Critters, Car Trips, Culture Wars

The dogs had their teeth cleaned Tuesday. You who do not have dogs might not know what a big deal this is. Antibiotics and anesthesia, and in Maxie’s case more antibiotics after, because in addition to the cleaning she had to have a couple of rotten teeth extracted. The girls were just coming out of anesthesia when we picked them up that afternoon, groggy and disoriented. Maxie actually fell down when we took her out back to go potty. They slept all night, cuddled in our laps until bedtime, then burrowed down between us under the covers. By Wednesday they were back to normal. We, of course, feel awful for putting them through the ordeal.

Schatzi & Maxie, good as new (now with Better Breath™)

Chewie the cat, who reveled in her dog-free day, was visibly crushed when we brought them home. Maybe we should take her in for procedure or two.

I’m planning a trail for an upcoming Hash House Harrier event, one that will start and end at our house. My knowledge of our neighborhood, thanks to all the hashing trails I’ve set through it, is almost carnal. This morning I mentally laid out a route, then checked it on Google maps. Later today I’ll ride it on my bicycle to get the feel of it.

Speaking of hashing, it’s starting to look as if we’ll be able to attend the big InterAmericas Hash House Harrier event in Portland, Oregon, this coming Labor Day weekend. We didn’t think we were going to be able to go: we, along with several hundred other InterAm wannabes, missed the registration deadline. Now, though, a friend of a friend whose plans have changed has agreed to sell his two registrations to us. We’ll be traveling by car, visiting friends and relatives in Nevada, Washington, and California along the way. Our 50th wedding anniversary is this coming December; September’s close enough to allow us to call it a golden anniversary road trip. We’re already excited.

This Bill O’Reilly thing escapes me. Everyone knows he’s equal parts bluster and bullshit, and in any case he’s not a newsman. He’s not expected to be honest or objective; his job at Fox News is to stir up the rubes and keep their resentment at a fever pitch. A lie from Bill O’Reilly is not at all the same thing as a lie from Brian Williams, who is supposed to be objective and self-effacing … even though what Brian Williams was doing on the NBC Nightly News could hardly be called reportage, as Bill Maher so hilariously points out:


And now the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald, has been caught exaggerating his military record, saying he was Army Special Forces when in fact he was not. Honestly, I can’t work up any outrage; it’s not like it’s a case of stolen valor. McDonald not only served (unlike all the chickenhawks posting angry tweets about American Sniper not getting more Oscars): he was a West Point grad who jumped out of airplanes with the 82nd Airborne Division, way way closer to special operations than anything I ever did. To my mind an Airborne troop or officer is just a tiny notch below a Ranger (and by the way, McDonald graduated from Ranger school, no easy task), a Ranger almost indistinguishable from a Green Beret.

I know special ops folks will disagree with me on that. It’s a touchy subject. I have to be careful myself how I talk about my time with the US Special Operations Command, lest people think I’m claiming a special ops background. I served a joint tour with USSOCOM J3, but I was not a special operator. I was an Air Force fighter pilot who happened to find himself on the USSOCOM staff after the Goldwater-Nichols military shakeup of 1986. Almost all of the officers and enlisted people I worked with at USSOCOM, however, were special ops, so I can at least claim to know something about it.

Last night MSNBC, in conjunction with NBC’s Telemundo network, aired an hour-long town hall interview with President Obama on immigration. Obama’s interlocutor, Telemundo correspondent Jose Díaz-Balart, repeatedly engaged with the live audience in Spanish. Obama heard a translated version of Díaz-Balart’s remarks through an earpiece and responded in English. Those of us watching at home, if we didn’t speak Spanish ourselves, could only guess at what had been said by Obama’s responses.

Granted, Telemundo is a Spanish-language network serving a huge Latino audience in the USA, and I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of the bilingual Jose Díaz-Balart on NBC and MSNBC. Nevertheless, my inner conservative became increasingly restive as the interview, with all the untranslated Spanish language exchanges, went on. My inner conservative felt as if something was being shoved down its throat by the smug, superior liberals at MSNBC. I sent my inner conservative to bed without dinner, never fear, but I took note of his resentful reaction: at the very least, its intolerance helped me understand Bill O’Reilly’s popularity with the Fox News shut-ins.

¡Buenos días, amigos!

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