Human Connection to Pets

The connection between people and their pets is a fascinating subject. Have you ever watched some of those internet videos of animals making strange bedfellows with other animals? Sometimes they are wild animals and domesticated animals who make friends with each other. Other times you see animals that hook up with each other when normally they would be the hunter and the prey. And then of course you have those unique human individuals who pick wild and dangerous animals for pets. It never ceases to make me scratch my head with disbelief.

Can it be that there is more of a connection between animals and humans than most people think? I don’t claim to know what it is, but I think there is something to it; probably that we are more alike than unalike. People of faith will tell you that animals have no soul, thereby alluding that there is no real connection. Still, many would say that our pets will be joining us in heaven. Personally, I think heaven will be a bit sad without a few fur-balls running around, leaping in the air to catch a ball!

It can be said, and has, that we are ALL animals, which certainly makes the connection logical. Clearly all animals and humans alike have some of the same needs and instincts. We all have the need for food, shelter, and companionship; and of course, the urge to merge. On the surface, it would appear we are more alike than unalike. I’m having more difficulty coming up with our differences. I find this a light-bulb moment. Sure, animals can’t talk and aren’t as intelligent as humans, and they all look different, whereas humans pretty much all look alike. However, our basic needs including the need for affection are the same.

Domestic animals, particularly dogs and cats have a close relationship with human beings, for obvious reasons. Some are bred to be eaten and others are meant for companions. It makes for a real dilemma for serious animal lovers who can’t bear the thought of eating animals. I think the reason we love animals so much is because they don’t expect much from us, and they give a lot in return. Human to human relationships are hardly that giving.

It makes you wonder how people can be so loving with their animals, yet seemingly neglect fellow human beings. It’s really not that difficult to understand when you consider the work and understanding involved in getting along with human beings. Some people prefer not to make the effort, sad though that may be. It’s much easier to love our pets, and makes for a simpler less complicated relationship. It might be a little crazy, but I get it.

We need to make a more serious effort to love and get along with our human friends, family and foe. As cute and loving as our pets are, they can’t fill our lives.

 

Long and Loud TV Commercials

Long and Loud TV commercials are not luring me to buy the products.   I know advertising is the way of the world now-a-days, but please, can we give the consumer a break? Thank God for DVR’s, and I suppose because of them, advertisers have to work even harder to get their ads out and make them effective enough to promote buying. We do at least have the option to record programming.

If this is beginning to sound like a rant, that’s probably because it is. How annoying are commercials in general? The interruption factor alone is enough to frustrate the be-jesus out of you. It’s like constantly having someone interrupt a conversation you’re having with someone else. How rude is that? At least you can tell the interrupting person to shut the hell up. What are you going to do with the TV? Shoot a bullet through the screen comes to mind, but then that, and just shutting it off, would be like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Of course as already mentioned we have the option of recording. But certain things you just want to watch live; sporting events and news programming comes to mind as a couple of examples.

It’s just as rude to rant like a maniac without offering a solution/suggestion. Yes. I have a couple. One of course is to just make the commercials shorter. This would force advertisers to come up with clever advertising with shorter blurbs; it would probably even be more effective. Another option is to just have one intermission in the middle of the programming, for an actual 10 minutes vs. an exaggerated 10. Or, have 5 minutes of commercial at the beginning and end of the program. Not sure how that would work considering there is already commercials in between programs, but they could make them longer, and people can just take a bathroom break or raid the kitchen break during that time. Who knows, if the ads were actually clever or funny, maybe people would actually want to watch them, especially if they were spaced out per my suggestions.

That brings to mind another irritation with commercials. Why the heck are they so loud? It’s like shouting at your kids to get them to listen to you. Guess what? Just like with your kids, it has the opposite effect. They just turn you off!  It turn, you turn down the volume and ignore the commercial. So much for good advertising. I don’t know who’s responsible, the advertisers or the TV stations when it comes to pumping up the volume, but I’d sure like to know who to complain to.

Maybe I should be worrying about how to get gas prices down, or global warming or something equally altruistic. Thing is, I wouldn’t have anymore control over those even more important issues, than I do over TV commercials. Instead, I rant. Maybe ranting is just as annoying as long and loud TV commercials and not so hot on the listeners. But it’s great therapy for the one ranting. We’re told not to hold in the anger. I take that kind of advice seriously. Seriously!

Brodie & His Friends

My parents really don’t get me, not one bit. They don’t understand what a day in the life of Brodie is really like. It’s like we speak a different language. I suppose it’s not an unusual fifteen year-old adolescent complaint. Take this morning for an example. Well, actually any morning for that matter.  They all start off the same. I’m not the morning type. If sleeping were a competitive sport, I would be a challenge to be reckoned with.

I can hear my Mom now yelling at me from the kitchen. Brodie, get out from under those covers. Don’t make me come in there! I have to get up every morning and help my Dad take out the trash. Since I have to be outside anyway, I take this opportunity to scout around and make sure the home front is secure. I don’t know why I am so anal about this; I must have been a security guard in my last life. I always make sure our car is still in the driveway and that the stereo remains intact. Although not sure I’d miss it that much since my parents always get the choice of music, which is not anything I can remotely relate to. I do love that car though and my parents almost always let me have the best seat. It’s the one up I have on Krystal and Tommy. They, on the other hand get to lie around in bed while I’m out taking care of business.  Seems all they ever care about is who can get to the breakfast table first!

Tommy and Krystal are my seventeen year-old twin brother and sister. They seem to think because they arrived on the scene first that they are especially privileged. It would appear so too, since I’m the one who has trash and security duties!  Krystal is all right some of the time and mostly ignores me. However, I get the feeling Tommy is always waiting to throw a punch at me or put his foot out to trip me when I walk by. I’m convinced that Mr. and Miss High & Mighty just tolerate me for Mom and Dad’s sake, and wish I were never born! Well, born I was, and it’s not my fault my parents gave me such a geeky name to begin with. Broderick? Who the heck pins a name like that on a kid these days? Brodie is okay I guess, though it does sound like a dog’s name. No wonder the twins treat me like one! But it is a darn sight better than Broderick.

After breakfast, I like to hang out with my Dad when he isn’t working, maybe play a little ball. Dad doesn’t throw so well so I spend a lot of time chasing his lousy pitches. Of course my catcher’s mitt isn’t the greatest either. Today was no different, and I quickly bored of the game. If nothing else, we got a little exercise. It’s barely ten in the morning, and I’m already looking forward to my nap. Dad is probably the only one who can compete with me in the sleeping department. This is a stroke of good luck for me, and he allows me to get away with a lot of napping too. Mom hates all the daytime sleeping and discourages it every chance she gets. But, I have a few slick hiding places so I can sleep in peace most of the time.

After sneaking in my mid-morning nap, I begin to feel really antsy. Time to get out of the house; napping just energizes me.  Maybe my friend Joxer is up and about. He seems to be just lazing around this summer too. Joxer and I are a bit different but we are best buds! He’s a little older than me, and opposite in build. He’s tall and sturdy looking, while I’m quite a bit shorter. Some say that we look like Mutt and Jeff palling around together. We do have our funny names in common; seems Joxer is a nickname taken from some old time super hero his Dad likes. Joxer and his Dad live alone together. Though his Dad is in a wheelchair, he gets around pretty well all on his own. Even so, Joxer likes to keep an eye on him. I bet his Dad likes the idea of a super hero watching his back.

I banged on Joxer’s door and his Dad let him out for a while. We wandered the neighborhood seeing what kind of trouble we could stir up. Then we went across the street from Joxer’s and hooked up with another friend we call Slinky because he’s so darn skinny. Joxer and I are always trying to engage him in our activities; like eating for one, hoping to fatten him up so as not to make us look bad. Our parents all seem to be on this kick of watching our weight! Actually, Slinky wasn’t so slinky not so long ago! But that was before his parents put him on a diet. Now, he thinks he’s all that since he has trimmed down. But, we still dig him; the old Slinky is still in there somewhere!

We didn’t really have a game plan and was just roaming the neighborhood checking out the driveways for any cool new cars. Soon enough trouble found us. Along comes the knucklehead threesome which we like to call them. The three brothers are not so much trouble really. We just think they are stuck up. They always seem to be parading around with their mother showing off their athletic ability. Said skills make us look like the do-nothings that we are most of the time. We should probably be kinder. They don’t have a Dad, and maybe their Mom just wants to keep them tough by involving them in sports. They are kind of arrogant though, and Slinky doesn’t care for them much, so he slunk on home when they showed up at our favorite nearby park. He’s not the most social guy in the world and was glad to have an excuse to leave away. We always tease him about having a social anxiety disorder but hes so anti-social he doesn’t seem to care!

I was feeling another nap coming on, so I finally dismissed myself as well and went on my way home. I crept into the house hoping not to run into Mom who always wants to talk to me and see what I’ve been doing, or check out my hair to see if I need a haircut. I let her fuss with me for a few minutes, and then high-tailed it to my den for another nap before supper.

I woke up from my nap just in time for supper. Mom’s cooking is okay but what I really look forward to is dessert. We don’t always have one every night because of the health kick Mom is always preaching. And, if it were up to my Dad, we’d eat nothing BUT dessert! Oh Yeah! It’s on tonight, a special treat, vanilla ice cream, my favorite!

Well, that’s how my day went, and now that I think about it, maybe I shouldn’t be complaining so much; yap, yap, yap. I mean heck, I have the life of a well cared for dog! I have a dog’s life for crying out loud. Oh, that’s right, I am one!

My real name is Auggie and I’m the best cutest weenie dog on the block! My brother and sister are really cats from the same litter. And my parents really do take VERY good care of me. And, oh yeah, my parents are human. What a menagerie!

Fantasy Sports is a Game Changer

I’m not much of a sports fan but must admit Fantasy Sports has some appeal. Not that I participate, and not from want of trying from my husband to get me involved.  As the above picture notes, this is how you will frequently find my husband; stalking the TV and screaming at it.

 

For those of you who don’t know, Fantasy Sports involves the guys/gals picking teams of their own, based on the actual real sports players. They give their team some unique crazy name and then compete against each other. Then, they all rush to the draft to see if they can snag up the best players to be on their team. How each individual player performs determines their team’s standings in the league. Points are scored up for each individual play, and by season end, whoever has the most points wins. Some leagues play for money and others just for fun.

 

I started off by saying that Fantasy sports has some appeal, and I will get to that later. Here’s the downside. All the sports widows and widowers are left hanging even more! Because now, not only do the men (and some women) spend hours in front of the tube watching the games, they now also spend even more hours in front of the computer. Either they are talking smack about the other team’s players, or they are messing around making changes to their teams. I get a kick out of how seriously the whole thing is taken too; at least by my husband.

 

Heaven forbid should I call uniforms outfits! Sometimes I will comment on how I like one team’s outfit better than another, and it really annoys him. Of course I know better now, but his annoyance makes for my amusement, so I’ll still call them outfits just to get a rise out of him. He also doesn’t like it when I make fun of the referees when they make all those crazy hand signals and announce the penalties so seriously. Many times I will burst out laughing during a game when I happen to hear one of these penalty calls. Neither is he amused by my outbursts of laughter.

 

Now let’s talk about the positive part. It used to be that while watching the game, my husband would yell and scream expletives at the TV. Poor doggies if they happen to be napping on the bed alongside of him. No doubt he startles the life out of them! Instead, he is much quieter and doesn’t yell nearly so much. The dogs and I are both appreciative.

 

Fantasy Sports has changed the way the game is viewed at least to a certain extent. Instead of rooting for your team to win, more concern is shown for individual performance. In some cases this means, who cares who wins, so long as your Fantasy team is winning. Instead of just viewing the sport, now there is also viewer competition involved, which changes the whole nature of the game. This is another example of how the internet has so drastically changed our lives.

 

I suppose I must take the good with the bad. Besides, I don’t particularly consider myself a sports widow. The time my husband spends on sports is less time he spends yakking in my ear on endless political issues. I can then plop myself in front of my own boob tube and stream Netflix without his interference. That reminds me. I should come up with a new term for boob tube. It’s not like there are any actual tubes involved anymore. To change the subject even further, I am sick to death of LOL too. I’m working on that one.

 

 

Customer Service is Dying Out

In a day and age of super technology and ever expanding giant corporations, you’d think that providing good customer service would improve. Wrong! Bigger is not always better. In fact, in this author’s humble opinion, quite the opposite. The list of examples is endless.

 

Here is a selection of just one week’s most fr
ustrating, exasperating, stomach constricting, Excedrin headache number 4,444,444-type events.

 

Let’s start with my all time favorite utility company to hate; the Phone Company. I needed to make a call to my cable company (probably my second most favorite utility company to hate, who will be berated shortly). Since I was at work and had no access to the correct phone directory, I called information, the all-knowing keeper of phone numbers. Not! I asked for the number of the Cable Company in the city in which I lived, and the operator insisted that the only number was for a city about 70 miles away from my residence. I used my local directory to look up the number regularly. What was his problem? I begged to differ with him and proceeded to tell him that there were numbers not only for my city, but two surrounding cities as well. In fact, I practically know the number of the Cable Company by heart, since I spend a significant amount of time making complaints to them. I gave up arguing with the operator and called the number he gave me in order to obtain the number I needed for my local cable company. Jeez!! I would really have been annoyed if I had to pay for the long distance call instead of my kindly employer.

 

Next we have the almighty cable provider, whose service without; most of us would have no television at all. I, personally, cannot get any television reception without a cable hookup. What’s up with that anyway? Since when do you need cable connection to receive local TV stations? That concept rings of monopoly, big time! Nothing makes me crazier than coming home from work to plop down on the couch to watch my favorite soap, only to find my VCR has recorded nothing but gray fuzzy static stuff! I consider myself a fairly intelligent woman, yet I reserve the right to engage in at least one stupid activity. For me that is the soap I have been watching for the past 30 years.

 

In light of that insight into my personality, you can imagine the mood I am in when I have to make yet another call to the Cable Company. Of course they can’t tell me how long it will be before they are through working on the lines, nor whether or not the money for the new stations they are working on providing will come out of my pocket. And, if I want credit, I have to call every day I am without service in order to get credit on my bill. The kicker is, you cannot even threaten to cancel your service and go elsewhere because there is no elsewhere to go. Cable companies provide service for particular areas and if you happen to live in the area of the crappiest cable provider, such is your fate. Oh joy, and for all this fantastic service I pay $51.24 a month!

 

Now, here is the most annoying incident. Well, the most annoying incident that week anyway. I am sure I will have many more occasions where my phone seems to hang off my ear, endlessly making complaint calls to utility companies, credit card companies, and various other service providers.

 

I speak now of the brown truck brigade, UPS. The only good thing about UPS is the good-looking drivers. They are in the same league with construction workers and firemen. You rarely encounter an ugly one. However, along with the rest of the companies I noted, service is not exactly their forte either! I seldom receive UPS packages. You would think the on the few occasions when I have, they could get the delivery right. This is not the case. It all began on a Wednesday and after five phone calls, the package they attempted to deliver the previous Friday still had not been delivered. I won’t even bother to bore you with the details of the complaint phone conversations. Suffice it to say; at least ten idiots were most likely involved with this fiasco!

 

As you can tell, these incidents happened back in the VCR days. The technology has improved even more, but the customer service has not. Now if you make a phone call to complain about something, you can’t even complain to a live person. And, if by some miracle you do get a live operator, you have a 60-40 percent chance that you won’t be able to understand a word they say! Don’t get me wrong, I love the new technology, so much so that as an early adopter, I pay a high price for all the gadgets because I can’t wait to get them.

 

So readers, if you expected solutions, humph! Get a clue. This was just a bitch session. I will attempt to solve world problems next week. Hah! If only someone would let me, I’d be all over it!

My Mind Took on a Mind of Its Own

absent minded

Shall we continue with the on-going saga of the loss of my mind? Those of you who know me, are well aware of the direction my mind has taken; that would be south!  Absent mindedness will be the death of me, a slow and agonizing death.  The contemplation of it all is scary, to say the least.

 

This morning as I walked down the hall to get my cup of brew at work, I greeted a co-worker with? How ya doin’? Grace? The woman’s name is Rose, also a lovely name. No, her middle name is not Grace. I asked her if I had ever called her by that name before; she answered no, but that she could understand because there is another woman in such and such department called Grace. Well, I don?t know that woman either, nor do I know any woman by the name of Grace.

 

I do dearly love the name Grace. It makes for a great middle name. My daughter’s name is Dawn Marie; Dawn Marie Grace would be a lovely name. The other daughter is Rachel Michele. Rachel Michele Grace. No, that doesn’t work. Damn, I’m too old to have any more children to name Grace. Hell’s bells, even my daughters are getting too old to have any more children to name Grace. That would leave the grandchildren. I wonder if I could convince one of them to name of my great-grandchildren Grace.

 

Yeah, good luck with that Jeanette. If the grandchildren are as stubborn as the children, I doubt I could persuade them to pick the name of my choosing for their child. I tried very hard to convince both of my daughters to name their daughters Katie, for my mother. Neither would oblige. Why didn’t you name of your daughters Katie, was their response. I couldn’t answer the question; go figure.

 

So I named my cat Katie, who is now residing with my mom in the hereafter. Katie Grace, beautiful! So then, if I cannot convince my grandchildren to name their child Grace, it’s also a great cat name. I lost both my current cats this year, so if, and that’s a big IF, we decide to get a cat, we shall grace her with the name Grace.

 

From the dark recesses of my mind, for whatever reason, out spewed Grace this morning. The mind is an amazing organ, is it not? I wonder at the significance of Grace. Of course, there is a good chance there is no significance whatsoever except for the continued southerly direction of my mind.