John’s Recon

April 30, 2009

Pandemic And Working From Home

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 6:58 am

Those that knew me as a strategist the last few years, will read this as a repeat … the beating of a dead horse … but not so dead after all. Actually it was a class a few years back in “remote leadership” and the reasons why that got me really thinking about this. I had no idea how lacking we were in the basic skillsets … it is not just doing things remotely but living remotely. After that, when asked by strategic marketing or my own bosses what our groups internal or our products external needed to do in the future, I many times answered … prepare for a future pandemic … make products that support remote teams … learn how to truly do things from remote on a permanent basis.

When told we already have remote capabilities, I usually responded … have you used them yourself. Our audio conferencing is awful, we have no visual at all, and I don’t see hardly any leaders/managers that could really do their job remotely. When the new Cisco conferencing came online, I had to take a step back because they had done a good job solving a 5 person meeting which was basically the kind I was talking about. The problem was that it was expensive … very expensive.

Although I don’t work there anymore let me once again explain what the first steps I recommended would be. First, put some pilot programs in place that truly work out of the home … the entire team … even the leader/manager. You will immediately pick up on what things need to be improved … what additional social skills and protocols will be needed … and what the bare minimum will be needed to be a functional team.  You will notice right away that the audio needs to be improved. I did some experiments a while back on myself to see if I really felt comfortable not seeing people. I simply closed my eyes in the conference room meeting and listened. It only took a couple of these before I had obtained 20 – 30% of what a blind person has …a rudimentary audio perception. I could easily locate and identify noises, sounds, speakers, their location and whether they were standing, sitting or moving about … even the drumming of their pencils … and I’m half deaf. I swear I could even “see” who they were looking at but that was because I was familiar with the people and had observed them for a long time.

We don’t need an expensive Cisco conferencing system to have a decent conferencing system. If the audio cues were improved it would be a very big improvement. Even a few years ago our technology could support a pseudo 5 channel surround sound that was delivered with just 2 channels using headphones. Of course, “mike-ing” a conference room was a tricky proposition but what if no one was in a conference room. What if everyone was remote … isn’t the problem easier? If you delivered 2 channel stereo to every person remotely then couldn’t you just emulate 5 channel surround sound … and with maybe a room audio conference echo/time delay effect so that it wouldn’t feel like everyone was in your ear but a couple of feet away. Believe me this is quite doable with today’s technology and software … it just isn’t focused to this goal. That is why I used the pandemic … it was a real reason to get on with this thing … versus trying to rationalize this through better conferencing for those that couldn’t make the meeting.

Problem was that no one was with me on this … no one wanted to even comprehend something as gruesome as a pandemic … besides wouldn’t they still be forced to come into work because they needed the money. This kind of shut me up. I knew that in my own case I would favor family over my work. I knew that if I fatally infected my family with something I got at work that I could never live with myself. What I didn’t know is that everyone else feels the same when they believe there is real danger going outside and intermingling with people. I also didn’t know how fast that they would come to this decision. The security team has always been with me here, but I bet even they wouldn’t have guessed that a city the size of Fort Worth would cancel school for a week just to be on the safe side. Pandemics are real. It is time to prepare for them. It is time to innovate the current technology to improve audio conferencing via internet and the virtual “stereo” headphoned meeting. This will be such a huge improvement that the visual can wait for a while … although constructing a 3D picture of 4 – 5 people and their video cams sitting in front of you at a virtual conference room table is also doable today. Maybe I should be talking with Google … the only people with enough vision and guts to do something like this.

April 23, 2009

Mess With The Car And Now You Are Dead

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 7:58 am

A couple of weeks ago, my son in law and I were riding with the top down and stopped to get lunch. When we came out about 30 – 40 minutes later, the driver’s seat had an umbrella of spider web fibers. They started at the top of the windshield and went all the way to the roll bar/back wind screen. Although it was only about 50 strands, it could have been a 100 if we had stayed a little longer and was a good start on a pseudo top. This industrious spider had just the right conditions with a gentle 3 mph wind blowing front to back.

But I didn’t need or want a pseudo top. I was even repulsed that this sticky stuff was on my recently washed roadster. We went poking around and got the spider running along the top but he ran into the car instead of out and I can’t have that. He was terminated with extreme prejudice.

Thinking back on this I see analogy to business. Some enterprising soul gets a good idea and puts together a product but it wasn’t what management wanted or needed … so he/she is squashed like a spider.

April 17, 2009

Chivalry Isn’t Dead – It’s Just Awkward

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 3:11 pm

Today at lunch it is raining hard. We are seated facing an window outside. We see a couple leave the restaurant and stand under the overhang planning their next move. The man runs out to the car parked right up front and unlocks the passenger door and opens it in the downpour. He runs back under the overhang to get something and the both set out together. He goes straight to his driver’s door and gets in. Meanwhile, she is blocked by her open door and the adjoining car. So, she has to run around the back of that car, over twice the distance in the rain. Further, I think her seat is drenched since the passenger door has been open in the rain this whole time.

Kind of awkward but I am sure she appreciated his effort on her behalf. They must not have been together long. When they are a seasoned pair they will have done away with a little Chivalry in favor of efficiency and better timing … he running out a few seconds early and unlocking the passenger door by leaning over the seat just in time for her arrival … they won’t even have to discuss it. Just like a man opening a door for a women who is walking with him … a few steps from the door the woman has to slow while the man has to speed up and he has to be on the correct side and the door has to open toward him … to be smooth. When the woman doesn’t slow, he is on the wrong side of her, or the door has a tight spring and swings outward … awkwardness and maybe collision. So Chivalry isn’t dead … It’s just been traded in for efficiency and smooth. We, men, continue to look for situations where we can be suave and sophisticated to give those surprise moments … but most time it is hard to predict when we will be able to pull it off without looking uncoordinated.

April 16, 2009

Who You Tryin’ To Be

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 2:41 pm

Back in the late ’60’s I was a hippie. Now that wasn’t unusual. Neither was it unusual to be an activist … black power, anti-Vietnam, women’s rights, … whatever you were it had to be angry and mad and going to do something about it OR dropout, don’t care, you guys do your own thing. What was unusual was normal people … they were made fun of and generally shunned. So I chose to be a peace lovin’ dropout kind of guy … live and let live. Until I got drafted, of course.

To be a hippie, you had to choose the clothes that were individualistic and made you stand out while at the same time being part of a branded group that appeared if they didn’t care about clothes … especially underwear. So my look as it were was: long straight black hair in a ponytail to the top of my shoulder blades (wanted more, but just didn’t get there, see hair) … white cotton long sleeve not buttoned at the arms with some embroider … patchwork bell bottoms with a leather look … boots … black Navajo Indian hat to be made famous a few years later by the movie Billy Jack … and a 30″ fringe leather jacket that I went to Mexico to get after seeing a Sly in the Family Stone concert in ’69, except mine was deerskin colored instead of white like Fly’s … I want to thank you for letting me be myself.

This era had a unique look and a funky style that is still recognized today after 40 years and is one thing that made me notice a girl with long straight hair tied back with something flowery with an embroidered hippie style shirt in calculus class many years later (later to be my wife of over 30 years). So I had a lot of character in my look even if I myself hadn’t really developed all that much character, yet.

I was hitchin’ (a normal way of travel back then) from AZ to Los Angeles area to see a concert … can’t remember when but it was hot summer … can’t remember when but I think it was for Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young in ’70. You cross this desert at night if you are hitchin’ since it is very hot. Must of been Interstate 10, since I was let off at the turn off to Palm Springs about 3 am by a streetlight. Roads, even interstates, weren’t all that big after they left the cities. This was the only streetlight for many miles in any direction. It must have still been very near 100 degF even at 3 am.

A few cars came by but didn’t slow even though I got up from my duffel bag to put my thumb out … with all that leather fringe hanging down … you had to maintain the look even in the dark or you weren’t a real hippie. Another car comes by … a lincoln continental … blows by at about 60 mph. Then massive screeching of brakes … now we are talkin’ … tire screech/chirp sound as this guy lays rubber going backwards to my location. Passenger door lines up perfectly with where I am standing and the electric window drops quickly with a billowing blast of ice cold air … Man Oh Man this is going to be a nice ride. I peer into dashboard lit driver’s side to see an old man. “Who you tryin’ to be? Buffalo Bill?” was the shout from the driver.

Buffalo Bill? Buffalo Bill didn’t have a Navajo hat but yes, maybe a leather fringe jacket. While my mouth was open in astonishment and my mind was trying to wrap my head around the question … i hear the whine of the electric motor rolling up the window cutting off the source of cold air … screech of tires as the heavy lincoln peels back up to 60 … roar of the engine fading into the cricket sound of the black night. Stupid SOB, I said under my breath since he was long gone before I thought of anything to say.

I sit down again against the duffel, against the light post and ponder this question of life and lifestyle … since I had ample quiet time to think. A half hour later, a van slows down and stops in front of me … I get up with lower expectations this time but I am rewarded with the side doors opening and several hands beckoning me in … cold air doesn’t billow out but smoke does … the good kind … its going to be a good ride after all … turns out they are going to the same concert.

Although I didn’t think it about it then, too cloudy in the van, there seems to always be a Yin Yang in life. Throughout the 40 years since, I have noticed that bad things usually come about unexpectedly but not too too much later good things come along. So when you are down, you should be preparing to take the good by both horns and ride it for all its worth … it will come, sooner or later.

April 15, 2009

Cacti makes situation prickly

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgprichard @ 12:17 pm

My dad has been off enjoying his new bicycle and his story reminded me of a trail riding experience I had in Lubbock Texas. My dorm roommate was extremely fond of trail riding and did so almost every weekend. Not an amateur enthusiast in any regard, he had the 2500 dollar bike with all the gear someone might see on an extreme sports channel late at night. As a soccer player I have always had strong legs, but hidden underneath that man’s baggy jeans were twin pistons complete with garden snake-sized veins like super highways of blood. Gross.

On a whim I decided to go with Matt to a nearby trail. As we rode it became obvious that I had neither the skill nor the leg strength to keep up with him, and Matt was forced to stop and wait at the top of nearly every hill. Eager to keep up with him, I pushed forward at speeds that soon sapped all of my leg strength. On the switch-backs of one ascent I found that my legs could push no harder and for one brief moment I was frozen. Unable to push any farther and unwilling to go back; I remained for what seemed like 5 seconds, and began to fall. I put my left leg down but it forsook me and buckled, and I toppled.

The prickly pear cactus is native to Lubbock and grows commonly in patches of varying size with no regard for human safety along the trails. It is into one of these patches that my slow plummet was aimed. I land flat on my back and feel instantly the pain of that mistake. Once again I am frozen. Any movement sends hot flashes of pain. Mercifully Matt, at the top of the hill, has witnessed the entire ordeal and races down at an envious speed to save me.

Removing me from the patch was a chore, fraught with yelps and outright cursing, and once free the real pain began. I learned that cactus spines, much like many threats, are actually worse the smaller they seem. The big stiletto sized needles are easy to see and remove, but the thousands of tiny ones are branch davidians and my posterior is the Waco compound. My skin is throbbing. After 20 minutes or so it is beginning to get dark, and the decision is made to head for the car. It is a good 1/4 mile of hard riding and another mile of pavement, and I cant sit down. My every pedal was agony but I made it. 2 hours and several home remedies later i.e. tweezers, duct tape, hot shower, I am spine free. Apparently I could have tried elmers glue and bandages, similar to an expensive salon hair removal, personally I think the duct tape was bad enough.

On Top Of The World — Whoops

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 10:48 am

From 1976 to 1979, while going to college, I rode motorcycles … couldn’t afford more … insurance was cheaper. My pride and joy was a cruise-outfitted 1969 Honda CB750, their original year and best year … before they scaled back the horsepower/torque for 20 years … mine was the unique dark turquoise color. When I say cruise-outfitted, I mean the best I could afford while going to school full-time and working full-time at a motorcycle shop as a parts guy … Vetter Fairing, floorboards, crashbar, throttle assist, double saddle seat, large trunk, and saddlebags. I got everything employee discount, cost + 10% and there was the GI Bill with an enormous $279/mo.

The location of NAU, in Flagstaff, Az is in the heart of some of the most spectacular scenery in the Southwest US including Sedona Canyon, Grand Canyon, and many canyons like Canyon de Chelly on the largest Indian reservation in the US, The Navajo Nation. I have some good stories to tell about the Navajos, the motorcycle center, and life in Flagstaff and NAU where I met my wife. I will leave these for another time since this story is going to be about being up on top of the world and then flat on the ground in a second like I mentioned previously.

Every weekend my future wife and I would go for a cruise (I had long hair then but not as long as Buffalo Bill’s … another story) … many times 350 – 400 miles with maybe one stop … we saw a lot of northern AZ, northwest NM, southern CO, and eastern CA. Then on long weekends or vacations we did things like the Highway One along the coast of CA. Due to being hit from behind at a stoplight on a previous bike, the back of this bike was a Christmas tree of lights … 2/saddlebag, 3 on back of the large trunk, along with the standard set. I also mounted a pair of 18″ truck horns on the fairing because I was tired of people pulling out in front of me and people encroaching on my lane … it was very effective but they gave me back pain … back pain because it scared my rider so much when I blew them that she squeezed the bejesus out of my kidneys when her legs startled from the fog horn sound. I forgot … I had a quarter mile range on my special order from Germany quartz halogen headlight (illegal here) … so bright I once illuminated the road for several miles for a car who had just pulled out with no headlights on until I switched to dim and woke him up to the fact that he was driving blind.

All this to let you know I was proud of this motorcycle and it was a sight to see. When we would fill up for gas, I would always get admirers to come over and talk for a bit. It was one of these times that I am talking about. We pull into a gas station and I have 4-5 people admiring the bike when it is time to pay up. Theresa walks to the office (no pay at the pump in those days) to pay while I start it up (Oh yeah, I had special pipes too). My little admiring crowd parts so that I can push through them and I can swing by the office door to pick her up IN STYLE. I make a tight little 3 mph turn around a pump and Kaboom … someone had spilled oil without cleaning it up … I hadn’t even looked down since I was watching my admirers watch me. The next thing I know is that the front wheel had completely slipped out from under me and I go down in complete surprise … like when you see someone walking along and step into a hole and rush to the ground faster than gravity without even a stumble. Even though I had crash bars that were taking the full weight of the motorcycle, my boot was caught by the floorboard and I was lying helplessly trapped by this beast I had created.

Of course, everyone was in horror and the men scrambled to help pull the bike off but they weren’t having success. Now I can see people’s feet part ways as I recognize Theresa’s shoes. Her face instantly flashes a smile when she sees that I’m OK and then it turns to something else … full up, unadulterated, unrestrained, from-the-gut laughter. She is laughing so hard if she had milk it would come out her nose, so hard that she can barely explain to the men to stand over the bike to get better leverage, so hard that she can barely pull me from under the bike. At first people were astonished at her insensitivity but were eventually infected with her infectious laugh.

THAT my friends is utter embarrassment and how you can go from on top of the world to the bottom in less than a second … I don’t even remember the rest of the day but I do remember this event over 30 years later and that my girlfriend/wife has a great sense of humor even if it was at my expense. I have been fractionally more humble since.

April 14, 2009

Over the Bars and Through the Woods

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 8:49 am

DORBA, Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association, has collected most of the off road bike trails and mountain bikers in the Dallas area to sponsor, maintain, sponsor events and put together a nice web site. I talked my wife into going this last Saturday to Arbor Hills, Plano, Tx since it is close.

I have never been on a mountain bike trail. I initially thought that 2 miles after I have been riding 15 miles each day seemed a little short. Arbor Hills was a decent sized city park and we rode all over it before we found the entrance to the mountain trail. As soon as we entered I knew this was going to be fun … it was nothing like what I had been riding. It is 58 degF and 10 minutes in and I am perspiring like I have gone full tilt for 10 miles and we have barely started … I also know why I have seven gears below walking speed … ups and downs and turns so sharp between trees with roots across the path that it would be a reasonable challenge to just walk.

I was controlling my speed just the way I wanted to and put my front tire over here, up there, out of that rut, onto that trail edge, missing that tree root, just the way I wanted. I know they race through here but this is just fine. Theresa is not liking this so much … she hasn’t been using her lowest gears and she loses too much momentum to climb hills with sharp turns and roots in the way … she adjusts and now is staying pretty close to me … time to speed up.

My confidence is building and so is my speed … I start to relax … a nice little downhill with a cascade of three 1 ft drops with roots across … I can avoid most of it by just running my tire over here … What the … I feel the bike back end come up as I have put too much brake on the front wheel and now it has turned exactly 90 deg and planted itself. It has been a long time since I did a handstand … oh wait … I don’t think I ever did a handstand with this much weight anyway … so it is more like a vault … over the handlebars and through the woods. I’m expecting the worse but the ground is full of leaves and soft. I’m a little twisted up but if I hurry I can get up and on the bike before Theresa gets here. Too late. I’m standing there feeling a little stupid and the bike is lying there in a heap. As I pick it up, I realize that the front handlebars have made a complete revolution to the left … wow, I didn’t know the wheel could completely turn around like that … it is half mountain bike however with a shock on the front that probably cushioned the initial dead-stop too.

I’m feeling a few sore spots but the bike looks great. It is amazing how you can go from a high point to a low point in just a second … I was thinking I was good at this for about a second. I guess embarrassment is the only wound here … this reminds me of another embarrassing moment on two wheels that I will tell you tomorrow. Theresa got a big kick out of that one … lucky she missed this one … I have my image to protect. I have got to watch those downhill segments. About a half mile to go and I am getting tired but I hardly notice, since this is fun and my adrenaline is flowing … this is a real workout … two miles isn’t that short. Of course, some other riders have blown by us … heck, they don’t even sit on their seat … what is that all about. Big climb coming up.

I know to watch the downhill speed but what can happen going uphill? I shouldn’t have braked so much on the downhill … I need power … drop a gear … uh oh, I didn’t miss the big root. My front pops up and I am going over backwards this time … another slow motion crash. I don’t get my foot out in time since I was hoping to power through this. I fall perfectly trapped between two trees with my feet entangled in the bike and my arms supporting my awkward position to make sure I don’t really hurt anything. Problem is, I am not that light (Heck, I’m riding the bike to correct this very thing) and I don’t have the upper body strength I once had. I wish Theresa would get here. I start remembering all those shows where the victim is tortured by being put in a position that if he remains perfectly still he will live but if he moves he will experience a painful death and only his strength can stave off the inevitable.

Theresa arrives just barely in time with a concerned look on her face. I reassure her with a smile and a plea to be unwrapped from the bike. No wounds but there are a few more sore spots. We walk up this part … no way to start on this steep of a climb … well us anyway. The rest is uneventful and tiring … I enjoyed myself immensely … I can’t wait for next Saturdaysince I think I need a riding partner for now … I don’t want to share the “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” moments with anyone except my wife.

Besides, she lamented later, “I was too far behind to see the falls.” When I think about it, I’m sorry she didn’t get to see them too. I think a little amusement is fair trade for a riding partner. She gets a big kick out of it when I am embarrassed. Maybe we will look for something fractionly less challenging … this was a beginner to intermediate with an intermediate climb at the end.

April 13, 2009

Dog Walking and Dallas Biking

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 8:31 am

I start my bread and water diet today. Oh, wait a minute. There’s no bread allowed … too much starch. I will let you know how that goes in two weeks.

I can ride a lot farther and easier with my new bike. So I have been taking the longer trails around Dallas (mainly White Rock Creek and White Rock Lake) and noticed people walking like four dogs at once … weird combinations too … like small ones with big ones, long hairs with short hairs. I didn’t think too much about it other than people in Dallas have a rather large appetite for variety and dog troubles. Speaking of dogs, this morning I look out my bedroom door and OMG Fiona has been at it again … bad thoughts race into my head. Fortunately, she has just gotten into a garbage sack full of plastic bags which she just ripped to shreds. I wonder if she has eaten some of it. Wouldn’t that give the CSI folks a run for their money. A whole family frozen in sitting positions watching TV … dead. They would have to work hard to figure the cause was dog-generated toxic fumes due to stomach HCL and a variety of plastics (see bad dog #3). I digress.

Back to dog walking. It wasn’t until I was looking at this Sunday’s Parade Magazine’s annual What People Earn article, that I realized what was happening here. I read that Tammy Roussin, 37, Pet sitter/Dog walker, St Louis, Mo., makes $100,000 a year. Whoa! That is a lot for walking dogs. Either she charges some serious change or she is walking 16 at a time … I picture 3 rows of 4 in harnesses like a dog sled team but she has a wheeled sled with serious braking power and maybe a drag chute. Now, I know what those people on the bike paths in Dallas are doing … walking dogs. I wonder what they are making. I could do that job. I kind of like dogs.

I check my eCareerFit and Strengths Finder 2.0 assessments. No. I couldn’t. Once again they reaffirm, I am a strategist that thinks big picture and out of the box. They even go so far as to suggest that if I were a dog walker there would be a strong chance I would let a few dogs run away after they misbehaved … placing their leashes on their owner’s doorsteps with an attached note, “Sorry Fufu ran away. No extra charge for looking for him/her. Contract terminated” … so sue me if you don’t like it. It is amazing how detailed these work personality assessments can describe you and with only 177 question pairs.

Oh yeah, Dallas bike paths. I think if I were to describe Dallas bike paths I would say they were pretty except for the people who use them. To relate the experience properly, I have to come up with some new words to describe it … like those hard-charging sorry cusses, who don’t smile, who don’t say hi, who don’t warn you when the come around you, who would rather blow your doors off (run you off the path) … I heretofore name them, Dubercuss (doober´-kus) … Dallas uber-cussess that need to be riding on the road and irritating drivers who have cars that can fight back instead of bullying us slower riders. There is the Manure Maneuver where you scramble to avoid an occasional pile of horse droppings … you scramble because the horses go under bridges where it is dark and can’t be seen … so you don’t see the pile coming from broad daylight to shadow until it is almost too late … too late and you are cursing why you didn’t mount fenders … don’t ask me how I know this.

There is the Norose-Walker since he/she is too focused to look side to side, say hi, or stop and smell the roses, the StaggerPair-Walkers where two walkers are walking side by side in deep conversation with wild gesturing all the while their bodies are scribing zig-zag paths, expanding/contracting apart, making them unpredictable to pass, and finally the Drunk-Walker who actually had the stagger of a drunk walker, drunk in the middle of the day, falling off the path just after I passed. There are Gear-Bots who have all the right gear and are very serious but not that fast … I’m sure I could go 5 miles faster and 5 miles longer if I had a slippery tight shirt, tight padded pedal pusher pants, and shoes I couldn’t stand on. Finally, there is the Quadburner-Hills and a move I have invented called the Flamincun (flam-mink´-un) where I have one pedal down straight legged, the other leg tucked up on the up pedal and my weight shifted off the seat thereby emulating a Flamingo Stance but without the pink which allows blood and circulation to return to my rear region.

This weekend, however, we discovered a new place to ride … off-road bike trails … it has its ups and downs so I will wait until tomorrow to tell you about that.

April 8, 2009

The Palm Pre – Sprint’s New Marketing Campaign

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 9:55 am

Finally, the sweetheart of the Consumer’s Electronics Show, the Palm Pre, is coming out. Although there will be a GSM version in Europe this year, Sprint (CDMA) has some exclusive headstarts this year on selling the Palm Pre in the US. That makes sense. Sprint believed in Palm and that it could again take the smart phone world by storm like it did with the Treo and put a lot of money into it. I guess I will have to wait a while for it to arrive at T-Mobile.

Here is a cool commercial with the Palm Pre being used. You can see they are laying the groundwork to introduce a smart phone in style. If they keep this up I might have to switch.

April 3, 2009

Dog Detectives

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 9:05 am

If you are a multiple pet owner of the same species, eventually you will be faced with the dilemma of matching up a particular pet to a crime. It is easy to distinguish between multiple pets of different species … dogs don’t scratch sofas and cats don’t pee indiscriminately … but discovering the real perpetrator among others of the same species all leaving tracks through the same crime scene can be very difficult. There should be a CSI kit available to help in these matters … something to tie doggy DNA to a child’s chewed up toy … pee-ee to pee-er … a half-eaten loaf of bread off the counter to culprit … so that you don’t have to punish everyone for one pet’s crime.

In our house, during the night (many crimes committed under shield of darkness), we have solved our dilemma … not through conscientious decisions of our own but by circumstance. Let me introduce the players and how this came to be.

Bad dog #1 is named Jamba (Jambalaya) because she is part Louisiana Catahoula cow dog with a jumble of brown colors mixed in with a dog who has long fur and some German Sheppard. She is an interesting good-looking dog and typically gets comments when other dog owners see her. She is very old now with gray replacing much of the striking browns she once had on her face. Although she was a real culprit in her younger year … stealing a new loaf of bread off the counter and receiving her punishment with a smile on her face knowing that crime can really pay sometimes … her crimes in old age are easily recognized. The only one that was hard to pin on her was pee in the middle of the night. It has happened so often that she has been banished to sleeping outside most nights thus solidifying her evening alibi. I think she likes it outside because she can’t see well or hear well anymore which gets everyone to yelling at her and the outside is so peaceful … an added benefit, she can pee whenever and wherever she wants.

Bad dog #2 is named Bosco because he is a chocolate brown Labrador and Bosco was once a chocolate kid’s drink (my generation). The only other names I can think of are “Timid” or “Dumb Dog” … not an independent thinker like Jamba but a real people dog … maybe “Hanger On-er” or “Stalker” would have fit better. He is not that industrious to commit real crime. He had a problem a year ago with peeing in the house at night. Easy to recognize because he is male and the other two are female. What is it with the male species and vertical surfaces? Even when you no longer have a pair … Humane Society did the humane thing and whacked off his “you-knows” … you still seek out vertical surfaces. There can be an empty field and a single tree … if it is less than 50 ft away then it is a target. If there is no tree, then maybe a tire rut, or a ditch, or something. I’m pretty sure if it is completely barren of all features then we would have a hard time going at all. This kind of peeing is devastating in a house and so Bosco sleeps in his master’s room … right beside my wife’s bed … with the door closed. His alibi is rock solid with witnesses.

This brings us to Bad Dog #3, Fiona. An English Bulldog named/owned by my daughter and her husband … I can only guess that it is based on Shrek where Fiona is the ugly girl in the show. Fiona is so ugly she is cute. She snores at 80 decibels and typically has to go outside while we watch TV … she has such bad gas that a hazmat team could show up at our door any minute … besides us at ground zero have eyes that water so bad you can’t see the TV. Fiona is a people dog and she is very smart. She is smart enough to know when she can get away with a crime and when to frame one of the other dogs. Thus she rarely gets into trouble. I also attribute to her the understanding that even though she has free roam of the house at night, she knows she can’t do anything because the other two dogs have strong alibis.

That is why I was so surprised by this morning’s events (see Morning Derailment). She hasn’t committed a crime like this in a long time so I naturally didn’t suspect her. But we have this science down … she is the only one without an alibi. And in the immortal words of the Highlander, “There can be, only one”.

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