Saturday, November 3, 2018

A Howling Bad, Howling Good time

A Howling Bad, Howling Good Time by Brandy Larson Nov, 2018 We could see only their little tails scooting back and forth. Half a dozen silky black puppies raced back and forth in the dog run behind the neighbors house. I was eight and allowed to hold them. "Mom, oh Mom, can I have a puppy?" Thrilled, I agreed to all the responsibilities. Owwoooh, Oww-hoooo. The full moon was high up in the summer sky. I cradled Tiny, my little black dog with a white patch on his chest, in my lap on the patio. It was midnight when I heard him. Mom already said, "If The Dog keeps this up we'll have to get rid of him." Howling was bad, comforting him in the silence, stroking his long silky ears, was good. Lying on the lounge chair in my jammies with bare feet was cold. A dog's life in the 50's meant living in the yard. Dad built a big house for my smaller dog. My little brother David liked to wiggle his way into the dog house, something only a boy would do. When we moved across town we tied Tiny up at the new house. When we came back to the new home front with another load of stuff, Tiny had slipped his collar and was gone. It was crying time. Back at he old house for another load - there was Tiny. Oh, happy day. He'd run all the way back to his place of origin. "How did he know how to get back here?" I asked Dad. "The wonder of dogs," he said. When the snow came to Salt Lake City we made a comfy little bed and Tiny was allowed in the utility room at night. A few years later we moved to Northern California with Tiny. A few more years later the economy took a nosedive and we upped stakes to move to the Midwest. It was The Grapes of Wrath in reverse. We sold the piano and the beautiful dining room set and were finally left with a tarp covered trailer of essentials and three kids in an overloaded Nash Rambler station wagon. "There is no room for Tiny," Dad said. "This is a fact of life." We had a big tent. Mom said, "It will be an adventure, camping across the West." It had been a long day on the road. A State Park was our destination. We drove and drove, searching and searching. Well after dark Dad finally pulled off the highway into what looked like an encampment. He conferred with another of the many would be campers hunkered down for the night. Wyoming had optimistically featured the State Park on the map - that had not been developed... "Son of a gun." Exhausted, Dad repeated the famous words of Brigham Young, "This is the Place." He pulled our sleeping bags out of the back of the station wagon. "OK kids, we are roughing it tonight." The ground wasn't too hard as I snuggled into my sleeping bag, staring into the starry Big Sky. "Oww-wooooh, oowoooh," sound travels far in the desert at night. "Yip-yap-yip-yip." Another full moonlit up the sky. The coyotes sang to each other in the wide open spaces, having a good time as only canines can. Tiny's cousins I thought, just before I finally fell asleep. B

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

"Fat - The Anthropology of an Obsession" - book review short

Fat - The Anthropology of Obsession Don Kulick & Ann Meneley, Editors Jeremy P Tarcher / Penguin 2005 $16.95 Fat is a word that's often on the lips as well as on the hips. Thirteen professional anthropologists, and one activist weigh in with a variety of international takes on the topic. Fat means very different things to many it seems, a subject no one is indifferent to. Reviewed is how every year in America billions of dollars are spent on books, programs, pre-packaged diets and fitness clubs. "Lite" foods are marketed to every demographic and contrasted with "food porn" as seen in TV commercials, magazines, on billboards and facebook pages. These authors, often imbedded with their subjects for up to a year, go global with stories of: fattening the young, beautiful brides of Yemen; studying teen girls in Sweden who talk about fat all day, every day and their obsession with how to avoid it; as well as the idealization of larger size in the fairer sex in Niger, Africa. Fat is viewed positively by an Italian heirloom grower and producer of olives and olive oil - some more expensive than champaign. In Hawaii, Spam's history in their diet is featured, describing how it is relished and incorporated into many ethnic dishes. One chapter tells how oversized women (BBWs - big beautiful women) and another chapter on very large, furry men called "bears," are both fetishized on line, in magazines and how they are sought after as partners. Fat activists in Toronto, under their homemade banner - "Pretty, Porky and Pissed Off" - emphasize that "fat comes in more than one size." They stage demonstrations accosting people on the street asking them, "Do you think I'm fat?" and have a street performance dancing in leotards to "Baby Elephant Walk," crushing lots of cakes with their ample backsides as the finale. [Who says the personal isn't political?] Also featured are super-sized rappers. Find out why they are lionized in some sectors the US music world. When it comes to fat the authors demonstrate "one size does not fit all." The academic and writing credentials of each contributor is featured at the end of the book, as well as a joint introduction by the editors who contribute a chapter each to the book.