Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

February, 2008:

Puppies, Not Pigskins

I dislike sports generally, though I watch baseball on occasion in honor of my Cubs fan father. Football always seemed ridiculous to me somehow and hockey—well, it's the spawn of the devil. So we're not watching the Super Bowl today. (We have gone to Super Bowl parties on occasion for the sake of the company, and we stop to watch only when the commercials come on.) We have the Puppy Bowl on right now, and George Ewing tells me that WE has a Cutest Puppy Pageant scheduled as well, but as we don't get WE here it's hard to tell.

This is the fourth year that Animal Planet has done the Puppy Bowl, and acccording to Wikipedia it consistently has the highest ratings of anything programmed opposite the Super Bowl. I consider it a work of utter brilliance: For several hours, a rotation of five or six puppies (out of a total “slate” of about twenty) just mix it up in a little set painted to look like a football stadium. They wrestle, haul toys around, and slop in their water bowl. Every so often one of them takes a crap, after which a human extra in a referee's outfit steps in to clean it up.

We left the Puppy Bowl on for QBit while Carol and I took Aero and went over to visit Jimi Henton—on roads that were basically empty. Jimi is the bichon groomer and breeder from whom we purchased Aero. Aero enjoys some Puppy Bowl action with Jimi's several bichons, most of them his close relatives. (QBit is unrelated and doesn't enjoy them as much.) We enjoy them too; I could never have that many dogs, but every now and then it's fun having a pile of four or five bichons on your lap.

Jimi has only one puppy at the moment, who arrived as a litter of one the day after Christmas. We snapped some shots this afternoon, and that's him up above. He's five and a half weeks old, and completely beautiful. His nose is darkening up nicely (bichon noses are pink at birth but become totally black after a few months) and he's not as manic as a lot of puppies his age are. He's destined to be a good size for a bichon, simply because he got all the nutrition while gestating, but he also looks to be show quality and a real heart-stealer. Jimi will be selling him once he's eight weeks old, so if you're looking for a great bichon puppy—and especially if you want to show him—contact Jimi at her Web site.

Right now I'm going back to the kitchen to put some supper together while watching the Puppy Bowl. Football? What's that again? Oh, right. Pass.

Banging Our Shins

Groundhog Day. Snowing like hell here, and not only didn't our groundhog see his shadow, he couldn't even get out of his burrow. Nor did we get out of ours: Carol and I slept in and spent part of the afternoon watching…Groundhog Day.

I was going to write a longish essay on what may be the finest film of the past fifty years, but I realized that someone else had already written it. Basically, What He Said.

To be human is to learn better, no matter how much it hurts. Some catch on faster than others, and while it's clear that a lot of people die before they learn much of anything at all, I'm not going to be so arrogant as to claim confident knowledge that death is the end of all learning. Maybe we're only beginning. Of course it's better to learn sooner than later—but if the alternative is to keep banging our shins on things without end, I'm guessing that even the worst of us will eventually figure it out.

That's the message of Groundhog Day: You repeat Sixth Grade until you learn the lessons. Then it's on to Seventh Grade. (I'm good with that. You can have Eternal Rest. Give me Eternal Challenge!)