Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Zilla's post about the latest addition to her family got me thinking about Shane, and how he came to live with us.

This is Shane.

Shane is technically not our dog. Technically, Shane belongs to D. Technically.

You see, shortly after Nicole's giant Newfoundland passed away we had decided that we were ready for a new addition to our family. We were engaged, and we already had a big, angry cat, but we were ready to take that next step and ask a dog to come live with us.

We went to the animal shelter on a near daily basis. We looked at dog after dog after dog. We played and petted with dogs, and fell in love with some and felt pity for others. I at one time had Nicole pretty much convinced to get one of these.

He was this big, too. But he was very sick and the people at the animal shelter were convinced he was going to be very expensive and probably wasn't going to survive. We didn't have the money (we were still college students at the time, waiting tables), and anyway, after the heartache Nicole had gone through with losing her dog, it wouldn't be fair to ask her to take that on again.

So we went to the animal shelter over and over again, waiting for the right dog. The people at the animal shelter got to know us. Primarily, we focused on the aisles where they kept the younger dogs - less than two years old. We didn't want a puppy, but we didn't want a dog that might be too old and set in its ways.

One day, someone at the animal shelter told us they wanted to show us a dog. They took us to the back of the section reserved for older dogs, and showed us a homely little mutt that they insisted was perfect for us. This dog was skittish and jumpy, and really not a good fit at all. It was quite obvious there was no love connection.

But, right next to this dog, in the furthest cage from the entrance, was a little black and white husky. Shoved in the back, with the adult dogs and the dogs with the the signs that said "I bite" on the door.

Nicole asked the employee, "What about this dog?" The employee seemed very indifferent about him. Nobody was quite sure about why he was shoved in the back, he just was. Nicole reached into the cage, and he was so relieved to have physical contact, he just melted against the door. We let him out of the cage, and he reared up and just wrapped his front legs around Nicole's waist and pressed his face into her stomach. He stood like that for a long time.

Some other people were there, looking at dogs. They saw Nicole holding this dog and asked, "Is that your dog?"

"Yes. I think he is."

It was the love connection we were looking for.

There were a few problems.

One - He had been shoved in that back corner for a week. It was his last day. He was due for execution the next day.

Two - We were renters, and while we had our landlord's permission to get a dog, the animal shelter would not let us take the dog until they had spoken with him on the phone. Our landlord was not a reliable person, and just like when the tree fell on our house and laid on it for two weeks, he was nowhere to be found.

Three - In order to adopt the dog, we needed to pay up front to have him fixed. While getting him fixed was on the agenda (listen to Bob Barker, kids!), that was a prohibitive expense at the time.

These problems could be circumvented in only one way. If the dog's actual owner were to show up (which wasn't going to happen, as he'd languished in that cage for a week), the dog would be released immediately, for just a few dollars in impound fees. As I said, the people at the animal shelter knew us, and they knew we were looking for a dog, so we couldn't pull that ruse.

On the way home, afraid that this little sweet dog was about to meet an untimely end, we hatched a plan.

We stopped at the store to buy a leash and a choke chain (the dog had no collar, and we had no idea what size to buy) , and then went to D's house.

We returned to the animal shelter, and Nicole and I walked into the dog area. Nobody gave us a second glance.

A few seconds later, D entered the animal shelter and informed the people at the desk that he had lost his dog. They said he could go look. When he entered the area, we were standing in front of the cage. I subtly pointed out the dog, who seemed saddened when we walked away.

We went back out to the car and waited. $50 in impound fees later (Although at one point, while D was paying the fees, Shane shook off the choke chain. Thinking quickly D simply said, "Yeah, that's how he got away the first time."), D and Shane walked out. Shane gave me look that said, "Hey! I know you!" and hopped into the car and onto my lap. I drove him home that way.

So that was about 10 years ago. Shane's a bit of an old-timer now; he spends most of the time lounging on his dog bed. We've had some big adventures and some big scares, and he's my Shane.

I still threaten to send him to D, though, because technically, that ain't my dog.

A Year In The Life...

Hmmmm... I'm not sure what to say.

I just realized that Kit Burns was framed! began over a year ago with a little inauspicious blurb, and then I just kept going. It's been a really fun year, and a really big year. I found a gig that basically consists of blogging and going out, two things I was doing anyway. I've made some wonderful new friends. My blog friends, you are people I consider colleagues, and I have come to greatly respect many of you, your writing abilities and your opinions. I consider you to be friends.

And to the people who read what I have to say, I just want to say thanks. I have ranted, raved and digressed, and many of you stuck it out to see if I would ever say anything of substance. I'm not sure that I ever did say anything of substance, so that means I owe you an even bigger dose of gratitude then, doesn't it?

So on behalf of myself, and all the staff here at Kit Burns was framed! (which is me), thanks, and cheers, and all that.

We now return you to the general madness.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Where Were You When The Lights Went Out In Motown?

It was three years ago today that the big blackout hit. 50 million people without power.

I actually had fun that weekend. I rode my bike around town. We found the only bar still open, and sat on the patio drinking beer with some guys wearing homemade t-shirts bearing the slogan "Blackout 2003: No Shower Until Power". Then the health department showed up and shut them down. Apparently it's illegal to run a bar without electricity or running water.

We were fortunate on the food front. The Dream Cruise was that weekend, and a carnival was set up on Woodward. They were generator powered, and I ate corn dogs and elephant ears all weekend.

They say it "probably" won't happen again. I'm inclined to believe it; otherwise it would have happened a few weeks ago.

The Woodward Dream Cruise is back this weekend, and the cars are already cruising Woodward. I like the days leading up to the Cruise best; cars are actually cruising Woodward right now. The actual days of the cruise are a cluster-bleep, as thousands of classic cars trudge slowly up Woodward, crawling until they overheat. No cruising on the weekend, it's more of a dream crawl.

Last night we rode our bikes on a long trip around the city. It was partly to see the cars, and partly just to get out. We rode by the Detroit Zoo, pausing to peek through the fence and see what we could see. Not many animals are placed for through-the-fence viewing, but there are a few. There were a few lemurs lounging in the dusk, a bunch of deer, and some camels. One of the camels took offense at our after-hour intrusion, gawking at him when he was off the clock. He kicked dirt in our direction and bared his massive choppers.

Leaving the fellow to his evening, we rode on. Up Woodward, past 11 mile, up to 12 mile. We stopped at the Shrine of The Little Flower and sat in the grass, watching muscle cars rumble by in the cool evening. Then we made our way to downtown Royal Oak for some ice cream and home again, home again, three hours and 14 miles later.

Summer is starting to wind down; there won't be many more nights like this left. I'm just glad to be able to get out and enjoy them while they're here.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Are Things Heating Up?

I haven't seen An Inconvenient Truth yet, but I expect that I will agree with it. There has been a lot of talk about global warming lately. People who are against the concept (largely conservatives) say that it's paranoid Chicken Little "the sky is falling kind of stuff". The people who believe that global warming is an issue (largely liberals) are saying that people are simply trying to ignore the truth, hoping it will go away.

Whether you're conservative or liberal, it's time to tear down these partisan barriers and admit that something is going on. Like it or not, global warming is becoming a reality.

There was a heat wave that tore across our country last month. We all felt that at some time.

When I was in Seattle, the temperature of the ocean had heated up to 15 degrees higher than normal, hence the lack of oysters.

Many of you will disregard that as simple summer weather. We've had heat waves before, right? Life goes on, doesn't it?

Here's something you may not know: this heatwave also caused a brief but bad drought in areas of Europe. The result? Reduced grain production.

What does this mean to you? Well the price of malting barley has soared in recent weeks.

What does that mean? Next year, you might be paying a lot more for European beer.

That's really hitting us where it hurts. Are you with me now? Isn't it time we did something?

Link to story

Feeling a bit crabby today...

Well, we're giving this a shot again, because Blogger saw fit to eat my last attempt at this post...

The Kitty Shoes go to Seattle!

We're back from Seattle, a few days before all of this hullaballoo is causing massive chaos at the airports. It's a good thing, too; I raised enough red flags in security this time. Apparently, when your carry-on contains a metal lunchbox which has an iPod, a camera, and a cell phone with all their assorted chargers in it, it looks a bit odd on the x-ray. Not strip search weird, but weird enough to require you to stand there for a few extra moments while they rescan your bag and stare at the screen.

It's also a good thing that we came back before the clampdown, because I also had a case of fish from Pike Place Fish Market. Now that it's almost been completely consumed, I can honestly say it was worth the hassle of carrying it cross country.

The salmon was good, but I also would have done it just for the halibut.

(Read that last sentence aloud if you missed the pun.)

Seattle is always a grand adventure. We spent some time drinking by the water with our friends Steve and Cupcake. We had originally been really looking forward to mass consumption of beer and oysters, but apparently the recent heat wave had left the oyster beds with a bacteria infection. No oysters anywhere on the West Coast. It was disappointing, but the seafood was still good.

And we went on some grand adventures.

We made some new friends.

And spent some more time drinking by the water.

This is the little white minnow. She was my first rental car. There will always be a soft spot in my heart for her. (You never forget your first, do you?)

And most of all we ate. A lot of awesome seafood. This is a crab pot, where they literally dump a mound of crab, shrimp, clams, mussells and assorted veggies in from of you, give you a mallet and a fork, and let you go at it.

Eating with a hammer is awesome. Crab pots are this amazing combination of barbaric tendencies and gourmet dining.

He's a shrimp.

I love seafood. I love Seattle for (in addition to many other reasons - like the record stores where I spent A LOT of money) its proximity to fresh seafood.

Crab is good. Crabs have been in the news lately. I always like it when animals that are good to eat are in the news, as well as when new animals that might be good to eat are in the news.

First off, Norway is being invaded by giant king crabs. The solution to helping stem this tide? You know it. Catch more of them and eat them.

Also, in England, this guy caught a crab with three claws. Everybody knows that the claw meat is the best part. He unfortunately gave it to an aquarium rather than eat it. It's a shame really.

Just a bit of silliness I thought I'd mention. It's easier than dwelling on the craziness that's going on in the airports right now. Or the sheer stupidity.

Stuff like this is all over the news:

Passengers at the Palm Beach International, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Miami International airports were being told to arrive at least two hours early for their flights and throw away or pour out all liquids before trying to board their planes -- even liquids they bought in the airport. Link

A foiled terrorist plot in the United Kingdom late Wednesday meant Elaine Carlisle, 59, had to pour out her 2-year-old granddaughter Megan's sippy cup of juice Thursday morning before the family could board their American Airlines plane in Dayton, Ohio. Link

You see apparently, these terrorists had liquid explosives that were stable when alone, but became extremely volatile when mixed... so why are they having people pour out these liquids in the airports? Wouldn't that just create the potentially volatile mixture earlier than later?

It just seems a little knee-jerk, and I don't know what's going to happen. It's already hard enough to stay hydrated on a long flight, now you can't take a drink on the plane. Will there be a permanent ban on carryons in the near future? Will people not being allowed to carry iPods or Walkmans on the plane lead to better inflight entertainment options? Or more cases of air rage? Perhaps they'll just start administering sedatives to all passengers so that there is no risk of one flipping out.

Or will things just slowly get back to normal?

Will things ever be normal?

We'll see.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I Love Rock And Roll

I realize it's been a bit since I've posted, and I am leaving for Seattle in a few hours, so I wanted to hammer something out really quick, because I wanted to share a bit.

I went to the Warped Tour on Saturday. As always, I had a great time, and saw some great music.

And we learned something.

We learned that Joan Jett is very pretty, very sweet, very nice, and very willing to let us escape the 94-degree heat on her bus for an hour or so.

Talk at you next week!