Moving Day….

Moving Icon - 01

In the continuing pursuit of a more compatible way of communicating and publishing that seems to suit me personally, this blog is being replaced by something which may more resemble a journal than a blog. The new journal will certainly continue to look quite similar cosmetically speaking but the specific content along with visitor interaction with that content will be the main difference. A much more accurate representation of the new website would probably be a journal/blog combo.

What that means to those who choose to visit my new location is that you will find in the future that some posts, which I consider to simply be journal entries, will not make the option of commenting available while those posts I consider to be blogging material will continue as usual.

There are times when I think we all like to just say or share something and then just let it fall and lay as we intended it. Be it either our thoughts or our presentations, we offer it as a reflection of who we are and it needs neither to be critiqued, criticized nor justified. That is in fact the nature of a journal.

Thanks for each and everyone’s visits, comments and participation over the almost year and a half of this blog’s life. Hope to see you at my next stop, link to follow…. :)

Writing To Myself

Movie Review – “Philomena” (2013)

4-Star Post Master

Philomena - 2013 - 01

The review I find myself offering up today is on a film which I have already watched twice over the past couple of months and there is little doubt that I won’t watch another one or two more times in the future. Enjoyable and entertaining from the get-go, the film “Philomena” was well worth the hype it was getting prior to the 2014 Academy Awards of a year ago. Unfortunately it did not garnish any awards for its four nominations to include Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Original Score and Best Adapted Screenplay. But as we all know, winning awards or not winning awards is not necessarily an indicator on the entertainment value of any film when it comes to our personal likes and dislikes.

The subject film is based on the book by journalist Martin Sixsmith titled “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee”, the true story of a mother’s fifty year long search for a son who was forcibly taken from her at age fourteen and adopted out to another couple. Martin Sixsmith, who was portrayed by Steve Coogan in the film, was the journalist who accompanied and assisted Philomena in the long search for her son.

I have to say that it took me a while to convince myself to even watch the film. I just wasn’t sure a drama based solely on the search for an adopted child could hold my interest for any real length of time. Well I sure got that wrong! Certainly a bittersweet movie but none the less, I found it extremely entertaining from beginning to end and of course the acting was superb. There is hardly a time in any film that Judi Dench doesn’t deliver.

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…