"Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war...."
-- Julius Caesar

"Life...is a tale...full of sound and fury...."
-- Macbeth

"No woman can be too rich or too thin."
-- Wallis Simpson

"Let them eat cake."
-- Somebody, but not Marie Antoinette

Monday, August 9, 2010


Penelope: Do you think that Roomba dreams? What would he dream of?

Electric sheep?

Roomba: You better get out of the way tomorrow, Big Dog.

Penelope, Duncan, and Baby Cousin See "Inception"

Baby Cousin: I don’t get it.

Penelope: I don’t either. I got lost after they went for the ride in the car.

Duncan: It’s about memories. And dreams.

Baby Cousin:
What are those?

Duncan: Well, memories are like, when you remember things. Like I remember where the Lady Who Dotes keeps the leashes. And I remember what time of day she takes us for walks.

Baby Cousin: I’m still lost.

Penelope: Wait, I think I’m getting it. So, it’s like when we go for a ride in the car and I know that we’re going to Grandma/Grandpa’s house because the car turns at a certain place and it’s the same place that we have always turned to go to Grandma/Grandpa’s.

Duncan: Yes.

Baby Cousin: Who are Grandma and Grandpa?

Penelope: You see them all the time.

Baby Cousin: Do they feed me?

Penelope: I don’t know about you, but they feed me a lot.

Duncan: So you might not have memories yet, but you have dreams, Baby Cousin. I’ve seen you. Your eyes move rapidly and you make little sucking motions with your mouth. You dream about eating, just like Little Dog.

Baby Cousin: Talk some sense to me. Just because I’m six weeks old doesn’t mean that I’m going to take condescension. I’m fierce, you know. Talk down to me and I’ll start to cry and then you’ll be sorry.

Duncan: Dreams come when you fall asleep. It’s like when you fall asleep and you go to that other world -- that pretend world -- you think you are doing things, but you are not. And then you wake up.

Baby Cousin: Another world? Sleep? Sleep and wake are two different states?


Duncan: Yes. It’s like TV.

Penelope: TVs not real? Then why are all those dogs on TV? Could have fooled me.

Duncan: I don’t know if you have noticed how easily the humans trick you into taking a bath. It isn’t very hard.

Penelope: So, you are saying that sometimes when I’m eating a meal, I may only be eating in my mind?

Duncan: Yes.

Penelope: So I’m being gypped out of a meal? So are you getting a meal and I’m not, Big Dog? Who’s getting that food if it isn’t me?

Baby Cousin:
I really fail to see the difference between “waking” and “sleeping,” or “real” and “pretend.” I just recently started to see things right-side up. And what I do see is a big blob. I don’t really get the law of inertia, so I have to be strapped into everything.

Penelope: Inertia’s a tough one.

Baby Cousin: I know that Little Dog is licking my feet right now, but I really don’t know that I have feet. If you showed me my feet, I wouldn’t recognize them as my own. Stop it Little Dog. Don’t you see me turning red? I’m about to cry!

Penelope: Big Dog and I can’t perceive the color red.

Duncan: How do you know what I can see and what I can’t see?

Penelope: Because you are a dog, just like me. We can’t see red.

Duncan: But how do you know I can’t? Have you seen the world through my eyes?

Penelope: No. Don’t be silly. You can’t see red, can you?

Duncan: No. But that’s beside the point. I’m saying that you can’t know what I see just like I can’t know what you see. We might see different things entirely.

Penelope: So then how do you know that I dream? I see you moving and hear you barking when you sleep. Maybe that’s all you are doing. Maybe there’s no narrative going on in your mind. Maybe since I have dreams I’m just projecting my ability to dream on to you. Maybe you’re not even real. Maybe only I am real.

Duncan: I truly think that you might believe that. You often use me as a step stool.

Penelope: So in just the last few minutes you have told me that dreams and TV are not real. Are memories real?

Duncan: That’s what the movie was about.

Penelope: So how do I know what is real? Obviously I can’t trust my senses because the dogs that I see and hear on TV and in dreams do not exist.

Duncan: You think, therefore you are?

Penelope: Big Dog, remember to whom you are talking.

Duncan: Okay. So thinking is out. What about instinct?

Penelope: I get hungry, therefore I am?

Baby Cousin: What about me? I don’t think, I don’t remember, and I don’t really have my senses wired straight. Do I not exist? I’m going to start crying now. I’ll show existence who exists! starts to cry

Penelope: She’s crying! I’ll bark to tell somebody that she’s crying! starts to bark

Duncan: Little Dog, you are barking? Do you hear some one at the door? runs to the door and starts to bark

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Two Fierce Creatures Meet for the First Time

Setting: The front room. A summer day.

Baby Cousin: I was having a nice nap in my car seat. The motion of the car is pleasing. Now I am here, and they are passing me around. Maybe here in Dad's lap I can go back to sleep. Stop licking my feet!

Penelope: I can't help it! You are such an exciting new thing! I have always wanted to see one of you without your wheels. You smell like warm milk. How curious you are!

Baby Cousin: What's Dad doing? I'm being lowered down to the floor. Oh! Stop licking my face! I don't like that! Now I'm going to start crying to show you how fierce I am! Go away! I am a fierce creature! Go away!

Penelope: No way. I haven't been this excited since a cicada flew into the house and I followed it around, barking at it in amazement. I have never seen anything like you.

Baby Cousin: You can lick my feet. That's better than when you lick my face.

Penelope: (pointing at Baby Cousin) O brave new world that has such creatures in it! I am pointing at you, see? You can tell that I'm pointing because my head is down, my forepaw is lifted, and I am in deep concentration. I can't get my tail to unwind, though.

Stray Kitty Update

Stray Kitty is now called Mimi La Boheme around our house. She is still mad at Mommy for taking her to the vet and has not been seen since that day. However, she makes her presence known by stealing into the Garden Room at night and eating prodigious amounts of the cat food that Mommy leaves out for her. There is no way that she is still a slim, seven-pound Stray Kitty.

My fans have been understandably concerned that Mimi might have little kitties of her own one day. Do not fear. Planned Pethood was careful to check that Mimi had been spayed. She was obviously some body's pet before she adopted her bohemian ways -- her warm feelings for humans, her good manners, and her reliance on cat food is sure proof.