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Dog Collars, Berkeley, and Fascism 101

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Note: Fox and Humor are exempt from Fact Checking, so this pathetic attempt at humor haint been fact checked.

Finding a new Liberal cause to preach in Berkeley CA may be a tougher assignment than "Find an Atheist in the College of Cardinals," but if you work at it long enough, eventually you will find a tableau of conduct on the streets that looks like it has been ripped from the pages of a textbook for Fascism 101.

Baron Siegfried L. von (with a small "v") Richthofen III was a larger than normal example of a Husky and German Shepherd mix and the first time, when he became full grown, that we attempted to pull on the leash to indicate that we wanted to walk in a different direction, he responded by giving the leash such a powerful yank in the opposite direction that we where knocked into a prone position. Siggy then ambled over and positioned his cold wet nose a few inches in front of our face and, through clinched teeth, growled: "If you ever do that again, I'll chew your face off!"

Ordinarily Siggy was just a big old pussycat, but we were aware of the Jekyll and Hyde transformation that would occur when he got drunk. He could be a mean S. O. B. (no disrespect to his mother) when he got soused and so we adopted a walking style that always included some slack in the leash (jut to show that we were adhering to the local leash law) and never used a quick jerk for a silent command.

Walking around in Berkeley, we assumed that, in a city where protests against animal cruelty in laboratories is as old as the cry "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids didja kill today?," the folks who were walking small breeds of dogs would not make a change of directions look similar to footage of a helicopter rescuing an injured skier in the wilderness. We were astounded to find plenty of visual evidence to indicate that the shift from dog collar to a shoulder harness was not getting full enthusiastic support in the famed "People's Republic of Berkeley."

The writer Celine (not to be confused with a singer with the same name) once said that a dog only knows what it can smell. He would not be surprised to notice that on a walk most dogs will teach the lesson that the world is a smorgasbord of interesting and intriguing odors and each and every one has to be thoroughly investigated. If you don't want to stop and smell the flowers along the way (as the old hippie advise goes), then don't bother to go for the walk.

Back in the day, my roommate and I would have to spell out the word "leash" because if you said the word, Siggy ran over to where the leash was hanging on a hook, and point to it with his nose. You didn't use the word in a caviler "just in conversation" manner if you didn't want to go for a walk. Then, one day, it became obvious that Siggy had learned what "l-e-a-s-h" spelled.

Berkeley CA has one store, Paco Collars, which specializes in dog collars. We have, to the best of our memory, never seen another dog collar store in all our travels, which have taken us from Paris and Casablanca in the East to Fremantle on the shore of the Indian Ocean as the Western boundary of our inventory of world geography.

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The unique store in Berkeley offers, from what we could gather form a quick visual inspection of the interior, some of the harnesses which transfer the leash stress to the dog's chest, but most of the items were dog collars. We asked if some customers bought any dog collars for their girlfriends, but the fellow avoided a yes/no answer.

A columnist's mission is not to find an issue and then proselytize to make converts for one side or the other; rather a columnist must find new and unique items of interest and, after putting them in a column, continuing on with the quest for the next example of amusing unique information.

The yank the dog phenomenon might seem like an apropos metaphor for a critical look at the way John Boner is bringing the Democratic Party and White House occupant to heel.

Was it our imagination or did we see the Boner repeatedly hold up a doggy litter bag to signify "that's a load of crap!," while the Democrats were applauding wildly during the recent State of the Union diatribe? (We always thought at a diatribe designated a group of Apaches who wanted to loose weight. [Bah-dump bump.])

We noted with interest that during the recent cruise ship debacle, the passengers had to use liter bags to defecate and then had to contend with leakage and spills. Why didn't they just throw the damn things over the railing into the middle of the ocean?

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That, in turn, brings us to the problem of what to do with a retired pope. Will he be subjected to "de facto" house arrest conditions or will he be permitted to go on the late night talk show circuit to promote his new book?

Some canine experts make the assertion that dogs intuitively understand human through voice tone and body language. Others with a more whimsical philosophy will tell you what books their dog reads and what his latest quip was. We learned from Siggy, that all German Shepherd dogs are "law'n'order" style Nixon Republicans on the day that the shooting at Kent State took place.

[Note: We had digital photos of the Paco Collars store, a dog with a harness for attaching the leash, and a B&W print of a snapshot of Siggy, but after an attack of Spring Fever, we decided to give the Photo Editor the day off.]

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BP graduated from college in the mid sixties (at the bottom of the class?) He told his draft board that Vietnam could be won without his participation. He is still appologizing for that mistake. He received his fist photo lesson from a future (more...)
 

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