Archive for January, 2016

Sounds exactly like something I’d do.

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Several times over the past few months people have made the comment that my lovable little best friend is spoiled.

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He’s laughing at me.

Sparky? Spoiled? I say hogwash! Balderdash! Poppycock! Horsefeathers! No way my Spark is spoiled.

However, a few facts have been pointed out to me over the past few months that might, just might, be construed as the Spoiling of The Spark. To wit:

  • Sparky has a bed in my living room. This is in no way abnormal, is it? Every dog needs a bed to curl up on in front of the fireplace.
  • Sparky has another bed in the living room. Well, this one’s on a chair, but sometimes he gets tired of being on the floor, ya know? And besides, he can see out the window from the chair. Gotta keep an eye out for birds. Or a wayward chicken.
  • Sparky has a bed in the car. So he has a bed on the backseat. Big deal. He needs to be comfortable when he’s waiting on me to get back from whatever important mission I’m undertaking. It’s the least I can do for him. Plus it’s one of those high ones that allows him to search for hobos in which to kill.
  • Sparky has a bed in my bedroom. There are times, my friends, when a pooch needs quiet time, away from the hustle and bustle of the living room. Therein lies the need for a bed in the bedroom. That’s just Dogs 101, people.
  • Sparky has a bed on my bed.  Hey, it was a bed from the crate he came in, and The Spark don’t do crates no mo’. No way I could throw it out. You know, sentimental value and whatnot.

In addition, I have been reminded that I have been known to drive into town to buy him Chicken McNuggets. Perhaps this could be construed as overzealous on my part. I’m sorry, but the closest McDonald’s is there, so what would you suggest I do? From time-to-time, Spark needs his chicken fix.

Some might point out that, for dinner, The Spark gets a special blend of Beneful Savory Rice & Lamb Stew and Simply Nourish Chicken & Pasta, mixed with some Beneful Healthy Weight Moist and Chewy Chunks. After much experimentation, Sparky and I have determined this to be his favorite recipe. So shoot me.

And can a dog have too many toys? I think not. Sparky has his Loofa Dog, Squeaky Duck, Roadkill Billy, Mr. Flappy, Mr. Hedgehog, Flat Rabbit, Octopus, Mr. Purple and his One-legged Santa Claus, among others. He also has a Hol-ee Roller Ball, a Kong Dental Stick, a Nylabone Crazy Ball, a Busy Buddy Tug-a-Jug and a Rhino Stuff & Chew, but that’s nether here nor there. Because hey, he plays with them all, depending on the mood. And believe me, Sparky is a complex canine, a mutt of many moods if you will.

So other than what I just told you and a few hundred more, I can think of no other examples of Sparky being spoiled.

So like I said, Sparky spoiled? What a ridiculous thought.

P.S. – After re-reading all of the above I have to admit something. Damn, have I spoiled my dog.

P.S.S. – He’s worth it.

The Scout Duck

Posted: January 30, 2016 in Animals, Inspiration, Nature, Sparky
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So I paid a visit to my parent’s house the other day and decided to sit out on their deck for a1 bit. It was a beautiful day and I was just relaxing and taking in the beautiful scenery. The deck overlooks a small lake, there are hills in the background, it’s just a nice place to sit and chill.

Sparky was being his usual curious self, sniffing around for stuff and hoping to catch a glimpse of a squirrel or, better yet, something with feathers.

I had my feet up, just taking in the sun, when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was a lone duck, coming over the hill to the south. As I watched, he circled the lake a couple times and then did one of those cool duck water landings in the middle of the lake.

I noticed he had a feather that was sort of sticking up on the back of his head, like it was ruffled or something. I must say he was a rather unique looking duck.

As I watched the duck did a perimeter paddle, encircling the entire lake twice, apparently looking for a place to chillax on the bank. Finally he waddled up on a wide expanse of grass on the lakeside opposite me, maybe because it was a nice flat space or quite possibly because he wanted to put the lake between himself and a certain 4-legged canine now watching attentively from his perch on my lap.

Spark, in the meantime, was calculating his chances of diving in, executing a surprise attack, and having a North American Mallard for lunch.

After a few minutes of sun bathing, the duck hopped back into the lake, did one more cruise around the shore, and took off in the direction from whence he came, south over the hill.

I know nothing about ducks, so I figured he lived nearby and had just stopped in for a quick visit. Like I said, I’m clueless where ducks are concerned. Spark was just pissed he never got a clean shot at the perceived winged-demon.

And then it happened.

From over the hill where the duck had disappeared I saw shapes, flying in that familiar V-shape. It was an entire flock of ducks, 18 of them. They then proceeded to execute the same circling and landing on the lake that I’d witnessed a few minutes before. After paddling around the lake for awhile, they all waddled up onto the same spot where the original, lone duck had rested.

And who do you think led the flock over the hill, onto the lake and up onto the bank?

Yep, the original scout duck who’d checked out the lake, presumably in advance and for the rest of his posse. He’d come, he’d scouted it out, he’d gone back to get them, and he’d brought them back.

Who knew there were Scout Ducks? Not I. Possibly this revelation is common knowledge to southern Ohioans, but I was amazed.

Bottom line? Nature is cool. And so are ducks.

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Mothership-Thunderstorm

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I was in the Teacher’s Lounge at Greenfield Junior High and watched it on television. Stunning.

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Lil’ bro almost made it offstage too.

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Well, hello there.

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An adorable animal, usually found in the rainforests of Central and South America, somehow made their way into a southwest Miami-Dade home Tuesday and gave a 99-year-old woman the scare of her life.

“The lady is sound asleep and she feels something on her chest and she slowly wakes up, and realizes that there’s an animal curled up sleeping on her chest,” said veterinarian Don Harris. “Her first impression was it might be a cat, but when they both got a look at each other, they both freaked out. The lady screamed, the kinkajou went into her attic.”

The woman called her daughter and a friend who were able to lure the mysterious animal out of the attic using a YouTube video.

The animal turned out to be a Kinkajou, which looks like a monkey but is actually in the raccoon family.

Man, nothing more shocking than waking up with a Kinkajou on your chest, huh? Shocking indeed. Little bro just curled up there and took a nap like a boss. And how do you use a YouTube video to lure a Kinkajou out of your attic? Did they show it Kinkajou porn or something? I’m so confused.

Life, man. It’s a paradox.

From the “Let It Be” sessions on the Abbey Road rooftop.

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Cold-blooded, man.

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I absolutely love this stuff.

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Oops. And if you read the reports above and below the highlighted one, it seems the Madison police were having a rough day.

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The last song on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

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Have a little poise, crazy lady.

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I have no idea what that is but there’s a lot of it.

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Unsurprising.

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C-h-e-e-e-e-e-s-e!

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Wisconsin Radio Network: A semi-tractor which police believe was usedCheese-smile-250x300 in an overnight cheese-jacking has been recovered, along with the empty trailer. But police say cheese product valued at over $70,000.00 remains missing.

Germantown Police say the trailer load of cheese was taken from D&G Transportation on Bunsen Drive in Germantown at about 12:20 a.m. Friday. According to the Department’s Facebook page, the semi-truck was recovered by police, and a Facebook follower located the empty trailer in the Metro-Milwaukee area.

Wow. A sure-enough real life cheese-jacking, right in the good old US of A. And hey, it had to happen in Wisconsin, amirite? No other state would be fitting. I mean, a cheese-jacking in Tennessee just wouldn’t have the same zing, ya know? Anyway, I heard it was Swiss Cheese and the case will never be solved. Too many holes. Hey-O!

PS – Seriously, what’s the world coming to? What’s next, a corn-jacking in Iowa? A coffee-jacking in Washington? A grit-jacking in South Carolina? A burrito-jacking in Arizona? OK, I’ll stop now. Wait. A crab-jacking in Maryland? A moonshine-jacking in West Virginia? Yeah, I’m pretty sure there has already been a few moonshine-jackings. Seriously, done now.

How far do you live from your mom?

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Since my blog about the origin of our school’s mascot and colors blew up today, I thought I’d clarify another point regarding the subject, and that point is this – what exactly is a bearcat?

I’ve been a lifelong resident of our school district, give or take a few years, and I have never seen an accurate depiction of a bearcat on our school logo. What I’ve seen passing for bearcats are bobcats and tigers, not actual bearcats.  I’ve seen this:

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That’s a tiger, right?

  And I’ve seen this:

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Panther? Angry cat? I have no idea.

There also used to be a painting on our gymnasium wall that was clearly a bobcat. It looked pretty much like this:

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Yep. Bobcat. Not a bearcat.

However, in all my years I’ve never seen anything close to a logo depicting what an actual bearcat looks like, and an honest to God bearcat looks like this:

I ask you, is that such a bad mascot? Why have we been using other animals when we could have been using this bad boy as a logo? After some research I found a couple pretty nice bearcat logos that we could use as a base from which to launch our new logo. Check ’em out:

Now we’re talkin’. Now that’s a good logo. Hey, our neighbors over at Unioto use the University of Miami’s “U” and Huntington used Hawaii’s “H” a few years back. Heck, Westfall’s sports teams are basically based on Ohio State, right? I’m sure the Binghamton Bearcats (that’s their logo up there) wouldn’t mind us borrowing their design, and if they did we could add some changes to make the logo our own.

What say you, Bearcat fans? Is it time for a new, more accurate logo? I say it is. Let’s do this!

Note: For your information, a bearcat is also known as a binturong and it hangs out in the foothills of Southeast Asia. Cool.

Yowza.

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Children, sit down and lend an ear, for I have a story to tell . . .TheJiggeraaa

Once upon a time, way back before 1959, Paint Valley High School did not exist. Instead, there were two high schools in what is now our district, and they were called Twin High School and Bainbridge High School.

Twin High School was in the town of Bourneville, and Bainbridge High School was located in the village of Bainbridge. The rivalry between the two high schools was intense, and many battles took place between the basketball teams from the two schools. Football, you see, was not being played in our area yet.

At some point it was decided that the two schools would merge as one and be called Paint Valley High School, after the valley in which we reside. It was decided that the school would be built midway between the two towns, because that only seemed fair. Remember that all the housing in and around Route 28, Maple Grove Road and just west of Slate Mills did not exist at the time.

Due to the rivalry between the two schools, choosing a mascot and school colors was a bit of a touchy subject. After all, both schools and townships needed to be honored equally and fairly. What to do?

You need to know that the mascot for the Bainbridge team was the Polar Bears and their colors were orange and black. Twin High School was the home of the Tigers and their colors were blue and gold.

And so, the following was thusly decided. Paint Valley would take one color from Twin (gold) and one color from Bainbridge (black) to make our new school colors black and gold. Awesome.

Still, our new school needed a mascot. Remember that Bainbridge was the Polar Bears and Twin was the Tigers. So, it was decreed that Polar Bears and Tigers would henceforth be combined. Since Bear Tigers didn’t seem to roll off the tongue, it was deemed that our new school mascot would be a Bearcat, Bear from Polar Bears and Cats from Tigers. Brilliant!

BearcatIt should also be noted that at the time our new gymnasium was the Crown Jewel of basketball gyms in Southern Ohio and beyond. People from all over would come just to tour our gym and get a look at the beauty and vastness of it. When other schools were playing in tiny gyms that seated 300-400 people, the Paint Valley Gym seated 2,300 and hosted many sectional and district tournament games.

For these reasons, in 2002 when the gym was renovated, the choice was made to keep the wooden bleachers and iron railings (albeit new ones) in order to honor the old school feel of this legendary gymnasium.

At that time it was also decided to name our renovated gymnasium in honor of our friend and former Paint Valley principal Donald “Jigger” Anderson, who not only played in the gym as a high school athlete but also had sons and daughters who played and cheered there as well.

Because we named the gym in his honor, it has since been referred to as “The Jigger” and is to many a refreshing counterpoint to the cookie-cutter gymnasiums that are popular among the newly built schools.

So there ya go. Just a little background history regarding our school, mascot, school colors and gymnasium.

I hope it makes you even prouder to be a Bearcat.

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Wow.

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Crazy indeed.

[Individual state laws are below the map]

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