Saturday, November 16, 2013

 Over the past few months I have seen numerous posts on face book from friends who have lost a beloved pet.  Recently in the city where I live, a popular radio host lost two dogs in 10 days and he has been humbled by the response from his audience. It was obvious he was devastated.  I can relate to these experiences as my wife and I have had to see three of our dogs and a cat go to pet heaven in the past 15 years.  The last dog was the toughest one for me as I had gotten quite attached to her.  Yet I was not always a dog lover.  We had a few dogs growing up and I always liked them for the most part but never really grew attached to any of them like I am today.  As I type this message there is a small blenheim, Cavalier down around my feet.  Her name is Charlotte but we call her "Babydog"..

She is one sweet dog!  We have become best friends and she follows me around everywhere I go.  She also sleeps with us and has her own pillow right above my head.  Babydog is almost 12 now and I can't help but be reminded  by these recent events of how short dogs lives are compared to humans and it is a saddening thought.

 I still remember a movie I saw back in the 80's, one of my favorites!  It is called "Highlander".  One part I remember well, is when the main character, Connor McCleod (an immortal) is married and his beautiful wife begins to grow old and eventually dies in his arms, as he remains young.  At some point another immortal, I think it was Sean Connery, advises him not to fall in love with normal  human women as it will only break his heart when they grow old and die, leaving him behind to grieve.

Unfortunately, I know my "Highlander" moment is coming some day in the next few years.  I have gotten so attached to this sweet puppy I can't imagine her not being here each day.  I don't even like going on vacation sometimes anymore when I have to leave her behind. I told my wife the other day, when Babydog goes to the great beyond, have the undertaker dig a BIG grave!  Because she and I will need plenty of room for her pillow right above my head...

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Star Gazing

I often go out on the back deck and gaze up at the stars.  I have never been a true star gazer I suppose, not really ever knowing what I was looking at.  I honestly could not tell you what or where the big dipper or little dipper might be.  Yet I have been curious lately as to what I was seeing each time I walked out early in the morning when the stars were very bright.

I finally took the time to find out exactly what I was seeing this morning and it is rather fascinating. After an internet search of about half an hour I found a free program called "Stellarium". I downloaded it here:  and I was very pleased with the results.  After typing in my location in NC, I was able to see the exact sky I was looking at only minutes before!  Now I know exactly what I thought might be the big dipper really is and no, it is not the big dipper...

This program has a multitude of functions and is really amazing.  When you click on a star it gives you all sorts of information about it, more than the average star gazer will need to know.  It will of course show you the constellations from a western culture POV but also has other cultures listed as well.  I have just begun to play around with it so I'm sure there is much more to tell but for now, I highly recommend this if you are a curious star gazer like myself..

Here's a good view of what I am seeing right in the middle of my early morning sky from my back deck.  What I thought might be the big dipper turns out to be Orion's Belt!