Category Archives: Life

The Hair Menagerie

“She lives in a world of her own – a world of – little glass ornaments…”
― Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

A somewhat belated Happy Easter or a more timely Happy Monday!  My funny bunny, Nightwing, sends his love.

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I’m a little behind on royal news due to technical difficulties.  But Apple has reunited me with my resurrected laptop, so time for a little catch-up.

To no one’s surprise, Prince William wound up jetting off to attend the wedding of rumored first love Jecca Craig in Kenya, leaving a fairly impressive amount of pissed off people in his cloud of cartoon smoke.  At least one of William’s co-worker spouses was displeased her husband had to spend yet another holiday away from his family when William got to take both Easter and all of December off.  Many taxpayers were peeved about having to pick up the pricy tab for Prince William’s security detail and private secretary for another international jolly.  And it’s assumed Kate isn’t too happy either that Wills missed out on their daughter’s first Easter to attend the wedding of his ex, although having watched Kate being interviewed for the Queen at 90 documentary, I suspect it’s possible Kate is being kept so heavily sedated, someone probably just stuffed a pillow into that blue sweater William always wears and Kate thinks she and her hubby just had the best Easter ever together.

The bulk of Kate’s contribution to the documentary on the Queen had already been released and discussed by the press: George calls Her Majesty Gan-Gan, the Queen leaves little gifts for her great-grandchildren in their room when they visit and Kate made the Queen chutney for her first royal Christmas.  Not terribly riveting stuff, this is more the sort of information that might be exchanged during small talk at an official engagement, if Kate actually bothered with small talk or engagements.  The Shetland pony featured in the documentary probably offered more insight on Her Majesty than the future Queen Consort did.  The documentary can be viewed in its entirety here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD7dAsNxmrQ

While the Countess of Wessex and the Duchess of Cornwall provided glimpses into the Queen as a woman, most of what Kate had to offer was more on Kate.  In one clip, Kate noted:

“I think she’s so… so engaging.
And I think she’s got the most fantastic smile.
I think even if the Queen says nothing at all but just smiles, she gives people an enormous amount of pleasure.”

Notice a pattern?  I, I, I.  There was an abundance of Is all throughout Kate’s segments.  “I was worried…”, “I thought back…”, “I noticed…”, “I think…”.  I, I, I.

Contrary to popular belief, over-usage of the pronoun I in speech isn’t a mark of narcissism, it’s one of insecurity.  In the documentary, Our Fair Waity sounded like Eliza Doolittle raided Paula Abdul’s medicine cabinet and then tried to leave a trail of pronoun breadcrumbs to help her find her way back to her own thought process.  Kate’s affected posh accent somehow managed to get even plummier and she appeared to be somewhat disoriented trying to maintain its consistency, with words lost in her own nervous laugh or in a rush to make sentences be over.

In one segment, Kate noted, “There’s a real art to walkabouts, everybody teases me in the family that I spend far too long chatting.”  Yeah, I don’t think the walkabouts which Kate rarely does are the problem.  Supposedly, the Royal Family finds Kate’s affected accent to be frustrating because she has to think about how each word should sound and it can take her a while to stammer through a complete thought.  They’re known not be fans of people putting on airs so a middle class girl constantly being a conversational speed bump in an attempt to sound like the poshest one of all naturally wouldn’t go over well.

In two clips, Kate made reference to the Queen taking care of her in a maternal nurturing way, by making sure she was okay at the Leicester engagement when she was without William and by putting out the chutney Kate made her for Christmas which Kate felt, “shows her thoughtfulness, really, and her care in looking after everybody.”

Why does a woman in her thirties and a future Queen Consort need the Queen to look after her as if she’s a child?  If someone as busy as a Head of State needs to stop what she’s doing like the Queen did at Leicester and ask if you’re okay, in all likelihood you are very far from okay.  Maybe the reason Kate usually doesn’t take her coat off at official engagements is because Kate’s Mum has to pin a note inside of them reading, “If found, please return to Carole Middleton’s umbilical cord.”

If there was any doubt before, Queen at 90 solidifies my suspicion that Kate is a walking Tennessee Williams play.  Kate ticks a lot of the same boxes as Laura, the mentally fragile daughter from the Glass Menagerie.  Both need to be taken care of, live in seclusion, become nervous speaking, drop out of commitments, have social circles limited to siblings, have mothers overly intent on making strong matrimonial matches for their daughters, and judging by Kate’s bad tailoring, it’s likely she puts her elongated torso on the same exaggerated level of physical deformity as Laura views her limp.  Substitute glass animal figurines with a wiglet collection and you’ve got a play… just not a woman suited to a role she aggressively pursued for over a decade.  The most striking difference is that Laura is a far more sympathetic character than Kate, Laura was trapped by circumstance whereas Kate built hers brick by boring brick.

The Daily Mail ran an article over the weekend indicating that it’s likely Kate and William will be ditching Anmer life and returning to London so Prince George can attend Wetherby next year.  Maybe the suggestion that the Cambridges will be returning to both London and duty is merely a PR ploy so the masses will think their seemingly endless gap year will be drawing to a close soon, but if they are moving back to London, how exactly is that going to work?  They can’t keep their criticism-provoking actions from the public’s awareness with Anmer Hall’s seclusion acting as a cloaking device and London affords far fewer places to hide the more unflattering aspects of a fairytale that’s looking increasingly Grimm.

redheart

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Jonas Hits NYC

Boyband blizzard Jonas came a little earlier than announced to NYC, dropping the first of its frozen fluttery notes around 10pm on Friday.

By 12:30am on Saturday, the city had been properly Disney-dusted with white powder.
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The snow came gently at first, by 3am, there had been little action.
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But then suddenly the purity rings came off and the Jonas Blizzard got down and dirty in the city that never sleeps.
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By 5am, the Jonas blizzard was Weather Gone Wild.
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At 8:30am on Saturday, the hanging lanterns and battery-operated candles in my backyard were wearing Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey Mouse snow hats. Nightwing did his whole pointer thing just in case I happened to miss the flurry of snowflakes coming from the sky.

With his Labrador duties fulfilled, Nightwing then hopped through the snow like an ADD bunny.

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio issued a travel ban in New York City, ordering all non-emergency vehicles off the street as of 2:30pm on Saturday. Broadway went dark, buses and all subway lines that run above ground were suspended and restaurants were told no deliveries which of course many restaurants ignored because this is NYC and even in a Sharknado, you could get pretty much any kind of take-out you want delivered to your door. Naming the blizzard Jonas probably didn’t help with branding this blizzard as a winter-spewing behemoth, the Disney boyband name makes it sound like the kind of weather condition you could bring home to meet your parents. They should have named it something far more sinister and destructive-sounding like Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Venom or Lindsay Lohan.

By 8:00pm on Saturday my outdoor furniture looked like ghost versions of itself.
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The city itself was a ghost town on Saturday night, save for the random food delivery guy trying to navigate the semi-salted sidewalks on bicycles and the occasional group of intoxicated pedestrians, some of whom decorated the sides of snow-covered cars with pictures of penises and breasts.

The snow had ceased by midnight, the total at Central Park coming in at 26.8″, one tenth of an inch below the record set in February 2006. So sadly, Jonas was only the second biggest snowstorm in NYC’s history. It might not have beat last decade’s blizzard, but maybe Jonas will get nominated for a Best New Blizzard Award or something.

While designated responsible adults dealt with Jonas clean-up, Sunday was funday for most New Yorkers. I managed to capture the elusive Nightwing bark on video. I think this is the sixth time I’ve heard his singular bark since adopting him over a year ago, this one alerting me to the fun to be had.

Clean-up efforts continue in NYC, snow that melted yesterday afternoon froze again overnight has caused issues with the trains and created hazardous patches of ice on roads and sidewalks. Queens once again was the neglected borough while elsewhere giant snow walls created by snow plows can make trying to cross the street feel like you need a sherpa.

Hopefully all of you who were in Jonas’ path made it through the storm okay and managed to have some frolicking fun.
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Only 55  days until spring.

redheart

 

Happy New Year!

Greetings!  My apologies for my absence, I’ve been sick and spent the  holidays with my parents whose WiFi was knocked out by some kind of wiring piggy-backing turf war between the phone and cable companies.

Unfortunately I didn’t get around to commenting on a tiara moment even more cringe-worthy than the 2015 Miss Universe winner mix-up, Kate Middleton in the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara given to Princess Diana as a wedding gift in a dress eerily similar to one worn by her deceased mother-in-law with the tiara.  The referencing has sailed past Single White Female and into Hitchockian territory to the point I wouldn’t  blame any guests of Anmer Hall  if they declined  to shower during their stay.  I can only assume Kate’s New Year’s Resolution involves blue eyeliner, shoulder pads and going blonde.

Instead I dumped the contents of my laundry bag into a suitcase and headed to the airport with my canine companion to spend the holidays with my parents.  In my 401 days of Nightwing, we’ve flown twice together.  Nightwing is too big to be able to curl up comfortably at my feet, plus he finds everyone and everything  the most amazing incredible interesting thing ever so I buy the seat next to me so as to not bother a fellow passenger with 67 pounds of a canine attention whore.  Nightwing loves the moveable feast of attention he gets at airports, especially from members of the armed forces traveling home for the holidays who will get down on the ground with him for proper kisses and cuddles.

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When I arrived at my parents’ home, my body lost its virus war and I wound up sleeping through my birthday which I’m pretty sure means I get to deduct one year from my real age and two years from my pretend age.  It’s a tradition in my family to have a real and fake age, at my great-grandmother’s 100th birthday party, she pulled me aside and coyly said, “I have no idea why they’re having this party for me, I’m only 90.”

While the Cambridges did their Christmas church walk with Prince Harry this year, my family celebrated a more low-key Christmas.  None of us had the energy to deck halls.  Nightwing also kept it low-key,  no Christmas Eve attempt to eat Christmas like he did last year when he was a puppy, now referred to as The Great Stocking Massacre.

Last night Nightwing and I embarked on the journey home to NYC, made even longer as the ripple effect of delays continued to impact flights around the country.

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Because of an airline mix-up, we wound  up seated  at the back of a small shuttle plane and Nightwing felt it necessary to greet each and every seated  passenger personally.  I apologized profusely and explained my dog  thinks he’s the mayor of the plane, fortunately the passengers found Nightwing’s affection-seeking antics amusing and indulged the plane’s self-appointed canine mayor as he made his way to his seat.

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I ran into the pilot outside and we joked about Flight Mayor Nightwing.  I told him I was surprised Nightwing didn’t scratch on the cockpit door to see if he could fly the plane.  The pilot laughed and said he would have let him.  Perhaps in 2016, the canine community will have another flying ace.

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Nightwing was quite exhausted from our journey and his newly acquired flight politician status.

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As 2015 takes its final breaths and the calendar resets with a new year filled with wonderful possibilities,  to quote Dolly Parton, “I hope that you have all  that you ever dreamed of.  Oh, I do wish you joy.  And I wish you happiness.  But above all this I wish you love.”

redheart

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Lola Loves…

Since so much of what I dish out is criticism seasoned with snark, I thought I’d add a new element to the blog, a weekly Wednesday post featuring things I actually like, such as products, movies, charities, people, basically anything or anyone striking my fancy that week.  I don’t advertise on my site or do paid endorsements, this will be all genuine unsolicited admiration.  The first Lola Loves features the new television show, Impastor.

Impastor

Impastor

This somewhat dark and sarcastic comedy is a TV Land original scripted series which airs on Wednesday nights 10:30/9:30C about a small-time con artist named Buddy who goes on the run from loan sharks and winds up assuming the identity of a gay pastor of a quirky little town.  The writing is edgy and the talented Michael Rosenbaum (best known as Lex Luthor on Smallville) delivers as the likeable pot-smoking scoundrel Buddy Hobbs who slowly begins to be transformed by the congregation he sets out to con.  The incredible cast includes the incomparable Sara Rue as Buddy’s assistant, David Rasche as the suspicious church president and Mircea Monroe as the church treasurer intent on seducing Buddy.

The series is only two episodes in with the third airing tonight, but thus far this kitten is smitten.

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And every now and then, I’d thought I’d throw in something my canine companion, Nightwing, loves as well as part of Love Loves… This week Nightwing is enamored with PureBites treats.

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PureBites Natural Freeze Dried Dog Treats – Chicken Breast

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Despite starting off his life as a stray and eating whatever he could find like discarded ketchup packets, my rescue pup has become very picky about food and treats.  He won’t eat biscuits and Wellness Wellbites soft treats upset his tummy.  One of his favorite things is chicken and when I stumbled across a bag of PureBites Freeze Dried Chicken, I decided to give it a go.

Normally he’s a very happy energetic goofball but when I open the PureBites pouch, he sits perfectly still and becomes dead serious about his patient amenability to the treat exchange.  The treats are 100% chicken meat and it’s far more convenient than getting him a chicken and cutting it up which quite frankly grosses me because for the most part I’m a vegetarian and a little squeamish about handling animal flesh.  I’m okay with the freeze-dried chicken, though, I can pretend they’re generic food nuggets for astronaut dogs.  Nightwing is over the moon.

redheart

 

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Self-defense

While normally this blog is dedicated to royalty, celebrities, beauty and assorted frivolities, I wanted to address a topic I feel very strongly about, the importance of educating women about self-defense.

At the age of sixteen, I had to fight off a sexual assault.  I was in Paris at The Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie with some French friends, I wandered off from my group and was in an area that was empty at the time, I’m not exactly sure where in the museum I was.  Two men in their twenties came up to me, closing in on me, one from the front, one from behind and they started grabbing my breasts, my ass, in between my legs.  I screamed “Stop!” and “No!” and one of the men slid his hand inside my panties, telling me I was beautiful.  I screamed “Help!”, stomped on the foot of the man who had one of my arms pinned, his other hand on my breast and started kicking the other man as I struggled to get my arms free, still screaming in hopes my friends would hear me.  One of the men covered my mouth and told me to be quiet, whispering, “You know you want it,” as the other man slid his leg between my legs and told me, “You are so beautiful.  I am going to make you feel so good.  I am going to fuck you so good, like you’ve never been before.”  I bit the hand over my mouth and used my freed arm to punch him in the groin, I didn’t hit him with as much force as I wanted.  The other man tried to restrain me, saying, “Shhhhh… why are you fighting?  I’m going to make you feel so good.  You want it.”  They tried to drag me into the nearby corridor with some doors, I don’t know if they led to offices or bathrooms or a back alley but I knew I couldn’t let them pull me back there.  They kept calling me “Baby” and tried to quiet me, I fought them with every last ounce of strength, using any part of my body that wasn’t being restrained by the two men, punching, kicking, elbowing, stomping, screaming as loudly as I could.  My friends ran into the room, my friend Sebastian charged at one of the men and threw him into the wall and grabbed the other man by his shirt while another friend put her arms around me and tried to comfort me.  Nothing ever happened to the men who attacked me because I wasn’t physically injured beyond red marks that would become bruises and some torn clothing and wounds that couldn’t be seen.  The sexual assault and attempted rape of a sixteen year old girl apparently wasn’t worth the paperwork.

That wasn’t the only time in my life I’ve had to fight off a sexual assault.  I credit my brother’s friends teaching me how to fight at a young age for my knowing how to defend myself.  One of my brother’s friends was smaller than other boys and he taught me that it doesn’t matter if you are outsized or outnumbered, assess your surroundings, look for anything around that can be used as a weapon and exploit your opponent’s vulnerabilities.

In the US, a woman is raped once every two minutes.  44% of those women are under the age of 18.  38% know their attacker, he is typically a friend or acquaintance.  Fighting off an attacker doesn’t have to be graceful, it just has to be effective, it’s not a boxing match, it’s a street fight and your objective is to get away.

Rape in most cases isn’t about sex, it’s about power.  No man will attack a woman he doesn’t think he can overpower. A sexual assault should be fought the same way you would fight off an attack by a black bear, you make so much noise, both by screaming and striking, your attacker questions if you are worth the effort.

Most girls were never taught how to throw a closed fisted punch growing up which is good because they don’t have to unlearn how to hit.  A traditional fist is a physically vulnerable surface to strike with, if you hit a hard surface, like the top of someone’s head, you can do significant damage to your own hand, possibly breaking one of its 27 bones.

The strongest part of your hand is the heel, a palm strike when executed properly can do a whole lot more damage than a closed fist.  The palm strike with an upward thrust is an effective way of breaking an assailant’s nose which will cause his eyes involuntarily to tear, thus incapacitating his vision.

Another less vulnerable hand strike is called the knife hand strike, known also as a karate chop, it’s best used when striking areas like the jugular, neck, and throat and can also be used to block strikes.

Don’t think of just using your hands when defending yourself, you need to think of your entire body as a weapon.  An elbow underneath the chin will cause an attacker’s head to go back and will momentarily disorient him, a knee to the groin is extremely painful for a man, you can also use your legs to kick out the back of his knees.  In an attack, you are looking to incapacitate your assailant long enough for you to get away.

You also might have something on you that can be used as a weapon, if I’m walking alone at night, I keep a key between my index and middle finger, just one because I’m not trying to look like Wolverine, a key will only be effective as a weapon if it’s stable, so if someone attacks me, I can jam it in their eye or voicebox.

An understanding of basic  human anatomy will help you protect yourself in the event of an attack.  Self-defense classes are so vital, I am not a self-defense expert and have only provided some examples in hopes of inspiring women to be properly trained in self-defense by a professional.

While I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, something happened to me tonight that reminded me how important it is to encourage other women to learn how to protect themselves, I saw my stalker, the one for the last few years I thought I was finally rid of.

I don’t know what happened inside this man’s head to make him fixate on me, he was a stranger to me who suddenly started appearing outside of my apartment building, outside of my work, I would see him when I ran errands around the city, when I went out to lunch, he would follow me to the ATM, he joined my gym, when I went out at night with friends, he would be leaning against my building when I got home.  He never spoke a single word to me, he stared as if his eyes were a video camera capturing my every move, every expression, every moment.  I went to the police but they said they couldn’t help me, not until he attacked me, preferably with witnesses.   He hadn’t broken the law yet.  I told them he followed me everywhere, I could film him, take pictures as evidence, the police advised against it because then he could file a complaint against me for harassment.  I varied my schedule, had friends walk me inside my apartment at night, I carried pepper spray and then one day it stopped.  I didn’t see him for days, then weeks, then months.

Stalkers don’t usually just go away like that.  I assumed he had moved to another city or maybe he was thrown in jail.  But tonight on my way back from the drugstore, I saw him outside my building, his hair was shorter and darker, it looked dyed, he was wearing different glasses with plastic frames instead of wire-rimmed, but it was him.  He started walking in my direction as if on a stroll, I met his gaze so he would know I wasn’t afraid of him and he smirked at me as if to say he was there and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.

And truthfully, for the most part he’s right because in our society women who are stalked are told by the police they can’t help, we have to wait until men hurt us so we can then be assisted.  Seriously, that’s the best option our system has come up with?  Wait until we become victims?  No!  We have to learn to protect ourselves and fight for a society where women aren’t sexually assaulted, physically attacked, harassed, stalked, targeted because we are women.  We are someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s friend, someone’s first love and we need to make the world safer for all of us.

redheart

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Nightwing Turns One

With most rescue dogs, birthdays can only be narrowed down to the best educated guess.  My canine companion Nightwing began his life as a stray so there is no record of when he entered this world.  He was most likely born during the month of May  so I selected May 15th to be the day I will celebrate his wonderful existence a little more than I celebrate it all the other days.

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Nightwing’s first birthday began like every other day, with lots kisses and cuddles.  He’s always so excited when I wake up, he dances around with a waggy tail wiggle butt.  I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m famous but I don’t have the heart to tell him that I’m not a big deal.  I find the way Nightwing perceives me to be quite amusing, every time I use the television remote he looks at me with wonderment, as if in the presence of a powerful sorceress.  He also gets excited when he sees me putting on make-up.  I hope it’s because he associates it with my taking him outside and not because he thinks I look hideous without it.

In celebration of his first birthday, Nightwing feasted on chicken prepared specially for him and drank the finest vintage of Poland Spring water.  Later he made new friends at the dog park.

It was Nightwing’s first time in the dog park since it’s been difficult for me to get him there and I’ve also been a little apprehensive because of stories of overly aggressive dogs there.  A few days ago, a golden retriever was attacked by another dog at that dog run, now the poor pup is walking around with drains sticking out of his shaved ears like antennae and I’m pretty sure he’s trying to blink “Help Me” in morse code because of the giant plastic cone on his head.  Since Nightwing can misinterpret snarling from a dog as an invitation to give kisses, I was a little concerned he would try to be precious with the wrong pooch.  Fortunately it was a good group.  There was a little clashing of titans when one dog tried to establish himself as the alpha male but Nightwing handled himself well.

For his birthday, I got Nightwing a new stuffed chipmunk to replace the replacement.  I’m uncertain as to the allure of the chipmunk, but it’s his very favorite toy, it’s been loved to tatters twice now.  Despite a fondness for tearing up paper products to make floor confetti, Nightwing was apprehensive about opening up his gift in front of me.

Once he saw what was inside, Nightwing snatched away Chipmunk 3.0 for some quality squeaking.

Nightwing finished his birthday just like all other days, cuddled up next to his human.

redheart

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Canine Companion Update

With little royal news to discuss other than master illusionist Prince William managing to pull a brand new helicopter out of his ass, I thought I’d share a little update on my sidekick, Nightwing, whose superpower is an ability to bring happiness to humans with supercanine cuteness.

Nightwing has grown quite a bit since I adopted him at the end of November.

Nightwing on March 20, 2015

Nightwing on March 20, 2015

The shelter guessed that he was approximately seven months at the time, but I suspect he was a bit younger which would put his birthday somewhere during the month of May.

Nightwing experienced snow for the very first time on January 6th.  At first he licked it with curiosity and decided it was both delicious and fun to frolic in.

This winter brought a lot of snow to NYC for my canine snow bunny, even the first day of spring on Friday was heralded in by a few inches of celebratory frosty flakes.

Nightwing remains a giant ball of love.  While he has had a few moments of puppy destruction, Nightwing is very well-behaved and eager to please.  He’s such a sweet boy, a couple of weeks ago when I was battling a stomach flu, he gave me his very favorite toy, a stuffed chipmunk.  I guess he figured it brought him so much happiness, it would be able to make me feel better, too.  My supercanine sidekick takes good care of me, always at the ready to administer kisses and cuddles as needed.

redheart

 

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Puppy Love

On Monday night, I adopted a black lab mix from Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn.  The shelter named him Nightwing which I kept because you just can’t change a superhero name.  Plus I didn’t want to cause confusion in case there’s a canine version of the League of Justice.  At some point I feel I must bedazzle him a cape.

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Even though black labs can have white markings (they are considered “flaws” in the coat), Nightwing is most likely a mix which is cool, he’s like a box of Cracker Jacks with a secret toy surprise.  Whatever he is doesn’t matter to me, I’ve never been impressed with bloodlines and pedigrees.

Nightwing’s absolute favorite thing in the world is to cuddle and give kisses.  I’m still teaching him that not everyone in the world wants puppy love, like the 6’5″ 300lb man who screamed like a little girl at the drug store tonight when Nightwing tried to nuzzle the bottom of his coat.  But for the most part, people fall under his tail-wagging spell, those who stop to pet him thank me for making their day.  He’s just a giant ball of love.

Because he was a stray, his exact age is not known, but Nightwing is most likely just shy of eight months old and has still got lots of puppy energy.

But he’s a very good boy and despite never having had a home and a human of his own before, picks up commands quickly.  He still walks like a drunken sailor but is improving.

I knew I wanted to adopt instead of purchasing from a breeder or pet store which are partly responsible for the over-population of dogs in the world.  Each day, approximately 10,000 dogs are euthanized in the United States alone.  Only one in ten dogs born in this world ever gets to know a home.  For black dogs, euthanasia statistics are significantly higher because they aren’t spotted as easily in the shadows of kennel lighting, they don’t photograph as well as their lighter-hued canine counterparts and because of a subconscious association with the spectral hounds of British folklore perpetuated by authors such as Sir Walter Scott and Arthur Conan Doyle.

Nightwing is no hellhound, I still don’t even know what his growl or bark sounds like.  He’s just a happy-go-lucky pup who just wants to love everyone and everything he sees.

For years I have supported local animal rescue shelters and so often I’ve heard adopters say, ‘I didn’t rescue my dog, my dog rescued me.’  Dogs enrich our lives in so many way, they are unconditionally loving beings who are like furry little Jedi Grand Masters with much to teach us about the ways of the Force.  They exist solely in the present, wanting nothing more than affection and to have their basic needs met.  David Duchovny once admitted:

Each morning I drive to work with my dog, Blue. When we get to within a half-mile of the set, she starts jumping up and down and getting all excited. I start getting depressed. I’m trying to learn from her.

For those willing and able to undertake the responsibility of having a pet, I urge you to adopt from a shelter.  There are so many animals out there just waiting to be the love of someone’s life.

redheart

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Taylor Swift Ticks Off NYC

When I discovered Taylor Swift was the Most Charitable Celebrity of 2012 and 2013 AND named her cat Olivia Benson, I had to rethink my attitude about her being the most annoying human being on the planet.  Her altruism and self-proclaimed cat lady status moved me, so I decided to channel all former negativity I felt towards her into a dislike of jeggings.  But now that Swift has announced that she’s officially serving as New York City’s Global Welcome Ambassador, it’s seriously putting a dent in my reformed Taylor Swift attitude.

Back in March, Swift moved into her new $20 million Tribeca loft and declared herself to be in a New York state of mind at the moment, deciding she’d split her time among her various homes, the mansions in LA and Nashville and the one in Rhode Island she uses for her Fourth of July parties.

Just a few weeks before settling in to the pad she bought from Peter Jackson on Franklin Street, Swift declared Nashville would always remain her home, telling Time Magazine:

I love L.A. and New York and I spend a lot of time there promoting albums and doing photo shoots… Choosing to have my management company based in Nashville just made sense because my family is there as well as my record label. I never think about moving home bases. It’s hard to describe why you consider a town your home base, except that when people ask me “Where’s home?”, I don’t even think before I say “Nashville.”

Interesting.  So Taylor Swift considers NYC a place to sell albums and have her picture taken and yet she takes a paid gig as the official spokesperson for NYC, recording videos for nycgo.com professing herself an expert on the city she sporadically lives in and sometimes sees from the back of her chauffeured SUV?  For the record, real New Yorkers are way too broke from paying rent to have a mansion dedicated solely to our Fourth of July parties.  I have a star-shaped bowl that’s dedicated to my Fourth of July parties.  Okay, it’s my Fourth of July, New Year’s, Oscar’s bowl and sometimes I eat cereal out of it when I haven’t done my dishes in a while.  Real New Yorkers don’t have time for dishes, so suck on that Swift.

Calling yourself a New Yorker is a badge of honor, it’s earned, not bestowed on you for PR purposes, clearly Taylor Swift has never interacted with a real New Yorker if she thinks this is something we’re going to politely shrug off.  After the announcement was made, NYC Go’s Facebook page was flooded with with protest and residents started Tweeting their disdain.  As a city, we’re pretty peeved, even Canadians, our perpetually polite neighbors to the north, are chiming in with derision.

Being a New Yorker isn’t about buying couture in different neighborhoods, it’s what we’re willing to do to protect our over-priced designer goods once we get them.  I once had a rat the size of a Cocker Spaniel try to mug me on a subway platform and I stared down that mother f***ing rodent until it slinked away because I happened to like that bag.  Being a New Yorker is sitting in Yankee Stadium in April when the weather is still cold and drinking a watered-down beer and a hot dog made of some kind of meat-like substance.  It’s about going to some tiny Off Off Off Off Broadway theatre that smells like moldy upholstery and deflated hope because one of your friends has two lines in a play loosely based on nothing.  It’s constantly running into people you know in a city of 8.4 million, getting food poisoning from the falafel you bought at 3am from a sidewalk vendor, knowing with almost absolute certainty that your death will be caused by a faulty hatch door on a sidewalk, getting creeped out by A-Rod relentlessly hitting on you, having an anxiety attack every time you fight your way through Time Square, and feeling a sense of pride every time you spot Elegant Elliot jog down Second Avenue in a negligee.  It’s yelling at the same strangers you would rush to help without hesitation if they needed it, wearing black as a sign of mourning for that extra closet space you’ll never know, and going to a friend’s apartment in the middle of the night to kill a water bug that’s so huge, even her pet beast is afraid of it.  Most importantly, being a New Yorker is about loyalty to the city you love.  We don’t cheat on our city with other cities, and we certainly don’t call one city our home the same month we proclaim our adoration for another.

So Taylor Swift, you might have an enviable real estate portfolio, but you will never have the heart of a New Yorker.

redheart

 

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Faith and the Experienced Inexplicable

There’s a story in the news this week about a Polish priest, Father Marian Rajchel, who says that a demon he attempted to exorcise has been texting him using the phone of the girl whose body he checked into.

Huffington Post posted the story in Weird News, offering their take on some other texts Satan might have sent before criticizing Satan’s Facebook page.  The comments, not surprisingly, treated the subject with the same irreverence.

The fact that I haven’t been blasted from this planet I feel is proof that God has a tremendous sense of humor.  But as I scanned the comment sections of other online articles, I felt that commenters were too quick to ridicule the story and dismiss Catholicism as a fairytale religion through comparisons of demons to medieval dragons.  Only a couple of commenters in the several articles I pulled up dared to offer the suggestion to open our minds to the possibilities of things we can’t explain.

In an era where people electronically check in when we go out, meals are photographed and posted before consumption, intimate glimpses of our personal lives are shared on social media, we are remarkably tight-lipped when it comes to our faith, religion is becoming a taboo subject.  When the topic does come up, it does so either in the punch lines of skeptics or in the form of fake blood spattered on the side of the New York Israeli Discount Bank by protestors supporting Hamas in Gaza or Westboro Baptist Church member picketers holding up “God Hates _______” signs, all forms of shouting over conversations most of us aren’t having.

According to a November 2013 Harris poll, 74% of all Americans believe in God while 72% believe in miracles, down from 82% who believed in God and 79% who believed in miracles in 2005.  I pulled up various polls and noticed that statistically, belief in miracles tends to stick within a couple of percentage points of belief in God, over time falling in tandem, suggesting a link between the experienced inexplicable and faith.  If the two are indeed tied, then perhaps the reason for the decline in the polls over the years is that as a society, we have simply forgotten how to include asking for miracles as part of the conversation of our humanity.

I have experienced several miracles in my life, some of which have been discussed in previous posts, but the one that came to mind when I sat down to write this post was my cocker spaniel, Dusty.  When I was fourteen, Dusty became sick.  His health deteriorated rapidly, he became unable to walk and could only drag himself a few feet by his front legs.  The vet explained hip problems were common to the breed especially at Dusty’s advanced age, it was doubtful he would ever be able to walk again and suggested the most humane thing would be to euthanize him to end his suffering.  My Mom asked me what I wanted to do and I said no so we took Dusty home with us. I was grief-stricken, Dusty was a member of the family, we grew up together, I couldn’t end his life but the vet’s words haunted me with the burden of Dusty’s suffering.  So I prayed for God to make Dusty better.  A couple of hours after we got home, my Mom called for me from upstairs, so I left Dusty in the kitchen and had only taken a few strides when I heard the first of several resounding thumps as Dusty tumbled down the wooden basement steps.  I ran to the door and saw Dusty fall lifelessly to the hard concrete below.  His body was sprawled on the ground, motionless.  I screamed “Dusty” and “God, no, please, no.”  For one horrifyingly long moment, frozen forever in my memory, there was no movement at all, I thought he was dead.  Suddenly Dusty sprang to his feet and bounded up the basement steps, wagging his tail as if nothing had happened.  My best guess is Dusty tried to get up to come looking for me, lost his balance because his back legs were paralyzed and fell through the door which I must not have closed all the way earlier when for some reason I felt the need to go down there.  I don’t know why it happened or how it happened but for that moment on, Dusty was miraculously healed.  He lived two more happy healthy years after that.

It’s difficult to read a newspaper or simply go online without encountering some account or reference to the existence of evil in the world.  Even for those who don’t believe that evil has horns and is tech-savvy enough to taunt a priest through text message wouldn’t be hard pressed to identify stories about school shootings, rape and child abuse as acts of evil.  Evil takes many forms, but so does good.  We hear acts of good Samaritans from time to time but more often than not, we keep our answered prayers or those moments we feel undeniably connected to our higher power to ourselves.  When it comes to miracles of all sizes and the moments that define our faith, we remain mute, pressing them instead into a scrapbook in our mind, certain we’ll remember them as we toss the scrapbook into a mental box that eventually becomes buried under the piles of the every day.  Sometimes in our darkest hours even we forget about the divine hand that has reached out to us when we struggle, so we stumble further along blindly, becoming isolated not only from the experiences that shaped us but further closed off to the possibility of faith.

Perhaps those who dismiss religion as nothing more than a fairytale have simply forgotten how to ask for more than the ordinary.  Nothing is impossible, we can’t have everything we want, but sometimes we get something so extraordinary, it reminds us that anything is possible.

Here’s a list of some modern day miracles that show some of the many forms miracles can take: http://www.smashinglists.com/top-ten-real-world-miracles/.  Please feel free to share any of your own personal experiences, big or small, in the comments section.

redheart

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