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November 2005 Archives

November 2, 2005

Fingerpickin' Fun

A Sun colleague is coming to my neck-o-the-woods this week for a 4-day stay with Jorma Kaukonen at his Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp ("It's a fur piece from anywhere.") Kaukonen is in the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame for his work with Jefferson Airplane, and his camp looks like an amazingly good time. And it's an hour-and-a-half from my home! (And the country around Athens, OH is an absolutely beautiful place.)

I don't write about it much, but I guess I've been playing guitar for.. geez, 15 years now?! And I'm constantly trying to think up ways to kickstart my flagging creativity in that endeavor. I joke that I kinda of plateau-ed 5 years in and have stayed there ever since. Maybe next year I'll treat myself to one of Fur Peace's workshops.

And jeebus! Lookit the lineup of instructors at the ranch! (Bob Margolin, Rory Block, Guy Davis, GE Smith, Bill Kirchen.)

November 6, 2005

Polly Pumpkin Eater

This is but a short preview of a much longer piece, involving Polly and Dozer attacking some pumpkins in our backyard. (This actually happened in the Fall of last year, but I'll present it here as if it were timely.)

Click on the picture to play the video

My favorite part is either: (a) where she ckhacks up a wad of phlegm, mid-growl; or (b) where she slips out of character and noses her way right past the Fourth Wall (Parker Lewis-style.) Of course, if you see her wiggling tale near the end of the piece, you realize it's all an act. She's gruff-but-lovable, like Abe Vigoda as Fish.

November 8, 2005

Meet Kirby

Poor Stray Boy, originally uploaded by soldierant.

This is a dog in need of some help. "Kirby" is a new addition to our home (well, to our backyard.) I found him on an interstate exit yesterday morning. I could tell from the car that he was lost and exhausted; it took me 40 minutes of tracking and chasing, by car and on foot, to catch up with him. (And this was not rapid pursuit.. he was moving at what could only be described as a 'creaky lope' most of the time.) In and out of the back alleys along Main Street, in Columbus. At one point he crossed Main Street, in traffic, which is a terrifying thought.

More terrifying is the realization that this dog has probably been living like this for weeks. It's not evident from the picture, but Kirby's ribs are almost cutting through his skin. I could probably wrap both hands around his stomach and they'd meet at the fingertips. The average German Shepherd weighs 75-95 lbs. Kirby weighs 58.

But what a trooper. When I finally caught up to him, he was laying against a pharmacy storefront, tuckered out with no more fight or flight left in him. He must've slept for 14 straight hours in our backyard yesterday. At times I thought he'd passed, but his thin sides continue to rise and fall, rise and fall..

Our own dogs have been surprisingly respectful, and given Kirby some space and some peace. (Polly is the surprise, in this respect -- that dog can't let anything go without a huff and a good bitchin. Perhaps she remembers her own inaugural crash on a convalescent bed in our home.)

Today's been a better day for him. It started with a full exam at the vet's, where the prognosis was mostly good. Early-stage cataract growth in his eyes tells us that he's not a young dog. He's got bad skin problems (probably a flea allergy), broken teeth, and an ear infection. And, of course, severe malnutrition. Fortunately, all these problems are tractable ones. (Okay, those teeth aren't growing back, but...) So Kirby will be living with us for awhile, fattening up and getting his sorry little life back in order.

If it's ever been in order.He's a gentle, kind soul but a couple of things make us suspect that he came from neglect. You've got to look hard, and peer past the layers of recent trauma -- the skinny body and matted fur. That probably came from the last couple of weeks, and life on the street. But the worn down nubby incisors? And the bald, dry scabby behind? The vet thinks that probably predates his stray period. He looks, for all the world, like a dog that's been tied outside and forgotten. For a long time.

We don't know what to make of his past, but we're probably going to put very little energy into finding his previous owners. (Of course, we checked Pet FBI and a couple of other forums.) We're going to focus on getting Kirby strong, then finding someone who wants to make a kind old dog very happy for the remaining years of his life.

We really don't want to adopt Kirby, for a couple of reasons, but we absolutely won't let him come to harm again. He's our responsibility, now, until we can find someone willing to make him theirs. And he is a sweet, sweet boy.

November 10, 2005

Kirby, Day 4

Kirby is doing well, and has is starting to grow just a little bit of fat on his sides. He seems to be scratching less (a slick of Advantix took care of the fleas, and daily cortisone pills keep the itching down.) And LeeAnn bought him a Kong and a huge jar of peanut butter to stuff it with. He's been carrying it around the yard -- his first possession!

Kirby was a little overzealous when I tried to hand feed him last night (a hamburger bun stuffed with drugs.) he broke the skin on my index finger. Ouch. Okay, food goes in the bowl...

Joss on Joss

Hey! Joss Whedon has posting privileges on Whedonesque.com, a fansite dedicated to.. him, of course. And he's posting! That's kinda cool. And I wants me that Spike movie.

Chop Lickin' Good

Chop Lickin' Good, originally uploaded by soldierant.

My brother suggested I post this picture to Soldier Ant. I think he was bummed out by the last one, where Kirby looks defeated.

November 13, 2005

An Accident

Ronnie Today was a bit trying. Around 11 this morning, we were relaxing over coffee and watching Headline News (a bit of a Sunday ritual for us) when LeeAnn's Dad called. Her uncle Ron was in a car accident this morning, and was life-flighted to OSU Medical Center (all the way from Southeast Ohio.) With no more information than a Room number, we left for the hospital, girding ourselves for.. well, whatever we would find.

We arrived at the hospital to good news. Ron looks like hell, but he's going to be okay. Sutures in his scalp, a beaten-up eye and part of his ear had to be reattached. He laid for the whole day, immobilized and increasingly cranky. He didn't really remember the accident, but the guy was worried about his dogs. He must've asked about them 2 dozen times, through his exhausted and medicated haze.

For awhile, we were worried about what to tell him -- Ron travels everywhere with his dogs, and no dogs were found at the accident site. We weren't sure if they were in the truck with him or not. And, as I mentioned, Ron really couldn't remember too much about the accident. Later in the day, his sister called with the news: the dogs are fine, and are all safe at his home. He didn't have them with him.

But he did have a friend in the truck. He too was brought by helicopter to OSU, and I'm afraid his prognosis looks worse than Ron's. When we finally left tonight, around 9pm, he was 2 hours into a 4-hour MRI. His parents had driven 2 hours, and would wait until 11 to get some word about the MRI results. My heart is breaking for them tonight.

November 15, 2005


Now this is promising. Our world will be a better place when fewer cats and dogs go unwanted, and more Hummers do. Looks like it's happening already:

Sources can be unreliable, but the scuttlebutt was that inventory had been building for months now and the local Hummer dealer had panicked. He had begun storing his Hummer inventory at an undisclosed location, far from the dealer showroom so as not to spook jittery, prospective buyers with the mounting number of unsold H2s and H3s.
The pictures tell the tale nicely. Scroll to see em' all. (Link via ongoing.)

November 20, 2005

In from the cold

Kirby has been spending some time inside the house this weekend, since his second grooming. His skin problems are starting to settle (so he smells better) and the antibiotics he's been taking don't seem to upset his.. um.. digestive functions like they had been. (So no more mustard-gas farts.) Here's Kirby watching the Ohio State/Michigan game. (Rather, watching me watching the game.)

Update 11/21: LeeAnn just pointed out to me that if you listen, near the end of the clip -- where Kirby turns to walk away -- you can hear Miss Polly growl at him.

November 25, 2005

My kinda chimp

Beauty is relative, originally uploaded by True_Bavarian.

This is one tough old bastard. I like him.

November 27, 2005

And a good time was had by all

We had the folks (LeeAnn's and mine) over and down for Thanksgiving this year, and I have to say that we're getting much better at this entertaining thing.

Our great advance this year? We set the table the night before. Simple, I know, but you'd be surprised at how bottlenecked we've been in years past; the path from kitchen to dining room is the most narrow in our house and, inevitably, right as the meal-preparation is reaching its crescendo, someone realizes that the table still hasn't been set. Much mayhem ensues. But not this year! So that was a win.

The other way that I made this holiday more enjoyable for myself was cutting back on the number of dishes I attempted. Every year, my father-in-law wins one or more turkeys at a work-raffle. (I think he's rigged the competition somehow.) So we can usually count on him and Diane to bring the bird (ready-to-roll in this awesome portable broiler that they have.) And a ton of food besides. Then my Mom kicks in a couple of of her signature dishes and -- before you know it -- meal's done!

In years past, I kidded myself into thinking that I was needed in the kitchen, and tried to add in some supplemental stuff to round out the meal. And we'd always end up with way too much food. (And usually my additions are goofy 'experiments' that, while sampled by all, are not really what you'd call essential holiday fare: Mediterannean Stew, one year, for instance.) This year, I made noodles, rolls, and the mashed potatos. And I poured some cranberry relish out into a bowl for serving.

In fact, my noodles were a disaster. The low-point of the day for everyone involved. And you know what? Noone cared. We still had plenty of stuff to eat -- hell it even gave us all a good laugh. Diane called them 'German Noodles' and claimed that they were supposed to taste that way. Problem solved.

It was a really nice day. I like spending time with my parents and my inlaws. Isn't that something to be Thankful for?

Two updates

Because I realize that it's kind of rude to blog about a crisis, and then never give an update about its resolution... here are two updates on past postings.

First, LeeAnn's Uncle Ron is doing well after his accident. He got to go home from OSU Med Center after only one night in observation. His truck's a total loss, but he's got his health, and for that we are all eternally grateful.

Ron's friend Pat, who I mentioned before, did not fare nearly so well. Pat is still at OSU, although the last word we recieved was that he would soon move from intensive care to the rehabilitation clinic, so that is certainly positive forward movement. It doesn't feel right to say any more than this (out of respect for his family's privacy) but it looks as if Pat has a long road ahead to recovery, and I wish him well.

My second update is a small one. It's about Kirby. He's doing extremely well, but he's causing us a small amount of mental anguish. As much as we are growing to love him, we're just not sure that we have the right circumstances for him to flourish under. We're absolutely committed to getting Kirby strong and healthy and beautiful again, but we wrestle every day with our longer-term commitment to Kirby. We'd love to keep him, and maybe we will, but we're also preparing ourselves emotionally in the event that we find someone who can better care for his needs.

He's been mostly living in our back sun-room with supervised visits inside.. two potty accidents so far. :-( The picture at left was taken on Thanksgiving Day. As his weight comes back, so has his spirit and he's getting more and more dissatisfied at being cooped up. (Of course, 'cooped up' means frequent visits from us, regular trips to the backyard with the dogs and once-daily high-impact walks around the neighborhood with me.. this damn dog might end up making me healthy! The horror!)

So, anyway.. Kirby is doing well, and we love him. I just worry about him now like I worry about everyone that I love.

November 28, 2005

Stanford on iTunes

Stanford iTunes bears some investigation.

November 30, 2005

Fugo Balloons

A strange footnote to WWII history is the tale of the Japanese Fugo Bombing Balloons:

It is estimated that about 9,000 of the balloons were launched by Japan between November, 1944 and April, 1945, but it is believed that less than 500 of them actually reached U.S. territory, with most of the rest self-destructing over, or falling into, the sea. Of those that did reach land, some were seen exploding in the air and others were found on the ground in remote areas, usually with the bomb loads missing but occasionally with some bombs still attached. The balloons reached Alaska, Canada, Mexico and 16 U.S. states, travelling as far east as Michigan and Texas. Most of the balloons were sighted or found in British Columbia, Washington state, Oregon, California, and Montana. Several minor forest fires, in California and Oregon, were possibly caused by the balloons, but this was never completely verified.
Sadly, the balloons, while largely ineffectual, did claim some victims:
A woman and five children, on a church picnic, were killed in a remote area near Bly, Oregon, after they discovered a downed balloon with a bomb still attached, and one of them moved the bomb, causing it to explode. These deaths were the only known fatalities on the U.S mainland from enemy attack during World War II.

About November 2005

This page contains all entries posted to Soldier Ant in November 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2005 is the previous archive.

December 2005 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.


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