In Barkest Night!

In canine day, in barkest night.

No squirrel shall escape my sight.

Let those who worship feline might,

Beware my power — Dog Lantern’s light!

I give you the Dog Lanterns of Space Sector 2814.

Open Thread!

It’s Always the Quiet Ones You Have To Watch Out For

So since I moved here, I have had a problem with a stealth shitter crapping on the hardwood floors. I was absolutely convinced it was Thurston, because I have caught him get excited and piss before. Rosie was my second thought because her hips hurt and she sometimes does not want to walk outside. But I couldn’t know for sure, and since I free feed the dogs, I couldn’t put different colored crayon shavings in the food for each dog and identify it that way, as one of you suggested.

So I bought a cheap surveillance camera, hooked it up to my wifi and set it up to send me push alerts whenever it detected motion. And just a few minutes ago, I caught the perpetrator red-pawed:

So now I get to teach an old dog a new trick.

Wednesday Morning Open Thread

Everybody picks on poor Wistah (local pronunciation). The city’s in a geographical anomaly where it tends to pick up more snow than its neighbors (much less the local coastal elites), so the local TV weathercasters always prep some ‘blasted hills of Worcester’ B-roll for every weather event.

Our house is just outside Rte 128 (the off ramp runs behind our neighbor’s yard), which is a dependable meteorological dividing line (as is the second ‘ring’ outside Rte 495). But this time, for once, we got rather less than some of the communities between us and Boston proper — “only” about 8 inches, from my unscientific tally. It was eight nasty, sludge-based, top-crusted heavy inches, though. I cleared the front steps and walkway, but there’s no way we could break through the waist-high ice berm at the road edge… if the Spousal Unit’s plow guy doesn’t show up as promised this morning, we’re not gonna be leaving the house.

Apart from digging out — or mocking us diggers, if you weren’t in Stella range — what’s on the agenda for the day?


Speaking of niche enthusiasms… several BJ commentors enjoyed rescue terrier Ollie’s agility adventure at Crufts (Britain’s national show, proudly the ‘biggest dog show in the world’). Ollie’s antics are indeed a mood-lifter, but what caught my eye was the flyball competition, a sport that has certainly come a long way in the quarter-century since I enjoyed watching my Midwestern dog-loving friends compete…

Here’s the (full, 22min) 2017 finals, if you’ve got extra time on your hands. A lurcher is a cross between a sighthound and a ‘working breed’ — usually a border collie or a terrier, these days. You might think that purebred sighthounds (whippets, greyhounds, basenjis) would have an unbeatable advantage at flyball, but sighthounds are notorious divas… they love to run, but not necessarily to retrieve. (Sighthound fanciers will tell you their dogs were bred to run down prey well ahead of their human partners, and it was more profitable to have a dog that would bring down the bunny/deer/mountain goat and then lose interest while the human caught up to do the retrieving part.)

Speed, as the announcers keep mentioning, is the key factor in these top-rank races… but I can tell you from my days observing the sport, the foundation of a winning team is finding “high-intensity” dogs with the drive to gettheballgettheballgettheball and then bring it back, not just once but dozens of times a day, hundreds of days in a row. You’ll notice in the embedded video that one of those very speedy lurchers spits out the ball once he’s just barely past the finish line — in the 2017 race, the same dog (IIRC), despite his record-breaking speed, ‘faults’ his run by dropping the ball too soon and cheats his team of the win. That’s why there are so many border collies and collie-crosses on these teams; their prey drive is as intense as a sighthound’s, and while they may not be quite as fast, they’re less likely to flake out at a crucial moment.

Just in case you’re curious… yes, there is a North American Flyball Association, and probably a group that trains in your area. It’s open to dogs of any and all breeds, and (unlike, say, dog agility) doesn’t require the humans involved to be in good physical shape — teenagers and creaky old people with fit dogs can compete on equal terms.

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Make It So — Cute!

Sir Patrick probably wouldn’t object to the comparison.

What’s on the agenda for the day, or the weekend?

Speaking of things that could cheer you up, from the Washington Post“Trump stumping for AHCA? Democrats aren’t worried”:

The three-phase Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act is intended to end with massive political pressure on Senate Democrats, who’ll face a choice: Vote with them on individual replacement bills, or be blamed for the American Health Care Act’s implementation going awry. The crux of the theory is that 10 Democrats face reelection next year in states won by Trump.

The problem with the theory is that those Democrats feel little pressure to vote Trump’s way.

“If he came to Michigan to campaign for this plan? I think it’d be terrific,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) at a Thursday news conference. “We’d welcome him to come to Michigan, and talk to the people who with all sincerity voted for him because they thought he was going to make their lives better. Let him talk about what happens when they lose health care, and when their parents lose health care.”

In the past, presidents trying to build support for their first-term agendas have reached out to the opposition party; when that’s failed, they’ve campaigned in their states. During his unsuccessful 2005 pitch for Social Security privatization, President George W. Bush flew into states like Nebraska, still represented by Democrats in the Senate, with the not-so-subtle suggestion that rejecting the presidential agenda would come with risks.

But some members of the Democrats’ 2018 class don’t see a risk in rejecting Trump…

The Democrats’ confidence comes from two main sources. The first is the AHCA itself, which offers nothing that appeals either to the party’s base or to interest groups that backed the ACA, such as AARP. The second is Trump, who Democrats do not see as a force even in some states that he won. In the states that voted for Barack Obama twice then for Trump — Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — the president’s favorable rating on Election Day was below 40 percent. In Iowa, the only one of those states polled recently, the Des Moines Register poll that accurately predicted a large Trump victory in 2016 found him last month with a wan 42 percent approval rating

Good Feelz Open Thread

LAO sent me some photos of beloved rescue Maggie (her original story is here) and I thought we could all use a nice reprieve from everything else.

You will see she has injured herself, though LAO assures me it is non-life threatening and:

I note for the record, Maggie is working her injured paw for all it’s worth. She’s enjoying the attention absolute strangers pay her on street.

As someone who is the guardian of two very large clowns and three smaller “we pretend to be aloof, but are really balls of purr and fluff” I can attest to the healing power of critters in the house.

Let’s all give a big aaaawwww to Maggie and her sore foot.

How is your day shaping up? Open thread


Wednesday Afternoon Open Thread

Here’s one of my boxers basking on a sunlit sofa:

She’s gone so grey! (Probably says the same about me behind my back.)

Anyone got any interesting ideas about cooking yellow squash on the grill? Someone gave me a bunch of it, and I’m tired of cooking it in the way of my people, which is sautéing it to death with pig fat and butter.

Thoughts about how to cook it directly on the grill or in foil packets would be most welcome — please and thank you.