Look, No Training Wheels!

Today, I Took Powell Pow took me on his first hike.

Because this was his first "training hike" my plan was to carry him in his pack until I was on a pedestrian trail, let him out, and then slowly stroll behind him as he explored for a half hour or so (ready to grab him when any hikers—especially hikers with dogs—appeared).

This was to be just a familiarization tour. "See, this is what the forest looks and smells and sounds like." "No, don't crawl into those brambles" "I'm walking on the path, come walk with me." (only with no dialogue; just clicks, come-here's, and good-boy's.)

Preparation: Beach towel in the bottom of the pack; zip-pockets with a bottle of water, 20cc syringe, small container of kibble, day-glo orange kitty collar, and training "clicker".

1/10th of the mile into the forest (still on the fire road) and Pow is pushing at the pack's zipper. I let him out and, immediately, we are hiking. Full walk. Striding out.

He never leaves the trail and consistently stays ahead. Five minutes into the hike, a couple approaches ahead of us. Pow stops, turns and comes back to me. I pick him up. The couple and I talk (Pow doesn't try to get down) when I continue to hike, he struggles to get down and...back to hiking.

First pedestrian trail on the right—he heads down it like it was the only destination. I follow. For the next .5 mile he keeps ahead of me most of the way. At the bottom, he stops and I can tell from his ears and posture that he hears something ahead. I pick him up; 20 seconds later a jogger comes around the bend and passes us.

For the next .25 mile, he's a bit underfoot and reluctant to dash ahead. He also meows some, so I pick him up and carry him (until he indicates he wants down).

On two occasions, he raises his hackles; I pick him up and listen. Nothing. (I assume these reactions are to sounds and/or smells unavailable to my miserable excuse for ears and nostrils.)

We take a break. Beach towel unfurled, drink water, and rest for ten minutes. He never leaves the towel.

At the 1.25 mile point, Pow is slowing (me too). The terrain, which up to now was downhill or flat, is now a gradual uphill climb along a ridge-line. He's no longer dashing ahead much, instead he sticks with me or follows 5-feet behind. We take another break at the 1.75 mile mark and Pow naps under my arm for about 15 minutes.

We explore the woods a little, then back to the trail. I can see he's tired—I zip him in the backpack for the last few 10ths of a mile.

I hiked 2.25 miles; Pow probably hiked 1.75 miles.

I am amazed by his stamina, ability, and natural stick-to-the-path-edness, which I can't say I've witnessed before. It took me 10+ hours to train my last cat to hike and there were still some days when we'd hike for 0.5 mile and he'd crawl under a shady log 'fuckit, nap-time' and others when he'd head into dense brush 'Path? Silly human. I prefer this direction, follow me."

Color me giddy-up glorious purple as pleased plum pudding (with tired feet).

I feel that I have it in my soul to become one of the great artists of the age and that future historians will remember me not for what I have done for Germany, but for my art. — Adolf Hitler (unimaginative and dull painter; gifted with the ability to be horribly wrong about almost every thought that entered his head).

Dew Drops Too

The earth’s atmosphere is a (relatively) closed system, which has trapped water on the planet since the earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago or after comets crash-brought it here billions of years ago (or both...there are theories).


There are about 326 million trillion gallons of water on earth. The same 326 with eighteen zeros gallons that has been here (relatively) forever.

The water cycle which began billions of years ago and has been going on (relatively) forever is: evaporation/transpiration condensationprecipitation collection evaporation (ad infinitum).

Animal life began over ½ billion (500 million+) years ago.

Dinosaurs roamed the earth for over 160 million years.

Humans have been here for (maybe, about) a few hundred thousand years.

The average human consumes over 12,000 gallons of water in his or her lifetime.

The human body is 65% water.

Every living being that ever lived—fish, animal, insect, dinosaur, human, neanderthal (you get the picture)—drank its full lifetimes worth of water.

Many tens of thousands of those species were very much larger than your average human.
There have been an uncountable trillion of zillions of living beings drinking from that 326 with 18 zeros gallons, for the past hundreds of millions of years.


Every drop of liquid we drink has already been drunk many times over.


The cleanest drop of distilled arctic glacier water on the planet today...was slurped out of a bog by a hypsilophodontwho pissed it into a stream where it evaporated and eventually rained out of a cloud and was cycled through a few dozen other crawling and swimming and flying things before eventually getting trapped in an arctic snowstorm a few thousand years ago.

I’m sure you've heard the phrase: "we're all be made of stardust"; but more to the point, we are definitely all made of piss.

Drink up.

I have never used the word 'Blitzkrieg', because it is a very silly word. — Adolf Hitler

Healthy Hike

Today we hiked in Forest Park along the Leif Erickson Trail, which is an eleven mile, one-lane, dirt & gravel road (off-limits to motorized vehicles) located within Portland's city limits.

As we were walking through the forest (being passed by the occasional jogger and bicyclist) I recalled a recent conversation with a friend. Our conversation touched on health issues and she commented that she thought I was real healthy. My response was more about the semantics of the word 'healthy' than anything. In a way, I must have sounded like I was claiming poor health.

She is my age (50) and her husband is no more than seven years older. He just had both hips replaced. She told me about the procedure and about his quick recovery as well as the total cost (US$180,000.00). This surgery is the latest in a long list of diseases, disorders, and down-right bizarre conditions that my friend and her husband have been diagnosed with over the past dozen years. They each take an amazing regimen of pharmaceuticals (12-20+ pills a day), and although I don't know all the diagnosed diseases—Lupus, MS, and hemochromatosis (too much iron in the blood) are three I do recall.

When I think about the odds of a single person having five to seven serious, debilitating, medical ailments...all which require drug treatment and/or surgery, I think someone is being less than honest with someone else. Either I am being lied to by my friend, or doctors are duping her and her husband.

In regards to my ''good health", I explained my hatred of the medical system and, specifically, my distrust of doctors—and that her impression was based on a non-existent 'clean bill of health'. I told her that I could be extremely unhealthy, but because I never go to doctors (nor do I comment about my health) it was not something anyone would know about until I was dead.

As explanation, I told her about my self-treatments for a broken foot (2004) and rib (2007); I didn't tell her about my other "symptoms of aging". I will—undoubtedly—die of something, someday (and it may be sooner rather than later...that is, if any of us live beyond 2012). My future heart attack or stroke or tumor may even have been postpone-able or patch-able or even curable...but (alas) won't have been, because I won't have seen a doctor about its symptoms.

Each year I hear about the complaints, and treatments, for more and more serious medical problems from my friend (I suspect they have paid for many a yacht and Maserati for many an MD). I rarely talk about my health, but, I may not be healthier.

Man has a gift for seizing hold of what is beautiful. And what inexhaustible riches the world contains for the man who knows how to enjoy his senses! Moreover, nature has given man the desire to make others share in the joys he feels. The beautiful always claims its right to primacy. — Adolf Hitler

June Solstice

Today is the June Solstice (1st Day of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere and 1st Day of Winter in the Southern Hemisphere) and the longest/shortest day of the year. In Portland, today, the sunrise was just about 5am and the sunset was about 9:30pm. The temperatures, for our 1st day of Summer were wonderful (high of 77F low of 54F) with partly cloudy skies, intermittent showers, and a slight breeze. A good day to be a Portlander, no matter how liberal that means you are.

...burn out all the recent immoral developments...burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of past liberal excesses. — Adolf Hitler (in a speech proclaiming his staunch conservative christian beliefs)


If degenerate artists see fields blue, they are deranged, and should go to an asylum; if they only pretend to see them blue, they are criminals, and should go to prison. — Adolf Hitler

Curiouser and Curiouser

Powell, 4 months

I am providing this to avoid being cited by feline-failure-to-post-a-feckin-foto enforcement officials.

More importantly (and to insure you don't think this has become one of those) I pose this rhetorical observation:

Because I do not happen to own a book of Hitler's writings or quotes, I used a small strand of the web to find some of what he said or wrote. This month, I decided, would be Adolf's month not only because I wanted to know what the web would reference for a notoriously bad guy (and since he was prolific and outspoken, I chose him) but, mostly, because I thought that evil people probably say the darnedest things.

Before I could get to that strand of the web, I let the google do its thing. But, it declined.

Normally, I would type a few letters and it would give me ten options and I'd scroll-click. Not this time. All the way to 'a.d.o.l.f. .h.i.t.l.e' . . . and not listed as a suggestion. I found the lack of his name in the suggestion drop-down rather baffling.

It is there now. Obviously. As soon as I type 'a.d', but that's because I'm treading trodden ground.

The first time around though, the google didn't want me to learn about the bad man. It caused me to mutter, 'Open the door Hal'.

That was my first curious hmmm. My second hmmmm (a bit longer) came as I scanned the things he is attributed with saying. I try to make some association with the topic of my post in the quote. Not always. And the quote I choose does not always have a connection that's readily apparent to others, but I try. Not so easy with this extremely insane Austrian.

Every quote engine has the same few dozen (or less) quotes. Almost all of them paint a very bleak picture. To scan his quotes is to see he was a bigoted dullard. A manipulative, fucktard. Not very imaginative. Not very well spoken.

The weak offerings from the quote engines may be sufficient for someone writing a 3-page paper for World History Class, but it only makes me want to know where the real writings are; because it's too much like the google declining to help me.

A lengthy search did uncover some translations of his writings; I still haven't found any direct quotes about pets, or his dogs, or animals in general. So, this will suffice.

A meeting between two beings who complete one another, who are made for each other, borders already, in my opinion, on a miracle. — Adolf Hitler

New Cat

Decided it was time (the 14 months without a cat was fine, but it was time), so I looked for a month or so and finally found and brought home a 3 to 4-month-old kitten from a shelter.

He's mostly white with black splashes. Some of the black spitter-splashed in a smattering of small speckles...so he has almost a Dalmatian-thing going in coloration (but not in shedding). Although he is a domestic shorthair, his coat is extremely short and slick—like a seal's—and there's a sizable dollop of Abyssinian in his not-too-distant ancestry, so he has large ears and a small, pointy head (which lends him a Spuds Mckenzie-thing in the looks department).

I've named him Powell. I call him Pow.

He has been living here for five days and has demonstrated:
  • Fetching. Throw a wad of paper, it's returned in short order to be re-thrown.
  • He easily drinks from a syringe placed in the corner of this mouth. This is essential to taking cats hiking in the wild...so I can decide when and how much he needs to re-hydrate. It also makes administering liquid medications simple.
  • He sleeps near my shoulder or curled under an arm (it is important to me that he enjoys human proximity). Also, a plus because our other cat, Aggie, prefers the between-our-legs spot.
  • Allows the clipping of nails, the administering of earmiticide, and immersion in water without display of anger or fear (not that he loved a bath, just that he tolerated it).
  • Socializes wonderfully with other cats (ours and a couple of locals who visit routinely).
  • Rides in a car (in and out of a carrier) with no problems or complaint.
  • Not overly boisterous. He has a diminutive vocal range, and seems to use quiet vocalizations rather than loud or incessant ones.
  • Will drink out of a plastic water bottle cap held in my hand (valuable for when he's thirsty and a larger receptacle is not available).
  • Doesn't extend his claws or forcibly bite when engaging in pseudo-aggressive play behavior.
  • Follows me when I walk ahead (for 200+ feet). This was done only in a controlled setting, but it looks promising that he may be able, and willing, to hike with me when he gets older.
  • Still working on: 'No', 'Come here' and his name as a 'pay attention to me' signal. Need to test his ability to ride in a cat-backpack. Need to locate an 'open' area (visually) to train him to hike. Establish wearing a collar = going hiking.

Films - Early Summer

UP - Pixar continues to generate greatness. It will make you cry and laugh; for adults who like an intelligent story behind their animation.

The HANGOVER - You will explode with laughter every ten minutes; not really the film the trailer paints it to be.

AWAY WE GO - A couple in love, who stay in love all the way through the film; more about all the "crazy other people" (in the world)...since I generally hate people in general, this film played to that part of me.

STAR TREK (2009) - A superbly scripted and produced story. Action SF at its best.

Beatbox by Daichi

True genius is always inborn and never cultivated, let alone learned. — Adolf Hitler, Mien Kampf

Think about Thinking (Just This One Time)

When was the last time you thought for yourself?

It is a simple question.

Immediately, one wants to—jumps to, knee-jerks to—say:I always think for myself. Because the obverse is to admit to being a proud member of the follower-masses.But.Think about it.Think about thinking.

How do you pick a film, listen to a song, or buy an outfit?Do you purchase anything—from the smooth creaminess spread on your soft-crusty-whole-grain-goodness, to the quantity of dots per inch on this screen—without first seeking advice, doing research and comparing your need-desire with your budget?


Are you thinking for yourself—then—or are you asking for and allowing marketing specialists (formal and informal) to be your umpires?

When a new slice of information hits your eardrum and lodges into your neurons—do you allow that snip of data to stand?Do you question it?Do you seek out the actual facts, or do you accept what ‘someone says was said’?

Are you a critical thinker or have you chosen an information provider, which shapes and spices the data it provides so that it informs your mental palate in a manner that does not upset your subjectively slanted sensibilities?

Or... are you open and objective?

The 1st Amendment to the US Constitution, which prevents the government from limiting religion, free-speech or the press, is a double-edged sword.While it allows me to say (here, for example) whatever I want, it also permits Rupert Murdock to broadcast any fiction, on all of his news outlets—from print, to TV, to the internet.I may get read by two or three.He will be BELIEVED by millions.

Are you a tool?Are you one of Murdock’s millions?

I am not saying that FOX News should not be watched, nor that the New York Post or Wall Street Journal or The Times should not be read, nor that American Idol or hulu should not be viewed, nor that MySpace should not be used (all owned by Murdock) what I am saying is—be a critical thinker.And.Stop.Listening.To.Talking.Heads.They.Are.Only.Making.You.Bleat.


[For more on Murdock: his picture above, and the title of this post, are informative links.]

All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach. — Adolf Hitler