Harper 9

The Other Dog and I getting ready to post.

Hello I am Harper. I live in a pack of three with  The Friend Beast and The Other Dog. The latter invited me to bark into a black stick connected to his metal table-thing. He spends a lot of time tapping on it with his paws while he looks at the part that has light. I don’t understand. The Friend Beast spends a lot of his time looking at the screen with the moving pictures but he doesn’t tap anything while he does.

I am annoyed at you, The Other Dog, yes you for you are supposed to take us out twice a day for walks but you don’t always. I nudge and growl some to get you going. On the mornings when you shake your head no I look at you sadly to make you feel bad. In the evening when I want to sleep next to the Friend Beast you try to push me out as if you own the bed. You are a funny looking dog but you have opposable thumbs to do things I want like give me treats and open the door to outside. You also….I have lost my train of thought. The Other Dog tells me to get back to the agreed upon script.


Oh! I love The Friend Beast! 

Once upon a time The Friend Beast was home all day while The Other Dog went somewhere until supper. Now The Friend Beast sometimes goes away as well. I have to go to Doggy-day-care or The Lovely Neighbor stops in to let me out. I like The Lovely Neighbor. She is sweet and always gives me something to eat. Doggy-day-care has playmates but I am always glad to go home. I prefer my own yard for poops. Mine must be special for The Other Dog collects it in special bags and puts them in collection bins just for poop. I love walks and sniffs and poops and treats.


I await with dignity the decision walk or not.

Nowadays it is too hot to go walking for long. I spend a lot of the day sleeping on the elevated pack-bed under the twirling thing that makes wind and cool.

Harper 21

It’s a dog’s life. 

I don’t have anything else to say other than I want a treat for this.

Harper 17

Last night Someone and I went out with his co-worker to the bar where I had too much to drink. I woke this morning feeling like a pad of butter that was spread over to much bread. My morning ablutions were all canceled as I could barely stand up or face the light of day – not that it was worth waking for. Late July brings daily temperatures well over 40C so there is nothing to be done and no escape. The pool is as warm as bathwater and offers no relief. Besides, it has a slight viridity that no amount of chlorine shock will eradicate.  No fun there.

Estivating away in a frowsty house could be serene but for the techno-gizmos continually announcing more bad news of the world outside. I decided to turn of the notifications from CNN, HP, Yahoo, and TWC. Deaths, crashes, Trump, and bad weather – who needs them. I’ve had a enough bad news for awhile.

Between the heat and the hangover I am more or less sitting and sleeping away the day. My Protestant Midwest blood is boiling at the alleged indolence of it all.  My ancient virtuous corpuscles can be assured the upcoming work week is jam-packed and no rest for the wicked.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. On Thursday we leave for Utah to attend the Utah Shakespeare Festival. I forget what we are seeing but it doesn’t matter.  I am so looking forward to getting out of Phoenix and into cooler climates. The only drawback is it is rather difficult to get a drink in Utah.  Normally this would bother me but today this sounds quite salubrious.

While tidying up early blog entries I found a few lovelies I had completely forgotten but judged worthwhile to resurrect . One is titled: “Speak. Demand. We’ll answer.”

The rules are simple, easy to follow, and no-brainers (like my men).

Spo-fans ask via the comment section something for me to address. The questions can be about Urs Truly, Psychology/Medicine, or whatever you are longing to know .

I will respond to each of them this weekend as they arise, for the edification and entertainment of all.

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections thinks this jolly good fun provided there is a limit to one question per person and the enquiries not too profligate*  and no State Capitols.

Speak. Demand. I’ll answer. 



*Sordid solicitations will be censured or answered via e-mail.

Discourtesy is unspeakably ugly to me.”  ― The Silence of the Lambs

Mark Twain said “I differ from George Washington that George could not tell a lie. I can, but I won’t. ” It is the same for Urs Truly and Hannibal Lector. Our knowledge base and psychological training are identical and I do enjoy a nice Chianti. The difference is I use my knowledge of mind games to heal while he uses his to eat people. Sometimes it is useful and necessary to get in touch with my inner-Hannibal and release the Kraken as it were. And no, I don’t bite people in the face.

I have to deal with insurance companies, particularly when they demand that most irksome  of forms: the ‘prior-authorization’.  The Wonder Receptionist tells me with gravitas “You have to write that letter”. What she means is I need to compose the infamous-diabolically inspired “letter of persuasion”.  I compose this marvel while possessed by the good Doctor Lector.  At times not only is it necessary but jolly good fun.

As Professor McGonagall says in “Harry Potter” when she conjures up battle guards: “ I’ve always wanted to use that spell!”

Patient confidentiality (and modesty) forbids me to show you an actual example of such a correspondence, but I will do my best to describe it.  In the letter I am never threatening, nor use imprecations. The HL letter follows a format. I start with a solemn statement of sadness for their decision, followed by a polite request they reconsider their rash decision based on some ominous facts of which they may not be aware. Otherwise why would the have made such a fatalistic error? I go on to scribble how the patient will soon be without their prescription, hinting they will soon go off the deep end; the howl of their withdrawal will resemble an orchestra of scorched cats. Then I write a series of ‘what ifs’ and we are off. It is a bit Professor Harold Hill and GOP fear-mongering. If you don’t approve this patient’s medication (I write in my best Anthony Hopkins voice) he/she will degenerate (if all goes well) into murders and suicide. The next thing The Insurance Company will hear about this poor unfortunate soul is he/she is now the lead on the news having just mowed down in gun fire a group of kittens and white people. Your denial letter will be right next to the subpoena in the crazed dead patient’s chart. The horror, the horror.

Or words to that effect.

I am never direct or blunt; I write (thanks, Hannibal!) an exquisite prose using indirect speech acts that say all of the above without actually having it written out. I imagine the recipient bean-counter upon reading “The Letter” goes running to the computer in a fright to authorize the medication and apologize for a mistake.

It seldom fails.



Yesterday I saw a play “The Audience” starring Helen Mirren as The Queen. Every week for about thirty minutes she meets with the current prime minister. These meetings are not recorded; no one knows what they discuss. She has lived long enough to have met twelve PMs – “the dirty dozen” she calls them at play’s end.  It was extraordinary theatre for many reasons but what struck me most was the theme of endurance.  The PMs vacillated through time between stanch conservatives and agrestic liberals.  In contrast, Her Majesty remains constant. It reminded me of a scene in the movie “Young Victoria” in which the young monarch is advised by her aunt the Queen Dowager not to be fearful but persevere. “Prime ministers come and they go but you stay”. The play made me think about my own alleged constancy among vicissitude. I identified with Mrs. Betty Windsor sense of aging while watching transients.

After the show as I drove home I wondered about the countless people who have come and gone in my lifetime. The present people are the mere tip of the iceberg of those who have been but are now gone. In the half-century of my life  I have known myriads of people: friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and patients. Even my relations have turned over as the generations die and are replaced with ones I harder know.

Synchronicity is at hand. I am in the process of going through Spo-reflections to tidy up the grammar errors prior to print. The early year entries are full of references to bloggers no longer blogging  -most of them I can’t recall who they were. In my own reign in The Kingdom of Spo I have seen people come and go. I stay.

Like E2 I wonder have I done my duty. Have I remained stalwart in my duties of life, love, and work? Is the price of living seeing everyone depart on you, like sitting on a bench as the parade passes by?  It’s a marvelous parade, but it leaves one with a sense of loneliness.  I go on a journey; people join for while but go off on their own paths, and others join mine.  We try to take joy in whoever is before us for the while*: we hold on to our memories; we appreciate the marvelous Journey.



*Exception: Margaret Thatcher, who is portrayed in the play boorish and tedious, like someone next to you on the bus you have to endure until one of you gets off, hopefully soon.

I seem to be channeling science-fiction characters this evening, but they are quite applicable. Thrice I’ve started an entry only to erase it on the sensation it seemed disconsolate or poorly constructed. Think of Sarah Palin in a bad mood. No, don’t think of Sarah Palin for it will put you in a bad mood. I wonder if her speeches are used in psychology classes to teach pupils the concept of ‘world salad’. She would be a fascinating psychiatric study but as I can’t stand listening to her even for a minute I don’t have enough data to establish her as exemplar for lunacy.

I am avoiding the news this week so I don’t get sucked into the callithump in Cleveland.  I think He-who-won’t-be named and his flying monkeys are sending out negative atomic particles that cause one to listen and agree or be turned into a gunge. Resistance is useless, like The Borg or The Demu. The less said about him the better too.

Another zany phenomena to avoid is Pokemon Go. I did some research on the topic and came to the ominous conclusion The Tripods are behind it. The only ‘good’ I see in this time-sucking device is it is forcing people to a) get some walking done and b) think in kilometers and c) they don’t see the Triffids until it is too late.

I haven’t heard from the JWs or the Mormons lately. They used to stop by often but they seem to have disappeared. The rationalist who lives with me has the hypothesis they have merely given up on us as hopeless.  I think it is a case of alien abduction.

Folks in general seem to haven been replaced by pod people.

I propose we send out signals to invite down the Overlords before it is too late.

Video SnapshotYesterday while attempting calisthenics a sudden sharp pain arose from my right thigh.  I have torn a muscle; I believe it is the sartorius. That same day the barber gave me a short haircut the type old gay men have. The coup-de-grace was meeting Someone after work at a bar. He brought along his 24yo co-worker. She was born in the same month I graduated school (1992). I felt like a wicked old screw sitting with Lolita.*  I am feeling a bit hungover this morning – and quite decrepit.

Today is Sunday and Someone doesn’t work. I’ve grown used to him not at home on weekends. While I am glad for his company I am also feeling a bit like my women patients who tell me with trepidation their husbands have retired and are now home underfoot 24-7.  The TV is rawther distracting and it’s too hot to go outside for some peace and quiet.

Another old man matters: I’ve got to do better on my diet if I can’t exercise for awhile.  Our summer holiday to Canada is coming up and I don’t want to make my Maritime debut looking like a beached whale.

Today’s agenda involves getting to know The Kindle. Spo-fans may recall I received one for my birthday prize.  I hope The Old Man Archetype that has possessed me this weekend doesn’t put up a curmudgeonly resistance to this dang-blamed contraption.

I take comfort in the sensation I am too old for Pokeman Go. Sometimes it is good to be over the hill.


*She downloaded my phone with ‘new music you just got to hear. Here’s one of them:



The highway ramps in Phoenix have traffic signals that oblige vehicles entering the freeways to a) stop on red and b) take turns in a left/right sequence. My recollection from driver’s ed in Michigan is red lights mean the drives must come to a full stop while green means it is now OK to proceed. Apparently this is not taught in Arizona for more often than not Phoenix cars do not stop (let alone slow down) but accelerate onto the freeway regardless of the colour of the light or if others are waiting their turn. Stopping and taking turns is more likely when other cars are around. If it is morning and/or no other cars are around the unwritten ‘rule’ seems to be to disregard red lights and zoom through it all.

Ur Truly always stops for the red lights.  I often feel the rancor of the car behind me now obliged to stop as well, the irate driver no doubt shouting imprecations at my virtue.*  More noteworthy: I will stop for the reds even when alone and no one is seeing me in my virtue.

One definition of ‘integrity’ is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.  I like this definition.  Why do my fellow freeway friends disregard the entrance traffic laws? – because they can. They aren’t likely to get arrested; they can get away with it.

Some may say scoffing highway entrance laws is a small crime, but it makes me wonder about thems lacking driving integrity. Is this the mere tip of a nefarious iceberg?  Do they also disregard stop signs and traffic lights in interactions? Do they steal gas station knickknacks when the cashier isn’t looking? Perhaps they cheat on their spouses and taxes too, if they know they can.

Please don’t get the silly assumption I am the exemplar of integrity. I am a scoundrel, an Inuit giving a lecture on palm trees.  I continually strive to achieve and maintain integrity. Having integrity with the little things keeps one from rolling down the grass hill into depravity.

I fear as soon as I drive through the red-lighted entrance ramp somewhere some food worker will think I won’t throw out this day-old meat that just fell on the ground. Because I did not pick up Harper’s poop this morning on her walk (no one was looking) a waitress down the street is padding the checks on the rationale she is overworked and deserves better.

I continually strive for integrity, lest the slippery slope begins and I begin writing  opiate prescriptions for myself and start to milk Blue Cross.

Thems behind me on the entrance maybe be irate but I take comfort in my example I am contributing to integrity and fending off degeneracy.



* Sometimes these Jehus drive around me into the other lane to plow forward in a colour-blind rage to circumvent the situation.


Last February in celebration of the tenth anniversary of Spo-reflections I had a lottery to make some lucky Spo-fan a shirt.  Todd G. (the dear!) was the winner.  He wanted a ‘train shirt’. He sent me some fabric and I got going – sort of. The shirt took a long time.

You could say I got off track.

I was challenged as it was ‘custom made’: I combined a few patterns to make it so. Halfway through I changed directions. The project was a stop-and-go endeavor, not unlike a slow moving train.

At one point I fancied making the shirt backwards thus putting the cow-catchers on the back end, for at the rate I was going I wasn’t going to catch any cows. But there wasn’t anything to prevent them from climbing on board at the rear.

However it is finally concluded. Someone popped it in the post earlier this week and by now Todd has it. I sure hope the shirt fits and he is satisfied.



One reason the train shirt was so slow to leave the station was I was making another shirt at the same time. A few years ago I bought some orange/yellow batik fabric. I tucked it away only to lose interest. As is sometimes the case, the finished project looks better than the fabric. This one compliments my collection for I don’t one of this colour.

I was considering giving it to somebody/anybody, but I decided to keep it for myself after all.



…I am so tired I fall asleep on top of the bed without disrobing or brushing my teeth or even bothering to get under the covers.

…I eat frozen fish sticks right out of the box without bothering to cook them. (they are a bit tough)

453f40fa9fc343057d335a1556dcaaaf…The redolence of old books puts me in an euphoric mood, a sort of biblio-aromatherapy. 

… At work when a garrulous patient has trapped me into listening to their tirade I look at Facebook postings until they run out of steam. 

… I pick out from the trash the plastic water bottles and recycle them myself. 

… The news is so depressing I won’t go online for days.

… I turf returning telephone calls to The Wonder Receptionist as she does a better job at setting limits than I. 

51PrKqoPMFL._AC_UL320_SR230,320_… Gummi-bears or Jelly Babies are bought in bulk and eaten in one sitting. 

… I wonder why I did not move to the Pacific Northwest. 

… I get a smug satisfaction of making a complete and careful stop at the red light at the highway entrance because behind me is some Jehu furious I am not driving through the red light as he would be doing if it weren’t for me in front of him. 

hqdefault… I flick my fingers at the computer screen as if I am Professor Mcgonagall of Hogwarts eliciting a spell.

…  I wiggle my nose ala Samantha rather.


… Objects are put on my head for the sheer nonsensical delight this creates. 


… I fear all my exercise endeavors are not going to do me one ounce of good. 

… Expletives and noises ejaculate from my mouth with an astonishing intensity that confirms my suspicions for having some Tourettes’.

… All I want is someone to give me something to eat, something to drink, put his or her arms around me, and assure me everything will be OK. 


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