Giving Away the Throne

One of two overstuffed chairs to be given away.  Many pleasant memories there–the chair nearest the front window was from where our beloved Dillon watched the world outside.

Dillon left us a short five years ago.  The sense of loss never went away.  Pets hold special places in our hearts.  That’s how I will always remember our German Shepherd mixed breed–sitting in that same chair, like he was king.



There have always been military mascots.  Critters of all sorts adopted as companions.  Here are two–a lizard on a truck fender, and a puppy.  Later, when my father was in Burma, there was a pet duck, and a monkey.

Clyde & dog in India

According to my father, “this pup hung around the company; was playful until he was overfed by generous soldiers and became lazy.”

This post idea came from GP Cox’s re-blog of,”Frank’s Panda In Burma.”

Don’t Look At Me That Way

Brown eyes pleaded.  My two dogs wanted belly rubs–made it impossible to write.

Sometimes pet owners, sports enthusiasts, assume others have the same passions, as they do.  That’s wrong and causes resentment.

Dog hair accumulates everywhere.  The vacuum cleaner does double duty.  Wet dog smells can be unpleasant.

It was a conscious choice to adopt them.  Along with that came responsibilities of proper care and attention.

I’m introverted and these two make me happy.  They help me navigate through a sometimes strange, uncaring world.

Who greets you at the door?  Who wakes you up in the morning?  Perhaps it’s only for treats?  I don’t care.

If I wanted to feel unappreciated–I’d go back to work.  I’m retired–it’s not going to happen.



Coming soon–perhaps to your neighborhood.  Pre-historic armored invaders; digging up your lawn; crossing highways; annoying your dogs.  Armadillos are on the move northward.

My dogs continuously barked at the back fence.  Were they barking just to be barking?  Not exactly–there were armadillos on the other side scratching in the leaves.  In the briars and undergrowth was a discarded tire.  Inside the tire was an armadillo.  When I shined a flashlight in a circular pattern–the creature followed the light in circles.

Depending on where you live, there are either opossums or armadillos in the eco-system–or both.  They are in about the same place on the food chain.  They’re hit by cars at about the same frequency.  Called Texas turkeys, Hoover hogs, during hard times of the thirties.

Some armadillos carry the virus for leprosy.  I’m not inclined to chow down on one anytime soon.

Just a thought–what if armadillos were cleverly disguised alien invaders?  Although reviled, their northward march has been remarkably successful.  They have offspring in groups of five.  Isn’t that odd?

Enjoy your Saturday.  Hope it’s as beautiful, where you happen to be, as it is here this morning.  Was that another armadillo?  No, it was a turtle.



An osprey nest is at the top of a tall palm tree in a nearby neighborhood.  I pass by it every day.

Today, one of the parents was on the nest with the babies.  The other parent swooped in, fish clenched in talons.  They’re wonderfully attentive parents.  Raising offspring, is indeed, shared 50-50 between sexes.

The thought passed over–like a dark cloud.  Would I think this scene as endearing, if the parent had a captured puppy or kitten?

To the family of predatory birds–it was just food.  One life sacrificed for another in the food chain–without emotion.  My heart would break.  Even if the kitten/puppy were mine, there’d be nothing I could do.

What if the nearby mother cat, upon hearing her baby’s cries of terror, attempted the tree?  Her efforts deterred by sharp thumps from osprey talons.


Milt inked the New York Times daily crossword at the breakfast table.  A blue jay sounded an alarm call from the backyard,

Muffy, the Persian cat, suddenly leapt from his lap with a hiss and growl; dashed to the front window, upsetting Milt’s plate of waffles and syrup.  What the heck was up with that cat?

Milt, still in pajamas and slippers, looked out the front window to see Bob–the neighbor’s pointer, hiking his leg; urinating on the mailbox post.  There’s probably a big steaming pile of poop out there somewhere. 

Boy, that really steams my oysters.  I’m gonna’ tell Lee about this–give him a piece of my mind.   



How was it possible–two days later, everything was exactly the same as before?  Due to termite damage discovered in March, the front wall between the door and window had to be rebuilt.

The paint color and wall texture were matched perfectly.  All the mess was cleaned up and hauled away.  The clock was back on the wall.  Furniture returned to original resting places.

It’s rare (for me, anyway) to have contractors that are competent, efficient, reliable, and true to their word.  When they promised possible completion in one day, I said–“Yeah right,”  “I’d believe it when I saw it.”  Matching difficult paint colors added an additional day.

Complaints about paying annual termite inspection fees, suddenly, didn’t seem so bad.  Everything was covered by contract.  I was happy.  My two dogs were happy to be in favorite chairs by the front window.  Looking out the window is their entertainment.

With one project completed, there’s still one more to go in the master bathroom.  At last, some breathing room. And it’s the nicest day we’ve had in a couple of weeks.

An update:  The elusive bathroom tile, already paid for, supposedly in stock, is somewhere on a stranded truck.   According to the tile store owner, the driver quit on the return trip, and just walked away.  The store owner promised to go himself, and retrieve my tile last night.  Was he just covering his rear?  Will I have to get a refund and get tile somewhere else?  My contractor will be here at nine this morning.  Will there be, or will there not be tile?  That is the question.

A VISIT FROM CAPTAIN “O” (And Others Like Him)

capt obvious

I was cleaning winter killed branches and leaves; enjoying a warm, sunny day, in the backyard with my two mutts.  That was, until Capt. Obvious came to call.

Captain Obvious has become even more obnoxious since becoming a celebrity on television commercials.  I didn’t think that was possible.  He leaned up against a tree, watched me clean and rake the backyard.  On the last trip, he could be silent no longer.

“The reason you have so many leaves and dead branches, is because of the trees,” He observed, stroking his chin.  I wanted to bop him over the head in the worst way, but refrained–him being a celebrity and all.

“Thanks for the news flash, Genius,” I muttered under my breath.  “Did you say something sir?” The Captain asked.  “No, it wasn’t anything important,” I replied.

I walked back and forth, carrying armfuls of branches to a pile near the back fence–careful to avoid stepping in random piles of dog droppings.  I hoped Captain Obvious wouldn’t notice–but he did,

“There’s twice the amount of dig excrement in your backyard, because you have two dogs,” Was his burst of brilliance.  Like I would get rid of one of my dogs to cut down on yard mess?  That wasn’t going to happen.  This had to end.

“Well, that’s all for today,” I announced.  “Thanks for stopping by.”  Stay away longer next time–was what I really meant.  I fetched the empty trash bins from the front curb.  Lucky for me, the Captain must have had a boredom attack, and left to annoy someone else. 


Animal Planet

I’m, Brad Fussberger, reporting on one of the most unusual sports stories of my career.  Just when the “Deflategate” brouhaha started to fade, this reporter, learned from a reliable source; that one of the Super Bowl teams is rumored to have a strange, secret weapon this year.  Is it Pete Carroll’s, Seattle Seahawk’s, or veteran Super Bowl winner, Bill Belichick’s, New England Patriots?

Like myself, when I first heard about it; some of you might think; oh well–this is just another, strange, seldom-used, triple-reverse, gadget play.  Or some crazy, throwback, flying wedge defense. Well, it’s none of those things–it’s hard-hitting football.

The maneuver is called the “Max Butt Slap.”  And it’s not at all like the celebratory hand slap to the backside.  It involves a defensive player spinning his body around; bowed at the waist, and hitting someone butt first.  It’s a move, not unlike karate, or kick boxing.  The full weight of the buttocks, aided by centrifugal force, delivered, with the force of a battering ram, against the opposing player.

“Where’d the idea come from, Brad?”  The name and play came from an Australian Blue Heeler, named Max.  Max’s owner, who requested to remain anonymous, told me, “Since Max’s lost weight–he’s been friskier.  He’s “Butt Slapped,” our other dog, Maggie, repeatedly, across the backyard.  So far, she’s not “Butt Slapped” him back.  Max’s successfully “Butt Slapped” at the dog park.”

“Right away, I wondered–why couldn’t this move be used in pro football?  Nobody could have been more shocked, than I was, when one of the teams was interested.  I’ve signed a legally binding agreement not to reveal any details about which team it was.”

It’s certainly going to be interesting to see how the “Max Butt Slap” plays out this Sunday in Super Bowl XLIX.  So far, the league hasn’t had anything to say.  Will one of the teams “Butt Slap” their way to victory?  With the “Puppy Bowl,” and “Butt Slap,” combined–has SB XLIX gone to the dogs?  If this works, then professional football, will have advanced to the rear.