Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

July 16th, 2009:

Baby Farm Animals and Other Sillinesses

babyfarmanimals.jpgWe pulled into Crystal Lake last night after all the usual 1100 miles, with three adult bichons and an eight-and-a-half-week-old puppy in the hold. Redball is looking for two permanent names: A kennel name, and a call name. Kennel names are nominally unique (if often complex and sometimes ridiculous) and are how individual purebred dogs are listed in breed databases. QBit’s kennel name is Deja Vu’s Quantum Bit, and Aero’s is Jimi’s Admiral Nelson. Jackie’s kennel name is Jimi’s Hit the Jackpot. We went through a lot of ideas on the way out (Nebraska is good for such things) and floated possibilities like Jimi’s Morning Cloudscape. As for call names, well, that’s how you call the dog for dinner. Short is good. One of my favorites, after listening to him fuss halfway across Iowa, is Riesling, or Reese for short. Hey, he’s white and he whines. (Ceaselessly.)

We’ll figure it out. The trip was uneventful. We played my mix CDs, and when the thumping hi-hat intro to Barry Manilow’s 1981 cover of “Let’s Hang On” started to rise, I cranked up the volume and yelled, “Let’s disco!” I was being silly, but Carol took me at my word, and for the next 2:57 I watched my spouse do an absolutely pure disco routine without ever leaving the front seat of the 4-Runner. Carol has an amazing gift for dance improv that she almost never gets to exercise. I remember back in 1975 when she stood up to a friend’s wedding, and I watched in awe as she and one of her sorority sisters did a near-acrobatic dance improv to a George M. Cohan medley, all in long dresses and high heels, with the wedding party’s pink parasols for canes, in front of what must have been three hundred people. Thirty-four years later, well, she still has it.

I do need to set something straight here before too much longer. I got a note from one of my long-time readers just before setting out, asking me how it was that I wrote a book about baby farm animals. I’ve been asked this before, and the simple answer seems somehow inadequate: I didn’t. However, if you google Baby Farm Animals by Jeff Duntemann” you will get plenty of hits on all the new and used book sites. Don’t order it on the strength of my reputation. The book exists, but in fact was written and drawn by the formidable Garth Williams, who is better known for the art in Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web. A little digging revealed an error right at the source: Bowker’s ISBN database, which somehow got Williams’ book listed under my name. That single booboo has by now propagated into virtually every significant bookselling site on the Web. I think it’s hilarious, but if I were Garth Williams, I’d be seriously annoyed, or at least I would be if I weren’t dead. I sent a note to Bowker, but don’t expect the error to be corrected any time soon.

Ah, well. As I’ve said before, better Baby Farm Animals than The Story of O.