Saturday, April 24, 2010


It was Easter Sunday when the latest moderately big earthquake hit Southern California.
And then there were aftershocks for days and days. One on a Monday morning at about 4:15am that was big enough to make a cracking sound in the house and wake me up. Cool. For someone originally from the West Coast of Canada this living on the San Jacinto fault is a new adventure. And now, whenever we're in a building that shakes - maybe a train goes by, or an industrial boiler goes off, or some other thing happens - right away we look at each other and say, "Earthquake?".

Funny. I wonder how long this new context will remain at the front of my brain?

It's the same thing when you buy a new car. For the next few months you see more of the same car on the road than you had noticed before. And when someone does something that puts you out, that's what you remember the next time you see them. No matter what they do differently or better, you have that previous experience stuck in your brain.

So it seems context is a form of memory. That's just it - memory. But remember, it's not the only thing. Not every shake of a building means the earth is rocking and rolling. And that person you formed a singular opinion of, may not be singular at all.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

To Reason .. or Not to Reason?

I am back on my animal bent again.
Reading a great book called "One Good Dog" as we speak, about a guy who was high up in corporate America, with a life that was all that, including a father-in-law with the last name Carrington and a daughter named Sterling. Well, he falls from grace, as is so often the case and ends up on the street (ok, a little cliche). Cutting to the chase, but not spoiling the story, he adopts a pit bull cross from an animal shelter. The metaphor is obvious - a man and a dog both down on their luck get together and figure out what they may have once had may not have been the true panacea. And they can create a life that really matters together anyway.

Chance (the dog) teaches him, and us, a thing or two about relationships, trust, honesty, dignity and dare I say respect. So much of this seems to be missing today as we are all harried and rushing from A to B to C to Z in the space of a single breath.

It's a good book - worth picking up.

It also spawned a conversation tonight about whether or not dogs have the capacity to reason. I am firmly on the side of yes they do. My youngest of 3 Standard Poodles, Tailor, after only ONE incidence of being invited outside to throw and retrieve a toy while I BBQd has decided now that when I go to the deck door with tongs in hand it is her cue to do what she was bred to do - retrieve!

Ok, so that's memory right? That's reason my friends. Cause and effect. She knows if I go to the door there's a good chance there's some fun in it for her. Just like every other smart dog you know who figures out when you pick up their leash it means a walk.

So yes, I believe our canine friends have the full capacity to reason. They also have the beautiful capacity which we seem to lack, of not over-complicating life.