The Pit Bull Conundrum….

Yesterday morning while reading my local newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, I was greeted with yet another local headline only six days hence of a similar headline noting yet another dog attack by a pit bull. This time it was a 6-year old with serious injuries while just six days ago a 36-year old man was mauled to death by some eight pit bulls. Here’s a look a those subject headlines and just click on them to enlarge….

Pitbull Newspaper Article - 02
Pitbull Newspaper Article - 01

This subject has been at the forefront of my mind and has been for some time now given the number of serious to deadly attacks which have occurred in my home state over the past year and a half. The first of these fairly recent occurrences that comes to mind was in November of 2013 when a 75-year old woman in Hot Springs Village out walking one morning was attacked by a pit bull/mastiff mix named ‘Patrone’ and died the next day after being taken to the hospital. Here is a brief excerpt of that news release….

Quote from Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – by Emily Walkenhorst

On Nov. 21, Patrone attacked Joan Kappen as she walked by the 11 Ornado Lane property where the Coys live, according to an affidavit. Brande Coy heard screams and walked outside to see the dog biting Kappen in the street.

Brande Coy told investigators it took her 30 minutes to get control of the dog and take it back inside, after which she then called 911 and stayed inside while Kappen lay in a ditch by the road with injuries all over her body, the affidavit states. Brande Coy went outside once emergency responders arrived.

Emergency responders treated Kappen and took her to a hospital, where she died the next day.

The dog was impounded by Hot Springs Village Animal Control and later euthanized with Emily Coy’s consent. It was from the same litter as another dog that attacked and killed a 5-year-old Jessieville boy in June 2013. That dog belonged to the child’s family and was shot after the attack.

This past October the case came to trial and the following results and sentences are noted….

Quote from Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – by Emily Walkenhorst

Brande Michelle Coy, 50, was convicted late Wednesday of negligent homicide and sentenced to 60 days in jail after investigators said she released a bull mastiff-pit bull mix dog with a history of violent attacks into an unsecured front yard and then left. Coy was also fined $2,500 and given a year of probation.

She was originally charged with manslaughter, a felony, but the jury convicted Coy of a lesser negligent homicide charge, a Class A misdemeanor.

Coy was also originally charged with unlawful dog attack, but deputy prosecutor Rebecca Bush said her team did not pursue the charge because it would not have added jail time to a felony conviction of manslaughter. “It was superfluous,” she said Thursday.

Emily Ann Coy, 25, was convicted of unlawful dog attack, sentenced to 120 days in jail, fined $2,500 and given a year of probation. The dog — named Patrone — belonged to Emily Coy.

From a personal viewpoint I strongly disagree with the sentences handed down and think that indeed, the felony charges should have easily held up given the events surrounding the attack and in particularly given the fact that the dog was known to have been aggressive in the past. It is also of considerable importance in my opinion to note that another dog from the same litter as the subject dog had attacked and killed a 5-year old boy just 5 months prior to this occurrence.

Within the world of dogs and pets, perhaps the more commonly known pit bull (American Staffordshire Terrier) is the most controversial of all the canines. Whether prone to just a nasty disposition or simply a part of the generic makeup of the breed, it seems they are constantly in the forefront of news reports involving attacks on other dogs and/or people. And a fierce debate continues to rage between those who love and own the breed verses those who consider the breed dangerous and prone to vicious attacks and calling for the breed to be outlawed.

American Pit Bull Terrier - 03

American Pit Bull

Cities and towns across America are increasingly passing more and more local laws directed at the breed and their owners. Some towns even banning the dogs from ownership by their local citizens. And not unlike the gun control debate where proponents claim that it is not guns that kill, it’s the people who own them. So it is that a similar response comes from those who are owners and lovers of the pit bull who contend that it is not the nature of the breed that is at issue with these dog attacks but rather the lack of care and training my the dog owner.

A favorite dog person of mine who has his own television series is the well-known Cesar Millan, known as “The Dog Whisperer” and featured on the National Geographic Channel. His programs and his talents in addressing the many issues facing dog owners with regard to their dog’s behaviors almost always come down to short-comings regarding the dog’s owners. Much of his time is spent teaching the dog owners how they need to interact with their dogs in lieu of some direct issue with their dog.

Of course if you are familiar with Cesar’s television show then you know that one of his dogs which is featured time and time again in his training exercises is his beloved pit bull named “Daddy”. Although the answer to my question surely would be quite obvious with regard to his opinion on the plight of the pit bull, I was nevertheless curious as to what he might have to say on the subject. And then I happened to stumble across a video clip of him addressing pit bull aggression when approached on the subject after the death of a young boy recently attacked and killed by a pit bull. Click on this link to hear what he had to say – “Cesar Millan Comments on Pit Bull Aggression

Another item I ran across of exceptional interest on the subject of aggressive dogs was a chart published by “DogsBite.org” charting all the human deaths caused by dogs for the period 2005 – 2014.

10-Year Dog Bite Fatality Chart

Another important statistic that is missing of course are those attacks against other animals where they are seriously injured or killed by these same breeds.

So… it is that the debate continues to rage as opinions continue to clash and no doubt will for a long time to come. Being a dog lover myself, I find it very difficult to condemn any breed to obscurity because every fiber within me screams that the majority of the fault in these cases does indeed rest with the individual dog owners. There is in fact a serious responsibility that goes along with owning any dog who can be aggressive and harmful to other people or animals and those owners need to step up and meet those responsibilities. If an aggressive breed owner does not in fact fulfill their requirements as owners of these type dogs, they should be fully responsible under the law for any adverse actions by their dogs and and subject to the full measure of penalties allowed under the law. And, if there is in fact a death incurred due to such an attack, nothing less than a ‘felony’ charge should ever prevail.

I personally would never own an aggressive breed of dog because I take that responsibility very seriously. I’m an “Irish Setter” person and intend to remain so but while on the subject of responsibility, all dogs whether an aggressive breed or not require responsible owners sensitive to the needs of their dogs and caring enough for those animals to meet both their physical as well as their mental needs.

Why isn’t “journaling” a word?

In all honesty, I have never been a “huge” fan of blogging even though since 2006 I have had several of them. Let’s see now if I can actually remember them all….

Retirement Is A Bitch (…then you die)

The Electric Key Orchestra

The Cyberspace Dawdler

Writing To Myself

Some Final Thoughts (…then I’m off to Cemeteryville)

I think that pretty well covers it for the time being. But let’s get back to that initial opening statement which may be perceived as somewhat inflammatory to some bloggers. Perhaps some might respond to my opening statement by scolding me with, “Well, if you don’t like blogging then why have one… DUH?”

Well, truth is what I personally really like are on-line journals. In fact, I am very, very close to officially reactivating my old journal and getting out of the blogging business yet again but that is neither here nor there for the moment. When the “blog” came along, which was a new term in itself, not far behind was the new term “blogging” (in case you weren’t aware by the way, blogs actually morphed from the on-line journals of the day). So, with blogs first we had the noun (blog), then we had the verb (blogging).

But if you are a person such as I am who prefers a journal to a blog, it is of particular disdain to me that I can sing… “A blogging I will go, a blogging I will go. Hi-ho the dairy-o a blogging I will go!” and will not get into trouble with the English Language Police but if I sing, “A journaling I will go, a journaling I will go. Hi-ho the dairy-o a journaling I will go!” then all sorts of editorial bells and whistles go off and the English Language Police go berserk.

Journaling

So that’s pretty much it. I can go blogging any darn time I want to but I can’t go “journaling”…. ever! It just doesn’t seem fair. I’m beginning to wonder lately if the word “journalistic” is how I got screwed out of being able to go journaling. In the verb sense, there is just something about “I’m going journalistic” that sounds more like a mental disorder than a writing excursion. :)

If none of this makes any real sense, not to worry. I personally feel much better just to get this whole mess off my chest and have my say! :?

The New Alarm Clock….

Alarm Clock

I have for a while now been looking for a computer-based alarm clock and have finally found one very much to my liking. I should quickly note that such computer-based alarm clocks of course do not function if the computer is turned off when it is time for the alarm to go off so that is obviously important to note. But you do want it to function when the computer is turned on, even when the computer is in the so called ‘sleep’ mode. I have finally found one much to my liking. :)

For me personally, when I am even washing or drying clothes I need that little reminding nudge to remind me that my clothes have finished washing or drying as the case may be. This little alarm clock is perfect for those sorts of tasks. Sometimes I may need to call my sister a couple of days from now or perhaps make an appointment in a day or two. This is again an easy way to document that reminder so that I have backup if I don’t remember which is more likely than not at my age. There are several alarm sounds available to choose from, anything from a crowing rooster to a cuckoo clock. There are of course bells, buzzers and horns for something a little less entertaining. I have set mine up to play a rousing musical selection.

Now I am neither selling this software nor do I have any vested interest. I’m just very picky about my alarm clocks and this one for me personally fits the bill in a number of ways. If you want to get rid of that string round your finger or all those dang sticky notes stuck everywhere, you might want to look into something like this. The software company offering this particular alarm clock, Comfort Software Group, has a free version which is great if you just want something that works within the confines of a 24-hour period and is pretty basic. Here is a link to that one for downloading…. Free Alarm Clock

For the much more sophisticated version where you can pick both dates and times, either one-time or recurring, and much more. You can do everything with this one in my estimation. You can download a fully-functional trial version (30 day trail) of this particular one and then if you decide it serves you well, you can then purchase your lifetime license for $19.95 and have an alarm clock for life! Here is the link for that one…. Hot Alarm Clock

Senior Moment or Alien Abduction?

I should first prerequisite this little story with some information many of you may already be familiar with. It seems standard procedure, at least with most shirt manufacturers, is to sew an extra matching button on every shirt just on the inside of the bottom of the shirt, usually just below the last buttonhole on the front of the shirt. The intent for this button is to be used as a ‘spare’ button should over time one of your primary buttons falls off or breaks. I have included a photo below for those who may not be familiar with the manufacturer’s spare button technique.

New Gray Shirt - Spare Button

Now having said that… I was sitting at my computer this morning wearing a relative new long-sleeve shirt and at some point I happen to look down and the subject “spare” button we just discussed caught my attention. I never have known the proper protocol with regard to these spare buttons but being the organizational freak that I am, I always have to remove the button and put it in a box and I admittedly have accumulated a bunch of them over the years. I call that my ‘Spare Button Box”.

Anyway, this morning things did not seem to work out quite as planned. Some might say I had a ‘senior moment’ but at this point I am just not quite sure what the hell happened. I decided to remove the button so I reached over and grabbed my X-Acto knife which is quite handy for this particular task. But then here is where things seem to go awry. I then proceeded to reach down and unbuttoned my left sleeve on my long-sleeve shirt. I then commenced to delicately remove the button from my shirt sleeve along with pulling all the straggling threads from the material. Mission accomplished… right? (At this point I am wondering if you realize what I just did because I am about too.)

Then like a ton of bricks it hits me, along with I might add, that old familiar sinking feeling. I had just removed a perfectly good functioning button off of my left shirt sleeve, not the spare button from the bottom of my shirt as was the whole of my intentions. Now fortunately I have at my disposal a handy-dandy sewing kit so I was able to procure a reasonably close matching thread along with a needle and reattach the button to the sleeve to its proper location. It should be readily noted of course that such was not my original intention.

As to the mystery of it all, I think it may always remain so. The only plausible explanation I can come up with at the moment is that I was abducted by aliens and they screwed around with my brain. I mean really, what else could possible explain a person intending to remove a spare button from the bottom of his shirt and instead removing an absolutely good and functioning button from his shirt sleeve. I just can’t come to terms with the fact that such could be caused by the infamous ‘senior moment’. I think you’ll agree in the end like me that it had to be caused by some sort of alien abduction!

By the way, I did eventually gather my wits and removed the ‘spare’ button and it now resides in the “Spare Button Box”!!

In Remembrance of Bob Simon…

Bob Simon - 01

I woke this morning to the tragic news of the loss of Bob Simon and was quite saddened as I’m sure many others were also. He was a wonderful journalist and correspondent and I always looked forward to his reports on “60 Minutes”. He will be sorely missed…

Still lovin’ those Beatle Boots after all these years….

I think that when it comes to conversations involving the subject of ‘shoes’ that it normally is a conversation participated in exclusively by women, for women and about women. We men just come up considerably short on matters of interest when it comes to shoes. From famous movie lines like the one in “The American President” where the President’s daughter advices her widowed dad to compliment his dates shoes to the infamous deceased President of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos, who was rumored to own more than 7500 pairs of shoes, although the exact tally was determined to only be about 1060 pairs. Women and their relationship with shoes is well documented.

Chelsea Standard Heeled Boots

The Chelsea – Standard Heel

I doubt my post here will do anything to shift that center but I must declare that I have a particular type of shoe that I love and have since the early 1960’s. Since that time I have never been without a pair or at least some fact simile. The shoe I refer to was initially known as the Chelsea. The shoe was designed and created by an English shoemaker, J. Sparks Hall, around 1851 who was Queen Victoria’s personal shoemaker. The shoe gained almost immediate popularity given the fact that Queen Victoria herself is said to have worn them almost on a daily basis.

Then in the early 1960’s Paul McCartney and John Lennon, two very familiar names I’m sure, saw a pair of the shoes in a local shop window and they adopted the style for the group. They also commissioned a London based shoe company, Anello & Davide, to modify the standard heel and replace it with a Cuban heel which is a high heel normally anywhere from 1½ – 3 inches high. And so it was that what we now know as the “Beatle Boot” was born. Almost immediately after their arrival on the music scene they had put long hair back in fashion along with high heels for men…

Chelsea aka Beatle Shoe

The “Beatle Boot” (The Chelsea with a Cuban Heel)

Other groups and musicians almost immediately started mimicking Beatle fashion by also adopting the beatle shoe as fashion wear. Here along with the Beatles are a few other well known faces I’m sure you’ll be familiar with also…

The Musicians & Their Beatle Boots - 1

Click Graphic For Larger View

The Incites - Okinawa, Japan - My Boots

Click to Enlarge

My initial introduction to the high-heeled boots came in late 1965 when I was invited to join my first ever rock and roll band, a small four-piece combo consisting of two guitar players, a drummer and myself, the keyboard player playing a small portable organ at the time. Although a little hard to make out, the accompanying band photo of me at my portable organ shows my first pair of “beatle boots”.

Would I have ever donned a pair of high-heel boots had I not had the musician persona to ride? No, I doubt very seriously if I would have. When you become a musician there seems to come with that a sense of freedom when it comes to fashion and social conformity.

But wait… let me not give all the credit for the notoriety surrounding my fabulous high heel boots solely to musicians. There was one other ‘celeb’ and dancer that took them yet a step or two higher in what is probably the most famous sequence of a film’s opening credits in the history of cinema. Actually the song accompanying the opening credits should be the boots own personal theme song. That’s all the hints I am giving….

How do you get in the mood to pull off an opening scene like that? Just put on a pair of those boots and you will find out. They are as transforming as Dorothy’s sparkling ruby slippers! As you can note right at the beginning of the video clip, Mr. Travolta stops briefly at the shoe store window to ensure his shoes are up to standards. Say what you may but this film intro is all about those shoes and how they embolden the male ego!

Andy Warhol (Negative) - Beatle Boot

Click Graphic For Larger View

And let’s not forget a most famous artist of our time who was primarily well known for his iconic art. And along with his Campbell soup cans, Marilyn Monroe and Brillo Pad art you just knew he would have to slip in a rendering of the Beatle Boot. The Andy Warhol print shown below was sold at a Christie’s auction for $722,500 in 2011.

I don’t know about everyone with regard to their relationships with those special pairs of shoes, but I can tell you the truth about these shoes, they were transforming. No matter how bad I felt or how down in the dumps I was, when I put those shoes on and my feet hit the pavement… I was literally transformed into a well-dressed and self-confident guy who felt they could own the world. That was one helluva pair of shoes! Dorothy’s sparkling little red slippers had nothing on my beatle boots! :)

Technically speaking I don’t suppose my current boots would qualify as being “beatle boots” but my love for the boot style surely comes from a passion passed on by the “beatle boot”. For me they are still “beatle boots” in every sense of the word because I know that is where my love for the boots I now own evolved. I still have 3-pairs of ankle-high boots styled after the Beatle Boot sitting on my closet floor. It’s been years since I have worn any of them and I’m guessing I never will again. At my age I would probably fall flat on my face. These days they may be referred to as gancho boots but no matter the name, no matter the color, they will always be “beatle boots” and will remain so until I die!

Beatle Boots Combo

Still love ‘em after all these years – Click Graphic For Larger View

Thank you Paul and John for the shoes. They changed who I was and they made life a little more enjoyable… :)

The Little Stone House That Could….

Natural Stone House Sample 2Can’t say why but I have always loved ‘natural stone’ houses similar to the one featured in the picture to the left. Just something about them that always catches my eye when I see one. I purchased my first and only little stone house back in the late 1970s and I hold very pleasant memories regarding the experience.

I was working in Missouri at the time during the construction of the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant and had rented a duplex pretty much out in the boonies. Actually it was located in New Bloomfield, Missouri which is probably some 15 miles or so north of Jefferson City in a very rural area. The population of New Bloomfield itself was probably around 450 people at the time.

Across the street from where I was renting was a one-acre tract of land with a very small little one-bedroom stone house located on it. It wasn’t much to look at and obviously quite small but nevertheless when it came up for sale I found myself very interested. The owner of the house just happened to be the owner of the duplex where I was renting. To make a long story short, given the love I harbored for stone houses I ended up purchasing the little house and the 1-acre of land it was sitting on for $10,000. Below are a few Polaroid snapshots of the place just prior to my purchasing the place. You can click on photos to enlarge….

Old House Duo - 01

Old House Duo - 02

Now granted, it wasn’t much to look at but I saw some potential there and let’s not forget, it was a natural stone house! The house certainly needed some work here and there but it was quite livable and functional from the git-go. Being a one bedroom it was going to be the smallest living space I had ever occupied but room was not a real issue with me being single. The duplex where I was living at the time was two-bedroom and I pretty much just used the second bedroom for storage and such anyway.

This was the first home I had ever owned so the freedom I felt to make changes and improve both the inside and outside of the house had me pumped up. The inside of the house was quite small of course so I was quite limited as to what could be done there. I did have the old grayish-white roofing removed and replaced with new brown shingles. The outside, being a one-acre plot on the other hand, was a different story and I have always enjoyed doing landscaping work.

And so it was that after deciding how I wanted to approach the landscaping of the property I was off and running. I would end up planting some ten small Scotch pine trees around the property; I would install a 2-rail pole fence around the entire property; I would redo the gravel driveway and enlarge my parking area; I would build numerous planters; I had a large concrete patio poured in the back of the house and had a network of decorative concrete blocks installed to finish off the changes; lastly I would tear down a large old outbuilding in the back of the property and replace it with a nice, large storage shed. Photos follow of the finished project and you can click on photos to enlarge….

New House Duo - 01a

New House Duo - 02a

I owned the home for about three years but eventually sold it as the job I was working in the area was coming to a close and I would be moving to a new location in the near future. It was a great life experience and I got much satisfaction from my endeavors. The house sold for a little over $20,000 when I sold it.