but I’ve never felt this way about a dog. I’m not expecting comments or anything; I just feeling very evangelical about this particular dog, like I need to share.

parsley becky

flat dog

tom and becky

And for someone who knows next to nothing about taking pictures, this one came out real nice:

dog nose

I’ll try to restrain myself from posting more, but you have to admit, this is an unusually terrific dog.

Calm little doggy

August 29, 2007

I’ve never been a dog person, but that doesn’t seem to matter. I love our new dog, Becky the basset hound. She’s 8-weeks-old, cute as can be, funny, and sleepy.

Sleepy Becky

Little for now, but she’ll probably make it up to 50 pounds or so, and fill up her new bed.

Becky from above

For more cutey-pie pictures, check out my wife’s blog.

Slugs

August 26, 2007

Our outside cat has not been eating her food lately. She may have worms, or she may be totally grossed out by the colossal slugs that have been dragging themselves in and around her food dish.

In the few months we have lived in southern Illinois, I have had more–and more varied–slug experiences than ever before. First of all, they are slug giants. These are antediluvian monster slugs who also have pituitary problems. Second, they are fiends for dry catfood. In searching for ways to keep them out of my cat’s food dish, we discovered that some people use catfood to lure slugs out of their vegetables. What is to be done?

One morning last week before the sunrise, I went outside to feed the cat. Hanging from a ropy cord of slime directly above the catfood dish were two slugs in the throes of slug passion. It was acrobatic, and they were oblivious of me. They twined around each other like DNA covered in ectoplasm. Slugs are hermaphroditic and are perfectly capability of mating with themselves (there once was a slug from Nantucket…) but prefer to seek out partners supposedly for greater genetic variety, but these two seemed to be going at it out of simple lust. I left them alone; I guess they dropped into the catfood after their carnal relations and just rolled in food. Pituitary problems and no self-control. When I cleaned up after them, I found that the cord they hung from was eerily similar to the gummy strips of booger-like material that advertisers use to hold their ads into magazines.

I suppose it is cruel, but I have a taken to hunting slugs in the evening hours and pouring salt on their broad backs. I’m worried about the effect they are having on my cat’s appetite, and it is also not unknown that my 2-year-old daughter scoop up a handful of catfood to keep her energy levels up while playing. I’d prefer she not eat slug slime. While we wait for the first cold snap (or whatever it is that sends the slugs packing), our cat will most likely be meeting the Illinois vet. I don’t know what they’ll prescribe for feline slug disgust.

One of my favorite bloggers, Dave Bonta over at Via Negativa, has proclaimed September 2 to be International Rock-Flipping Day. Want more information? Want to participate? Check out the details here.

In vain

August 22, 2007

I heard a story on NPR this morning about the ongoing VFW convention.  A reporter asked some of the participants what they thought of the various presidential hopefuls that have spoken to the gathered veterans.  A vet from the Iraq War said that she agreed with the candidates who wanted the U.S. to remain engaged in Iraq until “victory” because–as she put it–otherwise all the fighting and dying they have already done “will have been in vain.”

Of course, I’ve heard this line of reasoning before, but it never struck me like it did this morning.  Not only will it have been in vain, it already is.  All the fighting and dying has been in vain.  I found myself talking to the vet through the radio.  Yes, what you did was useless.  You were grossly manipulated by liars.  Our culture of patriotism misled you into this vain and disastrous affair.   Worse than “in vain,” you have most likely made things much, much worse than they possibly would have been without our military’s presence in Iraq.

What Is Diet Coke?

August 21, 2007

I started my teaching gig this afternoon with a session in my Intro. to Philosophy course. We did all the normal things like making introductions and going over the syllabus and the books we are going to use, but I also had the students read a blogpost by the Freakonomics author Steven Levitt over at the New York Times. The post is about a new ad campaign by the Coca-Cola company that promotes the fact that Diet Coke is 99% water. Since water is now a good thing to buy and to drink, this is used as proof that Diet Coke is likewise healthy, refreshing, and fashionable. We searched out (with much prodding from Herr Professor) the philosophical debates that might be underpinning this blogpost and its arguments.

  1. perception and value. Why do I like or dislike Diet Coke? How do I know that I like or dislike Diet Coke?
  2. ethics. Is it right to sell something that is 99% water at such inflated prices? Is advertising Diet Coke–a luxury item–convincing people to buy Diet Coke when they should be buying milk for their baby?
  3. political philosophy. Why does our government regulate the ingredients of Diet Coke? Is this for our benefit, and how?
  4. free will vs. determinism. Am I free to choose not to drink Diet Coke? How does my culture dictate my supposedly free decisions?
  5. ontology. What is Diet Coke?

This last question freaked them out pretty bad. They had a hell of a time answering the question. Answers:

  • a carbonated beverage with no calories (me: sounds like Diet 7Up)
  • something with a Diet Coke label (me: we can move the label to a different product)
  • the 1% of flavor (me: so the water in the can is not part of the beverage?)

I haven’t told them yet that there is an ideal place where the form of Diet Coke exists in all its glorious ding an sich.

(Image is a collage of canvases painted by David Payton.)

Supply Side Jesus

August 20, 2007