Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin' Carvin', 2009

It was once again time for our annual pumpkin carving festivities. Arsen and Brigitte came across town, and Wendy, Anna, and Lexi came over from next door.

But first, a beagle haiku:

Lexi and Katie:
Two beagles, separated
Only by species.

There were also some pre-carving birthday presents for Monique, the birthday girl!

A skoosh ball from Lexi!

An angel from Anna!

And a beautiful orange scarf/wrap from Paris, thanks to the fashionable gifting of the Parets of Pontoon Pirates fame.

Now, on to the pumpkins!

Wendy and Anna.

Katie and Lexi, still beagling around.

Lexi takes an interest in things human, with Brigitte.

Be careful, or Arsen will spoon you next!

This year's crop!

In the dark!

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Home-Hop Stout

And now a little photo-documentary of our most recent adventure in homebrewing, The Home-Hop Stout. The dream of The Home-Hop Stout began with a trip to the Sunshine Herb Farm in Commerce this Spring when we saw that they had some Cascade hop plants for sale. We took two little hoplings home and planted them by our door. First-year hop plants don't usually produce much in the way of hops, but ours put out a little crop that we thought just might do nicely to flavor a batch of stout.

We began with a pound of chocolate barley malt in the big vat. After it had been soaked and sparged we added a couple of large (1.5 kg) cans of dark barley malt.

Boil, boil, toil and trouble
Brew a stout with darkness double!

The next step was to add the bittering hops. These weren't actually from our home plant, but were instead pellets that I bought from a local homebrew supply shop. We boiled them in the wort for about an hour.

Homebrewing involves lots and lots of cleanup, here demonstrated by our lovely model with her lovely sponge.

Here we see our home hops. We divided them into two batches, one of which we added with about 15 minutes left in the boil, then added another batch just before the end, so as to infuse lots of delicate aromatics to our mix.

Into the pot they go! I have no idea why I look as if I'm trying to tame lions here. I usually don't look like that until after I drink the beer.

After the lovely home-hoppiness was properly infused, into the cooling tub went the wort vat. Once it was cool enough...

... we put all 5.5 gallons of wort in our brewing bucket, pitched the yeast, added the top and airlock, and set it aside, so that the little yeasties could work their magic.

Then John got to contribute his share to the cleanup.

About a week later, the little yeasties had indeed done their work. We were ready to bottle!

Monique is the true hero of the bottling. She cleaned and sterilized all the bottles while John was off running errands (among which, in my defense, was fetching more bottle caps.)

We added a bit of corn sugar to prime the beer, so that it would carbonate in the bottles. Then we racked the brew out of our fermentation bucket and into Mr. Beer. Mr. Beer is our little 2-1/2 gallon brewing vat, but it's handy for bottling because it has a spigot on the bottom.

Monique filled the bottles with some help from Katie the Beagle.

John capped the bottles ...

... and the next thing you know, slightly more than two cases of stout were bottled and ready for just a smidge more aging until they're ready to drink.

The preliminary uncapping comes Thursday night when we carve pumpkins for Halloween, though we expect to save most of it up for Thanksgiving week. The preliminary sampling was extremely yummy, so waiting until then might be the biggest challenge of the whole process.

Hopes are high for the home-hopped hooch!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Weekly Colts Update in Beagle Haiku Form

Do Beagles Dream of Eclectic Bleats?

Colts turn Rams to goats!
But no noisy ungulates
Wake Kate the Beagle.

--Mary Campbell-Droze

I believe our intrepid Indianapolis Colts haikuist is trying to say that game was a real snoozer that smelled like an old goat.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Gray Lady with a Gray Saturday Sunrise

I woke up well before sunrise this morning, which isn't as remarkable an accomplishment as it may sound, since the sun rose at 7:55 am today. Nonetheless, it's a bit unusual for a renowned late-nightnik like me. But after a long, busy week, I was flat-out bushed last night, went up to bed at 10:30, and fell to sleep almost immediately.

I woke up at seven, refreshed and ready to meet the day, only to find that the day had not shown up at all. In fact, it showed every sign of being tardy, since it was dark and wet outside, with only a far-off streetlight to light my way as a shuffled out to the curb to pick up our Saturday New York Times. I fired up the coffepot, sat at the table with a cup of coffee and the paper, and kept an eye out for the approaching dawn as I enjoyed the unusual luxury of a free morning with some time for a nice quiet read of the news.

There were a few genuinely interesting and unusual stories in there, and I'd like to recommend a couple:

From the obituaries: Ignacio Ponseti, Hero to Many With Clubfoot, Dies at 95.

Ponsetti was a surgeon for the Loyalist side in the Spanish Civil War who made his way to America, specialized in orthopedics, and developed a non-surgical intervention for children with clubfeet that is both less invasive and more successful than surgical correction. The treatment was generally scorned by surgeons for decades, but eventually became the preferred treatment, has helped thousands of children worldwide, and has been especially valuable in underdeveloped countries where it can help children at a much lower cost. He died Tuesday of a stroke while working in his office at the age of 95.

An extraordinary life.


While we're visiting the obituaries, I should also at least mention the obituary for Soupy Sales: Soupy Sales, Flinger of Pies and Punch Lines, Dies at 83.

I mention it, however, not because Soupy's obituary is as surprisingly gripping as Ponsetti's -- which seems to call for a Hollywood biopic -- but because while I was speaking at last night's Village Appreciation dinner Linda Champagne called out for a moment of silence for Soupy Sales, and I failed to think of the appropriate response in time. To make amends, I present it now: "I believe the situation calls instead for a memorial pie in the face."

Sorry, Soupy. You deserved better quick-wittedness of me. You surely would have delivered it.


Another very interesting story came in the sports section: N.F.L. Data Reinforces Dementia Links.

The available data shows that former NFL players suffer dementia at a rate four or five times the average, probably as a result of repeated blows to the head. Since I just had a particularly absent-minded week and suffered more than my own share of concussions in my own football career, I've been following the developing news on this point with great interest. This is particularly noteworthy because the NFL is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of football and head injuries. Only about a thousand players at a time play in the NFL, and as a group those players surely suffer the most concentrated series of blows to the brain. But tens of thousands of players play college football every year, and hundreds of thousands of boys play high school football. And concussions, often repeated concussions, happen at all of those levels.

I seem to recall (but then again, is my recollection trustworthy, given my concussion history?) that back in the 1980s the NCAA had an imposed limit of five reported and diagnosed concussions. And I do remember at least a couple of players on our team at Cornell who hit that limit and were forcibly retired while I was there. But that total of five only included reported and diagnosed concussions, and I am sure that many more went undiagnosed than were diagnosed, including my own. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury and the evidence continues that mount that acute traumatic brain injuries have serious long-term effects.

While the current debate seems to center on NFL players, it won't be long until somebody decides to start studying former college and high school players. I'll be very interested to see what they discover.

If football is indeed making large numbers of American males dumber it would at least explain the longstanding success of Jackass on MTV.


Also worth your read in this morning's paper: The Saturday Profile: From U.S. to Africa, With a Fortune and a Tractor.

Howard G. Buffett, a corn farmer and the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffet, is shifting his philanthropical efforts in Africa from wildlife to people. Warren Buffett's efforts to teach his children philanthropy as they grew up is one of the interesting features of this article. I was also struck at the end of the article by Howard Buffett's description of the plight of some Africans in conflict zones.


In the more "newsy" news there were a couple of items that I think support by own take on what's happening in Washington these days, so I reckon I'll mention them, too, with a useful quote or two below in italics.


More support for my theory that the Congressional end-game in health-insurance reform will involve putting the "public option" into the House/Senate reconciliation bill, which will only need 50 votes to pass the Senate: Pelosi Intensifies Pressure for Public Health Plan.

Ms. Pelosi said that in shaping the House bill, she was already thinking about “the endgame.” If the two chambers pass disparate bills, as Democrats expect, negotiators from the House and the Senate would try to reconcile the differences.

When it appeared that the Senate bill might not have any government insurance plan, Ms. Pelosi said, it was essential for the House to pass a strong public option, as a counterweight to the Senate. Now, she said, she will consider an alternative favored by some centrist Democrats, who contend that the government plan should not set prices but negotiate payment rates with doctors and hospitals, as private insurers do.


If anybody's wondering about the benefits of multilateral negotiations, treating the international community with respect, or even Obama's Nobel Peace Prize, here's an article to cite: NATO Ministers Endorse Wider Afghan Effort.

Defense ministers from NATO on Friday endorsed the ambitious counterinsurgency strategy for Afghanistan proposed by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, giving new impetus to his recommendation to pour more troops into the eight-year-old war.


The United Nations special representative for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, who also flew to the Slovakian capital to meet the ministers, stressed that “additional international troops are required.” He also told the allies, “This cannot be a U.S.-only enterprise.”

It's a mistake to distill a complicated mess like Afghanistan into a single sentence. Nonetheless, I shall do so: international cooperation is more effective than unilateral aggression.


And finally, I would steer you all to this column from the Business section (Talking Business: Short Memories at Goldman) lest you think that Wall Street learned some humility from the 2008 economic crisis. But frankly, I don't think anybody believes that Wall Street learned any humility from the 2008 economic crisis.


The sun did eventually rise this morning, or so I suppose, since the darkness outside has now gained a lighter shade of grey. No delicate pinks and salmon clouds with tweeting birdsong, this sunrise: it has instead been an affair better suited to damp possums and sullen mallards. Nonetheless, I shall move on with my Saturday. Enjoy your weekend, everybody, and I hope that you find your next visit with your newspaper as interesting as I found my own this morning.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why yes, I was tired when I got home.

My remote and I
accomplished as much tonight
as the sweet beagle.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Are Lassie or Rin-Tin-Tin "Featured Topics" at Wordpress? I think not.

I have no idea how this sort of thing happens, but Katie the Beagle is now a featured topic page over at Wordpress. My plan for beagle-haiku world domination continues right on pace.

From: Arsen Darnay
Subject: More on Beagle-Haiku Juggernaut

Now WordPress, the platform provider for LaMarotte, has created a special page. It is here:

Blogs about: Katie The Beagle.

It features a single blog, rather than, as usually, hundreds, but this is certainly a sign of your Monopoly.

Check it out. These don't last long...


Our Beagle Haiku Business Model Continues to Grow

I begin to see the real appeal in gathering our content at "the revolutionary price-point of free." Sticking to this payment plan for our contributors allows us to bring in new talent with no incremental budget increases here at Patio Boat Beagle-Haiku Headquarters.

With Mary Campbell-Droze slacking off on her Beagle/Colts haiku beat this week because Indianapolis had a bye week, we turn to a new contributor:

From: S Kelsch
Subject: beagle haiku

Hi John-Long time listener, first time caller. I was checking the patio boat blog the other day only minutes after I had fired up my new vacuum for the first time. It was whirring away in the living room, and I considered the juxtaposition. I came up with this beagle haiku, I hope it makes the cut.

What does beagle-kind
think of this device?
Friend, foe, or rabbit?

--Sue Kelsch

To which I say:

Well done, Sue! Not only have you pushed the parameters of haiku by cleverly and appropriately shifting your 17 syllables across four lines, but you have also done so within budget and on time. The Patio Boat World-Class Beagle-Haiku Juggernaut thanks you.

This got me thinking about mechanical rabbits, which led to thoughts of the dog track:

The greyhound chases
The mechanical rabbit.
The beagle tracks it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fall Photo Fest

I hadn't downloaded any photos in a while, so it seems a good time for a little blog-o-rific photo festival.

Our squirrels are fattening up nicely on this year's walnut crop.

I like to think of myself as "fashion forward."

Sam and Faye Stamper with John at the Wolverine Lake Village Festival. A good time was had by all!

September sailboats:

September chores:

Monique scraped and repainted the door, while...

... John didn't really clean the garage. But he did fetch a roll of paper towels, which was helpful.

John and Monique went down to Ford Field to watch the Lions take on the Vikings. This sign was much prettier than the outcome.

Anna in the rowboat.

There was lots and lots of little-girl birthday partying next door the last couple of months, since both Lexi and Anna have Fall birthdays.

Lexi got a little help blowing out the candles at her party.

... while Sean took on the mighty pinata.

A few weeks later, at Anna's birthday party...

... Monique organized the scavenger hunt.

These little girls apparently aspire to one day be known as "vamps."

The pinata at Anna's party proved a tough challenge for children both small...

... and large.

In October we acquired a loaner dog for a couple of weeks.

Cady the Terrible wants something, and she wants it NOW. Katie the Beagle probably just wants to nap. Katie the Beagle usually just wants to nap.

And finally, my folks arrived back in town this weekend to reclaim Cady the Terrible and have a visit:
As you can see from this photo of us all lounging about the living room reading, it was an action-packed weekend.

Happy Autumn everybody!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yet More Extremely Local News

Why write original, thoughtful posts when I can just crib some of my Facebook updates?


John Magee just bought a cool Fred Hembeck drawing of Spider-Man vs. The Human Fly off e-Bay. Why? 'Cause it's a cool Fred Hembeck drawing of Spider-Man vs. The Human Fly, that's why! August 27 at 7:03pm


John Magee guesses that the evidence of a damp, freshly bathed beagle at his feet means that Monique wasn't using a simile last night when she said that Katie the Beagle smelled "like a barnyard." September 2 at 12:29pm


John Magee was really bummed this morning about a long list of grim news on the radio and newspaper. So I decided to do a random good deed to lift my spirits. And within five minutes I heard that a friend's sister was in full remission from her cancer. Karma? Perhaps, though I never thought of it in an instant-gratification way. September 4 at 10:46am


John Magee went wakeboarding today for the first time in a loooong, loooong time. September 6 at 6:40pm


Well, *this* little pop song brightened my lunchtime considerably. Beware of clicking on the link ... it's catchy! September 11 at 12:10pm


Beagle haiku continues to take the world by storm. Resistance to seventeen furry syllables is futile. Beagle Haikus on the LaMarotte blog. September 13 at 11:46pm


So when the school guidance counselor visited our homeroom, he said, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And I said, "I want to be America's #1 purveyor of doggy haiku." September 24 at 8:47pm


Go hard, win the game. / With honor you will keep your fame. / Down the field and gain, / A Lion victory! / GO LIONS! September 27 at 5:18pm

(Yes, that's right. The Detroit Lions won a football game.)

John Magee has admitted his addiction. I added "Usagi Yojimbo" to the pull list at my comic-book shop today. September 30 at 10:58pm

How was my week? Monday - merit raise at work. Wednesday - dead furnace. Friday - large bill for furnace repair. Easy come, easy go, I guess, but it might've been nice to think I was going to pocket more money for at least a full week before reality struck. October 2 at 3:28pm

If I may quote me, after Polanco dropped that easy double-play ball and let in another run: "Okay, that's it. I'm going to have to drink if I'm going to watch any more of this historic Tiger collapse." Tasty beer in hand, I'm now prepared to watch more. October 3 at 7:52pm

Ooooh, nooooo. Magglio, I'm the one drinking the beer. Why are you the one falling down and missing the fly ball?!!! October 3 at 8:13pm


The Tigers are killing me. This is not a metaphor. October 3 at 9:59pm

Sigh. Miggy, Miggy, Miggy. Mickey Mantle was a fine batter, but he was *not* a role model. October 5 at 12:31pm

I thought Miguel Cabrera was America's favorite drunk Tiger. Turns out that honor belongs to Stumpy! Who knew? October 5 at 6:21pm

Stumpy the Drunk Midget Tiger


Let's go Tigers! Clap! Clap! Clap, clap, clap! Let's go Tigers! Clap! Clap! Clap, clap, clap! Let's go Tigers! Clap! Clap! Clap, clap, clap! LET'S GO TIGERS! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP, CLAP, CLAP!October 6 at 2:23pm

Ohhhhhh, noooooooooooo! October 6 at 9:49pm


John Magee still can't believe the Detroit Tigers are not the 2009 AL Central Champions. October 7 at 11:09pm

John Magee just tried to click "Like" on a work e-mail with a piece of news that I liked. This may be a sign it's time for a few days away from Facebook. October 8 at 12:26pm

John Magee finds it ironic that Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize the same morning he starts the galaxy's first interplanetary war by bombing the Moon. October 9 at 10:27am
Moon 'bombed' by space probes in the hunt for hidden water - Times Online


John Magee is watching a live broadcast of a Soyuz lander de-orbiting from the International Space Station on the NASA channel, which I'm receiving on my satellite receiver and watching on my flat-screen TV. I may not own a flying car, but it sure does make me feel as if I'm living in 21st Century. October 10 at 11:50pm

John Magee Lunchin' in the cube: Homemade chili and rice, a bit of baguette, and a couple of fresh in-season Michigan apples. Yummy! 6 hours ago

Neil Walker YOU HAVE A CUBE??? 6 hours ago

John Magee Still livin' the dream, Neil. Still livin' the dream. 5 hours ago

Media Stardom Looms for the Patio Boat

I thought folks might enjoy this snippet of an e-mail conversation between myself and Bryan Anderson. The conversation started with fantasy football, of course, but eventually led to a statement of a sad but concise truth about our current media culture:

Bryan Anderson wrote:

So, do you think footballguys or CBS (gives worse fantasy football advice?) I'm thinking CBS.

John Magee wrote:

On the fantasy baseball site I subscribe to we have an ongoing thread mocking CBS's fantasy advice.

The real problem is that they obviously have an editorial mandate to add fantasy analysis to every news item, no matter how inconsequential. It's a thousand-monkeys-at-a-thousand-typewriters approach to fantasy analysis.

This means that one day one of them may advise that "Shakespeare is an adequate wordsmith in a good theatre company, but his lack of upside and polish limits him to strictly a role as a Playwright 2 or perhaps a Flex Poet."

Bryan Anderson wrote:

That made me laugh. You are right, but does the editorial mandate extend to saying dumb things?

John Magee wrote:

Saying dumb things is a natural consequence of having a huge space to fill, be it inches of space or hours of airtime, and not having enough smart things to fill that space.

Career success in the modern media seems to have little to do with saying smart and informative things, and is instead predicated upon simply having no sense of shame over the ridiculous things you say to fill three hours of time.


Since I obviously have no sense of shame over the ridiculous things I post to fill this blog space, I expect to become a huge media superstar any day now.

Monday, October 12, 2009

This Week's MC-D Colts/Beagle Haiku...

Sunday Night Haiku

Colts trounce the Titans!
Meanwhile, Katie the Beagle
Snoozes unperturbed.

--Mary Campbell-Droze

This is spooky. It's as if Mary saw the level of beagle activity in the living room last night while we watched the game.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chili Recipe, er Sort-of Recipe

One of our neighbors asked us for my chili recipe yesterday. Which poses a problem because I don't really have a recipe so much as I have some general guidelines. But it was a good excuse to make a nice, big pot of chili today, and write it all down.


  • 1-2 lbs. beef stew meat, sliced chuck roast, or some other cheap-and-tough cut of beef.
  • 1 lb. kielbasa or other tasty sausage.
  • 2 bell peppers, diced.
  • Hot peppers to taste (I usually use 3-4 cayenne-level peppers, which is quite spicy.)
  • 2-3 onions or leeks, diced. (A leek or two makes a nice substitute here.)
  • Several cloves garlic, minced.
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chili powder to taste (You can substitute some cumin here, if you're looking for a milder recipe.)
  • Olive oil.
  • 2 big cans (28 oz.) diced tomatoes.
  • 2-3 cans kidney, pinto, or black beans, drained. (12 oz. to 19 oz. cans, depending on how beany you want it. You could also used a bag of dried beans instead here, if you've soaked and cooked them first.)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (optional).

As you go through the recipe, the timing is usually pretty good if you add the ingredients in the order below, then prep each ingredient and add it as it's ready. So, start the stew meet browning and slice up the sausage. Toss in the sausage and start cutting leeks or onions. Add the onions and start on the peppers, etc.

  • Brown the stew meat in the olive oil.
  • Add the sausage.
  • Add the leeks.
  • Add the onions.
  • Add the peppers.
  • Add the garlic.
  • When the onions and peppers are soft, add the canned tomatoes.
  • Add the beans.
  • Simmer for 1-2 hours.
  • Towards the end you can add the sugar, if you want to give that a try. It sounds like a ridiculous ingredient, but it seems to bring out some depth to the flavor of the peppers and tomatoes. The chili is fine without it.

Once the meat is well stewed, serve with rice, diced onion, cheddar cheese, sour cream, or whatever floats your boat.

And that's about it, really.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Katie the Beagle cares not for burglers.
She slept through the night,
And dreamt of chasing away
The real threat:


Cady the Labrador was much more alert.
She warned us about the wind,




She was also sure to warn us about
The other real threat:


How lucky we are to have two such excellent


Monday, October 5, 2009

Two Quotes about Our Upside-Down Society

I reckoned I'd pass along a couple of quotes that struck me over the weekend. They both somehow get to the underlying craziness that seems to be growing in our society.

The first comes from Scarlett Johansson in the November issue of Glamour:

I can’t look at somebody who is 6 feet tall and 120 pounds and say, ‘I’m going to get that body.’ That’s just never going to happen. You have to work with what you’ve got.

This is like Shaquille O'Neal saying, "I'll never really be big enough to play in the NBA."

I'm sure I could significantly boost my Google hit count by posting a few photos of Scarlett at this point. But you all know how to use Google Image Search as well as I. Suffice it to say that if Scarlett Johansson is somehow being made to feel inadequate about her body, this whole "distorted body images in the media" thing has really gone much farther off the deep end than I ever realized.

Sheer craziness.

The other quote is an item that I really liked from a post on writing science fiction by Arsen Darnay on his Ghulf Genes blog:

Real literature broke away from its encrustations somewhere along the line and made a new home for itself, indeed glorying in its tawdry reputation and laughing at the dour faces looking down from the proud tower of the past, the faces that dismissed it and did not deign to call it literature.

I heartily agree with this sentiment. One oddity that has struck me over the years is that there always seemed to be a lot more literary creativity, innovation, fun, and sheer life in the sci-fi ghetto than in the more respectable literary neighborhoods.

For some reason sci-fi has struck me as a bit more bound and constrained the last few years. (That may just be my own science-fiction reading habits, which haven't been all that adventurous lately.) But these days it seems to me that graphic novels, comic books, and web comics are also unleashing a brilliant blaze of creativity and literary invention. Admittedly, those brilliant blazes can be obscured by a lot of dreck, as is always the case when you sort through current creation as it comes out in any field.

It all makes me wonder why it is that I have felt throughout my life as if I see the highest level of literary innovation and accomplishment in areas that literary academia almost completely shuns. What's going on out there in mainstream literary academia these days, anyway? Are they still picking through the bones of long-dead poets and fawning over Baby Boomer navel-gazing?

I must hasten to point out the notable exception that proves the rule. Not only does Michigan State University have the world's largest comic collection, but they've been genuinely expanding some of their comics-related course offerings in the past couple of years. Still, though, from the discussions I heard at their comics forum this year I feel as if this sort of thing is taking place on the fringes of academia, with respectable literary academics sniffing huffily at the whole thing.

Now, gentle reader, I strain to find a suitable end for this post. Indeed, I strain. But despite the strain we have arrived at the end of our bloggish journey. So here it comes. Prepare yourself. This is it:

And why aren't there more science-fiction graphic novels featuring Scarlett Johansson as a naughty "academic" anyway?

How much flattening can a 21-pound beagle do?

This week's MC-D Colts/Beagle haiku contribution:

The Colts stomp Seahawks
Flatter than grass after a
Katie Beagle nap!

--Mary Campbell-Droze

I can only assume this means the Colts edged out a squeaker yesterday, since:

Katie the Beagle
Naps so gently on the lawn.
Nary a blade bent.

--John Magee

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mother-Daughter Beagle Haiku

More contributor beagle haiku today. One by Monique, which I have pulled from the comments. And one by Brigitte, who was inspired by her daughter's descriptive haiku.

Leash Dancing

Leash dancing is like
A complex ark of motion
Tangles stop the flow

--Monique Magee

Brigitte Expounds

Katie the host dog
With Cady The Terrible
Play twisting their leads.

--Brigitte Darnay

Monday Morning Haiku on Thursday Morning

Sure, I haven't posted much this week, but I have a good excuse, since Cady the Terrible arrived and ate my laptop, my backup desktop computer, my iPod Touch, my desk, two tables, and a ream of paper.*

But this laziness on my part would normally be no threat to our world-leading beagle-haiku production if our contributors were keeping up the pace. However, Mary Campbell-Droze was dreadfully late with this week's Beagle/Colts review haiku.

Down to the wire!

This beagle haiku
Is as tardy as a Colts
Third-quarter touchdown.

--Mary Campbell-Droze

I have to admit, other than containing the words "beagle haiku", I'm not sure what this one has to do with beagles. But it was offered up to us at the correct cost, the revolutionary price-point of "free," so I say, "Thanks, Mary, for doing my work for me!"

*Actually, Cady hasn't touched a single one of these items and has generally been a very good guest dog so far. The truth is that I've been under the weather with the return of my cough and have been sluggish and going to bed early, instead of staying up late to blog. But "Cady Ate Everything" is a much more dramatic story. So far all she's really destroyed has been a leash harness and one squeaky toy, both her own. Definitely an improvement over her last visit. Knock on wood.