I haven’t said anything about this for a while now, because I kept hoping there’d be a happy ending to the story. But after two weeks, that feels less and less likely.
For our big summer vacation this year, we went to Country Pond, a spot in New Hampshire where Courtney’s family has a house. We’ve been there before, and it’s one of those vacation destinations where it’s easy to bring the family dog with us. We’ve brought both Sherlock and Meatball along to Country Pond over the years without incident.
But this year, early on the morning of July 2, Meatball ran away.
Courtney let him outside to pee, something must have caught his nose, and he bolted. Immediately we set out to find him, fanning out in every direction. We walked, hiked, drove. We yelled and screamed his name. But no luck.
Every day for the rest of our trip we tried to find him. I went hiking in the woods and got eaten alive by every kind of insect that was hiding in the brush. We called every animal control and police department we could think of. We reached out to an amazing Facebook group whose sole purpose is helping lost animals find their way home. I organized search parties with some unbelievably kind people who were willing to give up their free time to help search and put up signs for Meatball.
And, in between all of this madness, we also tried to maintain some sense of normalcy by giving the kids a fun vacation.
After over a week of fruitless searches, we made the painful decision to head back to New York without Meatball. Then as we were driving back, we got a tip. Someone had heard a dog (that sounded like a beagle) barking incessantly, then they saw one of our signs and gave me a call. The kids were asleep and we were halfway home, but we turned around and went back to New Hampshire to investigate, hoping that our best and only lead might actually help us find our missing pup. Sadly, we once again came up empty handed.
The house feels empty without Meatball. We all miss him, but no one more than Grace. He was her doggy, and suddenly he’s not around for her to run up and hug. The other day, the very first thing she said to me when she woke up was, “I miss Meatball.” That felt like a punch in the heart. Sometimes she says that Meatball doesn’t know how to get home but the birds will help him. Who knows—maybe she’s right.
The way I see it, there are three possibilities:
1) Meatball is a far more resourceful pup than we realized and he’s living off the land, eating bunnies and drinking pond water, and trying to find his way back to a friendly face.
2) Someone picked him up and has decided to keep him. I don’t know why someone would do that, but he’s friendly enough to probably go along with it. If he’s being taken care of, I suppose that isn’t the worst thing.
3) He didn’t make it.
I’m fighting to keep some optimism because yes, the area he ran off in is remote, but there are plenty of people around. We have signs everywhere. Every dog catcher in the county has his picture. And he is microchipped, so we should get a call if someone turns him in. The Facebook page I mentioned earlier regularly has stories about dogs who have reunited with their people after weeks and months of being gone, so maybe that will happen with Meatball.
I truly hope so.
In these Unites States of America, we have the right to free speech, but we can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater when there is no fire. Why? Because doing so would incite a panic that would likely get people hurt. That is a reasonable restriction of our freedom.
We have the right to drive a car, but before you’re given a license, you have to be a certain age. And pass a test to prove you know how to operate a car. If you want to buy a car, you have to register it. And insure it. And once you’re driving, you have to obey traffic laws. All of these are reasonable restrictions that no one objects to.
We have the right to religious freedom, but if your religion encourages you to make human sacrifices, guess what? Not allowed. (Sorry, Satanists!)
Companies have the right to make whatever products they want, but they are subject to restrictions to make sure they are safe for consumers. When drop-side cribs were deemed dangerous, they were banned. It made sense, there was no outcry, and presumably many babies’ lives were saved.
But despite the countless mass shootings in this country, there have been no changes in making guns harder to get. Particularly military-style assault weapons, which have no need to ever be sold to civilians. I don’t understand why anyone would ever want to own a gun at all, but if you hunt or truly feel like a deadly weapon is necessary to keep your family safe, why would you need to be able to fire dozens of rounds in a matter of seconds? Are you legitimately afraid of a zombie attack?
These weapons have nothing to do with protection. Seat belts, condoms and bullet-proof vests offer protection. Assault rifles are dangerous weapons that can—and frequently are—used to mow down innocent people, whether in a nightclub, a movie theater or an elementary school.
These weapons should be banned.
This is a perfectly reasonable restriction on the freedoms afforded by the Second Amendment.
It wouldn’t be the only thing we should do to make our citizens safe, but it’d be one hell of a good start.
It’s not a huge shock, but it is now all but official: this election season, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will vie for votes in the race for President of the United States.
But I can’t understand how any rational human being would vote for Donald Trump; a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic hate-monger with no idea how diplomacy, government or politics works. Well, I get why KKK leaders and Kim Jung Un like him, but ordinary, red-blooded Americans? Really?
In my humble opinion, a lot of Trump’s support is predicated on racism. Sure, it’s possible to not like President Obama or his policies and not be racist. But the vitriol and venom that has been directed at him can, in my estimation, only come from a place of resentment towards the color of his skin. Years ago, Trump made waves in the political world by demanding to see Obama’s birth certificate, playing directly into the hands of those who bought into the conspiracy theory that our country’s first black President had no right to hold the office.
Since then, Trump’s racist rhetoric has grown exponentially. He has made repeated bigoted comments about Latinos, Muslims, and “thugs” (a very thinly veiled attack on African-Americans). Throw in his comments about women and it becomes clear that Trump is playing to Caucasian Christian men who believe that “make America great again” really means “make America white again.”
Still, it’s unfair to categorize all Trump supporters as racist. I’m willing to give many of them the benefit of the doubt and say that their support of a reality-TV star and leader of countless failed businesses is because of something else: a desire for change.
For some of us, the 2008 recession seems like a lifetime ago, but for others, the effects of that crash are still being felt. People lost their homes, their savings, and their faith in the system. Who was there to protect the little guy? Not the government, which hasn’t prosecuted anyone for their role in that crisis.
So I can understand a certain degree of frustration. But from there, the waters get muddier.
For a lot of these folks, I’m assuming, what’s happened in the country during the Obama administration has made them even angrier. They view Obamacare as a threat to their freedoms, for reasons that I will never be able to wrap my head around. Isn’t it clear to anyone who has ever been to a hospital how broken our healthcare system is? I don’t think that the Affordable Care Act fixes everything—how could it?—but at least it’s an attempt to make things better. The recognition of same-sex marriage is, I suppose, interpreted as an attack on their values. Though again, I don’t get it. If you think two men or two women getting married weakens the institution of marriage in general, I’m not sure what rational argument I can present that will make you feel otherwise. These are the same people who hear about a mass shooting and think that it’s a government conspiracy designed to take their guns away. Want to make yourself sick? Read about people who attack the parents of the children killed at Sandy Hook. And all this despite the fact that there have been zero attempts in the last eight years to take away anyone’s guns. Again, logic and reason don’t hold much sway here.
Then again, logic sort of goes out the window if you support Trump, doesn’t it? None of what this guy says makes any sense. If you honestly, actually believe that he could build a wall along our border, paid for by Mexicans, you really ought to watch this. It ain’t happening. Even if he could magically make this wall appear at no cost to anyone, it still wouldn’t solve any problems.
But maybe you don’t take Trump at his literal word. Maybe you just like the fact that he calls ’em like he sees ’em, and that he talks like you talk. Maybe you just want him to be President so he can shake up the status quo. Maybe you like the way that he gets his former rivals to eventually back him.
But supporting a bully because you’d rather be on his side than on the side that’s getting bullied is the very definition of cowardice. And as anyone who has ever encountered a bully knows, the tough-guy rhetoric is always empty.
And while the idea of an outsider coming in to fix Washington sounds nice in theory, it’s a pretty preposterous position. In her book “Bossypants,” Tina Fey writes:
“Politics and prostitution have to be the only jobs where inexperience is considered a virtue. In what other profession would you brag about not knowing stuff? ‘I’m not one of those fancy Harvard heart surgeons. I’m just an unlicensed plumber with a dream and I’d like to cut your chest open.’ The crowd cheers.”
In addition to the support of those who think inexperience is an asset, Trump has also been helped every step of the way by the media, so desperate for ratings and clicks, that they gave (and continue to give) coverage to every idiotic thing he says. Though there are those who speak out against him and his ridiculous claims, there is a desire to appear impartial, which prevents many outlets (though thankfully not all) from taking a hard stand against him.
We live in a world where if you tweet that you don’t like a Taylor Swift song, someone will call you Hitler. Thanks to Godwin’s law, we as a society have become completely desensitized to constant comparisons to Nazis and their leader. Which is scary, because now someone who actually bears real resemblance to this facist is now dangerously close to the White House. We’re like the boy who cried wolf, only about Hitler.
Trump is dangerous. Yes, if you’re at one of his rallies, but also for our country at large. He plays right into the extremists’ rhetoric about what America is all about: a nation of greedy, angry, loud jerks who hate Muslims and anyone who isn’t white.
And I haven’s even talked about the fact that he is a conman.
Donald Trump goes against everything this country stands for, but people keep voting for him. It’s terrifying.
So maybe Trump really should be President.
Not my President or yours, but President of all the racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, gun-toting, homophobic wackos out there who support Trump. They can form their own country and have President Trump. Call it “Great America” or whatever. Trump claims to love the real people of middle America—he can have a big ole chunk right in the middle of the country. Enjoy! They can build a giant wall around their borders. Hell, we in “America Classic” will gladly pay for it.
That way we can be sure that these morons can leave us the hell alone.
It’s such a cliché to do resolutions at New Year’s. There are a handful of things I have been deliquent about this year, and now that the Summer of 2016 is unofficially underway, what better excuse to get my lazy butt in gear? And since declaring them publicly will (hopefully) keep me motivated, I hereby present my seven summer resolutions.
1. Get back to blogging. It’s not lost on me that I have been neglecting you, my four loyal alannoah.com readers. Ideally I’d like to get back to writing at least one new post a week.
2. Exercise. That thing I mentioned earlier about getting my lazy butt in gear? That wasn’t just a metaphor.
3. Take Meatball for long walks. It’s easy to let him run around in the backyard, and he genuinely loves chasing rabbits and barking at the grass. (Yeah. He’s weird.) But there’s still something special about going for a nice walk around the neighborhood with your pup. Also it counts as a form of exercise, so I’m checking off two resolutions at once. Efficiency!
4. Write. Outside of work and this blog, I mean.
5. Read “Ready Player One.” A bunch of people have told me that this book is right up my geeky alley, and I was recently given a free copy, so why not actually read the damn thing already? I bet if I really commit to it I could knock it out in a week or so on my commute.
6. Go on dates. Courtney and I do a pretty god job of getting out for some grown-up nights out, but let’s be honest: it’s even more fun in the summer.
7. Put the house back together. It seems like the work in our basement may never end, but it’s got to eventually. Right? RIGHT? I accept that nothing in a house is ever truly “done” and I’m sure we’ll want to make improvements beyond this summer, but for now I want to make the space usable and get rid of all the damn boxes that we’ve got everywhere.
I’ll post around Labor Day to see how I did. Wish me luck!
When you’re an adult, changing the clocks for Daylight Saving Time is a mild annoyance. It’s frustrating when you lose an hour as you “spring forward,” but the consolation prize is that the sun is out later. Nobody likes it when it gets dark in the late afternoon after you “fall back,” but that night when you get an extra hour of sleep sure is nice. Your internal rhythms get slightly out of whack in both scenarios, but you readjust quickly. Because you’re a grown up.
But for kids, the time change is a form of torture.
Most children become dependent on their routines. The passage of time may be an abstract concept, but even from a young age, most little ones understand the overall structure of how their days are laid out. Changes to the typical schedule can usually be handled without much fuss — if little Sally stays up late on Saturday, she can take a longer nap on Sunday and be just fine.
But changing the clocks is a different thing. It’s not a one-time aberration, it’s a long-lasting shift of the entire timeline. And it wreaks havoc on young little bodies.
(To be clear, I’m specifically talking about my kids, though I have heard countless other parents make similar complaints.)
In this section of the blog, I was going to explain why we have this ridiculous system in place. But I googled it, and the history of Daylight Saving Time is incredibly boring. It wasn’t created for farmers as Homer thinks — it has to do with the war or something. One of the World Wars. WWI, I think. I already forgot, and googling it again is just going to enrage me more. Because the point is that it’s an incredibly outdated system that we still have in place… just because.
And I don’t get it. At all. Why is no one talking about how stupid this is? Why isn’t anyone trying to get rid of this massive headache? Twice a year everyone in the country is miserable (kids and parents in particular).
FOR. NO. REASON.
I get that the political climate in this country is such that if one party says the sky is blue the other side has to declare that it’s not. But c’mon, guys. Surely this can be something that we all agree on? (Like back when everyone in Congress agreed that commercials were too damn loud.) And during this fiercely competitive race for the Presidential nomination, why wouldn’t any of the candidates publicly say that if elected, they’d put an end to this clock-changing nonsense once and for all? Seems like an incredibly easy way to pick up some popular support.
Though what do I know? I’m not a political strategist or a time-efficiency expert. I’m just an exhausted parent of two kids whose internal clocks have been messed up for days.