There’s something I’ve been meming to tell you

imageMemes.

They are the Superbowl commercials of our daily lives, offering a moment of laughter or introspection without the obligation of remembering who made them. The word “meme” became part of my vocabulary about six months ago, thanks to my teenagers, who are constantly enhancing my life with important terminology. Without them, I would be the Fred Flintstone of social media living in a world of The Jetsons, texting “Yabba Dabba Doo!” with my thick thumbs only to have it auto-corrected to “Abba Dances Too!”

I would be alone in the cyberworld. A man on a deserted social media island. Out of touch. Except for the Abba spam.

But fortunately my kids keep me plugged in and — when it comes to what’s trending — on the cutting edge. Sure, if we’re being honest it’s an edge that needs sharpening. That’s what I have my teenagers for! And yes, they sometimes (i.e., more often than not) regret keeping Dad in the loop with what’s trending. For example, when the “Damn, Daniel!” vines and memes went viral, my kids shared them with me — which got me thinking:

What if Daniel had been Danny LaRusso from “Karate Kid” instead?  Continue reading

Learning to accept your dog’s snoring problem could save your life

image At three o’clock this morning I propped myself up on my elbows, removed my ear plugs, looked directly at our dog and delivered the following ultimatum:

This has to STOP!

My wife turned to me and quietly said I’d need to speak up if I wanted to be heard over the dog’s snoring. Admittedly, it was my bright idea to have Stanley sleep in our room. That’s because, when he was a puppy, he was prone to chew up things we might leave out overnight.

Such as the living room or kitchen.

However, at nine years old, his snoring now sounds like a 250-pound man sleeping-off a three-day bender. Part of Stanley’s problem is genetics. Being half Shar-pei, he has a lot of loose skin and wrinkles. He essentially looks like a chocolate Labrador in need of ironing. In desperation, we took him to the vet, who told us that the loose skin around his face causes him to snore.

I’m not sure why he told us this, but I think there’s a good chance Stanley has the same problem. Continue reading

Cats may have their own wine but Bowser can crack open a brewsky

image As you might expect, since writing about Japan’s new line of wines made specifically for cats a couple of weeks ago, I have received dozens of emails from unhappy readers denouncing what they believe is blatant discrimination against members of the canine population. All of them feel wine for cats is a really bad idea that will only increase the air of superiority cats already have. Coincidentally, most of these emails arrived through my “Fetch” account.

Here are just a few examples:

If I hear Mittens talk about the ‘rich bouquet’ of her stupid wine one more time, I’m leaving something with rich bouquet in her cat dish.”
— Buford

My sense of smell is 100 times greater than my owner’s. She doesn’t have to smell Mr. Whiskers’ horrible wine breath. Well, I DO! Then she gets MAD when I barf on the carpet.” — Fifi

Cats are dumb.” — Butch

They say for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, meaning that for every cat sipping a glass of wine there is a dog lapping up a special libation. And not just from the toilet. As it turns out, dogs have had Bowser Beer available to them since 2012, long before “Mr. Frisky” ever thought of getting stemware, comparing tannins or going out and spraying the town. In the same way cat wine is made specifically for a cat’s discriminating taste, the makers of Bowser Beer have created a flavor profile that compliments a dog’s natural pallet — meaning the only thing that isn’t in the brew is an actual shipping pallet. Continue reading

And speaking of beer for dogs…

image By now we’ve all heard about the new Japanese wine for felines. If you haven’t, it could explain why your cat has started using your favorite shoes as a litter box. Not to point fingers, but I did write about this a few weeks ago, so you only have yourself to blame. Or at least, that’s probably what you cat would tell you.

Regardless, since then I have receieved dozens of emails about what some see as discrimination against canines for not providing them with their own special libation. As it turns out, they have. And as you might expect, I’d be the one to hear about it — which is why it will be the topic of this Monday’s upcoming post:

Cats May Have Their Own Wine, But Bowser Can Crack Open a Brewsky

As with every Friday, here is an audio preview of this Moday’s post. (Warning: For those of you with cats, I’d advise against letting them hear this)… Continue reading

Home insurance premium up? Thank my clumsy dog

Apparently, today is National Pet Day. No one told me this. Not even our dog, who is always the first to point out important holidays such as “Arbor Day,” “Bring Your Dog To Work Day,” “National Hydrant Awareness Day” and “Bathe Your Cat Day” (which I think he made up.) Nonetheless, we love our chocolate Labrador, Stanley, and his two adopted siblings, CJ and Hazel. To celebrate, I’d like to offer this post from the past in tribute to Stanley and all the pets who make our lives so much richer, not counting what we spend on home repair…

This is the face of rising homeowner’s insurance.

Each year, we gather as a family to have our pets blessed on St. Francis Day. We do this because we want to give our pets every advantage, particularly if there’s a chance — through divine intervention — that our Chocolate Labrador’s IQ could be raised above that of a standard carrot. I know this is supposed to be a general blessing situation, but I think God would agree there was a serious oversight during Stanley’s creation process.

I know He is very busy.

I know He sees all.

But maybe He was also trying to catch the season finale of “Hell’s Kitchen.” Continue reading

Today’s pet care needs require cheddar cheese and a dog wrangler

image Most of us expect to begin taking medication at some point in our lives, particularly those of us with small children. What many of us don’t expect, however, is for the family dog to begin taking medication. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is the first generation to actually provide dogs with things like health insurance, plastic surgery, organ transplants and dentures.

When I was a kid, our dog seemed content eating table scraps, chewing on car tires and barking at the hot water heater. Those things were referred to as character.

Now, of course, these things are referred to as a schizoid embolism requiring psychological treatment, a diet plan and regular nightly flossing. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that we shouldn’t provide our pets with the kind of health care they deserve. I’m just saying that I should have the option of being covered under my dog’s health plan, which — with its dental coverage — is far superior to my own. Continue reading

Dignity is easier to swallow with hot sauce

Within our lives there are certain moments that inspire a deeper understanding of ourselves. I experienced such an epiphany yesterday morning during a quiet moment of introspection; crouched in the backyard; sprinkling dog poop with hot sauce.

To clarify, I was not attempting to create the world’s most disgusting Cajun appetizer. According to a book on canine behavior, this would train our dog to avoid eating his “leftovers.” It was in that moment, while clutching a bottle of Tabasco and trying not to be seen by my neighbors, I came to realize that somewhere along the way providing our dog with decent manners had become more important than maintaining my personal dignity.

How did this happen?

I’m a 46-year-old man who survived the diaper phases of two children — both of whom were heavy eaters. I’ve had my share of high profile, low-dignity diaper changes, one of which required quick thinking, commando-like precision, and a paper plate. I’ve sat across from my four-year-old son at a busy restaurant in downtown San Francisco, handed him a cheese stick appetizer, and watched him yak up what appeared to be everything he’d consumed since graduating to solid foods. I tried to salvage the situation by waiting for a lull in gastrol activity and then racing him into the men’s room. And let me just say had the rest rooms been clearly marked, we probably would’ve made it.

What got me through those times, of course, was knowing, as a parent, I could look forward to eventually becoming an embarrassment to my children once they entered middle school.

However, as I crouched over Stanley’s latest pile with my Tabasco bottle at the ready, one thought kept running through my mind:

You can’t embarrass a dog. Particularly one with questionable intelligence.

This meant I had either (a) matured to the point of not caring what others thought of me based on their own one-dimensional perception, or (b) succumbed to the realization that the last of my dignity had been wrung out into a mop bucket in San Francisco.

In either case, it meant I had moved on to a new phase in my life. A time that will eventually prepare me for my later years, when I’m secure enough in myself that the opinions of others — or even the basic rules of traffic — no longer matter. However, reaching that level of self assuredness is still years away, which is why, after noticing I’d been crouched over the same pile for several minutes, I quickly sprinkled it and moved on.

As far as I can tell, Stanley is no longer interested in his “leftovers.” I know this because he has stopped coming in from outside and standing with his tongue in the water bowl. At the same time, it’s proven to be a trade-off since I can’t put Tabasco on my eggs without getting queasy.

The important thing is that the experience has allowed me to achieve some personal growth thanks to a few moments of introspection about fodderhood.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439.)