Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets


This catchy title is not about living in Colorado where pot is legal.

The Stoning of Soraya M. is a movie about a story of an Islamic woman who is stoned to death as the penalty for adultery, despite her innocence. It was naturally painful physically for her to be pelted with hard stones until her injuries were fatal, but the emotional pain must have been even greater because her sons, her husband, and her father threw the first stones. She died knowing they had turned on her. Rather than protecting her, they joined in. They even led the way. They followed protocol.

You might identify with Soraya if you have had the experience of your own family punishing you unjustly rather than supporting you and protecting you.

It is painful when a stranger or enemy attacks you, but much more painful when the stones are thrown by family members whom you believed loved you.

Poor Soraya watched the rocks coming toward her, knowing who threw them and knowing that they intended to harm her.

The stone cold hard truth is that this does not feel like love. It does not look like love. It is not love.

Pasture Protectors

While I was in Cheyenne having breakfast with my cousin, Tom, Miss Sugar went out to catch a horse in our pasture. We have a good system — if you catch one horse, the others follow. Instead of me helping her, she had plenty of other companions — two yellow labs and a cat. Simba and Beau

Yes, one of our cats, Camo, likes to go on hikes with us. He also helps me get the horses. Sometimes they are a mile away. One of the horses, Woody, is interested in the cat. He puts his head down by Camo and follows him. I worry that Woody might trample Camo, but so far that has not happened.

Beau, the male Lab, and Sadie, are more likely companions. It turns out that it was good they went along. Beau anyway.

Sugar told me when I got home that as she went through the gate between the small pasture into the big pasture, something stealthily came out of the tall grass. It was a coyote. It swiftly charged to within four feet of Sugar, which was very alarming, of course. Camo was walking close to Sugar’s legs and was likely the target of the coyote, who wanted to snatch the cat and run off with it. That was a frightening moment for Sugar and Camo, but there was no need to worry because the heroes were there to save the day.

Who are the heroes? Beau and Woody!

Sugar described that Beau quickly sized up the situation and ran to the rescue. The coyote had to decide whether to continue toward the cat and Sugar, or head for the hills. It chose to head for the hills, or, actually, for the trees by the river.

It did not get far into its retreat when Beau caught up and bit it on its hindquarters. It yelped and kept going. Sugar called Beau to come to her and, thankfully, he did.

Then Woody took over. Woody is a buckskin Quarter Horse from cutting horse breeding, which means he has the instinct to “hook on” to cattle as they move. Good cowhorses are “controlling,” making cows go where the horse’s rider intends. Woody, however, does not limit himself to cattle. Nor does he require a rider. Remember how he follows the cat? In another post I wrote about him chasing pronghorns (antelope), the fastest land animals in North America, and keeping up.

Woody chased that coyote right out of the pasture. The critter escaped being trampled when he ran under a barb wire fence.

Beau and Woody, together, saved Camo and Miss Sugar from that mangy coyote, and I am right pleased that they did. 3amigos

Deer Sighting

Sugar and I see pronghorns (antelope) at our ranch nearly every day. Sometimes we see whitetail deer in the hay meadow. I have encountered elk while riding a horse in a canyon at our neighbor’s ranch. Once we saw a moose by the highway while driving to town.
Last weekend we saw wildlife in an unusual place.

We had stopped in a little town in Wyoming, Medicine Bow, population less than 300 as I recall the sign said. We parked in front of a church. We got out of the truck to stretch our legs. Sugar walked up the street toward a house next to the church. It had a fenced yard.

“Look,” she exclaimed, “They have a pet deer.”

I looked. Sure enough, there was a deer laying in the back yard. It was very still. I told her it was a statue. She pointed out that it was chewing. Sugar quietly approached the fence. She wanted a better look. She has a way with animals.

Suddenly, the deer rose up and jumped over the fence.

“Dang,” I thought, “Sugar scared the pet deer out of the yard. Those people will be upset.”

But there were no people to upset. The house was vacant. There was a foreclosure notice on the door.

Then Sugar noticed something else. There were twin fawns emerging from the garage to join their mother. The mother deer and her babies had made a home in the unoccupied house.

The foreclosure notice indicates that those deer had not made their mortgage payments for awhile. Deer can be very irresponsible financially.

30,000 Selfies

As I was waiting in the Department of Motor Vehicles with ticket number 234, which meant I was there for awhile, I sat across from a family consisting of what appeared to be a father, mother, and their daughter, Kim Kardashian.  I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking that Kim K’s father is deceased.  You might also be wondering why she would register her vehicles in Colorado.  So allow me to clarify that this young woman was not actually Kim K of reality TV fame, rather, she was a Kim K wannabe.  

As the purported father read a book, the mother was talking to her daughter about, well, about the daughter.  The daughter was in her late teens or early twenties.   She was not so independent as to go all by herself to the DMV.  However, she was willing to accompany her parents and to bless those of us in the general public with her presence.

As she talked to her mother, she did not look at her mother.  Instead, she arranged her head in various cute poses and tried varying facial expressions as she took pictures of herself with her cell phone.  Suddenly elated, she informed her mother (and the rest of us in the large waiting room) that she was five pictures short of 30,000.  That inspired her to quickly take five more pictures of herself so as to reach that noteworthy goal.

I couldn’t keep my mouth shut.  I inquired with true interest, “How long have you had your cell phone?”

Unabashed, she happily answered, “I got this about eight months ago.”  She said it like she had accomplished something admirable, like climbing Mt. Everest.  She also volunteered to me that she and her friends seldom text because a person’s facial expression says so much that they simply send selfies to each other.  She was pleased to have the opportunity to clue me in on what the cool kids do.  

I quickly did some math in my head.  I commented, “If you had your phone for ten months, that would be about 100 selfies a day, for 3,000 per month, but you did that in only eight months.  Wow!”

The selfie-taker proudly exclaimed, “I know!”

Her father jumped in, “That sounds about right.”  I suppose he was agreeing with my estimate of relentlessly taking selfies at a rate in excess of 100 per day.

I am writing this as sort of a public service announcement.  I want you, Dear Readers, to grasp the pace which must be kept in order to properly stay up with the champion narcissists.  Not just everybody can take 100 plus selfies a day.  It takes dedication.  It takes someone who enjoys looking at herself or himself.  It is a difficult task indeed.  If one misses a day, one would need to take 200 pics the next day just to keep up.  

I am fixin’ to take my first selfie.  Only 29,999 to go. As a competitive person, I am thinking that if I cut back on my law practice, I could maybe break that little gal’s record. I think I could do it in seven months. Try to top that!

A Way to Skin a Rabbit — Unillustrated

There is, they say, more than one way to skin a cat. I contend that the same is true of skinning rabbits. Today’s lesson involves a cat and a rabbit. Now do I have your attention? Don’t shy away. There will be no photos.

In many of my posts, I have mentioned various animals. Beau, our male Yellow Lab, is featured in some of the more popular of those posts, including the most recent prior to this very one, which is about his dietary choices.

So, to continue on a related theme, I describe the scene of tonight’s meal at our home, prepared by Sugar, my trophy wife. We decided to eat on the front porch. It is covered, offering shade, unlike the courtyard to the rear. We had four companions, none of whom had been invited — two dogs and two cats.

After Sugar finished her meal and put down her plate, Beau grabbed her fork and went down the stairs to exit the porch. I suppose the barbeque sauce on the fork was the attraction or maybe it was just to tick us off.

Although he is nominally a retriever, in this situation he felt it was funnier to have me retrieve the fork for Sugar. So I went down the steps too. At the bottom of the steps was a sight to behold. I warned Sugar to not look, which, naturally, aroused her curiosity, and she, well, looked. Then she sort of moaned and then she definitely gagged. It was her own fault. Remember, I told her to NOT LOOK. She failed to thank me. Nevertheless, ever eager to please, I promised to get a shovel, and I did just that. What a good boy am I!

The title to this post hints at what I shoveled up. Yes, it was a rabbit. Well, sort of a rabbit, the leftovers at least. It still had a head attached to a spine, from which ribs were attached, and there was also a pelvis and legs. All but the head and the feet were pretty much skinned to the bone. I credit our cats.

Beau noticed my shovel and its contents, the skeleton, and followed me to the river flowing fifty yards from the house. I tried to flip the shovel so the remains of the rabbit would fly across the river to the other side. I thought that maybe coyotes would finish the job after nightfall.

It will surprise you that someone with my athletic prowess did not propel the skeleton sufficiently to clear the river and reach the far bank. Believe it or not, the rabbit’s remains hit the water and started flowing away, probably in violation of some E.P.A. regulations.

Beau, who keeps up on E.P.A. regulations, was concerned about the river being polluted by the rabbit carcass, apparently, although he did not specify his motive for jumping off the bank of the river, into the water, and swam to where the rabbit had hit the water. The rabbit remains had not, if you will, remained in the same spot. It floated for awhile and then sank. Beau desperately tried to retrieve it, as he does sticks and balls and, sometimes, birds. This rabbit did not float like those other things that he retrieves. Beau whined. He paddled. He had to tread water to keep from floating downstream. It obviously bothered him that he did not find the rabbit. I told him that it was okay. (I really did not want the rabbit back, nor did Sugar.) I called him off the task, but he was reluctant to quit. Eventually, he left the river. He was probably tired. He seemed kind of down. He acted ashamed. I petted him as he laid on the porch. Then I went inside.

I hope that rabbit does not reappear in the morning. The cats seem to have an endless supply of rabbits. Sugar can attest to that.

Beau’s Dietary Choice


Our dog Beau is a Yellow Labrador Retriever.  His breed is known for being intelligent.  It is known for being fun-loving.  It is known for eating the uneatable, similar to goats.

My friend Sam’s Chocolate Lab ate his daughter’s panty hose and needed surgery to remove that because it is not food and is not digestible. 

Once we were in the waiting room at a veterinary clinic and a man brought in his Golden Retriever because it had eaten rocks.  Golden Retrievers are very similar to Labs in many ways, and to goats in that way.  We might call it an indiscriminate palate.

Beau ate something last night which is not food.  He ate that absorbent paper that is in packages of chicken.  We had already eaten the chicken.  Beau helped clean up by putting his front legs on the kitchen counter and grabbing with his mouth the plastic, styrofoam, and absorbent paper formerly containing the chicken.  He is fast.  He ate the paper product before my darling wife, Sugar, could retrieve it from our Retriever.

Consequently, appalled and worried, she wrote to her Facebook friends about what happened and almost immediately got 30 responses.  Many were concerned whether the non-food item would not “pass through.” 

I don’t know whether it will pass through his digestive system.  I have observed that something has passed through a couple times today.  I usually avoid examining feces; however, to put Sugar’s mind at ease, I have done just that twice today.  So far, no chicken paper.  Still, he is not, as one might phrase it, “plugged up.”  I will let you know if that changes.


Lois Lerner and Rose Mary Woods

Rose mary Woods

Rose Mary Woods was a White House secretary who accidentally erased 18 minutes of an audio tape that she was transcribing when President Nixon was asked for such tapes in connection with his impeachment. 

  I wonder whether Rose Mary left the White House to go to work for the IRS.  She was probably asked to back up Lois Lerner’s computer in order to save the emails requested by Congress when, dang it, Ms. Lerner’s computer crashed.  That inept Ms. Woods must have worked on other IRS computers too because I heard that six other computers crashesd at the IRS.  As bad luck would have it, the six IRS employees who used those six computers are also being investigated.  What are the odds of that happening?  I took Probability & Statistics as a mathematics course many years ago and, golly, even I am astonished by the improbability of all those computers crashing, the very ones containing emails that were being sought. 

I am sarcastically guessing that if my computer crashed, IRS technicians could retrieve all information helpful to convict me of tax evasion, were I being investigated.  I have heard that there are IT people who have the capability of retrieving emails from crashed computers.  Of course, in this investigation of the IRS, that is not possible because, as conscientious environmentalists, the IRS destroys crashed computers by some process of recycling that is very green, and very convenient for Lois Lerner, who “took the 5th.”  Those of us who are trained in the law, formally or by watching TV, know that is saying that one cannot answer because answering could incriminate oneself, and the 5th Amendment to the Constitution protects one from self-incrimination. 

Lois Lerner

I once claimed that my dog ate my homework.  It did not work then either.  I still had to produce the homework, or flunk the assignment. 

Lois Lerner might have a dog who crashed her computer, or maybe Rose Mary Woods has a dog and brought it to work.  It could happen.


Davy Crockett Quote on Big Government

Davy Crockett

Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.”

Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier and United States Congressman from Tennessee

Jersey Girl

My wife and I went to the movie, Jersey Boys, last weekend.  We really enjoyed it.  The singing group, The Four Seasons, produced many enduring hits. 

I did not grow up on The East Coast and so the Jersey scenes did not bring back childhood memories for me.  Sugar, however, felt some connection because, though a Texan at heart, having grown up (mostly) in Texas, she was born in New Jersey and lived there until she was in third grade.  Her parents are both from that area, so she still has many relatives there.  Half of those relatives are of Italian heritage, like all the members of The Four Seasons.

My Miss Texas is bi-cultural.  She also is capable of imitating a Joisey accent as well as the Texas accent at the other end of the linguistic spectrum.  I kinda like it.



Apache and me

Camouflaged Cat

The cat formerly known as Simba has been re-named.  It really does not look like a lion, such as its original namesake. 

Its fur is more like camouflage such as other hunters wear. See below. Its new name is Camo.
It is almost eatingThe better to sneak up on Beau’s food dish.Pussy

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