Is It Just Me?

In advertising, news headlines, there seem to be a lot of misspellings.

The three major television networks are guilty.  Edwin Newman, former NBC anchor, must be rolling in his grave.

If CBS, were still referred to as the “Tiffany Network,” I’m sure, “Tiffany” would be spelled, with one “f”–or possibly, one “f” and two “n’s.”

Methinks, something is out of kilter, in this age of digitization.

Is it auto-correct?  I’ve had my share of run-ins with auto-correct.  The latest, was wanting to say “Model A Ford”–auto-correct insisted on adding a “Ford Mustang,” suffix.

I still have a few brain cells left.  Why would I ever say “Model A Ford Mustang?”

More likely it’s because of capitulation to text-speak, or IM shorthand.

Whatever the cause, it sometimes makes me a bit crazy.



He’s been a part of the family for going on five years.  In that time I’ve learned to communicate with my adopted Australian cattle dog, canine companion.

Last night, Max, through expressive brown eyes, panting, and scratching, spoke volumes.  I listened to what he had to say till well after 1:30 AM.  He was shockingly intellectual.  I’d never seen that side of him before.  I knew, that sometimes he had differences, with his female companion, Maggie.  Most of the time Max seemed happy.

The fireworks and gun shots started right after dark.  “I’m not going out, it’s too noisy out there,” Max said.  “You can take me out on a leash to do my business if you want, but I’m coming right back in.  I can hold it in for twelve to fifteen hours if I have to–can you?”

Max had a point.  Two to four hours was my limit.  “Would you like a treat?”  I offered.  “For the third time, I don’t want a treat. Give it to Maggie, or eat it yourself.”

Max expressed disdain by wandering aimlessly throughout the house looking for a place to hide.

“What is the matter with you?  Max asked.  Can’t you see the house is under siege? You’re supposed to be smart.  Can I hang out with you till this is over?”  “Sure, Max, I don’t mind.” “Can I burrow inside your favorite recliner?”  “No Max–not in this lifetime.”  Do you think it would be quieter in the laundry room?  In the garage?  The spare bedroom?”  “I don’t know Max–please settle down.”

Between ten and eleven I sat in the dark, with Max, on the couch in the living room.  We both fell asleep–Max was snoring.

Another round of explosions woke us up.  Max summed up his disappointment with the human race, “They’re mere pawns–opportunistic miscreants on a downward path of slow decline, wounded by the celebratory gunfire of their over inflated egos.  I wish they would see the error of their ways–cease and desist all auditory assaults immediately.  Because, my ears are killing me.”

“This “Thundershirt” you put on me isn’t doing anything, but I’ll keep it on to make you feel better.”  “Max, you need to shut up and go to sleep,” I answered.

Max fell asleep, after one in the morning, on the spare bedroom floor.  Al least he’d keep warm.

To noisy revelers, skeptics from the “who cares?” crowd, Max had some parting words.

“Quite frankly, I prefer digging holes to random pursuits of hedonistic pleasure.”  “Max, cut it out,” I said. “Nobody likes a snob.”

“I hate noisy revelers.  I hate New Years.  I hate the Fourth of July.  Some of you are going to hate yourselves in the morning when the hangovers hit.  I can scratch myself in places where you can’t–so there.  Enjoy yourselves–I’m sleeping all day!”

I liked it better when Max wasn’t so opinionated.


I grew up in the rural Midwest and had a menagerie of pets.  I loved Hugh Lofting’s story about “Dr. Doolittle,” resident of Puddleby-on-the Marsh.  I envied his ability to communicate with animals.  There were several movies about the beloved doctor–including the Eddie Murphy one.  I’ve asked all my friends about the “Pet Psychic.”  None of them ever heard of her.  What was troubling Fido or Fluffy?  Sonya Fitzpatrick, the purported “Pet Psychic,” revealed all on her “Animal Planet” show.  Maybe I was one of only a few dozen viewers?  The “Pet Psychic” is still in business, giving advice to the rich and famous.

“Did you have a busy day?” My mother asked her pet goldfish.  I thought she’d gone completely ’round the bend.  It was just a goldfish, Mom.  …Swimming all day in circles.  What kind of day could it have?  I talk to my dogs Max and Maggie.  I go beyond the usual “Sit” “Stay” “Down” “Off the furniture.”  Do my dogs understand?  I think they do.  Scientific studies would say otherwise–if it matters.  …Mere conditioned responses.  My dogs associate my words with certain specific actions.  For example, “Bye-Bye,” means car ride.  “Treat” is self-explanatory.  They wake from a dead sleep for treats.

I don’t know what I did before Max and Maggie came along.  I most likely talked to myself and grumbled more.  High priced psychics aren’t necessary, for me to know, they’re glad to see me.  When I talk they act like they’re listening–which is better than most humans.  They’ve got me trained.  Scratching on the door means they want in or out.  A cold nose pressed against my leg means more food.  There are barks for strangers and friends.  Are my responses conditioned?  There’s a lot to learn from talking to animals.  Yes, I talk to animals, don’t you?