“Oh, shit, the cat is dead!”
It was 4am and Maeve was sprawled on the floor. She was cool to the touch and unresponsive. I took this picture to document how she was found — I couldn’t just leave her there until my wife got up — and knelt down in front of her. That’s when I saw that her eyes were open.
We’ve been giving Maeve insulin shots for several years and now she was in trouble, most likely extremely hypoglycemic, and she wouldn’t last long without help.
We called the pet hospital and they advised that we get some sugar into her — just as you would with a human — and their advice was to rub Karo syrup into her gums. So there I am, at 4:30, on the floor with a handful of sticky syrup in one hand and a cat in the other.
She gradually grew more alert, and when I showed her a small plate with a tablespoon of food on it she sat up and ate. Soon she was up on her feet, but a bit shaky; we herded her into the cat carrier for her trip to the vet. It turns out her diabetes was in remission and the insulin was making her blood sugar plunge too low. I’ll be damned.
I’ve told this story to a few people and the wondered if the cat’s physiology may hold some sort of medical secret that reverses diabetes. Actually, it’s not uncommon for diabetes to go away in cats, but wouldn’t that be something? Imagine the side effects listed in the commercial:
Some people may experience an urge to chase mice. Taking this medication could cause you to lick your hands and feet and curl up in someone’s lap…
So, all is well with Maeve the cat. Two days later she’s acting completely normal. You know, by cat standards, of course.
I was listening to my local talk radio station the other morning and the host was bitching about a huge traffic jam that tied up an area bridge. It seems someone was threatening to jump.
He called the man on the bridge an “attention grabber,” and said we should just “let him jump.”
Well, don’t be shocked.
Talk radio shows are just that: shows. The host’s job is not to be moderate and thoughtful, it’s to stir you up. The more provocative the better — and appealing to the angry mob brings ratings. Angry mobs don’t talk people down, they scream, “Jump!”
But I’m not here to attack the talk radio host. Doing that would be like going to the circus and criticizing the clowns for — well, acting like clowns. That’s their job.
I’ve never had a suicide affect my family directly, but I’ve known people who killed themselves and seen what it does to those left behind. It’s tragic — and the pain and loss upends lives and lingers forever. I suppose that “let him jump” is one solution when someone is in crisis, but maybe it’s not the best solution.
Meanwhile, the angry drumbeat of talk radio rolls along. Deport all the immigrants. Throw the bums out. And let him jump.
I’d been thinking go buying a cheap smoker to dip my toe into the dark art of barbecue when my wife Ann called.
“I have a surprise for you!”
Oh, Christ, what now — another cat? But this time she’d really outdone herself: standing in the garage was a ceramic Big Green Egg, one of the fancier — meaning more expensive — smokers out there.
This was certainly not something I would have ever bought for myself, but she discovered it on Craigslist, for sale by a man who bought it several years ago and never used it. He finally decided he couldn’t stand looking at it anymore, and it came to us at a fraction of the price of buying a new one.
So, since then, every weekend has been a festival of meat.
It turns out that when it comes to barbecue, the internet is both a blessing and a curse. You can find a recipes for anything you want — but ten-thousand of them — and every person who smokes meat has a different opinion on how to do it. It makes your head spin.
Pork shoulder which went on the smoker at 4:50am on Sunday.
But for all the confusion, one thing has been constant: everything I’ve cooked in the Egg has been spectacular. Can you remember the best chicken you’ve ever eaten? I can — it was last week.
So, what about health considerations? Some would say that at 54-years-old, eating more meat might not be the best game plan — but I’m not really eating more meat, just better meat. The jury is out on the health effects of breathing too much smoke, but hey, what are you gonna do?
If you were a kid like me, the highlight of your grade school day was lunch. Now, nearly fifty years later, there are still days like that.
For the most part, I’ve always been a brown bagger, and making my sandwich is a morning ritual. Some days are better than others, but — and not to brag — as a sandwich artist, mine is probably better than yours.
One this week was especially colorful:
This sandwich had an especially local flavor: the beets and greens came from the Great Barrington farmer’s market. I cured and smoked the bacon from a pork belly I bought at Rolf’s Pork Store. The bread? One of the great products that comes from Herkimer’s Heidelberg Baking Company, and the onions — well, I bought them at Price Chopper, but pickled them at home.
When Warren Zevon was dying of lung cancer, he told David Letterman how he’s approaching the great beyond.
“You’re reminded to enjoy every sandwich and every minute of playing with the guys and being with the kids, and everything.”
Yes. Enjoy every sandwich.
Inspiration can come from many places. A book, a beautiful landscape, a moving experience… mine came from Chuck Miller. Let me explain.
You may know him. Among other things, Chuck is the Times Union’s most prolific blogger, a trivia whiz and a really good photographer. At lunch a few months ago, I whined that I felt I was in a creative doldrums, particularly in regard to my photography.
“Here’s what you do,” he said. “Pick a picture you like and get it printed and framed — then enter it in the Altamont fair in August.” This was good advice. I’ve been a photographer for forty years, but most of my work is hidden away in boxes or hard drives. Maybe setting a goal, even one as simple as getting one photo entered in the fair competition, was just what I needed.
I chose one of my favorite pictures, some pigs I saw at Peter’s Dairy Farm in Castleton. I was there to shoot Carmine Sprio milking a cow for his cooking show, Carmine’s Table, and happened to have my $20 plastic Holga 120 with me. Those pigs are long gone — as is the cooking show — but the photo remains.
Anyway, I woke up this morning and saw Chuck’s blog post about how his Altamont Fair photo entries did — and nearly fell out of my chair when I saw that he posted a picture of my pig photo hanging at the fair with a blue ribbon under it.
How about that.
What Chuck did for me was a small thing that made a big difference, but that’s the kind of guy he is, somebody who does small things that make a big difference. We could all learn something from the example he sets, not just on how to be a better photographer but about being a better person.
My wife says to me, “There’s poop on the front lawn again.”
And says I, “Human or canine?”
Look, in the burbs, letting your dog shit on someone’s lawn is the ultimate anti-social act. I’m quite sure people are peering from their windows when my dogs squat on their lawn, so I don’t just pick up the poop, but go though elaborate kubuki-like moves with the poop bag to make it obvious that I’m cleaning up.
Not everyone feels this way.
Lately we’ve found quite a bit of dog poop on the fringes of the lawn. Hopefully it’s just that dog walkers are lazy and not making a statement about me and my stupid blog.
Well, thanks to science, now you can figure out which dog pooped the poop. Several companies, like PooPrints offer DNA testing of dog sh*t with the aim of matching man’s best friend with your worst enemy. — in fact, according to the New York Times, there are Brooklyn apartment buildings using this technique to identify tenants whose dogs foul the elevators and hallways.
Great idea — but the problem? How exactly will you get a DNA sample from your neighbor’s pet to establish a match? If you live in a community strictly controlled by a neighborhood association or in a New York co-op, yes, you could require members to submit poop samples, but in the suburbs it’s a squishy proposition. Literally.
So, how does one collect a DNA sample from the suspect dog in a typical subdivision? Maybe let the suspect dog it lick your face and then swab your cheek — or sneak into their backyard to collect a sample?
I don’t know — they make it look so easy on CSI Miami. It would probably be easier — and cheaper — to just accept that sh*t happens.
After years of chasing squirrels, my dogs finally got one.
It always plays out the same way: the dogs sprint out the back door and the squirrels dash away from the bird feeder and up the tree — but this time was different.
A smallish, young squirrel fumbled its escape and Scarlett caught up with it at the bottom of the tree. Just as she put her paw on it, I called her off — but the squirrel turned and ended up right in from of Maddy, who cornered it in a nook at the base of the tree.
Maddy — who tends to be stubborn — wouldn’t back off, and I had to go over and pull her away from the startled critter.
Once the dogs were back in the house I went to the tree. The squirrel looked down at me and was like, “Dude, WTF?!” I couldn’t tell if it was injured, but after a while it vanished into the trees, so I’m assuming it was just shaken up.
The next day — like it never happened — the squirrels were back at the feeder, including one who looked a lot like the one the dogs captured.
And the dogs? I’ve got to figure that they’re filled with new hope. Now that they know they can catch a squirrel, anything is possible.
June 11, 2015
July 9, 2015
Well, it took a month, but the Times Union finally figured out what other media outlets were reporting from practically day one: that the Dannemora escape was far from the first.
In today’s front page item, the paper blames Governor Cuomo for spreading the “first escape” story; one has to wonder who Cuomo is blaming.
Paul Grondahl writes, “Cuomo’s comments were picked up and repeated, including by local residents.” Yes it was picked up and repeated. Please refer to the photo at the top of this blog post.
Anyway, this makes it all OK:
The Matt and Sweat imbroglio, however, did not eclipse the level of subterfuge in the escape of George Leggins of Coxsackie, who broke away on July 31, 1915, from a farm outside Dannemora’s walls.
Anyone who can use imbroglio and subterfuge in the same sentence gets an A+ in my book.