A Growing Basset

October 27, 2007

Becky, our basset hound, is almost 4 months old and has more than doubled her weight since we got her at 8 weeks old. She continues to be a good companion for us and is learning some of the ways of the world. Here are some photos:


The next one displays her noble Basset profile. Her muzzle is shorter and more arching than that of her beagle cousins, and obviously her feet are an important part of her whole person:

basset profile

In mid-bark. I wish dogs didn’t bark:


But this is how she gets away with all that noise making. What can you say to these eyes?:

puppy eyes


Unwound Tape

October 18, 2007

On the way to a funeral today I saw something I hadn’t seen in a long while: an unraveled cassette tape. The convolutions of tape were wadded in a pile on the median, and a long loop stretched out across the road. In the wind, the tape twirled and glinted like a one-dimensional version of the surface of a pond.

The sight of this brought up a vivid memory. When I was a kid, and cassette tapes were it, these piles of unwound tapes were common litter, at least in the crappy trailer park in Denver, Colorado, where we lived. Twenty-five years ago, trailer parks in Denver, and probably anywhere in the West, were dry and dusty collections of transplanted mid-westerners with unbridled children and suspicious teens. Western cities back then had large tracts of undeveloped land between housing lots, and our trailer park sat next to a block of desert that was becoming a landfill. On the edge of this expanse, there was a sidewalk limned by prickly pear cacti and unkempt yucca plants. For the handful of years we lived in that place, one of these yuccas had an entire cassette tape wrapped up in its spines; I guess no one had the gumption to reach in there to retrieve the tape, and so it stayed that way for years. On windy days, like today, this yucca glinted just like the tape I saw across the road on the way to the funeral.


Five Little Pumpkins

October 15, 2007

Tom’s preschool class is learning a bunch of Halloween songs. They will be singing and wearing their costumes in a parade. Here you can see Superman’s alter-ego, Thomas, singing “Five Little Pumpkins.”

Four Things Meme

October 11, 2007

I was tagged by my wife and a friend both to do this meme, so here goes.

Four Jobs I’ve Held
security guard at Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority house at U. Texas
library desk clerk at Barnard College
18-wheeler trailer floor maker, Cloud Industries
tour guide at Maker’s Mark distillery

Four Films I Could Watch Over & Over
Babette’s Feast
Pump Up the Volume

Four T.V. Shows I Watch
America’s Test Kitchen
Law and Order
Good Eats

Four Places I’ve Lived
Pyatt, Arkansas
Buenos Aires, Argentina
New York, New York
Montezuma, New Mexico

Four Favorite Foods
barbecued pig and cow
French toast
brick oven pizza

Four Websites I Visit Daily
Arizona State University
Google Reader

Four Favorite Colors
I’ll just say it seems unnatural to have more than one favorite color. Mine is green.

Four Places I Would Love To Be Right Now
cabin in Rocky Mountains
the dining room of any fine restaurant
NLCS game–Go Diamondbacks!!
at a movie with my sweetie, no kids

Four Names You Love, But Could/Would Not Use For Your Children

I’m tagging:
Barack Obama
Hilary Clinton
John Edwards
Dennis Kucinich

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.


August 11, 2007

When she became fed up with plastic Indian headdresses and other trinkets, my mother demanded that my brother and I choose something more worthwhile to collect when we visited touristic destinations. My brother chose keychains; my grandfather made a bulletin board with an array of hooks for him, and it hung on a wall in our bedroom displaying his keychain keepsakes. I chose patches. I don’t know if this is still the case, but in those days, every little tourist trap in the Rockies had its own embroidered patch. They were like mile marker merit badges. My mother sewed them on banners of felt, and I kept them folded in a drawer. I don’t know where they are now.


In the Denver summers, our garden was the touristic destination of plagues of grasshoppers. As I recall it, there used to be more grasshoppers on this earth twenty-five years ago. We had a plastic pitcher, the kind with a lid that twists one way to pour water and ice together through a large opening and twists the other to pour water only through a grate. It was perfect for collecting grasshoppers because the large opening for ice cubes was big enough to stuff in a grasshopper while the other grated opening held them in while still supplying them air (we were selectively humane). My brother and I would lie in the cool dirt between the rows of green and yellow beans and pluck grasshoppers from the beanleaf canopy above us. They spit their tobacco juice on us, but we were relentless. The inside of the pitcher was coated with them, and the bottom was deep with them; en masse they smelled mealy and vile.


Before I began the forced collection of patches, I once used my meager funds to buy a little leather sack full of assorted marbles at a tourist trap. They were mostly cats’ eyes with one larger shooter. I’ve never played the game of “marbles” in my life, but I often poured the sack out on my bed and admired these as objects of beauty. Not long after that purchase, my mother got a one-time job cleaning out a house that renters had abandoned in a mess. My brother and I were allowed to scavenge through the loot, taking what we found valuable. I found a large glass jar full of what seemed like misshapen marbles. They were all sort of an artificial glassy blue color and not entirely spherical. (I think now that they were some sort of glass slag from a metallurgical process.) I made the mistake of adding them to my marbles, but the new marbles were legion and without personality. Like weeds, they sapped my other beauties of all their goodness, andI soon didn’t look at any of the marbles at all.