm really tired of pressure washing the concrete because a duck parks itself there when I am not watching.

The duck dance ends with the beast five yards down.  I need my coffee anyway.

Rack hasn't moved.  He's bored.

By the time I have taken the first sip, he's looked out back again, came over sat down and is looking at me through the side of his eye pretending he's not being seen begging for attention.

He may think he's being slick but I think that's the Reality of Dog when you are a herding dog who does not know how to herd, nor chase any other creatures.

Except me of course.

Second sip happens as I take my hand away from petting him, turning his head, telling him that he's the Goodest Boy Ever But You Are Not Surprising Me A BIT!

I think aloud "I'd take you in the Jeep somewhere but not just yet". 

Shouldn't have said that.  Now he's glued to my side thinking he put the words together saying that a ride was happening RIGHT NOW.

Maybe later, I tell him.  Dogs have a really awful sense of what "later" is.

You can indeed have a highly active, highly intelligent Herding dog in a small house in the suburbs.   You just have to be trained.

Cesar Millan is right, people can be trained.  The dog knows how to Dog.  

Herding dogs need a job.  I am Rack's Job.  Truth be told, anyone in the house is family even if they aren't or at least by the second visit they are.  Family is the job.  Even that noisy as hell parrot in the back room's window, Oscar. 

But Oscar is a very different story indeed.

I move my feet off the footstool at my workstation.  

Mistake.  The whole cycle starts over.  Rack thinks that Things Are Happening. 

Yeah, I'm grabbing the headphones so I can listen to that NorteƱo music from Mexicali Mexico that I find I like even if it is "educational for me".  Time to go to the kitchen

After a fashion he's right.  Potatoes go in the oven for the Roast Pork Lunch that he is waiting for. 

Of course he waits for it.  He gets to do his sad little Me Too Routine so that he gets some pork,
excellently cooked even if I do say so myself.

Not every herding dog could do it.  After all, support dogs don't always make the program.  I don't need that much support, companionship is about the extent of it.  Just don't raid the trash or the recycling.  You won't get away with it because the house is too small for that.

Besides, a metal bowl on top of the trash can's lid makes a heck of a sound when it crashes to earth.

But this is how we solved a completely broken down mental state when we got him.  I'm a big loud man.  I never decided that we would change, but he would be given every opportunity to learn how to live with us. 

Teach success.  It's best for dogs, people, even you and me.  Given the chance to excel, most will make an effort to reach your expectations and then leave them in the dust.

It's a team building exercise.  Not one bit different than how I taught programmers how to be systems analysts so I could go off and be a project manager in a traditional setting.  Your Systems Analyst just has black and white fur and a wet nose.

When we got him, his first walk in the neighborhood was on his belly slinking across the street one paw at a time, to meet Lisa and Bill, our former neighbors.  He never learned that people can be fun and exciting.

Until he met us.  Now everything is an opportunity to learn.

Teach success.  It's easy.  

If your dog is barking like it's insane, you're not keeping its mind active.

But it is also your responsibility.  A dog that knows his place in the family, or the pack, lives a longer happier life.

So will you.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Damn dude, you must be very good at Limbo. We set the bar really low and you still managed to go under it.

Now this one is a bit long, but it definitely did surprise me.  

There is a store in Spain that sells exquisite handmade writing instruments.

This store has all kinds of bespoke fountain pens and rollerball pens and even ball point pens. There are pens made of fine hard woods and precious metals inlaid with all kinds of gems. These pens are all handmade by artisans who have been in the business for generations.

But what really sets this shop apart is their ink master. Most people buy pens with black ink or blue ink or even red ink, mostly because they do not know the world of colors of ink available at this shop. These fine inks are carefully blended by this ink master, a prodigy among those with a sense for color. There are colors so deep you feel you could fall into them, so vibrant you'd think they were alive, and so bright you'd think they were on fire. Every color imaginable and some you can't even imagine are available here.

However the ink master is rarely at the store, he travels the world sourcing ingredients for his magnificent inks. Velvet Red ink made from the shell of a Japanese beetle. Royal blue ink made from the petals of an African flower that only blooms once every four years. Making sure these ingredients are available for his customers keeps this whiz of ink away for months sometimes years at a time.

But while people come from all over the world to buy this artisan ink maker's products, very few ever actually think they'll get a chance to meet him.

Because nobody expects the Spanish ink whiz is in.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

To be Frank... I'd have to change my name

Sitting in bed the other night, I asked my wife, “Honey, if I died, would you let your next husband have my recliner”?

She replies, “Well it would be a waste not to, he may find it comfortable”.

Then I ask, “What about my boat”?

And she says, “I just don’t think you will be needing your boat after your gone. We may retire and do a lot of fishing”.

So I did some thinking and asked, “How about my truck, surely you’ll sell it because all of the memories of us riding in it together will be too much for you to bear and too awkward with your next husband”.

She replies, “You know, it is paid for with low miles, I’ll probably hang on to it”.

Then, getting kinda nervous, I said, “Well SURELY you wont let him have my golf clubs”?

To which my wife responds, “Oh no honey, don’t worry about that, he’s left handed”.