Tuesday, January 31, 2006

That Dog I Mourn

It has been noted that in space no one can hear you scream. I submit the same is true of submersion in a large vat of petroleum jelly.

Now, someone would have to be very drunk, or very stupid, to confuse a large vat of petroleum jelly with outer space. But Latigo Flint has been known to shoot people in the face if they call him stupid, so I've a pretty good idea which way the consensus will trend.

One of the unfortunate effects of mistaking a vat of petroleum jelly for outer space is that you end up looking rather silly demanding Astronaut Wings from NASA with your clothes stuck to you, your hair slicked eight ways and Vaseline oozing from your ears. (Not to mention you tend to get labeled a pathological masturbator.)


Hey, which do you think is going to get to go to space first: a wolf or an otter? Or will neither get the chance?

In 1957, Laika became the first animal in space. She wasn't a wolf or an otter but rather a mongrel dog of indeterminate breeding, picked up while wandering the streets of Moscow. Laika in Russian means "barker". Turns out her trip was never to be anything but one-way, and a bark is a scream to a dying dog.

Some people raged like some people do, but they may have been hypocritical fools. We kill dogs every day, in the cruelest of ways and for few causes grand as hers. I think she knew on some level and to say that she didn't, might be denying senses different from ours.

Hell, but I don't know anymore--I understand yet I don't and that's a wretched place to be. Laika went from cold and alone to on stamps and well-known, and Russian winters are savage to strays. I do know she was one in a trillion, a very good dog, and just happens to be mourned to this day.

I can't talk about Laika without getting bunched up, and tonight would seem the same. That's likely why I discuss her so seldom, and probably won't ever again.


At 4:23 AM, Anonymous caleb said...

Lets be clear and start there.

Cowboys, Quickdraws, Cattle Ranchers, Damsels, Frontiersmen, Sherifs, Deputies and Good-and-Decent folks can not, under any circumstances empathize, sympathize, fraternize or associate with Soviet era Russians, their women, children and friends-of-man alike.

Lest we forget that Stalin tried to assassinate John Wayne.

What kind of Quickdraw are you anyways?

At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Laura said...

Soviet-era Russian or not, she was most certainly a very brave dog and brave dogs should be celebrated where ever they can be found.

At 8:49 AM, Blogger hen said...

The powers that be should change that phrase to "In space or a vat of petroleum jelly no one can hear you scream or a dog bark!" to make it more factually complete and to honour poor brave Laika.

At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Mooney said...

Happy Birthday Latigo

At 10:31 AM, Blogger Rob said...

To paraphrase a saying about one of the rougher areas of Edinburgh, in Dodge City everyone can hear you scream: they just don't give a damn.

And Caleb - wouldn't you reckon that Laika was a victim of communism? Surely no god-fearin' American boy wants to see a bunch of commies mistreating a poor dumb animal, not even on prime time TV?

At 11:21 AM, Blogger StringMan said...

You know, you probably can't hear a dog bark in space, but I'll bet you can hear a Penquin do whatever sound they make in space. I'm not sure about the vat of p-jelly, though.

At 12:46 PM, Blogger Berlinbound said...

An appropriate post for the final day of January ... a strained month, filled with dashed expectations and long, cold days alone.

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Francis Marion Tarwater said...

I could see otters before I could wolves. Though, there's not much for them there.

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Teaspoon said...

Where the hell do you keep finding this stuff? Do you just surf Google looking for "bizarre stories" Not that I mind I jsut don't personally know where to even find this stuff.

Keep it up though man because the stories are great.

At 4:02 PM, Blogger Peter said...

Do dogs oerish in space?? maybe Laika is still orbiting as a 50 year old happy canine?

word verification is "pupbo" tel me that's not a sign!!!!!!!!!

At 6:18 PM, Anonymous caleb said...

To address the concerns of Laura and Rob.

You are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution.

What was Barky trying to do to stop the communist machine? Nothing.

In fact she supported it.

As evidence I submit the fact that she didn't once resist entry into space. Therefore support the Soviet Communism Machine.

"Cowboys, Quickdraws, Cattle Ranchers, Damsels, Frontiersmen, Sherifs, Deputies and Good-and-Decent folks can not, under any circumstances empathize, sympathize, fraternize or associate with Soviet era Russians, their women, children and friends-of-man alike."

At 2:40 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Caleb, I'm the quickest quickdraw the world has ever known. Had I been born a hundred and fifty years ago I would surely have been a God in the squinty-eyed American old west--but I wasn't born 150 years ago, I'm a digital child, and that's something I have to deal with every day. What I don't have to deal with though, are discourteous questions and lectures from those who can't possibly know where I've been, and what I've seen there.

I agree Laura--very well put.

The powers that be don't care about mongrel dogs Hen. I'm afraid it's up to us.

By the waxed handlebar of Earp, it's Mooney--that mysterious and also infamous Irish gunslinger who just happens to know the truth about Latigo Flint's cloudy past.
(Thanks man, it's been a good one.)

That is a truly magnificent saying Rob. There is a slim chance I'm going to pass it off as my own and just hope not very many people from Edinburgh ever visit my site.

Oh, that's just great Stringman--I was planning to have a nice relaxing evening until you had to come along and send me into a frenzy of research I probably can't ever hope to possibly complete.

Thank you very much Berlinbound. That's a beautiful layer I would never have considered, but is now somehow forever woven to the very genesis of the story. Happy February to you Sir.

Ahh, but they have been seen by you there Solace Layfield, and perhaps that's just enough.

Confidentially TSP--I actually black out nearly every night, and when I come to, words are on the screen. (I try not to think about from where.)

Laika is dead Peter, the sensors affixed to her chest told the whole story. Wait!!! You don't suppose she chewed through the wires, do you?!!! (Is the word forming just now deep in my heart shaped anything like "hope"?)

Don't ever impugn Laika's choice and bravery again Caleb. For whatever it's worth, Dogs only recognize us as humans; they can't and/or won't discern doctrine and agenda.

At 4:07 AM, Anonymous caleb said...

I concede.

Your steadfast response was commendable.

Infact, it made me question my own Soviet era Russian bent.

In short, I did a little research.

Stalin died in 1953. After-which Nikita Krushchev took over.

Nikita Krushchev struck down the assassination order against John Wayne.

And on the first anniversary of Laika's launch, in a private meeting with John Wayne, Nikita Krushchev assured him that the KGB was no longer after him.

And also that he was a really big fan.

I'm sorry Latigo Flint. I should have been more thorough and faithful.

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...



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