Tag Archives: dogs

Of Dogs and Despots

I don’t understand the psychology of aggression. What makes some creatures more aggressive than others? Our current dog, Jake, is a stumpy tail cattle dog (that’s an actual breed) that we rescued from a shelter. He is cute and affectionate, and although he can get a little irritating (as all herder breeds do), he is a wonderful dog, except for one thing. He is highly aggressive towards other dogs. Taking him on a neighborhood walk always carries the risk that there will be an altercation. When he sees other dogs approach, he will take a stance in the middle of the road and attempt to intimidate and dominate. He has never bitten anybody, and I believe he is “all  bark and no bite”, but if you’re a dog owner walking your dogs and Jake charges at you, you have way of knowing that he isn’t out for blood. The only thing that seems to work is to hold Jake directly by the collar and turn him away from other dogs so he can’t see them. The only time he doesn’t get aggressive is when the other dog is big enough to eat him for lunch.

I have found that this particular breed is known to be aggressive towards other dogs, so this is probably genetics, and since we didn’t have him as a puppy, there doesn’t seem to be much we can do.

But my story of our dog is not the main point of this blog post. Here’s my main question: What makes some people naturally aggressive? Why do some seem to be born that way? Is it nature or nurture? What makes them want to dominate, to bully, encroach, take over, invade? Why does every schoolyard have bullies? What factors create the Joseph Kony’s of the world? What wars would never had started if there wasn’t an aggressor?

You have probably heard about the Kony 2012 video about Invisible Children. If not, here it is:


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Much Ado About Poop

Walking our dog Jake the other day at a Kirkland park and happened upon this sign. Cute, don’t you think?

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The Nose Knows

I was walking our dog the other day and we walked past a property with a very large lawn–probably close to an acre. The smell of the grass immediately triggered a very faint memory from my childhood. Smell is like that. We all encounter certain odors that takes us down memory lane, don’t we? But I wondered why it would take such a large lawn to trigger memories of grass that was probably not very large in area when I was a kid. So, I did a little research using that googley interwebbie thingamajigger. Sure enough. Our sense of smell diminishes as we age. Scientific American says so. Read it here.

What was probably very potent in small doses when I was knee-high now requires a much bigger hit. Makes me think of that song from the sixties, “Take Another Hit Of Fresh Air”. Groovy baby!

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Nicknames for our dog

About five years ago, Merrilyn and I adopted a 5-year old Australian Cattle Dog mix from the local shelter. Apparently he had got picked up and taken to a shelter in Tonasket, WA and then transported over here to Woodinville. If you have never been to Tonasket, you are not missing much.

The name they gave him was Chad. Does he look like a Chad to you? Indeed not!

I named him Jake. But he has many nicknames that vary depending on mood or season. Here are a few:

  • Jacob – not really a nickname, just a formal version of his given name
  • Bubba – we were wondering for awhile if this was his original given name, since he seemed to answer to it readily
  • Bubzies – my latest nickname for him
  • Pooky
  • Boozhie Boy
  • Silly
  • Monkey Boy
  • Jacobs – not implying he has multiple personalities

The fact that I, a grown man, would have such ridiculous names for our dog is somewhat embarrassing, but the idea that I would admit it before God and cyberspace–well–have I no shame? Let’s call it healthy and cathartic self-disclosure–and, airing all is just a compassionate act to let others know that they are not alone.

I bet that you, the reader, have come up with some ridiculous names for your pets as well. I cherish in advance your responses.


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On being 20… or 13

I was just taking our dogs for a walk. It is an absolute must for all of us when it’s a nice day out. I have been sitting most of the day and the dogs have been sleeping out back. Without the walk I would get rather cranky and they would get obnoxious which would make me more cranky. And no one likes cranky. A definite lose-lose for everyone.

So anyhoo, I’m walking the dogs and it occurs to me that inside my head, sometimes I feel like a 20-year old. I remember my dad saying to me one time that he feels like he’s still 20 and I know exactly what he means. I’m obviously not 20 anymore. Perhaps you could say that I am a 20-year old trapped inside a middle-aged body. But I would rather use a more gracious metaphor. Not being able to stay in a 20-year body, which would defy the laws of nature, I am being hosted by a middle-aged body. As if this 20-year old mind is staying at a rather run down hotel that will never have a renovation budget.

My mind still brims with endless possibilities, just like most 20-year olds. However, I am aware that I weigh about 60 pounds more than I did when I was 20. Most people would not say that I look overweight. At least to my face, that is. It’s just that 20-year olds are really really really skinny. Most of them have not fully grown into their bodies yet, and that was definitely the case for me. Nowadays, yes, I have definitely grown, or overgrown, into my body. The metabolism just aint what it used to be.

For instance, I can’t look at a bag of chips without gaining five pounds. Now to be fair, I really can’t just look at a bag of chips without eating the bag of chips, so this looking without eating thing is very hypothetical. You probably know what I mean. I should endeavor to not even think about a bag of chips. Oops…too late.

Being a male, there is, of course, a part of me that still thinks he’s 13. I mean, what male on this planet doesn’t still think that farts and poop, as well as jokes about farts and poop, are funny? Women may also find limited humor in such bodily events, but they are more selective about it. For example, any references to farts or poop while in the proximity of food is generally frowned upon by the fairer sex. This doesn’t seem to slow us men down at all.

However, I must say that while walking the dogs today, they seemed to be real interested in a particular patch of yard. I wasn’t paying attention since I was already working on this blog post in my 20-year old mind. But once I went to investigate, I noticed that they were eating poo! And not just tootsie rolls (a popular slang for cat poop), but something much larger. I was totally grossed out by this, and have now banished them to our mole-infested backyard to let them think about what they did.

So totally gag me gross!! I guess even us men have limits. If you are one of the 37 men on this planet that think farts and poop are totally disgusting, please leave a comment. I like to think that I have an open mind so will gladly hear what you have to say.

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Narcissism – Part 001

Let’s face it. Blogging about oneself is somewhat narcissistic.

Narcissism is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I embrace it heartily. And I know there are a lot of other narcissists who roam the earth. I wish they had narcissist conventions. But they would never work out as no one would really be interested in what others have to say. Can you imagine a conference workshop with the title of “How to Take Your Narcissism to the NEXT LEVEL!!“? It would be highly attended by aspiring CEO’s and dictators.

I work in a company full of narcissistic glory hogs. However, I will wait to write about my employer in a future blog post. (In case you missed it, that last sentence was a subtle device to get you to return to my blog at a later date so you can find out more about me.)

The fun thing about working for narcissists is that if I want to avoid discussing the work I am doing, I just get them to start talking about themselves. They can’t stop, and it can easily burn up the entire duration of our meeting. Then I can go back to my desk and catch up on Facebook and see if anyone has written on my wall.

To me, the ultimate anthem for narcissism is my rewrite of Paul Anka’s “Having My Baby”. With some subtle word substitutions, the main chorus goes like this (sung to the tune of “Having My Baby”).

Well I’m having my baby
What a wonderful way of saying how much I love me
Yes I’m having my baby
What a lovely way of saying I’m thinking of me

What? Haven’t heard of Paul Anka? I guess that’s a sign of me getting old. That and the fact that I am starting to smell. At least that is what my wife has been insinuating lately. I think it is her not-so-subtle device to get me to shower more than once a week.

Of course she’s kidding! I don’t think I smell, which is why I think bathing is highly overrated. But who can actually smell themselves? That’s something dogs can do because they are so limber. And I envy that.


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