Saturday, July 26, 2008

An Aromatic Evening or, Adventures of Oji the Varmint Hunter

One of my oldest friends was in town last night, so we got together for some supper and a long overdue reunion. It's been about 3 years since we last got together, and ironically, that meeting was also here in San Antonio. Andre just got back from Saudi Arabia, and we had a good time comparing notes about our respective times there. Melody had had a long, hot day at a unit barbeque, and was a bit too tired to join us for supper, so after Andre and I finished eating, we came back to the house to visit for a while.

After a short tour, we adjourned to the back deck with a cigar and a beer, and we all just chatted for an hour or so. Oji alternated between wandering between us all for love and wandering around the back yard.

At one point, Andre said, "Do you smell a skunk?" Sure enough, there was a faint odor of burning rubber skunkiness. I took a look around, but saw nothing. The smell seemed to be fading, so we thought that maybe it was in the neighbor's yard or just passing by. We relaxed a bit, and continued our visit.

Then, out of the corner of his eye, Andre saw what looked like a little cat. A little black and white cat with a fluffy tail. Only, it wasn't a cat at all...the skunk came to visit, and was just poking around the flower beds. At first, Oji didn't see it, and I tried desperately to get his attention. That only brought him to a place where he did see it, and he went into "Hi! Welcome to our yard! Can I sniff your butt?" This is appropriate behavior among dogs, but not so among skunks, apparently.

At this point, it was becoming pandemonium. Melody and Andre were yelling, "There it is! There it is!" I'm hollering at Oji, "Oji!! COME!! Leave it alone!!" Oji is curiously following the skunk around, trying for a sniff...My main fear was twofold. First, we just got Oji a bath, and it cost us about $25...we weren't going to get our money's worth at all! Secondly, skunks carry rabies, and I was more afraid Oji would get bitten or scratched.

I tried desperately to distract Oji by grabbing his tail, but it barely got his attention. He was fixated on the cute, furry little visitor. At one point, the skunk turned to face him, and started advancing toward him, and that's when I really got scared for our dog. I grabbed his collar, and then the skunk turned, and let loose. It got Oji in the face, and he stopped being so curious. I lunged back up the steps to the deck level, stumbling, skinning my elbow, and finally getting my footing. Oji jumped up right behind me. I don't know where the skunk went.

We made our way inside, and I grabbed the towel we've been using to wipe his feet, and wiped his face with it. The pungent skunk smell got pretty thick in the house. After I wiped his face, we worked our way to the front door, got Oji on the leash, and took him outside for an immediate bath. He kept trying to rub his face on the carpet...not something we really wanted him to do.

Once we got him outside, I got the hose ready, and Melody grabbed the shampoo. Oji kept rubbing his face in the leaves and wood chips, still trying to get rid of the smell. Skunk juice is pretty oily, and I'd gotten it on my hands as well trying to clean Oji up. It took a bunch of scrubbing to get him cleaned up.

Fortunately, Andre was there. He's a pretty big guy, and was able to hold the leash up so that I could get in and scrub Oji up. And, fortunately, the only place that the skunk seemed to spray was just on the tip of Oji's snout. He didn't get a real dousing, didn't get it in his eyes, and best of all, didn't get any bites or scratches.

About 10 minutes of washing, and Oji was pretty much done. He still has a little bit of skunkiness if you get really close to him, but it could have been much, much worse.

We've ordered some skunk repellent, and I'll spread that around the house once we get it. Hopefully, that will send the little critters packing. They certainly are cute, but we've already got our own cute critter...don't need any others for now.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm not sure what to say about this...

...but to echo the sentiments of my friend who sent it to me...

"And they say that we here in Alabama are Redneck!"

Couple Marries at Waffle House

Ensure that you check out the slide show at the bottom. It's priceless. The Blushing Bride...The Groomed Groom...The Proud Papa...The Fat Bridesmaid with the cigarette hanging out of her mouth...

Ahh, love.

Reminds me of when I lived in Leesville, Louisiana almost 10 years ago...

I was browsing at the Super Wal-Mart up the street from where I lived. It was the kind of place that was much more than just a store to get new shoes. It was the grocery store, the library (because of the 20 foot long book aisle), the car repair shop, the gun store, and even the zoo, since it had a lobster tank. It was THE place to see and be seen, and open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Heck, it even had a McDonald's clone.

As I walked along the main aisle, I passed a small, purple dais. I wondered, "What's this all about? Mardi Gras was over four months ago." Then I saw the sign.

The public is cordially invited to join Wal-Mart Associates **Billy Bob Jones and **Brandi-Sue Wilson, the proud winners of an all expenses paid wedding to be held here, on July 3rd, 1999. Please stay for free cake and punch following the ceremony.

Being the erudite, worldly, city slicker that I am, I was not sure what to think about it. First of all, who wants to get married at a Wal-Mart. I mean, my Mother in Law has worked there for nearly 23 years, and could have pulled some strings for us, but somehow, it just seemed more our style to do the regular, boring, Church wedding. Secondly, who enters a contest for a free wedding ceremony?

All that aside, I am a big fan of Wal-Mart, and actually like the fact that I could do all my shopping there. And see the Lobsters. Wal-Mart has done much to make the lives of Americans and others around the world better by providing quality products at great prices. I was proud to see several in China when we traveled there. Also, the addition of a Wal-Mart to a community provides jobs, tax revenue, and many other benefits to the community as a whole. While many may decry the demise of the Mom and Pop stores, how many people did Mom and Pop employ? And could Mom and Pop give their employees health insurance? A 401K? Stock Options? Or a chance to move up into Management (without the manager having to die)?

So, while I wouldn't get married there, it's a great place. And I'll keep shopping there. Maybe our child could get hitched there in the future though...we'll keep our eyes peeled for another contest!

** Names changed to protect the identity of the Wal-Mart Wedding Winners

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Oji at the Dog Park

So today, we decided to take Oji to the dog park up by the airport. It was pretty exciting, and we were a bit nervous at how he would do...I don't think he's ever been around a bunch dogs before.

Well, it was mostly a success. He seemed to have a good time, and if the old adage that a tired dog is a happy dog, then he was pretty happy when we left.

It was funny, though, that the very first thing he did as he got into the park was promptly go over, sniff at a bench, and pee on some poor guy's leg. We were mortified, of course, and used up most of a bottle of water to rinse off the fellow's pants. Fortunately, he wasn't wearing shorts. He took it all in stride, as if one puts oneself in harm's way if you come to a park with a bunch of dogs running around. We offered to pay for his dry cleaning, but he said not to worry about it. While Melody helped him out, I chased Oji to have a talk about the finer parts of etiquette and not using people as convenient places to pee. In retrospect, it is kind of funny (at least for us).

The rest of the hour or so that we spent there was just following him around making sure he didn't get in any more trouble. He did pretty well, but was much more interested in sniffing the various pee-scented trees, rocks, bushes, and benches than he was playing with other dogs. He'd sniff them and they him, but he really didn't run around with them much until the end. There were two beagles who insisted on following him around and licking his nether regions in a most inappropriate manner...finally he got annoyed and snapped at them a little bit. No damage, and considering the attention he was receiving, I'm not sure I would blame him. Can you file sexual harassment lawsuits against animals?

Once we got him back to the car, he just flopped on the seat for the next thirty interest in sticking his nose out the window or anything. Just drinking some water and panting.

As we left the park, which also has hiking trails (to be tackled later), we passed by an entire herd of deer, mostly bucks, just munching contentedly on their lunch by the side of the road.

We'll likely go back again, but probably earlier to avoid the heat (and the sexually harassing beagles).

Friday, July 18, 2008

Separated at Birth?

For the past few weeks I've been trying to pin down who exactly Oji reminds me of. After mulling over several options, it's either a muppet (Lips, from the Electric Mayhem), or Ted Kaczynski. Fortunately, only Oji's appearance is Unabomber-like. The gray in his beard, the tousled hair...

You be the judge.

(images attributed to and

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Get it, Oji!

Oji has started to chase his tail...we're very proud.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Oji, King of All He Surveys

Is that a good looking dog, or what?!?

Oji continues to be the dream dog. He's now pretty consistently ringing the little bell we put at the back door to alert us that he wants to go out, and has transferred the same behavior to his leash when he wants to go for a walk. He picked that up on his own...we hang it on a hook on the front door, and he'll go over and bump it with his nose. Smart dog for figuring it out!

I was going to take him for a walk today, and stopped to get my sunglasses out of the car. He decided, hey! Why walk when you can ride, and hopped right in. So, we went for a drive instead.

Melody's Mom was with us this week, and she claims to be a non-dog-lover; Oji made an impact on her, though, and at the end, she wanted her picture taken with him. He did really well with her, and was just his loveable, sweet self.

We are so thankful for having him absolutely can't be sad or in a foul mood when you're around his fuzzy, Muppet-like face. He just makes you feel good. And, we're getting in a few miles of walking each day with him as well, which doesn't hurt.

God bless Oji and the United States of America!

Photos Accompany Kotooshu Article

I was recently contacted by a website,, requesting to use some of my photos from last year's Sumo tournament in an article they were doing on Kotooshu, the Bulgarian rikishi. Somewhat flattering, and of course, I agreed.

Follow the link in the Title to go to the article...