I wore the mask as long as I could . . . I wanted to take it off but everyone thought it was my face.
Notes from the Golden Orange
Author Archive: Paul Epps
We spread Lightning‘s ashes at Huntington Dog Beach this weekend. We didn’t make a big production of it — it’s probably illegal, for one thing — but we hiked out to the end of the rock pier and gave him back to the sea.
The Dog Beach and the Irvine Dog Park were the places he was at his best — off-leash and able to be his dominant alpha pug self.
For example, here’s a (blurry) photo of him assassinating a puggle who carelessly but intentionally blindsided him at the dog park:
Lightning wrote a poem he wanted us to read when we spread his ashes. I think he plagiarized it, to be honest . . . he wasn’t much of a poet but we loved him . . .
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
How do I know that? Because years ago we used to board him at PetSmart and it was always a struggle. He didn’t want us to leave him there.
I thought it was because he didn’t want us to leave him anywhere but when we started boarding him at Animal Hospital, his tail was wagging like crazy when we dropped him off. They gave him lots of attention and took him for lots of walks and even let him out of the kennel and let him walk around the office.
We had to let Lightning go last weekend. Wendy, one of the staff members, came into the procedure room where we were waiting and said how sorry she was. She was crying.
Lightning was her favorite. Wendy is older than the other staff members and what she liked most about him is that the effects of aging never affected his heart or his personality. I hugged her and told her that I know he loved her and was always happy to be there because she took the best care of him.
This week in the mail we got a picture frame and a sympathy card from the staff.
Animal Hospital is probably not the least expensive vet in town (is there such a thing as an inexpensive vet?) but they really do care about the animals and their owners . . .
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, published in Rome his spiritual exercises. There he wrote this testimony of blind submission:
“Take, Lord, and receive all my freedom, my memory, my understanding, and my will.”
And as if that were not enough:
“To get everything right, I must always believe that what I see as white is black, if the Church hierarchy so determines.”
In the fresco The Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel, we all fix our gaze on the finger that gives Adam life, but who is that naked girl God is casually yet lovingly caressing with his other hand?
Pope Urban VIII, the most recent pope to use the pontifical name of Urban, was born on this date, April 5, 1568.
He is probably best remembered for his demon-killing exorcisms used to chase from the head of Galileo Galilei the devilish notion that the earth revolved around the sun . . .
We got Lightning as a Xmas present for our boy in 2003.
Things we learn from dogs:
- Unconditional love
- Nothing lasts forever
Later in life, Lightning lost most of the use of his back legs. He had to drag them a little when he tried to walk. He couldn’t jump anymore and couldn’t go up or down the stairs but he never complained about that.
He also lost his eyesight. Never complained about that either. He never got sad or frustrated when he occasionally walked into a wall or a piece of furniture. He had a good mental map of the house and didn’t need or want help to get around.
Last year, the vet thought he might have a leaky heart valve but that turned out not to be the case. His heart was invincible all the way.
The only thing he ever got sad about was toward the end, he didn’t like to be alone. He whimpered if I was in the house and he couldn’t be wherever I was. He couldn’t be fooled on this. He could smell when I was anywhere in the house.
My wife and I were with him all the way to the end. I didn’t cry until afterwards.
Last meal: In-N-Out cheeseburger and a pup cup from Starbucks.
He would probably like to be remembered like this . . . a video of a family trip to the beach when we were all more or less in our prime . . .
For six centuries and in several countries, the Holy Inquisition punished rebels, heretics, witches, homosexuals, pagans . . .
Many ended up at the stake, sentenced to roast over a slow fire fed with green wood. Many more were subjected to torture. Here are some of the instruments used to extract confessions, modify beliefs, and sow panic:
the barbed collar,
the hanging cage,
the iron gag that stifled unwanted screams,
the saw that cut you slowly in two,
the finger-stretching tourniquet,
the head-flattening tourniquet,
the bone-breaking pendulum,
the seat of pins,
the long needle that perforated the devil’s moles,
the iron claw that shredded flesh,
the pincer and tongs heated to fiery red,
the sarcophagus lined with sharp nails,
the iron bed that extended until arms and legs got pulled out of their sockets,
the whip with a nail or knife a the tip,
the barrel filled with shit,
the shackles, the stocks, the block, the pillory, the gaff,
the ball that swelled and tore the mouths of heretics, the anuses of homosexuals, and the vaginas of Satan’s lovers,
the pincer that ground up the tits of witches and adulterers,
and fire on the feet,
among other weapons of virtue.
Defend your right to think. Thinking wrongly is better than not thinking at all. — Hypatia of Alexandria, murdered by a Christian mob in the year 415
Six days may work be done; but on the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord; whoever doeth any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death.
He that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall surely stone him.
I will send out against you the beasts of the field . . . I will chastise you sevenfold for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat . . . I will draw out after you the sword; and your land shall be a desolate wild, and your cities shall be a waste.
According to the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, Herod the Great died in the year 4 BCE.
According to the Gospel of Matthew, Herod was the ruler of Judea who ordered the Massacre of the Innocents at the time of the birth of Jesus.
Which would mean that Jesus was born at least four years before the birth of Christ . . .
I was at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo over the weekend. Had to use the men’s room and the only stall available had a broken door latch. In order to keep the door closed, I had to press on it with my foot.
Unfortunately, I pressed a little too hard and the door broke through the restraint and flew open in a forward direction.
Granted, the Japanese had to put up with indignities at internment camps but that was in wartime . . .
A neighbor is giving me a tour of his home improvement gadgets . . .
We walk into the living room and he says, speaking slowly and distinctly, “Alexa, turn off all the living room lights.”
After a couple of seconds, the living room lights dim and go out.
“Why is that an improvement?” I ask. “I could have turned the lights off and on 15 times by hand in the same amount of time.”
Later, I told my wife about this . . .
“Maybe you’re sitting down and you don’t want to get up to turn out the lights,” she suggested.
“You want to sit in the living room in the dark?”
Chuck Barris was well ahead of his time in recognizing how many Americans are willing to make an ass of themselves on television.
The quote below is from the movie based on his book Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. I don’t know if the quote is actually in the book but I include it here nonetheless . . .
When you are young, your potential is infinite. You might do anything, really. You might be Einstein. You might be DiMaggio. Then you get to an age where what you might be gives way to what you have been. You weren’t Einstein. You weren’t anything.
That’s a bad moment.
RIP Chuck Barris
I like the sodas at Chevron . . . they’re not restaurant quality, but they’re better than the flat, tasteless sodas you get at most other gas stations.
On the downside, Chevron as often as not has some donate-a-buck-to-charity shakedown going on at the register. Today the place is plastered with photos of bald children with brave smiles on their faces . . .
“Would you like to donate to St. Jude pediatric cancer research?” the clerk asks.
“I already donated two dollars last week and they haven’t cured it yet?”
Meanwhile, I notice another employee plucking all the hot dogs off the rotisserie with a pair of tongs and dropping them in a trash can . . .
“You have to throw those out if they sit too long?” I ask the clerk.
“Do you ever pluck a couple off and eat them if you’re hungry?”
“No,” he says, with the kind of look someone would give you if you asked them to eat something inedible . . .
I don’t know how to hike out to windward or what a jib is. I have never owned evening clothes or been to a cotillion.
My wife and I stopped by an open house yesterday . . . after looking around, my wife said something to the listing agent, an oily-haired Chinese guy, about the fact that we’re working with a buyer’s agent and he said, “No agent! You get a better deal with no agent.”
“So we cut our agent out of the deal and save some money,” I said. “It sounds like that’s what you’re suggesting.”
“Agents charge 2 percent. You get a better deal with no agent.”
“OK, but I like to get paid for my work. I’m sure you like to get paid for your work. Why would you suggest not paying someone for their work?”
“It’s up to you,” he said. “You can save some money.”
“How about if we just talk to the seller directly and cut you out of the deal?”
“I have a contract,” he said.
“They don’t last forever. When does it expire?”
So I don’t think we’re going to get that house, but I didn’t like it anyway . . .