Dogs; Terry Brooks

Well the night happened, and the day came, so I guess I must type something here for your/my amusement. I spent a long time, after arriving home from work, typing an email that I may just quote on this page since it is about a subject that just really crushes me. That being said, I am going to discuss my dogs for a couple of minutes, then go off on whatever tangent I will invariably end up writing about.

I have stated previously that my wife and I are the owners of two ‘Vicious Pit-Bulls’, I always say that in jest since the dogs never do anything to show the vicious nature of the Pit Bull. The stereotypical Pit-Bull is a Junk-Yard dog that is trained to attack and kill anything that it sees, our dogs are trained a bit differently. I really believe that if someone were to break into the house while we were away they might use their base animal instinct to attack that person, or failing that, the fact that they both sound like the spawn of Satan when they bark would likely keep your would be intruder well away from our place.

The thing, the important thing is that we have total control over them. I am sure that it sounds a bit silly to say that, since I have previously written about one of them carrying undergarments and shoes out into the yard, but as far as their actions while we are at home, they jump when we say jump. They sleep in the room with us, and they are just cuddly little things for our amusement most of the time. Most of the time.

During a requisite ‘belly rub’ the other night, we noticed that Warlock, the older of the two dogs, had a couple of pretty serious half cut/half abrasion type of things on his hind legs. He was limping a bit also. Thing is that when he didn’t know that we were watching he forgot to limp, so we know that it isn’t anything serious. It was just the two of them playing and she got him, she got him real good that one time, and he has a bit of a boo boo that will take a while to heal.

They ‘play fight’ a lot, and it is very difficult to discern whether the battle is real or playful, unless you look at the happy, wagging little tails, that is. She, Zelda, is not fully grown yet and still has all of the energy of a puppy, Warlock doesn’t have all of that energy, but he is a trooper and hangs in there most of the time. Zelda does use some dirty tactics though, her number one attack is to get him off guard and bite his dick. Not to speak for an animal that has been castrated and has no voice, but, I bet you if he had balls he would be a very unhappy animal a lot of the time right now.

Zelda has yet to be spayed and I am kind of wondering if that may be part of the reason that they seem to fight so viciously when they play. After a round of ‘play fighting’ we can usually find them both laying side-by-side on the floor, sleeping. Zelda certainly owns his ass though. He is probably in the seventy pound range (just judging by having to pick him up to carry him inside from time to time), it could be less or more. Zelda is about three quarters of his weight, but wins every ‘play fight’. She is a bitch. (Literally, she is a bitch by definition, and also she fights dirty so that just adds to the bitch description.)

My wife likes to buy them bones to chew on (I do too, since even as much as the bones cost they still cost less than new furniture) and that is when the real fighting starts. Treats and chew toys are always bought in equal quantites, one for each dog, but the dogs don’t seem to understand that, and will fight over one while there is another one, exactly the same, lying there untouched. Even if we put them into each dog’s mouth they will invariably start fighting over just one of them. I assume this is like the classic argument that children make about how the one glass has more Kool-Aid than the other.

While I was on the phone with my Mother the other night, the dogs got into what I am going to call a real fight. My Mother could hear the growling through the phone, her boyfriend could hear it also, and he was sitting ten or twelve feet from the phone that it was coming through. The dogs were both up on their hind legs (makes them stand about nipple height on a 5’10” man) and they were not pulling the punches. I did jump in to pull them apart, but I tell you that if they were not my dogs I would have run like hell. They looked and sounded like they wouldn’t care who or what they tore apart. It was quite a vicious display.

Knowing that they were both my dogs, I jumped right in there and pulled them apart, but don’t lots of stories about pit-bulls killing their owners start that way? Once I had them both by the collar, and smacked each of them on the snout, they calmed down. I guess if that huge black dog is yours, you know how well it is, or isn’t, trained and you no longer look at it as a huge dog, but the puppy that you raised. Everyone else will be afraid of the dog, because of the negative press, but they really are good dogs.

The one thing that the dogs do viciously attack is…Flies. Yes, the common house fly. Normally we never see them in the house, but the last few weeks they have been here and the dogs can snap them right out of the air and eat them. Also, they do enjoy cockroaches, but the chase them around way too much before they just let them die and leave the body for us to sweep up later. And the cockroaches only come out when it is dark, so that means lost sleep as the dogs sniff around at it for a couple of hours until I finally just get a tissue and throw the damn thing away.

After reading your email, I went to Amazon just to read some of the reviews for the magic kingdom series. The thing that I found interesting is that the first three novels in the series all get a customer rating of 4 or 4.5 stars, while the fourth book, the one that I only got a couple of chapters into, has five star ratings from all the customers. One of the customers said that next to the ‘Xanth’ series this was the best thing going. Why did this one get the best reviews when I thought it sucked so badly? Oh, I guess that you likely don’t go to write a review about it when you hate it then do you. And by the time an author is on his tenth or twelfth novel he probably has a following that would read a retaraunt menu that he had written and find it the best literary work of all time.

On a side note my wife came in as I was typing this and asked what I was writing about, after seeing the subject line she fired off her two cents that Brooks is just unreadable. I told her that your real beef with him was about it being so derivative of LOTR, she said that was funny since she read all of Tolkien’s stuff and never made it through a single one of Brooks, even though we have damn near every one of them on the shelf (in hardcover no less, gotta love those 5-7 dollar prices. Unfortunately that book store went out of business so now I have to shop through amazon just like everyone else.) So I guess that really does just show that everyone has a different opinion about what writing is good and what is bad.

Funny thing about that bookshelf of mine, I always wanted to have a bookshelf in my house, since that is one of the first things that I have always noticed missing when I visit other people’s houses. My bookshelf, though, has turned more into a book graveyard. Out of the probably 100 or so books on it the only ones that find regular use are the thesarus, dictionary and Bible (the bible just for reference when I am bashing it, I want to make sure that I have the quotes right and be able to site the book and verse), other than that we have some classics that get read, sherlock holmes, dracula and the unabridged complete works of Edgar Allan Poe to name a few. So about 8% of my bookshelf is ever touched and the rest of it might as well just be painted on the wall for all the good it does.

Yet, our dvd collection is used constantly, even the ones we don’t particularly care for get watched once in a while. Is that simply because you have to actively read a book while you can passively watch a movie, or do we (people in general) really hold a grudge against an author or a book that we would never hold against an actor or a movie?

Again, I have gone way off topic. I was intending to mention that Brooks had also done some books in the horror genre, I have never read any of them and was searching on Amazon when I found this link. It has nothing to do with his horror writing, but it does just go to prove that he readily admits that Tolkien was his main influence in the Shannara series. (I hope that link works).

Terry Brooks admits to ripping off Tolkien

With that, I think I am going to quit trying to defend him, and just remember his work with the fresh eyes I had a decade and a half ago. His work was the first that I had read in the fantasy genre and I really found it fascinating, knowing -now- that it was all pretty much ripped off from Tolkien can’t change the impact that it had on me in my early teens. Imagine if I had picked up that Piers Anthony novel and just hated it, I might never have read fantasy again. Instead I picked up Terry Brooks and became a fan of the genre. Knowing that I became a fan of someone who plagiarized (sp) someone elses’s work is a bit disheartening, but knowing that it is also the reason that I will be in line to buy the first edition of the Flux hardback should be enough to prove that his work had a profound effect on me.


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