Gianaris to intoduce legislation to eliminate bail
By Bill Parry
State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) will introduce legislation that would reform the pre-trial detention system in New York State by eliminating bail. The bill would remove cash bail or any form of monetary bail bond as an option for a judge to impose on a defendant pending trial. Instead, defendants would face three proposed alternatives to bail: conditional release with pre-trial monitoring, release on the defendant’s own recognizance or remand to a correctional facility.
“The bail system was never intended to lock up people who could not afford it before they even have a trial,” Gianaris said. “The current system has been bastardized to become a means of imprisoning people without due process.”
The current bail system has come under scrutiny since Kalief Browder’s suicide in June. The 22-year-old had spent three years on Rikers Island without a trial or conviction after his family couldn’t raise the $3,000 bail following his arrest at the age of 16 for allegedly stealing a backpack.
During his time on Rikers, Browder was beaten by guards and fellow inmates and subjected to more than 400 days in solitary confinement. The charges were eventually dismissed, but Browder’s experience led him to take his own life.
Gianaris says recent data indicates that the payment of bail does not result in increased rates of appearance for trial, calling into question the effectiveness of cash bail for this purpose. Gianaris developed his proposal in coordination with New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman who said, “bail serves no other purpose other than to incarcerate people who are too poor to pay it.”
The long-term damage that bail inflicts on vulnerable defendants extends beyond incarceration. Thousands of people are jailed each year because they cannot afford bail, which puts them at risk of losing their jobs or custody of their children as well as jeopardizing housing.
Faced with the prospect of going to jail for want of bail, many defendants face pressure to accept unfair plea deals instead.
It is estimated that the cost of pre-trial detention in New York exceeds $1 billion annually, which means the enactment of Gianaris’ proposal would result in significant taxpayer savings.
Meanwhile, the state’s chief judge isn’t waiting for the lawmakers to act. Judge Jonathan Lippman announced a series of administrative changes that would reduce the number of people who are incarcerated because they can’t make bail.
He would urge judges to set bail low enough so that defendants could await trial at home or use alternatives to cash bail, like electronic monitoring.
“Defendants who are unable to post bail serve a sentence before their cases are ever resolved,” he said. “They do so regardless of innocence or guilt, and the harm that this injustice causes is intolerable.”
Browder was one of 50,000 people jailed each year in New York City because they can’t secure a bail bond, according to the New York Times,.four out of ten people on Rikers Island are there because they cannot afford bail..
“In the Kalief Browder case, there were numerous adjournments, one after another,” Lippman said. “It was not until three years into the case that a judge, after pressing the prosecutor and proactively seeking to resolve the case, learned that the prosecution had lost contact with its key witness.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
BE WHAT YOU ARE…………………..
People with higher 'intellectual arrogance' get better grades
But humble people got higher evaluations from team members on group projects
People who think they know it all -- or at least, a lot -- may be on to something, according to a Baylor University study.
The finding was a surprise to researchers at Baylor and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, who had theorized that "intellectual humility" -- having an accurate or moderate view of one's intelligence and being open to criticism and ideas -- would correlate with grades.
But being full of oneself when it came to rating one's intellectual arrogance -- an exaggerated view of intellectual ability and knowledge -- instead generally predicted academic achievement, especially on individual course work, according to the study. The research -- "Contrasting self-report and consensus ratings of intellectual humility and arrogance" -- is published in the Journal of Research in Personality and funded by a grant from The John Templeton Foundation.
"One possibility is that people who view themselves as intellectually arrogant know what they know and that translates to increases in academic performance," said researcher Wade C. Rowatt, Ph.D., Baylor professor of psychology and neuroscience.
The findings have implications for education, the workplace and scientific research, scholars said.
The study also revealed that:
• When rating themselves on a "humble-ometer," people generally did not see themselves as others see them. Accordingly, nearly everyone may agree that someone like, say, Donald Trump is egotistical -- except Donald Trump.
• With group projects, other team members gave better evaluations to those they viewed as humble.
• People can agree about whether another person is intellectually humble or intellectually arrogant, but it takes time.
In the study, 103 undergraduate students worked for a full semester in groups of four to six members in upper-level psychology courses. They did varied tasks, both individually and together. Then they took tests -- first individually, then with fellow group members, who gave feedback on each member's work. Students earned credit for individual and group performances.
Afterward, each person completed a questionnaire judging the personalities of each group member, including themselves. They measured "intellectual humility," based on such traits as "open to criticism" and "knows what he/she is not good at." They also measured "intellectual arrogance," based on such traits as "is close-minded" and "believes own ideas superior to others' ideas."
Additional traits also were evaluated, among them assertiveness, intelligence, self-discipline, openness and sense of humor. Many who rated themselves high in humbleness also rated themselves high on such virtues as competence, agreeableness and leadership.
Groups tended to view people as intellectually arrogant whom they saw as being high in dominance, extraversion and wanting to be the center of attention, but low in agreeableness and conscientiousness.
Participants were able to reach a statistically significant consensus about how they viewed a person, researchers said.
That differed from another portion of the research, in which 135 participants who did not know one another were split into groups of three to five, spending only about 45 minutes together to share their strengths and weaknesses, brainstorm about a theoretical scenario in which they had extra fingers, work together on math and verbal questions and discuss their results.
In that case, participants did not reach consensus about others' intellectual humility or arrogance.
"If people are forming opinions about extraversion and someone talks a lot, it's easy to draw consensus about that person," said lead author Benjamin R. Meagher, now a visiting assistant professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. "But it's more challenging for groups to recognize what behavior reveals another person's humility, as opposed to simply being shy or unsure.
"What I think is important about intellectual humility is its necessity for not only science, but for just learning generally -- and that applies to the classroom, a work setting, wherever," Meagher said. "Learning something new requires first acknowledging your own ignorance and being willing to make your ignorance known to others. People clearly differ in terms of their willingness to do something like that, but that willingness to learn, change one's mind and value the opinion of others is really needed if people and groups are going to develop and grow."
DON’T WORRY-BE HAPPY
BE HAPPY, EVEN WHEN YOU’RE DYING
Dying at home leads to more peace, less grief, but requires wider support
Dying at home could be beneficial for terminally ill cancer patients and their relatives, according to research
Dying at home could be beneficial for terminally ill cancer patients and their relatives, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.
The study shows that, according to questionnaires completed by their relatives, those who die at home experience more peace and a similar amount of pain compared to those who die in hospital, and their relatives also experience less grief. However, this requires discussion of preferences, access to a comprehensive home care package and facilitation of family caregiving.
Previous studies have shown that most people would prefer to die at home. In the UK, US and Canada, slightly more appear to be realising this wish, while in Japan, Germany, Greece and Portugal, a trend towards institutionalised dying persists.
Despite differing trends, the most frequent location of death for cancer patients remains hospital. Evidence regarding whether dying at home is better or worse than in hospital has, however, been inconsistent.
The new study took place in four health districts in London covering 1.3 million residents. 352 bereaved relatives of cancer patients completed questionnaires after their death -- 177 patients died in hospital and 175 died at home. The questionnaires included validated measures of the patient's pain and peace in the last week of life and the relative's own grief intensity.
Lead author Barbara Gomes from the Cicely Saunders Institute at King's College London, UK, said: "This is the most comprehensive population-based study to date of factors and outcomes associated with dying at home compared to hospital. We know that many patients fear being at home believing they place an awful burden on their family. However, we found that grief was actually less intense for relatives of people who died at home.
"Many people with cancer justifiably fear pain. So it is encouraging that we observed patients dying at home did not experience greater pain than those in hospitals where access to pain relieving drugs may be more plentiful. They were also reported to have experienced a more peaceful death than those dying in hospital."
The study found that over 91% of home deaths could be explained by four factors: patient's preference; relative's preference; receipt of home palliative care in the last three months of life and receipt of district/community nursing in the last their months of life. When Marie Curie nurses (which provide additional home support) were involved, the patient rarely died in hospital. The number of general practitioner home visits also increases the odds of dying at home.
Three additional factors were also identified that had been previously overlooked -- length of family's awareness of that the condition could not be cured, discussion of patient's preference with family, and the days taken off work by relatives in the three months before death. The authors say this challenges current thinking about the influence of patient's functional status, social conditions, and living arrangements, which showed no association once other factors are considered.
Barbara Gomes said: "Our findings prompt policymakers and clinicians to improve access to comprehensive home care packages including specialist palliative care services and 24/7 community nursing. This is important because, in some regions, the workforce providing essential elements of this care package is being reduced."
The researchers also highlight the crucial role of families in caring for patients at home and in decision-making processes, and the need to facilitate family caregiving.
Barbara Gomes added: "Many relatives see dedicated care as something they would naturally do for their loved one, but it still represents out-of-pocket money or days off their annual leave. Some governments, for example, in Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, have set up social programmes or employment insurance benefits, similar to maternity leave, aimed at supporting families to provide care for their dying relatives.
"We urge consideration of similar schemes where they do not exist, with the necessary caution associated with complex public health interventions -- careful development, piloting and testing, prior to implementation."
Limitations of the study include its retrospective and observational nature, showing associations which do not necessarily indicate causality. The transferability of findings to regions outside of London, where home care services are less available, is uncertain. Subjective factors, pain and peace are also vulnerable to recall and observer bias from respondents.
“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more.
You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement.
They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful.
There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again.
Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby.
Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do.
Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible.
You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.” Bob Marley
Sculpture this and Sculpture that
Cuvilliés Theatre (architecture by François de Cuvilliés)
To support innovation, subsidize creators.
By Roy Bahat
Roy Bahat is the head of Bloomberg Beta, the early-stage venture fund backed by Bloomberg L.P.
Some people believe a universal basic income would threaten innovation — why work hard to bring new things to life, if my rewards will be taxed away to pay for an income for others?
A basic income program, if we can afford to offer it at a livable level, might have the opposite effect. Universal basic income might be the most meaningful way we could subsidize the earliest stages of innovation. It could multiply, by many factors, the amount of time people can spend creating.
Creators — of art, of technology, of the new companies that will change the way we live — often struggle to solve a basic problem: How do you make a living and still have time to work on the Next Great Thing? The side job that a screenwriter holds while working on his or her first screenplay is such a common trope we barely think about it. Startup founders receive endless advice, some absurd, on how to make money while starting a company — from freelance web development to selling bodily fluids.
We imagine the way creation works as a straight line — a novelist imagines what he or she wants to write about, sits down and starts typing. After plenty of time passes: a novel. But invention isn’t actually like that. It goes in fits and starts, it frustrates and reconciles. Part of the work is discovery, poking around, and experimenting. For many, it’s much easier to do without the pressure of needing to produce on a schedule. For most, it is impossible to do without some other income — which might be one reason so many startup founders already happen to be wealthy before they start their companies.
A universal basic income could free up all that hand-wringing, freelancing-to-pay-the-bills, agonizing-over-whether-the-sacrifices-are-worth-it time. Many who struggle to work while inventing new things might see an income floor as an open door to a world they might otherwise never have considered at all.
But would the increased tax load needed to fund a universal basic income kill the very incentive to innovate? Don’t startup founders start their companies in order to make more money for themselves?
Who knows. In the kinds of innovation I see, the desire for money seems to play a more limited role than you might expect. I have yet to meet the founder who starts a company instead of working at one because the capital gains tax treatment is preferable to an ordinary income. And for other kinds of creation — musical, literary, or visual, among others — money has long played (almost) no role, other than as a constraint to be solved so the maker has time to make.
This is the constraint a universal basic income might solve: It might put an end to the waitering, the security guarding, the hotel clerking that keeps innovators from reaching their full potential. Others will opine on what incentives we need to get these jobs done in society, and whether universal basic income is a good solution to income inequality, or even feasible at all. In my corner of the world, startups and the people who build them, a universal basic income could unlock innovation.
DON'T YOU JUST LOVE POP ART?
Faith Matters: The Grand Experiment
In 1845, Henry David Thoreau, then in his late twenties, borrowed an ax, went to the woods surrounding the Massachusetts village of Concord, and began felling trees. He used the timber to build the small cabin he lived in for two years, two months, and two days. His book “Walden,” a journal of his discoveries during those 26 months, is a genuine American classic.
Thoreau didn’t go to the woods because he was a misanthrope who despised the company of others. Nor, not being a particularly religious man, did he go there to commune with God. (On his deathbed, when someone urged him to make peace with his Maker, Thoreau quipped that he wasn’t aware of ever quarreling with Him.)
Instead, Thoreau conducted an experiment, the grandest experiment imaginable. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” He wanted, he wrote, to “live deeply” and “suck the marrow of life.”
In a consumerist culture like ours that valorizes worldly success, the good life is primarily measured in terms of wealth and power. Sucking the marrow of life means having enough money to buy anything we could possibly crave. But for Thoreau, it meant living “deliberately,” or mindfully, to discern what we should want out of life.
Thoreau observed that his friends and acquaintances in Concord seemed fixated on accumulating as much land, property, and wealth as they could. Accordingly, they pushed themselves to labor ever more back-breakingly to earn money so they could buy more things. But the tragedy, as Thoreau saw it, was that more was never enough for them. Each new acquisition only reignited new appetites, until they found themselves in what the 20th century economist John Kenneth Galbraith called the trap of the squirrel or hamster wheel: running faster and faster in pursuit of higher incomes and more consumer goods, but getting no closer to the genuinely good life.
The nascent consumer frenzy that troubled Thoreau in his century is full-blown in ours. Commodity addiction — what some commentators wittily but aptly call “affluenza” — is out of control. We shop when we’re happy, when we’re depressed, or when we’re just bored. We purchase goods, mostly on credit, in hundreds of thousands of actual and virtual stores. We just can’t get our fill of stuff — not surprisingly, since we define ourselves and others by what we own. The way out, fortunately, isn’t rocket science, but it does call for self-discipline. According to Thoreau, the trick is: “Simplify, simplify, simplify!”
What’s called for is purging the mania for accumulation that clutters our souls with inordinate desires and our garages with junk we jubilantly bought but quickly tired of. Simplifying our inner and outer worlds revitalizes our jaded spiritual palates, enabling us to relish life’s enriching marrow instead of gorging ourselves on junk food substitutes.
When we discipline our desires and simplify our day-to-day living, we make space for a rediscovery of the wonder at the world we had as kids. We retrieve the ability for grateful astonishment that the consumer culture stole from us.
We’re able once again to be attentive to and appreciative of the everyday but quite extraordinary gifts that the world offers: the beauty of a lark’s song, the delicacy of a dandelion gone to seed, the stateliness of a heron, the tenderness of a lover’s smile. We remember that it’s more important to be than to have, to let go than to clutch, to be happy instead of settling for a fleeting satiation. This is what it means to “front the essential facts of life.” This is how, as Thoreau wrote, we open “the channel of purity.”
To discover as we lie dying that we never really lived, the fate that Thoreau dreaded, is a terrible thing. When the time comes for us to return to our ancestors, we should be able to leave the earth with profound gratitude for the life we led. Getting stuck on the squirrel wheel won’t get us there, regardless of how frenetically we run. We’re better off going to the woods now and then to listen, as Thoreau did, to what the trees have to tell us.
AND NOW A WORD FROM EMERSON ……………….
Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.
Trust instinct to the end even though you can give no reason.
The highest compact we can make with our fellow is --Let there be truth between us two forevermore.
AND NOW A WORD FROM THE BARD....................
If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?
Visit our Shakespeare Blog at the address below
GOOD WORDS TO HAVE………………..
Snipe: 1. Any of various long-billed birds inhabiting marshy areas. 2. A shot from a concealed position. 1. To shoot from a concealed position. 2. To criticize in a harsh and unfair way, especially anonymously. Probably of Scandinavian origin. The shooting sense comes from the practice of snipe hunting.
HERE'S PLEASANT POEM FOR YOU TO ENJOY................
The First Green of Spring
by David Budbill
Our walking in the swamp picking cowslip, marsh marigold,
this sweet first green of spring. Now sautéed in a pan melting
to a deeper green than ever they were alive, this green, this life,
harbinger of things to come. Now we sit at the table munching
on this message from the dawn which says we and the world
are alive again today, and this is the world's birthday. And
even though we know we are growing old, we are dying, we
will never be young again, we also know we're still right here
now, today, and, my oh my! don't these greens taste good.
HERE'S SOME NICE ART FOR YOU TO LOOK AT....ENJOY!
You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens. Mandy Hale
I LOVE BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS FROM FILM
If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. Joseph Campbell
WHY THE WORLD NEEDS EDITORS.....................
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. Lao Tzu
THE ART OF WAR...............................
Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends. Joseph Campbell, Creative Mythology
HERE'S MY LATEST BOOK.....
This is a book of short stories taken from the things I saw and heard in my childhood in the factory town of Ansonia in southwestern Connecticut.
Most of these stories, or as true as I recall them because I witnessed these events many years ago through the eyes of child and are retold to you now with the pen and hindsight of an older man. The only exception is the story Beat Time which is based on the disappearance of Beat poet Lew Welch. Decades before I knew who Welch was, I was told that he had made his from California to New Haven, Connecticut, where was an alcoholic living in a mission. The notion fascinated me and I filed it away but never forgot it.
The collected stories are loosely modeled around Joyce’s novel, Dubliners (I also borrowed from the novels character and place names. Ivy Day, my character in “Local Orphan is Hero” is also the name of chapter in Dubliners, etc.) and like Joyce I wanted to write about my people, the people I knew as a child, the working class in small town America and I wanted to give a complete view of them as well. As a result the stories are about the divorced, Gays, black people, the working poor, the middle class, the lost and the found, the contented and the discontented.
Conversely many of the stories in this book are about starting life over again as a result of suicide (The Hanging Party, Small Town Tragedy, Beat Time) or from a near death experience (Anna Bell Lee and the Charge of the Light Brigade, A Brief Summer) and natural occurring death. (The Best Laid Plans, The Winter Years, Balanced and Serene)
With the exception of Jesus Loves Shaqunda, in each story there is a rebirth from the death. (Shaqunda is reported as having died of pneumonia in The Winter Years)
Sal, the desperate and depressed divorcee in Things Change, changes his life in Lunch Hour when asks the waitress for a date and she accepts. (Which we learn in Closing Time, the last story in the book) In The Arranged Time, Thisby is given the option of change and whether she takes it or, we don’t know. The death of Greta’s husband in A Matter of Time has led her to the diner and into the waiting arms of the outgoing and loveable Gabe.
Although the book is based on three sets of time (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and the diner is opened in the early morning and closed at night, time stands still inside the Diner. The hour on the big clock on the wall never changes time and much like my memories of that place, everything remains the same.
In 1962, six year old John Tuohy, his two brothers and two sisters entered Connecticut’s foster care system and were promptly split apart. Over the next ten years, John would live in more than ten foster homes, group homes and state schools, from his native Waterbury to Ansonia, New Haven, West Haven, Deep River and Hartford. In the end, a decade later, the state returned him to the same home and the same parents they had taken him from. As tragic as is funny compelling story will make you cry and laugh as you journey with this child to overcome the obstacles of the foster care system and find his dreams.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washington DC. He holds an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University. He is the author of numerous non-fiction on the history of organized crime including the ground break biography of bootlegger Roger Tuohy "When Capone's Mob Murdered Touhy" and "Guns and Glamour: A History of Organized Crime in Chicago."
His non-fiction crime short stories have appeared in The New Criminologist, American Mafia and other publications. John won the City of Chicago's Celtic Playfest for his work The Hannigan's of Beverly, and his short story fiction work, Karma Finds Franny Glass, appeared in AdmitTwo Magazine in October of 2008.
His play, Cyberdate.Com, was chosen for a public performance at the Actors Chapel in Manhattan in February of 2007 as part of the groups Reading Series for New York project. In June of 2008, the play won the Virginia Theater of The First Amendment Award for best new play.
SOME NONSENSE ABOUT A DOG
By HARRY ESTY DOUNCE
"My hand will miss the insinuated nose--"Sir William Watson.
But the dog that was written of must have been a big dog. Nibbie was
just a comfortable lapful, once he had duly turned around and curled up
with his nose in his tail.
This is for people who know about dogs, in particular little mongrels
without pedigree or market value. Other people, no doubt, will find it
disgustingly maudlin. I would have found it so before Nibbie came.
The day he came was a beautiful bright, cool one in an August. A touring
car brought him. They put him down on our corner, meaning to lose him,
but he crawled under the car, and they had to prod him out and throw
stones before they could drive on. So that when I came home I found,
with his mistress-elect, a sort of potbellied bundle of tarry oakum,
caked with mud, panting convulsively still from fright, and showing the
whites of uncommonly liquid brown eyes and a pink tongue. There was
tennis that evening and he went along--I carried him over the railroad
tracks; he gave us no trouble about the balls, but lay huddled under the
bench where she sat, and shivered if a man came near him.
That night he got chop bones and she got a sensible homily on the
unwisdom of feeding strays, and he was left outdoors. He slept on the
mat. The second morning we thought he had gone. The third, he was back,
wagging approval of us and intent to stay, which seemed to leave no
choice but to take him in. We had fun over names. "Jellywaggles,"
suggested from next door, was undeniably descriptive. "Rags" fitted, or
"Toby" or "Nig"--but they had a colored maid next door; finally we
called him "Nibs," and soon his tail would answer to it.
Cleaned up--scrubbed, the insoluble matted locks clipped from his coat,
his trampish collar replaced with a new one bearing a license tag--he
was far from being unpresentable. A vet. once opined that for a mongrel
he was a good dog, that a black cocker mother had thrown her cap over
Scottish mills, so to speak. This analysis accounted for him perfectly.
Always, depending on the moment's mood, he was either terrier or
spaniel, the snap and scrap and perk of the one alternating with the
gentle snuggling indolence of the other.
As terrier he would dig furiously by the hour after a field mouse; as
spaniel he would "read" the breeze with the best nose among the dog folk
of our neighborhood, or follow a trail quite well. I know there was
retrieving blood. A year ago May he caught and brought me, not doing the
least injury, an oriole that probably had flown against a wire and was
struggling disabled in the grass.
Nibbie was shabby-genteel black, sunburnt as to the mustache, grizzled
as to the raggy fringe on his haunches. He had a white stock and
shirt-frill and a white fore paw. The brown eyes full of heart were the
best point. His body coat was rough Scottish worsted, the little black
pate was cotton-soft like shoddy, and the big black ears were genuine
spaniel silk. As a terrier he held them up smartly and carried a plumy
fishhook of a tail; as a spaniel the ears drooped and the tail swung
meekly as if in apology for never having been clipped. The other day
when we had to say good-by to him each of us cut one silky tuft from an
ear, very much as we had so often when he'd been among the burdocks in
the field where the garden is.
Burrs were by no means Nibbie's only failing. In flea time it seemed
hardly possible that a dog of his size could sustain his population. We
finally found a true flea bane, but, deserted one day, he was populous
again the next. They don't relish every human; me they did; I used to
storm at him for it, and he used, between spasms of scratching, to
listen admiringly and wag. We think he supposed his tormentors were
winged insects, for he sought refuge in dark clothes-closets where a
flying imp wouldn't logically come.
He was wilful, insisted on landing in laps when their makers wanted to
read. He _would_ make advances to visitors who were polite about him. He
_would_ get up on the living-room table, why and how, heaven knows,
finding his opportunity when we were out of the house, and taking care
to be upstairs on a bed--white, grimeable coverlets preferred--by the
time we had the front door open; I used to slip up to the porch and
catch through a window the diving flourish of his sinful tail.
One of his faults must have been a neurosis really. He led a hard life
before we took him in, as witnessed the game hind leg that made him sit
up side-saddle fashion, and two such scars on his back as boiling hot
grease might have made. And something especially cruel had been done to
him when asleep, for if you bent over him napping or in his bed he would
half rouse and growl, and sometimes snap blindly. (We dreaded exuberant
visiting children.) Two or three experiments I hate to remember now
convinced me that it couldn't be whipped out of him, and once wide
awake he was sure to be perplexedly apologetic.
He was spoiled. That was our doing. We babied him abominably--he was,
for two years, the only subject we had for such malpractice. He had more
foolish names than Wogg, that dog of Mrs. Stevenson's, and heard more
Little Language than Stella ever did, reciprocating by kissing proffered
ears in his doggy way. Once he had brightened up after his arrival, he
showed himself ready to take an ell whenever we gave an inch, and he was
always taking them, and never paying penalties. He had conscience enough
to be sly. I remember the summer evening we stepped outside for just an
instant, and came back to find a curious groove across the butter, on
the dining table, and an ever-so-innocent Nibbie in a chair in the next
While we were at the table he was generally around it, bulldozing for
tid-bits--I fear he had reason to know that this would work. One
fortnight when his Missie was away he slept on his Old Man's bed (we had
dropped titles of dignity with him by then) and he rang the welkin
hourly, answering far-away dog friends, and occasionally came north to
lollop my face with tender solicitude, just like the fool nurse in the
story, waking the patient up to ask if he was sleeping well.
More recently, when a beruffled basket was waiting, he developed an
alarming trick of stealing in there to try it, so I fitted that door
with a hook, insuring a crack impervious to dogs. And the other night I
had to take the hook, now useless, off; we couldn't stand hearing it
jingle. He adopted the junior member on first sight and sniff of him, by
the way; would look on beaming as proudly as if he'd hatched him.
The last of his iniquities arose from a valor that lacked its better
part, an absurd mixture of Falstaff and bantam rooster. At the critical
point he'd back out of a fuss with a dog of his own size. But let a
police dog, an Airedale, a St. Bernard, or a big ugly cur appear and
Nibbie was all around him, blackguarding him unendurably. It was lucky
that the big dogs in our neighborhood were patient. And he never would
learn about automobiles. Usually tried to tackle them head on, often
stopped cars with merciful drivers. When the car wouldn't stop, luck
would save him by a fraction of an inch. I couldn't spank that out of
him either. We had really been expecting what finally happened for two
That's about all. Too much, I am afraid. A decent fate made it quick the
other night, and clean and close at hand, in fact, on the same street
corner where once a car had left the small scapegrace for us. We tell
ourselves how glad we are it happened as it did, instead of an agonal
ending such as many of his people come to. We tell ourselves we
couldn't have had him for ever in any event; that some day, for the
junior member's sake, we shall get another dog. We keep telling
ourselves these things, and talking with animation on other topics. The
muzzle, the leash, the drinking dish are hidden, the last muddy paw
track swept up, the nose smudges washed off the favorite front window
But the house is full of a little snoofing, wagging, loving ghost. I
know how the boy Thoreau felt about a hereafter with dogs barred. I want
to think that somewhere, some time, I will be coming home again, and
that when the door opens Nibbie will be on hand to caper welcome.