Dawn Patrol

fullsizeoutput_419eMister B was on full alert during our crack-of-dawn soirée, stopping every few feet to stare into the brush on either side of the road. When I saw these tracks near our house, I understood. The prints may have been a couple of hours old, but I don’t doubt Mister B sniffed lingering javelina musk in the air. I’m surprised I didn’t. For relatively small creatures, javelina have a giant odor.

Mister B’s curled in the doggie bed by my desk now, awake still but drifting off, an eventful morning behind him, and it’s just 8 o’clock.

These are the best mornings. Up early, walking through the neighborhood while it’s still cool, policing the back yard for dog poop, coffee and a hot muffin for breakfast, a devoted dog by my side, the rest of the morning mine to write, read, or whatever I want.

The past few days I’ve suspected the battery in my pickup truck was going. Yesterday the starter went ruh-ruh-ruh on a descending beat and removed all doubt. I last replaced the battery two years ago, almost to the day. That time I told the guy at the parts store to give me the cheap one, the one rated to last two years. How about that. This time I popped for the expensive one.

We’re starting to think our internet data usage problem is coming from inside the house (cue horror movie music). So far I’ve been by the Xfinity store three times. The first time they put an app on my iPhone that allows me to monitor wi-fi connected devices in the house. Nice to know, but I wasn’t sure the app had any practical application. The second time they gave me a new modem and router on the possibility there was a problem with the old one. I set up a new wi-fi network and password with it, which should at least stop neighbors from piggybacking on our account, should that have been part of the problem (highly doubtful IMO). The third time, three days into September’s billing cycle, they checked our usage and told me we’d already consumed 10% of our monthly terabyte of data. What this tells me is that the verbiage on the Xfinity web site, the part where it says a terabyte is enough to cover 600 to 700 hours of streaming TV, 12,000 hours of online gaming, 15,000 hours of streaming music, or uploading and downloading 60,000 high resolution photos, is somewhat misleading.

The finger of blame, not surprisingly, is beginning to point to a middle-aged chronically unemployed live-at-home daughter who spends all day in her room streaming Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. And now I know what that wi-fi usage app on my iPhone is good for. At the Xfinity store yesterday, the rep showed me how it can be used to turn the data stream on and off to different devices in the home. I’m pretty sure Polly doesn’t read my blog, so when she comes to us saying her stuff doesn’t work we can pretend to be shocked. Shocked, I say.

I follow a few defense industry journalists on Twitter. They’re all agog over a new Twitter account featuring photoshopped images of cats in military settings, like this:


I know, I know, cute cats on Twitter blah blah blah, but as soon as I saw one I ran panting to Google to see if anyone has done something similar with dachshunds. And guess what?

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True, the giant dachshund photos aren’t military (nor on Twitter; they’re on a guy’s personal blog), but you can kind of pretend the apartment building roof in the background is the superstructure of a warship.

Several friends have sent reports of a recent attempt to ban Harry Potter books, this time on the pretext they contain working satanic spells and incantations. For years I wrote a regular column on banned books (a damned good one if I say so myself), finally giving up on it after realizing it was never going to get any outside traction. The latest Harry Potter book-banning flareup isn’t enough to get me started again, because it’s the same old shit. They’ve gone after Harry Potter since the beginning, and they’ll never stop. Tell you what, though, asserting that pig latin incantations like “Begoneous, evil spirit,” based on zero research into satanic ritual or witchcraft and written for a preteen audience, actually work? Well, that’s some brazen Hitleresque Big Lie shit, right up there with Trump telling us Kim Jong Un is our friend.

You’d think if kids were casting actual spells, it would make the news, right?

For years I’ve wondered where humanity’s central problem lies. Is it selfishness? Racism and xenophobia? Jingoism? Misogyny? Intolerance? Incoherence in speech and writing? All these traits are grounded in and inseparable from stupidity. Whenever I encounter someone exhibiting any or all of these traits, my overwhelming first instinct has always been to write him or her off as a stupid person, not worthy of my time.

Trust your instincts, they say. I trust mine.

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