Saturday, February 24, 2007

Dream Work

Oh, sleep! It is
a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole.
--Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Goose says she has boring dreams. Often, Moose will roll over in the morning and regale us with the elaborate details of her nocturnal adventures--hilarious work-anxiety dreams, scary unresolved-family-stuff dreams, fleeting glimpses of her late father's tender face, fading echoes of his voice. Goose shakes her head and says, "I dreamed I was in the canned food aisle at Safeway, trying to choose among different brands of tomato sauce."

The other night, though, Goose had an Academy Award-worthy dream. She told me it was okay to share it with my legions of loyal fans because you all know we have been worried about our fish, John, Paul, and George-Ringo, who have endured--we hope--the Washington area's recent snap of very cold weather underneath the thick slab of ice that has formed on their pond in our yard. We've all been concerned, though we know that koi hibernate in winter and that the pond isn't frozen all the way to the bottom.

Anyway, Goose dreamed she had gone down to check on the pond to make sure the water was still flowing. (Pond maintenance is one of Goose's regular chores.) She went and stood on the edge and looked down into the pond. In real life, our pond is about three feet deep and usually clouded by dirt or algae, but the dream pond was crystal clear and unfathomably deep. Not only that, instead of just three fish, the pond was teeming with fish--leaping, iridescent, in varied patterns of orange, white, and black. Goose stood and watched them in joy and admiration. The fish were safe. The spring would come again.

Moose loved this dream. She thinks dreams of water always have great psychic importance and that fish are signs of regeneration, transformation on the deepest levels. She's not sure where she got this idea--possibly from the footnotes to The Waste Land, perhaps from a Celtic folk band she heard in France at the age of seventeen. In any case, the dream made all of us happy and willing to believe that something wonderful was about to happen.

Let's hold that pleasant thought in our minds as we hunker down for the last few weeks of winter. I noted a few other propitious signs this week:

  • It looks as though a small but significant backlash against the backlash against Hillary Clinton may be setting in. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd published yet another ridiculous anti-Hillary screed this week, but Vanity Fair writer James Wolcott has a great piece from a few weeks ago that nicely dissects Dowd's mind-clouding Clinton hatred. Meanwhile, over at Huff Po, which has otherwise become a bastion of Hillary hatred, comedian Elayne Boosler offers a full-throated affirmation of Hillary's fitness for the job of president. She praises her toughness, her experience, and even her refusal to apologize for having voted to authorize military action in Iraq.
  • Christian conservatives are reportedly unhappy with their choices so far for 2008. Apparently, John McCain can't tack far enough to the right to appease the far, far right, and there is just enough anti-Mormon bigotry among fundamentalists to assure that the flip-flopping Mitt Romney will never get off the ground. Stubborn Republicans are refusing to heed the message of the recent election and seem determined to march in lockstep over a cliff of ideological purity. Moose is convinced that any Democrat could beat any Republican who is likely to get the nomination.
  • It's almost March. The non-lady Terps have a winning record in the ACC conference and seem poised to get back in the NCAA tournament for the first time in three years. The Maryland women still seem rattled in the big games, but I have a hunch coach Brenda Frese will have her team's head on straight come tourney time.
Cheer the turtle, friends! Spring is coming. The moms and I took a three-mile walk today. And everybody knows Dick Cheney is a freeze-dried lunatic. Things are getting better, bit by bit.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Holiday on Ice

(Photo Credit: Ricky Carioti, The Washington Post)

Old dogs are reluctant to admit it, but we actually don't like to learn new tricks. Which is why I haven't been too pleased by the fact that Mother Nature decided to turn my large back yard into an ice rink this week. My thirteenth birthday is coming up (April 1, for fans who haven't yet marked their calendars), so it's a little late for me to be trying to master the triple lutz just so I can go to the bathroom. Peggy Fleming I am not, despite a certain icy elegance. Indeed, I've been so discombobulated by the lake of glass my world has become that I broke one of my new year's resolutions this week (#3: bladder control) and had an accident in the house. That, of course, was my moms' fault. They hadn't gotten the ice cleared off the deck and stairs to give me a clear path down to the yard, and even though I rather like tinkling on the deck when it's covered in snow, I was so rattled by the disruption in my routine that I tinkled on the basement floor as a form of protest. As a consequence, Moose attacked the deck and stairs with a shovel yesterday afternoon. She had that wild "Mommy Dearest" look she gets in her eye from time to time when there's been some particularly egregious violation of household order. She cleared me a path. My yard is mine again, and Moose has a pleasant ache in her shoulders from her upper-body workout. All is right with our world, except for some lingering concern about how our three fish might be faring in their almost completely frozen pond. There's still a tiny trickle of water flowing in the waterfall, but I can't imagine what John, Paul, and George-Ringo are doing underneath that huge block of ice. I walked out on it one day last week to see if I could find them. No such luck. Poor guys. It's like Gitmo, only colder.

On the other hand, it was a delightful week for curling up on the couch with the moms to watch the fabulous Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which we did on Monday and Tuesday evenings. Fans of Roxie's World know I was disappointed that a terrier didn't win Best in Show, but I was pleased that James, the English springer spaniel who upset the adorable little Dandie Dinmont everyone had been expecting to win, at least has a tie to the Washington area. (His owners are from Fairfax, Virginia.) I think it's funny that my moms get such a kick out of watching dog shows. It's not as though hyper-obedience and obsessive grooming have ever been goals they've aspired to as dog people. Even the pure-bred thing is a little weird when you think about it, proud though I am of my AKC registration papers. When it comes to people, after all, my moms are all for mixture, variation, and the broadest possible spectrum of difference, so why is it that when it comes to dogs they are riveted by a spectacle of purity and sameness? Moose is quick to denounce pretension in any form, yet all those snooty-sounding breed names trip off her tongue as if she had been born saying them: "Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen," she'll intone from the couch, just because she can. Have I stumbled upon a contradiction, or are the moms just eager to watch some dog-inclusive entertainment on a cold winter's night? In the long run, perhaps it doesn't matter. We're snuggled up and hanging out, together, and they let me know who's "Best in (their) Show" this night and every night.

Just in case that sweet moment of companion-species romance didn't make your teeth hurt, click on this heart-warming story about a great program called Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in which dogs help kids learn to read by offering them a fully present and completely nonjudgmental audience. If I'm not mistaken, my friend Dudley the beagle, who comments regularly on Roxie's World, participates in this program. Weigh in, Dudley, and give us a dog's-eye-view of this amazing concept.

Heads up, loyal fans: As of this post, we've finally switched to the new version of Blogger. Aside from being able to do labels for posts, we're not sure what that means, but stay tuned for a new and improved Roxie's World. As you know, your pleasure is our top priority, so let us know what you think.

Friday, February 02, 2007

What Would Molly Say?

(Photo Credit: Carolyn Mary Bauman, Forth Worth Star-Telegram via AP)

From this day on Roxie's World has an official motto, a motto that nicely captures this blog's spirit of dogged dedication to the cause of justice and comic skewering of the high-falutin' and the high and mighty, not to mention people who are mean to animals or who fail to clean up dog-doo in the park. Our motto, What Would Molly Say?, is a tribute to the late, great, and too soon gone Molly Ivins, Texas populist and rabble-rouser who never met an ego she couldn't knock down to size with a well-turned phrase and who never stopped believing that this wacky, messed-up nation could and would live up to its promises of liberty and justice for all.

I solemnly swear to my legions of loyal fans that Molly's keen eye and irrepressible spirit will live on in some humble way right here in Roxie's World. With every beat of my leaky heart and every tap of Moose's clumsy fingers on the keyboard, I dedicate myself to facing every fresh outrage with a Molly-esque mixture of ferocity and laughter. I call upon you, my loyal fans, to make the same vow, to wake up every morning with Molly's immortal words echoing in your own frail yet fearless hearts:

Keep fighting for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce.
Every time you turn on the news and see that the Bush-leaguers are cranking up the scary talk to justify some new assault on civil liberty, ask yourself: What would Molly say?

Every time you see a reference to intelligence reports purporting to show Iranian involvement in attacks on U. S. soldiers in Iraq or evidence of weapons development, ask yourself: What would Molly say?

Every time you think about the government's massive failure first to protect and then to re-build the areas damaged by Hurricane Katrina, ask yourself: What would Molly say?

Every time Karl Rove or Dick Cheney or George Bush opens his mouth and some new lie pops out, ask yourself: What would Molly say?

And then, dammit, say it, because it needs saying--over and over, every day, for how ever many days you have left on this sweet, fragile earth. Say it, because you're here and she's not. Say it, because not saying it will pinch your spirit and threaten your sanity. Say it, with a smile on your face and the fire of determination burning in your belly. Say it, and then get up tomorrow and say it again.

Here are some wonderful tributes to Molly, from columnist E. J. Dionne, author Maya Angelou, and her good friends and co-conspirators from The Nation. Read them. Weep, laugh, and then get up off your butt and do something. Molly wouldn't have it any other way.

Update: Moose and Goose are still taking Molly's death pretty hard, so they wanted me to add in a few more tribute links. Here's one to Molly's second-to-the-last column, in which she vows to write against the war in every single column until we find a way to end it. Here is New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's piece that documents Molly's prescience about the disasters that would likely follow a U. S. invasion of Iraq. (We like this one because part of Krugman's point is to show that Molly wasn't merely funny. She was also damn smart.) Finally, here is the virtual memorial service being hosted by Molly's friends and colleagues at the Texas Observer. You'll need a hankie or three to make it through this one, but it's worth the effort.

Peace out, friends.