Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em

Sad days with Maxie gone. Pets leave such a hole when they die. It’ll be a while before either of us is ready to adopt another dog to keep Mister B company (although after a day of great agitation and upset, he seems happy just to be with his humans).

Mister B really was a mess the morning Maxie died, so I took him for a walk to help settle him down. Halfway up the street a lady in a car drove up and rolled her window down to ask if we’d seen her dog. She was cruising neighborhoods near her own, frantically looking for it. We lost a cat that way once, a horrible experience. We weren’t the only ones having a bad day. I hope she found her dog.

We’re going to have company on Thanksgiving after all. Our in-the-bubble friend Mary Anne is coming over, and we hope our daughter Polly as well. It’s not going to be the dreary quarantine experience we thought we were in for. Four isn’t enough of a crowd to justify cooking at home, so we’re planning on takeout. We’d better get on it and put in an order now … I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you can do at the last minute. Our kids in Las Vegas have already ordered their Thanksgiving takeout dinner from Cracker Barrel. There’s one here, but it’s clear on the other side of town, almost an hour away. Well, there’s always Chinese, right?

Just saw a news item on Twitter warning about getting COVID from in-the-bubble friends and family. Well, shit. Going to ignore that one for now. C’mon vaccine!

I gave up on the full beard, shaving off the side whiskers and leaving just a goatee. The side whiskers would never behave, sticking out every which way no matter how assiduously I trimmed them. My son wears a goatee and I suppose we now look even more alike than before. Once we start having family gatherings again I may have to go back to being clean-shaven.

Here’s the before & after:

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The J.R. “Bob” Dobbs facial accessory in the before photo is a prop. I was a smoker the first 15 years of our marriage. When I quit I threw away a huge collection of pipes, racks, and tobacco humidors. Two years ago I began to regret that decision, not because I wanted to start smoking again but because I needed a pipe to complete my ensemble for the annual Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. I bought a cheap one at a vape shop and hung onto it after the ride. Pipes must still be a thing … it certainly wasn’t hard to find one … but you never see men smoking them in public, and would probably think about calling the police if you did.

Changing gears: Two days ago I started hearing Trump was planning a surprise total pullout from Afghanistan and Iraq, and that was the real reason he fired Esper and started putting loyalists in key DoD policy positions. The real story, as ever, turns out to be something less: the media now reports Trump wants to reduce force levels from 4,500 to 2,500 in Afghanistan and from 3,000 to 2,500 in Iraq.

Too bad. I don’t have any idea how we might safely withdraw all US forces from those two hellholes … by safely, I mean without getting the few who have to stay until the very end killed … but if it could be done it would be the one thing I’d cheer Trump for doing. Well, that and facing reality so that the transition to a Biden/Harris administration can proceed.

© 2020, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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