With apologies to Ms. Angelina Jolie, for riffing on the title of her soon-to-be-released major motion picture about love, courage, and exceptional beauty, but we pretty girls have to stick together.
Fasten your seat belts and hold onto your mouse, kids. Roxie's World hereby announces its very first miracle. No, Paul hasn't been resurrected and climbed out of the toilet and back into our fish pond, and, no, we haven't proven that Mary Cheney's child was conceived through divine or diabolical intervention. No, loyal fans, the miracle is ME, ME, ME -- your very own favorite dog blogger. The moms took me to the doctor on Tuesday. It was time for my semi-annual checkup with the world's most amazing Portuguese canine cardiologist, Dr. Luis Braz-Ruivo, who has been treating my mitral valve prolapse since early last year. (I've posted about Dr. B. before. For a good description of why the moms and I heart my heart doctor so much, click here.) I was a very good dog on this visit, as Dr. B. put me up on his wooden table and hooked me up to the big computer that shows my leaky old heart in action. As usual, he dimmed the lights and he and the moms traded pleasantries while images of my heart flickered in the darkness. The report from my last visit was very good, but the news this time was nigh on to miraculous. Dr. B. says that my left atrium has decreased in size because my heart is leaking less. In other words, my heart condition has actually improved, though the goal and expectation of our treatment has merely been to keep it from getting worse. In other words, your favorite dog blogger is a machine-certified medical miracle! Touch your screen, kids, and perhaps the miracle will rub off on you. Go on. You know you want to.
I'd like to thank my moms for their dedication to the cause of canine cardiac health. I'd like to thank whatever German genius invented liverwurst (aka the world's most effective canine pill delivery system). And I'd like to thank you, my legions of loyal fans, for holding me in the light and knowing in your own leaky or un-leaky hearts that dog is love. I couldn't have done it without you.
While we're in a celebratory mood, allow me to point out yet another new widget that an increasingly adventurous Moose has installed on the blog. We now have a "Backwards Bush" countdown widget over in the sidebar. (You can get one, too, for free, right here.) As of today, the incredible shrinking Shrub has less than 600 days left in his ignominious reign. That's still plenty of time for him and his evil crew to make plenty of mischief, but it's less time than he had yesterday.
Here are some other feel-good bits of news in a week when grim news from Iraq gives us still more cause for sorrow:
- A study shows that altruism is hard-wired into the brain and that generosity toward others "activated a primitive part of the brain that usually lights up in response to food or sex." In other words, placing the interest of others before one's own is not a superior moral faculty but is rooted in the chemistry of the brain. It's a fascinating story with rather extraordinary implications. Read it here. Most interesting point: "The more researchers learn, the more it appears that the foundation of morality is empathy. Being able to recognize -- even experience vicariously -- what another creature is going through was an important leap in the evolution of social behavior. And it is only a short step from this awareness to many human notions of right and wrong, says Jean Decety, a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago."
- Barbara Holland has written a lively new book called The Joy of Drinking that celebrates the sociability of drinking and rails against "the rise of broccoli, exercise, and Starbucks." Goose just ordered the book, which we haven't read yet, but Wa Po's "Style" profile on Holland is a kick. It reads like a how-to manual for feisty women who intend to grow old by being bad. I have a hunch it will resonate with some of my most devoted fans, not to mention my typist. It's here. Best line: "I'm in favor of a little more sociability, a little more merriment, maybe even a little more singing and dancing," she says. "Jeepers, I'm so old that I remember when we all used to sing all the time." Holland should have been at our house over Memorial Day. The moms and their pals could have demonstrated there is still plenty of drinking, singing, and dancing, at least in Roxie's World.
- Cindy Sheehan "resigned" this week as the face of the American anti-war movement. (Read her letter of resignation here.) With all due respect to Sheehan for her hard work and sacrifice, I call this "good news" because I agree that she needs a break to re-assess her role, her strategy, and the long-term goals of the movement she came to represent. We were all disappointed that Democrats failed to get timetables for withdrawal into last week's vote on funding for the war, but we also have to be patient, realistic, and tactically smart. Statements like, "Good-bye America ...you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it," will only undermine the cause and give aid and comfort to those who claim that opponents of the war "hate America." This isn't about you, Ms. Sheehan. It's about all of us finding ways to make peace and a better world.
Note from Tech Support on Listening: Moose tested the blog on Internet Explorer 6.0 yesterday and noted that the music box doesn't work. Time to upgrade, beloveds -- Or better yet: Switch to Firefox. That's what all the cool kids are doing, and Roxie's World is a much prettier, fully functioning place if you access us that way. Of course, in an ideal world, you'd all be Mac users, too, but we know that's too much to hope for. We embrace the un-cool as well as the cool and love you, love you all.