Category Archives: General

Completely Wireless iPhones?

Found this article over at cnbc.com and written by Annie Palmer:

Apple is killing the charging plug on its highest-end phones by 2021, top analyst predicts

It’s an intriguing idea and, at least for the iPhones, one that doesn’t bother me much. At this point in time I hardly ever “plug in” my own iPhone much, charging it in the car wirelessly or, if I need to at home, likewise. In fact, I can’t recall the last time I had to actually plug the thing in to charge it.

HOWEVER…

I also use an iPad -quite extensively in fact- and there are often times the battery is very low and I need to plug it in to continue working/playing/whatever-I’m-doing on it.

Similarly, my daughters, who have iPhones as well, use them pretty much for everything and are often finding them low. They plug them in quite a bit to keep doing whatever they’re doing on them while charging them up.

Which begs the question: If Apple is planning to do away with the charging plug, will they have some system that will allow people who are low to charge them while still working on the phone? Or will they have to put the phone in a wireless charger of some type which will be connected to a socket so they can keep using them while charging up?

It seems to me they need to do something like that.

Unless, of course, they’ve figured out a way to get even more life out of batteries and figure people will simply charge their phone when they’re sleeping.

Again: I’m not against the idea of wireless charging an iPhone, but what isn’t inconvenient to me might be for someone else!

More on Tesla…

As the header states, this is about Tesla and electric vehicles in general so if you’re not interested in either, look away…

Now then, I found this article over at jalopnik.com and written by Michael Ballaban…

Here’s the main problem with Tesla’s Supercharger Network

I’m going to give away the entire article here but basically Mr. Ballaban notes that over the Thanksgiving Holiday when people were out and about with their cars, in Tesla heavy areas, specifically San Luis Obispo, California, there was a line of Tesla cars waiting to use the Superchargers there and Mr. Ballaban concludes that this is the big problem with Tesla’s Supercharger Network: There needs to be more of them.

To which I say: This here is a perfect example of backseat driving (pardon the pun) and/or wanting everything right away/entitledness.

When a significant number of cars first started appearing in the early 20th Century, do you think that gas stations suddenly were everywhere? Do you think people who adopted those early vehicles suddenly had access to hundreds of gas stations within a couple of miles where they were?

Nope.

It took a while for them to appear. Hell, it took a while -decades!- before we had good highways in which one could actually use these newfangled cars!

Tesla, as I’ve noted before, has been in existence a grand total of some 16 years. It is one company founded by Elon Musk who had to put/invest a tremendous amount of money -his own and borrowed- to get the damn thing off the ground. And Tesla had to fight the generalized feeling among many that electric cars were simply not good compared to gas/Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars. Fighting the oil companies, by the way, ain’t easy. They’re among the biggest, most powerful companies around and their lobbyists are very powerful in Washington and around the world.

Yet in those short number of years, Tesla/Musk has changed the attitude that EVs are worthless. They’ve managed to institute, on their own, thousands of Superchargers around the country that will allow those who have Tesla vehicles the ability to travel across this country. Yes, it takes a little longer to charge a EV vs. fill up an ICE vehicle’s tank. Yes, there are far more gas stations around that Superchargers.

But…!

We’re in the early stages of the EV revolution, if indeed it is that.

There are thousands of Superchargers out there but, guess what?, these are only used when one does travel far distances. When you don’t, you tend to use home chargers, if you can.

In my case, I’ve used the Tesla Superchargers a grand total of six times since getting my car in February. The only reason I used those Superchargers was because I was making trips that took me significantly away from home. With only one exception: The very first time I used a Supercharger was one day when I was relatively low on power (I had roughly 150 miles of range, so no danger of being empty) and decided rather than charge at home later on -and because I was so close to a Supercharger- I’d use it to see how it worked.

So, in total I’ve used the Superchargers five times when I actually needed them. Those five times were easy, relatively quick (average 30 minutes charge time, longest was about 40 minutes when I was very low and wanted to get to 80% charge), and most importantly: I did not have any lines to deal with.

Yet the article above makes it sound like “holy hell, look at how people have to wait in line to get their charge!”

Betcha big money those chargers are relatively empty today, after the Thanksgiving weekend, and will stay so with the exception of any big holiday when people are indeed out and about driving long distances. Wait times? I bet they’re nothing today.

But again: WE ARE AT THE START OF THE EV REVOLUTION.

There aren’t that many Superchargers out there because there aren’t that many EV cars out there in comparison to ICE vehicles.

As more and more EVs are sold, I guarantee you more and more Superchargers and other charging stations will appear to deal with the demand.

There may still come a few more Thanksgiving or other holidays in the future where we see lines of cars (Teslas or whatever other vehicle) waiting to get juiced up.

This will change, provided EVs continue to do well, which I believe they will.

Have patience, Mr. Ballaban. Rome wasn’t built in one day.

Chargers will appear more and more, just as gas stations eventually did.

Give ’em time.

Changes…

Yesterday we had the entire family over for Thanksgiving and it was a nice, though hectic, time.

Afterwards, the wife, the kids, and I cleaned up the mess left behind and put away everything that needed putting away.

By around 8 P.M. with all that done (some had other places to go, others had longish rides back home, while many were simply early risers and don’t hang out too long), we decided, what the hell, let’s head out to our nearby Target and check out the Black Friday sales.

According to their promo ads and as you can see below, the store opened at a very early 5 P.M.

I recall how in years past we would rush through Thanksgiving and then run out to a store like Target and others hurrying to pick up on that deal you just had to have.

This year, though, we didn’t rush at all. Indeed, when we left at 8 P.M. to go out there, we had two items in mind we were curious to get -pretty good deals, certainly- but we kinda/sorta figured these items wouldn’t be the “hot” items everyone might be going after. As it turned out, we were wrong about one of them and took a subsequent journey to a farther away (but not too far) Target to get said second item -they were able to verify the other store had the particular item in stock- and, after going there, our night of not-so-frenzied Black Friday shopping was done.

Interestingly, we didn’t find terribly big crowds in either Target store. In years past, there were police cars outside the entry and police within, watching to make sure the crowds behaved. And in the past, this was very necessary.

But this time around, and I’ll grant you it was a few hours into the Black Friday opening blitz, things were supremely calm.

Which got me thinking about the way things change over time.

If you look closely at that picture I posted above, you’ll notice that after stating when the Target stores would open and on the bottom of that black circle you have this: Shop deals now at Target.com

The internet, like so many things, has disrupted/changed the Black Friday experience.

I suspect the crowds simply weren’t all that great because the items one might be crazy about getting -even those we wound up getting- we probably could have just ordered online earlier in the day and not bothered with our trek to Target.

In years past I’d look in amazement at footage of crowds tsunami-like entering a store at its opening, of people quite literally fighting for items, and I suspect that while this may still happen, its probably muted somewhat nowadays because one can order these things online.

Which made me think of how many things have been changed of late.

I suppose its a function of aging: As one gets older -and assuming one pays attention- you see changes.

For example, when I was younger, I hung out in malls to check out two types of stores: The bookstores and the music/CD stores.

I’d hang in the bookstore for a while checking out the latest books, then saunter over to the music/CD store and check out what CDs they had (there was a time –damn I’m old- when these stores had records and cassettes!).

With the arrival of the MP3 file, the CD, which took over for both the vinyl record (though that has made a comeback) and cassette was effectively neutralized. While I frown heavily upon pirate copying of artistic works, the reality was that suddenly people had access, both legally and illegally, to pretty much all music via the internet and, seemingly overnight, the music stores disappeared.

Today, Best Buy, Target, Walmart and their likes still have small sections featuring CDs and, ironically enough, bigger sections within those music sections featuring vinyl records.

But the days of the music stores -other than those catering to the vinyl record industry- are effectively over.

The other store I would spend hours in was the bookstore.

As someone who fancies himself a writer, it remains incredible to me that I simply don’t miss bookstores. Once, I had at least two very large ones within less than 20 minutes of me. Borders was the largest, a mega-book/music/video store. When Borders went out of business, I mourned the loss, but not all that much.

By then, I was almost fully into digital copies of books, having a Kindle reader and an iPad for both purposes. When our local Comic Book store also shut down, I realized just how much interesting stuff was likewise available online (again, legally purchased!). I’ve read more interesting comic books in the past year or so than I have in the previous five or more years and the range of interesting titles which are available, and which I can download in a matter of seconds, is astonishing.

This post is not intended to be a lamentation of the “good old days”. While I truly did enjoy the hell out of myself back then driving to brick and mortal stores for music, videos, and books/comic books, and I really don’t like the fact that so many small, independent businesses are no longer able to survive selling these items, as a consumer I’ve never had so much available to me.

Perhaps too much!

I’m into nostalgia as much if not more than most people, but one must also face the reality of the present.

Black Friday, it seems to me, is something that is in the next few years going to change. No longer will we marvel/be horrified by the crowds rushing into stores like we were before and, I suppose, that’s a good thing considering some of the fights/injuries that happened.

It’s also a sign of how things inevitably change.

Yesterday’s Tesla Cybertruck Unveil…

If you’re at all interested in this sort of stuff like I am (even though I have no interest now nor likely in the future of getting myself a pickup truck), then you likely caught either live or early this morning clips from the Tesla Cybertruck unveil.

I suppose the one big thing people will talk about is this…

Image result for tesla cybertruck"

Whether you like, hate, or are indifferent to the truck, you notice the two broken windows?

Yeah, Elon Musk made a point of how the truck’s windows were these super strong reinforced windows and showed, using dropped metal balls on a “typical” pickup truck window versus his truck’s window how they didn’t shatter.

Then, after showing the window strength on these sample windows, he had the metal ball thrown against the Cybertruck’s window and… well… they cracked. Both of ’em.

Why? More importantly, how?

I mean, Musk and his engineers must have tried this trick many times before coming out here for this demonstration right? And the windows, in those occasions, must have held together, right?

I think I know what went wrong, though obviously this is pure speculation on my part: Before throwing the metal balls at the truck’s window, Musk showed the strength of the truck’s body. Using a sledgehammer, the truck’s front and back doors -the same doors which have those ultimately shattered windows- were slammed with that sledgehammer and, lo and behold, no marks were left.

Truly astonishing stuff!

However, I suspect slamming the sledgehammer into those doors weakened the truck’s windows and perhaps caused them to develop small cracks. Thus, when it came time to throw the metal ball, hilarity (and embarrassment) occurred.

Yikes.

All right, but that’s the way it goes. You come up to the plate, there are times you’re going to strike out. In that portion of last night’s event, it was a definite strikeout.

What of the Cybertruck itself? How does it look? How much does it cost and what do you get for your money?

I found this video posted on YouTube and presented by The Verge which offers a good encapsulation of the night’s event, including the narrator’s impressions of the truck following taking a ride in it…

The video is, IMHO, quite neutral in its presentation, offering the pluses and minuses of this brief glimpse of the Tesla Cybertruck.

On the plus side, the price and features this truck will have, especially in its premium model, are insane. 500 mile range? Whoa…!

But here’s the thing: How does one react to how the truck looks?

Image result for tesla cybertruck"

I’m ok with it, to be honest. I don’t love it, but I certainly don’t hate it. I suspect, however, this is going to be the biggest issue with potential consumers. There are going to be those -and they’re many!- who aren’t going to like the look of this car and will refuse to purchase it on that basis.

There are already plenty of snarky comments online about the truck’s looks, some joking it looks like a PS1 rendering of a truck.

They’re not wrong!

Musk’s vehicles, if nothing else, sure do go toward the clean, minimalistic look, and the Cybertruck is certainly on course.

However, and as I said, while I don’t love it I also don’t hate it.

In fact, the more I look at it, the more its kinda growing on me.

Mind you, I’m still not interested in getting it. In my life and ever since starting to drive in 1981/2, I’ve never had a pickup truck nor the desire to own one.

That hasn’t changed, even if I sure was curious to see what Musk and Tesla had up their sleeve here.

UPDATE:

Ok, perhaps my Tesla fanboy nature is showing, but I’ll be damned if the more I see pictures of this Cybertruck the more I… like it.

It’s so damn different from everything out there that perhaps its natural one would initially have a negative impression, but the more I see photos like this one…

…the more I like it.

Understand, though, I have no need/interest in getting a pickup truck but if I did, suddenly the idea of getting something that looks like this isn’t quite so hard to swallow.

As they say, your mileage, of course, man/will vary!

Mustang Mach E Redux

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Oscar Wilde

Yesterday I posted a longish analysis of the new Mustang Mach E, Ford’s first big foray into the electric automobile market, and how that vehicle, to my eyes, appears to be a very direct imitation of Tesla’s upcoming Model Y, from the stats to the visuals. (If you care to, you can read the full thing here)

Also yesterday, the Mach E was formally presented and Electrek.com, one of the larger/well-known websites that focus on the EV revolution, had a representative there. Seth Weintraub offers the following fascinating article regarding what he saw…

Great Artists Steal: Why Ford’s Mustang Mach E was inspired by Tesla in all the right ways

The upshot of what Mr. Weintraub writes is encapsulated by Oscar Wilde’s famous quote as well as the title to his article: Yeah, Ford pretty much copied Tesla’s vehicles -particularly the upcoming Model Y- but, you know what? They created a pretty damn nice EV!

What does Elon Musk, the man behind Tesla, have to say about this? From the same website, Fred Lambert notes…

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is “excited” for Ford Mustang Mach E, says should encourage other automakers

Within that same article and if you scroll down to the comments section, “Merv99” gives a very sanguine analysis of the whole thing:

Validation of EVs by other automakers is important. Tesla doesn’t want 70% of 2% of the market. It’s much better to have 40% of 90% of the market.

This is a very important thing to note: As much as I personally love EVs and feel they are very much the future of cars, as much as I personally feel ICE vehicles are a thing of the past, even if they don’t know it yet, they still take up an overwhelmingly LARGE percent of the market and will likely do so for a while longer.

But, with the release of the Mustang Mach E, I’m hoping people who hesitate trying a Tesla will give the Mach E a try and realize like I have these EVs are indeed the future. Perhaps then the wave of negativity coming from so many people -including those who financially benefit from the ICE status quo- will break.

EVs are very much the next generation of cars.

Hopefully and in time, they will take up a larger and larger share of the market.

Mustang Mach E

For those interested in such things, later today Ford will officially unveil their first big entry into the electric car market, the Mustang Mach E.

While today is the day the car will be officially unveiled, a few days back someone at Ford accidentally uploaded the full car specs/prices to their website. The information was quickly taken off, but not before several car websites saved the information. Over at jalopnik.com, Bradley Brownwell offered pretty much all the screenshots to the since deleted (though I suspect by tonight will be up again) site:

2021 Ford Mustang Mach E: Here’s the Car, Price, and 0-60 Times Before You’re Supposed To See It

What does the car look like? Here you go…

And here we have the interior…

As you may know, if you’re been reading my ramblings for a while, I’m not only a BIG proponent of electric vehicles, I have a Tesla Model 3 and absolutely love the damn thing to death. I’ve been driving since roughly 1981-2 or so and in that time I’ve driven good, bad, and terrible cars, all gas powered, but the Tesla has really captured my imagination.

I quite certain I will never buy another gas powered car and, further, I’m also quite certain the era of the ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles is at its end… even if it may take a few years before the EVs supplant them.

That’s how much I love my Tesla. That’s how much I feel the car is several steps above any ICE vehicle.

Having said that, I’m a strong proponent of other car manufacturers getting into the EV game. It’s ultimately better for the environment and these cars have so many advantages over ICE cars its not even funny (I’ll leave you to look into that, if you care to!). The only disadvantages I would site with EV cars vs. ICE is a) range on a “full” charge vs ICE vehicles and b) the charging is slower.

However, both disadvantages are rapidly being eliminated. Tesla’s Superchargers manage to recharge my Model 3 in roughly 30 minutes. After driving 2 1/2 hours or so, though, that’s hardly terrible. One can use the time for a bathroom break and/or to get some snacks/food. Further, this is using the 2nd Generation Supercharger. The 3rd Generation supposedly will charge up even quicker. The range, too, is becoming less a factor. My Model 3 on a 100% charge can do 310 miles or so. The new Model S can do 377. The New Model X can go 325.

But returning to the Mustang and as I said above, I’m a BIG proponent of the other car makers making their EVs. Competition is a good thing for consumers and I absolutely want to see Tesla pushed to make even better EVs, just as I want to see the other car makers do the same.

The big question, now that the specs for the Mustang Mach E have been leaked, is how does it compare to the Teslas? Specifically, how does it compare to the upcoming Model Y, which Ford clearly is targeting with this vehicle (I’ll get to that in a second).

Glad you asked!

Over at electrek.com, Fred Lambert offers the following…

Tesla Model Y vs. Ford Mach E Specs Comparison

For those who don’t care to read all the nitty-gritty, the bottom line is this: The Ford Mach E specs are quite comparable to the upcoming Tesla Y, though one should be just a little weary about the ultimate Model Y specs. Until that vehicle is actually released, there may be some changes, perhaps in price and/or range.

Still, if we compare one to the other, then they are remarkably similar vehicles.

In fact, I would go so far as to say… Ford is essentially copying the Model Y, aren’t they? I mean, the specs are so damn similar. And as for the look of each vehicle… I mean, come on! The Mustang Mach E looks like a Tesla Model Y twin, only with certain Mustang “looks” added on.

I’m not the only one to see that. Over at autoevolution.com, Andrei Nedelea notes the same…

Photo Comparison: Ford Mustang Mach E Looks Eerily Similar To Tesla Model Y

At the risk of giving away everything from the article, I’ll post the three photo comparisons they offer there, just to give you an idea of how similar these vehicles look…

You have the Mustang on top and the Tesla Model Y, in blue, on the bottom. Very similar lines, no?

Next up, a rear-view of both vehicles…

Once again, very similar lines, no? Look especially at the shapes of the windows and the lines on the side. I mean… it’s almost identical, isn’t it?

Here’s a third one, the interior of each car:

Again, incredibly similar interiors, no? Use of pad-like screens to show everything but note too the Tesla offers controls on the steering wheel as does the Mustang.

One thing not listed, which I also think is interesting, is that the Mustang has a glass roof…

For those who don’t know, the Teslas all have similar glass roofs…

So, yeah, to be quite clear, the Ford Mach E looks like a carbon copy of the Tesla Model Y, both in terms of stats and looks.

I don’t mind, honestly, that they so boldly have decided to match/rip-off the Tesla Y. In the case of the emerging market for EVs, perhaps this is a ultimately a wise move and from there Ford can figure things out for themselves, hopefully improving their vehicle and making progress in creating new features unique to their cars versus those in the Tesla.

Having said that, at this point what makes the Mustang more desirable than a Model Y are the tax rebates you can get from the car. This is not an insignificant amount, some $7000 plus you get off the car. Tesla has reached their limits for this rebate while Ford is just starting.

Having said that, there are also some big things you should also consider if you are debating getting a Model Y vs. a Ford Mustang Mach E.

First and foremost: The Supercharger network Tesla offers is a tremendous advantage, especially if you intend to make long distance trips. When I bought my Model 3, I frankly didn’t even consider this but now that I have the car and I have made long term trips, I realize how incredibly lucky I was to stumble into this.

The fact of the matter is that Tesla has thought through the EV market quite well -it is their only product- and they realized they not only needed to provide EVs with long range but also that they needed to provide Superchargers along the way for their vehicles to get charged up quickly and trips resumed as fast as possible.

Not that I have an intention of doing so, but at this point in time I can travel to almost all parts of the country using the Supercharger networks along the way. The Tesla navigation system in your car will also help you tremendously in this respect. You put in your long range destination and it will tell you where to go charge your car along the way and how long you need to charge it for! It will tell you the range/charge left and makes the whole trip that much easier.

For the Mustang Mach E and all other electric vehicles, you have apps available to tell you where chargers you can use are (NOTE: No vehicle other than a Tesla can use the Tesla Supercharger) but, at this point in time, their reliability isn’t 100% and the rate of charge varies. In other words, you can find a charger near you, get there, and find it isn’t working. Or perhaps there is a line of people waiting to get charged (with the Tesla Supercharges, your on-board navigator will tell you how many chargers are taken/available and will direct you to another if the primary one is offline!).

So there’s that. The other big thing Tesla has that others don’t: The Autopilot function. I know its a controversial thing and many view it very suspiciously and, yes, it isn’t full self-driving (FSD), but for my money it is a tremendous help in long range/highway driving and seems to get better with each software update…

Which brings us to advantage #3 Tesla has: The over the air updates of software. I don’t know if the Mustang Mach E will offer software updates like Tesla does but at this point the Tesla updates are regular things and, with each update, your Tesla will become a better and better car.

The latest update, for example, just came over and with it and while using the regenerative braking with full stop, I’ve found I barely ever use my brakes anymore. The car will slow then come to a complete stop on its own, using the regenerative braking to add a little charge to the battery, and you barely use the brake pads anymore, which obviously increases their life tremendously.

Other than the price (and $7000 rebate) what other advantage(s) does the Mustang Mach E have over Tesla?

Well, that’s easy: Ford is a very big, established brand and they have dealerships and repairs countrywide. If your Mustang Mach E needs some service/parts, I suspect it will be far easier and quicker to get them versus the Tesla. Also, it may be easier to go to a Ford dealership and get a test drive versus a Tesla, assuming you live in a smaller city which has no Tesla dealership. Where I live, I have both a nearby “dealership” where they show off the vehicles and allow you a test drive. Further, I live some half hour away from a big distribution/service center so I can drop off my car if/when I need to.

In the end, I truly hope the Mustang does well. I hope the Teslas continue to do well. And I hope more and more people realize that those ICE vehicles have quite literally become vestiges of the past.

UPDATE:

Found this picture online of the Mustang Mach E’s “Frunk”. For those who don’t know what the heck a frunk is, its a front trunk. Since EVs don’t have engines like the ICE vehicles, they have room to have trunks in both the front and back.

Anyway, here’s the Mustang’s frunk…

And here you have the Tesla’s frunk…

More similarities, no?

My lucky day…

So I’ve got this friend who plays scratch-off lottery pretty constantly.

For shits and grins, I’ve given him some $10 every week/two weeks and played a single scratch-off ticket as well.

Today, this happened…

Incredibly, I hit with every one of the winning numbers, though each individual prize was pretty small -alternating between $5 and $10- for a total of $100. I gave my friend $20 for getting me the ticket so my grand total winnings wound up being $80.

I suspect that amount just about covered all the previous losses for the past two months!

Still, never have seen anything like this before and thought I’d share my good luck!

Maybe by seeing this ticket, some of my luck might rub off…!

So hard to talk about anything…

…other than politics nowadays. And I’m so loathe to do so on a consistent basis. I have my beliefs just as others have theirs and we may agree about a great many things and disagree about a great many others but that doesn’t make us mortal enemies.

Well, it shouldn’t. At least not here in the U.S. of A.

Yet it feels like its devolving into just that. You’re on your side and I’m on mine and you can go insane watching/listening/reading about whatever happened today.

Yesterday, of course, and on Halloween itself, a resolution was passed by the House of Representatives concerning Impeaching President Donald Trump.

Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the House, has been very cautious in her movement toward impeachment, taking things step by (sometimes painfully drawn out) step but it would seem we’re on the verge of getting televised hearings with witnesses detailing, finally to the public, the inappropriate actions taken by Trump which merit his Impeachment.

Those who don’t know, the House of Representatives can Impeach the President but it then has to go to the Senate, which has a very slim Republican majority, to actually -and formally – throw him out of office. As of this date, it appears doubtful the necessary 2/3rd majority is there to formally Impeach the President but we’ve got a long way to go yet and, unlike the House of Representatives, there are several Republican Senators -perhaps even a majority- who likely would vote for Impeachment if their vote were taken in secret.

Right of the bat, one thinks: Is this therefore necessary? With elections coming next year, do we really need to go through all this?

I say: Absolutely.

Trump is, in my eyes anyway, a deeply flawed human being who very purposely flaunts the laws for personal gain. For him, that’s what it is all about: Personal gain. I suspect he could care less about anyone other than himself. I suspect he could care less about the institutions which have guided the country all these years. He could care less about his supporters, who I also suspect he views as suckers and/or idiots… but useful ones at that.

As we near the end of the year, I have to admit I’m tired of hearing about all this. I’m tired of the way this man and his particular brand of insanity seems to take up all the oxygen of all news all the time.

I fervently look forward to the day we no longer have to hear/read about any particularly egregious act or lie or just plain stupidity he was involved in.

But that’s just me.

To better days…

It’s a heartbreaking decision, one that everyone who has a pet faces at some point: The pet’s mortality.

Over my life, I’ve had many pets. Two in particular lasted a very long time. The first, we had to put down after some 12 years of life because his heart was simply giving out on him.

The other, we had for 15 and a half years and yesterday evening, we had to put him to sleep.

Oreo was given to us back then as a five or so month old ball of energy. He was named by my eldest daughter, who, along with my other daughter, loved him to pieces.

When we first got him, he would take me out on walks -he was the one guiding me– that took us around several blocks in the neighborhood. He was always a few steps ahead, darting this way and that and chasing after any stray lizard that had the gall to walk in front of him. He never caught them, but sure loved the chase.

As the years passed, he had certain health issues. His teeth were always crooked and weak. He would get most of them removed over time. When the teeth on the left side of his mouth were mostly gone, he began hanging his tongue off that side of his mouth… as you see in the above photograph.

The walks grew shorter. I distinctly recall the day we set out to do our regular multi-block walk but when we reached the edge of the first block, he slowed and stopped, looked up at me, and turned around to return home. That would be the last time we did one of our usual long walks.

Over the next few years, he slowed down even more, as any dog who reaches a very old age does. The now one-block walks became walks back and forth down our street. We no longer could use a neck collar as he pinched a nerve one day thanks to their use.

His favorite perch, which you see in the photograph above, used to be one he could jump from the floor to the couch to. No longer. We had to get him a small footstair to climb up to the couch and then up to the pillow.

Two weeks ago he had a strange episode which I thought was a muscle cramp. He stretched, then didn’t seem to stop stretching. His head turned back, and he howled in pain and dropped to the ground.

He seemed ok afterwards, but the fact was that this was the first sign of the bad things to come. Over the next few days, he had a couple more episodes like this, which I realized were seizures. Some were so strong he would lose control of his bowls.

His strength rapidly diminished. He could only walk a very short distance before being exhausted and run the risk of having another seizure. We took him to the vet and gave him medication for the pain, but in the last four days in particular it was clear he was on a rapid downward glide.

Yesterday, we left for a movie and when we returned home, he was on his feet, walking to us wagging his tail, but we realized he had just emerged from another terrible seizure and had laid -for who knows how long- in his own urine and defecation.

It was clear to us, even as it ripped our hearts, that he wouldn’t last much longer. By this point, he could barely walk and we feared leaving him alone for any length of time. His breathing was ragged, his strength almost non-existent. He was in bed most of the day and night, and we feared for him whenever he was up and walking, however short the distance.

We made the most difficult decision we could and took him in last night for his final ride.

In the end, Oreo lasted longer than most dogs of his breed. 15 and a half years is a very long time to live for any dog, and I know the joy he gave us -and I hope the joy we gave him- made up for his last few very rough days.

Here’s to you, Oreo.

You’ve earned your rest and you will be missed.

Odd news…

For those who are roughly my age, you may know actor Ron Ely. Though his heyday was a little before my time, I caught his work here and there and enjoyed it.

He Is perhaps best known for playing Tarzan in a TV series of the same name which aired from 1966-68…

A little later, in 1975, he would play famous Pulp hero Doc Savage in the film of the same name…

In truth, while those two features are what Ron Ely is best known for he acted in many other movies and TV shows from 1958 to 2014.

Now 81 years old, this bit of news appeared on CNN and its a wild story…

Police fatally shot a homicide suspect at “Tarzan” actor Ron Ely’s home in California

The basic story is this (and pardon me for giving the information away): Someone stabbed an elderly woman to death at Ron Ely’s home. The woman’s husband, who has a speech impediment due to a medical condition, nonetheless was able to indicate the killer was a family member. The indicated family member was subsequently found on the property, confronted, and posed enough of a threat to the police that they took him down.

Yes, the alleged killer him/herself was killed.

That’s the extent of the report to this point and anything else is speculation…

Having said that, I can’t help but wonder if the woman’s husband may well be Mr. Ely (who is, obviously by this point, elderly himself). The speech impediment due to a medical condition, sadly, makes me wonder if the person suffered a stroke.

Was the killer the son/daughter of the elderly woman?

Again, its all speculation at this point yet a very sad set of circumstances, regardless of whether they more directly involved Mr. Ely or not.

UPDATE:

Well, it now seems that the situation was as I speculated above. Ron Ely’s wife Valerie was stabbed to death by the couple’s son Cameron Ely. The police arrived on the scene and killed Cameron Ely.

This is all according to TMZ and the article can be found here.

A very, very sad set of circumstances.

Obviously I have no knowledge of the Ely family situation and clearly things went way overboard here for the son to murder his mother.

The weird thing is that apparently Cameron was the one that originally called the police and, again according to the TMZ article above, said it was his father -Ron Ely- that tried to attack his mother. Was Cameron trying to pin the blame of his mother’s murder on Ron Ely?

Regardless, the police arrived and somehow figured out Cameron was the one that killed his mother and then they killed him.

Wow. And damn.

Some days you just can’t believe the news you read.