Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Outdoor Dog

Our dog has a body odor problem. No, seriously, she really stinks. It's purely a dog smell. I'm pretty sure it's not an unhealthy or bad teeth smell. I think that just like some humans, our dog has B.O. issues.

And it isn't the greatest experience that she is an inside dog.

As the weather cooled down, we (read "I") took Lily outside. She has a little house, a fenced in living area, food, water, and a huge bathroom. At first, the kids and Lily were very disappointed. The kids cried, and Lily paced outside the door. I might've cried, too, but it was because the loss of stench made me happy.

After a few days, though, we do think everyone is happier. Our house smells better, the dog isn't making that annoying sound of drying off her tongue (yeah, it's weird, she likes a dry tongue), and she seems to be having fun being outside. I enjoy watching her gorge on grass, then barf it all up. Very exciting, we have a bulemic dog.

She chases bugs, barks at stray dogs, and sunbathes to her hearts content...You can see that she is much less stressed, and she is much happier. Proving something I already believed....dogs were never meant to live inside...and when we treat animals like animals and not people, every creature is happier.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I'm always stunned at the wide variety of ways that people deal with conflict. I suppose I shouldn't be. People are different. There are lots of ways for people to be different. We speak different languages, live in different areas, have different cultures, have different families, and our genes even differ.

Here's my take on some different approaches to conflict that I've seen:
  • The Labrador - They just want to be friends, and as long as you feed and pet them, it'll be O.K. with them. Bad thing is...dogs smell.
  • The Turtle - They hide from conflict. Hoping that in time the conflict will go away, they hide, retreat, run away. Did you know that turtle soup is tasty...mmmmmm.
  • The Lion - They roar. They fight. They don't back down. Kings of the Jungle, they'll take on the world just to prove they're in charge. Interesting factoid: Lions don't live in jungles and the males don't hunt.
  • The Bulldog - To your face they get along....but leave the room, and they've jumped on the coach again. Don't trust a bulldog, yet, the irony is that they are amazingly loyal to their pack.
  • Frog - Oblivious to conflicts heating up, they get boiled in hot water. Contrary to rumors, frog meat is NOT good. It tastes like rubbery chicken dipped in fish oil.
  • Tazmanian Devil - They yell...lots...But, they're pretty harmless. Lots of bark and no bite.
  • The Homo Sapien - Conflict? [gun shot] What conflict? Homo Sapiens destroy everything in their path without regard to consequences.
  • The Human - Has the ability to speak. No really, humans can speak, talk through conflict, and find ways for everyone to have some gain. Again, speaking is the difference between humans and other homonids and animals.

One of my favorite parts of the book series Dune is when Paul Atreides is tested...to see if he's human...or just another animal.

Perhaps, it's a question we shouldn't take for granted...Most conflict is handled poorly.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Right...But, Oh So Wrong

President Obama finally came out and lent support to the legality of building a mosque in close proximity to Ground Zero. Correctly, he states that our Constitution does not allow us to discriminate against anyone based on religion. Barring the mosque's construction would be against the very fabric of American liberty and freedom.

However, what I cannot fathom is the Islamic community's insistence on the location of this mosque. Public outcry has certainly been vocal, yet respectful, in stating that building a mosque here is at best inappropriate...and at worst an outright insult to the victims of 9/11 and our nation.

I can only see two reasons why they would choose this sight, and both are terrible decisions. The first and less heinous is simply: This is the Muslim version of Selma; however, I don't think this will help the Muslim call for less discrimination in the USA. In fact, I believe that building a mosque on 9/11 grounds will only enflame an already contentious relationship between the Muslim community and the American populace.

Within Islam there is a concept called "Dar al-Islam," which means "The House of Islam." Anyone or any group that submits to the Islamic beliefs is within Dar al-Islam. If you are not a Muslim, you belong to a different group, "Dar al-Harb," which means "The House of War." Some (but definitely not all!!!) take this literally and believe that Islam is at war with a non-Muslim world. I pray that the mosque is not a flag planting, a sign of conquest. I don't believe this is the reason, but I also have witnessed some very disturbing manipulation by religious figures in other similar situations. Unfortunately, religion can bring out not only the best in us, but the worst as well. Muslim, Christian, atheist, etc., all religious views have done terrible things in the name of their gods. My prayer is that this mosque does not become a symbol of Islamic Terrorist "power."

In the end, I think that the Muslims desiring this mosque need to reconsider this site. If I could say one thing to them it would be: Have the decency and the compassion (and the common sense!?!) to choose a different location! In the long run you'll make more friends by saying, "You know, we don't want to make a situation worse, how can we work with the NYC community and the nation as a whole to help heal this wound?"

This is a classic example of how being "Right" can be so amazingly wrong.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Remember the Days...

Remember the days of Duck Hunt, Contra, even Donkey Kong?

They've been brought together in some stunning videos...

Mortal Combat with Donkey Kong

Contra Meets Duck Hunt

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Proving Once Again Purdue Is An "Almost" Away From Greatness

Long time Indiana native and Purdue fan, Brandon Dawson, who spoke highly of Purdue, committed to MSU yesterday.

A five star recruit that EVERYBODY wanted had Purdue and MSU on his shortlist. Most people believed that Purdue was a lock...Here's to assuming...

The Fumbles - Purdue @ ND 98'
The Missed FG's - Purdue vs. Georgia 98' (any one of 4 FG's would've won the game).
The Missed FG - Purdue@ OSU 93'
THE Fumble - Purdue vs. Wiscy 94'
The Tear - Purdue (BB) 10'

A long history of tragedy for Purdue sports...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's All In How You Say It...

Stephanie and I were talking at lunch today. In the middle of a story, I stumbled over the correct way to grammatically state something, and I had to stop and say it both ways until I figured out that I said it correctly the first time.

Trying to be funny I restated my communication, but lost the whole discussion:

I won't repeat exactly what I said because, well...It didn't sound good at all...even though I was saying the same thing a different way.

The point is this: There are right ways to say things and wrong ways. This is determined by several factors. Your clarity of verbal communication. Your clarity of nonverbal communication. And MOST importantly, the listener's understanding of your communication.

We can't communicate well until we understand how people understand what we are saying. Semantic range within culture and locale is very important. For example, here in the USA, asking for a napkin at the dinner table is normal. In London, this would be quite unexpected and rude. Same word, different meanings.

Funny thing is that this happens all the time, and IMHO is the reason behind most miscommunications.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I'm Hungry

I'm hungry. No, REALLY hungry. I've begun eating breakfast every morning, and now if I don't get it, which I didn't this morning, I'm starving.

Of course, when I read a blog post like this, it's all put into perspective.

I don't know hungry. I don't know thirsty. I don't know not having.

So when you hear me complaining, you can say, "Mark, you just don't know." (to which I'll probably reply, "You don't either, you jerk!", but that's a different Markan spiritual issue we'll deal with later).

God, may the only hunger and thirst your children ever have is for you.

PS - Thanks, Kara, for the blog post. I needed it today. You're the best!