Le Holiday Feast

Freshpet makes refrigerated food and treats for dogs and cats using natural ingredients. You’ve probably seen their stuff at all the stores.

They made a video for their website of 13 dogs and one cat sitting down for a holiday feast…with human hands. Yeah, we’ve seen the human hands thing before but this video tickled me because of the dogs’ interactions. I actually could relate some of the canines to some actual family members, especially the one with a flask.

Here, for your enjoyment, is Le Holiday Feast:

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Pillow Talk – Dig It!

Today was the 42nd annual Honolulu Marathon. The starter’s gun triggered a fireworks extravaganza at 5 a.m. when about 22,000 folks launched themselves on to the rainy streets of pre-dawn Oahu.

The Kenyan and Ethiopian runners finished about ten minutes later. Here’s some video from our local paper The Honolulu Star Advertiser:

About the Kenyans and Ethiopians…I kid, but not by much. Those guys and gals are fast. I’ve watched them run by and my two lasting impressions were that their legs start immediately below their shoulders and their feet barely touch Planet Earth.

Max, the AJF and I participated in the Honolulu Marathon the same way we do for the famous Ironman competition: we roll over, pull up the covers and go back to sleep. Three heads in the bed.

The official designated Malt Spot at the foot of the bed.

The official designated Malt Spot at the foot of the bed.

The little white dog has a funny relationship with our communal bed. His official spot is at the foot of the mattress directly below the AJF whose limited height means there is enough space for a small dog. Were he on my side he’d have to contend with two huge feet that generally extend over the edge of the bed.

In the course of any given night Max roams about the bed. If I am on my side he deposits himself with a resounding thud in “the pocket,” the concave space formed by my fetal position.

If the AJF and I are both stretched out he will get in between us and lie on his back hoping for a late night belly scratch.

Based on the drama that accompanies the climb, you'd think this was the back way up Kilimanjaro.

Based on the drama that accompanies the climb, you’d think this was the back way up Kilimanjaro.

Max has a set of stairs by the bed so he can come and go at will. On warmer summer nights he frequently will leave the bed and sleep on a stretch of cooler tile floor.

Even in winter he will get up, descend the stairs and have a sip from his water bowl before returning to snuggle again. The problem is that he makes an unholy amount of noise for a tiny dog and he persists in slamming himself against us when re-occupying “his” territory.

The bed plays other roles in Max’s life. When angry he will retreat to the bed, bury himself under the pillows and start that strange digging behavior we have all seen dogs do. Humped back and with a look of furious intent on his face, he burrows into the bottom sheet as if to dig his way to a place where more compliant dog owners might live.

Here he is...the Maltese bed cave diver coming up for air after a major hissy fit and bed digging episode. All because we needed to go to the grocery store without him.

Here he is…the Maltese bed cave diver coming up for air after a major hissy fit and bed digging episode. All because we needed to go to the grocery store without him.

His bed digging is quite different from his carpet digging.

The carpet dig is done with one paw in a desultory fashion while rotating about a pivot point roughly under his fuzzbutt.

The resentful bed digging is a rapid alternating of paws. No fooling, you can really see that he is angry.

Other digging behavior occurs after baths. As soon as he is released from a good towel drying he rockets to my favorite easy chair, jumps up and starts digging into the chair. We think this activity, like bed spelunking, is an expression of canine indignation.

For such a ball of fluff the Malt has a giant personality. Some folks wish they could talk to their dogs but after watching a few of these digging episodes I think there are times when I’d rather not hear what Max might have to say.

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Mulling December 7

“A date that will live in infamy.”

That was President Franklin D. Roosevelt describing December 7, 1941 the date when Japan attacked the US at Pearl Harbor.

Within an hour of the “Infamy Speech,” Congress passed a formal declaration of war against Japan and officially brought the U.S. into World War II.

In Hawaii we have a very personal connection with Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor layout

Pearl Harbor layout

We know the giant Naval Base and its sister airfield Hickam as a New Yorker knows the World Trade Center buildings; we know it as a San Franciscan knows the Golden Gate Bridge. They are part of our daily lives. The warp and woof of life on Oahu .

So December 7th has a special meaning here. There are so many stories about that day. Unbelievable courage. Incredible sacrifice.

For some Americans the story is a binary stage play. US – good; Japan – bad.

That kind of thinking doesn’t recognize the many levels of complexity surrounding the events of that day, the start of the war or the impacts of the war on the lives of people around the world.

By “people” I mean the plain folk, the little ones, the fodder of war on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

People like my very own Alpha Japanese Female – the AJF.

Here’s a little secret, keep it to yourself: my one and only is a bit older than me! I was not even long-tailed swimmer in Dad’s slacks at the outbreak of World War II whereas she was a toddler during the war years, living in a little town just outside of Tokyo.

As you will imagine, her perspectives of those times are different from mine and from those of many other Americans. (She has been a US citizen for many years.)

As a very young child she grew up believing and trusting in all the things told to her by the powers of a very hierarchical and rigid society. She believed in the divinity of the Emperor, directly descended from the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu Omikami. Years later she listened to the radio and heard the Emperor himself deny that divinity.

The Ginza area, Tokyo's major commercial and shopping area following aerial bombing, 27 Jan 1945.

The Ginza area, Tokyo’s major commercial and shopping area following aerial bombing, 27 Jan 1945.

Her war memories are those of a wee child, of course, more scary imagery and mental flashes rather than actual detail or narrative.

She recalls a sense of fear, militarism, and deprivation. She clearly recalls the ceaseless propaganda and being entreated to live in conformance with the Bushido code which had its roots in the samurai culture of Japan’s feudal period.

She remembers the surrender of her country and then its astonishing post-war transformation.

For me, that slice of history is in a book; for her, it is in her memory.

My most personal contact with the war was a string of stories told by my father who drove a landing craft at Anzio and later served in the Pacific. My perceptions reflect watching a lot of old movies on late night TV.

For my AJF it’s direct experiences of the bombings of the capital city, the devastation and the loss of her sister Chizuko. It’s memories, although a bit vague, of  broken families and desperate survival.

The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

In Pearl Harbor, over by Ford Island, there is the Arizona Memorial, a somber place that reminds us of the cost of war.

It is very popular with Japanese tourists, almost all of whom are too young to have a personal connection to the memorial.

To them it’s all old-time stuff.

Once in a while you spot a veteran of December 7, 1941. An American or maybe an elderly Japanese person visiting this solemn place. For the survivors of that day, a visit to the Arizona is intensely personal, almost unbearably so.

I have another  personal story that I was mulling over this day. This one also involves the AJF.

When we lived in Utah, we decided to load up the RV and take Max on a tour of the internment camps that were established for Japanese Americans during WWII. The ruins of these camps stand as testimony to a shameful racist bias against Japanese Americans fueled by the pressurized emotions of the war. It’s not a proud part of our nation’s history.

The AJF was never in a camp; she didn’t come the US until a decade or so after the war. She knew about them, of course, but had never had a chance to set foot where the camps were situated. We wondered what daily life was like for the people held in the camps during World War II. So off we went.

Ansel Adams' 1943 phot of the Manzanar Relocation Camp entrance.

Ansel Adams’ 1943 photo of the Manzanar Relocation Camp entrance.

We visited many sites in Idaho, California, Utah and Oregon. Places with names like Manzanar, Tule Lake, Minidoka and more.

Topaz

Topaz Internment Camp outside Delta, Utah.

Perhaps the most poignant of our destinations was Topaz, the “war relocation center” in northern Utah.

We were there on a day when the clouds were low and dark and the never-ending wind-swept across the barren landscape and our only companions were tumbleweeds. I doubt there was another person within miles.

These days there is very little to see at Topaz. Dirt, a few foundations and footings for guard towers, and traces of roads. It’s an unwelcoming place in the ass end of nowhere.

There’s a little monument at Topaz to the people who were incarcerated here. The American flag flies above, whipped by the wind over the desert.

The Topaz memorial. It's a bleak place.

The Topaz memorial. It’s a bleak place.

The AJF walked away from me and stood facing the camp area. Just standing. Seemed like forever.

I took a snapshot of her. That image of a little Japanese lady leaning against the perpetual wind with her head bowed and her arms folded tightly about her silently screams solitude and loss.

Then she walked back and got in the car. I wanted to ask what was on her mind but somehow that felt awkward.

She looked at me, looked back at the camp, stared out the front window and said words I will never forget.

“So many people on both sides think everything about that war was black and white, but actually everything was shades of grey. But there was so much loss. It was such a waste of life.”

Then she started to cry.

We sat there for a long time. Later, we talked about the strangeness of life, fate  or random coincidence that led the two us to a happy life together despite such different beginnings and lives after December 7, 1941.

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Professor Max, Parte Doo

The Professor.

The Professor.

You may recall that The Professor recently waxed eloquent in his presentation about the similarities of dog and guys.

Some wondered if he would address the similarities between cats and the fairer gender.

Some opined that topic would be too controversial. Some said the malt needs to check his male canine privilege at the door to the dog house.

Some said. “Yeah, Max, go get ‘em.”

It was not easy to decide if Max’s cat/woman post should grace these pages. It is not our intent to ignite, let alone fan, the fires of controversy.

This is, after all, a silly dog blog but we have a strong sense of fairness here Within the K Streets. So be gone caution! We spit in the wind, tug Superman’s cape and otherwise flaunt Jim Croce’s admonitions to present Professor Max’s latest silly-bus:

WHAT CATS AND WOMEN HAVE IN COMMON

“Cats are like women–we may fart, but it’s quiet, polite, dignified, and never in public.” – Justine Lee, Author

1  A cat accepts no master, essentially because it does not trust anyone it perceives as less intelligent, which comprises 100% of the world’s inhabitants.

2  Cats are obsessed about matters of personal hygiene, constantly preening, cleaning, trimming, nipping and tucking.

3  Cats always want what they cannot have. You, sir, may not touch her secret inventory of chocolate on pain of death but she feels 100% entitled to all of your possessions from your favorite tee shirt to those Costco oatmeal-raisin cookies that you love so dearly.

4  A cat knows immediately whose lap it will sit in as soon as it walks into a room, a behavior also seen in every bar and cocktail lounge in town.

5  Whenever you are busy the cat will want your attention, but the moment you want to cuddle, the cat will be asleep, hiding, and half-baked on catnip or not in the mood.

6  A cat will blame others for everything that goes wrong in its life. From belly bloat to car accidents, it is not the cat’s fault and someone must be held accountable.

7  Rubbing against you is an expression of ownership. (See previous comment about behavior in bars.)

8  Cats demand, expect and get compliance to a schedule that is based solely on their needs and desires.

9  Once you bring a cat into your home everything that’s yours also belongs to the cat. Everything brought into the house from that point forward also belongs to the cat, if the cat decides it wants it.

10  Cats can verbalize hundreds of distinct sounds and insist on demonstrating that ability at every opportunity, especially during the final moments of a close football game or boxing match and when trying to fall asleep.

11  Cats always intrude in places you don’t want them. No secret stash of contraband is safe if a cat is in the house. Cats take it as a personal challenge to find what is being hidden.

12  Cats enjoy playing with their prey before delivering the coup de grace and consider that old movie title “Every Which Way But Loose” as an instruction when dealing with lesser species, which are all of them.

13  You can try to boss a cat around. The attempt will end badly, probably painfully, but you can try.

14  No matter what food is set before it, the cat will deliver just the slightest look of disdain that suggests something better could have been provided had only a little more effort been applied.

15  Cats have a high fluid content which accounts for how they can drape themselves over chair arms and laps and still look comfortable.

16  Cats love to play games and pursue elusive prizes be they red laser dots or a Michael Kors handbag.

17  When very content and secure, a cat may gain a lot of weight and become inactive.

18  Demonstrating too much eagerness when first meeting a cat will often send it scurrying away and possibly hissing at the same time.

19  Cats like to bring home presents, often horrifying presents. They love to nurture and nurse and will inevitably bond to those for whom they care.

20  Nobody really understands much about cats, least of all that crazy paw-kneading stuff, but everyone accepts that life is better for their presence. Sometimes.

In closing, The Professor would like to note that the correct term when referring to a group of cats is a “clowder” although there are two other proper ways to refer to a group of cats; namely a “clutter” of cats and a “glaring” of cats.

So sayeth the Oxford Dictionary.

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Favorite Positions

At 3 pounds this was cute. At 15 pounds it's a workout.

At 3 pounds this was cute. At 15 pounds it’s a workout.

When we first got Max he was so tiny that I could carry him in the palm of my hand.

He got used to that position and even though he is much larger he is comfortable sitting in my hand although he does not allow anyone else to hold him that way.

Quite the view. It makes you want to grab it in two hands and scruff that butt, doesn't it?

He’s all about the bass, ’bout the bass, no treble.

Much of the time when Max lounges around the condo we don’t see his face. For example, if I am sitting on my easy chair with my legs up, I am usually treated to a view of dog butt. Max can sleep in this position for a long time but, then again, so can I. We call this “football watching position.”

It's my couch. All mine. We can share if you have some dog treats.

It’s my couch. All mine. We can share if you have some dog treats.

Sometimes he prefers to drape himself across the love seat in a position of wanton abandonment. Sometimes he simply stretches on the carpet and slips away to a world where he chases rabbits.

Thanks to his hard work, the carpet has remained in position on the floor.

Thanks to his hard work, the carpet has remained in position on the floor.

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How Does Your Dog Rank?

Scoreboard

(Click for large version)

 

I found this chart to be an intriguing presentation of complex data, ranking dogs by their public popularity and according to a variety of other attributes such as longevity, cost of ownership, health, intelligence and more.

What do you think? Is your pooch was properly positioned? I’ll take a flyer and assume bulldog owners wont agree with the rankings.

Max fits in the middle of the frou-frou class, equal to the Shih Tzu and Pomeranian, a tad behind the Poodle and the Bitchin’ Frizzy (or Bichon Frise if you are bi-lingual.)

Our dear friends Kyla and Stuart are…where are the Scotties?….oh my, there you are, way back in the middle.

If you find graphic depictions of data to be interesting, as I do, I commend you to the website of the creator of this chart, David McCandless. If you visit, click on any of the images on his home page and when that image comes up, there is usually an option to expand to the full size version of the data presentation.

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Professor Max Explains It All

The Professor.

The Professor.

Welcome students!

Today’s topic: “Why are dogs called “man’s best friend?”

Clearly, it is because guys and dogs share so many characteristics.

Here is Maxwell’s top 20 list of what dogs and guys have in common.

I don’t want to hear much sass and backtalk about it.

Facts are facts, doncha know.

WHAT DOGS AND GUYS HAVE IN COMMON

1. A dog is content to do absolutely nothing all day other than napping in an easy chair

2. Dogs don’t care if your favorite ball cap smells like summer in the cardio room at the Yuma Arizona branch of 24 Hour Fitness.

3. No matter how much you plead or connive, a dog will never go to Walgreens and purchase feminine hygiene products.

4. Dogs think watching football in one’s underwear whilst enjoying a beer and sandwich is a measure of efficiency, not slovenliness.

5. Dogs are inordinately interested in biological functions that offend the female of the species.

6. A dog will never vacuum the carpet. Never. In fact, a dog does not even understand how a vacuum works having never laid a paw on one.

7. Dogs do not remember key dates like anniversaries, birthdays, wedding days. They don’t buy cutesy-pie Hallmark cards and, if they did, they would be enraged by how much they cost.

8. Both come quickly when called to the dinner table. (There’s another comparison I could have made with that opening phrase, but I kept out of the gutter and so should you.)

9. A dog considers anything left in the middle of the floor to have been properly sorted, inspected and filed for future use.

10. Dogs never ask for directions. They will happily spin in circles.

11. Dogs are pathetically grateful when a female finally gives them a treat.

12. Quantity often wins over quality when food is the subject.

13. Dogs bark loudest just before they roll over and show their bellies in abject surrender.

14. Any tree can serve as a convenient spot for bladder relief.

15. No dog anywhere has ever felt comfortable walking into a bar and ordering “a draft, a shot of Jack, and a Pink Squirrel for her”.

16. Dogs would rather roll in a puddle of poo than go to see the doctor.

17. Dogs’ emotions are stunted. A request for a dog to share its feelings is futile unless that request also involves humping a leg or eating, in which case a dog can be most expressive.

18. Sometimes a short leash and loud commands are required to control a dog that persists in sniffing a dog of the opposite gender.

19. You need to train them while they are young and enthusiastic. Old dogs are just too stuck in their ways and irritable.

20. The cuter they are, the more likely they will lack discipline and will end up spoiled.

Feel free to add your own keen observations. Next time, we’ll explore why cats are women’s best friend. That should get some bile spewing. Until then, aloha from Professor Max.

Oh man, that hat really does stink.

Whew, oh man, that ball cap really does stink.

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