When I was in 7th grade I presented a dot-matrix-printed dossier to my parents. It was like 15 pages long and the title page said something along the lines of: “Why We Should Get a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier.” It included detailed information that I found on the then-proto-Internet about breeders and how Wheatens were ideal for people like me with socially-crippling dog allergies. It also included a written contract in which I solemnly swore to feed and walk my potential new dog every day, which: LOL.

We got Merlin that summer. Well, actually, I’ll be honest: first we got a different Merlin, a puppy who I remember was named Shaquille by the breeder. (I think the real Shaq had just signed with LA.) We took Shaquille home, named him Merlin, a name I had way-too-excitedly come up with well in advance – it may have even appeared in the presentation – and commenced our new life. Two days later the puppy dropped dead in the kitchen right in front of my mom with what we later learned was some kind of heart defect. It was basically the worst thing that could happen and I don’t even know why I just brought it up.

The breeder kindly gave us a new puppy from the litter for free, and we were all so traumatized that we just decided to name that one Merlin too. Which is probably wrong, in some way, but it seemed right at the time and still does. Anyway, I guess everything averages out in the end, because this Merlin, unlike his poor brother, lived to the incredibly old age of fifteen and a half. He was put to sleep by the vet today and I’ll miss him forever, mostly because of how much he loved to ride shotgun.

My dog

It’s been a rough few days–really, a rough few months, but especially the last few days–with Gypsy. I’ve gotten used to waking up multiple times in the middle of the night to help her, but lately even my help has seemed to do no good. Along with her many physical problems, she appears to have reached new heights of delirium and only seems happy when she’s asleep. It is unbelievably sad. She still has occasional flashes of happiness (mostly french fry related) and those moments, though rare, are making this end–and I’m not sure when exactly that will be, but soon–very, very difficult. I really don’t want her to go, the adorable grump that she is.

Anyway, I’ve just gone back through the photos I’ve posted of her–and I thought I posted far more–and that was probably a mistake.


John and Joe. (via countofmontecristo

The Way It Is

Talented people who exhaust their souls before their bodies passing away make me sad. Senseless violence makes me sad. The continued inability of elected officials to do anything resembling the work necessary to raise American standards of living makes me sad.

The saddest part of all of it, sometimes, is that these are really cyclical and ever-present things: Joy and sorrow and pain and pleasure all exist in some measure and some degree and some form in life, for everyone, everywhere, and the sun rises after it sets and things go on. That’s what makes “The Way It Is” (“Some things will never change”) and “Changes” (“Things will never be the same”) both true, even if it makes neither song easier to listen to.

I try to remember to mourn the sad things, but cherish the happy things. Learn as many things as I can. Help as many people as I can. Love as many people and things as I can.

In my hopeless hours, fewer now, even the memories of those things help.


The mic cut out while this poor lil 8-year-old was singing the national anthem at a minor league hockey game. But then the crowd gave her some help :)