Tuesday, 8 May 2012

07:25 – Election Day today. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t bestir myself because there’s nothing on the ballot of much interest. Except Amendment One, the hateful attempt to write discrimination against gay people into the North Carolina Constitution. Unfortunately, if one believes the polls, this contemptible piece of fundie slime is likely to pass. Well, if it does, it’ll be despite Barbara’s and my votes.

I don’t understand how any decent human being could vote in favor this amendment. The obvious answer is that they couldn’t. As long as they were at it, I don’t understand why these fundie assholes didn’t expand the language of Amendment One to require Jews to live in ghettos and wear yellow stars of David. Hey, come to think of it, they could also have included language to return all these descendants of slaves to their rightful owners. Geez.

09:55 – Well, that was interesting. I just took Colin for a walk down to the corner. As he was sniffing around the corner yard, what should he notice but an evil C-A-T lying in Kim’s yard next door? So Colin tried to pull me over to see the evil C-A-T, but I forced him to stay near the curb. When we arrived in front of Kim’s house, the evil C-A-T was still lying there near the house, about 50 feet (15 meters) from the street and a couple meters from the walk between the street and Kim’s front door. Colin and the evil C-A-T stared at each other for a minute or so, with neither of them moving.

Then, apparently deciding that with the cat distracted it was a good time to make a break for it, a chipmunk sprang out of the grass near the evil C-A-T and made for Kim’s walk. The evil C-A-T pounced and missed, and the chipmunk sprinted down Kim’s walk toward Colin, with the evil C-A-T in hot pursuit. Apparently, the evil C-A-T realized that charging into Colin’s range wasn’t a good idea, because it clamped on the brakes and skidded to stop. Meanwhile, the chipmunk ran right up to Colin, noticed that it’d escaped one predator only to approach a Fearsome Predator. It scurried into the grass next to the walk. Colin approached it closely to sniff it, but took no hostile action. Eventually the chipmunk just couldn’t take it any more, so it made a break for the walk and ran down the walk the few feet to the street. Colin, of course, was in hot pursuit.

But, as I’ve said before, Border Collies have had all the kill instinct bred out of them, so Colin showed no interest in the chipmunk as a potential meal. Instead, he herded it, circling around it and crouching just as he would for a sheep that wasn’t cooperating. The chipmunk dashed this way and that, with Colin cutting it off at every turn. Eventually the chipmunk, snuggled up right against my boot, where it was apparently ready to put down roots. I called Colin off. Well, actually, I pulled him off. The chipmunk jumped up on the curb and scampered down toward the corner, with both Colin and the evil C-A-T watching its progress.

Then the evil C-A-T rose and began stalking toward the chipmunk. Incredibly, Colin moved to block the evil C-A-T, protecting the chipmunk. I am not making this up. Each time the evil C-A-T moved toward the chipmunk, Colin moved to put himself between the evil C-A-T and the chipmunk. Apparently, the fact that Colin had been herding that chipmunk for a minute or so was sufficient to make the chipmunk a member of Colin’s flock. So naturally, he had to protect a flock member from a predator, which he did in spades. Eventually, the evil C-A-T gave up. Colin watched the chipmunk finish its journey to the corner and go down a storm drain, and then we walked home.

11:07 – When I voted at 10:15, I was voter number 172 for our precinct. That’s a pretty heavy turnout for that early in the day for a primary election. That’s good news, because a light turnout skews things in favor of older people, who tend to vote regardless and also tend to support Amendment One. The heavy turnout favors issues supported by the less dedicated voters. Unfortunately, it’s started to cloud up and drizzle, which tends to discourage liberals, young voters, and others who’d tend to oppose Amendment One. Still, I’m cheered by the relatively high turnout so far. In past primaries when I voted around the same time of morning, I’d usually be voter number 60 or thereabouts. At least so far, the turnout appears to be two or three times heavier than usual.

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16 Responses to Tuesday, 8 May 2012

  1. Miles_Teg says:

    Why didn’t you tell Colin that the evil C-A-T was his dinner, and that he’d have to wait ’till tomorrow for his next feed if he didn’t rid the universe of this monstrous evil?

  2. SteveF says:

    Can canines facepalm? I’m sure that Colin’s lupine ancestors are face-palming right now.

  3. BGrigg says:

    ‘Course they can!

    I’m not so sure about Bob’s belief that Border Collies have the kill instinct bred out. I think a feral dog’s hunger will overcome any man influenced behavior.

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Of course. What I was referring to was the instinct to chase fleeing prey, which BCs have in abundance, versus the instinct to pounce upon and bite the prey to death, which BCs lack. Any hungry dog will obviously kill to eat, but most dogs will kill fleeing prey even if they’re not hungry.

    Incidentally, when I was in college there was a common poster that showed a pair of vultures sitting on a branch. One had turned toward the other as if speaking to it. The caption read, “Patience my ass. I’m gonna kill something”. Unfortunately, some BCs as they age also run out of patience. Most working BCs are retired by about age 8, not because they’re no longer capable of doing the work but because a certain small percentage of them will go rogue and start slaughtering sheep. It’s really ugly when it happens. A BC can rip the throats out of literally a hundred sheep in almost no time at all. When they go berserk they’re sometimes not satisfied until they’ve killed every sheep they can get to. People with working BCs don’t take any chances. They retire their dogs before they’re old enough to go rogue.

  5. Rick says:

    When the C-A-T was watching the chipmunk’s progress, could you say it was doing a cat scan?

  6. Raymond Thompson says:

    When I was a youngen’ we had a couple of border collies to help us work the cattle when necessary. The dogs were especially helpful when moving cattle from field to field. One particular transfer was from a field on one side of the road to a field on the other side of the road. The gats were across from each other.

    My brother and I would head to the source field and tell the dogs “Get the cows”. Off the dogs would go gathering the cows and pushing them towards the gate. Meanwhile my brother and I would open both gates, then station ourselves on the road to block traffic. Just before the cows got to the source field gate we would stop traffic as that animals were pushed across the road by the dogs. The size of the herd was about 120 to 150 animals. My brother and I actually did very little work to move the cattle.

    Once the cows were across and in the destination field we closed the gates and congratulated some heavily panting dogs. Which we then took down to the creek so they could cool off and satisfy their thirst.

    The dogs were strange in some ways. Both dogs absolutely hated cameras. When they saw a camera they would run and hide and no amount of coaxing would bring them from hiding. It was actually under the front porch but to the dogs they were hidden from the evil monster that would take their sole if their picture was taken.

    The dogs had no fear of porcupines as we had to remove quills from their noses on more than on occassion. I don’t think porcupines herd well and the dogs never learned that. We would see the dogs go into the bushes after something and then we would hear some yelps and out the dogs would come with their noses and lips stuck with a dozen or so quills.

    We worked those dogs until they were about 11 years old at which time their endurance was waning. The dogs died at (I think) 13 years of age within a couple of days of each other. They just expired in their sleep as we found them dead in the morning.

  7. Raymond Thompson says:

    The gates were across from each other

  8. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Border Collies are so smart that they develop strange phobias. We’ve had one who was afraid of men wearing hats. Kerry was absolutely terrified by, of all things, 9V batteries. If I was replacing a 9V battery in something and he noticed, I’d hear a mad scramble as he left the room at his highest rate of speed. I’d find him whimpering in a corner somewhere.

    Colin has a thing about laser printers. When I send a job to the printer and he hears the small sounds it makes as it warms up, he comes charging into my office and fangs the side of the printer. If I slide out the paper tray to refill it, he fangs onto it and won’t let go of it. One time he actually pulled it out of my hands and dragged it down the hall.

  9. SteveF says:

    Oh, no! Colin’s hatred of the laser printer goes much deeper than a mere phobia. He’s been brainwashed into (dramatic pause…) The Cult of Gaia! No doubt he’s trying to force you to stop using tree-killing paper. If he starts chasing you away from the lawnmower, you know you’ve got a problem.

    Hmm. Or maybe not. All collies are herding dogs. You can get rid of the Gaia-destroying, petrol-burning lawnmower and get a few sheep. They’ll keep the grass trimmed, Colin will burn off his energy herding them, and you’ll have some dog-free peace and quiet and be able to run your printer.

    More seriously (not that being more serious than two paragraphs of total BS is a high hurdle), it may not be a strange phobia. The printer may make a squeal that annoys or hurts him. I’m often driven out of the room by office equipment that other humans can’t hear, and I’d guess his ears go a couple octaves higher and a bunch of decibels lower than mine.

  10. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Decades ago, when there were no FM radios in cars, one of the nation’s first FM rock stations appeared in Indianapolis. It was more-or-less a playground the first few years, because nobody listened to FM radio back then. But at some point, the audience numbers got big enough that management got serious about going after their one and only competition, which was on the AM dial. That picture of the two buzzards inspired them, and they created the image of one buzzard with his mouth full and the end of a flag sticking out of the buzzard’s mouth with the last two letters of the competition’s call sign waving in the wind. From that point on, they identified themselves as “The Buzzard”, and had the top of the hour ID changed to denote that. All inside stuff, but those of us in broadcasting thought it was pretty creative, while the general audience wondered why in the world they would call themselves “The Buzzard”. It was all about that cartoon image noted above.

  11. SteveJ says:

    “Then, apparently deciding that with the cat distracted it was a good time to make a break for it”

    You mean “with the evil C-A-T distracted”… Please remove the “C” word, it’s offensive 🙂

    I love your posts about Colin, they’re funny.

  12. Miles_Teg says:

    Here’s a story about a very sad car accident in Canberra last week:


    If this guy is who I think he is I worked with his father 20-25 years ago. The son was always getting into trouble at school, and then with the law. I met the family at the supermarket one day, and the son (he would have been 6-8 then) tried to punch me in the groin. He missed, but not by much. Now he’s killed a hospital worker and seriously injured another. I think one of the stories I read said he had Asperger syndrome.

    Anyway, I’m not certain that this guy is my friend’s son, but the surname and his age fit.

  13. Don Armstrong says:

    “Patience, my ass.”

    I can remember when the original of that came out. It was a cartoon by Gahan Wilson, in a magazine I only bought for the investigative journalism.

  14. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, the poster I remember was a cartoon rather than a photograph. I didn’t remember that it was a Gahan Wilson.

  15. Roy Harvey says:

    Ah yes, Gahan Wilson. A bit of googling and I managed to turn up one of my favorites. I thought it captured the salesman’s state of hopefull/hopeless particularly well.

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