How do I love the Westminster Kennel Club show? Too many ways to count. It’s the first real sign of spring. Light in the sky at 7 a.m., dogs on TV 13 hours later. The dogs are gorgeous and strange and exotic and kissable. And, of course, the people.

I’m about a decade behind Christopher Guest in making that last observation, but who cares? Is there anything more wonderful than the odd lot of screaming queens, fat ladies, patricians, showbiz hangers-on and the badly dressed weirdoes who populate a dog show? I could barely take my eyes off the judge in the Working group, who reminded me of a friend’s grandmother (that would be the indomitable Cor, for those of you who’ve known me a while) in every detail from her arthritic walk to her croaky voice.

And, of course, the right dog won.

Back in the day, when I subscribed to the Chronicle of the Horse, I always looked forward to the special hunting issue, in which every working pack of foxhounds in the country was listed in a directory. It was there I learned about an even more obscure sub-niche of the sport, practiced mainly by ex-foxhunters too creaky to jump four-foot fences all morning anymore — beagling, or rabbit hunting, on foot, with packs of beagles, sometimes bassets. There was something so sweet about these groups of spry seniors in green wellies, with their ragtag packs boiling around their feet, ready for a fine afternoon’s tramp across the swampy fields, listening for the hound music. Everyone associates beagles with Snoopy, but that’s what I think about.

Good dog, Uno.

Big day today, so bloggage:

Officer Rivieri has a bad day. In that uniform, with that widdle car, I’m not surprised he feels the need to get a little macho sometimes.

Covering baseball — or any professional sport — isn’t all beer and skittles, or even franks and beans. But on the day we got four inches of snow, it’s possible to look at a dateline and sigh, just a little.

OK, off to the silicon mines. Daydream about warm vacations, if you like.

Posted at 9:46 am in Current events |

28 responses to “Ah-rooooo.”

  1. del said on February 13, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Police officers have a tough job. And skateboarders emboldened with hidden video cameras don’t make it easier.

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  2. Claudia said on February 13, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Yeah. Police officers do have a tough job (disclosure: my son is a police officer and I’m extremely proud of him). However…this guy is a bully. If this is an unedited video, then the officer’s superiors should see it.

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  3. brian stouder said on February 13, 2008 at 11:15 am

    political non-sequitur (forgive me…or, sue me!):

    Well, in chess terms, I think Barack has placed HRC in check twice now; once after Iowa, when an Obama win in New Hampshire would have mission-killed her campaign (and which, in the event, HRC parried quite forcefully),

    and again now, an HRC loss in either Ohio or Texas – even if it’s a razor-thin Obama win – looks game ending.

    And looking at the other possibility, wherein HRC wins in both places, all she does is escape from ‘check’; she has never placed Obama’s campaign in anything like the peril that hers is again in.

    Given that dynamic, I really do begin to believe (for the first time in this campaign) that the much-vaunted Super Delegates are much less likely to go for Senator Clinton, when the time comes. And best of all, the ghost of elections-past, as embodied by the fiascos in Michigan and Florida, is fading to black right before our eyes; even if they get gifted to HRC (which itself becomes a remote possibility, as Obama builds an outright delegate lead), they won’t be enough.

    Things might change – they always can – but it’s NOT “early days” anymore; we’re at the tipping point

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  4. nancy said on February 13, 2008 at 11:17 am

    I have a theory about bad cops, that goes back to my belief that every job has a Dark Side aspect, a certain percentage of people who are in it for all the wrong reasons. For every three men who join the priesthood because they want to live the word of God, there’s another who likes how it gives him a reason to spend a lot of time with the altar boys. For X number of teachers who want to help shape young minds, there’s a percentage who wants a job where you can retire early, get great bennies and take three months of the year off.

    Same with cops. For all those who are interested in keeping the peace in communities, stopping the bad guys, making sure the good people can get their lives lived with a minimum of hassle, there are a few who just want to break heads, carry a gun and make people put their hands up against the wall. Not knowing anything about this cop, I don’t know what group he belongs in — like I said, maybe he just had a bad day. But please: These are teenage skateboarders, not drug dealers. Yes, maybe they’re making a nuisance of themselves, but past a certain point very early on, this cop is mainly just being a bully.

    Keeping your sense of perspective must be very difficult. I don’t envy any of them.

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  5. Dorothy said on February 13, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Did anyone see the clip of the paraplegic dumped from his wheelchair by a female Deputy in Tampa? She didn’t believe him when he told her he could not stand up. They played it over and over on the Today show today. I felt sicker every time they played it. Young man’s name is Brian Sterner for those of you who want to Google it.

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  6. Danny said on February 13, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Brian, I watched a good bit of Obama’s victory speech from Wisconsin last night. He looks unbeatable. Someone remarked on the radio yesterday that with his bi-racial heritage and his eloquence, he seems like JFK and MLK all rolled into one.

    Formidable, to say the least.

    And it would be easy to imagine that McCain would be toast against him. Probably one of the main conceivable strategies that McCain would employ would be his experience. But as Obama so deftly alluded to in many different ways last night, he has a good counter-strategy to trump that. Namely, McCain is the embodiment of the tired, old windbag politics that have ill-served our country for the past few decades.

    But McCain could not be totally discounted. He seems up to a fight, a real shark. A good campaign song for him would be Mac the Knife.

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  7. nancy said on February 13, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    A good campaign song for him would be Mac the Knife.

    Well, it certainly wouldn’t be this one. Although it’s funnier.

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  8. Peter said on February 13, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Danny, I’m no Keith Olbermann, but I would disagree slightly with your Obama analysis.

    I think that the superdelegates won’t go for Obama en masse until he has such a lead that they would have to go 80-20 for Hillary. I’m not saying he won’t get such a lead; I just think that it won’t happen until the very end.

    On a slight tangent; I heard talk last night about Hillary’s Texas and Ohio firewall, and it made me think: The troglodyte’s complaint against McCain is that he is winning in states that will go blue in the fall, so he’s no real GOP candidate, but isn’t Hillary banking on states – like Texas and New Hampshire – that are more likely to stay red in November?

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  9. brian stouder said on February 13, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    And it would be easy to imagine that McCain would be toast against him.

    Pam and I laughed out loud last night, at the contrast between Senator Obama’s oration in front of 15,000 cheering supporters in an arena in Wisconsin –

    and McCain’s speech, on a platform at the end of a conference room with maybe 200 people in it – and with particularly aged people behind him – looked like nothing so much as a funeral.

    If it’s Obama versus McCain, then the Yesterday versus Tomorrow dynamic that Obama wants, will prevail.

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  10. del said on February 13, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    I lean towards Peter’s analysis. Totally guessing now but I think the superdelegates’d lean towards Hillary unless Obama gets real strong. (The greatest of all swing states, #4 Florida, went heavily for Clinton and if that had counted the discussion would be different. And I think the candidates not setting foot in the state is unimportant.) As for cops, some tend towards bullying, no doubt, but they usually start out with the right intentions and get jaded from where I sit. Not too many real jerks out there. But hey, I was raised religious (Catholic) so I’m partial (religious might say “respectful” or “deferential”) to authority (authority’s always moral isn’t it?). And frankly, some people want it. Do I sound perverse yet? Saw a judge berate my 18 year old client in open court, screaming and yelling that he oughtta beat him with a baseball bat. I was stunned and speechless. Went out into the hall with the kid’s dad afterwards and the dad said to me: “That was a great judge! That’s just what he needed.”

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  11. Danny said on February 13, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Brian, my wife and I saw the same thing. We just weren’t in a laughing mood about it. I think my reaction was a frown with accompanying thoughts of, “Lo, look at what the RNC hath wrought!?!”

    I am sensing a disturbance in the force and a real, honest-to-goodness ass-whooping come November for us conservatives. And I blame the GOP and the bunch of self-serving phonies within it.

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  12. Danny said on February 13, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Interesting, Peter. How would you handicap Obama’s chances in red states? I think he has the communication skills and charisma to not only energize his liberal base, but to also sway a number of independent and cross-over votes from among conservative ranks who are fed up with status quo. Obama Republicans are the flip side to Reagan Democrats.

    *And on a side note: I wonder if McCain can win red states.

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  13. Julie Robinson said on February 13, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Officer Rivieri got himself suspended and it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Having a bad day is a perfect description–don’t you wonder what had happened to him earlier?

    It reminded me of that grocery store moment every parent has had–too much to do, kid won’t get ready fast enough and then spills the milk, then wants to buy every piece of junk at the store, then runs away from you and knock into someone’s cart.

    When you’re a parent you can calm down and apologize later, but it doesn’t work that way with a police officer.

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  14. brian stouder said on February 13, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    HRC looks the most attractive to me when she channels Patricia Heaton/Deb Barone; sharp, attractive, nobody’s fool (least of all her husband’s!), and quick-witted.

    I don’t know how she beats Obama, short of some sort of “there you go again” or “where’s the beef?” moment…but we’ll see soon enough.

    And, one easy prediction: somebody will write a great long essay about the genuinely perverse American major party “system” for nominating presidential candidates, when this race is over; and they will win a Pulitzer, and then write a book-length treatment of the subject.

    Did I misunderstand, or does Kansas run a primary election and then a caucus for the same party, wherein candidates earn half of the available delegates in each contest???

    Isn’t this sorta absurd? (and did you see the 21 year old Super Delegate from Wisconsin on nbc – a kid who has never cast a real vote in his life?? He said when his cell phone rings, it is as likely to be President Clinton, or Madeline Albright, or Senator Obama….and he had breakfast with Chelsea the other morning….and HE cut the breakfast short, ’cause he had to get to class??!! There’s definitely a 475 page book here)

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  15. brian stouder said on February 13, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    I have learned I was wrong about Kansas…but Texas has a hybrid primary….when the polls close, they caucus at the polling places 15 minutes later! Sounds like a recipe for a Texas-style smackdown


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  16. 4dbirds said on February 13, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Nancy, I agree there are always some bad apples in a profession except maybe when it comes to police and firefighters. I think there may be more bad apples because the adrenalin/power rush inherent in both jobs attracts a bad element.

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  17. Sue said on February 13, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    I work in City government and know there are good and bad cops, and I believe that the best way to work around that issue is a strong central administration. A police department, at its most basic, is a quasi-military organization sanctioned and supported by the taxpayers, and it needs to be carefully monitored. Personally, I can’t think of one officer where I work that I wouldn’t place my complete trust in when things get scary at City Hall (which they do, even in little communities; ask those folks in Missouri). In part, that’s because of a careful balance of power between the police chief and the city administrator. That is not always the case, and watch out when it’s not.

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  18. alex said on February 13, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    It has been my observation that law enforcement and the military do attract more than their fair share of power-trippers. I’ve experienced plenty of officers who clearly have rage problems; no matter how pleasant and cooperative I am, they’re hell-bent on trying to intimidate, threaten and belittle. Just recently I watched a family member get ejected from a bar by an off-duty cop playing doorman, evidently for the crime of not paying him enough deference. When I asked what was going on, he told me to shut the fuck up or he’d throw me out too.

    And I can think of countless traffic stops over the years where I’ve dealt with the same kind of crap. Not one ticket or arrest ever came out of it because there was never any real offense committed, but the officers were obviously primed for a fight. I’ve learned how to be disarmingly polite and unrattled and they give up and leave me alone.

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  19. john c said on February 13, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    What Nancy said about bad apples, though I don’t entirely agree on the assessment of this video. Yes, the cop was out of line. But a great many cops have gone a great deal further out of line. And he didn’t lose it over their skateboarding. He was initially fairly polite. He lost it over their disrespect. Given that he didn’t lay a hand on them – except when he told the kid to sit down and the kid tried to get up – it’s possible he was simply reading them the riot act to teach them a lesson. It is a very important thing to know, especially for a smart-ass teenager, that when a cop tells you to do something, you do it. If that were, say, nighttime, and not in a very public area, and that cop was truly one of the real bad ones, that might have been a far worse situation.
    As for cops and firefighters, my experience is you are far more likely to find a-hole cops than firefighters. Cops are constantly dealing with tension and idiots and occasional threats to life and limb. Plus the job attracts power trippers. Don’t get me wrong, there are many, many great cops. And they have my respect.

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  20. basset said on February 13, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    beagling? you mean like this?


    green wellies are a sign of elitist pretension, though. only fly “fishers” (they don’t like to be called “fishermen” any more) or their anglophile fellow travelers would wear those.

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  21. nancy said on February 13, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    And now we know the truth — Basset is a “Wild Side guide.” Well, we all knew that, I guess.

    Green wellies are deeply practical footwear if you have to go where it’s wet.

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  22. Jeff said on February 13, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    FWIW — showing active disrespect to an officer in full delivery of their official duties is one of the shortlist items to warn you the subject is about to do stupid things. Granting the relative stupidity of the officer’s complete response, the fact is that traffic stops are where most cops die, and what info we have for sure about those incidents is that a disrespectful combative subject is heading there, so there’s all kind of stuff on full alert in that cop’s head. Many rude idiots are no danger to a cop on patrol, but most everyone who is a danger to an officer on their beat shows this sign first.

    It isn’t just about “respect” is what i’m trying to say.

    Nancy, your point about bad cops, and clergy, etc. — it takes bad cops to make bad copping possible, ditto dirty (or lazy) bishops to allow vile clergy, and equally worthless principals to facilitate lame teachers. Which is why they always come in clumps.

    The wheelchair dumper in Florida — i’m hoping full suspensions and hearings are held for the folks who watched that play out, all nonchalant. Whatever was eating at that officer, she had peers and coworkers who should have grabbed an elbow, and they all just glanced over a shoulder and walked away.

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  23. basset said on February 13, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    guide? guilty as charged, great gig and I am privileged to do it. what the marketing department says is not up to me.

    >>Green wellies are deeply practical footwear if you have to go where it’s wet.

    add “and be obnoxiously pretentious” and I’ll go along with that. rubber boots from the farm store, sure… Mucks are borderline, suppose they’re acceptable though… but green wellies are right up there with tweed driving caps and bamboo fly rods on the bullshit scale. if you’re English, fine. if you’re not, you’re a poseur.

    one of my favorite lines from John Gierach, a fly-fishing writer who is probably one of the few “fishers” I could stand to be around for any length of time, went something like… “if fishermen hit trout on the head with rocks they’d have to cost $300 and be quarried in England.”

    meanwhile, my next piece for the “wild side” will involve hanging with coonhound breeders in the East Tenn. mountains. that’s more like it.

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  24. Dexter said on February 14, 2008 at 1:56 am

    That damn cop was a P-R-I-C-K. Whassamatta with HIM?
    I’m a cyclist and I have been confronted in cities a few times …chaining my bike to a light post irritated a Cleveland cop, and riding across a stone plaza by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame got me a bit of a talking-to, but nothing like the a-hole cop in this video. He damn well knows skaters say “dude” and “man” …I have skater grandkids and they call ME “dude”. BFD.
    Well, guess who came to join me in my midnight snack of a decaf latte and a powdered donut?
    Barack Obama moved into my TV set.
    He’s everywhere.
    He told me he was gonna be here for 20 days, and he’d be in every room where a TV was on.
    And he ain’t goin’ nowhere…his TV time was paid for with new, fresh big bills, in cash.
    I made up the guest room with fresh bedding and left him a fresh pack of cigarettes and a lighter…just in case.

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  25. Dorothy said on February 14, 2008 at 9:03 am

    I just bought a pair of rain boots that aren’t Wellies, but a kissing cousin to them. They’re a pretty shade of blue and have bright green umbrellas on them. The grassy areas around our apartment are a boggy mess, and when I walk my dog I’m going to need them. Plus the campus where I work is a walking campus – Middle Path is a soggy mess, too, when I have to walk to other offices. These boots are necessary, not pretentious!

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  26. brian stouder said on February 14, 2008 at 9:08 am

    But, Wellies or no – it looks like you risk ending up with a boggy doggy

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  27. John said on February 14, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Daydream about warm vacations

    This time next week, I’ll be waking up in Negril…

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  28. basset said on February 14, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    blue with umbrellas is fine… walking is even better.

    me? Muck lowcuts for going out to the mailbox and camo Wal-Mart laceups for the woods.

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