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Life

Val Kilmer: ‘God wants us to walk, but the devil sends a limo’

Val Kilmer gum

That is just one the many memorable lines from onetime Hollywood hunk Val Kilmer in this winding and revelatory profile by Taffy Brodesser-Akner in the New York Times Magazine. Highly recommended.

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Life

Merry Christmas from New Delhi

Best wishes from me, Anasuya, and Ginger*!

*Yes, Ginger is wearing a Christmas-themed sweater. Not only is it stylish, but it is functional, with temperatures dipping down into the low 40s Fahrenheit these days!

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India Life

Two Years with Our Adopted New Delhi Street Dog, Ginger

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Last week – November 4 – marked two years since we adopted Ginger.

She continues to be a delight. She is clever, loyal, playful, energetic, silly, and sometimes slightly devious. And she definitely loves her long walks.

The photo at the top is from a Lodhi Garden trip. She loves that place. Here’s another pic of her there:

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And here she is at rest in the sun at home:

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One of her most endearing traits is her love of pouncing. Here’s a video of her hopping on me when I called her recently! 🙂

Dogs: What would life be without them?

Previously:

  • One Year with our Adopted New Delhi Street Dog, Ginger
  • Introducing our Desi Dog, Ginger

  • Categories
    Life

    Ginger Snapshot: ‘I Got the Morning Papers for You!”

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    The latest shenanigans from Ginger.

    Do I detect a bit of a smile in that second photo?

    I believe I do.

    Categories
    Humor Life

    Starbucks Misspellings: New One for My Collection

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    Received this gem here in New Delhi yesterday and after consulting my collection…I’m happy to say: yes! It’s a new one!

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    Who knew having an uncoventional name, combined with a love for coffee, could be so much fun? 🙂

    Categories
    India Life

    Merry Christmas from New Delhi

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    I hope your holiday was full of food, friends, family, and festivities.

    Ginger got a candy cane dog toy, which, because she is a #PowerChewer, lasted all of ten minutes!

    Categories
    India Life

    One Year with our Adopted New Delhi Street Dog, Ginger

    November 4th marked one year since we adopted Ginger.

    In her favorite perch

    If you missed my post from March, here’s the backstory and some pics of her as a puppy. This was the day we got her:

    The big day

    To recap: She is a New Delhi street dog and displays many of the characteristics of desidogs (also known as Indogs or Indian pariah dogs.)

    Now almost a year and a half old, she is fully grown, weighing about 20 kg (45 pounds).

    She is an alert, cautious, playful, smart, athletic, and affectionate dog.

    She is also quite protective of our house, springing into action and barking if anyone unfamiliar rattles our gate.

    She also loves to play fetch.

    She is a powerful jumper.

    She doesn’t demand to be by our sides constantly, but does enjoy sleeping near (or sometimes directly on) us.

    Oh, and she definitely has a mischievous streak. She seems to enjoy nothing more than stealing a shoe or a sock as I sit down to put them on before leaving for the office in the morning, prompting me to chase after her (which is no doubt the point of the “game” for her).

    Fetching the newspaper
    Beckoning us to come outside to play
    Shake on it?
    Encountering a goat during a walk in a New Delhi park.
    With a blanket stuck on her ear
    “Oh, did you *not* want your favorite pillow liberated of its stuffing?”
    “Helping” me write a story.
    She eats a healthy diet of chicken, rice and high-grade kibble — but occasionally gets her own pancake on Saturdays. 🙂
    On an outing at Lodhi Garden.

    If you’re interested in adopting a desi dog here in New Delhi (or just want to donate to a good cause) check out the Indian Canine Uplipftment Centre, or ICUC, where we got Ginger.

    They do great work rescuing pups and providing medical services to the city’s huge population of strays.

    We’ve also had some very informative training sessions with Namratha Rao of Pawsitive Tales. She really knows the breed well and is highly skilled. Get in touch with her if you have any dog training needs.

    Here’s to 2019 and beyond with Ginger!

    Categories
    Life

    A Psychedelic Temple for the Ages

    I’m not quite sure how I missed this story by Drew Zeiba in The Architect’s Newspaper in June. It begins:

    Tucked away on a tree-studded, 40-acre plot just a quarter mile from the Hudson River, one of New York’s most unusual construction projects is underway. The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM)—a transdenominational church and registered nonprofit—has been constructing the Entheon: “A place to discover god within.”

    The piece, which has many images of the construction, such as the one above, continues:

    As with the foundation of the Greys’ relationship and their church, psychedelics and entactogens play a central role in the eccentric design of the Entheon. It was, in fact, a (then legal) shared MDMA experience that showed the Greys they should not sell their work, but rather build a chapel to share it with a “worldwide love tribe.”

    But by far the most amazing sentence is this:

    Selecting a point on their 40-acre plot that aligns with the solar plexus of a projected goddess, “the kabbalistic sephirot of justice,” CoSM has begun converting a former carriage house into a three-level, 12,000-square-foot concrete structure replete with modern amenities, including an ADA-compliant elevator.

    Remarkable. Here’s more on the CoSM church and the Entheon itself.

    Reading the story, I couldn’t help but think: It seems like this would an extraordinarily frightening place to visit while under the influence of psychoactive substances.

    Categories
    Life

    Animal Crackers, Redesigned for 2018

    File under: Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes…(Turn and face the strange).

    The lede of this New York Times story by Matthew Haag:

    After 116 years of captivity, animal crackers have been freed from their cages.

    It was a symbolic victory for animal rights activists, notably People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which had argued that the immediately recognizable yellow-and-red boxes by Nabisco portrayed a cruel bygone era when traveling circuses transported exotic wildlife in confinement.

    The new boxes are expected to arrive in stores this week. They show a zebra, an elephant, a lion, a giraffe and a gorilla roaming free side-by-side in a natural habitat, a sweeping savanna with trees in the distance.

    And here’s what the old packaging looked like:

    As the great David Bowie once sang (emphasis mine):

    I still don’t know what I was waiting for
    And my time was running wild
    A million dead-end streets
    Every time I thought I’d got it made
    It seemed the taste was not so sweet

    Categories
    India Life

    Introducing our Desi Dog, Ginger

    TLDR: Say hello to the newest member of our family: the beautiful Ginger!

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    The backstory:

    Last year, about six months after our beloved dog Ashley died, we found ourselves really missing having a pooch in our lives. But we weren’t quite ready to adopt a new one.

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    Anasuya started asking around about organizations here in Delhi that help street dogs, and a friend recommended the Indian Canine Uplipftment Centre, or ICUC.

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    The New Delhi-based organization was founded in 2012 by the charming Sonya Kochhar Apicella, who like all the staff at the center clearly care deeply for dogs. And as anyone who has visited Delhi knows, there are tons of street dogs here.

    ICUC is the NGO wing of a boarding, day care and grooming on the same premises called Canine Elite.

    (If you’re into helping dogs, do consider getting in touch with or donating funds to ICUC. If you’re here in Delhi and need any dog-related services, consider Canine Elite.)

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    ‘Designed by Darwin’

    Often called Desi dogs (Desi roughly meaning “from India,” based on the Hindi word for “country”), these canines typically look like Ginger: medium sized, short haired, and often a shade of brown, with some white marks.

    They’re also sometimes referred to as Indi-dogs or “Indian pariah dogs.” (“Pariah” is an ecological term for dogs that typically live on their own, outside homes, untouched by breeding.)

    Another name for the creatures is INDogs, short for “Indian Native Dog;” you can find a wealth of information at INDog.co.in, the site for the INDog Project.

    The group also maintains a gallery of such canines, and a crowd-sourced document containing reports on the dogs’ temperament.

    Desi dogs, some of which have over the years mixed with non-native Indian breeds to varying degrees, often live in neighborhoods here in New Delhi and in other cities, towns, and villages.

    Residents typically look after them, feeding them but often not providing medical attention or sterilization. Others dogs roam around more freely. Many have diseases and suffer from various ailments.

    I haven’t seen the full version of the documentary, but Desi dogs are reportedly mentioned in a 2003 National Geographic documentary called “Search for the First Dog,” as being one of the world’s oldest types of dogs.

    A snippet from the show describes these dogs perfectly: they’re “designed by Darwin.” They are mostly a product of natural selection, not man-made tinkering for looks.

    So anyway: Ginger.

    On our first ICUC visit, we learned that Sonya and her team had just taken in a litter of ten Desi dog puppies, along with their mother, who had been rescued from a New Delhi intersection.

    We decided to play with the pups a bit.

    Then this happened.

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    Frankly, all the puppies were cute, but this little light brown one – with a white stripe down the middle of her face – struck me as especially lovable. And she was comfortable with people, which I liked, while some of her litter-mates were a bit more skittish.

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    We continued visiting the center once or twice a month, often checking in on the litter and spending time playing with some of the dozen or so older dogs living there, which range in age from nearly a year to several years old.

    Then around October, one day we showed up to discover that five of the ten puppies…had been adopted!

    I rushed into the room where they were being held and found, to my relief, that the cute little yellow puppy was still there.

    So that was it: We decided to officially adopt her, signing the papers on November 4.

    And as I mentioned, we’ve named her Ginger.

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    The big day.

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    In the car on the way home.

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    The first couple of weeks, despite our better judgement, we let her sleep in our bed because it was the only way we could get her to stop whining. Total bed hog. She no longer sleeps in the bed with us.

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    “Please play with me!”

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    An early visit to the vet

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    With a favorite toy

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    Sleeping on Anasuya

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    One of her favorite perches, where she can keep an eye on the gate and police any potential intruders – when she’s not napping, that is.

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    In the sun.

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    She weighed about five kilograms – or 11 pounds – when we first adopted here and now, at about eight months, she weighs 16 kg (35 pounds). I think she’ll continue growing a bit more. She seeks out pats a little less now, but still enjoys sitting in our laps from time to time, as you can see above.

    Now that she’s getting closer to the one-year mark, we’re also getting a better sense of her grown-up characteristics.

    She is a very smart and alert dog, keen to interact with humans and play with toys and fetch balls. She’s also quite athletic and agile.

    And she is a great watch dog: She’s plenty defensive of us and our house, but she doesn’t bark an unreasonable amount.

    Ginger’s likes include:

    1. Eating bugs
    2. Running in circles in the yard
    3. Playing with other dogs
    4. Biting her leash, turning walks into tug-of-war matches
    5. Policing the kitchen for dropped scraps
    6. Napping

    Among her dislikes:

    1. Cats
    2. Tennis racquet-shaped flyswatters
    3. People ringing our doorbell

    We love her so much already.