PICKLES: THE ONLY FOOD OUR DOGS WON’T EAT – Marilyn Armstrong

I love pickles, but the dogs don’t

Picking up on the theme of “placate” from Fandango’s FOWC, pickles are the only known food our dogs will not eat. To be fair, none of them are overly fond of plain old cucumbers, either … but pickles? They get them in their mouths, make a very strange face (for a dog) and drop them on the floor. They then stare at us with a look that screams: “What IS this stuff? What are you trying to do to us?”

I always point out that they were the ones who asked for it. I didn’t go into the fridge looking for pickles for them. I wanted one for me. I’m particularly fond of the big sour or half-sour dill pickles. I think they might actually eat the sweet ones, but I’m not nearly as fond of them and always go for the dills.

If we had more pickles in the house and fewer tasteless crunchy treats, the dogs would be slimmer and possibly I would be slimmer too. You can eat a huge number of pickles without putting on an ounce. It’s like eating a cucumber with super-powers.

This morning, my darling Garry and I are actually socializing, going for brunch with another couple. He’s an old Channel 7 colleague and she, like me, is the other part of the couple. Two stars and their less famous (but not unworthy) wives.

We’ll make a dynamic duo at the J & M Diner in Framingham!

PLACATING THE FURRY PEOPLE – Marilyn Armstrong

Placating the furry friends

They want food. It doesn’t matter if they are hungry. It doesn’t matter if they consumed an entire meal a minute and a half before. They figure if we are in or even near (which is to say, on our feet and moving) the kitchen, they want something. Anything. Literally anything — except pickles. It’s the only food they won’t eat, even on a bet.  Note to self: Buy more pickles.

Boinnie

Why? It’s probably our fault. They are absolutely sure that any movement on our part indicates a treat in the works. It can be a big treat — “That leftover half sandwich would work for me,” says The Duke — or a little crunchy, tasteless thing from a big jar of little crunchy tasteless things.

Recently on Amazon, I found a version of tasteless crunchies from Milkbone that declare them to be “the guilt-free” treat for over-treaters.

I think we are probably over-treaters. We are easily guilted. A stern look from eager dogs makes us sad. We feel, after all, that can get anything we want from the fridge or cupboard, but our poor pathetic (beefy, overweight) dogs depend on us.

Gibbs

So as soon as we finish up the approximately 20 pounds of stuff already bought and in closets, I’m going for the guilt-free stuff. Really, they are only big boxes of very small biscuits and we probably will wind up giving them two or three of them, even though I know for a fact that it’s the idea that counts with dogs. They really don’t notice if it’s a big lumpy thing or a tiny little thing. It’s all about the concept.

Duke

I had never realized how much guilt dogs could stir in a human heart. I think I had the same problem with cats if I remember correctly.

I have toughed it out with the plants, though. I do not water them no matter how much I want to.  At least plants don’t bark or meow at me if I don’t water them.

They merely wilt. Frankly, I find that difficult enough.

THREE CREATIVE WAYS TO ERADICATE DISEASES – Marilyn Armstrong

For the anti-vaccinators out there … this one is for you!

ScienceSwitch

Smallpox is the first and only human disease that was declared eradicated on a global scale. Also, with the breakthroughs made while eradicating smallpox and a number of other creative solutions, we are now really close to making a few more diseases a thing of the past.

THIS IS COOL. I WANT TO LEARN SOMETHING ELSE, TOO!

Video via – SciShow
Further Readings And References @ ScienceDirect, Smallpox (Wikipedia), NEJM, and The History of Vaccines

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CORPORATE VERSUS POLITICAL AMERICA – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I read an interesting article about the difference between corporate America and political America. In a nutshell, corporations’ bottom line is with the public. Politicians’ bottom line is with their donors.

Today, ironically, it seems that corporate America is more beholden to and therefore more sensitive to public opinion than politicians are. This makes sense. Corporations deal directly with the public. They function in more of a true democracy than politicians do.

Politicians have a huge and powerful layer of lobbyists, special interests and large donors that shield them from the will of the people. Or at least the vagaries of public opinion.

The result of this is dramatic. For example, Roseanne Barr makes some egregious racist and conspiracy theory tweets. Within 24 hours, her show is canceled by the ABC Network. That was done in response to and in fear of the outcry by an outraged public. The network has to placate their viewers or risk losing them.

On the other hand, Trump has frequently tweeted awful, racist and conspiracy theory comments. Each one worse than the last. Yet there have been no consequences for him. Despite great public outrage. He is protected from the effects of public opinion by his loyal Republican base and his congressional supporters. In turn, the Republican congressmen are bolstered by their large donors, including lobbyists and special interest groups. They don’t have to pay attention to the negative reactions of over 60% of the general public.

So, our political system is, in some ways, less democratic than our corporate system. Starbucks closed their stores across the country to hold a nationwide racial sensitivity training session. This was done in response to public pressure after some racist incidents at a few of their stores. Again, public opinion had a direct and immediate effect on the company’s policies and actions. In contrast, there are layers of buffer between politicians and their constituents. At least between elections.

Elections bring politicians a bit closer to their constituents, at least temporarily. But it’s still not the direct connection that corporations enjoy. You either buy the corporation’s product or shop in their store or you don’t. There is nothing between your checkbook and the company you are buying from. Even at election time, special interest and donor money can shield a politician from his voters. And can have disproportionate influence on the politician.

Take the NRA. The NRA has only five million members. Public opinion is over 80% in favor of reasonable gun control. That’s over 200 million Americans who support gun control legislation. But somehow those meager five million people wield huge sway over a majority of politicians. That’s because the NRA throws an outrageous amount of money at politicians. No matter what a politician’s constituents think or want, the NRA will get the politician’s vote if the price is right.

The Electoral College is another buffer zone between Presidential candidates and the American voter. The popular vote does not determine the president. That would be the pure democracy that corporations have to deal with.

Local politics in certain ‘swing’ states have a disproportionate influence on presidential election results. And the voters in those states have a disproportionate influence on elections. That leaves the rest of the country out in the cold.

Lately, it seems like we’re getting even farther away from the concept of democracy. Now, we have never been a pure democracy. But it seemed that the ‘will of the people’, at some points in our recent history, had more sway. Maybe I’m being idealistic. Maybe public opinion never had a major influence on elections or on politicians once in office.

But I would love to live in a country where public opinion could have a direct effect on our country’s policies. Like Roseanne losing her show within 24 hours – I would love to see meaningful gun control regulations enacted 24 hours after public opinion goes nuts over yet another fatal school mass shooting.

I don’t believe that that will happen anytime soon. But maybe if Democrats can motivate people to vote who usually don’t vote, public opinion might be able to overwhelm the ‘money talks’ bias of the political system. At least I can nurture that dream for the next five months!

JUNE IS SQUARE – ROOF 8 – Marilyn Armstrong

It’s that time of year again and squares are back! 

We used to go to Symphony Hall to hear the Boston Pops concert every December.

Every corner of Symphony Hall is architecturally marvelous and photogenic, but the ceiling is especially beautiful. There is so much going on up there, with lighting and sound equipment as well as lights, decoration, and some delightful architecture.

This is another view of the ceiling in the Hall.


Well, the theme is ROOFS (or rooves if you prefer). Your roof can be;

A – any type, any condition, any size, and in any location.
B – it could be a shot across rooftops, of one roof like today or even a macro
C – you might prefer to spend some time under the eaves and in the attic, or enjoy the view from above as Brian has already done today.


See you tomorrow!

ORCHID – Marilyn Armstrong

Flower of the Day – Orchid

I keep checking in case another bud has opened, but so far, just the one flower. Here’s another — rather graphic — orchid. And any day now, there will be a bunch more.

Graphic orchid

What does it mean when waiting for new buds to open is the big excitement of your life? Should I be worried?