funny stories, memories, nostalgia

The harsh reality and trauma of 70s and 80s era toys that didn’t live up to the hype…

I woke up in a silly mood. Then I got up and cleaned the bathroom, which is what I do on Tuesdays. Maybe it was the fumes from the detergent, but I was positively giddy this morning. In fact, I was so giddy that Bill shot me a dirty look at the breakfast table. It’s his fault I’m like this, though. Before we were married, I usually slept until the sun was up. Thanks to being married to an Army guy for the past almost 19 years, I wake up at about 5:00am every day. A lot of times during the work week, I’ll lay down to try to read during the afternoon. Then I fall asleep. I guess I do need to sleep more during the night, but I wake up early because of Bill and the dogs.

So anyway… this morning, as I was sitting there feeling giddy, I noticed a post on a Facebook page called “Do you remember the 60s, 70s, & 80s”. It was about a doll called “Baby Alive”. I think I might have had one of these dolls when I was a child, but it was probably picked up from a yard sale or something. I don’t remember having the food or diapers that came with it. That was the doll’s gimmick. You could feed her baby food and she would “crap” it out in a diaper. I was laughing at the photo, because the diapers were called “Dampies”. But because of my crappy aging eyesight, I thought the box read “Dumpies”, which to me seemed like a better name. It’s time for me to get bifocals, but I couldn’t help but laugh about the mistake.

Actually, looking at this commercial, maybe I didn’t have one of these. I don’t remember having a baby that had a lever on the back like that.
Here’s a demo. Yuck! This woman speaks with a sing-song cadence. Maybe I had this particular version of the doll. I remember it being “well loved”, but not by me.

Now I’m reading the comments about this doll. It seems that many people were traumatized because of Baby Alive, whose life was apparently shortened when kids played with her as intended. Many people reported that Baby Alive didn’t last very long in their homes, because she would get maggots or mold from the “food”. It seems like that would be bound to happen. I wonder how it was that the toy manufacturers didn’t realize that putting a “food stuff” into a plastic and rubber toy that can’t be thoroughly cleaned was going to lead to trauma and tragedy.

Consider that the doll came with the food and diapers, but actually playing with this doll would mean using the special food and diapers, and that would mean having to buy more. I’m sure the toy makers were counting on that, and the money it might bring in… but they didn’t count on the doll getting infested with maggots and smelling putrid after only a few months. I watched the second video, with the lady demonstrating the doll. She shows the packet of “food” that came with this doll, and I can’t help but laugh at how sexist we still were in the 70s. The instructions say to use the bottle to measure out water, or Mom’s measuring spoon. What if it’s Dad’s measuring spoon?

I think I was a lot happier with Baby-That-A-Way. I remember getting her at a flea market. I think I might have even bought her myself, back in Gloucester, Virginia… Carter’s Flea Market, which used to be a lot of fun on the weekends. I could walk there from my house, although that meant crossing four busy lanes of traffic.

This “baby” crawls.

The trouble with Baby-That-A-Way, though, was that she ran on batteries. That meant you couldn’t bathe her or you’d ruin her. I was pretty rough on my toys. They actually got played with pretty well. I don’t know why I would have wanted this doll, other than the fact that she could crawl. I didn’t like playing with doll babies that much. I preferred Barbies, which had long hair and could be dressed in evening gowns and such. I guess I never had much of a maternal instinct, even when I was a child.

The other day, a friend from high school shared this on her Facebook page…

Actually, if you had a “cheap” Barbie– say one of the older Malibu dolls that didn’t have bent arms, you could pull the head off and reattach it. But the more expensive dolls, say Pink and Pretty or Golden Dream Barbies, would be ruined if you pulled off her head.
I used to have a friend who had this doll. I never got her, because pink wasn’t my favorite color.
She had this one, too. I was jealous, because I was fascinated by perms. But the doll was, in fact, kind of ugly.
We both had this one. Her doll had a different face than mine did, and her golden outfits were different looking. The “curl” was totally bogus. It was just copper strands that didn’t really stay curled.
We both also had Beauty Secrets Barbie. I ruined her by cutting off her bangs. I had bangs and hated them.

I inherited a bunch of my sisters’ 60s era Barbies. I abused the hell out of those dolls, which makes me sad now. Those poor dolls were actually prettier than my 80s era ones, even if they weren’t as functional. They were probably worth some money, too, before I fucked them up by playing with them. I like how pretty the girls are in these ads. I was never “pretty” as a girl. I was more “cute”, I guess. I always wanted long hair, but my mom would never let me grow it out. She’d get it cut short. I wore boys’ jeans and cords, because they fit me better than girls’ jeans did. I never got tall and slim. Instead, I stayed short and squatty.

I also had a Tiffany Taylor doll. I loved her, but was kind of traumatized when she didn’t live up to the hype, either.

This was like a Barbie on steroids.

Tiffany Taylor’s gimmick was that you could rotate her scalp and change her hair color. I always left her hair set to blonde, though, probably because I was a blonde myself. Consequently, when I turned the hair to brunette, it would stick straight up in the air. I think this doll was also subjected to one of my disastrous attempts at hair cutting. I somehow didn’t realize the hair wouldn’t grow back if I cut it. There was also a “Tuesday Taylor” doll, but I think she was supposed to be a Barbie sized version. Tiffany was a lot bigger than Tuesday.

I liked Tiffany’s clothes. You can see that when she’s a brunette, her hair sticks up.

But… my least favorite doll of all time was this one…

I HATED this doll.
I didn’t have this one… but I probably would have hated it, too.

I remember actually taking a hammer to my Talk Up Doll, because I hated the annoying voice. Too bad… she probably would have been worth some money today. I suck at selling things, though, and like I said, I actually played with my toys. I was never one to keep something around just to look at and allow to collect dust. My former friend would do that. Not me… I had less impulse control, and I hate dusting.

Wow… I really fell down the rabbit hole with this topic. I suppose I could have written about something more important, like Afghanistan, but I really felt like writing something fun. And I did annoy Bill by laughing at “Dumpies” diapers. I guess my lack of interest in baby dolls wasn’t such a bad thing, though, since I never grew up to have any kids, anyway. Perhaps my “Barbie” life was a reflection of what my real life was going to end up being.

Mood music. I didn’t have this album. I remember the ad for it, though, and this song… how annoying!
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funny stories, religion

Partial repost: Unsuccessfully making fun of Jack T. Chick with Pensacola Christian College alums…

A few days ago, I reposted a couple of book reviews about author Frank Schaeffer. As I was looking up those reviews on the old version of my blog, I noticed that I included Schaeffer in a post I wrote about cartoon religious tract artist Jack T. Chick. It so happens that Fundie Fridays also recently did a video about Jack Chick.

I enjoyed this video. I went through a Jack Chick phase myself about twenty years ago.

There is something fresh I’d like to write about this morning, but I’m not quite ready to put it into words yet. I think I need to talk to Bill a bit more before I’m ready to compose. But Jack Chick is always a fun topic and it IS Sunday, so here’s a partial repost of an article I wrote in February 2016.

When I was a graduate student, I had a surprising amount of free time on my hands.  Though I did not have as much free time in those days as I do now, as The Overeducated Housewife, I did have plenty of time for messing around.  I bought my very first personal computer in 1999.  I felt I needed to have it, even though the University of South Carolina had computer labs.  It was a good investment, especially since it ultimately led me to Bill.  Of course, I’ve already written that shocking story (which I will probably repost on 9/11).

Today, I want to write about the Christian evangelical comic book artist Jack T. Chick and how I came to learn of his existence.  I had never heard of him until 1999 or so, when I bought that first Gateway machine for $999.  I spent hours on the Internet, looking at everything that was available in cyberspace.  At one point, I landed on The Student Voice, a site for former students at Pensacola Christian College.  The site used to be http://www.pensacolachristiancollege.com, but it’s now defunct.  The school sued to get the URL released to them, but they lost. It looks like the guy who had the domain finally released it and now if you go to http://www.pensacolachristiancollege.com, you end up on the school’s official Web site.  I see a lot of the stuff that used to be on The Student Voice has been taken down.  That’s a real pity, though it’s still worth looking around if you’re interested in how weird PCC really is.  Here’s an article written by someone who experienced PCC and didn’t like it.

Apparently, the people who run PCC are extremely uptight folks.  They are very quick to give students the boot for not measuring up to standards.  If you choose to attend this college, you will be paying to be treated like you’re on house arrest.  Pensacola is near beaches.  PCC students are allowed to go to the beach, but they have to go to gender segregated ones… or, at least they did back in the early 00s.  Students were not allowed to be in mixed company and had to travel in groups.  They had to scan off campus and were only allowed to go to certain places.  They were only allowed to see G rated films.  And ladies, you can forget about wearing pants.  Indeed, women have to wear dresses and skirts of an appropriate length along with pantyhose.  Imagine how pleasant that is in Florida heat!  And guys are to wear ties, which are not allowed to be removed until the afternoon.

Man almighty, if I ever thought the rules were strict at Bob Jones University, BYU, or Liberty University, they were nothing compared to PCC.  Men and women had to use different stairwells and sidewalks and avoid touching or staring at each other for too long (making “eye babies”).  At night, everyone had to draw their blinds in a particular way to prevent peeping.  Books, magazines, and the Internet were strictly regulated and filtered.  Anything remotely suggestive was censored.  If you got sick, you had to check yourself into the infirmary.  And almost every student was required to live on campus, where, if they broke the rules, they could be grounded (campused).

I’m not sure if the rules are as strict today as they were twenty years ago, but back then, they were almost unbelievably strict.  What was really crazy in my view is that the students were all legal adults paying for this experience.  And the degrees they were paying for weren’t even accredited.  It’s my understanding that PCC now has some sort of accreditation designated for Christian schools, but I don’t think it’s the kind that is universally respected.  I, of course, found the whole thing fascinating and used to hang out on the Student Voice’s messageboard to get the dirt.  The stories were crazy and positively addictive.

Anyway, not being a particularly devout Christian, I had never heard of Christian tract artist Jack T. Chick.  Chick makes Bible tracts that many Christians pass out to others, leave in lieu of tips at restaurants, or litter with in parks and public restrooms.  They can be entertaining to read, even if some of the messages within them are hateful.  Basically, according to Chick, everyone who doesn’t live their lives in accordance with Biblical principles is going to go straight to Hell.

The PCC crowd had heard plenty about Jack T. Chick.  Some of them had handed out his tracts to innocent people.  Once I found out about Chick, I felt the insatiable need to find out more about him, so I continued my sleuthing and eventually came across a Web site called Weird Crap.  A guy named Psycho Dave had created several  parodies of Jack Chick’s tracts.  Most of the parodies are hilarious, even if they are also quite sacrilegious.  If you have an irreverent sense of humor and are not offended by blasphemy or extremely off color humor or language, I recommend having a look, especially after comparing them with Chick’s originals.  If you are at all sensitive about such humor, I recommend simply taking my word for it.  Also, be aware that the site is a bit wonky because it hasn’t been updated in ages.  Your patience will likely be required.

Psycho Dave wrote that he got a ration of shit from Jack Chick after he created his parodies.  He got phone calls and emails demanding that he take down his parodies because they were copyrighted.  I can’t help but get a huge kick out of the fact that the people at Weird Crap had loads of fun poking fun at Chick.  Their Web site kept me entertained for hours when I was in grad school and not able to chat with Bill.  And, as you can see, despite Chick’s saber shaking and harassment, Psycho Dave’s parodies are still online.  He says he’s ready to pass the Web site on to someone else, though.

A Chick tract in Dutch I found in Amsterdam.

I made the mistake of sharing the parodies with the folks on the PCC board.  I got quite the dressing down for that because even though a lot of them seemed to think Jack Chick is an asshole and they were a bit on the rebellious side, they didn’t like how Psycho Dave made fun of their holy book. I got chastised for being blasphemous.  Aside from that, they were pretty accepting of me, even though one person said I reminded them of Janine Garofalo (really?!).  I guess to them, I really was super liberal.  I’m definitely even more liberal now than I was back then.  

I can credit PCC folks for introducing me to the writer Frank Schaeffer, who was himself raised by famous Christian evangelists in Switzerland.  Schaeffer has written several very entertaining novels as well as a few non fiction books that I’ve enjoyed.  His son, John, joined the Marines against his parents’ wishes.  Schaeffer had never been exposed to the military and was against John’s enlistment, but later educated himself and wrote a few excellent books about different aspects of the military experience, including his experience as the father of a Marine.  When Bill came home from Iraq, I passed on Schaeffer’s novel Baby Jack to him.  That book really resonated with Bill on many levels and I probably never would have known about it if the PCC folks hadn’t turned me on to Frank Schaeffer’s writing.  So I offer them thanks for that.  And, I also see from Amazon.com, that I’ve missed a couple of Schaeffer’s latest books.  He’s very prolific and, if you write to him, he will write back.

Mood music for this post. It’s profane, so don’t listen to it if cursing offends you. I can play this on the guitar.

I don’t really hang out with PCC folks anymore, though I am still a member of their relocated forum.  Every year on my birthday, I get an automated birthday greeting from them and I remember how much fun I had learning about the wacky world of PCC and fundie Christians.   I only wish I could find a similarly entertaining community so I could pry myself off of Facebook. 

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dogs, dreams, funny stories, Reality TV

My erotic dream about Derick Dillard was interrupted by Noyzi!

I need a good laugh. Do you need a good laugh, too? Well, how about this for a giggle? This morning, I had an erotic dream about Derick Dillard. Yes, the very same Derick Dillard who is married to the former Jill Duggar and recently graduated from law school at the University of Arkansas. Yes, the very same Derick Dillard who is on the outs with Boob and his wife, and was vilified online for being mean to Jazz Jennings. Yes– fundie Christian Derick Dillard, who is not my type! I could have changed his diapers.

He’s not really my type. In my dream, he didn’t have a beard.

I don’t know WHY I had this dream. I am not attracted to Derick. I have a husband who rings my chimes quite expertly. I don’t follow the Dillards on social media, and only know what I read about them on the Duggar Family News page and see on videos by Katie Joy. Derick is also quite a bit younger than I am, so I doubt we’d have much in common. I’m not exactly a “cougar”.

I woke up at the usual time of 5:30am, which is when Arran always rouses and asks for breakfast and a potty break. I spent about an hour reading my latest book, but then got drowsy. I put the iPad down and drifted off to sleep. At some point, the weird erotic dream began. I was just on the edge of an earth shattering orgasm when I heard Bill say, “Jenny, look at this!”

I opened my eyes and there was Noyzi, the Kosovar rescue dog, peering around the corner at me. He had a big smile on his face and was wagging his tail. It was about 8:00am by that point. I guess he came upstairs to see if we’d died. We’re usually up long before 8:00. We have nice weather today and agreeable temperatures, so I guess it was good “sleeping weather”. Good enough to have a hot dream involving a fundie Christian.

Here’s the weirdest part of it. The dream was taking place in a bedroom in the house I grew up in. I think the bedroom was supposed to be the master bedroom, since it had a bathroom. But it was a very small room, so my “princess” sister got it when we moved there in 1980. Then, it was a guest room… then it was my room when I was living with my parents for almost two years after the Peace Corps. Then it went back to being a guest room. Now, I’m not sure what it is. My mom sold the house to the woman who used to work for my dad and bought his business from him.

Anyway, in my dream, beardless Derick and I were nude and he had his head on my shoulder. He breathed in, closed his eyes, and was about to lay me down on the bed when we were interrupted by Bill. Nothing nasty happened. It took me a minute to realize it had been a dream. Once I did, I was grateful… since I would rather Bill be doing the honors than Derick. Below are are a couple of videos of Noyzi’s “good morning”. He’s getting to be a very confident dog.

Noyzi stops by to check on us.
Get your ass out of bed!

Speaking of Noyzi, he’s becoming quite adorable. The other day, he was wanting a walk in the worst way. Lately, he’s taken to coming upstairs at around 9:30am, which is about the time I’m usually done blogging on a typical weekday. He’ll sit in the hallway and whine a little. Then he’ll come into the office and look at me adoringly. Then, if that doesn’t work, he’ll follow me into the bathroom and watch me take care of business. On Friday, he was in rare form. I was getting dressed, and Noyzi stood outside the door and barked at me. It wasn’t his usual high pitched “yip”, either. He meant that shit. If you watch any of the videos in this post, this is definitely the one to see. Noyzi is hilarious!

Noyzi wants a walk. NOW! If you watch any of the videos, this is the one to watch.

After I took the above video, I took another showing Noyzi and Arran running around like a couple of freaks as we prepared for our daily ritual of strolling the neighborhood. Arran is about 12, but he’s still pretty feisty and full of life. We worry about him a lot, because he is getting old… but he’s definitely still kicking, as evidenced below.

They are NUTS! But they love their walks. It’s hard to believe that Noyzi was not leash trained when we got him and had never known the joy of a walk around the neighborhood. He demands walks every day, now.

I probably had that dream because I was very close to being awake. Bill has been seeing a Jungian therapist and they spend a lot of time talking about Bill’s dreams. Bill even writes them down and sends them to the therapist. Maybe all of the talk about dreams is what prompted me to have this erotic morning dream about Derick Dillard… but I just question why it was Derick and not someone else. I mean, I guess I can be glad it wasn’t Donald Trump who invaded my dreams.

I did notice a couple of my first cousins once removed, who also happen to be brother and sister, both posted photos last night. Each cousin is expecting a baby with their respective spouses, and both appear to be pretty close to the blessed event. Maybe my dream was influenced by my uterus, as it sighs through the waning days of my fertility. Ah… what could have been, if I’d only been more sexually active. Oh well. I wish them happiness and luck as they expand their families. I wish I still felt like I’m a part of the family, but I don’t, really. That is pretty sad. I remember my cousins’ dad, who was my very kind uncle. I saw him for the last time when I last went “home” in 2014. He passed away about six weeks later.

Anyway, I’m not in dreamland now, and praise God for that. Maybe if I get fired up later, I’ll write something more serious. For now, I hope this post gave you a moment of amusement… or perhaps a moment of horror!

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funny stories, mental health, politics, psychology

Dastardly Trump dumper gets caught with his pants down…

This morning, Bill made me aware of a disturbing story on the God page. I don’t follow God anymore, but sometimes if there’s a compelling or funny story, I will venture there manually to catch the buzz. And this morning’s scoop was literally buzzworthy (flies, y’all) and potentially stinky!

It seems that over the past ten years, 59 year old Matthew Guyette of Greenville, Ohio has been suffering the shitty intentions of his neighbor, 70 year old retired high school teacher, Jerry Detrick. Detrick admitted to the dirty deed when he was finally caught in the act of publicly taking a shit on Guyette’s yard at the “asscrack” of dawn… 3:15am on Sunday, May 30th. He’s also repeatedly urinated on Guyette’s lawn.

Guyette commented that he busted his neighbor, thanks to his new dog. He got up in the middle of the night to walk the pooch and literally caught Detrick with his pants down when he happened to glance over the hedge he shares with another neighbor. Again… this has been going on for over ten years!

According to The Smoking Gun, when Guyette confronted Detrick mid squat, the man simply stood up and walked away. Detrick was quickly identified when Guyette provided his description of the dastardly defecator to the police.

Why would Detrick “doo doo” such a thing? It can’t be good for neighborhood relations, right? Well… it turns out that Detrick is a Trump supporter, and Guyette and his husband are Biden supporters. Detrick told the police that was why he’d been on his serial pooping and running spree. He evidently thought he would get sympathy from the cops, who were unimpressed, and cited him for littering. Guyette notes that over 80 percent of the people of Greenville voted for Trump, so maybe Detrick thought the cops would be understanding.

But given that Detrick has been showing his ass for over TEN years and he openly admitted to being the culprit, I tend to think there’s more to the story. My guess is that Detrick may not approve of the gay lifestyle. He’s probably also a little bit crazy.

Talk about neighbor wars! This one got downright shitty!

Detrick lives a couple of blocks from Guyette’s residence and walks past it often to visit his favorite bar (at least he doesn’t drink and drive). Guyette posted on Facebook about busting him, adding that the stealth shitter also has a habit of leaving the napkins he used to clean himself after dropping his deuces. Detrick is not a very neighborly guy, is he? But at least Guyette wasn’t his only victim. According to a Facebook comment Guyette made, Detrick’s targets also included the local museum and some of his other neighbors.

I took a peek at Matthew Guyette’s Facebook page. He seems to be taking this incident with a good sense of humor, which is highly commendable. He has left his post about this Trump supporting stealth shitter public. At this point, over three hundred people have dropped by to offer their thoughts. Some of the comments are hilarious!

I’ll be honest and say that when Bill told me about this, my first reaction was anger. I would be absolutely LIVID if someone did this to me, and I would be pressing full charges– to whatever extent I could. I also would have busted Detrick years ago, because it would have become an obsession for me. It’s the height of disrespect and completely uncalled for behavior. But I will admit that I can laugh about the story, because it is so bizarre. It also reminds me of why I really think a lot of Trump supporters are either crazy or stupid… or just plain disrespectful.

Reading about this reminded me of a story I blogged about from two years ago involving two guys who turned out to be Trumpers. On March 31, 2019, then 50 year old Charles Eugene Ferris, and Christopher Hicks, then 36, two guys in Rogers, Arkansas, were sitting in the backyard drinking beer when they got the bright idea to test out a bullet proof vest Ferris was wearing. Ferris asked Hicks to shoot him, and Hicks obliged. The shot hurt, and that pissed off Ferris, so he had Hicks try on the vest. Then Ferris shot Hicks.

When I read about this incident, I knew instinctively that these two “mental giants” were Trump supporters. There was nothing at all in the article about their politics. But I just KNEW these two supported the orange turd. Handling loaded firearms and experimenting with bullet proof vests, especially while also loaded on alcohol, just isn’t something most liberal types are likely to do. I realized I could be wrong, though. So I went searching for verification, and sure enough, I quickly and easily got it.

Someone who followed my OH Facebook page commented. She is a Trump supporter, but has some basic respect and class. Unfortunately, one of her friends didn’t like that I was sharing my opinions and left me a pretty rude comment. I wrote a lengthy rebuttal, with the serious question why normally decent and normal people would want to be affiliated with guys like Ferris and Hicks… and now Jerry Detrick, who scarily enough, was once a public school teacher. This was my closing paragraph on that piece:

…the point I’m making is that it was obvious to me that these two guys in Arkansas are Trump supporters. It’s clear by their stupid behavior that they are. I could tell without even getting confirmation from a Facebook page, although I did at least take the time to confirm it. If I can so easily tell which political leader a person supports simply based on their asinine behavior, it really says something about that leader, doesn’t it? Do you really want to be lumped in with those people? Think about it.

I emphasize that last sentence this time, because two years later, this theory I have about the correlation of crazy behavior and support for Trump has, yet again, arisen. It’s not about Trump being a “conservative”. He’s not really a conservative. He’s just someone who says and does outrageous things, and emboldens the crazies among us. Why would any reasonable or sane person want to be affiliated with people who shit on their neighbors’ lawns over their political choices? Why would you want to share politics with guys who get drunk, don bullet proof vests, and shoot each other? Guys… I knew these people were Trumpers without even knowing them personally, based ONLY on their ridiculous antics!

In fairness, though, I am also reminded of another story I heard about a few years ago, also involving a former public school employee. Back in 2018, Thomas Tramaglini was the superintendent of Kenilworth Public Schools in New Jersey. But then he got busted for repeatedly leaving piles of shit near Holmdel High School’s track and football field. Johnathan Martin, the cop who busted him was the school’s resource officer, who was on high alert when Tramaglini’s leavings were spotted on a daily basis. Martin was promoted to patrol officer last year.

Meanwhile, Tramaglini’s life has been pretty “shitty” since he was caught dumping and later pleaded guilty to one count of defecating in public. Tramaglini filed a lawsuit against Martin, Police Chief John Mioduszewski, Holmdel Township and other unspecified officers. The suit alleged that Martin unlawfully took a mugshot of the former superintendent and circulated it.

Tramaglini resigned from his job, which paid about $148,000 a year, and was subjected to harassment, as were his children and other family members. As to why he was shitting by the track when he could have used one of the portable toilets about 30 feet from where his crap was found, I don’t know… He claims he suffered from “runner’s diarrhea” and even produced a medical certification from a doctor. But he never offered any proof that he ever sought “help” for his problem until after he was caught on camera with his pants down. So obviously, it wasn’t something that greatly distressed him, even if the piles of excrement might have bothered those who later found it. I’ll admit that I can’t tell who Mr. Tramaglini supports politically… but he’s obviously got some issues with entitlement, hostility, disrespect… and, of course, excrement.

I previously wrote about Mr. Tramaglini on my original blog. That story was married with another one about a school in North Lebanon, Pennsylvania where students were being required to “smile” on demand or else. That school was also in the news because the school’s then Assistant Principal, Benjamin Wenger, along with High School Principal Jennifer Hassler and Middle School Principal Brad Reist, were also accused of throwing around a sex toy during school hours. I don’t know who those fine educators supported politically, either… but their conduct as “educators” is definitely questionable, unprofessional, and perhaps even execrable.

Anyway… I commend Matthew Guyette for not taking this shit lying down… and maintaining a sense of humor and compassion, despite his neighbor’s crappy attitude. Hopefully, now that Jerry Detrick’s dumping habits have been uncovered, he’ll clean up his act and learn how to use a toilet… preferably in private!

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dogs, funny stories, technology

Healthy habits spurred on by butt sniffers and smartwatches…

I have a couple of issues to address today. They aren’t really related, but I don’t feel like composing two posts. I hope you’ll bear with me, anyway.

Our dog, Noyzi, who came to us from Kosovo last fall, has really been turning into quite a charming beast. When we first got him, he was pretty terrified of most things. He was used to living outside with many other dogs, so he’d never encountered glass before. He bumped his head several times on the glass door before he learned that he couldn’t go through it. Now, he knows how to deal with the door and the mesh fly screen we put up earlier in the spring, although that scared him at first, too.

When Noyzi first joined us, he didn’t really know how to walk on a leash. I gave him a few lessons in the backyard before we took him out for his first walk around the neighborhood. He now walks on the leash like a champ and, in fact, even seems more secure when he’s on a leash than when he’s not. He’s become very civilized in that regard, willingly walking behind or beside me. He never pulls or barks, although sometimes if he’s excited or scared, he will freak out a little bit and backpedal. But those incidents are becoming fewer and further between.

Noyzi is a perfect gentleman when anyone rings the doorbell. Almost all of our other dogs, save for C.C. the beagle/husky mix, have barked like crazy when someone comes to the door. Now, Arran barks as usual, but Noyzi stays quiet. He doesn’t rush to the door, trying to get out or greet the stranger. In fact, he really doesn’t bark much at all, except for when the next door neighbor’s Labrador, Tommi, is outside. I have rarely heard him utter more than a few high pitched yips, which I feel pretty sure aren’t the extent of his full on barking capabilities.

I have yet to see Noyzi be food aggressive or aggressive, in general, at all. He patiently tolerates Arran’s figurative rolling pin waving antics. Arran bitches Noyzi out regularly, trying desperately to cling to top dog status, which he never really had when we had Zane. Arran could really only dominate Zane when Zane wasn’t feeling well. But Noyzi, who is several times Arran’s size, puts up with Arran’s bossiness like a champ. I have noticed a little eye rolling, now and again, and Noyzi will sometimes sneak upstairs even though Arran often bitches at him when he tries to invade. But, for the most part, Noyzi quietly and patiently respects his place in the hierarchy and doesn’t make waves.

I couldn’t have asked for a more naturally obedient and intelligent pet. Noyzi doesn’t counter surf, and his begging for food is minimal and endearing. Noyzi didn’t even need to be house trained, which was a hugely pleasant surprise! It was like he was born to be an indoor dog, despite his size. He even enjoys being bathed!

The one thing Noyzi does do, however, is something that is taking a little bit to get used to. You see, Noyzi is the tallest dog we’ve ever had. He’s almost as tall as my hip. That puts his head at just the right place for sticking his nose right in my ass. He doesn’t do this every day… it’s mainly when he’s wanting to take a walk or be fed. Noyzi, like most of the dogs we’ve ever had, now knows how to tell time, more or less. He knows when he usually gets fed or walked.

Noyzi enjoys part of our longer walking route, thanks to the other monitor in my life… Our local Rewe does its part to encourage the bees to do their jobs.

Usually, Arran will come and tell me when it’s time for either of those activities, if I haven’t already gotten started. But now, I’ve noticed that when I go and get dressed for a walk, Noyzi will come upstairs and wait. Then Arran will lead the way downstairs, stopping and pausing on the way to make sure I’m following. Noyzi will station himself behind me and stick his nose where the sun don’t shine. He does it to Bill, too, though not as often as he does it to me. Sometimes, he also gooses me in the ass when I’m putting on my shoes. It’s like he sees my butt as a target… a funny smelling target… and sticks his nose there to light a fire under my ass, so to speak. It’s kind of like a G rated canine version of the “Shocker”. If you don’t know what the Shocker is, Urban Dictionary is your friend.

I probably shouldn’t allow or encourage this behavior, but honestly, I find it kind of funny. Like I said, in the past, we’ve always had medium sized beagle mixes who have been too short to engage in such antics. This is the first time we’ve had a dog large enough to be a legitimate “ball sniffer” or in Noyzi’s case, “butt sniffer”. George Carlin had a hilarious comedy routine about such dogs… Behold:

Noyzi doesn’t do circumcisions… yet.

I guess as long as Noyzi doesn’t push me as I walk downstairs, I’m alright with being spurred on to success. I did manage to get a cute animation from my new Apple Watch the last couple of days. I’m not sure I’ve dished much about my latest toy, and I originally didn’t realize Noyzi and Arran had anything in common with the watch. But now that I think about it, it occurs to me that the watch and the dogs do have something in common. Both the dogs and the watch are spurring me on to take better care of myself. I don’t think either of the dogs do it for my sake. They spur me on for their sakes. But my taking the dogs for a walk is a mutually beneficial and healthy activity for all of us.

So anyway, a couple of weeks ago, when I was sitting here at home alone, I decided to order an Apple Watch. I don’t really even need a regular watch, let alone a “smart” one. I don’t have anywhere to be, so I don’t need to know what time it is. Besides, I usually have my phone or iPad with me, or I’m sitting at the computer. Still, I’d been reading about all the nifty stuff on the Apple Watch and decided to order one as a TDY consolation prize/early birthday present. Since we haven’t been traveling, I had the money mostly saved.

The new Apple Watch does indeed have a lot of nannyism health gimmicks that remind users to take care of themselves. For instance, this watch is capable of checking my blood oxygen levels. It prompts me to take a moment to breathe deeply and will pause the exercise if I’m not focused, still, and breathing properly, and encourages me to try again. It reminds me when to go to bed and get up, not that I need any help with that, being married to a man whose brain goes down with the sun (seriously, Bill is practically comatose by 9:00pm, and he’s always up by 5:00am… consequently, so am I). Today, I got a chastising message when I neglected to wash my hands for a full twenty seconds. The watch wanted to know why I hadn’t scrubbed for the right amount of time– was it just a rinse?

Your Grace! Isn’t it nice to be addressed respectfully? I’ll probably subscribe to Apple Fitness+ once my three months are up.

When I take walks and forget to tell the watch I’m “working out”, it will buzz my wrist and ask me if I want it to record my walk. It’s already been recording, mind you. If I answer affirmatively, it will show the time of the walk already in progress, so I don’t miss those precious early minutes before I asked the watch to count the walk as exercise. The new watch comes with three free months of Apple Fitness+. There are three wellness ring goals that it encourages me to meet every day: exercise, standing, and moving (which seems kind of strange, since I mostly stand and move when I exercise). As I get closer to meeting the goals, each ring– light blue for standing, maroon for moving, and light green for exercise– get closer to closing in perfection. I get a cute animation as I meet each goal and a really exciting animation when I reach all three. And if the day is closing and I haven’t moved, stood, or exercised enough, the watch will send me an encouraging message, reminding me to get up off my ass.

Aww… thanks for caring, Apple Watch. Maybe it’s time I named you.

I also get a warning if my heart rate is dangerously high, or the noise in an area is too loud and could damage my hearing. I got a message yesterday asking me if my period has started yet, since it’s overdue… but I am getting old and will soon turn 49, so I expect that my once Swiss watch regular cycles will go horribly awry soon. I read yesterday that the next incarnation of the Apple Watch will even be capable of checking blood sugar.

Of course, I could disable some of these features. I think if I had real life things to attend to, like a job or a child, the constant reminders for every little thing might get very annoying in a hurry. It’s bad enough that the watch reminds me when it’s time for me to play Words With Friends or sends me notices when some strange creep on Facebook wants to “connect” with me. I probably will start to shut down some of the “services” as I get to know the watch better. I probably will keep the exercise reminders, though, because it’s encouraging to keep track of how much I move… and it’s good to be reminded to move.

I’m sure Arran and Noyzi also appreciate that the Apple Watch gives me a reason to take them for a slightly longer route, since the weather is better. I wish I’d had this watch when we lived in Jettingen, where our walks were twice as long, because we were next to a huge forest. I would have definitely had no problem meeting and exceeding the exercise goals there.

Anyway… I appreciate the help and concern from my dogs and Apple Watch for helping me maintain my physical health, especially since I haven’t seen a doctor in about ten years. But I might need one if Noyzi pushes too hard as he herds me toward the door for his daily walk or victuals. I might fall down and bust my ass or break my face. At that point, since this watch is also capable of sending and receiving phone calls (once I connect it to my cellphone plan and pay the fees), it might automatically call 112 for me (Germany’s equivalent to 911 for an ambulance).

Not that I expect anyone to click the link before buying an Apple Watch, or even to buy one from Amazon, but that would sure make a nice birthday gift in sales commissions from Amazon. 😉 As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from Amazon on anything purchased through my site… and my birthday is on the 20th!

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