Archive for the ‘pets’ Category

Minnie is the latest edition to our army of animals. She is a small black cocker spaniel – smaller by half than most of her breed because she was once abused, starved and beaten. Seemingly as a consequence of this she can eat non-stop, possibly until she bursts, which is what I hear goldfish do if allowed unlimited use of the Nutrafin flakes. But since they only have a 3 second memory presumably they don’t remember that they’ve eaten already and just keep going until they pop. I’m tempted to put this theory to the test but am afraid that if I do so the sounds of exploding goldfish might alert the neighbours and any passing security forces.

Minnie is called Minnie because she’s tiny – because she’s *really* tiny when compared to our other spaniel, Charlie the Chunk [enough said] – but mostly because she’s a dreadful mooch – hence “Minnie the Moocher”. Names are important in the scheme of things aren’t they? They absolutely define us, dogs and humans alike. What’s more they go further than this, they absolutely determine not only who we are but *what* we were, what we are, and what we will become. In ancient times descriptive names were all the rage. For example, Eric the Red – who no doubt had red hair and a nifty auburn beard – either that or a red face from all that raping and pillaging and strong Viking grog. Then there are all those Welshmen called Jones the Post, and Jones the Police, and Jones Who Pulls the Pints Down At The Pub. No problem with keeping up with the Joneses down in Abergerwennybivvygivvy then.

Can you even imagine the most sublime artistic talent that ever lived being called Luigi Paintabrusha instead of Michelangelo the Divine? Oy! And how could Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart have made such wonderful, soaring, courtly music if his name had been Hans Wiffleburger? What about Joe Green instead of Guiseppe Verdi, or even Freda the Really Really Insignificant instead of Katherine the Great. Manny the Monk instead of Rasputin, or Freddy the Shit-Disturber rather than Savonarola the fiery orator. It would hardly have been worth burning him if he had had a name like that. The turn-out would have been too small.

So grand names relate directly to grand design in the future memorability stakes. If you want your offspring to go far in life forget about the Joshes and the Chinas, the Dakotas and the Shatoquas, go for the Arabella von Furstenburgs instead. You won’t be sorry.


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Dogs are sweet souls. Dogs don’t cheat you, dogs don’t lie to your face, dogs don’t burgle your house and dogs don’t steal your car. Well, I have had dogs who steal my seat and shred my Hullo magazines all over the living room floor but these are minor infractions on the canine criminality scale. You can tread on a dog’s paw , you can cut his nails too close and make his bathwater too cold, you can forget to fill his water dish and put his collar on inside out so the nubs stick in his neck, you can make him wait until bursting for his morning pee, you can pull his fur out with the comb with the tines too small but he still loves you.

You can’t say that about too many humans now can you? Humans in general, other than Saint Theresa and Princess Di of course, are petty and vindictive, jealous and angry, and mean. They are always whinging about something. I do it too – I moan about the weather, I moan about my bank balance, I moan about my house and the state of the garden, I moan about the roof leaking and how the less desirable neighbours are out there again building a bonfire the size of Mount Everest and threatening to wipe out London in the fire of the century.

Everything costs too much – have you checked out the price of cereal lately? And what about gas prices? Those gouging greedy bastards the oil companies are always at it – a finch farts in Venezuela and they say, “Hey Guys – let’s jack the pump price up”. Poor sods like my husband, who has to drive 200K each way to get to work, have to just take it – again. They don’t even ask if you want your complimentary jar of vaseline with that.

And jobs? There aren’t any. Sorry but your experience is too narrowly focused – sorry, your experience is too broad. Do you have two Master’s Degrees? One of course should be a subject specialization in the mating habits of the Macaw because it’s absolutely essential in order to secure this ten dollar an hour job shelving books at the local library. Can you relocate to Nunavut? Sorry but we’re really looking for candidates who are [check one] taller than you, shorter than you, fatter/thinner than you, older/younger than you, anyone but you. And anyway the job’s already gone to the manager’s cousin who is just out of high school and will work for cheap.

Employer/employee loyalty? None of that either. Once upon a time, so the mythology goes, it was possible to start in the mail-room, work your way up to be the managing director, or at least the senior secretary if you happened to be female, and get your solid gold watch and your carriage clock at the end of it. Now you’re lucky if anyone knows your name. You have no benefits, no security, and no personal life because you are expected to give the proverbial 110 percent to the firm. However, if you chance to have a heart-attack in the middle of the shop floor after giving your all to the company for the last 30 years, the hiring manager will just step over your body to get to the phone to post an ad on Workopolis. That’s of course if you haven’t already been replaced – four years before retirement and your pension – by the latest, newest, and cheapest model, fresh off the assembly line.

And that’s another thing – dog’s aren’t cynical either.

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