Friday, 8 February 2008

Friday Grab Bag: Gone to the Dogs Edition

That's a photo of Charlie about to be put to sleep.

Don't worry. He was destined to wake up again. He needed some surgery--a little lump had grown on one leg; he had an odd bump on his lip--that required general anesthesia and the practiced flick of a scalpel.

Poor Charlie. And poor us. You never budget for 400 pounds' worth of dog surgery. You pay it, of course, but afterwards it's hard not to think: Who knew that I had $800 at my disposal? Maybe I could have bought that handsome suit, those nice shoes, that antique clock or original artwork. But by then the money's gone, spent on veterinarian labor and canine narcotics.

Charlie is a real trouper, so he came through just fine. He was a bit ditsy after the surgery. We don't have a car and while we'd walked the 25 minutes to the vet's we weren't going to make him walk home. That meant taking the bus, but when My Lovely Wife was walking to the bus stop, Charlie kept trying to pull away from her, jump over brick walls and, seemingly, get back to the vet's. I wondered if, Rush Limbaugh-like, he was already addicted to painkillers. But Ruth hustled him aboard the 7A toward Kidlington and got him home. He looked like he'd gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson:

That was on Wednesday and today's the first day Charlie seems like his old, frisky self. The doctor thinks the growths she excised are non-cancerous and non-malignant. The only way to tell for sure is to have them biopsied, another $200. We decided not to. It's not that we don't love Charlie--we took him all the way to England, after all--just that if he does need the big guns of animal medicine brought to bear, we'll have to think hard about what to do, especially while we're living in the land of the $2 pound. (The Washington Post's Jonathan Yardley recently had to ponder similar questions involving his dachshund Reggie.)

We may change our mind. The vet's kept the growths in formalin and if Charlie gets lumpy again, she can take a look.

Sharia Don't Like It...
I didn't know what to think when I first heard yesterday that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, had said the adoption of Muslim sharia law in Britain was inevitable. Was he sounding a Daily Mailesque warning, as in "Unless Britain takes the necessary steps, sharia will become the law of the land"? Or was he advocating the adoption of sharia law?

Apparently it's the latter rather than the former. There's the expected outcry this morning. One can't help thinking, "What was he thinking?" The Guardian has a succinct editorial that paws through Williams's thinking before slapping it down. Never has the separation of church and state seemed like a better idea.

On an unrelated note, this is one of the Archbishop of Canterbury's eyebrows.
They are an impressive sight, bushy thatches of hair that swoop back, giving him a permanent look of surprise. There are those in my family who wish he would prune them back. But I like them. Only a certain sort of English intellectual has eyebrows like that. In fact, I wonder if it's a genetic trait that has been "selected for," as Darwin might say. Like the mane of the African lion or the white shoulders of a silverback gorilla, the bushy English gentleman's eyebrow is the result of years of evolution.

BritNews RoundUp
It pains me to report that there wasn't much silly stuff in the papers here this week. I blame Super Tuesday. Fleet Street has been covering the presidential campaigns with an exhausting regularity and I think that all the space that this week would have been devoted to errant footballers, wacky pets or pneumatic starlets was spent on Clinton, Obama, Huckabee and McCain. (And doesn't that sound like a scary law firm?)

Still, one tries. The Guardian reported that Prince William is considering doing a brief stint as a journalist, "to prepare for public life--and ultimately the throne." (The story was immediately denied by the palace.)

I somehow missed this story from December about a 19-year-old girl who thought that the tattoo on her stomach was her boyfriend's nickname "Roo," "until she showed it off in a Chinese takeaway and found out it actually spelled 'supermarket.'" The story raised several questions in my mind: What sort of nickname is "Roo"? And under exactly what circumstances is one cajoled into lifting one's shirt in a Chinese takeaway?

The Daily Mail reports that Cornish 51-year-old Alan January was not picked up by the local bus because he was waving incorrectly. I feel sorry for the fellow. The proper British bus-wave is something we've had to learn. But I wonder if that really explains why the bus--"the last-but-two" of the night--passed him by:

Perhaps the driver didn't pick him up on that lonely Cornish road because he looks like a homicidal maniac.

This story wasn't in the British papers but it's worth reading nonetheless: The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency is inspecting and confiscating travelers' laptops, cellphones and MP3 players at airports. They're writing down passwords and copying files. "The U.S. government has argued in a pending court case that its authority to protect the country's border extends to looking at information stored in electronic devices such as laptops without any suspicion of a crime," writes The Post's Ellen Nakashima. All I can say is: Jesus Christ, what next? Vulcan mind meld?

Gargoyle of the Week
After last week's confession about grotesques I felt I should offer a bona fide gargoyle this week. So here he is:

He's on the tower of the church at St. Peter's College on New Inn Hall Street.

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading.


mark from alexandria said...

I saw the Sharia story yesterday and was troubled to think that the areas where the Archbishop thought that Muslims might use Sharia involved areas where British civil law might be more protective of, for instance, the rights of women. Having spent more than a little time reading Catholic Canon Law, I am not in favor of enforcing religious rules on society in the way that the man with the brows seems to be indicating. All that said, you have to love "The Sun's" online headline...hope I spell it right: over a picture of the Archbishop "What a Bhurk!"

Candadai Tirumalai said...

Denis Healey, an influential Minister in the Labour Government years ago, is no aristocrat by family background but he is certainly a Balliol College intellectual, whose graduates pride themselves on their "effortless superiority." His eyeborows are like the Archbishop's.

MARY said...

Ok, if you want more responses to your blog, nothing like using a cute dog picture. The only way to receive even more responses, is using a cute dog picture of one in need of medical assistance.

Glad all turned out well. Hope the Big "C" is feeling his old self in no time.