SubscribeStar Saturday: Dog Days: Early Reflections on Dog Ownership

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

Note to subscribersI am still working on last Saturday’s post.  It should be up later today.

As I noted in the title to Wednesday’s post, this blog is going to the dogs.  Don’t worry—not forever, and not always.  But with the experience of fostering sweet Murphy still fresh, I wanted to take some time today to reflect on the past two days of dog ownership.

Naturally, it’s a bit early yet—the term of the foster is thirty days, and after which I am allowed to adopt the old girl if I so choose—but it’s already been a positive experience, both for myself and, more importantly, the dog.

Murphy is an old girl—she is eight-years-old as of June—and was caught up in, as far as I can gather, some family drama, leading to her placement in a shelter in Havelock, North Carolina.  The Bull Terrier Rescue Mission swooped in and got in touch with me, just a week after I’d put in an application to become a foster for the organization (you can read that story here).  As such, she’s been through a great deal in the past week, and is already inclined to be a bit more relaxed, given her advanced age (the life expectancy for bull terriers, per the American Kennel Club, is between twelve and thirteen years, though I frequently hear of bull terriers passing around the age of ten).

That means we’ve enjoyed a lot of short walks and long naps.  She’s definitely my kind of girl.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Supporting Friends Friday: The Bull Terrier Rescue Mission

The big news this week was that I would be fostering a dog.  Well, I picked up sweet Murphy—an eight-year-old female bull terrier—yesterday at the Sam’s Club in Goldsboro, North Carolina.  As I write this post, Murphy is sleeping soundly in her crate, and seems to have made herself very much at home already.

It is thanks to the efforts of The Bull Terrier Rescue Mission, Inc., that Murphy is alive and well (I hope!—we go to the veterinarian this morning) today.  My post from Wednesday details how I stumbled upon the organization, so I won’t rehash that here; that said, I am thrilled that I discovered them, and would like to encourage readers to check out the organization (and to consider making a donation to them).

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Delayed Monday Morning Movie Review: Day of the Dead (1985)

After much delay, here is this week’s Monday Morning Movie Review of George A. Romero‘s 1985 zombie classic Day of the Dead (not to be confused with the festive Mexican holiday of the same name).

When I first pulled up the flick on Shudder, I was hoping for 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, the supposedly “fun” Romero Dead movie.  That’s the one with survivors of a zombie apocalypse live it up in a mall, enjoying all the materialism the late 1970s could afford.

Despite my efforts, though, I can’t seem to locate that flick on any streaming service I use, so Day of the Dead it was.  By now the trope of “humans are the real monsters” is familiar to viewers—and readers of virtually any Stephen King novel—but Day of the Dead delivers that trite message in a taut, unsettling way.

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TBT: Catching Up

It’s been a week for playing catch up after the long weekend of moving, and I’m driving to pick up Murphy today.  Since getting back to South Carolina Monday, it’s been a blur of teaching lessons, dog-proofing the house, and painting (I’ve finally stripped the old lady wallpaper and have put on a nice coat of a yellowish paint I picked up at Lowe’s from the discount rack for $9).  Thank goodness it’s summertime, so I have plenty of time in the mornings to take care of things around the house and run errands.

That’s what I will miss most about summer:  the work-life balance.  Teaching a few hours of music lessons two or three afternoons a week, with some Town Council work sprinkled in for good measure, has been glorious.  Instead of waking up at 6 AM and rushing through the same morning routine, I’m able to rise at a more stately 7:30 or 8 AM; take my coffee and breakfast; and leisurely settle into a morning of writing, gardening, cleaning, or the like.

I understand why people work so many years to retire:  not having to rush into work is amazing!  I’m blessed to have a gig where I can live like a retired person for two months out of the year.  That doesn’t mean I’ve just been sitting around the house in my underwear (uh, well, not too much); if anything, I’ve been even more productive, because I’m not constantly exhausted.

That said, I still have some catching up to do on this blog—and around the house!—and an old pup to pick up.  So with that, here’s 27 July 2020’s “Catching Up“:

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Big News: TPP is Going to the Dogs

According to PetSmart.com, this week is National Adoption Week.  I suppose that’s appropriate, because I’m getting a dog.

For some reason, I became obsessed with the idea of finding a canine pal a few weeks ago.  I can’t really explain why, though I do have some theories, but I think it’s the same obsession my father succumbed to last summer when he purchased a rat terrier puppy, Atticus (née Mike).  After dog-sitting my girlfriend’s German Shepherd, Lily, for a week, that desire only deepened.

I was looking at my county’s humane society, which has a number of very adorable pups up for adoption.  I really fell in love with an old Shepherd mix named Mattus, who has now been adopted and sent to a new life in Vermont (their politics aside, that sounds a bit like paradise).

But then I began searching a bit further afield, and stumbled upon a very old dog, Riley, who is fostered in a town nearby.  Riley is a bull terrier, the breed perhaps best known due to the Budweiser mascot Spuds MacKenzie or the Target spokesdog, Bullseye.  I was not considering the breed at all, as they are quite mischievous and can be a handful for newcomers to dog ownership, but the description of old Riley—a chilled dude nearing the end of his life, just looking for a place to crash in comfort and snacks in his final days—seemed like a good fit.

After notifying the Bull Terrier Rescue Mission of my interest in Riley, one of their placement coordinators, Anja, contacted me for an in-depth discussion about the breed, Riley, etc.  Among other things, I learned that some bull terriers suffer from a form of obsessive-compulsion that causes them to chase their tales for unhealthily long periods of time; in England, they’re known as “nanny dogs,” as they will watch children under their care with an eagle eye; and that the breed possesses an unusually high pain threshold, meaning it doesn’t feel pain nearly as soon as other dogs.

We also determined after our hour-long discussion that Riley would not be a good fit for me.  Indeed, I’d woken up the night before contemplating the life changes necessary to care for an extremely elderly dog with a heart murmur.  Anja stressed to me that the Rescue places animals and owners together with the best possible fit, and that no owner should have to totally upend his life just to take in a dog.  I agree completely, but it was good to hear it from someone whose life is, arguably, consumed with dogs much of the time.

So after a long, productive conversation, Anja had all of my information and my preferences, and told me to be patient—it could be a couple of months before the right dog showed up in my area, but with bull terriers coming in all the time, she would be in touch.

With that, I made a small donation to the Rescue, and continued looking at the local humane society, if for no other reason than to whet my appetite.  I did go ahead and purchase a copy of Jane Killion’s When Pigs Fly!: Training Success with Impossible Dogs, figuring that having the authoritative training text for bull terriers would come in handy with most dogs, but especially if I ended up with a bull terrier.  Then I went about the business of moving my girlfriend to Athens.

It was on the long drive back to Columbia Friday afternoon, after completing our first run down to Georgia, that I received a text from Anja:  there was an eight-year old female bull terrier named Murphy who’d just been taken to a shelter in North Carolina.  As soon as I saw her picture, I knew that my life was going to get much more interesting:

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Tuesday TPP Update: Moving Weekend

Apologies to readers for some delayed posts Saturday and Monday.  I will be working to get those finished today and tomorrow, and to get back on my regular posting schedule.  Even this short update post is a bit delayed.

I spent the entire weekend helping my girlfriend move to her new apartment, and while it was one of the easier moves I’ve done in terms of furniture heft, it was also a situation of Murphy’s Law:  what could go wrong, did (well, not entirely—I suppose the U-Haul could have exploded en route).  We made an initial run Friday morning to drop off a small load and to get the keys to her new place.  It turns out there were several bits of documentation that the various utility providers had either not sent or did which my girlfriend did not realize she needed until the night before, but fortunately that all got sorted fairly quickly and headed back to South Carolina for the big load.

Unfortunately, when we arrived at the U-Haul pickup location, the place was totally dark—and this was at 3:30 PM.  There was also a massive storm system rolling in, with lightning popping in the area as we waited despondently on the off-chance the proprietor of the fly-by-night used car lot where my girlfriend had made the reservation would show up.

When it became apparent this mystery proprietor was not going to materialize miraculously, I began calling every U-Haul location in the general vicinity.  On the fourth attempt, I got through to a location.  They did not have a twenty-foot truck, but were able to place a reservation for me at a location that was a mere half-mile away from the shuttered used car lot.  As the storm began to shower its sky babies upon us, we booked it to a U-Haul Super Center and got the twenty-foot truck, which I drove gingerly through the downpour to my girlfriend’s apartment.

(An aside:  I love U-Haul trucks, with their lower storage cabins and their easy-to-drive cabins.  What I do not love is the willy-nilly fashion in which U-Haul hands out franchises to every Tom, Dick, and Skeletor out there.  Virtually every move I’ve ever made has involved going to a seedy, dilapidated, remote location, and asking the surly gas station/hardware store/dirt-floor shack attendant to give me the keys to the truck.  There’s always something unseemly about it—it’s like buying drugs, or purchasing an escort [I don’t know what those things are like, to be clear, but I’ve watched enough 70s movies to get the idea].  One time I picked up a U-Haul at a shack with a literal dirt floor and one bare light bulb burning overhead.  I’m surprised I made it out of there alive, much less with a truck!)

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Delayed Monday Morning Movie Review

Hi Readers,

I am heading back to South Carolina today after a long weekend of moving. I have been without Internet access aside from my phone, and I’m not about to write a movie review with my thumbs, so today’s Monday Morning Movie Review will post later today, possibly this evening.

Apologies for another delay, but posts should get back on track tomorrow.

God Bless!

—TPP

Lazy Sunday CXXII: MAGAWeek2020 Posts

In my enthusiasm to for the animal kingdom a couple of weeks ago, I neglected to kickoff MAGAWeek2021 with a Lazy Sunday retrospective of MAGAWeek2020 posts.

Well, better late than never.  Here’s all the goodness from MAGAWeek2020, which went pretty heavy on the first couple of decades of the twentieth century.  Even my post on a contemporary figure, Tucker Carlson, had some Progressive Era ties:  The Tuck is a big fan of Theodore Roosevelt, who enjoyed two separate posts last year.

Remember, these posts are available in full if subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for as little as $1 a month.  I’ve included links to the preview posts here on the blog, as well as the direct links to the full posts on my SubscribeStar page.

With that said, enjoy!

  • #MAGAWeek2020: Theodore Roosevelt, Part I” (post on SubscribeStar) – This first post on Theodore Roosevelt details his early life:  his childhood illness and his strenuous efforts to overcome it; the death of his mother and wife one the same day; his move to the Dakotas; and his command of the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War.
  • #MAGAWeek2020: Theodore Roosevelt, Part II” (post on SubscribeStar) – This second post on TR examines his presidency in greater detail.  TR was a trailblazing president of the Progressive Era, and while some of his notions would rankle conservatives today (as they did at the time), he was, perhaps, the greatest populist president since Andrew Jackson.
  • #MAGAWeek2020: The Tuck” (post on SubscribeStar) – Speaking of populists, this profile celebrates the elitist who wants leaders to care about the people they govern.  Tucker Carlson is the only major voice in the mainstream media who advocates for an American First, pro-nationalist, pro-populist message.  He’s not the only such voice, but he’s the only one currently with the legitimacy of the mainstream press behind him—even as the National Security Agency is spying on him!  But, as I always say, you can’t cuck The Tuck!
  • #MAGAWeek2020: Calvin Coolidge” (post on SubscribeStar) – Calvin Coolidge has enjoyed a bit of a revival in recent years as a stand-in for the tax reform debate.  In many ways, he was the antithesis to Theodore Roosevelt’s gutsy, activist style of leadership.  Coolidge took the role of president seriously, chiefly the idea that he was merely presiding over the country, not lurching into towards reform.  His steady, quiet, hands-off leadership allowed the country to flourish, and he holds the distinction of being the only president to shrink the size of the federal budget by the time he left office.

Well, now you’re all caught up.  Lots of good stuff to read—and just for $1 a month!  You can’t beat that, eh?

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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Saturday Updates; SubscribeStar Saturday Delayed

I’m moving my girlfriend to her new apartment this weekend, and despite a flurry of writing throughout the week, I was unable to get SubscribeStar Saturday done before the insanity of the move hit. It’s been an unusually difficult move logistically, but the worst of it is over, and today should be a breeze.

The planned SubscribeStar Saturday post is going to be a real doozy, so keep your eyes peeled. It might be Tuesday before I can get it done, but it will be worth the wait.

A big thanks to Dr. Rachel Fulton Brown for sharing my review of Centrism Games. The good doctor herself sent along her kudos via Telegram, and told me that my analysis of the poem is accurate.

I have some other potentially big news pertaining to the folks at the Bull Terrier Rescue Mission. Details to come.

Those are the quick updates for now. Apologies for the delay, but as soon as sore, battered body has recovered, I will have this weekend’s SubscribeStar post done.

Happy Saturday!

—TPP