Cute Today, Killer Tomorrow

Baby animals are adorable. Even the baby animals that grow up to be rampaging beasts that will tear your limbs asunder and start devouring your still living guts before your heart stops beating. I am sure there are several political metaphors to be made there. Have fun with them.

That being said, I must say that Warner Brothers was way off in their depiction of the Tasmanian devil. Yes, that is a baby Tasmanian devil pictured above, or to the side, or wherever this layout decides to place the accompanying picture. That one is probably about 6 or seen months old. Warner Brothers missed the very distinctive white patches on the chest and above the tail, and made Taz brown instead of black. I can understand the lightening of the fur to brown to better display the facial tics that the cartoon Taz is known for, but the white patches should have stayed.

While the rampaging temper depicted in the cartoons is more or less true to life, Tasmanian devils are more likely to feed on carrion than hunt their own prey. They only grow to be about 2 feet long and the largest ones tip the scale a bit shy of 30 pounds, so they are not much of a threat to large animals. They will munch on rabbits and other small animals, but don't pose too much of a threat to humans.

Yes, I understand I am being unreasonable to expect anthropomorphized cartoon versions of animals to be accurate depictions of the creatures that inspired them, but I am not asking for a full-out National Geographic documentary here. I think losing the white chest patch is like trying to depict Bugs Bunny with short ears. I am perfectly fine with them having Road Runner stop to chow down whenever he sees a pile of birdseed on the road, even though real life roadrunners are generally more carnivorous, eating bugs, small rodents and rattlesnakes. It adds a sense of whimsy and humor to the cartoons, but some distinct visual characteristics should be kept.

Since I got onto this rant about Warner Brothers cartoons, here's an interesting fact I learned a couple of weeks ago. Henery Hawk, (yes, that is spelled correctly), the little chicken hawk, was created before Foghorn Leghorn. I had always assumed that Henery was created as a foil for the big rooster, but it turns out that it was actually the other way around.

Well, enough learning for one day. Go out and have some fun. I'll try to get back to regular blog posting again.


Saliva Boarded

It has been three weeks since I have posted anything in my little corner of the underworld, and it is high time that I change that. I know that there has been a lot going on in the world recently, but honestly nothing has really inspired me to do anything more than make incredibly astute concise observations (okay, let's be honest, snarky comments) on Twitter. You can find me there @tank_demon, though it is highly likely that you arrived here from Twitter in the first place.

So, what has influenced me to write when MH370, the Blade Runner Trial, Bundy Ranch, Chelsea's Womb, Easter and the Purple Wedding weren't able to?

Would you believe that there is a connection between snoring and water boarding? It is a very personal connection, but there is a definite connection.

I am snorer, like Captain Spaulding the African explorer. Apparently I shake the walls while I sleep. I make sounds that scare small children and attract lovesick moose. My snoring has influenced roommates to find other accommodations (true story.) I am told that it is not sleep apnea, though I have never had a sleep study done to verify this one way or the other. When I last requested a sleep study, the request was denied because, other than snoring loud enough to be used as a foghorn, there were no other indicators of sleep apnea (not overweight, no high blood pressure, decent general fitness.)

Honestly, snoring never bothered me. It sure as hell bothered my wife, and whatever poor bastards had to share a tent with me during field exercises, but being that I was already sleeping soundly by the time I started emitting sounds, my snoring was somebody else's problem. Yes, there was the occasional sore throat in the morning, but physically the worst that happened was that I would inexplicably wake up in the middle of the night. I sometimes thought that was the result of snoring loud enough that the noise of it would wake me, though my wife has told me I have times during the night when I would just stop breathing altogether, so maybe the reason I awoke was to get my respiration back on track. I am leaning toward the latter theory as the proper explanation.

It was the wee hours of Easter morning, around 2:00 am, when I awoke with a sense of unease. I did not startle myself out of a nightmare, but out of a deep sleep, probably phase 3 at that point, yet the sense of unease was there.

Unease escalated to near panic when I tried to take a breath and found it impossible to do so- something was blocking my airway. I tried harder and felt more than heard the gurgle of air trying to pass through saliva. During my sleep, I had rolled over onto my back and, mouth agape, I was snoring. Okay, I assume I was snoring, I don't have video/audio evidence of that, but it does fit with my personal history and the events of the night. So, while snoring, there was a build up of saliva in my mouth, and during one attempt at a deep breath, that saliva filled my throat and prevented the air from getting to my lungs.

I was able roll over onto my stomach and cough it out, which allowed me to immediately return to normal breathing. A few more coughs and all indications that there was ever a problem were totally dissipated. I got up go to the bathroom to see if I could cough out anything else, but it seemed to have all been cleared, so I went back to my bed, turned the pillow over and lay down on my stomach. I tried to avoid thinking of John Bonham, Jimi Hendrix and Mama Cass. I also thought of how embarrassing it would be to choke on one's saliva when stone cold sober. I could just imagine the autopsy and my wife's reaction.

While lying down trying to get back to sleep, it dawned on me what I had just done.

I had just inadvertently waterboarded myself. 

I will imagine that some people reading this will find my assertion ridiculous, but I was scared, confused, didn't feel like I had any control over what was going on, and just wanted to get oxygen into my lungs.  I will concede that what I went through wasn't sustained, and I did have free movement of my limbs and body, but subjects of waterboarding generally have an understanding of what is happening to them and have some chance to mentally prepare themselves for the ordeal. Also, I would guess that they will not be resting their head against the pillow for the next few nights wondering if it might happen again and hoping that they will wake up in time to prevent catastrophe if it does.

I thought about it last night. I will probably think about it again tonight, but I expect that the memory of this incident will be relatively fleeting and I will have forgotten the whole thing by next week. In the scale of life altering events, I don't think this even holds a candle to that time about 11 years ago when the wheels and hood of the Jeep Wrangler I was driving on an icy highway decided to switch places.

I always did agree with the Bush administration that waterboarding, at least the way conducted by our interrogators, was not torture, and having just gone through the experience I did, I am still resolute in that conviction. Was it pleasant? Not in the least, in fact, like I said, it was panic-inducing, but it was not actually painful. It could have been life altering in the ultimate way for me if I had not awoke when I did, but for the prisoners under interrogation that was never even an issue. All effects of the ordeal have completely disappeared, and I am none the worse for wear, just like the few subjects of waterboarding at Gitmo.

This has not really been a hot topic of discussion since it was revealed that enhanced interrogation techniques actually did help in tracking down bin Laden, but if it ever does become a topic of discussion, you can tell anybody who claims that waterboarding is definitely, beyond a doubt torture, you can tell them that you know of somebody who does that to himself in his sleep.


Women's History Month

Alright, why wasn't I informed earlier that March is Women's History Month? Does the fact that I live in Riyadh have anything to do with it? I realize that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not the biggest supporter of women's rights in the world, so that might explain why it is not advertised so much around here, but I would have thought somebody on Facebook or Twitter might have mentioned it before now.

There is only one way to remedy this situation. I must post about it on my blog.


Okay, since nobody, not even my wife or mother reads this blog, I am going to have to do more. I am going to let all the women in my life know just how much I appreciate them, and do what I can to help spread the word about the importance of history for women, or women in history, or historical things that have to do with women.

There is only one way to properly recognize Women's History Month, and that is by linking to the story that is, for better or worse, forever closely associated with womanly perfection.

So, for those who have not properly acknowledged Women's History Month this year, remember to take some time today to let the women in your life know how important they are to you. Maybe read an article about Susan B. Anthony.

And for all you wonderful ladies reading today...

Break's over. Get into the kitchen and don't come back out without a roast beef and swiss on a Kaiser roll, lots of mayo and just a smidgen of mustard. And no lettuce this time- save that rabbit food for those anorexic members of your garden club.

(I can write that with impunity. Why? I did mention that neither my wife nor mother reads this blog, didn't I?)