Election Day

There’s only one thing to do today … turn off the television and go love your dog!
RIVIERA DOGS

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Dogs in cars

Dogs in cars. (Emmanuelle, Guillaume, Joe (the cocker spaniel) in Patrick’s restored Renault 4. What wonderful friends I have.
RIVIERA DOGS

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What I’m Wearing Now: April

Spring Style Essentials
1. Off The Shoulder Lyocell Tunic, H&M Conscious  //  2. Silver Hoop Earrings Set, H&M  //  3. Clear Mirrored Sunnies (only $ 9.99!), H&M  //  4. Classic Date Black Watch, Lord Timepieces (take 10% off with code BEAN)  // 5.  Jersey Tee, H&M  //  6.  Magic Braid Crossbody Bag, Lucky Brand  //  7.  Pinter Wash Jean Jacket, Madewell  //  8. The Perfect Jean Short, Madewell  //  9. Black Leggings, Target  //  10. Morocco Sandals in Brown, Minnetonka  //  11. Madison Boots, Trask  //  12. Rene Sandal, Trask  //  13. Palm Pattern Dress, H&M  

You guys, this is my favorite  What I’m Wearing Now in a while. Spring is finally here, like for real (the occasional semi-warm day doesn’t count), and man is it glorious. There is nothing more freeing to me than being able to look in my closet each morning and (usually) pull out pieces suited for warmer temperatures. This month I’ve been really lucky, because not only did I spent the first week of it in Arizona, it’s been mostly beautiful outside since we returned home as well. I’ve picked up a few new dresses for the season, pulled out my cut-offs and kimonos, and have been feeling a whole lot more inspired when it comes to my clothes.

In addition to the pieces you see above, I’ve been wearing a whole lot of affordable Target finds – like this dress and this dress (both under $ 30!) – which I couldn’t include in the collage simply because the only images I could find were of people wearing them. (You may recognize this one from Monday’s outfit post, and you’ll see me sporting this one in an upcoming post as well.) I’ve also been wearing these sandals nonstop and even got a matching pair for Essley (also coming in an outfit post soon). And like last month, I’ve been rocking hoop earrings almost everyday, along with this gorgeous set of 7 pairs of earrings I snagged at Free People for only $ 18. My favorite denim jacket has been on steady rotation as well. Style life is good in springtime.

I’m looking to pick up some new lightweight tops to wear with cut-offs at the weather gets even warmer in the coming weeks, and would love to hear any suggestions you have for your favorites!

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Midnight with Murphy

I should’ve been fasting these past 10 days out in the hinterlands of Tennessee.  All alone in my trusty tent starving myself of sustenance in order to achieve some greater clarity, understanding and context that occasionally is lost to me.  Heck I was packed up and ready to head out and then something stopped me.  Can’t say what for sure – but the cascade of events set in motion since have been nothing short of metamorphic.   
Recently, I met a man who showed me another way and for the past two weeks I’ve been doing some serious transcendental shit; acupuncture, chanting, Reiki and sensory deprivation (not like Altered States – I’m already a beast of a man but more internal, intrinsic).    If I didn’t know better I’d think I’d been smoking some serious Humboldt county style Boo-Ya.  Yes, yes I got a PhD in weed on the west coast.  
Sure, I’ve acknowledged the possibility and potential of and even dabbled in these Eastern type practices but never personally, truly, and profoundly have I explored them.  And now I’m down in it.  
So where is it going to take me?  What’s the endpoint of it all?  To this, I am as yet uncertain.  But here’s what I have learned thus far on this new path.
The Fallacy of ‘What Should Happen Should Happen’
I was never any good at Logic – not the concept or application of it – but in the scholastic sense and  as a subset of philosophy.  So in attempting to make sense of the sequence of events that led me here to this time and place – I made up this fallacy which is basically the basis of flawed logic. 
People often ask me why did you walk those thousands of miles.  Oh sure, I’ve got a pocket full of reasons.  The fun, flippant one – everything is bigger in Texas and when we lose a dog to cancer down there we don’t walk around a park, we walk cross country.  Then I’ve got the media sound bite version – sharing Malcolm and Murphy’s story from town to town to raise awareness of the epidemic of canine cancer. I’ve got many more but you get the point.  
Perhaps they are all truths or variations of the same one but for me it’s because I believed walking from Austin to Boston would help heal my loss of Malcolm, to soothe my savage heart. And then within weeks of the final mile, Murphy was diagnosed and, well, most of you know the rest of that story.   
And so I walked another 1,700 miles doubling down on the belief that THAT would heal me.   
You see the fallacy in this logic?  That because I believed it should, it should’ve.  But it didn’t.  
Luke 4:23
You know, it’s commonly thought that the origin of my name is ‘light giving’ and the best known example of it is the apostle Paul’s traveling companion and doctor.  This proverb – I had to look that up since, um, well I usually skipped Bible study in search of less pious pursuits shall we say – in Latin reads cura te ipsum  - ‘Physician heal thyself’ something that’s been a bit of an impossibility for me it seems.  
I suppose my post-facto rationalization has always been – I never spare myself any emotion for Malcolm and Murphy no matter how painful.  I can endure it.  Just like so many nights on the road and asea, I can weather this storm.  But I have suffered so.  
Self-imposed or not.  
Disconnection
Back to this newfound friend of mine, whom I barely even know. He showed me that pain can be a way to separate yourself from others.  To disconnect from them.  Furthermore, he said that people like me unknowingly use tragedy to spare themselves from the need and necessity of love and letting others in.  
I’m not sure if I believe all of his bullshit yet – but hey, I’m listening.    You see, it’s one thing to turn tragedy into action – oh, I’ve done that and then some.  It’s quite another thing to allow that experience to truly transform you.  And it’s here I find myself at this intersection.   
Life Off Road
Not to put too fine a point on it but I’ve become a bit of an expert on backpacking the byways, highways, back roads and farm roads of this incredible land of ours.  But take me off and away from it and I tend to fall apart.  Perhaps it’s because I’m always in pursuit of an idea, a belief, a cause – our cause – that remains elusive to me.  Or maybe it’s as simple as finding sedentary existence unsettling and like Carthamus I’m damned to a life of wandering and wondering.   
And while I have been pretty good at chronicling and sharing my journeys on the road with you, I’ve been decidedly deficit in talking about it off, especially post west coast.  From now on, that will change.  I won’t let fear, doubt, uncertainty, darkness or utter despair disconnect me from you again.  
In part because some of you have said to me you find the latter much more inspiring and relatable if not essential than the former.  And in part because my new friend tells me to.  
That and I need a simpler formula for existence.  I live.  I learn.  I write.  Something like that… just less cheesy and Julia Roberts sounding.  
Postscripts
Two blogs in draft right now (1) On Turning 36 – My travels and adventurin’ have taken their toll on Yer Big Dog so I lick my wounds and tell tales about it; (2) The Theory of Cancer – lately my thinking has gotten so abstract and theoretical about the evolution of cancer. Where is it going and how can that affect our thinking about the future of therapeutics? On societal and civil re-engineering?  Reflections on my conversations with thought leaders and a whole host of other ideas – this will definitely be a multi-part project. 
There are more… lots more but I’m attempting to do a better job of prioritizing my crazy.
——–

YBD’s Notes 1: The name of this blog has a special meaning to me.  Back when I was a businessman in Texas I would often take Malcolm up to my office in the evenings and that inspired a series of writings I entitled Midnight with Malcolm.  Dunno what the change denotes quite yet…

YBD’s Notes 2: I stuff hyperlinks in my blogs if’n anyone wants to learn more about things that fascinate me but be forewarned – logic will make yer eyes water.  

YBD’s Notes 3: Upon further reflection ‘What Should Happen Should Happen’ SHOULD be a fallacy. Oh boy.

YBD’s Notes 4: Coincidentally, whilst recently consolidating all of my scant worldly possessions from around the country, I found this photo of me taken at the blessing of my childhood home.  I’ve seen too much of this world in this life to believe in coincidences.  Thanks to my sister-in-law Linda for preserving it.  Nice bowl cut, Mom
YBD’s Notes 5:  I should choose a name for my new friend – he’s not imaginary.  I Promise.  At least in my mind.  In this room.  That’s white.  And padded.  

YBD’s Notes 6: Perhaps it’s still too early for me to write – no, I’m always doing that – to publish about these transcendental, metaphysical experiences and experiments.  But hey, at least I’m rounding again.  

2 Dogs 2000 Miles

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Maine Coon Alerts Couple to Lethal Levels of Carbon Monoxide

Gracie the cat from Wisconsin“We were definitely saved by Grace. Saved by Gracie,” says Annette Shanahan about their cat. Annette and her husband owe their lives to their eight-year-old Maine Coon mix and aren’t afraid to admit it.

One night this past February, Annette and her husband, Kevin, were sleeping in their home in Reedsburg, Wisconsin while a silent killer filled their bedroom. According to ABC News, Annette woke up and thought she was having a heart attack. She felt confused and told reporters, “I wasn’t in the presence of mind to even tell my husband.”

Although Annette got out of bed, she unfortunately then fell asleep in a nearby chair. Thankfully, one of their three cats, Grace (or Gracie as they often call her) knew something was wrong. “Gracie started pounding at the door. Pounding loud. She was really pounding. Our house is 120 years old so the door rattles,” shared Annette.

Read more about Gracie the Main Coon mix.

Halo Pets

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I live in a low-income building at 618 S. Wabash. …

I live in a low-income building at 618 S. Wabash. When signing HUD re-certification papers I had to sign a document stating that I was aware that as a HUD rent subsidy client with a disability I had a right to a service animal with a doctor's note. My landlord did not want any animals in the building. There had never been one before in the 11 years or so of it's existence. I had to get a lawyer but next week I will adopt my dog.
-James
BAD RAP Blog

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Saturday is Chore Day

My friend’s dog, Mr. B. (for Business), helping out with the laundry. I’m told he doesn’t even care if you shut the door on him, and they had to lure him out with a piece of ham just to get their clothes done. Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Grandpa’s Bird

aududbon wild turkeyIf you were to travel the back roads along the wild border between Calhoun and Gilmer Counties and mention my name to some well-worn local, you would probably get “You mean that guy who kills all the turkeys?”

I am Scottie V. Westfall III.  Junior is my father. The elder has passed on.

I have never killed a turkey, though I’ve certainly seen the birds slinking along on gray November days, the sort of days when you hope against all hope that a white-horned stag might come slinking out of the thickets and into rifle range.   When the bipedal fantails come trudging out of the gray gloom, I’ve been sorely tempted, but I’ve held my fire.

Not in season. Let them be.

My grandpa killed 8 turkeys in one season. The limit is 2.

He saw them as the Holy Grail of wild game.  He made his own calls and spent hours scouting and “chumming” them.  “Chumming,” of course, meant the copious dropping the “yellow call” in the March woods,  and “yellow call” was cracked corn. Baiting turkeys was illegal as taking more than the yearly bag limit.

He and often argued over conservation issues, but he liked playing the scofflaw, a sort twentieth century version of the old European poacher who loved to flaunt the king’s edicts about the king’s game.

Turkey hunts in spring begin before the sun rises.  The birds start moving and then start courting once there is just enough light to see, and the big tom birds drop from their treetop roosts and go about the business of fighting and fanning before the often reluctant hens.

The trick is to hit the woods before the birds come down and begin the process of “talking turkey.”  The talk a man gives the tom bird is supposed to be that of a dopey but receptive hen that is looking for a male company but just can’t make her way toward him.

If a tom is “henned up” with plenty of female company, he’s not likely to leave them to look for the yelping idiot on a distant ridge. He’s going to be content to stay with his harem and fan and puff  up for them.

The best hunters have strategies for the birds, but the very best– the ones who shoot 8 birds in a season– use the yellow call. They risk the game warden’s fines, but if he really wants the bird, it’s a risk that some will take.

Before there was ever a turkey season, my grandpa set out a bunch of game-farmed Eastern wild turkeys in the back country. The dumb things were too tame to be sporting birds, so he took to harassing and harrying with sticks.

And they soon learned to fear man, and they thrived in the backwoods.  When their numbers were high enough, my grandpa opened his own season and shot a tom.  He was totally flaunting the North American model of wildlife conservation. He’d set out private birds on private land, and now he was opening his own private season.

I can’t say that I approve of such things. I’m more or less in love with public wildlife model that has served our game species so well. I don’t hate conservation laws, which are mostly based upon the most rigorous science available.

But a few days ago, I saw a few big toms out fanning in a pasture. The greenness of the new April grass painted a pastel promenade ground, and the bird’s iridescent feathers were shining in the April sun.

I saw in them the beauty that had so beguiled my grandfather. They drove him into the scofflaw world of sniping turkeys with a .243.  They were what led him the regular haunts in the March woods with buckets of yellow call.

“You gobble. You die,” said the vanity plate on my his Ford pickup.

And for the turkeys he took, it certainly meant death.

But in their gobbling, he truly lived. He was a wild beast of the woods as his ancestors were, hunting hard the wild game without any regard for such artificial abstractions as law and conservation science.  It is the way that our kind lived for much of our 200,000 year existence. It is a way that has brought down many species, including the passenger pigeons which used to fill the skies on warm spring days.

The pigeon died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914, more than 19 years before my grandfather was born. They died off as the wild turkey nearly did. We just couldn’t stop killing them.

The turkey was saved, though, and is doing well.  And the bag limits and seasons get more liberal every year.

I think of my grandpa when I see these birds on clear April days. I know that he would be out there questing for them, yearning for them, coaxing them, ready to harvest as a wild hunting man should.

And I can only come up short. I’m an ersatz hunter-gatherer, wet around the ears, domesticated by the post-industrial world.

Yet still seeking that essential wildness that lies in gray woods of my people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Natural History

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Dog Alerts Owner to Stranded Dolphin – Saving the Sea Creature!

Leia the dog saves baby dolphin

When most of us go walking along the beach with our dog, we might come across some cool sea shells or beach glass. One man came across a stranded baby dolphin!

According to NTD.tv, the unnamed man was fishing and taking photos of his dog, Leia, along a beach in North Whales on the day in question. He was near the mouth of the River Dwyfor when, as he wrote on YouTube, “I heard my dog barking at me from further down the beach….clearly she had found something!”

When the man got closer he saw that she had found a stranded baby dolphin. The shore there was rocky and the waves were crashing hard. Normally if one finds a stranded dolphin on a beach, it’s recommended to call the local emergency services for help. “Unfortunately,” the man wrote, he “didn’t have a mobile signal” that day at the beach and “there was nobody around for miles” to help.

Read more about Leia saving a baby dolphin.

Halo Pets

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April is National Greyhound Adoption Month

For the eighth year, The Greyhound Project celebrates April’s National Adopt-A-Greyhound Month with a national public relations campaign promoting greyhound adoption public service announcements. What can you do to help these magnificent dogs? Tell the world. Change your Facebook profile and/or cover photo to share it with friends. Share a video like the one above, […]


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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