Remnants: Hillary, Karma, and Rick Rolling?

If It’s Friday, It Must Be Leftovers

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton? You Betcha

The Obama Campaign was renowned for its lack of leaking. Reporters bemoaned their inability to penetrate what was dubbed the tightest campaign ship in history, especially in comparison to the leaky frigate U.S.S. McCain, from which new leaks sprung hourly. Hence the surprise over the leaks that have come from the President-elect’s camp since the election: his choice of Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff, and now the word that Hillary Clinton is being eyed for Secretary of State, a position that is much coveted by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.

Would Clinton be effective in the position? She is already widely recognized by world leaders and is on a first-name basis with many of them. She is a tough negotiator, articulate, and well-schooled in foreign policy. In fact, Clinton’s foreign policy experience was often thought to be superior to Obama’s during the campaign, and many thought that it would be the one thing that would trip up the junior senator from Illinois. There is no doubt that Clinton is qualified. 

She has already made the trip to Chicago. The big question now is whether or not she would accept. The bigger question is whether or not it would fit in with her larger plans because there is no doubt that Senator Clinton, in her indubitable wisdom, has bigger plans.

My Son Would Be So Proud

I have admitted to being an avid “Rachel Maddow” fan, so you will imagine my surprise when her “Just Enough” segment featured her being RickRolled! My youngest son finds this pasttime hilarious for some reason, and every member of the family has been RickRolled at least twice. He hides the link behind other links so that you never know when you are going to hear that obnoxious song.

For those of you lucky enough never to have had this experience, being RickRolled is a prank involving the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song “Never Gonna Give You Up.” The person RickRolling you provides a web link that they claim is relevant to a topic you might be interested in and sends it to you in an e-mail, or posts it on their MySpace, but the link actually takes you to the Astley video.

I’m sure that neither Maddow nor her “Just Enough” segment companion Kent Jones planned the RickRoll, but it was priceless nevertheless. I can’t wait to show my son. He’ll love it.


Obama Roll/Rick Roll (not the one on Rachel Maddow Show)


Don’t Drink This Wine. Savor It.

Remember Michael Vick? How could you not? After all, what a fine specimen of a human being he is, taking all of that NFL fame and fortune, buying a bunch of dogs, a large house, 15 acres of land, and living a life of quiet leisure in the off-season. No wait. That wasn’t Michael Vick, was it? Oh Michael Vick, that sleazoid who thought it would be really cool to buy a bunch of dogs and train them to rip the flesh of each other while a bunch of other sleazoids bet money on which dog would die first. That Michael Vick? Well this section isn’t actually about him. It’s about the dogs.

Seems that the dogs who were saved from said sleazoid had a piece written about them by AP news and featured on “Today.” The dogs have been undergoing retraining and rehabilitation at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in southern Utah. One of the founders of the sanctuary, artist Cyrus Mejia, began painting the dogs after they arrived. The portraits have captured the dogs souls, not their pain.  And Matt Hahn, co-owner of Carivintas Winery, decided to combine the art with his wine. And voilà: The Vicktory Dogs Wine Collection, which features colorful portraits of the 22 dogs confiscated from Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels.

Each bottle includes a portrait of one of the dogs on the front, and a brief story about the dog on the back. The entire set includes 22 bottles and two others commemorating Best Friends’ 25th anniversary, and costs $672. The set can be split, and each half sells for $380. Individual bottles are $40. Ten percent of each sale goes to Best Friends. The money will be used to oppose dog fighting and to fight laws targeted against specific breeds of dogs.

What a great ending to what began as a portrait of a man with too much money and time and not enough humanity and heart. In the end, the dogs won, and not in the way that Vick had planned for them. He’s sitting in jail eating macaroni, and the dogs’ visages are gracing the labels of fine wine. Karma is a good thing.

More later. Peace.

Why dogs are better than most people I know

So the new puppy turns three months tomorrow, and so far, she has exceeded my expectations by not eating any of my boots. This is a wonderful thing. The last time I had a labrador puppy, she ate a couch. No lie. It was a very old couch, and I was planning to replace it anyway, so I decided to let her teethe on it as opposed to anything else in the house. Perhaps not everyone would agree with my logic, but it worked. I happen to believe that black labs are the most wonderful dogs on the face of the earth. They are smart, funny, and fiercely loyal. They aren’t necessarily good guard dogs because everyone is a possible friend as opposed to a possible enemy, but in my house the function of vicious guard dog is served by the two very loud Jack Russell Terriers, one of whom is becoming quite tall horizontally by sneaking into the puppy food. The terriers bark at anything that moves, whether it is in the vicinity of the home-front or a mile away. Boundaries be damned. Give them a good wind storm, and they can bark for hours. Just ask my neighbors.

Perhaps I should pause and introduce my infamous canines. There is the newest member, Tillie, who is so named because she is quite silly and because Tillie Olsen is one of my favorite authors. Then there are the boys: Alfie, named for Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and Shakes, for William Shakespeare, of course. When the boys were puppies, they were quite literate, eating their way through several of my favorite mysteries, having quite a taste for British mysteries by P.D. James and Colin Dexter. Tillie is not quite so discerning; while she has tried her hand at copyright law, she actually prefers electronics better, i.e. remote controls and cell phones.

But I digress . . . what is my decidedly dogged affinity for canines over homo sapiens? Dogs do not play games. Well, they do play games, but their games are usually harmless to humans. They don’t spread malicious rumors about you in the workplace, nor do they take great pleasure in seeing you fail professionally. In fact, when you have a crappy day, you can come home to your dog, and it is that huge canine heart so full of happiness to see you that can make you forget the ugly, petty politics that just sucked your soul from you and left you weeping on I-64. When your personal relationships fail, get custody of the dogs; they’re worth more than the fine china any day.

Dogs will curl up beside you on the couch and keep your feet warm on a cold day, and all that they ask in return is a little love and maybe a cookie once in a while. Okay, if you’re one of my dogs, you expect a cookie every time anyone returns home, but my dogs are incredibly spoiled.

Dogs are also incredible accurate barometers when it comes to reading people. Look at the way an individual treats a dog. It tells you everything you need to know about that person: their generosity of spirit of lack of it, their compassion, their ability to love, how much kindness they have in their heart, or if that person is a cold, cruel, self-serving, hateful bastard who cares not a wit for anyone or anything but himself (witness the merry band of Michael Vick and his dog-fighting cronies). If someone tells you that they don’t like dogs, either they have been bitten by a dog (which is usually a human’s fault), or there is an underlying pathology (but of course, that’s just my take, but the odds of my being wrong are indeed astronomical).

I can’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t had a dog. I once had a mixed breed lab named Murphy. She was my “beautiful girl”; she had a big nose and grey eyebrows, and she followed me from room to room, and when she died of old age, I wept for days. She was one of my shelter rescue dogs, the best kind of dog to have. We buried her in the back yard, under the big oak tree, and put a Celtic cross on top of her. I waited four years before getting another rescue lab. It took that long to be ready for another one. Now Tillie is grabbing pants legs and giving the boy dogs hell. They are having a great time even if the boys are pretending to be annoyed.

It’s wonderful to be able to get my mind off the bad things in life and watch life through a dog’s eyes. I know that it’s escapism and only temporary, but it’s my own little form of meditation and therapy, and I’ll take what I can get.