Suffer the Old Cougar, Sheena’s Special Needs, and the Things on My Memory Card

I don’t have too many strange little pieces of kitsch lying around, but this is one of them.  I even know where it should have been at one time.

This is a ’69 Cougar.  The emblem, above, that I happened upon in some yard sale crap box, is the same as the one on the LF fender.

I never was a true believer in old Detroit iron.  I’m still a bit of a car snob- I love, but can’t afford and don’t want to deal with the high maintenance on the European stuff, so I am happy with a utilitarian Toyota that is easy to maintain, reliable and efficient and I leave it at that for now.  Unless I come into money and can buy that ’69 FJ40, the ’69 Karmann Ghia and the ’83 GTI I’d like to have to play with.

Even back in the ’80’s when all the other motorheads were into Camaros or Mustangs or (heaven forbid) anything Mopar, I was playing with VW Rabbits and air-cooled VW rail buggies.  However, if you are/were into old muscle cars, the ’69 and ’70 Mercury Cougars were somewhat rare, and are aesthetically very cool.  Mom actually had a ’70 Cougar, with a 351 Windsor no less- the one she sold way too cheap because my cat, LeRoy, decided to take a leak all over the back seat.  As part of the same eliminatory session, LeRoy also left a huge dump right on the driver’s seat.  That’s why you never leave the window down.  Leaving windows down on any unattended car in Ohio is a bad idea for a number of reasons.  First, it can get jacked that way.  Second, it can rain anytime, regardless of what the “forecast” indicates.  Third, outdoor cats may mistake your ride for an upholstered toilet.  No matter what she tried, the piss smell just wouldn’t come out.  LeRoy lived outside because he wasn’t neutered (I was only a little kid and couldn’t afford to get the poor cat’s nuts cut so he could live in the house) and now I know why neutering a tomcat is pretty important if you want him to live inside.  Male cat urine does not ever come out of upholstery.  “Little Trees” don’t help, either.  The dude who bought that old Cougar freely admitted to having no sense of smell. He smelled worse than the interior of the car to begin with, so I understand why he could have cared less. It was a good match.

LeRoy looked like Morris the 9Lives cat, but Dad hates cats, so LeRoy it was, since that’s Dad’s middle name.

LeRoy (in spite of having my Dad’s rather unfortunate middle name- Grandma sure had a sense of humor) was a really cool cat.  He was about Fanny sized- 16#-17#, and I could do anything with him, up to and including putting him in doll clothes and walking him around in a doll stroller.  He actually was a street cat, but he knew where the food was (I did bring him food) and he was one of those twisted big cats that liked little kids picking him up and playing with him.  Leave to me to attract the neighborhood misfits and strays.

Speaking of misfits and strays, we have discovered why Sheena is so difficult and seemingly incorrigible.  On top of all her other issues, Sheena is deaf.

No wonder she doesn’t listen.  She’s deaf as a post.

I don’t know why we didn’t figure it out before.  She follows the other dogs and will usually do what they do- but when there’s no other dog to watch and she can’t see a human, she’s lost. She does not respond to anyone if they’re behind her and she can’t see them. You can’t wake her from sleep unless you touch or shake her- sounds do not wake her up. I had thought she was just an incredibly sound sleeper, but that is not normal dog behavior.  A dog that can hear will be roused from sleep by a loud noise close by.  She is also much more intent on being able to see everything than a normal dog.  Jerry is having a dog trainer come out to evaluate her tonight to see if she might be able to learn sign language since she is so visually focused.  I have found some information that deaf dogs can learn commands in ASL, which would be a good learning experience for the other two dogs also.   In a way I feel bad because we simply thought she was mentally off, but for being deaf and having to navigate that way she compensates amazingly well.  Fortunately she already has some things working to her advantage.  She is able to follow the other dogs and work off their visual cues and body language, which is beneficial for a deaf dog, and in some instances (case in point) a deaf dog living with hearing dogs can cue in on their behavior and adapt so well that no one can tell they’re deaf.  Sheena has no fear of humans and she’s very trusting- probably because she knows that the humans have the food.  I am anxious to see what the trainer has to say when he works with her.

I took this pic whilst getting Jerry’s lottery tickets at the Speedway (gas station) last night.  Getting stoned in a Mom van.  Go figure.

I do find some funky things to photograph.  I wish there had been digital cameras back in the ’80’s.  Then again, maybe not.

The boy can sleep- and drool- anywhere.

Like father, like daughter- they were both napping.

The Meow Game, Communicating With Others, and True Believers

The Meow Game from Super Troopers

I have no idea where people get the idea that it’s in any way beneficial to get lippy with cops.  I know some cops like to play mind games with people to see how they’re going to respond, which positively terrifies and paralyzes me.

I have a difficult enough time under normal circumstances carrying on a conversation face to face without freaking people out.  I don’t get the nuances of eye contact (generally I avoid eye contact lest I be accused of staring,) and I also have real problems with sending the right body language.  Non-verbals for me are a learned skill from years of observation and interaction and do not come naturally.  I have to consciously think about and orchestrate all my non-verbal signals constantly when I deal with people face to face in order to communicate effectively.  For most people eye contact and physical gestures come naturally, almost subliminally, without thinking about it.  For me, if left to my own devices, I would simply observe others with a bit of a catatonic stare until or unless I have something to say.  Electronic communication is so much easier for me because I can simply concentrate on what I would like to convey rather than worry about whether or not I’m staring into space or standing at a weird angle.

I may not be responding, but I do hear you- with some reservations.  If I want to, and if I’m not focusing on whatever song’s stuck in my head, that is.

So my interactions with law enforcement (fortunately for me they have been precious few,) are usually limited to staring at the ground or off to the side and saying “yes, sir, Officer” at the appropriate times.  I’ve only gotten out of a speeding ticket once, and that was because I was working as a driver and the cop knew my boss.  Knock on Formica or whatever that plastic looking stuff is, but the last time I got busted for any kind of traffic violation I was nine months pregnant (my son was born on the same day they would have wanted me to appear in court) and was pulled over for running a yellow light.  Of course the cop could obviously tell I was preggers- I looked like a battleship- but all I could do was keep from giving him the stink-eye, sign the damned ticket and keep on going.  I don’t do tears on demand. Even when crying is the correct response, I usually can’t.  I break down after the crisis has passed, and sometimes it takes years for the tears to find their way out.

This strategy- even if I would dare to try it- is not open to me.

I don’t think that crying is the correct response when you get busted anyway, but it works for some women.

I just didn’t have the physical energy or the emotional strength to explain to this primadouche just-out-of-the-academy-looking-for-someone-to-bust cop that going through a yellow light is legal.   The cop didn’t need to know I wasn’t supposed to be driving at all, (I had pre-eclampsia, had been in and out of the hospital for sky-high blood pressure, and was supposed to be on strict bed rest) but I had to go out because my POS ex was too lazy to go to the grocery store, or to help unload the car, or really do much of anything else besides suck up valuable oxygen and whine (yeah, I sure know how to pick ’em, but Jerry is a nominal upgrade to some degree- at least Jerry showers regularly and he hasn’t morphed into Jabba the Hut.)   I sent the bastards their check for $125- because knowing the good-ol-boy system in the town I’m from, you might as well just pay it, because who is the judge going to getting paid to believe? (This was before the days of surveillance cameras everywhere, so I had no way of documenting for posterity that the light was yellow and all that.) It would have been my luck- even had I not been in the hospital that day- that the cop would actually have shown up in court and I’d had to pay the ticket and court costs too.  Sometimes local government sucks just as much as government in higher places.

I can go on with this subject too, but suffice to say I don’t have the gold, so I don’t make the rules.  Too bad.

I am a really paranoid driver, partially because of that incident.  I’d like to drive like I did when I was a young punk out on the back roads, where your worst fear would be running off the road into a drainage ditch, where your nominally decomposed corpse might be found in a few weeks, but those days are over.  The cops have GPS and helicopters now.  Besides, a Yaris isn’t exactly a rally car.

Unless you’re in Thailand.

That is whacked, but I guess with enough suspension mods and such, you could make  a Yaris into a rally car.  But mine is more geared for basic transportation, and as a forum for my mobile political commentary.  Since I have to drive, and I’m pretty slow, some people just might get an education just from reading the back of my car.

German does sound scary, but remember, English is a derivative of German.

I enjoy language and its nuances, probably more so than most because I don’t do well with the non-verbal and emotional sides of communication.  Interacting with dogs has helped me immensely because in order to communicate with them I have to cue in on their non-verbals, which are easier to read because theirs are far more exaggerated than humans’.  I learn a lot from them.  Subtlety is not their nature.

Sheena is as subtle as a freight train.

This morning I was thinking about all the personalities in history who were true believers- in all the wrong things.  I can’t help but to observe that it really doesn’t matter if your heart is in the right place, if your head is up your ass.   A good example of this phenomenon are the crazy people who think that if they die in the process of killing “infidels” that they go to heaven and collect 70 virgins.  Faith is not something that comes easy to me, but I would find it hard to believe that God intends for people to completely check their brains at the door.  Why would God have actually bothered to give us brains if He didn’t intend for us to use them?  And then there’s Dennis Kucinich, for whom logic cannot offer a suitable explanation.  There’s plenty of shithouse-rat-crazy people out there who will believe any sort of clap trap if the right talking head is blathering away (Obama supporters who still don’t get that he’s anti-American, the Heaven’s Gate followers, white supremacists, and so on.)

I wonder if the Visitors have picked him up yet.

I think I get it why so many analytical/rational types are secular humanists.  They get the logic that good is better than evil, but they can’t prove or disprove the existence of a Creator or Higher Power.  The only problem with secular humanism is that it degrades into utilitarianism very quickly.  There is no room in a utilitarian economy for the aesthetic- for beauty, or art, or emotion.  Even though I’m a rational type, even I need something beyond the get up, go to work, go to bed routine that most of us are beholden to.  To deny there is a sphere beyond our understanding is to indulge in the ultimate human hubris- to claim we are the be-all, end-all of the universe- when our best secular explanation for creation involves an ex nihilo big bang from the depths of nowhere.  I’m not a creationist in the 6 days, Adam and Eve made from real mud, wandering naked in the Garden with all the wild animals sense.  It would have been cool, but I don’t think creation happened that way. I don’t take the Garden account of Genesis as being literal (I do believe it to be a beautiful allegory) but I think it does tell us much about the Whom involved, if not so much the How or the Why.

Naked with all the little critters of nature.  Just imagine all the mosquitoes and fleas in places where insects are totally unauthorized.

I would rather acknowledge and embrace the mystery.  I would rather take Pascal’s Wager and assume that God IS, than to have to live in a world having decided that He is not.  While I cannot prove His existence, I cannot disprove it either, and I’d rather err on the side of embracing the mystery.

Belief in and of itself is neutral, but I think that God gave us brains to inform our beliefs, so that we are neither beholden to blind emotionalism or locked into pragmatic utilitarianism.

I do find it a bit ironic that the same people who will defy thousands of years of moral teaching vehemently despise those who still think there is value in that moral teaching, and are enraged when traditionalists speak out.

I’m OK with admitting there are black and whites, and I will gladly share my take on morality should anyone ask.  I know people disagree with me, and vehemently on some issues.  That is their prerogative.  There are some people who don’t believe morality is relevant any more and nothing I say- or that I can back up with scientific fact- is going to change their opinions.  If you want to have a relationship with a Ford Escort, or dress like a furry, or pretty much whatever, as long as you aren’t killing people, you’re not charging me for it, and you leave me alone, knock yourself out.  Just don’t expect me to announce to the world how wonderful your life choices are.

Sheena Loves Cops, and Other Tidbits Better Left “TMI”

Cops can also be creatures of habit.  I know a couple of them who love to park across the road and watch Jerry when he’s getting drunk and stupid out in the garage.

I’ve said before that my mentally challenged Husky mix, Sheena, has Issues.  One of Sheena’s passions is to escape the confines of our back yard (and it’s not that difficult considering it is surrounded by a rather elderly, oft-repaired fence) so that she can play with the kids at the Drunk and Domestic apartments behind the body shop.  Sheena has never met a human that I know of that she doesn’t like.

This mentality seems so foreign to me in a dog, especially because I am used to dogs being quite a bit more aloof.  Clara and Lilo have to be carefully introduced to new people and strange dogs.  You have to earn their trust.  Sheena is not like that at all.  She is a 75# galoot who will love you forever just for petting her.  This makes Sheena a bit more difficult to manage than the other two in some ways.  Unlike a normal dog she doesn’t really alert on strange people encroaching on her territory.  She only really barks when she wants to go out.

Jerry, as is typical for him, decided to get shitfaced last night.  Jerry being shitfaced is not news, but I was bound determined to get an early bedtime and at least try to get some sleep.

So I turned off the phone and shut the bedroom door at about 9PM, hoping at least for a quiet night.  I should know better.

Around 10:30 I hear incessant pounding on the front door.  Clara and Lilo start in going nuts barking and howling and wanting to eat whatever’s on the other side.  Jerry is running around with no shirt on babbling incoherently (thankfully he still had pants on) until I caught the word “cops” in the prattling.  So I put on enough clothing to be decent and go out to investigate.  Sure enough, there’s a cop car in the driveway, two cops on the porch, and Sheena’s sitting in the back seat of the cruiser sporting that shit-eating grin that only dim-witted dogs can completely pull off.

I apologized to the cops, (who must have really thought I was some kind of a nut job running outside in an old t-shirt and shorts with no makeup and my hair sticking straight up) thinking that either I’d be fined or otherwise in some kind of trouble, but they were cool about it.  They said Sheena was no problem at all, and she got in the car with them most willingly.  To their credit, they weren’t interested in making my life more difficult.  They just wanted to make sure Sheena got home safely.  They could have been dicks about it had they wanted to be- by rights, even though she is duly licensed, because technically she was neither confined nor leashed, they could have taken her down to the Dog Shelter and I’d had to gone to a rather unsavory part of town and paid $125 to retrieve her.  Yeah, it’s easier to just go around the corner and drop the dog off at home, because everyone at the D&Ds, and the cops, because of how often they are called out to the D&Ds, know whose dog it is.  Sheena is rather memorable if only because of her resemblance to the Abominable Snowman.

Close enough…

It’s a good thing Jerry generally doesn’t remember the nasty epithets that roll so easily off my tongue when I am rudely awakened- let alone rudely awakened and then left to deal with cops.   It’s also a good thing that Jerry had a shred of sentience back in that crude reptilian part of his brain that kept him from interacting with the cops, mouthing off, and getting his sorry butt carted off for drunk and disorderly.  In Ohio all it takes to get busted for drunk and disorderly, and to get to spend the night in the nearest correctional facility, is for a cop to see you shitfaced.  Jerry knows this from personal experience, and suffice to say that retrieving him from public custody would be far more expensive and unpleasant (and I would have to encounter a far more unsavory crowd) than trying to retrieve Sheena from the Dog Shelter.

Both Clara and Lilo are terrified of cops, especially two big burly ones like the ones who brought Sheena home, but Sheena seemed to like the attention.

I’m glad the cops had mercy on poor Sheena.  She’s had a rough enough life.  However, either Jerry needs to find Sheena’s current escape hole (not usually difficult as an uncoordinated 75# dog has to fit through it) and patch the fence (again,) or refrain from letting her out the front door (which considering how shitfaced he was last night is within the realm of possibility.)

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.