BB #45 – Jerky Jerks

If you live in the USA and watch TV, you’ve probably seen the “Messin’ with Sasquatch” commercials advertising Jack Links Beef Jerky.

Sasquatch 1

But have you ever really thought about the message behind these commercials?

Think about it. Each one has certain common denominators:

  • The gentle, unthreatening (nice guy) Sasquatch
  • Some major assholes eating the advertiser’s beef jerky
  • Said assholes pranking the gentle nice guy
  • Said assholes getting their well-deserved comeuppance

I’d have to recall all the commercials (and I generally can’t recall last Tuesday), but I think Sasquatch never eats the jerky (being a gentle, possibly vegetarian soul). Only the asshole jerks eat the jerky.

Just take a look at the most recent version of this:

Sasquatch 2

(Major) Jerks eating jerky (which comes in turkey).

Sasquatch 3

Prank! (Also: Ruining the wedding cake!)

Sasquatch 4

Comeuppance! (Also: injury and very angry bride & groom.)

Yes, I totally get that this is comedy — and slapstick at that — but just put yourself in the shoes of the bride and groom. (It seems pretty clear from their outfits the assholes in question are part of the wedding party.)

Your “friends” just pushed a wild animal into your wedding cake.

As a joke. (In fact, as a cruel joke.)

They just ruined your wedding. Were I the groom (or even just a member of the wedding party), being whipped through the cake by Sasquatch would seem like a loving back rub compared to what I’d do to that asshole.

Sasquatch 5

Takes a pretty huge asshole to prank such a gentle soul!

Not to make a huge thing over a commercial, but our art tends to reflect our social sensibilities, and I find the juxtaposition and implications interesting here. And, to be clear, I’ve enjoyed these commercials (because assholes get their just desserts, and that seems to happen too rarely in life).

It’s just that the equating of assholes and customers of the product is an interesting choice (and they are assholes as demonstrated by their eventual comeuppance). There is also the idea of pranking innocent, gentle creatures as the basis of these commercials.

Generally speaking what happens in these is fairly benign (if anything, I’d like seeing the assholes torn limb from limb), but this last one involves a ruined wedding reception and caught my attention as seeming a bit over the top.

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

60 responses to “BB #45 – Jerky Jerks

  • Dan Bain

    I agree! Interestingly enough, Slim Jims relied on a similar equating, where the jerk was the mascot — the Slim Jim guy typically did bad things to people, then yelled, “Eat me!” Who would buy a product that wants to hurt them?

    Also, kudos for using a record number of the word “asshole” in one post.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Ha! Eleven is a record? People just aren’t trying hard enough! XD

      It’s a strange thing this disconnection between the implications of a commercial and the presumed humor. The thing is, advertisers know two key facts (because they do pay attention): Firstly, most people do not engage their brains as they watch the TV machine. (Many barely pay any attention at all.) Secondly, the key — the whole, entire key — is putting your brand out there. Publicity is good; full stop.

      In fact, it’s been shown that annoying your audience equals your audience remembering your brand. Publicity is GOOD!

      It’s known that internet spam is deliberately stupid because they don’t want to bother with clueful people — only the clueless will fall for their scam, so that’s their target audience. I wonder sometimes about certain brands.

      The DirecTV ads spring to mind. Early versions of their commercials featured some very reprehensible people hawking the product (outright criminals such as Asian drug lords, for example). Then there was the Rob Lowe series, which got progressively content-free (in terms of actual product points) and tried to equate “cool” with their product and “not-cool” with cable. Lately we have the Hannah and her horse series, which are some of the most blatant “sex sells” commercials I’ve seen short of the Hardee’s ones (both are rather jaw-dropping to me in this day and age).

      Funny thing if you pay attention. DirecTV “boasts” of 99% uptime, but do the math. If you watch four hours of TV in a month, that’s about 120 hours of television, over an hour of which your satellite TV won’t work. My cable hasn’t been out a full hour (cumulatively!) in many years of viewing. Always do the math!

      All I can imagine is that they realize people with a clue won’t buy satellite TV unless there’s no other option, so they’re trying to appeal to people without a clue. (Fortunately for them, that’s a large market.)

  • AthenaC

    I have noticed a trend of laughing at someone else’s misfortune / discomfort. For example, the guy who dressed his dog up as a large spider so we could all laugh at videos of people being absolutely petrified – there’s a hundred other examples but that one is the first that comes to mind.

    At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I do worry for the future of the human race if our level of empathy is so far gone that we are amused by other peoples’ suffering and discomfort.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Indeed. I’ve seen that “spider-dog” video, and I know what you mean. If you’re old enough to remember Allen Funt (heh; can you imagine a TV personality using that name today?) and Candid Camera, the pranks and gags were pretty gentle. Over the years, there’s been an increasing edge to that sort of thing.

      Schadenfreude is nothing new, but (as with violent media) I can’t help but wonder if there is a lack of balance involved these days. There’s little that balances out the negative images, and we even see major jerks as “lovable rogue” heroes.

  • dianasschwenk

    It is odd Smitty. Following your points, it’s as if the Jerky people are saying our customers are assholes! ❤
    Diana xo

  • SelfAwarePatterns

    I find these commercials puzzling. Yes, they are mildly entertaining in seeing jerks get their just deserts (although I personally find them slightly annoying), but I’m not sure how good they are as product advertisement. If you had mentioned the Messin with Sasquatch commercials without the picture, I would have known what you were talking about. But if you had mentioned only the Jack Link’s beef jerky commercial, I wouldn’t have had a clue.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I know what you mean. They must be successful — ad agencies put a lot of effort into tracking the effectiveness of their work — but we may not be the intended target audience.

      I’m curious: Is there something about the commercials themselves that slightly annoys you, or is it the implications the post was about?

      Let me ask you another question: Do you think you would connect the commercial and the product if you saw it in the store? Like you, I didn’t remember the company name (I was thinking it was “Beef Links”), but I’m pretty certain I’d recognize the packaging.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        My annoyance is with the commercials themselves. (Sorry if I implied otherwise.) I’m initially outraged by Sasquatch’s treatment, and him subsequently getting revenge only slightly mollifies me. But I’m probably unusual in that regard.

        I actually see the product all the time (the Walmart where I shop has them in the checkout isles) and occasionally buy some. I did that before and after the ad campaign. Although I buy it less in recent years since I discovered that I have a hard time stopping with beef jerky, and it eventually gives me heartburn. I suppose I was hazily aware of the link between the ads and product, but I can’t say it changed my behavior at all.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “I’m initially outraged by Sasquatch’s treatment,…”

        If I follow, you’re bothered by the pranksters to a level not compensated for by Sasquatch’s reaction? (Just to be clear, I’m not headed for any point or conclusion here. I’m just curious about exactly how others respond to the commercials.)

        That’s part of my reaction, too — just the idea of pranking an innocent creature. And while the pranksters are clearly the villains of the piece, the humor and slapstick seem to undercut any “moral parable” element. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that many walk away with a subliminal “pranking is all in good fun (albeit, perhaps, sometimes risky, but risk is fun, too)” kind of idea.

        “I suppose I was hazily aware of the link between the ads and product, but I can’t say it changed my behavior at all.”

        No, you and I are probably as much a customer of the product as we’re likely to be. (In your case, infrequent, in mine, not at all. Once you’ve had fresh homemade jerky made from choice meat cuts, the store-bought stuff really loses it luster.)

        Even so they managed to forge some kind of link in our minds. For us, hat link seems to have a negative weighting, but at the same time, doesn’t necessarily affect our buying patterns one way or another

        One question might be whether a negative weighting matters — is product recognition alone a sufficient goal? Would someone standing in line think, “Hey, there’s that beef jerky from those damn Sasquatch ads! Stupid ass ads… hmmm… but I do like jerky, I think I’ll try this stuff…”

        But as I said before, we’re probably not their target market. I imagine their market is new customers or customers who buy another brand. (A key annoyance of mine involves commercials for products I’m already a customer of or products I’ve decided I’ll never be a customer of. Those are just pointless noise to me.)

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        On my reaction, that sounds about right. I just remember not feeling very satisfied by the ads, and I think part of it is the ad designers seeming to feel that the pranksters getting attacked at the end makes things balanced.

        I think one goal of the ad campaign is to register that brand in our consciousness as one advertised on national TV, giving it a type of legitimacy compared to other competing brands in the store. So when I’m thinking about buying some jerky, I can choose brand X that I’ve never heard of before, or this other brand that was on TV. In the absence of additional information, the TV one feels inherently safer (probably having almost no correlation with whether or not it actually is).

        I think you’re definitely right about us not being the intended audience. We’re probably too old and too prone to analysis. Along those lines, most advertising is noise to me. Fortunately (for me, not the advertisers), DVRs and streaming video are limiting how much of it I’m exposed to these days.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “…the ad designers seeming to feel that the pranksters getting attacked at the end makes things balanced.”

        Exactly. But I object to the pranks in the first place, so just desserts (or deserts) doesn’t quite make up for it.

        [Aside #1: You helped me learn something new! I used “just desserts” in the post,but noticed you’d used “just deserts” in your comment. I actually did pause over the word when I wrote the post, and rather than doing the smart thing and looking it up, I reasoned that the phrase didn’t seem to refer to a hot, dry, sandy place, so it almost had to be the other one. When I wrote it just now, I thought, “I must know the Truth!” Turns out “deserts” is the original, most correct, version, as “desert” has an archaic meaning of “that which one deserves.” That meaning is no longer used, and many do write “desserts” instead (sometimes as a joke, sometimes (as I did) not realizing the correct version). And when you think about it, “just desserts” is a weird concept… What, the smallest piece of cake? The baked brown-sugar apple with the worm?]

        [Aside #2: I wonder if there’s any connection between the prank-revenge-equals-balance ethic that seems to appy to these commercials and something similar I’ve observed in people either standing in hallways or driving on roadways. There seems to be an ethic that it’s okay to plod along, or plant yourself, in a traffic pattern — a clear and present obstacle — so long as you move once your obstruction becomes a problem for someone else. It’s something that bugs me. A lot. Out of respect for others in public, I try to be situation aware enough to never be an obstacle in the first place, and I wish others would have that respect, too. (And don’t get me even started on those who don’t move out of the way!)]

        “…advertised on national TV, giving it a type of legitimacy compared to other competing brands in the store.”

        Indeed. We’ve all heard the marketing phrase, “As advertised on TV!”

        At their core, all ads have two primary goals: That you remember them. That you see the product.

        Some seek to educate you about the product, but you might be surprised how content-free many ads are in that area. Some go for the “cool people use our product; not-cool people don’t.” That’s a key aspect of most Apple ads, for example. Apple is selling image as much as a product. Car commercials are also almost entirely about image.

        The extreme version is that “failing to use our product will make you an unloved loser!” (Lots of cosmetic products take this take. Even cat litter does.)

        One that cracks me up is the “no other product does it better” line, which if you’re not paying attention might make you think their product does it best. But that’s not what they said! Essentially what they said was, “the other products do it just as good.” (If their product really was better, you can be 100% sure they’d make it very clear.) Most soap products, and most pain relievers, fall into this.

        Long ago I had an idea for a website (could be a blog now) with the sole purpose of debunking TV commercials, of pointing out the logic flaws and hidden implications. As a Film & TV major in college, it was an area we studied, and some of my classmates went on to work in the ad industry.

        If you have the stomach for all the lies and bullshit, they are a fascinating study. (There’s also a bit of “Know your enemy!”) 30-60 seconds to capture your attention and say what they have to say. It’s interesting to note how many distinct camera shots occur in that short time frame (compared to the editing pace in movies and TV shows).

        And movies and TV shows are shot at a ratio from 3-4 to maybe in some cases as high as the teens. (Shooting ratio is the amount of footage shot to the amount actually used in the final product.) Commercials? Ratios as high as 200 aren’t unusual. The amount of effort that goes into that 30-60 seconds is quite astonishing.

        “DVRs and streaming video are limiting how much of it I’m exposed to these days.”

        Yeah, about the only thing I watch live is baseball. Irks me that so much streaming media has commercials you can’t skip. I was going to check out the new show, Mr. Robot on USA, but even the OnDemand has commercials you can’t skip, so screw that.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        On Aside #1: Well, ahem, yes, of course, knew it all along. #TotalLuck

        On Aside #2: One that bugs me is people who take forever to go when the light turns green, but think they’re making up for it by then accelerating like a lunatic. That only evens it if everyone behind them also accelerates like a lunatic. Just pay attention instead 😡

        On the shooting ratios, I’m not that surprised. In the one marketing class I took, I remember learning that sometimes dozens of versions of a commercial are edited, then shown in test markets, with only the top 3-4 actually being shown more broadly.

        I actually don’t mind the commercials that much. I typically watch the pre-video Youtube ads long enough to see if it’s anything I might be interested in before hitting the skip button. (I do very much appreciate Google giving us that option though.)

      • Wyrd Smythe

        There’s an old joke that, in New York City, the definition of a microsecond is the length of time from when the light turns green to when the driver behind you honks his horn. XD

        The thing that always got me was that, if — as you say — people just paid attention, the whole line of cars at a light could start moving all at once (maybe with slight decrease in speed for each following car). But that never happens. The first car goes. Then the second car goes. Then the third. Etc. (Automated cars would likely do much better there.)

        True about test audiences for commercials. They do that for films, too. (I was in some film test audiences when I lived in Los Angeles.) There are some well-known changes made to movies based on test audiences. (The only one I can remember right now was that Captain Kirk was originally shot in the back by Malcolm McDowell’s character in Star Trek: Generations and pretty much died pointlessly. Test audiences protested, so they re-wrote and re-shot the ending to give him a more heroic death.

        There’s so much money involved, both spent and potentially earned, that they do everything they can to maximize their return. And still get it wrong plenty of times. (That’s comforting in a way. It means the world is extremely complex and difficult to figure out. And therefore, interesting! 😀 )

  • reocochran

    This was quite a great observation, W.S. and will pay more attention to this set of commercials. I tend to have two shows on simultaneously, switching at commercials so I miss them entirely. My “favorite” show will be on then my second one will be my bypassing commercials answer to a break.

    I liked the way Science Fiction has infiltrated some regular t.v. shows like, “Wayward Pines,” which I felt had a Stepford Wives atmosphere in the beginning until it went into the way this special town is isolated and the creepy, flesh eating things found outside the walls of the town. My friends watch, “Under the Dome,” which I don’t and they also like “Extant” which I watched the first season and found that enough of that for me.

    How are you doing? I hope that you are fine and dandy. 🙂

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I used to do that a lot — switching back and forth during commercials. In fact, I used to have a TV with “PIP” (Picture In Picture), so I could leave program “A” in the little box and switch to program “B”. Made it really easy to know when to switch back to program “A”! (I’d have to have two cable boxes to pull that off now, and I don’t think so.)

      You’ve reminded me of a bit by the great George Carlin concerning “fine and dandy”! 😀 It’s something about feeling “fine” or feeling “dandy” but not necessarily both. To be honest, I mostly don’t feel either these days. I just am. (And I really, really, REALLY hate the new millennium. It’s mostly sucked for me.)

  • rung2diotimasladder

    I must be the only one who’s never seen that commercial. I will say this—I never liked the ending to “Oklahoma”.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Oh, I’m sure there are lots of people in Outer Mongolia who’ve never seen either. XD

      Having spent some time there myself, I’ve never seen Oklahoma! (not really a fan of musicals or westerns, so…). What is the ending that vexeth thee?

      • rung2diotimasladder

        LOL!

        Well, I can give you the gist of the whole plot: A cheerleader-type and her footballer-type boyfriend get into a little tiff over nothing. The cheerleader asks the awkward/unattractive guy to go to the prom with her instead, just to get back at her boyfriend. Of course the awkward guy’s in love with her and of course she doesn’t mean it. Prom time rolls around and the awkward guy finds out that he’s getting stood up. He kidnaps the cheerleader and rides off with her. Then I forget what happens, but the girl gets saved. Someone tries to talk the awkward guy into killing himself. Then the awkward guy gets a hold of an evil kaleidoscope that stabs your eye when you look into it. He gets found out. There’s a brawl and he gets burned on top of a haystack and the happy cheerleader and happy footballer go riding off into the sunset. Happily ever after.

        Now, what vexeth me is that the bad guy had a right to be mad (not that he had a right to stab anyone’s eye out, but still…at that point you kind of want to see it happen). I had absolutely no sympathy with anyone but the so-called bad guy. Then he gets burned on a haystack and we’re supposed to be happy.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Noooo…. You just made that up to see how gullible I am, didn’t you! There’s no way that’s a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Evil kaleidoscope? Ha! Whaddaya think, I just fell off the turnip truck? Now pull the other one; it has got bells on it!

      • rung2diotimasladder

        Well, I made up half of it, but the rest is true. 🙂

      • Wyrd Smythe

        It does sound like some strange values there. I guess if someone is odd or strange, it doesn’t matter how you treat them.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        That’s sort of the implication. The “bad guy” wasn’t necessarily bad to begin with, but after the way he’s treated, he does some awful things. Still, you can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened had he been treated with kindness instead.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        There can interesting social messages lurking in stories — they often do reveal our cultural biases and assumptions.

        And you’re pointing to an interesting tension between the ideas of justified revenge and pure simple villainy. We often do cheer on “heroes” who commit significant crimes while “righting” other significant crimes. In some stories it’s not always so clear-cut who is wearing which colored hat (especially once you begin deconstructing the story). Storytellers do generally try to provide back stories and behaviors to make it clear, but now we’re back to cultural biases and assumption (as well as those of the storyteller).

        [I did a piece awhile back (Anti-Batman) that tried to examine the relationship between hero and villain, and in particular, the responsibility the heroes might have for the villains. As often happens, I ended up rambling a bit, so I’m not sure the piece quite hit its mark in the way I intended.]

        It’s interesting how different eras have different classes of “obvious” villains. For example, ever since 9/11 “Middle East terrorists” seem to feature in an awful lot of stories. In recent past (and still today), local terrorists — airplane hijackers and such — have made good villains. Many decades ago it was German, or Japanese, or Russian, spy types. Now it’s often aliens of some kind. Or madmen… madmen is always good (seen Kingsman, yet? — an extremely enjoyable romp!).

        On a lesser level, it’s the classes of people allowed to be the butt of “type of people” jokes. Polish jokes are history. So are racial and most forms of gender jokes. I’ve joked that the only people you can insult casually through humor these days is white guys. Often rich white guys. (e.g. All the Don Trump hair jokes. Of course, Trump is a joke all on his own, although lately the joke is getting downright scary.)

        It’s interesting that there is a pretty clear line between Middle East terrorist bad guys (allowed) and jokes about Middle Eastern people or religion (not allowed). It’s good that we do see a dividing line there. It does seem there is a growing sense of “one global people” that prohibits us casting other nationalities or races as villains just on the strength of “the other.” This pushes our villain classes more and more outside that community.

        Hmmm… I just woke up and I’m sure I’m coherent, yet. If none of this makes sense, that’s why. It feels rambling and loose to me, but I’m going with it anyway.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        You sound coherent enough to me!

        Good points about obvious villains. I’m not sure what “Oklahoma” was aiming for. I fully expected it to have obvious villains and for everything to be really corny. I’m not a big fan of musicals or westerns either, but I thought I should watch it, being from OK. Maybe if I had expected it to be something else, maybe something arty, I would have had a different reaction to it.

        Speaking of cultural jokes, I think the feminists would have a field day with it. Throughout the story there’s the sense that women are commodities to be bought. There’s even an auction and the highest bidder gets a date. Of course, this would have seemed like no big deal back then, but now?

        So true about the rich white guys. Although, Trump really is a joke on his own. On the other hand, I can’t figure out what he’s up to. What does he expect to get out of all this? Maybe in talking about him, the joke is on us?

        I hate to admit this, but I kind of want to see it come down to Trump vs. Sanders. Not really and truly, but perhaps in some alternate universe which has no consequences for us, just for the entertainment value.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Okay, beer buddy night… totally hammered, so once again, coherence is optional (and highly unlikely)…

        “I fully expected it to have obvious villains and for everything to be really corny.”

        Exposure to most musicals could definitely give you that expectation! This conversation got me reading the Wiki articles on Oklahoma! and Rodgers and Hammerstein. Oklahoma! was done in 1943, which might explains some of the sensibilities. Wiki mentions ‘they departed from the comic and sentimental tone of early 20th century musicals by seriously addressing issues such as racism, sexism and classism in many of their works.” Whoa!

        Socially subversive message are often coded in art, but apparently the image of the oddball loner wasn’t one they chose to defend. As an oddball loner, I feel a bit offended. Weirdos Untie!

        “I think the feminists would have a field day with it.”

        Yeah, since 1943, ‘You’ve come a long way, baby!’ Touching back to the idea that white guys are pretty much the last group you can insult or parody with impunity, we still hold “Bachelor Auctions” at charity drives. I wonder how well that would go over auctioning off dates with single women. On the other hand, Playboy and Hardee’s commercials. (Say, as an Arizonian, you might know the joy that is (was?) Carl’s Jr. When I was a field tech in Los Angeles, I ate there two, three times a week for lunch. Loved, loved, loved that Western Bacon Cheeseburger with a side of onion rings and an iced tea. OTOH, Hardee’s has tried to kill me twice.)

        In this post-post-feminist world, we seem to have lost some of the ground gained in feminism (I blame post-feminism, although feminism as a political concept had inherent contradictions). The current sexualization of young girls is disturbing. Really fucking disturbing. (But that’s a whole other conversation.)

        “Trump really is a joke on his own.”

        His popularity is proof positive that too many USAnians are complete fucking idiots. (I’m so sick to death of living in a world that seems to consist of a completely different species. I wish the mother ship would show up and take me home to a sane planet.)

        Although, if this were a political satire novel, this would all be a democratic plot to have a complete clowen (I mean, of course, “clown”… vowels are sneaky bastards and turn up like cockroaches, especially when people go all “yee olde” and shit) run for Pres. Again. But this time the D’s would sweep the election, because… Donald Trump? Seriously? His ego wouldn’t allow another person on the ticket, so his hair would run for V.P.

        On the other hand,… have you ever seen the movie Idiocracy? It’s turned out to be scarily prescent, no wait, prescient (why is that spelled like “pre-science”?). Walmart already labels drugs as depicted in the film (which is supposedly 500 years in the future). There’s some part of me — the part that stands aghast and in horrified fascination — that says, “Donald Trump. President. Of course. It just follows. (Kill me now.)”

        Maybe entertainment value does trump (see what I did there) common sense and politics. I admit I was pretty entertained when Minnesota elected Jessie Ventura as State Governor.

        Sanders would be so awesome. And Elizabeth Warren for V.P. Can you just imagine!

      • rung2diotimasladder

        I’m feeling a bit off myself this morning. I stayed up to watch the Catalina mountain burn (we have a pretty awesome view from our backyard). It was incredible. Apparently no one is going to bother to put the fire out since they don’t think it’s a threat. It sure looked threatening, especially at night. The fires had scattered all across the mountain and it looked like it was growing. Anyways, Geordie woke me up at the usual time and is now patiently waiting for me to finish my coffee and take him for a walk. In a few minutes, his patience will wear out and he’ll start doing this yawn-howl thing.

        Indeed, oddball loners unite! If you ever see the movie, you’ll have to let me know if you interpret things the way I did. It’s been a long time, but I remember feeling morally outraged. And my husband felt the same way, so I took that as confirmation that I hadn’t missed something (although in retrospect, we often miss the same things and interpret movies the same way).

        I don’t know that I’ve seen the Hardee’s commercials. I don’t watch much TV. The TV set comes on after dinner when my husband watches the news. I usually do something else and subconsciously take in the sound. Then around 8pm we watch a movie on Netflix or show on PBS. I’m not sure I’d own a TV if it weren’t for my husband. My friends like to tease me because I’ve never had a clue as to what’s going on in the entertainment world. (And news is pretty iffy too…I found out about those racist jerks in OK from my doctor.)

        What do you think Trump is up to? I can’t take his stupid remarks seriously. The guy can’t be that much of an idiot. (Although, I said the same thing about Bush until I read a few pages of his book. I was thoroughly shocked to find he was indeed as dumb as he seemed.) Still, I can’t help but think Trump’s behavior is calculated. But to what end? That’s the part I can’t figure out. He’s obviously an actor, and the toupee thing is a part of his role (even if it does run as VP, LOL).

        I’m not sure about Sanders. I can’t really see him getting anything done. On the other hand, it might be interesting to see someone like him bang his head against the wall.

        That said, I don’t like anyone running. I’ll have to wait and see whether it’s worth voting. Obama was the only one I voted for with a good feeling. When I voted for Kerry it was just, “Oh please God not Bush again.”

        As for Carl’s Jr., we do have them. In fact, there’s one down the street. I think I ate there once maybe, although I don’t really remember. I’m more of a Chipotle fan when it comes to fast food. My husband and I usually split a burrito. Or we’ll get a tray of sushi at Trader Joe’s. It’s the only semi-healthy thing I can get him to eat with joy, although he refuses the brown rice versions and drenches everything in soy sauce as I give him the guilt look. (He has high blood pressure and keeps complaining about wanting to get off his meds.)

        Okay, gotta go. Geordie’s getting mad at me.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “I’m feeling a bit off myself this morning.”

        I hope you’re feeling better. And that you didn’t get my hangover. I was looking for it all morning, but it never turned up. Probably a testament to the quality of the beer I drink.

        (Craft beers, all, many local. And I like having a different beer each time, so my fridge looks like a very select, albeit very small, liquor store. I’ve been really exploring various IPAs this summer! Taking advantage of the recent USAnian interest in highly hopped beers.)

        “I stayed up to watch the Catalina mountain burn…”

        I recall watching big fires when I lived in Los Angeles a few times when the usual ones actually got into the hills near the city. Pretty amazing watching a fire that 20-30 miles away and seeing individual flames.

        A good lesson, too, in the fractal nature of fire. As with water, it can look the same big and far as it does small and near.

        “Indeed, oddball loners unite!”

        Oh, ‘unite’! That does make more sense… 😐

        I’ll be right back… I have to go cut some ropes… 😮

        “If you ever see the movie, you’ll have to let me know if you interpret things the way I did.”

        After our discussion, I kind of want to now, so it could happen.

        “I don’t know that I’ve seen the Hardee’s commercials.”

        The most blatantly overt use of sex to sell a product (let alone hamburgers) I’ve seen in recent memory. So blatant you almost wonder if it’s parody (especially given they’re selling hamburgers), but there’s no sense of it actually being parody.

        “What do you think Trump is up to?”

        Your guess is as good as mine. It may be his megalomania combined with his own pollsters and focus groups indicating what the general polls have said. He may believe he has a genuine shot at it. (The scary thing is, he might. USAnians are certainly capable of putting entertainment value in front of sense or intelligent. They frequently do. Just consider all the NFL fans.)

        It may be that people are so sick of slick politicians, they’re just really digging the jackass honesty. I do find that part refreshing, but the man himself? Oh, hells no!

        The Repub Debate is on later this evening, and it will be very interesting to watch, I think. (And it’s Jon Stewart’s last show tonight — a serious bummer.)

        “I’m not sure about Sanders. I can’t really see him getting anything done.”

        Yeah, probably not. It would be cool to see his honesty embraced the way Trump’s is. But intellectual honesty isn’t as much fun for people as Trump’s asshole honesty, so I doubt Sanders has a chance.

        Pity.

        “I’ll have to wait and see whether it’s worth voting.”

        I urge you to always vote. Please. It’s really important.

        I wrote a post (Seriously. Go Vote!) about this in 2014. In the comments, you’ll find a debate I had with a friend (wakemenow) about not voting. I hope you’ll read the post and that thread and pretend I had the same conversation with you. Equally hopefully with a like result!

        “I’m more of a Chipotle fan when it comes to fast food.”

        Oh, Chipotle is way better than Carl’s Jr! They didn’t exist when I was a field tech in Los Angeles (1980-1984). Subway was introduced to L.A. I think around that time, and I’d eat there for a change sometimes.

        The thing about Carl’s Jr was they sold real onion rings (not the pseudo-onion rings BK sells). I’ve always preferred onion rings to fries. And they may have been the only chain that had iced tea, which I prefer to soda.

        I probably ate lunch there three times a week. And had some form of Tex-Mex for dinner about three times a week. That’s still my favorite form of food. Love burritos. Love enchiladas. There’s a local place that makes a chipotle chicken and black bean burrito where the chicken is so tender it melts in your mouth.

        “Or we’ll get a tray of sushi at Trader Joe’s.”

        You can keep the raw fish. I’ve tried it, and… no thanks. Meat needs to be — at the least — smoked. Grilled is better, although I do love smoked salmon.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        “I hope you’re feeling better. And that you didn’t get my hangover. I was looking for it all morning, but it never turned up. Probably a testament to the quality of the beer I drink.”

        I couldn’t find your hangover. All I found was some rotten apple from the Tree of Knowledge, the consequences of which made me a woman punished with a monthly cycle. Aren’t you glad to know? Well, at least I’m not complaining about the usual health issues again.

        And you’re making me jealous with all your talk of craft beer. I’m not generally an IPA fan, but Lagunitas opened that door for me. I like the fruity ones that are light on bitterness. And I too like to try new beers, although I usually keep Fat Tire around as my go-to beer. The most unusual one I’ve tried was Magic Hat’s scotch ale. I bought a twelve pack when I was in Vermont and visited the brewery. One night I opened up a random beer without really reading the label and took a sip. For a second I thought I’d lost my mind. I tasted scotch. Like, a good scotch, but beer-y. It was very much like a peaty Islay, like Lagavulin. That was definitely different and I enjoyed it (although I don’t think I’d be able to drink more than one). Unfortunately I can’t really drink anymore these days. Yesterday I wasn’t sure I could take an Ibuprofen, so I didn’t. I might be being a bit overly cautious, but I don’t want anything to interact with the medication I’m on.

        “Pretty amazing watching a fire that 20-30 miles away and seeing individual flames.
        A good lesson, too, in the fractal nature of fire. As with water, it can look the same big and far as it does small and near.”

        Yeah, I noticed that too. We just got some new binoculars.

        “The most blatantly overt use of sex to sell a product (let alone hamburgers) I’ve seen in recent memory. So blatant you almost wonder if it’s parody (especially given they’re selling hamburgers), but there’s no sense of it actually being parody.”

        Well, sex sells. And you remember it! I guess advertisers would think that the game has been won, but I don’t know that it will sell any more burgers.

        “It may be that people are so sick of slick politicians, they’re just really digging the jackass honesty. I do find that part refreshing, but the man himself? Oh, hells no!”

        I think that’s a huge part of his appeal. I find it refreshing too. We don’t get Fox News so we watched the debate from a computer last night, and I thought Trump was a bit gentle, as he said he would be. I was expecting a lot more combativeness from him. I also read a New Yorker article that made a good point. It said one of the reasons poor white Republicans find him appealing is they know he can’t be bought like the other politicians. That’s been a part of his advertising for a while now, and it makes a certain amount of sense.

        On the voting thing, I’ll check it out when I return from walking Geordie.

        “You can keep the raw fish. I’ve tried it, and… no thanks.”

        The sushi at TJ’s isn’t real raw fish sushi…it’s more like California rolls. Cooked shrimp, smoked salmon, that sort of thing. I don’t think they’d be able to do the raw thing. You really have to know what you’re doing. I made sushi a little while ago and I wouldn’t trust myself to make the raw version, although I like it.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “Well, at least I’m not complaining about the usual health issues again.”

        LOL (at your turn of phrase, not your situation). At least you didn’t find my hangover to boot (neither did I, and I waited all morning for it to show up). I hope there is improvement on your usual health issues!

        “I’m not generally an IPA fan, but Lagunitas opened that door for me.”

        Ah, an excellent brewery! Their Maximus was one of the brews I served Wednesday night! Also Ballast Point “Big Eye IPA” and Sierra Nevada “Hop Hunter IPA” (and some other local beers). [My buddy, depending on how long he hangs out, is limited to 3 or 4, but since I’m already safely at home, I’m not! My Minnesota Twins were doing so badly, I couldn’t resist drowning my sorrows and went a bit further than normal.]

        “I like the fruity ones that are light on bitterness.”

        Then you’re looking for beers with hops added late in the boil or after (“dry hopping”). Hops added early gives bitterness (and no real flavor and definitely no fragrance). The later hops is added during the boil, the more that shifts. Dry hopping gives mostly aroma.

        “I usually keep Fat Tire around as my go-to beer.”

        Ah, yes. “Fat Tire” was mine as well for a couple years (also Newcastle Brown Ale). I suddenly realized that, while it’s a great beer, there were so many others I was drinking that I liked even more, and “Fat Tire” hasn’t seen the inside of my fridge since.

        “The most unusual one I’ve tried was Magic Hat’s scotch ale.”

        Well, both beer and scotch (sometimes) are made from barley (God’s magical grain — proof He loves us). I can see a brewery creating one that reminds you of scotch. I’m strictly a “clears” man when it comes to hard liquor (mostly tequila), so I’m not really familiar with scotch whiskey.

        I do like most scotch ales, though. Smithwick’s was a staple in my fridge for a long time, and Newcastle recently made a seasonal scotch ale that was delicious. Scotch ales are usually on the other side of the hoppy beers; much more malty, but with enough hops to make them dry rather than sweet.

        Was it Magic Hat “Jinx”? I see it’s described as using “peat-smoked whiskey malt mash” so no wonder! Just in general, smoked beers are a thing these days.

        “Well, sex sells. And you remember it! I guess advertisers would think that the game has been won, but I don’t know that it will sell any more burgers.”

        Yeah, probably not, at least in my case. Mostly I remember laughing (in an appalled way) at how blatant it was. As I mentioned, Hardee’s tried to kill me twice, so I don’t eat there. Ever. And Carl’s Jr would be a very long drive for a burger.

        But then, not including Subway (but including Taco Bell and similar), I’ve eaten fast food maybe two or three times in well over a decade. And one of those times it was just ’cause I got a sudden craving for Micky D’s french fries (which was all I got).

        Usually when I get burger cravings, I go to a restaurant. And get onion rings!

        “We don’t get Fox News so we watched the debate from a computer last night, and I thought Trump was a bit gentle, as he said he would be.”

        Yeah, I was sorta hoping he’d melt down and give us a really good show. I wondered if he felt out of his element among those professional politicians. Some post-game analysts mentioned the contrast between him and them.

        The left is trying hard to make political hay out of his refusal to take that pledge as well as his going off a little on Megyn Kelly. And now he’s apparently going off on her on Twitter (never was the name of that service more apropos). Calling her a bimbo and unprofessional.

        Just how amazing is that guy’s Teflon® coating? Does nothing stick to him?

        “[New Yorker] said one of the reasons poor white Republicans find him appealing is they know he can’t be bought like the other politicians.”

        Interesting point. I can see that.

        “Cooked shrimp, smoked salmon, that sort of thing.”

        Ah. Well, that’s not sushi. Raw tuna — that’s sushi! XD

        Also, raw octopus tentacle. Which I’ve tried. Once.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        It was Jinx! I’d forgotten the name. I also love the #9, which I can get here. (Not sure about the Jinx).

        I’m not very knowledgeable about the beer making process. I just drink it. 🙂

        I’m a big fan of scotch, particularly those smoky Islay ones, although I like others too. Very distinctive stuff.

        On fast food, I know what you mean. I get fries when I’m on a road trip. Sometimes a Happy Meal. Perfect portion for me, then I give the toy away if I can find some kid nearby.

        On Trump, I’m thinking that dude never feels out of his element. I think he’s up to something. I’m actually starting to buy into the theory that he’s on Hilary’s side, but then why did he mention her? He’s got me pretty baffled.

        I missed a lot of the good stuff on that debate. Streaming didn’t work out too well, plus I missed the entire beginning. But oh well. I can imagine it.

        Never tried raw octopus. That sounds really gross.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “I also love the [Magic Hat] #9…”

        One (very snooty) beer rating site I use ranks that as Magic Hat’s #2 brew (#9 is #2)! Overall (as a fruit beer), the same site ranks it #27 (which on that site is pretty good — lots of my favorites have really dismal rankings). They give it a BAR (Beers Above Replacement — long story) rating of 5.22 which is “an above average beer.”

        As a beer drinker, I’m usually a big fan of Reinheitsgebot, the ancient German purity law that goes back to the late 1400s. It says, “beer” is made from water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. Period. If it’s made with more ingredients, or not those, you can’t call it “beer.” (Which isn’t to say the Germans didn’t make tons of malted cereal beverages they couldn’t label “beer.” Weißbier (a wheat beer style), for example, is German.

        It’s not snobbery. I’ve just found I really like Reinheitsgebot beers (although ironically my current favorite, Flat Earth’s Cygnus X-1 (yes, named after the astronomical first black hole discovered) has rye malt in it (gives it a wonderful crispness).

        I’m definitely not a fan of fruit beers or Belgian Lambics, and I really don’t want anything to do with pumpkin beers (which have been popular lately). Beer is never ever made from gourds. XD

        “I’m not very knowledgeable about the beer making process.”

        Here’s the short version: Start with barley, which is rich in exactly the right starches and has plenty of them. “Malt” it (allow it to begin to sprout). This converts the starches into sugars. Now roast it, grind it up, and boil it. Add hops for bittering and flavor and aroma (depending on when you add it). Put it in a vat and add yeast critters and allow them to do their thing: Which is to eat the malt sugars.

        The magic is that yeast critters piss alcohol (yes, all forms of fermented alcohol are yeast piss). Natural fermentation can achieve about 12% or so alcohol by volume. At that point, the yeast piss (I mean alcohol) becomes toxic to the yeast (just imagine swimming in water that is 12% piss). This is why hard alcohol beverages must be distilled.

        What makes beer so interesting and diverse, besides that you can add anything your imagination conceives, is that the many combinations of different kinds of roasted malts, and different kinds of hops, and different amounts of both, and a number of other factors, all result in the character of the beer.

        Beer, like many complex organics, is as varied as people! See also: cigars, wine, whiskey, marijuana, salsas, cake, cookies, and many other “vices” that make life far more enjoyable.

        The main thing to know about beer is that it has three enemies: (UV) light, heat, and time. Try to avoid all three. Fresh beer is best. Beer in cans or brown bottles is key. (Avoid green and clear bottles.) UV light can “skunk” beer — convert hops oils to compounds exactly similar to what skunks make. First it starts to stink; then the flavor goes to hell.

        Now you know! 😀

        “I’m actually starting to buy into the theory that [Trump is] on Hilary’s side”

        As I said, if this were a political thriller novel, that would definitely be the case. I’m not much of a believer in conspiracy theories of any stripe. Mostly because I doubt the competence of people to pull them off without the secret coming to light.

        [shrug] I dunno. It may be exactly what it appears to be. An un-self-aware incredibly shallow narcissist with a huge ego. Although he is such a self-parody it does make you wonder if he’s “clever like a fox.” (I’d still bet not.)

        But I’d bet against it.

        “I missed the entire beginning.”

        They led off by asking all ten to raise their hand if they would not support the eventual Repub nominee. Only Trump did. In retrospect, I do wonder if that was a setup that may even have included a word to the other nine warning them the question was coming. Trump thinks it was a trap, and he might be right, but it was still a fair question regardless.

        It does become clearer and clearer to me that both the right and the left are working hard to get that guy out of the race. Talk about a spoiler!

        “Never tried raw octopus. That sounds really gross.”

        Heh. That it was literally just a section of tentacle — suckers included — was pretty weird. Mostly it was just rubbery and not very tasty.

        On the other hand, I’ve had Italian salads that had little tiny (less than an inch long) whole squids in it. I assume they were cooked (like shrimp). Actually, they were pretty tasty (like shrimp), but the itty bitty tentacles felt kinda weird in my teeth.

        Say, is there still a restaurant up in the hills above Phoenix, Rustler’s Roost? Big place with a wooden slide between floors. I had rattlesnake there, and — sure enough — it really does taste like chicken.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        Thanks for the info!

        I’m generally not a fan of fruity beers, but Magic Hat #9 is the exception. It’s light on the fruit…in fact, it used to be labeled “Apricot Ale” but they took that label off for some reason, even though it tastes exactly the same. Maybe they didn’t want to exclude those people who hate fruity beers? Since I’m not really drinking these days, I do sometimes get a fruity beer and drink half of it just because of the lower alcohol content.

        Even if it were beer snobbery…no apology necessary. I tend to get on well with snobs. 🙂

        I’m not so much a snob about beer, (although I won’t drink Budweiser or anything like that), but I am about bread. Same thing with French bread…just flour, salt, yeast and water. There are a few places where I can buy good bread here in Tucson, but I usually just make my own.

        On Trump, yeah, I admit it’s a conspiracy theory. I like to come up with them sometimes to expand my imagination. It’s interesting that Trump thinks that was a trap. I wondered why he admitted that…especially if I’m going with my conspiracy theory. That would make it pretty hard to conceal his plans for Hilary.

        I’m not sure why the left would want him out of the race. He’s doing a good job of sabotaging things for Republicans. At least until that snafu last night with his admitting he’d run as a third party.

        Oh yes, calamari is what you’re talking about. I’m a fan. I usually expect them to come in the form of rings, but sometimes you get the little squids. Those can be delicious. I had them pretty frequently in Greece.

        I’m not sure about that Rustler’s Roost. I’ve never heard of it. Not sure I’d want to eat rattlesnake though…even if it does taste like chicken. That just gives me the creeps. But who knows, I might do it if I were in the right mood.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “Even if it were beer snobbery…no apology necessary.”

        Beer (and wine and cigars) are highly prone to a gourmet attitude (versus a connoisseur attitude, which I define differently). But either can be prone to snobbery.

        I define a gourmet as someone interested in the boundaries of their topic. A gourmet isn’t always about what tastes good so much as what tastes unique. Or in unique ways of making something.

        I define a connoisseur as someone with educated and discerning tastes in the topic. They have a sense of quality, but are much less interested in experimenting. They just want the best.

        I’m not a beer gourmet (although my buddy is). There are entire areas of beer space that just don’t interest me, ’cause I don’t care for the taste. I do like to think I’m developing a sense of quality, though, so I’m in the process of becoming (maybe) a connoisseur.

        (I am a film gourmet. I’m fascinated by unusual ways of making films, or films that are hard to watch because they go someplace that’s hard to be. Se7en is an example. An outstanding film, but not one I want to ever watch again.)

        But gourmets and connoisseurs can forget that the best beer is (variously): A cold one. The last one you had. The one in your hand now.

        That said, in any given eatery or party, if the choice is Bud, Coors, or iced tea, it’ll be iced tea every time. But I’ll drink an MGD if offered one (although I have to concentrate to remember I’m drinking beer and not sparkling water). And I won’t touch anything with “Lite” in the name. Nor any “clear beer” (like Zima). Those aren’t beers in my book.

        The snobbery I see on beer rating sites is often a gourmet attitude. If a beer isn’t unusual enough, it’s not as good. Gourmets often take pride in (truly) enjoying beers most people can’t handle. I don’t like “big” (high alcohol — above 10%) beers very much, and many gourmet choices are for the bigger beers.

        “I am [a snob] about bread.”

        I don’t call that snobbery, just knowing what you like and having good taste. Totally with ya on bread. (Did you ever read my Bread Whine post? I’ll let it say it all for me. I especially like the opening! 🙂 )

        “I’m not sure why the left would want him out of the race.”

        I think part of it is ideological (which is to say “idiot logical”). He’s not one of them, doesn’t play the game, disturbs the “board.” No doubt many on the left would love having him in the race on the right (or independent, since that would amount to the same thing). But I think many also look at his success in the polls and tremble in their boots.

        “Oh yes, calamari is what you’re talking about.”

        I was about to argue with you, but thought I’d better look it up. You’ve just caused me to be more educated, so thanks! 😀 I would have put money on calamari being strictly fried rings. (That said, what I had was distinctly a seafood salad as opposed to a squid dish.)

        I’ve had enough (fried ring) calamari to know that, like snails, there’s a huge range in how it’s prepared, and that the preparation makes a huge difference! I didn’t even realize I liked calamari (or snails) until I had it done right.

        As a side note, I spent more than 20 minutes eye to eye with a squid in the Boston Aquarium once. We just kept staring at each other. There was some level of intelligence in those eyes.

        “Not sure I’d want to eat rattlesnake though…even if it does taste like chicken.”

        Something is apparently broken in my brain, because I just lack that association thing that everyone seems to have. That it is rattlesnake (or squid or alligator or emu) just doesn’t have an impact. (Nor do I reflexively wince when I see some guy take a shot to the nuts.)

        The rattlesnake was served like chicken nuggets. Deep-fried chunks. The cool part was it was served in a steam-cleaned section of ribcage! 😀

      • rung2diotimasladder

        “But gourmets and connoisseurs can forget that the best beer is (variously): A cold one. The last one you had. The one in your hand now.”

        Definitely. Cheers! (I’m having a glass of wine tonight.)

        Have you ever tried making bread? It’s not really that hard, but you do need to use a pizza stone (or, in my case, saltillo tiles). No bread machine required. Really.

        I tend to go for Pain Rustique, a French bread that I usually shape into rolls so I can freeze them. My husband loves to have them for breakfast. (I haven’t made them in a long time. I should…he’d be really grateful.)

        I know what you mean about foods done right. That’s why I try to be open-minded about food, especially if I know I’m in a place that has a good reputation.

        The ribcage thing would kind of creep me out. I might try a bite, but it really depends.

        Interesting experience with the squid. I find them scary looking, but fascinating too. Twenty minutes of staring! I wonder if he was thinking, “Why does this dude keep staring at me?” 🙂

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “Have you ever tried making bread?”

        Nah. I don’t cook (except as “cooking” is defined as putting something in the microwave).

        So long as I can find decent breads, I’m good.

        “Twenty minutes of staring! I wonder if he was thinking, ‘Why does this dude keep staring at me?'”

        He was clearly aware of me and that we were looking at each other. It was during a work day, so there weren’t too many people in the place, and it was just him (her?) and I.

        Squids are supposedly fairly intelligent. Cuttlefish, which are also members of the Cephalopoda class, may be especially so. In fact, come to think of it, I think that staring contest might have been with a cuttlefish. Talking about it brings back a more clear memory, and I think the reason I stared so long was having heard about cuttlefish from divers.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        I’ve heard the same thing. It’s hard to believe…they look so…slimy. I dunno. It’s so much easier to believe in intelligent dolphins and, of course, dogs. I remember an experience when I was a child. I don’t know where I was, but there was a dolphin swimming around in a pool. Kids could reach down and pet him. That day there weren’t any other kids around, and he popped his head up and splashed me by squirting water out of his mouth. I splashed him back and we got in a splashing war. He even seemed to laugh at me like Flipper. (Remember that show? “Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightening…no one you see, is faster than he…)

        But anyways, intelligent dolphins is old news.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yeah, truth is dolphins and dogs are about as smart as the average two-year-old (human). As such they’re well capable of humor and teasing. I read once that dolphins like to sneak up behind seagulls and pull their tail feathers.

        Some claim we shouldn’t mistake the natural shape of their mouths for smiling, but after interacting with a lot of dogs over my lifetime, I’m convinced they do smile (and have other facial expressions). At the very least, they have facial expressions that seem a lot like smiling in situations where I’d expect them to smile (and lack that expression in situations where I wouldn’t).

        Octopuses (and squid in general) are said to be as smart as dogs, and there are some very interesting stories about their problem-solving abilities. It’s the capuchin monkeys (often seen as “Organ Grinder monkeys”) and Corvidae that are scary smart.

        Crows solve multi-step problems that would confound any dog, and so do many primates. I’ve seen a video of a parrot trained to solve a multi-step problem recognize when a step had been removed that it could skip the first steps and jump to the step immediately following the removed one.

        We should probably be thankful birds don’t have hands, let alone opposable thumbs. They descended from lizards, and that whole lot are soulless, predatory, self-serving bastards!

        I used to hate crows for how they moved into an environment and pushed out other bird species. Then I realized, “Hey! They’re just like us! Welcome my brethren (and possible eventual masters)!” If they ever start conspiring with the capuchins, we’re screwed! o_O

      • rung2diotimasladder

        Okay, you win. Depending on who it comes down to, I’ll write in “Geordie Bear.” I think he’d make a great president in many ways. On foreign policy: “I’ll leave you alone. You do your thing, I’ll do mine. I won’t even bark at you when you pass by. However, don’t lick my dick while I’m trying to pee or hump me or in any way try to intimidate me or I’ll chase you away. If you don’t run, you don’t want to know what will happen.” (For the record, he’s never been in a fight. All the dogs—even the big ones—run away.) On health care: “Everyone deserves to have the same quality health care I get.” (I’m not quite kidding about this. If I get bitten by a rattlesnake, I think I’d want to go to his vet rather than the hospital down the street. I’ll even sleep in a cage to get that kind of care.) On securing the border: “I’ll let you in if you’re nice.” On education: “I love to learn. I can’t get enough of it. If only Mommy weren’t so lazy, always sitting at her computer instead of coming up with ways to stimulate my voracious mind. What’s wrong with you people? Why aren’t you like me?” On government spending: “I’ll take pork. In exchange, you get to scratch that soft spot behind my ear.”

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “Depending on who it comes down to, I’ll write in ‘Geordie Bear.'”

        An excellent plan! 😀 The most important thing is showing up!

        And I like his platform, although what’s his policy on cats? Can we just deport them all, or do we have to provide a path to eventual citizenship?

      • rung2diotimasladder

        Cats get the path to eventual citizenship. There’s got to be someone to do those jobs dogs don’t want…like being chased up a tree.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! I love it. Geordi Bear for President!!

        (Heh. The Keeshond we had when I was in h.s. was named Aggi Bear. I’d wanted to call the dog Agamemnon, but he was a she, so her full name was Aggi “Agamemnon” Bear. She’s the bottom two pics here.)

      • rung2diotimasladder

        I love the name Agamemnon! We actually considered changing Geordie’s name the night before we picked him up. That was one we considered, believe it or not. We eventually vetoed it because we thought it had too many syllables for a dog. We also kicked around Aristotle, vetoed for the same reason, Plato, vetoed just because…, Phaedrus was a good possibility, Geode was the best pick. Then we picked him up and noticed that he really knew his name, and there was no reason to change it. I actually like the name Geordie. And Geordie does seem kind of British. If he could speak, I’m sure he’d be soft-spoken, subtle, and careful. He hardly makes any noise. I have come to learn his signs of communication. Most of them involve shaking his head to jingle his collar. That’s how he wakes me up every morning (Daddy’s losing his hearing and never hears that). Sometimes he’ll sigh if he’s impatient or bored. If he has to go potty, he walks around a bit in a random way until I ask him if he needs to go outside. And he prefers to be invited to the couch rather than having to ask. Never begs at the dinner table. Never eats food that’s out on the coffee table (even though he wants it and can get to it). Never barks at other dogs unless they piss him off, never barks at all unless we play with the car or there’s a loud noise or perceived threat (like a javelina on the other side of the fence). Even when he gets scared of the thunder, he just asks to be invited to the bed to sleep with us. (How does he “ask to be invited”? He comes around to my side of the bed and looks at me. That’s it.)

        Dogs are just amazing. I’m sure you know that. Love the photos. So beautiful.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I think Geordie is a great name for a dog, so good choice! (I’m assuming it’s “Jor-die” not “Ghor-die”?)

        As you know, there is no other animal so tuned to, or so interactive with, humans as dogs. They can be amazing in what they communicate. I knew a Black Lab once (second best dog I’ve known personally) who would walk over the couch and then just look back asking permission. “Go ahead!” we’d say, and she’d climb up.

        Sam only barked like you describe with Geordie, so I know what you mean. I never put up with barking dogs, so they learn quickly it’s only for appropriate occasions. Sam wasn’t a major beggar, although I was pretty lax in that area (it was just the two of us, so who cares). She could be made to “go lay down!”

        I tended to let her “clean” the pots, dishes, and empty “butter” (I can’t believe it isn’t! 🙂 ) tubs, so she kept a careful eye on things. I always wondered if she had any sense of how thoroughly I was using up the good stuff before it got to her. She seemed to become especially alert as I got to the end of a “butter” tub. The noise of the knife in a mostly empty plastic container. Maybe it was just that the noise signified an imminent treat. I always imagined she was giving me the stink eye for not leaving enough.

        Geordie’s daddy is hard of hearing, too? Mine’s congenital, though. Life-long. PITA!

        Once a dog has thunder issues, it may be too late. For the future, if you have a young enough dog, I deliberately trained Sam about thunder and fireworks (we get some big electrical storms here sometimes). With every crack of thunder, I’d pretend to be all excited about it. “Yes! That was a good one!!” (Actually, not pretending… I love a good thunder storm!) Likewise when July 4th rolled around. Treated the noise like a really cool thing.

        Sam never had trouble with either. Barely noticed them, even. (That other dog I mentioned, the Black Lab (Molly), was terrified of thunder. She needed to be between your legs for safety, and it was amazing how a full-sized Black Lab could wedge herself in the space below your desk.

        Aggi was a cutie, no doubt about it. But she knew it. Both those pictures are poses! Keeshonds are mostly hair, so they look like drowned rats after a bath. She knew that, too, and really resented it.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        Yes, it’s “Jor-die”.

        Geordie does the same thing about asking to come up on the couch! He’ll put his paws up, then settle back down and wait to see if I pat the couch. When we first got him, he seemed to know not to jump up on furniture until he knew it was allowed. It was pretty amazing.

        Lately he’s been wanting to sleep up in bed with us and at first I was against that idea. I thought he’d be annoying and in the way and I wouldn’t get good sleep. It turns out he likes to cuddle for a few minutes, then he goes to the foot of the bed and crashes out, barely moving the whole night. I don’t even notice he’s there. It’s incredible.

        Dogs never cease to amaze me. One time I spent the night at a friend’s house and she had a pit bull. Those are heavy dogs, as you know. She stayed up to play video games and I crashed in her bed. The dog didn’t see me in the bed at first as she jumped up to get in. I woke up terrified that this dog was going to land on me. She seemed startled that I was there (I probably looked like a pile of blankets to her) and was equally startled. At the last second and practically in mid-air, she leapt over me! I was amazed by that. She seemed to know she’d crush me if she landed on me. She also knew she shouldn’t jump on me, but she jumped on big guys who could handle it. I noticed a similar phenomenon when I walked dogs at the pound. The big dogs rarely jumped on me, even if they were jumpers in general. It was like they knew they’d knock me over, so they would spin around in circles to show excitement instead.

        I wish I could give Geordie little tubs of butter and things like that. Unfortunately he has a very finicky stomach. Daddy gives him scraps from the table, despite my vetoes. Then I end up cleaning up the vomit.

        Sam might’ve been giving you the stink-eye! I noticed that ever since Daddy started feeding Geordie scraps from the table, Geordie stopped liking his regular treats. They definitely learn to hold out for more and better. Our last dog, Skippy, was the worst about that. He’d starve himself for days to get better food. I was determined not to let that happen with Geordie and I set the ground rules to never feed him from the table, but that didn’t work. Now Geordie waits under the table quietly while we eat. Daddy and I negotiate what can be given to him, and I usually lose that one. Then Daddy goes over to the kitchen with his plate (because that’s not “from the table”) and gives him something. The other day Daddy gave Geordie a sweet potato skin after I said Geordie could have a bit of sweet potato with no butter. Apparently the skins are not good for dogs (even though sweet potato is good), and we found that out the hard way.

        Yeah, Daddy is hard of hearing now. He’s reluctant to get a hearing-aid, but I’m really starting to pressure him. He blares the TV and it drives me nuts.

        What is PITA?

        Geordie’s a bit afraid of thunder, but he doesn’t run and hide like other dogs. He just gets closer to me. Then again, everything he does is sort of understated (except play), so it’s hard to say how scared he really is.

        So funny about the drowned rat thing! Skippy was the same way. He was a very small dog under all that fur, and once he got a bath he seemed to resent being exposed for what he was.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “I wish I could give Geordie little tubs of butter and things like that.”

        With Sam it was just a taste, since there was very little left in the tub (or on the plate). It was more giving her something to do than anything else. Would that small amount still be a problem for Geordie? (Well, he is a smaller dog.)

        I never gave Sam actual food. Well, not often, anyway. And never more than a small taste.

        “Geordie stopped liking his regular treats.”

        That, along with teeth on skin, is one of those things I won’t put up with in dogs. (Even more so the teeth on skin thing. That one’s crucial.) Any dog that tries that on me will starve. (And no dog will actually starve if food is available, so it’s just a mind-game they’re playing, and I. Won’t. Play. Or rather: I. Will. Win! XD )

        I give my dogs a lot of ground, often letting Sam pick the directions we’d walk, but make no mistake. I am the pack leader. Don’t even think of trying to take over. You won’t like the result.

        “He’s reluctant to get a hearing-aid,…”

        My dad was the same way. And even having them, he frequently wouldn’t wear them.

        I had them (in both ears) for years. I had to get them when I started doing some teaching and realized I needed to hear my students.

        The problem for me was my ears, being blocked, would fill with moisture which resulted in ear infections. Which led to sinus infections. Which became chronic. There was also that they didn’t work well in the very situations (high noise) I needed them most. My hearing is that bad plus I have tinnitus so I constantly feel I’m sitting inside an air conditioning duct.

        I’ve come to have a theory part of my hearing problem is the tinnitus masking sounds.

        Say! Speaking of health issues, I assume they did a thorough inspection of the crystals in your inner ear? Another email friend of mine wrote about a severe dizziness spell she had while visiting NYC recently, and it’s been diagnosed as “stuck” crystals in her inner ear.

        I hope your situation has improved some? If they somehow missed that idea, might be worth checking out. (I have a vague memory, though, that you started with inner ear and moved on from there?)

        “What is PITA?”

        Pain. In. The. Ass. XD

      • rung2diotimasladder

        Geordie’s good about eating his regular food, thankfully. (And he’s on a bland food diet, but seems to love it.) He has a pretty solid appetite. I think he just gets finicky with his treats when he smells something better. In truth, he likes to play for its own sake. I play “find the egg” with him (it’s a stuffed egg with a stuffed eggshell into which I hide a treat…then I hide the whole works somewhere while he “stays,” then I say, “Geordie, where’s the egg?” and he hunts it down.) Sometimes he finds the egg toy and plays with the toy and doesn’t care about the treat. The game itself is what he’s after.

        The only time Geordie ever did the teeth on skin thing was right after his rattlesnake bite when we had to force feed him with a syringe. It was only a brief second and he never bit down. It was more like a reflex, then he realized himself and submitted. At that point we hadn’t had him for long and he didn’t fully trust us yet, so it must’ve taken a lot for him to put up with that. He didn’t even like being picked up at that point. Now he lets me stick my fingers near his eyes to pull out his eye boogers (I used to let him sniff them so he’d know what I was doing with his eyes, but I stopped when I found out he likes to eat them), he lets me pick him up any time, he lifts his paw up when he gets a burr stuck in there and waits for me to pick it out, etc.

        Other than that, he’s never even come close, and we play rough sometimes. (We play keep-away which sometimes involves snatching a toy right out from under him. He usually pauses and stares at the toy to give me a chance, then I use my fingers to make a little “spider” that inches its way closer and closer. Then we both freeze and see who can get the toy first.) Never had a problem. I’m kind of surprised he hasn’t accidentally bitten me while playing.

        I wonder if hearing aids have become better over the years? I don’t know much about them. My husband has a hard time hearing high-pitches and yes, in crowded restaurants, he can’t hear well at all. I “hear” there are hearing aids that work for those situations? Have you tried any of the new hearing aids?

        That sucks about the sinus infections and tinnitus. I have that, but it doesn’t get to the point where it bothers me. Some people talk about hearing crickets and such. That would be awful. Sometimes I hear thudding in my right ear, sometimes a loud high pitch that usually goes away in a few seconds. In fact, right now it’s a low-grade ringing that I don’t really notice unless I think about it.

        I did get all those hearing tests done at the beginning. My husband had vertigo issues and the Epley manoeuvre worked really well for him. (That moves the crystals back into place.) Might want to let your friend know about that. It really works, and it doesn’t require a doctor’s visit!

        For me, they did “caloric” and hearing tests, and all those came out fine. They did another one called “VEMP” (Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential, I think) and found a “delayed latency” in my right ear. That meant that there was no inner ear problem, but there could be a lesion on my vestibulospinal tract. What does that mean? Nobody really knows. The VEMP test is fairly new and people don’t really know what to make of it yet, but the technician told me it’s extremely accurate. In any case, part of the reason the neurologist kept looking for MS was because that result on the VEMP is common for people with MS. Of course, it doesn’t mean I have MS, just that people with MS often have that result. And that result doesn’t point to anything else…at least nothing anyone knows about. In the end, I was given the choice to try an SSRI or go to the Mayo clinic. I chose the former. I’m sick of getting tested for things.

        My “dizziness” was never vertigo (thankfully). It was light-headedness and other strange feelings of g-force (either straight down or up). Then it became an electric shock feeling or “buzzing”. I did some research and found out that that is a symptom of people coming off certain SSRIs, except mine was constant and not painful. At that point, I’d never taken any SSRIs. I took one SSRI for about a month, and found it helped, but turned me into a zombie. I could just stare at the walls for hours. Now I’m on an SNRI and the buzzing and zombie feeling is mostly gone, but I still have the fatigue (despite the narcolepsy meds, which I can take and then fall asleep!) Plus I’m still taking the epilepsy pill in the afternoon, which is when the buzzing picks up again. With all the pills, I can get through the day. I take some pretty incredible naps, but at least I can do things again. It’s no fun being stuck in bed or in a reclined position.

        I still haven’t gained weight (the doc wants me at 115 lbs), but at least I’m not losing weight either. I’m starting to get more exercise in the form of Geordie activities, but I really need to be doing weight lifting. Talk about PITA! 🙂

        Speaking of how amazing dogs are, just last week Geordie and I were playing and I jumped up from the floor and started to run with his toy into the other room. I had a terrible bout of light-headedness to the point of almost blacking out. When I recovered, I resumed playing again, but Geordie just looked up at me like, “Settle down. Don’t be an idiot.” He wouldn’t engage! And you mentioned how dogs seem to have expressions similar to ours. He had this concerned look on his face and came over and licked me. He started being very gentle and relaxed, as if to lead his stupid owner by example.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “I think he just gets finicky with his treats when he smells something better.”

        Heh! Given that doggie treats may be edible for humans, but are hardly what they’d pick given any choice at all, who can blame a dog for thinking the same way?

        “It was only a brief second and he never bit down. It was more like a reflex, then he realized himself and submitted.”

        Yep, I’ve seen the same thing from various dogs. Even vets can be cautious with injured dogs and procedures that will give them a moment of pain. (And the vets don’t have the advantage of being their known pack leader.)

        “I’m kind of surprised he hasn’t accidentally bitten me while playing.”

        Their mouths are to them what our hands are to us, and they’ve very, very good with them. When Sam was very young, we were playing ball outside and I grabbed for it just as she sprang for it and my finger and her teeth tried to occupy the same space. Cut me pretty good, actually, and she was more upset about it than I was.

        “I wonder if hearing aids have become better over the years?”

        Mine were fairly advanced, although it’s been over a decade now since I gave them up, and I’m sure they’re even better now. I keep meaning to check them out, but: (A) They’re actually quite expensive and I’m not sure the price/payoff makes it worth it; (B) They’re very fragile and sensitive to water (I’ve had mine go dead for weeks over a drop of water); (C) There’s the whole ear infection thing.

        If I wasn’t so utterly single, it would be more worthwhile. Tragically, my hearing is worst in the female voice range (and higher). Makes pillow talk tough.

        “My husband had vertigo issues and the Epley manoeuvre worked really well for him.”

        I’ll definitely mention it to her!

        “I still haven’t gained weight”

        I wish I could send you some of mine. Not having a dog I must walk hasn’t been ideal.

        “He started being very gentle and relaxed, as if to lead his stupid owner by example.”

        Aw, he’s worried about you! I’ve always wondered what goes on in their heads. What is the “something it is like” to be a dog? Sometimes I think if I could get one unanswerable question answered it would be that one. I’ll take God on faith; I wanna know about Dog!

      • rung2diotimasladder

        “If I wasn’t so utterly single, it would be more worthwhile.” Hm. Maybe. It all depends. 🙂

        “I wish I could send you some of mine. Not having a dog I must walk hasn’t been ideal.”

        I know what you mean. I wouldn’t get any exercise at all if it weren’t for Geordie.

        If you could send me the weight to borrow for my next doctor’s appointment, I promise to send it back promptly. I’m actually really happy with where I’m at now, but my doc wants me at 115. I argued with him a bit about the BMI index, then realized I’d better shut up or else he’ll think I’m anorexic. (He started giving me that look.) Plus, I really hate the beta blocker he put me on for hyperthyroidism and don’t want to take any more pills. It drops my blood pressure and I’m wondering if it’s too low for me. (Doc told me to eat more salt. I couldn’t possibly eat more salt without literally pouring it down my throat. And I did. Once. Then I switched to eating a ridiculous number of olives until I couldn’t stand to look at them anymore.) So yeah, if you could just let me borrow the weight, I’ll give it back in a jiffy.

        “Aw, he’s worried about you! I’ve always wondered what goes on in their heads. What is the “something it is like” to be a dog? Sometimes I think if I could get one unanswerable question answered it would be that one. I’ll take God on faith; I wanna know about Dog!”

        I hear you on that. Sometimes I wonder if we make it a little too complicated though.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “If you could send me the weight to borrow for my next doctor’s appointment, I promise to send it back promptly.”

        Oh, no, I don’t think so! It’s yours to keep; I don’t want it back!

        “I couldn’t possibly eat more salt without literally pouring it down my throat. And I did. Once.”

        Ew, that sounds worse than the Cinnamon Challenge! I’m sure I way get my fair share of salt. I’ve been nibbling pretzels a lot lately. Watching TV — even reading sometimes — is physically boring (TV is too often mentally boring, but I seem addicted to it). Munching while watching, or reading, is a problem. The way I nibble a little pretzel — nibble, nibble, nibble — makes one last for, I dunno, 15 seconds or so? It can take me half an hour or more to go through a small bowl.

        But the damn things are covered in salt, and especially when I pour out the last portion in the bag, the bowl has all this course salt in it. Which I end up idly eating some of… stick a wet fingertip into the salt to transfer some to my tongue. Mmmmm…. salt shot!

        “Sometimes I wonder if we make it a little too complicated though.”

        Saying we anthropomorphize them? Nah… I’ve never thought my dogs acted like apes (or like anthropologists, for that matter). They’re just like me! [He said with a straight face.]

  • E.D.

    “Not to make a huge thing over a commercial, but our art tends to reflect our social sensibilities, and I find the juxtaposition and implications interesting here. And, to be clear, I’ve enjoyed these commercials (because assholes get their just desserts, and that seems to happen too rarely in life).” – very good para.. I thought i would repost it here. Eve

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I’m glad you liked it! 😀

      (If you work through all the comments above, you’ll see I got “just desserts” wrong. Sort of, anyway. Many do say “desserts” but it actually should be “deserts”. #SmarterEveryDay)

      • E.D.

        no i could not work through the comments.. what are comments???? – being snide. Eve

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Heh. Maybe those who are into the same things you are — Eastern religion and spirituality and flowers — are all just nodding their heads and going, “Yeah! Totally!” but don’t feel the need to comment. Maybe you should be glad. Another type of commenter is the one telling you how you’ve gotten it all wrong. But from what I’ve seen, what you write doesn’t seem controversial. (To be honest, I read your posts, which are all very nice, but don’t comment much because the topics just aren’t in my bailiwick or sphere of activity. Maybe others are similar?)

        They do say it’s good to end your post with a question to spark reply comments. That always feels like begging to me, so I don’t usually do that, but I have to say I’ve seen other bloggers get good results with it.

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