Tag Archives: Owl

In The Land Of The Armless, The One-Armed Man Is King

by Richard

To quote Mel Brooks, “It’s good to be the king.” Or at least it would be if I really were in the land of the armless. Unfortunately, I’m in the normal land here where most everybody has two arms, two hands and can actually get stuff done.

Yep, you guessed right. It’s time for a whine-fest.

It’s been almost two weeks since I had my shoulder operated on and I’m already getting very, very, very tired of walking around with one arm in a sling, strapped to my body. My right arm is basically useless. I’ve been told I can’t even hold things with my right hand because I don’t want to strain the newly repaired muscles and tendons in my shoulder.

I never realized how much I actually do during the day until I couldn’t do any of those things.

I have to get help from my young dudes to tie my shoes. Zipping up is a monumental task. Putting on deodorant requires a few acts of contortions that would strain the credulity of India rubber men at the freak show. I can’t even wash dishes.

See, the thing is I know I have ADD. I can’t sit and do just one thing. If I’m watching TV, I’ll also need to read a book at the same time because I can’t just watch. During most evenings, I will be doing stuff in the kitchen while also keeping an eye on the TV or something similar. Now I can’t.

TV, by itself, is just so boring.

Sitting at the keyboard to write is a chore now. I have to type so very slowly. By the time my fingers have hunted-and-pecked their way to being even with my brain, my brain has moved on and forgotten what I was writing about in the. . .

Still, I can’t get too annoyed. I know I will get the use of my right arm back. Eventually. I’m a lot luckier than a lot of people who are learning to adjust to life with only one arm.

Still. . .

Still. . .

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Cheating: A Rant

by Richard

Remember way back when Dennis Miller used to be funny? Yeah, I know. Hard to reach back that far. Still, he was at his funniest when he was at his angriest, when he was on a rant.

I’m not that funny, but I’m about to go on a rant. And I do mean to go off on it.

Back on Valentine’s Day, we got a comment entered in an post that was so old we had to blow the spiderwebs off it so we could actually read what we wrote. Which means, usually, we got spammed by some kind of robot. And not the fun kind. This robot-installed spam was hawking academic papers that you could buy.

Yeah, that’s right. The place, which I will not dignify with a link, is a cheating factory.

There’s an argument that buying papers off the internet isn’t cheating. That those papers only serve as a guideline to the — ha! — students who buy them. A way for them to help focus their thoughts.

Yeah, right. And I’m the Queen of Iceland. Admittedly, I do look good in a nice mauve prom dress and a tiara, but Iceland doesn’t actually have a queen. I think you get my point.

The purpose of an essay is not to punish the students. Well, most of the time. Seriously, it’s so that the professor can make sure the students have actually grasped the point of a section of knowledge and are able to synthesize ideas, resolve contradictions and form coherent opinions about that knowledge. These are all important skills. And buying papers off the internet doesn’t help achieve that goal.

I know I’m speaking as a very old person here. There’s no student who likes writing an essay. I know I didn’t when I was that age. But, now that I’m old, I can appreciate what it’s trying to accomplish. It’s a worthwhile goal. That and it’s fun to watch little dudes suffer like that.

I still remember the two all-nighters in a row I pulled in trying to write a coherent paper about Kurt Vonnegut’s Jailbird. That thing, like most of Vonnegut’s books, is a mass of twisting narrative that can confound the most agile mind. Of which mine was not. Still, I managed to get the paper done on time and turn it in. I got a “B” and counted myself lucky. I later found out I got that high a grade because the professor felt sorry for me when he saw how I looked when I turned it in. I know, how could he tell the difference? Har, har.

Still, even though it’s hard, people need to learn how to write coherent bits of narrative. You will be judged on how well you write. No one’s going to demand that anyone write as well as Christopher Moore or anything, but you have to be able to get your ideas across in print, or pixel as the case may be.

I just do not like these kinds of services. I think they cheat the professor and the student. And that’s not good.

Okay. I’m done. End of rant. Go about your business.

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Dog Training

by Richard

Now that we have a dog, I’m able to do a little compare and contrast and I’ve come to a conclusion. To wit: It is much easier to train a dog than it is to train a little dude. Much, much easier.

In the probably less than five months that we’ve had our Labrador/pit bull mix, Buzz, we’ve been able to teach him not to poop on the floor, how to roll over, sit, not to beg at the table, how to tell which hand has the treat and how to choose that hand.

In the sixteen years we’ve had the little dudes, we’ve managed to teach them how not to poop on the floor. Most times.

Buzz has his own little area and he doesn’t mess in it.

I’m afraid to walk into the bedrooms of m three little dudes for fear the mess will have gained sentience and will attack just on general principles.

Buzz has his own bowl and will eat from it, making sure not to spill on the floor. If he does, he’ll clean it up. (With his tongue, but still the principle stands.)

After a meal with my little dudes, I’m tempted to rent the place out as a rest stop to a horde of migrating cockroaches moving south to escape the growing threat of the arctic boot heel.

Buzz actually likes to get in the shower. True story: we’ve got a shower without a door or curtain (on purpose, I assure you) and, whenever one of us is in the shower, Buzz will wander into the shower, get wet and happily start licking up the water on the ground.

Sometimes the funk surrounding the older little dudes, George of the Jungle and Zippy the Monkey Boy, is so fierce it’s almost a dose of concentrated evil. Eeeeeevvviiilllllll!

The point of all this. Not much. I’m just sitting here watching the dog lie quiet on the floor while Zippy chases Speed Racer around the kitchen and living room and dining room screaming something about death and dismemberment.

You know, there’s something to be said for a household of pets and no kids.

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