Monthly Archives: March 2013

How Do You Love Me? The Show Me Post

Never one to be self promoting, I have a favor to ask.

OK, I lied.  I should have said:  Here I am, self promoting.  Again.

Well, you’ll agree that it’s only fair.  March has been my month.

First there was Peg

Then Darla

Then Michelle

And all the while I was hanging out at Carrie’s too.

This month I took over the ‘sphere.  I need a grand finale.  I need to win The Bryonic Man’s March Caption Contest.

Go here.  Show me some love.  Vote for me!





Filed under Humor

Biting Me

Do you ever feel you are being bitten in the butt by your own advice?  Well, that’s how I’m feeling right now.  And it is, well, it’s a bit odd.  Because as I’m sure you’ve noticed, my advice is usually something you can depend on.  Live by.  Hang your hat on.

You see, a while back, my blogging buddy TwinDaddy of StuphBlog wrote a post about how uncomfortable he is getting compliments.

Naturally, being the good friend/know-it-all that I am, I gave him a piece of advice:

“[G]et used to it, TwinDaddy,” I said in the comments.  “We folks who hang out here think you’re swell.  Now say thanks and smile.”

And isn’t that the proper way to respond to a compliment?  No hemming and hawing, no self-deprecating remarks, no false modesty.  Just a simple thank you and a smile.

But tonight I find myself in a bit of a dilemma.  A quandary.  A pickle.  And well, I’m not sure if my own advice isn’t coming back to bite me.  Because I’ve gotten a compliment and I don’t really know how to respond.

I feel like hemming and hawing.

I feel like making a self-depreciating remark.

I feel like being unusually/unnaturally modest.

You see, the last week was a fantastic one here at FiftyFourAndAHalf.  Out of the STAT-is-sphere, if you know what I mean.  And it follows closely on my tour of the ‘sphere, with Peg and Darla and Michelle.   March has been a blast.

And it is ending just as well as it began!  But it is a bit confusing.  Because this past week, I’ve gotten more followers than I got in the entire rest of my nearly two years of blogging.

Cool, you say.  Congratulations!  I want to puncture her ego (oh, wait, you wouldn’t say that to me, would you — you’re my friend!) But the thing is, I don’t know how to accept this ummm, compliment.  Why not?  Why not just smile and say thank you?

Because in the last week, I haven’t written a word.  Nope.  Not one.

So I’m trying to figure out if the secret to getting more followers is to, ummm, not write anything.

To my new bloggin’ buddies – welcome.  I’m in the process of checking out your blogs.  Thanks for stopping by here and letting me razz you a bit.  Thank you for following me.  I’m smiling.

Google Image

Google Image


Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Humor, Writing

Different Dominos

Last night, I was really tired and wanted to go to bed early.  But then I heard the start of a story by Rachel Maddow on Nixon, treason, and five years of needless war.  How the Vietnam war was on the verge of settlement at the end of October, 1968, and Richard Nixon scuttled those talks to get himself elected.  How he committed treason.  How he got away with it and set the precedent for Cheney and Bush to get away with lying about Iraq.  How it set the precedence for so many terrible things that have faced our country since 1968.

I wish I was making this up.  I wish Richard Nixon had stayed in California.  Because the world would be a very different place if there had never been a President Nixon.

This is incredibly disturbing.

Here’s the transcript (Sorry, it’s rough.)

>> Thank you at home for joining us. we start with some jaw-dropping information about American politics that has been reported out by a British news source. it’s the BBC. they have just aired a new documentary based on oval office tapes, which proves something about the American presidency and modern history that even the most conspiratorial among us would not be able to believe. it’s about the 1968 election. the democratic electorate was split. they were not unified behind their candidate. on the right, southern white democrats who were against civil rights, they were being peeled off to vote for George Wallace, the symbol of proud segregation. also, different problem for the democrats. people hated the Vietnam war. and the president at the time was a democrat, Lyndon B. Johnson. so if you were against the war, as most Americans at that point were — this is the gallop polling on the war — the number of people who thought it was a mistake — if you were against the war as increasingly everybody was, you were so the psyched to vote for LBJ’s successor. so the democrats were losing their appeal in the south because of racism, and they were losing the anti-war vote. the republican candidate tried to take advantage of that split, and was this handsome devil. Nixon in 1968 was running against a democratic party that he knew was split. he was, in response, pledging to get rid of the draft. and he claimed to have a plan to end the war. he argued that if you wanted the war to end, you needed to elect him. you needed to vote the democrats out of office because clearly LBJ and his party, the democrats and the democratic party, Hubert Humphrey had no idea how to end the war. when you needed was total change at the white house. the democrats had to go to Nixon could come in and end Vietnam. but then less than a week before the election, it all went horribly wrong for Richard Nixon, because less than a week before election, on halloween night, 1968, the democratic president, LBJ, went on TV in a surprise nationally televised address. he made a surprise announcement that peace was at hand. the communist side, the Vietnamese side was going to be make concessions at peace talks. the south Vietnamese were going to agree to a deal. peace was at hand. the terms were all set. peace was at hand. in recognition of the fact that peace was about to be declared, the united states would step back right away and stop all military operations in vehement. LBJ said that on Thursday night. the election was going to be Tuesday. turns out the democrats know how to end this war. that was bad news for Richard Nixon, but good news for the country who wanted the war to be over. good news for the people fighting the war. this was good news, right? almost. Thursday night LBJ made that announcement, that peace was about to be agreed to, by all sides in Vietnam.

That was Thursday night. by Saturday morning, never mind, deal was off. peace was not at hand because the south Vietnamese side has decided actually it didn’t want the deal. in fact, they didn’t want to talk about it deal. they pulled out of the peace talks. and so the war was back on. what happened? what happened between Thursday and Saturday? now we know.

>> good morning. how are you, my friend?

>> fine.

>> I’ve got one that’s pretty rough for you. we have found that our friend, the republican nominee, our California friend, has been playing on the outskirts with our enemies and our friends both, he’s been doing it through rather subterranean sources here, and he has been saying to the allies that you’re going to get sold out. you better not give away your liberty just a few hours before i can preserve it for you. Mrs. Chennault is contacting their ambassador. this is not guess work. she’s young and attractive. she’s a pretty good-looking girl. she’s around town, and she is warning them to not get pulled in on this Johnson move.

>> president Lyndon Johnson, 1968, Saturday morning, November 1st, explaining to senator Richard Russell what had gone wrong with this peace deal that everybody thought was going to end the war. LBJ was so sure this was going to end the war that he went on TV Thursday night. the reason peace did not happen, what he was explaining on the phone, is that the republican nominee for president that year, Richard Nixon, had intervened in the peace talks to blow them up. he used an intermediary who was involved in the talks to approach the south Vietnamese Vietnamese side and told them don’t do it. these peace talks in Paris was not going to be a good deal for them. they should not participate. they should just wait until after the election when he, Richard Nixon, would be president and he’d give them a much better deal. Johnson was going to sell them out. he, Richard Nixon, of the one he should deal with. Nixon’s intermediary was caught on tape telling the ambassador, just hang on. we need the war to keep going through the election. it’s outrageous, right? the war could have ended. it was on the verge of ending, except a candidate for office in our country thought that the war ending would help his opponent in the election. he thought he’d have a better chance of getting elected if the war kept going. so instead of getting the war to end, he did what he did. it was astonishing. and president Johnson thought so too.

>> and they oughtn’t to be doing this. i think it would shock America if a principal candidate was playing with a source like this on a matter this important.

>> yeah.

>> president Lyndon Johnson there on the same day as that earlier tape remark be thatter as far as he could tell, this is treason. he says it repeatedly on the tapes. he thinks that is a hanging offense. he thinks that was treason. this was four days before the election that year. having thought that the war was going to be over, now the president finds out the peace deal fell through because a candidate who wanted there not to be peace before the election intervened to make one sidewalk away. now, why didn’t LBJ say anything publicly? this is right before the election. can you imagine how the country would have reacted to that? this is a war the whole country was against. it was going to be over except candidate Nixon intervened to undo the peace deal and keep the war going? can you imagine how angry the American public would have been. but LBJ did not say anything publicly at the time because he thought he couldn’t. the reason he thought he couldn’t is the way he found out what Nixon had done. the FBI illegally wire-tapped the phones of the south Vietnamese ambassador. we couldn’t let anybody know that we were illegally listening into the ambassador’s phone lines so they couldn’t let anybody know what they had heard. so Nixon got away with it. and the October surprise. the Halloween night surprise that the war was ending right before the election, that October surprises ended up getting undone. anybody who was anti-war in the country had no reason to vote for a democrat. the racist right wing voted peeled off the the vote on the other side. and yes, Nixon won. he got by barely. squeaked by on the basis that he was the guy who knew how to end the war, not those dumb democrats. and of course Nixon did not know how to end the war. he didn’t have a plan. and instead of the war ending on Halloween in 1968, the war went on five more years, in which time 15,000 Americans were killed as were untold numbers of Vietnamese. so that happened. that actually happened, and now in 2013, what are we supposed to do with that information? LBJ is dead, Nixon is dead, George Wallace is dead. 15,000 Americans are dead who otherwise would not have been. how does this get made right? it cannot get made right because the people of this decision cannot be brought back from the dead. you also can’t get revenge. you can’t indict Nixon’s ghost. but you can refuse to let him get away with it again. we can make sure it is a way we tell his history and the history of modern politics. you have to include it in the history, both so nobody gets away with it in the long run, but also so we don’t do it again. so we at least don’t dismiss this kind of possibility as some conspiracy theory of nonsense. so we know there is precedent for this particular kind of evil.


Filed under Campaigning, Criminal Activity, Elections, History, Hypocrisy, Law, Politics, Stupidity

Dogs and Other Nuts

You’ve already met my psychotic German shepherd, Goliath.  The one with the stupid name and the drinking problem.   The manic of a dog I was crazy to take into my life.

As you can probably guess, from the moment I put him in my car that first night, all life immediately revolved around Goliath.  Morning, after-work and evening walks became a ritual.  It was good for my health, which was otherwise pretty crappy.  It was good for my psyche, which was also not tops.  It wasn’t so good for some of the other dogs at the park, though.

Mostly outside Goliath was quite friendly, he liked to play with other dogs.  He made many doggy friends, and their owners liked him too.  But more often than I liked to admit, Goliath listened to his darker angel:

Gotta bite a dog.  Gotta bite a dog.  Gotta bite a dog NOW!”

He would then race across the park towards his would be victim, dragging me behind him shouting:




God Damn it — STOP!

Goliath was about 18 months old when I finally admitted that something had to be done.  When I knew I had to “fix” the problem.  When he pissed me off so much that there was only one solution:

I had to cut off his balls.

Yup.  Castration.  Dr. Jane, Goliath’s vet, had been telling me to neuter him for months.  Carlos, Goliath’s dog trainer told me to do it, too.  The owners of Goliath’s ‘frenemies’ suggested it less politely.

But I’d never had a neutered dog before.  It seemed harsh.  Cruel.  Unfair.  Plus, I’d always hoped for grandchildren.

Of course I read about what happens to a dog after-balls.  I learned that neutering lowers a dog’s testosterone level – makes him less likely to act like Rocky Balboa at the park.  Less likely to fight with other dogs.  And way less likely to drag me in front of a bus while rushing to attack another dog.  All good things for me.  But for him?  Not so much.

I learned that it’s best to neuter your dog at about six months of age.  But six months was right after I brought home my traumatized, abused dog!  It just didn’t seem nice to turn around and say:

“You’re home now.  Nobody will ever hurt you again.

Oh, except when I cut off your balls.”

And really, I empathized.  I was young, unmarried, childless.  I didn’t want anyone to neuter me.  So how could I do it to my best friend?  I just couldn’t.

At least not until he ticked me off once too often.  (I’m telling you, do not mess with me.)


You want to do WHAT?

We were at Lincoln Park one night for our after-work walk, when Goliath got that urge to fight.  I struggled to hold him, to keep him away from the other dog, to make my maniac behave.  He didn’t.  He wouldn’t.  It took all my strength to keep him from hurting that other dog.

That was it, the last straw.  I’d had enough.  It was time.  And feeling very much like Alice’s mad Queen of Hearts, I made the decision –

“Off with his balls!”

Goliath and I arrived at the animal clinic that Tuesday.  Unfortunately it was our regular vet Dr. Jane’s day off.  A young vet I hadn’t seen before called my name and led Goliath and me into an examining room.

Handsome vet

(Google image)

I have to admit, I was embarrassed.  Dr. Jane was a woman, and, well, I’d hoped to be discussing my dog’s testicles with her — with a woman.  Instead, here was this handsome young guy who I had fallen for immediately.  And rather than flirting with him, there I was talking to him about castrating another man – hardly the best way to get a date.   My heart sank knowing that my chances with the handsome vet were being nipped in the bud.

Dr. David quickly sensed my discomfort.  He knew I was wavering on getting Goliath fixed.  He could tell that I was about to chicken out and change my mind.

“He’ll be fine,” said the vet, looking Goliath over.   “It’s very routine.  He won’t even notice the difference.  But you’ll be much happier with the results.”

Of course I couldn’t look Dr. David in the eye.  Because naturally I was wondering if he would notice if someone cut off his balls.  I was pretty sure he’d notice.  He didn’t seem like the type of guy who wouldn’t.

“Now, I don’t know how much you know about this procedure, but there are actually two different ways of doing this.  We can either castrate him completely –basically cut off his testes — or we can drain the fluids inside.  That has the same effect.”

Drain them?” I said hopefully.

“Yes, we essentially drain him, lowering the testosterone to a more manageable level.  It’s less radical, less risky.  Dog owners are often more comfortable with this procedure.  Now which of those options do you think makes the most sense for this big guy?” he said, looking Goliath right in the eye.

“Draining them sounds much better,” I said, feeling relieved.  I was feeling so good, in fact, that I could actually look Dr. David in the eye again.  They were deep blue …

And so I left Goliath with Dr. David and what I envisioned to be some sort of sterile syphon.   I no longer felt even a smidge of guilt.

You know what?  Even doing the procedure late helped.   After the surgery, Goliath was less interested in killing other male dogs.  From time to time one of them really ticked him off and led me to believe that those sacks hadn’t been completely drained, after all.  But the newly drained Goliath was a huge improvement over the old testosterone-filled maniac.  For the rest of his life he was considerably less aggressive.

The draining also left him with his pride.  A smidge of flesh in between his legs to chew on.  It eased my guilt — after all, they’d only drained some fluid from him, and doctors and vets do that sort of things all the time.  Goliath was still a man.  He kept the semblance of his balls.  He still had something to chew on.  He was still alpha dog. I had not turned him into a pansy.

In the intervening years, I married John, a man who quickly became devoted to Goliath.  A few years later, when we had all moved out of state, I took Goliath to a new vet.  Goliath was then about nine years old –getting up there in doggy years.  The poor old guy was having problems urinating and needed some attention.

But when I gave the new vet, Dr. Joe, the rundown of Goliath’s health history, I got an unexpected lesson when I mentioned to the man how Goliath had been “fixed” at 18 months.

“I don’t know if it makes any difference, but I should probably tell you that you know, Goliath wasn’t actually ‘castrated,’ he was ‘drained.’”

“Excuse me?”

“Yeah, at the time the vet said that either they could castrate him, ummmm, cut off his, ummmm, testicles, or drain them.  I chose to have him ‘drained.’”

I’m pretty sure that all of Dr. Joe’s medical training in delivering disturbing news culminated in this one moment with me.  Every cell in his face solidified so that there wasn’t even a hint of a smile.

“Ummmm, Ma’am?”  he said without so much as a hint of humor,  “There is no such procedure in veterinary medicine.  We don’t “drain” the dogs.  We surgically remove the testes.  All that’s left is the skin.”

“Oh,” I replied.

I’ve never told this story before.  Somehow, I bet both vets have.


Filed under Dogs, Family, Goliath Stories, Humor, Pets, Stupidity

Why White Men Vote GOP

At last I have an answer as to why a majority of white men in the United States vote for GOP candidates and swallow all those lame-ass positions touted on Fox news.  Their brains short circuit.

I found this via The Last of the Milleniums.

He got it from The Western World.



Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Elections, Humor, Hypocrisy