It has been nearly a year since my last Three Dot post … and, sadly, this one is also motivated by the passing of one of our furry critters … Shadow.
We adopted Shadow almost three years ago, when he was 14 … and I blogged about him here:
And then again when he had been with us for a year:
Shadow’s health has been deteriorating for some time … starting last June when he began passing blood in his urine … most likely a result of bladder cancer. The bleeding cleared up after a month or so … but Shadow lost much of his zip and, in particular, could no longer make it up and down the stairs … and was no longer interested in running anywhere.
About ten days ago, the bloody urine returned … with some fairly large clots. Shadow was in obvious pain … was sleeping most of the time … and began to have trouble walking and even standing.
I took him to Bel Marin Animal Hospital today … and the vet told me that there was nothing she could do to improve his health or his quality of life … so I made that most difficult of decisions for our furry critters.
He did have one last feisty moment … when he was taken to the back of the clinic for installation of the intravenous catheter … after which I could hear him barking his dissent to the procedure. Eventually, the vet came back and asked if she could sedate him so that they could install the catheter. Oddly, this is the same thing that had to be done last time he had been groomed … a process which he always resisted by barking, squirming and even biting the groomer.
Once the catheter was inserted, the vet brought Shadow back to me … he was sedated, but I held him for a few minutes before giving her the go ahead.
After she confirmed that he had died, I asked to be left alone with him … I then turned him on his side … fluffed up one end of the blanket to raise his head … arranged him in his favorite sleeping position … wrapped him in the blanket … and cried over him for awhile.
Candy and I knew, of course, when we adopted him at age 14, that we probably wouldn’t have Shadow for very long. But, in his three years with us, he won our hearts … and watching his decline has been very difficult.
And now, sitting at my desk and writing this, it seems strange not to have him here with me … which is where he always wanted to be.
Goodbye, Little Guy … we are going to miss you very much.
Three Dot … 134
Yesterday was another sad day in the Reilly-Davis household, as we had to unexpectedly say goodbye to another of our furry critters, McDuffy.
The Duff Man was six years old when we brought him home from the Marin Humane Society on January 23, 2010. McDuffy was a handsome Maine coon … who had previously been named Monterey …
… though we chose to rename him.
He quickly proved to be an friendly, even-tempered and affectionate little guy … before long, he developed a routine of coming up to me while I was working, putting his paws on the side of my leg and looking up at me until I picked him up. He would then snuggle down in my arms, pressing his head against the side of my neck and purring up a storm. Other times, he would simply climb up on my desk, flop down and go to sleep …
…or would “help” with my work on the computer.
He also became one of Candy’s little napping buddies, lying beside her whenever she decided to take a nap …
… and, because of his stocky build, she began calling him “Bear”.
Right up until yesterday, McDuffy had no significant medical issues … he had slowed a bit the last couple of years … and I had to put some steps next to the desk on which he liked to lie under the window in my office because he could no longer jump up onto it. Otherwise, however, he showed no signs of health problems.
Yesterday, after three nights in a row of four hours sleep, I slept late (past noon) … as a result, I was late feeding the critters their breakfast … I fed them shortly before 1:00 in the afternoon … and Duffy jumped up onto the second level of the scratching post, where I often gave him his food bowl. He seemed completely normal.
About an hour later, Candy left for work … and I went upstairs to my office. At 3:45, I went back downstairs and Duffy was lying on the floor in the living room … in a spot where he often slept. I thought he was sleeping and got down on my knees to give him a quick rub … only to discover that he was dead … and, in fact, rigor mortis was already setting in. I turned him over and saw that his big, beautiful eyes were wide open … but it was obvious he had been dead for some time.
I cried over him for about 15 minutes … then wrapped him in a big, soft towel to take him to the vet’s office. On the way, I stopped off at Candy’s work so she could say goodbye, too … and we had another good cry together. Then I took him to Bel Marin Animal Hospital for a private cremation.
Candy had a tough time at work … having to hide in the treatment room several times to cry … and I didn’t do any better at home.
Apparently … as I learned today … Maine Coons are particularly prone to suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy … HCM … and that they can show no signs of the disease before suddenly suffering heart failure. For cats suffering from HCM, the muscle of the left ventricle is abnormally enlarged or thickened … which strains the heart as it tries to pump blood. HCM is described here:
Of course, we don’t know for sure if this was the cause of McDuffy’s death … though it seems likely … and, short of an autopsy, there is no way to determine exactly what happened. One thing we have learned, though, is that if we ever adopt another Maine coon, we will have him tested for the gene mutation that causes HCM.
This has been a difficult four months for us, feline critter-wise … on December 30th, our most recent arrival, Darby, escaped from our back yard … and we haven’t seen her since:
Then, just a few days later … on January 6th … we had to say goodbye to the cat who had been with us the longest, Frasier:
Because it happened suddenly and we had no time to prepare emotionally, however, losing McDuffy is proving to be the most difficult of the three.
Farewell, Duff Man, we are going to miss you.
More Photos of McDuffy
Three Dot … 133
A year ago today, I weighed 175.1 pounds and decided that it was time to lose some weight. So, I devised a very simple “diet” … which is to say, eat as much as I want of whatever I want, but remain … with one exception briefly discussed below … under 2000 calories for the day.
I have been counting calories every day for more than 10 years, so that part was easy … not so easy … at least on some days … was staying under 2000.
During the year, I had some days during which I got close to 2000 as early as mid-afternoon … and had to go the rest of the day without eating anything.
Other days, I got close to 2000 … as close as 1999 … by carefully counting out late-night treats of well-defined calorie content … such as Jelly Bellies … to get within a few calories of 2000.
The exception to the daily drill mentioned above is that I also decided to start running again …… which I did on February 9th … a subject I’ll discuss in detail in another blog down the road.
Running takes extra calories … which I consider “bonus” calories for my daily limit … so, however many calories I use running … as indicated in my RunGo program … get added to my daily limit. I subtract them from my daily calorie total and the remainder must then be less than 2000.
So, this morning … after 365 days of eating less than 2000 calories a day … I weighed 146.6 pounds … down 28.5 pounds from my weight one year ago today.
Three Dot … 132
The last couple of weeks have been particularly difficult for Candy & I … we’ve both been sick … me since we got home from our trip on Dec. 28th and Candy for the past 6 days … most likely after catching her cold from me.
Neither of us, of course, was as sick as our little man Frasier … about whom I blogged yesterday:
And yet, that isn’t the end of our bad furry critter news, either. Early in the morning on Saturday, December 30th … just before leaving home for the trip to Southern California for the wedding of my niece, Nikki Lystne … I let our most recent arrival … Darby … out onto the patio. She had been out there often during the nearly three months since we moved … with no problems.
This time, however, she did not come when I called her … and then I had to leave for my trip. Candy & I talked several times while I was driving south … but still no sign of Darby … in fact, we have seen no sign of her since.
I made up and handed out to our neighbors flyers about Darby …
… posted about her on the lost pets PetHarbor.com website …
… and posted about her on the Hiddenbrooke Community Yahoo group.
Candy did receive a phone call from one neighbor who reported seeing a small black cat on the hillside across the street from Hiddenbrooke Plaza, the small community shopping center. I went over there and saw the cat … but it was almost dark and I could not tell if it was Darby. In any event, it ran down the hill and across the street when I approached … did not respond to my repeated calls of “Darby” … and disappeared into the bushes between the plaza and the homes on the hill above the plaza. I have been back to check several times, but have not seen that cat again.
Darby came to us through my friend Steve Davidson & his wife Amanda … she had been found abandoned in a home that had been foreclosed on … the contractor who found her asked Steve if he knew anyone willing to take her in … so he called me … we went to see her … and, no real surprise, brought her home.
We took her to our vet, who advised that she was about three years old … and, after doing blood work, found that she was FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) positive … a somewhat daunting pronouncement … but not enough to cause us to reconsider keeping her.
Darby is very friendly and has a sweet disposition … at least with humans … though she does not appear to like other cats.
Candy & I remain hopeful that Darby will turn up … perhaps after having been taken in by some kind person who has been caring for her.
Three Dot … 131
This past Friday, January 6th, Candy & I had to say goodbye to the furry critter who had been with us the longest … our cat Frasier.
Frasier, who we called “Mr. Laid Back” because of his calm and relaxed attitude about … well … everything …
… came to live with us permanently on July 26, 2008. An apparent stray as a kitten, he kept turning up at Canyon Manor … where Candy worked … looking for food and attention.
After several days of this, Candy decided to bring him home. One of the three cats she had brought with her to California … Midnight … had died not long before … and Frasier turning up was perfect timing.
We kept him overnight, then took him to the Marin Humane Society … in part to make sure he didn’t have an owner who was missing him … and in part to have him checked out. We signed up to be first on the list if he proved to be adoptable … which turned out to be the case, as there was no report of a missing cat that matched him, he was not chipped and he was in good health.
So, we completed the adoption and brought him home to stay.
Unlike his feline predecessors in our home, however … and perhaps because he was just a year old … Frasier proved to be both very adventurous and an escape artist.
This necessitated us turning our deck/garden area into a virtual “cat jail” … with wire fencing extending up several feet … and bending in to prevent him from getting over the fence and out of the yard.
Frasier loved his Mommy … and seemed to know that she had rescued him … of all of our critters, he was closest to Candy. He loved to snuggle with her while she was lying in bed … and going to sleep there.
Unfortunately, Frasier did not continue to enjoy the best of health. Several years ago, a routine checkup showed that he was suffering from kidney and bladder problems … which required him from then on to eat only a specialized diet of urinary care food.
Then, in the middle of last month, I noticed that his left pupil seemed dilated, regardless of the light … and that he had a build up of some kind of discharge … so, on December 15th, off we went to the vet.
Our regular vet … Dr. Robinett at Bel Marin Animal Hospital in Novato … referred him to Eye Care for Animals in Santa Rosa. The vet there, Dr. Burwell, found that he had a partially detached retina, probably from some internal infection … and prescribed two medications. We scheduled a follow up appointment for December 30th.
In between, Candy & I were scheduled to travel to Colorado on the 21st … and I was going on to Texas on Christmas Day … both returning on the 28th. So, we boarded our cats, as usual, at Cat’s Cradle in San Rafael … with instructions on how and when to give Frasier his medications.
When I picked up the cats on the 29th, however, I was told that one of the meds had begun to cause Frasier to foam at the mouth … and the Cat’s Cradle vet tech had decided to discontinue them. Frasier seemed very listless and was obviously sick … in some way worse than just an eye problem. That night, I brought him up to my office about 11:00 pm … and shortly thereafter, he vomited up a large quantity of a vile, bloody fluid … at least a pint, maybe more.
The next morning, I took him to his 8:30 am appointment at Eye Care for Animals … and the vet there said he was very sick and needed to be seen by his regular vet as soon as possible. So, back to Bel Marin we went that afternoon … but Dr. Robinett said that Frasier’s condition required emergency hospitalization … so I took him straight to the Pet Emergency & Specialty Center of Marin, in San Rafael.
He spent two days hospitalized there, undergoing a variety of treatments and tests … including two blood transfusions. During this time, I had to drive to Southern California for the wedding of one of my nieces … so Candy picked up Frasier on Sunday and brought him home.
Sadly, none of the treatments were beneficial … likely because Frasier had a serious abdominal cancer of some kind. He ate and drank nothing for four days, lost nearly 10% of his body weight and was just lying around … obviously miserable and in pain.
On Thursday, it became obvious what we had to do … so we made an appointment for the next afternoon at Bel Marin. There, as they always have before … with Midnight, Samantha, Macavity and Nano … they treated us … and Frasier … with respect.
After Frasier’s body relaxed in death, blood began to pour out of his nose … and continued to do so for several minutes … a sure sign that it had once again accumulated in his stomach … and a confirmation that there really was nothing else we could have done to reasonably extend his life.
We … Candy in particular … are going to miss our little man, who has been such a good friend for more than 8 years … and who left us too soon.
More Photos of Frasier
Three Dot … 130
Today is the 120th Anniversary of the founding of the Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railway, which carried visitors from Mill Valley up the slopes of Marin County’s Mt. Tamalpais to just below the East Peak of the mountain.
The Mt. Tam Railway operated for 34 years until 1930, when operations were shut down and the tracks torn up.
Most of the old railroad grade was converted into a fire road, which remains a favorite hiking and running trail on Mt. Tam. During my trail-running days, I ran hundreds of miles on the railroad grade.
Three years ago, I wrote another blog on the Mt. Tam Railway, which contains additional photos and information about the railroad and the associated buildings and services:
Three Dot … 129
The growth of the Russian Navy during the 1960’s was a matter of great concern for the United States and the American Navy.
During the last 14 months (April 1970 to May 1971) of my four years in the Navy, I helped inform the public about the Russian Navy, and other subjects of interest about the American Navy, as part of the Navy’s CNO Sea Power Presentation team.
The Russian Navy … covered in a program called The Soviet Sea Power Presence …
… was by far the most popular and and most often requested subject of our presentations.
My Dad, who was then nearing the end of his long and distinguished Navy career, was also a member of the CNO team. He and I had a spirited competition to see who would be the first member of the team to earn the Centurion Award for making 100 presentations. Dad won that competition, giving his 100th presentation on April 12, 1971, while I gave mine four days later.
The CNO team was formed by then Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Thomas H. Moorer. I was officially welcomed to the team by him in a letter dated March 23, 1970.
Not long after, on April 1st, I gave The Soviet Sea Power Presence presentation for the first of the 82 times … to the Sun City California Retired Officer’s Association.
Dad and I were the subjects of any number of news articles about these presentations, including a mention in Lou Copozzoli’s “Military Beat” column in the Santa Ana Register.
I traveled all over Southern California to give these presentations … speaking to groups in 40 different cities. The audiences included military units, school groups, political organizations, community groups, and service organizations, such as Kiwanis, Lions, Elks, Masonic, Sertoma, Optimist, Shriner’s and Rotary Clubs.
I have in my CNO Sea Power scrapbook a number of brochures and programs promotion these presentations …
… as well as photographs.
Dad and I did one TV program together, discussing The Soviet Sea Power Presence and showing many of the slides from the presentation. The program, called “Urban Forum”, was shown on KCOP-TV in Los Angeles.
On August 11, 1970, I did TV program solo on KHJ-TV on a daytime talk show called “Tempo”, which aired in Southern California and parts of Arizona and New Mexico. After each of our presentations, we submitted reports to the program coordinator in Washington DC. My report for this show notes that other guests that day were movie producer Otto Preminger, a Hollywood actress (whose name I did not record) and a pilot and executive from Continental Airlines. My report also notes (in the last line of the “General Interest” paragraph) that the host of the show was none other than a then little known host named Regis Philbin!
Depending on the available time, we used up to as many as 60 slides in the presentation about the Russian Navy. Among other things, they showed some of the Soviet ships …
… and the extent to which the Russians were exerting their sea power presence in crucial areas of the world.
My in-person audiences ranged in size from as few as 10 (the Alhambra Optimist Club) to as many 225 (the Long Beach Rotary Club and the State Convention of the California Republican Assembly (CRA), a very conservative political organization).
I did have an interesting experience with another Republican group, the Republican Women’s Club of Mission Viejo. A representative of the group contacted me about doing a presentation, the result of which I described in a memo to Navy Capt. Marr, the CNO team coordinator, on October 1, 1970.
Some things, it seems, haven’t changed much in the intervening 45 years! On the other hand, several Republican groups had no such reservations. Besides the state convention of the CRA mentioned above, I gave presentations to 10 other Republican organizations (most of them, unsurprisingly, in Orange County). I never was asked to speak to a group of Democrats.
In addition to the Centurion Awards, the Navy recognized the efforts of CNO Sea Power Presentation Team members with Certificates of Merit, of which I received five. Each came with a cover letter from the Chief of Naval Operations … by the time I received my first, Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., had become CNO and he signed each of the letters I received with my certificates.
For several months leading up to my 100th, I led my Dad by a small number of presentations. Then, for a variety of reasons … including my impending departure from the Navy … Dad caught up to and passed me. Capt. Marr sent me a note asking if I had let him beat me to the 100 mark on purpose. I replied with the following memo to him:
My kids will confirm that that aspect of my personality never changed … not even for them.
In any event, it was just over 45 years ago … July 29, 1971 … that Dad & I received our Centurion Awards from Rear Admiral Joseph W. Williams, Jr., the Commandant of the Eleventh Naval District. By that time, I had resigned my commission and left active duty.
Looking back through my CNO Sea Power Team files to write this blog reminded me just how invested I was in the program. I spent hundreds of hours preparing for, traveling to and from, and giving these presentations, many of which took place during off-duty hours. And I had forgotten how many memos I sent to Washington suggesting changes to the program and its presentations, asking for more information and new slides, and otherwise making a pest of myself.
I suspect that the two captains who supervised the team while I was a participant wondered exactly who that lowly lieutenant in Long Beach thought he was (in one memo, for example, I asked why other team members were not keeping up with the pace Dad and I were setting!).
On the other hand, I know they … and the admirals for whom I worked directly … appreciated the effort that I put into the program. My last Navy boss, Rear Admiral H. V. Bird, Commander of Naval Base Los Angeles – Long Beach, wrote a very nice farewell letter when I left active duty.
Three Dot … 128
As a child growing up in Lindenhurst … on the south shore of Long Island … we had a dog … a mutt, really … named Ranger.
Ranger’s mother … Lucky … wasn’t. She was hit by a car and killed not long after Ranger’s litter was born … and they weren’t even weaned yet … my mom had to hand feed them until they got big enough to eat on their own.
I was five at the time … and given my choice of which of the puppies we would keep … I picked the runt of the litter … and named him Ranger, after the lead character of a children’s TV show that I liked to watch … Ranger Joe.
Ranger became my faithful companion from then until I left home to go to West Point 13 years later … other than school, he went pretty much everywhere with me … and particularly enjoyed loping along next to my bike when I did my paper route … and running along with me when I did laps around the block as training for cross-country and track.
Eventually, he got too old to do the running … instead, he would lie on the grass in front of our house … and follow me with his eyes as I ran by each time.
Despite his small size, Ranger was fearless … too fearless, as it turned out. One day in March of 1964, he was with my mom and two younger sisters as they walked to the neighborhood grocery store. A much bigger dog came out of the Narrangansett Inn, a local restaurant and reception hall … thinking the dog was coming after his humans, Ranger ran to intercept him … and got into a fight which resulted in injuries so severe that he had to be euthanized.
Mom called me at West Point to give me the news … and I cried myself to sleep that night.
But, that isn’t the main point of this story … which is really about the dog I fell in love with three years later and who was going to be my next “Ranger”.
My Aunt Ethel and her family lived in West Babylon, not far from where we lived in Lindenhurst … and I visited there frequently after my family moved to California in mid-1964, shortly after Ranger’s death. They had a female dog named Queenie … and, coincidentally, she had a little of puppies in April 1967 … just a couple of months before I was due to graduate from West Point.
In my journal for May 6, 1967, I wrote that I had picked up Jessica Poulson, who I was seeing at that time, and then … “we drove out to Aunt Ethel’s. Queenie had her puppies. I picked out one for me — it’s all black with 4 white feet, a white-tipped tail, a white ring around its neck and a white face.”
I had just that week also finished reading Boris Pasternak’s book Doctor Zhivago … and Jess & I went to see the movie based on the book that same night. I decided that I would name the puppy Yurochka … the affectionate name that Larisa Antipova calls Yuri Zhivago … and then ended up calling him Yuri for “short” (even though in Russian Yurochka is the diminutive of Yuri).
On Saturday, June 3rd, Jess and I were back on Long Island … and I picked up Yurochka …
… to take back to West Point with me for a few days. In retrospect, he was probably a bit young to be separated from his mother … but he enjoyed the visit … particularly sleeping with me on my brown boy (our plush comforter). Needless to say, it’s a good thing no one in authority saw him there in my room!
We graduated on June 7 and I spent the first three weeks of graduation leave hanging around with family on Long Island and visiting with high school friends and teachers … while Yuri was back at Aunt Ethel’s with his mom.
On June 28th, I finally left New York … driving to Washington DC, where Yuri and I stayed at a Holiday Inn. The next day, I visited the Pentagon and confirmed that I would have a few weeks temporary duty at the Pacific Mine Force headquarters before going to the Defense Information School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, in the fall … then on to Saigon, Vietnam, in November.
While driving, Yuri would sit in the passenger seat … or, if I had the top up on my Corvette, would lie on the convertible top cover, just behind the seats. When in the passenger seat, he was too small to see over the doorframe or hang his head out the window … so I usually turned the vent window in so that wind would blow on him while driving.
The third day of our trip, June 30th, Yuri and I visited my high school track teammate George Brown in North Carolina … then went on to Merritt Island, Florida, to visit with my best friend from high school, Jim Clark. We spent five days there, then on July 5th started the drive across the South … headed for Memphis, Tennessee, to visit with my West Point roommate & best friend, Jim “JO” Vance.
On Friday, July 7th, JO and I had dates with two sisters who lived in the Whitehaven section of Memphis … my date that evening was Sandy Douglas … and, as they say, the rest was history …
… regarding which, see…
After two days in Memphis, Yuri and I headed to Oklahoma, where I hoped to see my former girlfriend … Candy Sayes (ah, yes, a whole other story for another time). I was able to visit with her and her fiancée, Joe Davis, for about an hour … then drove down to Lawton, where I planned to see another of my West Point friends, Norm St. Laurent, at Fort Sill.
After visiting with Norm, I decided to drive straight through from Oklahoma to California … in part because I didn’t have any friends living between the two. On Tuesday, July 11, I got on the road about 8:00 am and drove until 3:00 … slept on the side of the road for about an hour … then hit the road again.
I stopped again about 10:00 and called home, then decided to continue driving until I got home … which I expected to do about 2:30 or 3:00 am. For most of the trip from Oklahoma to California, I was driving on either I-40 (which was not yet complete) or the old Route 66 … which connected the completed sections of I-40 at the time.
Shortly after midnight, I stopped in Barstow, California, for gas … I had the top up and Yuri was sleeping on the convertible cover behind me … I pulled up to a pump, got out and began pumping gas.
Perhaps a minute later, a woman from another car at the station asked me, “Is that your dog?”, while pointing toward the highway. I turned to see where she was pointing and saw Yuri … just as he was hit by a car speeding along the highway.
I immediately ran out to Yuri … and when I got to him, knew instantly that, although not yet dead, he would be soon … I picked him up and carried him back to the car … by the time I got to it, he had died.
I wrapped him in my lightweight West Point grey jacket … borrowed a shovel from the gas station attendant … and took Yuri out into the desert to bury him. I dug a hole about three feet deep … laid Yuri in it … and filled the hole. The driver of the car never even stopped.
The rest of the drive home took about two-and-a-half hours … during the entirety of which I was crying so hard that I had trouble driving … and which makes me cry even now thinking about it. My mom had stayed up, waiting for me to arrive, and I fell completely apart when I got there.
To this day, I do not know for sure how Yuri got out of the car … the convertible top was up … and the windows were up high enough that I don’t think he could have wiggled through the opening of either window. The only thing I could … or can … think of is that he must have awakened as I opened the driver’s door, then jumped down onto the seat and out the door behind me as I closing it.
However he did it, it took just a matter of seconds … no more than two or three … and, because I was concentrating on pumping gas, I never saw that he was out of the car until it was too late.
It is nearly 49 years since Yuri was killed, but the guilt I feel over his death burns my heart every time I think of it … which is still often. My journal entry for that day ends with the comment, “He trusted me so & I let him down in the worst way possible.”
I was motivated to write about Yurochka by the incident at the Cincinnati Zoo which resulted in the death of the silverback gorilla Harambe … and the resultant outpouring of animus and vitriol toward the mother of the child who got into the gorilla enclosure.
To the Christians among the vocal critics of the mother, I commend Matthew 7:1-3, King James Version (KJV):
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
In other words, clean up your own act before you judge the actions of others … and once you do, perhaps it would be best to help those others, rather than judging them.
Or John 8:7 (KJV): He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
In the context of the gorilla discussion, it is a certainty that everyone, without exception, has at one time or another, been distracted in such a way as to lose track of a child … even a small child … for a short period of time. Most people are lucky in that nothing untoward happens during that momentary distraction … the Cincinnati mother … and I … were not so lucky.
Apparently, the Hamilton County, Ohio, prosecutor will announce tomorrow whether or not he is going to file criminal charges against the boy’s mother. The legal standard in Ohio for filing charges is whether or not she acted “recklessly” or created a “substantial risk” to the health and safety of her child.
Factual circumstances likely to play a part in the prosecutor’s decision include the child’s background and any history of dangerous behavior, risk factors at the zoo, and … perhaps most significantly … the length of time that the child was out of the mother’s direct sight and why.
A few more pictures of Yuri
Three Dot … 127
It was one year ago today that Candy & I went to the Marin Humane Society to visit a little ball of fur named Shadow … 14 years old … and surrendered by his previous owner’s family because she had grown too ill to care for him.
Shadow is well-named … since the day he arrived, he has attached himself to me as if there was an invisible tether linking us together. When I’m in my home office, he’s in the chair next to me …
… if I get up, he does, too … and follows me wherever I go.
He gets excited whenever a walk outside is in the offing … and runs down the driveway with his little ears flapping … he thinks he’s running like the wind … but it’s actually more like a mild zephyr, as even at age 70, I can jog faster than he runs!
Nevertheless, he now remains, at age 15, quite spry … though he does sleep a lot!
Happy Anniversary, little guy.
The Three Dot … blog post that I wrote last year about Shadow’s adoption is here:
ThreeDot … 126
Happy Mother’s Day 2016 to all of the moms in the combined and extended Reilly-Douglas-Sayes-Davis family. This past year has been a good one for all of our moms … and by next year, we’ll have some new additions to this display. Thanks, MOMS, for all you have done and continue to do to make our families happy, healthy and well-loved. We love you all.
Three Dot … 125
… my nephew, Lawrence John Reilly III, turns 48 today.
Larry is the first-born of the next generation of Reillys …
… and is the namesake of my younger brother Lawrence John Reilly Jr., one of The Lost 74 of the USS Frank E. Evans … and my Dad, Lawrence John Reilly Sr.
My favorite picture of Larry as a child is this one I took in 1969 … when he was a “mascot” of the Costa Mesa High School football team.
My brother Jerry played for the Mustangs at the time … and Larry later played for them when he was in high school.
Larry’s Facebook page:
Three Dot … 124
Today is Vietnam Veterans Day …
… a day for honoring all those who served there, including …
… my Dad, GMCM Lawrence John Reilly Sr. (US Navy Ret) …
… my brother, BT3 Lawrence John Reilly Jr., one of The Lost 74 of the USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) …
… the rest of the crew of the Frank E. Evans …
… my prospective brother-in-law and West Point classmate, Thomas Havard “Trey” Sayes III (Capt. US Army) …
… his Dad, Col. Thomas Havard Sayes Jr. (US Army Ret) …
… all of my other West Point Class of 1967 classmates who served with courage and distinction in Vietnam …
… and all other American & allied veterans of that war.
Three Dot … 123
No. 3 Son Sean, his fiancee Alyssa Roberts, and the grandkids, Kohl & Cheyenne, spent the day today at the Palo Duro Canyon State Park, south of Amarillo, Texas.
Duro Palo is second only to Arizona’s Grand Canyon in size … and is made up of an extensive series of hiking, biking & horse trails … campsites & cabins … a zip line … and other natural attractions and activities.
Sean, Alyssa, Kohl & Cheyenne hiked the Lighthouse Trail today …
… 2.72 miles in each direction … and Kohl looked a bit gassed when they got to the turn-around near the Lighthouse Rock.
All in all, looks like great fun … wish I could have been with them … and look forward to making a trip there with them next time I’m in Texas.
Three Dot … 122
Today is the second anniversary of my appearance on …
… about which I have intended to blog for some time … and now … two years later … here … finally … is the follow up I promised.
I have been a Wheel of Fortune fan all the way back to the original version hosted by Chuck Woolery.
My family and I were living in Southern California when Pat and Vanna became the host & hostess on Wheel …
… and I remember watching Pat do the weather on a local news broadcast before he moved to Wheel.
We moved to Marin County, north of San Francisco, in 1985. One day in the late 80’s or early 90’s, I was coming down the stairs just as a new puzzle was displayed on Wheel …
… it was an “author and novel” puzzle …
… and … much to the amazement of my kids … I knew the answer instantly, with no letters showing.I recognized the answer, in part, because I had written my major English thesis in college on that very book.
From that moment on, I wanted to be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune … and, over the past 7 years, as my fiancée Candy and I watched Wheel every night, she often asked, “When are you going to get on Wheel?”
I signed up as a Wheel Watcher … and then, in August of 2013, received an email announcing a Wheelmobile event in Northern California …
… to be held at the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort in Jackson, CA.
About a two-and-a-half hour drive from home … close enough!
So, on Saturday, August 17, 2013, Candy and I headed to Jackson, hoping that I would be selected for an audition to be a Wheel contestant. I previously blogged about this event here:
At the conclusion of this audition, we were told that all of the auditions would be reviewed by Wheel’s producers … and those selected for final auditions would be notified in two to three months.
Just a few days shy of two months later, my optimism was rewarded when I received an email inviting me to a final contestant audition … I immediately confirmed that I would attend … and, on Thursday, October 24th, it was back to Jackson Rancheria for Candy and I.
Contestants only allowed in the auditorium for these auditions … so Candy visited the casino while I … along with about 100 other would-be contestants … participated in a more intensive competition … followed by a further paring down to 30 or so for the final auditions and interviews. I also previously blogged about this event here:
Just a couple of months later I received an email from Contestant Coordinator Alexandra Reeves … advising me that I have been selected to be a contestant on Wheel … and that I had a taping date of Friday, January 17, 2014 (coincidentally, my parents’ 69th wedding anniversary, a good sign, I thought).
So, time to prepare … well, not really. I had been “preparing” for Wheel for more than 30 years and knew that “cramming” was not going to be much help. The only thing I did was review the capitals and other major cities of countries in Europe, in case one of them showed up in a puzzle.
Otherwise, I just watched the show every night and enjoyed the anticipation of being on it myself. Needless to say, my family and friends were excited and gave me all kinds of advice, such as “buy vowels,” “don’t guess letters that have already been played” and, most often, “win a lot of money!”
The day before my taping, Candy and I drove down to Los Angeles and checked in at the Culver Hotel …
… just down the street from the Sony Entertainment Studios …
… for my taping … about which I blogged here:
Wheel of Fortune … March 4, 2014
Now it was finally time for my show to air … Candy & I had kept my performance a closely held secret … none of our family or friends knew the outcome. So, we gathered at #1 son Doug’s house to watch and enjoy the show together.
My fellow contestants … Ashley Rieck & Dominique Washington … were both younger and better looking than I … and, as it turned out, quicker on the toss up button. At home, toss ups were always one of my strong suits … not so much on the show.
The $1000 toss up was a “Movie Title” …
… and Dominique pounced on it quickly … with just 5 of the 15 letters showing …
… she buzzed in and announced …
… a good start for her.
We then did our introductions … for which I had decided that the most important thing of all was to name my fiancée, Candy … who was in the audience … and our combined six grandchildren, aged 1 through 9. I knew the grandkids would get a kick out of hearing their names on TV … and I actually managed to do it … Kohl & Cheyenne, Hannah & Quincy, and Finnegan & McKinley … without making any mistakes. After which Pat said, “We should give him some money just for getting all that.”
The $2000 toss up was “People” …
… and Ashley beat me to the buzzer on this one …
… but missed the second word of the puzzle, giving me a chance …
… and, since I am one … of the Cal Bears football team … I was able to solve …
This, of course, allowed me to start the first regular puzzle, something from “The ’80’s” … about which Pat said to me … “You & I remember the ’80’s, but I’m not sure about them.”
I managed to take advantage of going first on this puzzle by solving it without ever giving up the wheel. I ended up buying four vowels … and got four of the consonants … but was hanging around the low value wedges just past the bankrupt every time I spun … so once I knew the answer …
… I immediately solved it …
… had $900 at that point …
… so won the minimum $1000 for any puzzle solve … and had a “1/2 car” wedge.
When Pat came over to shake my hand, he said … “I never root for particular players because they’re all terrific, but I was hoping you’d solve this. I just wanted to hear it come out of your mouth.” We both had a good laugh at that.
Next was a “Before & After” puzzle …
… and thanks to a missed letter and a “lose a turn” spin, the wheel got back to me with no letters exposed. On my first spin, I was exactly one peg (a third of a wedge) short of a second “1/2 car” wedge … then two S’s got me $1800 … so I proceeded to buy four vowels … O, A, E & I … then spun a “free play” and won $2000 with four N’s at $500 each.
With the N’s …
… I also knew the puzzle … and once again, because I kept spinning close to the bankrupt, I decided to solve rather than spin again …
… for a total win of $2800.
The next round, the “Prize Puzzle”, proved to be decisive in determining who would go to the bonus round … in fact, as it turned out, that result depended on the guess of a single letter. This puzzle was an “Event” …
… and Dominique started out strong with two T’s for $1800 … and three H’s for $1350 … and then, after buying two vowels, she spun and landed on the Express wedge. An S won her another $1000 … upping her total to $4150 … and she jumped on the Express.
Then came the crucial guess. The fourth word of the puzzle at that point was HO_SE …
… and Dominique’s next letter was a very logical U … logical, but crucially incorrect.
Unexpectedly, my turn again … and I once again flirted with bankrupt … stopping just one peg short of it … but this time on the high value side … on the $3500 wedge. At this point, I knew the puzzle … and that it had two R’s … so won $7000 for those.
This time I decided to keep going and spun twice more … with an F good for $900 … and a Y good for a Ricardo Beverly Hills Luggage $1000 gift tag and $500 in cash.
With just an obvious vowel left, I solved the puzzle …
… for $9400 in cash … and also won a prize trip to China & a digital camera, valued at $9097 … for a total of $18,497 for this puzzle … and $24,297 altogether.
Had Dominique guessed the R instead of the U, she undoubtedly would have solved the puzzle … and gone on to the bonus round … that single letter made all the difference in the final result.
That was my last success short of the bonus round, as Ashley & Dominique solved each of the remaining three puzzles.
Dominique was once again quickest on the final toss up …
… correctly solving …
… an “Occupation” …
… for $3000.
Then Ashley … who hadn’t had much chance to play … joined in on the next puzzle, category “Things” …
After Dominique had revealed several letters, she missed one … and I whiffed on a guess of L. Ashley then spun the $5000 wedge … correctly guessed P … bought an I …
… and solved the puzzle …
… for a $4750 win.
We had time for one more puzzle … with Pat doing the “Final Spin” on a “Place” puzzle …
… when he spun the $500 wedge … making each letter worth $1500 … I knew that I would be going to the bonus round.
This relatively short, two word puzzle, proved elusive for all of us … before we were done, I missed on three consonants (T, M & G) … while correctly guessing only two E’s … Ashley added an R … but Dominique did the heavy lifting, correctly guessing S, N, L and 2 C’s …
… after which she solved …
… for a $7500 win.
After having spent several hours together in preparation, we had been friendly competitors … and I was happy to see that Ashley & Dominique had each enjoyed success in the show.
However, thanks to my fortuitous Chinese New Year solve, I was going on to the bonus round. This gave Candy a chance to wave … and to mouth “Hi Swappers” to her life-long group of Swapper friends … and me a chance to nearly hit Pat in the head with the follow through of my spin of the Bonus Wheel! After which he said, “Missed me by that much!”
The Bonus Puzzle category was “What are You Doing?” …
… and after RSTLNE revealed just 3 letters, it looked like this …
… not many letters showing! I thought it likely that the last letter was G … and was hoping to catch a second one somewhere else … so guessed G, D, M and O, which gave me …
… which prompted Pat to say … somewhat skeptically … “Well, I don’t know. We’ll find out soon, in about ten seconds.”
Then, without the thought ever having formed in my conscious mind, the words leaped immediately out of my mouth … “WINDOW SHOPPING” … surprising me as much as anyone else …
Pat then revealed the bonus round prize of $30,000 …
… and Candy rushed out onto the set for a congratulatory hug and waves to the audience.
I had a final friendly chat with Pat and Vanna during the filming of the closing credits … and then this most exciting day was over. The taping went by so fast, it was mostly a blur … and I could not even remember some of the puzzles until the show aired and I was able to watch it myself!
This was a wonderful, literally once-in-a-lifetime, experience … everyone associated with the show was great to the contestants … the contestant coordinator team (Alex, Gary, Jackie & Shannon) … announcer Jim Thornton, who regaled the audience during the breaks with Wheel stories & trivia … and, of course, Pat & Vanna … American television icons … who were down-to-Earth and very friendly to our group of nervous contestants.
Candy and I took our two week Collette trip … “The Best of China” … in October 2015 … and had a great time … visiting Beijing, Xian, Guilin and Shanghai … about which I will blog … with many photos … sometime in the not too far distant future.
Three Dot … 121
It is Super Bowl Sunday …
…the 50th such in NFL history … though not, as some commentators have been saying, “the 50th Anniversary of the Super Bowl” … as it is actually the 49th “anniversary” of the Super Bowl, which was played for the first time in 1967 … though not, at that time, even called the Super Bowl … the first and second of these games were called the NFL-AFL Championship … it wasn’t until the 3rd edition in 1969 that the name “Super Bowl” was applied.
That first Super Bowl, by the way, was played in the Los Angeles Coliseum … among those who filled the Coliseum to about one-half of its capacity (unimaginable today) were my Dad and brother Jerry.
This is also a good day to reflect on the many great players who have entertained football fans in the Super Bowl … and the many great plays we have enjoyed seeing them make … which raises the question … what is the greatest play in Super Bowl History?
There have, of course, been many great Super Bowl plays …
… game-winning touchdown passes … like Joe Montana’s to John Taylor …
… in the 24-20 San Francisco 49’ers win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII …
… great touchdown runs … like Marcus Allen’s 74 yarder …
… in the 38-9 win by the Los Angeles Raiders over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVII …
… great defensive plays … like the 100 yard interception return by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison …
… in his team’s 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII …
… incredible catches … like Lynn Swann’s …
… for the Steelers in Super Bowl X …
… and David Tyree’s “helmet catch” …
…for the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII …
…strange plays … like John Elway’s “helicopter play” …
… for the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII …
… and the touchdown run by William “The Refrigerator” Perry …
… for the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX …
… or even the performance of the Star Spangled Banner by Whitney Houston …
… before Super Bowl XXV in 1991 …
… the flat out best rendition ever … by anyone … of our national anthem.
Great plays all … but none of them, in my opinion, was the greatest play in Super Bowl history … on the contrary, the greatest play in Super Bowl history was made late in the game … by a player on the losing side of one of the most lop-sided Super Bowl games ever.
It was a play that made no meaningful difference in the final result … but which demonstrated what it means to never give up … to give your all on every play … and to be an example to all of how this game … and any game … and life itself … should be played.
The game … Super Bowl XXVII … won by the Dallas Cowboys 52-17 over the Buffalo Bills …
… the setting … 4th down for the Bills late in the game … QB Frank Reich is sacked and fumbles the ball …
… the play … Cowboys DT Leon Lett scoops up the ball at his own 35 and begins rumbling toward the Buffalo end zone …
… Bills WR Don Beebe, who had been running a pattern downfield, gives seemingly hopeless chase …
… then, Lett starts to showboat as he nears the goal line … and Beebe reaches out …
…and knocks the ball out of Lett’s hand at the one yard line … preventing yet another Dallas touchdown.
And that play by Don Beebe …
… is the Greatest Play in Super Bowl History.
Three Dot … 120
Chevy Chase: Weekend Update recognizes its obligation to present responsible opposing viewpoints to our editorials. Here to reply to a recent editorial, is Emily Litella.
Emily Litella: I’m here tonight to endorse Donald Trump for Resident of the United States. Unlike Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada, and John McCain, who was born in Panama, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria, Mr. Trump was born in Queens, New York. He grew up in New York and attended school in New York and Pennsylvania. Now, it’s true that his mother was born in Scotland and his father’s parents were born in Germany, but those are not reasons why Donald can’t be a resident of the United States. Lots of foreigners are residents of this country and most of them are good citizens who add to ethnic diversity … and many of them do jobs that no one else wants to do, so …
Chevy Chase: [interrupting] Miss Litella?
Emily Litella: Yes?
Chevy Chase: I’m sorry. The editorial was about endorsing Donald Trump for President of the United States. President, not resident.
Emily Litella: Oh. I’m sorry.
With apologies to Saturday Night Live, Chevy Chase, Emily Litella and Gilda Radner, my all-time favorite SNL performer.
Three Dot … 119
A West Point classmate found and made me aware of a great article about what the author, Nathaniel Barr, calls Internet Bullshit. The article, which is worth reading in its entirety, is available here:
What Barr has to say is so true … and is the essential motivation for many of my comments, both on Facebook and in my email correspondence, in which I debunk factually inaccurate comments, arguments and discussions by others.
The Barr article also inspired me to coin the term “inbush” to describe INternet BUllSHit, a term used for the first-time here.
Couple of notes:
Thanks to my friend Rich Estes for making me aware of the Barr article …
… and just want to make clear that it is total coincidence that my term for internet bullshit shares the last name of the worst president of my lifetime:
Three Dot … 118
… is what we call the day after Thanksgiving … because it is the day on which retail businesses move from “red” to “black” in their annual ledgers of profits and losses.
As an aside likely of interest to no one except me … I was born in Brooklyn, in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, and near where the Brooklyn Daily Eagle was published … and in the 1970’s, lived in Santa Ana … where the Santa Ana Register was published. The Brooklyn Eagle has long since passed into history … while the Register (now called the Orange County Register) remains the primary newspaper in Southern California’s most conservative county … and I now live in Northern California, not far from the Golden Gate Bridge.
There are also lesser-known “black” days of the week … in fact, there is one for each other day … representing events of widely divergent meaning.
Black Monday, for example, has two meanings … one a mini-Black Thursday …
And we had a Black Tuesday …
Not to be outdone, the United Kingdom joins our “black day” list with a stock market crash of its own …
Victoria is Australia’s most densely populated state … and home to the country’s 2nd biggest city, Melbourne. The fires which started on Black Sunday ultimately killed 173 people … injured 414 … burned 1,100,000 acres … destroyed 3500 buildings … and killed nearly 12,000 head of livestock.
Finally, we also have two versions of Black Sunday … one of which, fortunately, is fictitious. The real one happened in Oklahoma and Texas in 1935 … during the days of the infamous “dust bowl” … when monumental dust storms swept across parts of those states …
The fictional terroristic Black Sunday was a book of that name by Thomas Harris …
So, here’s hoping everyone who went shopping today had a good Black Friday … and that others, like myself … who wouldn’t have ventured out to a retail store today under any circumstances … had a nice quiet day at home!
Three Dot … 117
Today is a day for honoring and remembering all of those who have served in our country’s military …
… in particular, of course, members of our own families … the following graphics honor all known veterans from the Reilly-Douglas and Sayes-Davis families, three of whom made the ultimate sacrifice in their service …
… and my classmates from the West Point Class of 1967 ..
… and the members of the USS Frank E. Evans Association, including crewmen from both the Evans and the HMAS Melbourne.
Three Dot … 116
It was 40 years ago on this date … October 22, 1975 … that the World Football League folded.
This was a traumatic event for me … and #1 son Doug … who was then just 5 and learning how to be a sports fan.
After demise of the WFL was announced, I wrote a short story about it … in those days, of course, there was no internet … there were no blogs … and I never found anyone interested in publishing it.
But, I did keep a copy … so, 40 years later, here it is:
… by using it as my team name in face-to-face strategy football leagues … playing Strat-o-Matic football … in the OOPS Football League in Southern California … the Quasi Football League after we moved to Northern California …
Three Dot … 115
Most of my first day as a West Point cadet … July 1, 1963 … is a complete blur in my memory. About all I can say for certain is that I still consider it one of the most miserable days of my life … so, I wouldn’t normally blog about it … except for one thing.
Because we lived in Lindenhurst, on the south shore of Long Island, I was one of the fortunate New Cadets who was taken to West Point by family … and the whole crew made the trip … Mom & Dad, Larry Jr., Jerry, Luanne and Suzie (who was then just four years old and with whom I was particularly close).
Once I left the family to “report to the man in the red sash” and begin my life away from home, the rest of the family participated in various activities designed to help them understand what their now departed sons (no women yet at West Point then) would be doing for the next four years.
Eventually that day, the upper class cadre trained the 800+ newest cadets well enough for us to march in our first parade … and to be accepted into the Corps of Cadets. And then it was time for the families to leave … which mine did, beginning the drive back down to Long Island.
It wasn’t long, however, before Suzie realized that I wasn’t in the car … and she cried out, “We forgot Jimmy” … when told that I wasn’t coming with them, she cried most of the trip home.
Little did she … or I … or any of the rest of the family know that by the next time I would visit home, in June 1964, Dad (a Navy Chief) would have been transferred to Long Beach and they would have moved to Garden Grove, California … and that I would not again set foot in my childhood home until invited in by the current owners when I visited the old neighborhood nearly 46 years later in March 2010.
Three Dot … 112