Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dog-garn it, a post

Have you ever experienced that moment when you come to an opportunity to read – and nothing pre-cracked to continue?

I had that happen tonight – I am on a library diet at the moment (to save room for my binge-reading daughter on the cards*)…

* - not really, but as my old man used to say, “Why spoil a good story with the truth”.  And the truth is that I am too darned lazy**

** to get inside of the head of the new library designer.  Don’t get me started.  Don’t!  Don’t get me started…***

*** well, you asked for it.  Can you BELIEVE that our local library has completely gone OUT OF THEIR SENSES!!  

I can understand not wanting to alphabetise the author’s name for only TWO reasons.  

The first is in regard to the archaic patriarchal lineage that completely obscures woman’s place in the cultivation of great literature; or – there was another reason, I have forgotten it.  

Ah no, I remember – the second reason is if you have an attitude about the posterity those selfish self-serving NOVELISTS seem to think they have, considering their name to be important enough to be associated with to determine the display on the shelves of their life's work - and they need to be taken down a peg or two if they think that THEIR names will sway us in our ultimate selection.  In which case, you may just have a problem, Sonny Jim.

But NO, some clever wobbly-bottom has decided that instead of following the whole alphabet malarkey, instead they would create a maze.

Instead of hedges, using clever mythical walls – 
and instead of the Magic Faraway Tree where a different land appears at the top of the tree each chapter, 
think Ikea with starkly sketched bookshelves housing the promise of “paranormal”, avenues of “adventure”, “living”, “hogsbristle” and the occasional tendril of “romance”, “war” and “self-help”…

See, that is the real reason I don't borrow from our library any more.  I fear book rage.  And being trapped in an unexpected section.  "Gothic" would be  a bit horrible.  Or "horror".  One would want to find an exit near "horror".

Or worse yet, getting bogged in "general" - the cesspool where everything that won't fit a label is tossed.

But I digress...

I had a shiver of panic, and then the thrill of realising that the PILE OF BOOKS in the corner of the room that I had never got around to reading #

# that noise you just heard is the group of people who knew me as a teen and young woman (yes, believe me, this once was true) who could not contemplate that I would have such a pile, for everything was READ, falling off their stools.

As I said, I am on a library diet at the moment and I had a shiver of panic, and then the thrill of realising that the PILE OF BOOKS in the corner of the room that I had never got around to reading #.

Thus, I decided to pick up and bathe to the opening chapters of “Wonder Dogs” (True stories of extraordinary canines) by Ben Holt.  (other people have reviewed it here)

Well, let me just say, whatever my expectations may have been, they have been licked, pounced on, worried and tossed…

I am finding great mirth in this book for all the wrong reasons.

Don’t get me wrong, these dogs are indeed wonderful.

The journalistic style, however, is more what-the-ful? 

At times, you think that not much has gone on between the earnest “I have to write a story about how wonderful that dog is, who I didn’t actually know, when it saved the life of someone or two someones or twenty-twelve persons from something.  I must include how that person went and thanked others for the dogs actions after, and how the politician/television presenter/winner of the cup presented the dog with a medal/trophy/memorial plaque.   Because that bit is really good.”
and the
“what the hell, no need to pay for an editor.  The readers of the remainders bin are used to being entertained by schlock.” approach to hitting publish.

I have just read one about this amazing earthquake rescue dog that travels from Wales to parts of the world to search after disaster.  And don’t get me wrong, the dog is AMAZING.  Would WALK over BROKEN GLASS to rescue people in situations of imminent danger. (Charco - page 53)

But…  but what is focused on instead?

That would be the 6 month quarantine the dog had to undergo after each major international mission.  This bit was expanded on to show just how loyal and amazingly heroic this animal was and I was thinking “No".

No, that bit is just a stark view of psychology and learning ability of canines.  And perhaps we have only gone part way through Charco's education...

Charco didn’t KNOW when it was volunteered for this 007 mission that the cost would be one hundred and eighty-seven and a half days without the pack.  "That wasn’t in the contract I signed Buddy, and had I known that I might have told you to call someone else because that sort of Shiite isn’t what makes this doggie tick."  thinks Charco.

Note in the article it mentions TWO such incidents – that is because in the first, Charco didn’t know it was going to happen.

The second is because Charco had assumed that the humans trusted didn’t know either and would do their bit in the canine-human relationship and avert that ever happening again.

But the humans failed.  It HAD happened again.  Now Charco knows.  Next time won’t be so easy.

Well, unless of course, that special bone is offered.

UP FRONT my man, up front.

I am getting to enjoy such phrases as “the intruder misguidedly ignored the warning and continued to trespass” and “Meanwhile, the burglar, Shih Chinlung, a wanted man from his previous burglaries, was met with giggles by the hospital nurse when police took him there for bite treatment”.

If that doesn’t say Taiwan to you, I don’t know what does.  (for those reading along at home, Hsiao Hei on page 35)

Did you know that there was a stuffed dog on display in a museum that is over 200 years old called “Barry”?  Barry was pretty freaking awesome, not just for being a 200 year old cadaver! (Barry page 37)

Another story has the poor dog not only saving the stupid boy playing in floodwaters, but also being accused of being a stupid dog in the retelling by the boy, and the mother agreeing…  Apparently Jake (page 13) “often became confused when confronted with everyday objects”.  Now, if I were Tony, I would just shut the flying-uber-canine-kennel UP when talking about Jake, because without the dim dog, he would be fishbites.

So - what have you inadvertently read of late?


Kelly said...

I love dogs, though I'm always wary of animal stories... that being the one topic that can most closely bring a tear to my eye. Your dog book aside, though - I'm having trouble getting past the library thing. Seriously? They don't shelve the fiction alphabetically by author??

Speaking of libraries. I'm no Luddite by any sense of the word, but I cannot bring myself to use a computer to find something at the library. I miss the old "card catalogs"!

jeanie said...

Oh Kelly, I feel most for the librarlians - who have to find where on the shelves books are to go (for good measure, they ditched the dewey decimal system too - the WHOLE LIBRARY is part of the maze) but they also have to deal with most patrons complaining about it when they get to the desk.

I must admit I am truly a convert to the computer catalogue - I can sit here at home and look up a book and put a hold on it here - then I don't need to go searching the maze but pick it up from the reserves section!