Saturday, July 5, 2008

Brain Freeze for the Fourth

If you're wondering why D.K. has not been blogging much lately (or even if you weren't), it is because I have brain freeze. Initially produced by a close contact with a large slice of corporate bullshit, my brain now feels all knotty and squishy. But never fear, I am slowly working my way out of the corporate tax dungeon. Might take a few more weeks. Bureaucracy at its finest! Tons of fun!

It's not that I haven't had blog thoughts recently. Oh no, I've had many. But I'm just questioning how original they are. Because here's a strange thing: I found if I just ignored *my* thoughts, I could read them expressed in many other places, often (mostly!) far more insightfully & eloquently than I ever could.

So how about instead of summarizing my unoriginal thoughts, I post a doggie update? The D.K. house is in temporary custody of this little fellow (shown here chewing a bacon-flavored corn cob toy). He is my Nephew's dog, Ark. We used to dogsit him all the time in California, but since we moved to UT, we've only seen him a couple times. We have him temporarily because he was involved in an altercation with a pitbull. He is here healing with us while that situation is being resolved. Ark is the type of dog who manages to fit right in no matter where he is.

This photo is Ark fitting in with one of our old dogs. They used to play together, both of them tearing after balls, up and down steep hillsides, indefatigable. But now she is old and her playing days are over. I think they both look like they realize something is not the same as before. Ark wonders why that once strong muscular bitch can only barely hobble around. And I think our old girl noticed that Ark is wounded, and so she quietly lays next to him in a comforting manner. He is hiding his neck wounds in both of the photos.

In other news: we attended a Unite for Obama rally last weekend. The theme was "Change Utah Can Believe In". It drew a crowd of about 100-150 which is quite large, considering it was 106-degrees and there just aren't that many democrats here. See the uncomfortable Redhead listening intently to a local democratic candidate who believes the Winds of Change can even sweep through Utah this year. I do live in hope.

Trying to escape the heat ourselves, we drove up the nearest 10,000-ft mountain. Pretty cool. At 6500-ft is a little town called Pine Valley with a little church called Pine Valley Chapel. It has an interesting history, built in 1868 by a shipbuilder named Ebenezer Bryce. When he was commissioned to build this church, Bryce protested that he didn't know how, but finally agreed to do it using his shipbuilding skills in the interior, apparently constructing it in the manner of an upside down ship! Unfortunately, tours were over by the time we arrived, but it is something I look forward to viewing on some other hot summer day. Click here to see Eric Dowdle's folkart painting of Pine Valley & see if you can spot the chapel.

* * * * * * * * * *
Tonight, we endured the annual bombardment of Fourth of July fireworks. Since 2003, I cannot help but think of Shock'n'Awe during these displays. Yes, on a vastly smaller scale, and of course our fireworks are not particularly dangerous to those viewing them, but I think there is a certain similarity ... boom, BOOM, B-O-O-M!!!
I've always loved this Margaret Bourke-White photo which appears to be looking up Lady Liberty's skirts! To me it captures the sheer power and force of an idea. The Statue of Liberty is a potent symbol providing hope for generations of newly arrived immigrants as well as ongoing inspiration for freedom-seekers around the world. This July 4th, during our 6th year at war in Iraq (notice I do not say at war with Iraq, for we are not now nor have we ever been at war with Iraq, we are simply using their country as a stage for war), I am once again questioning the nobility of spreading freedom by war. There's nothing glorious or patriotic about warfare. Stripped of flags, fanfare, speeches & propaganda, war is simply the result of a series of failures. Sadly, the price of these failures is born almost exclusively by simple, ordinary people.

Well, OK, so those are the disjointed thoughts of the brain-frozen D.K. To unfreeze my brain, perhaps I should take a stroll in The Neural Forest: The above is an actual dye image of some neural paths in your brain which I find absolutely compelling. Doesn't it look like a forest of tall skinny aspens & birches that have dropped a lot of leaves to mulch the ground? This beautiful forest is in your brain! The brain has tons of nerve cells called neurons. In fact, there are more neurons in the brain than there are stars in The Milky Way Galaxy. Good thing, too -- I think I may have burned out quite a few of them lately!

One last strange tidbit ... if you missed the Aztec Death Whistles story this week, be sure to listen to them by clicking here. If death has a sound, this is it. Some of them are ghastly shrieking horrors, others are peaceful birds and frogs. I know which I would prefer at the end ... and what I'll be purchasing for next Dia De Los Muertos.



Anon-Paranoid said...

Hi D.K.Raed...

Just wanted to wish you and yours a Happy Fourth of July though a little late.

Take care and...

God Bless.

an average patriot said...

Hi Red
That was enjoyable. Brain freeze! Overload is more like it
You just relax! Let someone else worry about being powerless to stop the chaos! I am glad you got out into the fresh air. That is the beauty you need to thaw that brain of yours. Take care!

DivaJood said...

I understand brain freeze quite well. And love the dog photos. Ark looks adorable, and the two of them seem quite compatible.

Love the photo of Ms. Liberty. What a point of view.

D.K. Raed said...

Anony-P: well it's really the whole weekend, isn't it? I'm still hearing firecrackers.

Avg Pat: True, I am powerless to stop Chaos, but in this case, it is more like my brain has frozen up trying to decifer arcane legal & corp tax codes. Sometimes I just have to walk away from it for awhile. When I come back, it still makes no sense, but at least I can look at it with fresh eyes & have hopefully stopped screaming inside my head. But thanks for the thoughts on "thawing" my brain ... all I'd have to do here is stand out in the afternoon sun for a half-hour (101-degrees today; which is a cooling trend for us, if you can believe that).

Diva: That little Ark is quite a handful. He has enough energy for 10-dogs & is NEVER satisfied, no matter how many balls I throw. When I take him for an evening walk, he is like a tractor, pulling my shoulder out. And yeah, that Liberty photo has a wonderful perspective. She is quite a Lady!

Anon-Paranoid said...

d.k. raed...

I just wanted to let you know I only have one kitty now.

The second new kitty Princess Pepper bit Baby and she was also a bully.

Princess would guard the litter box and the water bowl and after biting Baby I could no longer keep her.

I returned her and now she has a home were she is the only cat in the house.

Baby doing better and I'm still looking for another cat which I hope will get along with Baby and keep her company.

Thanks for thinking of the kitties and I hope you and all your family and pets had a great weekend holiday.

Take care and...

God Bless.

D.K. Raed said...

Anony-P: Thanks for letting me know the current cat status. At least you tried. Princess obviously needed to be the only cat (a true princess). Baby sounds very sweet. Maybe you can find a very passive docile little one, a bit timid wouldn't hurt, to keep her company. That way, Baby won't feel threatened & everyone will be happy. I've had multiple cats many times & some of them never really liked each other, but they never actually fought -- more like they actively ignored one another. Others were best friends, curling up & sleeping together & cleaning each other, very sweet. The only one who ever got bit was ME!

eProf2 said...

Wow, for someone who doesn't have anything to say, this was a real chatty post filled with interesting thoughts and ideas. I'm glad you got away for a little while and enjoyed the cooler weather. Nice pic of you, too. In your comment to me about the White Tank Mtns, you said you looked them up and found them to be of interest. Unfortunately, I can't report to you much about them because I had the wrong mtn name, which should have been White Mtns, which include Show Low, of which you're familiar. Ark does, indeed, look like a handful as a visitor. We had a one year old chihuahua, Petunia, with us on our trip. She had fun playing and running around without much restraint. Keep on blogging as your thoughts are enjoyable, and really can't be found elsewhere as they're yours alone, even if others have similar views.

Border Explorer said...

DK, I particularly enjoyed the Aztec Death Whistles section. Yes: the perfect background music for Dia de Los Muertos. This discovery of the music is amazing, like seeing a statue come to life.

Hope your 4th weekend was a good one.

Utah Savage said...

Brain freeze my ass. You have plenty to say. You want to see brain freeze tun a smart woman stupid, come visit me. I'm in a fiction writing frame of mind and it isn't the sort of posts you can get away with.

Love the pink aspen in my brain.

Tina said...

To quote Christopher Walken, as the incomparable Continental on Saturday Night Live: "Wowwie-wow-wow!" That oh-so busy post will give me a brain freeze :)

We're currently nursing a stray calico kitten back to health (she was bitten by most probably a dog the vet says and was whimpering pathetically under my car... soooo of course I had to strap the kids in their carseats and crawl under the damn dirty car and then scrap my grocery store plans and drive the damn cat to the emergency vet and pay thru the nose for a stray kitty, which left zero money for groceries anyway!) and we've haven't decided what to do with her as of yet. Our much older kitty DOES NOT play well with others, but as Hubby says, we've pretty much paid for her, we're falling in love with her, so what do we do with her now? What to do indeed? And damn her... she's awfully cute and sweet. But so is our older kitty, and I'd hate to upset her world as she has been the only kitty bee in our bonnets for yrs. Ugh!

Oh yeah... you had left a comment at my older June 3rd post about all of my family woes. I left a comment back for ya, and wanted you to know.
.... and thanks for the sisterly shoulder. I needed that.

DivaJood said...

DK, in addition to brain freeze, I am having computer freeze and it's annoying as all hell. My friend from work just had to put down his dog - her cancer had spread and she was no longer responding to treatment at all. So sad. She was a great dog.

dada said...

Well, my editor, Sam, made it through the Fourth just fine. The public fireworks from the minor league ballpark about 1.5 mi. down the road did NOT bother him at all.

As far as the public fireworks (illegal in the city, there were fewer detonations than fingers on my left hand (Yes, I still have all four--or five, if you count thumb.) The reason for the dearth, I surmise, is the George Bush economy and the fact that this is El Paso, near the bottom of the nation and the nation's economy, and we all know what positions bottoms usually occupy. Yep, the bottom!

So, like I'm told, I should look for the positive of bad situations, maybe this means by next year NO ONE anywhere will have a dime to blow for explosions resulting in brief flash, "boom", then lots of smoke.

Maybe we should take heart in one of the benefits the greatest Depression this country's ever had
may afford us. (If nothing else, the animals might be spared their usual 4th of July fright.)

But then I made the mistake of playing the Aztec Death Whistles while Sam was waiting at my feet under the computer desk to edit my latest blog entry.

He suddenly jumped up, ears in a strange position, as he tilted his head left, then right, glancing at me, then at the ceiling over my head.

Next, he jumped up on the love seat beside me, staring all around for the elusive source of the incredible shrill whistles and screams he was hearing. Not finding 'em, he finally leaped out the doggie door for the backyard. Moments later, concluding those sounds weren't outside, he returned. They must be in HIS house!

OK, my mistake, my fault. I should have used headphones when listening to such disturbing sounds. But thank you for the cross cultural experience.

As a result, I spoke to Sam afterwards about, "Maybe we should get out more. You know, travel. Maybe go to Denmark, France, or somewhere in South America and NOT come back!"

In what I thought was total agreement, Sam excitedly exited the room and returned moments later, with a ball in his mouth. Going to the backyard was good enough for him.

Fran said...

Hmmph! My previous post went to the ether.
I was suggesting you swing a chicken over your head counterclockwise while hopping on one foot to work out the tax voodoo.
They should save whole forests of trees by just saying *send us most of your money*.

That being said my stimulus check arrived, but alas the car mechanic will get the whole thing & then some. I'm afraid my stimulation came and went all too quickly.

Your brain freeze has been most amusing!

D.K. Raed said...

EProf: oh good, you're back! I'll catch up tomorrow. So ... no TANKS in your mountain get-away ... probably just as well.

B. Explorer: I enjoyed the Death Whistles, too ... we must be wierd!

Tina: Mr Continental is possibly Walken's finest role! Now about that new kitty ... I've had pretty good luck w/multiple cats, but it is tricky when you've got an established resident older cat. Make sure they have separate litter boxes & food & water, so neither feels threatened. And be very careful in the introduction phase, maybe separating them with a screen door for awhile so they can smell each other & get to used to each other before they go batshit. Sometimes the best you can hope for is that they will actively avoid one another. That's OK. Most cats are loners.

D.K. Raed said...

Diva: It is terrible when that final moment comes. They only share our lives for a little while. We lost one dog to cancer, so know how awful it is when you have to face that nothing more can be done. Give your friend hugs & encourage him to talk about his dog. It does help!

Dada: so I guess the reason we had a normal fireworks fourth is because UT would re-elect GWB again in a heartbeat if they could? There's something to be said for hiding one's head in the sand (or in church). And O-M-G!!! I should've put up a DOG warning about those Aztec Whistles of Death!!! It never occured to me since our dogs can't hear anymore. When I first heard them, I called EK to come listen & we were both amazed how eerie they were (the skull was awful, and the animals were uncanny mimics). Then when I posted the link, I replayed it so I could be sure the link still worked. EK was across the house watching TV ... I heard the TV pause & then he yells out, I HATE THOSE SOUNDS! ps, I don't think you can cheat death in Denmark or France, but possibly in South America, where you can be disappeared, hence life/death status *unknown*.

Fran: I keep having comments disappear, too ... usually when I was extremely eloquent, OF COURSE! The chicken -- HAHAHAH! If I thought it would work, I'd try it with a rubber one! That'd be a great way to enter the room if we get called in for a physical audit! ps, we got our stimulus, too, but stubbornly refused to go shopping with it. Instead, we paid for previous shopping (ie, credit card purchases). I think we all deserve an additional stimulus since this one was so UNSATISFYING. But maybe I'm just being a typical greedy woman.

UT Savage: I will be by! I'm so behind, I fear I can never catch up, but if you're threatening to brain freeze my ass, I better defend my brain's location (grin).