Bidding On Reagan’s Blood

P.T. Barnum, or H.L. Mencken, or somebody else said:  “You’ll never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”  For a while, an anonymous seller and on-line auction house seemed to be trying to prove that you won’t go broke underestimating the decency of people, either.

The seller and the auction house were peddling a purported vial of Ronald Reagan’s dried blood. The blood supposedly was taken after Reagan was shot, and the vial was accompanied by some kind of certificate of authenticity.  As the bids mounted — ultimately, they reached $30,000 — the outcry about the inappropriateness of selling the item also increased.  Eventually the seller decided to withdraw the item from auction and donate it, instead, to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.

It’s appalling that anyone would try to sell a vial of somebody else’s blood — or other type of bodily fluid, or bodily part — in an on-line auction.  The fact that it is blood obtained after an attempt to assassinate an American President only heightens the baseline outrage that anyone should feel about such a stunt.

At least the seller of the item finally came to his senses and withdrew the item.  But what does it tell you that ghoulish people in the world were happy to bid on the item and were prepared to pay as much as $30,000 for it, rather than treating the attempt to auction blood with the scorn it so richly deserved?

I’m afraid we live in a sick world, where the sick people no longer worry about the need to hide their depravity, their greed, and their lack of basic human decency.


Enslaved By Fear Of Jinxes

Being an absurdly superstitious sports fan is a terrible thing.

You’d love to talk about your team and how well they are playing.  You’d relish chatting about their residence atop their division, about how they crushed their divisional rivals, and about their ability to withstand the pressure and win close games.  You’d like to do some trash-talking and razz the fans of opposing teams.

You’d enjoy a chance to brag a little, knowing that sports success can be fleeting and you need to strike while the iron is hot.  But you can’t — you absolutely can’t! — because you understand, to the deepest fiber of your being, that if you even mention the team by name and boast to anyone — even overbearing fans of other teams — about how well the team is playing, you have ensured their ultimate failure just as surely as if you sabotaged their equipment.

That doesn’t mean you can’t silently support your team by, say, wearing a hat that demonstrates your allegiance.  But beyond that, you must maintain the strict jinx-avoiding vow of silence.  And if anyone asks you about it, or wants to talk about it, you must assume the most humble disposition imaginable and change the subject as quickly as possible.

Nothing to see here.  Move along.

Barking Into The Night

We’ve had Kasey for a few months now, and mutual adjustments are still being made.  The latest challenging area really hits home, because it’s disturbing our precious sleep.

I don’t know how often Kasey had slept in a crate before she arrived at our house, but I do know that she spent some time in a crate because she came into the family from the Erie County Humane Society.  At first, when she slept with Penny, Kasey was quiet at night.  Then she began to get restless, and we decided to get a separate crate.  She figured out how to escape from the crate, and we would find her in the morning in some odd location.  When we then returned her to the crate, the night-time barking began.

Kasey’s bark is not loud, and it is pitched at a sound register that is just barely distinguishable from the sounds you might hear through an open window.  But it’s like the beginning cries of a newborn who you are trying to train to sleep through the night.  Once you hear it, your brain focuses on the sound, and you can’t ignore it.  It works on your consciousness like steel claws scraping against a blackboard.  You toss and turn, exhausted yet wide awake, eyes dried out, fretting about the fact that you’ve got to get up in five hours — all against the backdrop of that incessant, nerve-jangling barking.  It’s infuriating, and being furious at your dog is not a good thing.

We’ve tried knocking the crate with a baseball bat and giving a stern admonition, which worked with Penny when she had a nightly barking period long ago.  We’ve tried waiting for Kasey to give up on the barking, but she is a stubborn cuss.  We’ve tried returning her to the crate with Penny.  None of those efforts has worked — because, I think, Kasey just doesn’t want to be in a crate.

Now Kish has decreed that we put Kasey in the crate that she can escape, in a nod to Penny’s finely honed sense of crating fairness, recognizing that Kasey will escape and then roam the house (with most upstairs doors closed) until she finds a place to sleep.  That strategy is fraught with peril when it involves a dog that obviously is still getting adjusted and has the ability to leap up onto tables and jump from table to countertop — but last night it seemed to work.  The other option is technological:  we have a device that is supposed to emit a high-pitched sound that only dogs can hear whenever barking begins.  If the current strategy stops working, the dog whistle will be deployed.