Happy Lupercalia! Which is So Appropriate Because…

wolf- lupercalia

Roadkill: It’s What’s for Dinner!

Valentine’s Day as a holiday has always sort of given me the creeps.  It’s named after a Christian martyr who according to legend was killed by having his heart cut out.  So we make nice little chocolates and cookies with hearts on them to commemorate this why?  As far as celebrating holidays that have bizarre origins, it would be more fun to commemorate Bastille Day with scale model guillotines and flying Dennis Rodman doll  action figure heads, but I’m weird that way.

dennis rodman

The doll action figure came with two heads.

Valentine’s Day wasn’t always Valentine’s day.  It actually began as a co-opting of a popular pagan holiday that was celebrated around the middle of February- Lupercalia.  Basically it was “The Wolf Festival.”  Along with a lot of drinking and fertility rites, that is.  What makes this different from The-Game-We-Cannot-Name Sunday or any other redneck beer drinking holiday, except that even rednecks frown upon animal sacrifice?  Perhaps the main distinction is that in redneck fornication, procreation generally is not the primary goal.  Hence the importance of the Trojan Man.

trojan man

Because this is all that stands between you and 18+ years of child support.

I don’t believe in romantic love.  Not one bit.  If Jerry buys me something it’s usually because it’s something he wants.  The last thing he bought me was a Stoeger Condor Competition 20 gauge over/under shotgun.  It is a sweet shotgun, but I think he enjoys shooting it (and bragging to the guys at the club what a great deal he got on it) more than I do.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a good shotgun, but it’s not exactly the gift that screams “hot teenage lust.”  Not that “hot teenage lust” was ever on my agenda to begin with.

A holiday for dogs, on the other hand, isn’t a bad idea.  The interesting thing about a “wolf festival” is that dogs are wolves.  Literally.

Grey wolf taxonomic classification: Canis lupus lupus

Domestic dog (all breeds): Canis lupus familiaris

doggie daycare

All the same species as the grey wolf.  Even the ankle biters.

I’ve also said it before that since dogs are a subspecies of wolf, it’s imperative to respect that.   If dogs are improperly treated and/or we humans don’t pay attention to their signals and body language, they can be deadly.  Correctly handled and respected, they can become amazing companions, protectors and friends.  I trust my dogs more than people, and with good reason.

bag of trouble

Not to mention AIDS, chlamydia, genital warts and herpes!

The only thing that disturbs me about those old-time VD warnings is that they always showed women as being carriers of VD.  Dudes spread it too.  How do you think the women got it?

I always thought Valentine’s Day, with all the insinuation of love being in the air, as a perfect opportunity to warn against Venereal Disease.  Here’s a little song from 1969, just in case anyone needs some VD awareness.  It’s called “VD is for Everybody” and has a cute little video that goes with it.  Just doing my duty to further public health.

Speaking of public health, as I was trolling along, I found another holiday worth celebrating:

world rabies day

I have some questions about Rabies Day.

1. Is this about getting rabies?  If so, this could be a very painful and drawn out form of population control.  I can think of much easier ways to “cull the herd,” such as leaving the stupid to their own devices, to earn their Darwin Awards without any interference from others.

2. Is this about getting rabies shots and/or preventing rabies?  I can stand behind that.  I definitely don’t want to get the rabies.

I don’t want to get the cholera either:

cholera

“Beware of Drunkenness- nothing is so likely to bring on Disease.”  Amazing.  Public health authorities knew this back in the 1830’s, that being drunk  and dirty could bring on disease.  I would like to know where you find hot lime, though.

I think there should be more public campaigns to advocate personal hygiene and cleanliness.  It seems that being clean and well groomed is more of an exception than a rule, and then you wonder why you’re surrounded with the hacking, coughing, chronically ill masses.

Of course, as more and more of the people in this country are growing up raised by wolves, what can one expect?

raisedbywolves

Happy Lupercalia!, (Remember Our Lupine Friends) and Staying Off the Beaten Path

Ok , so Clara is a dog.  So why am I talking about an ancient Roman pagan holiday that celebrates the wolf?  The Latin word for wolf is lupus (yes, this is where the horrible disease, lupus, got its name, because it ravages those afflicted much as a wolf ravages its prey.) The taxonomic name for dog is canis lupus familiaris.  – loosely translated- the house wolf.  Canis lupus lupus (if you want to discern between sub-species) is the grey wolf.

Most people are blissfully unaware that domestic dogs and grey wolves are the same species.  Same DNA.  Though humans have done some pretty damned bizarre things with the dog in the 15,000 or so years that they have been domesticated, the DNA is still there.  Because dogs have a large number of chromosomes (78) and a tendency toward frequent mutations due to the phenomenon of  tandem repeats, there is a tremendous amount of variation in appearance and body characteristics- from the 1# ankle-biter to the 250# Mastiff.  But dogs are dogs (are also wolves…) which is useful knowledge.  We live with genetically engineered wolves.  In my alternatively wired way of thinking, that’s pretty effing cool. (Science, history and vocabulary lessons today- I’m on a roll!)

Obviously, we humans aren’t terribly good at determining who should and should NOT breed, even outside our own species.

Granted, humans have really screwed up a lot of things, but that’s just Murphy’s Law in action.   As far as dogs go, canine husbandry has both successes and tragic failures.  It’s sad that certain dog breeds are so modified that some can only give birth by c-section (many of the brachycephalic breeds) and others are prone to orthopedic issues (many of the large and giant breeds) while others are prone to devastating cancers.  Inbreeding, as well as breeding dogs that really aren’t suitable to be bred, have only contributed to the plethora of genetic diseases today’s dogs are subject to.

Even with all the fascinating scientific information available on genetics- and dogs are one of the most heavily studied animals in this regard- there are still infinite unknowns.   Breeding is simply setting the wheels in motion for a cosmic crap shoot.   The genetic difference between a Grand Champion, the neighborhood trash-snarfing cur, and the wild wolf out in the woods is infinitesimal.  So eugenics for our canine friends really is what it is for everything else- some science, some art, and a whole lot of blind luck.  Some of us do well in the genetic lottery (and a good breeder has strategies to sweeten the odds) but at the end of the day some of us do well, and others not so much.

 To quote Forrest Gump, “Life is a box of chocolates.  You never know which one you’re going to get.” 

I know Murphy’s Law, and it works pretty well with Newton’s Laws.  “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” (Newton)  Of course, Murphy’s Law can’t leave that one alone without adding a few corollaries such as:  “If nature makes you beautiful, nature will almost inevitably make you stupid,”  “Brains and coordination cannot inhabit the same body,” and, “If you expect him to use the laundry chute, be prepared to use the lawn mower.”

As much as I hate to admit it, (and as much as I really don’t like  touching the skanky Natty-splattered whitey-tighties that would end up lying all over the house) undies vs. lawn care is a pretty fair trade, at least in the summer.  I spend a good chunk of time playing seek and wash with Jerry’s clothes.  He will strip and drop clothing just about everywhere in the house, especially when he’s besnookered, making my laundry adventures begin with a maze!   It’s sort of like an Easter egg hunt only there’s no eggs- just soiled man-clothes. The process of retrieving Jerry’s clothes for wash-time also is reminiscent of searching through the Cracker Jack box.  There’s often a “prize” inside, such as cigarette butts and/or cellophanes, or massive skidmarks – living proof that sharting is real.  You want to be really careful which part of the garment you touch when picking it up.  Usually- though not every time- the waistbands escape unscathed.

Just an FYI: sharting shouldn’t be attempted whilst wearing any sort of garment, and shouldn’t be attempted at all unless your drawers are down and your butt is firmly planted on the commode.

Of course there are a number of things one should really think twice about doing.  Such as this:

“A” for creativity, but “F” for future opportunities to fornicate.  There’s something about a visual of a cat’s ass on your lover’s front area (with the belly button serving a dual purpose as the bunghole no less!) that might just be a little off-putting.

I guess for me it is easier to celebrate a holiday dedicated to the canines (and lupines- same thing) of the world than to ruminate on and on about sappy romantic platitudes. 

I get to go home and hug the dogs!  As I told a friend of mine, I do have something to look forward to tonight.  Jerry’s out of Natties- and if there is any justice in this world he should be good and miserable from last night’s drunk and stupid foray into Nattyvana, and I have three beautiful dogs waiting for me to get home.

Sheena for President, Felon of the Week, and Bizarre Holidays

I have ruminated on it before. Even though she is a tad bit mentally challenged, and she has yet to be nominated, Sheena should run for President.  Nothing in the Constitution specifically forbids dogs from holding office, although I could see two sticky points.  She is not 35 years old (not even in dog years, though I don’t know exactly how old she is,) and she doesn’t have a birth certificate.  But other than not being able to prove her age or citizenship status (the nebulous origins of the current POTUS’ vital documentation didn’t seem to stop him) Sheena is supremely qualified to hold public office.  She is free of sordid scandals, but is expert in digging up others’ trash.  She does have a current Franklin County dog license,  and a current rabies tag, which ought to count for something. 

As I was trolling the Marion (OH) news station’s website seeking Buckeye Chuck’s latest weather prediction, (I was sort of bored this morning) I entertained myself by checking out the other features on the site and came upon the Featured Felon of the Week page.  Sort of like TruTV, but closer to home, with fuglier mug shots.  Since I spent the first 25 years of my life in Marion, I was pleasantly surprised not to have known any of the felons pictured.

I still have to ask, who smiles for a mug shot?  Are you stoned, or have you confused jail with the BMV?  I know driver’s license pics generally resemble mug shots, but come on.  Maybe you’re just happy to have three hots and a cot for ten days and a bit of time away from your drunken old man, but I can’t see  felony charges and/or jail time as “things to smile about.”  I just don’t have that kind of optimism.

Even in this “enlightened” 21st century we entertain some pretty bizarre traditions.  Groundhog Day is one of my favorite holidays – because you don’t have to buy anything or do anything other than inquire on the prognostications of a large rodent that puts me in mind of a hairy armadillo.  Buckeye Chuck didn’t see his shadow this time around, so in theory this means we are in for an early spring.  Or not.  Who really gives a rat’s ass- or should I say a groundhog’s ass? Central Ohio doesn’t really get spring anyway.  The weather goes straight from Snowbooger Grey to Monsoon to Stygian Heat.

I also have to wonder about another February holiday- Valentine’s Day.  St. Valentine supposedly was a martyr sacrificed by the Romans back in the third century.  The tradition is that he was martyred for marrying young Christian couples – therefore the hoo-hah about celebrating love and all that.  I have to wonder, since tradition also holds that he was beheaded, where we came up with the heart business for Valentine’s Day.  Why not a dismembered head?  Maybe decapitated heads are too closely associated with Halloween, but so are disembodied hearts, and the Aztecs and Mayans had the jump on pulling hearts out of live bodies even before the Romans discovered decapitation.  I can, however, see the connection between love and decapitation and/or evisceration.  So it works in a weird kind of way, though I can’t figure chocolate into it at all.

The old Roman holiday, Lupercalia, that was once celebrated on February 14 is rather interesting.  Let’s all worship the Wolf God?  Dog sacrifice?  I don’t think so.

St. Patrick’s day is the next weird holiday that I don’t completely get.  What does green beer have to do with converting people to Catholicism? Do I really want to know?  I know the Irish like to drink, but whiskey would make more sense.