fluffy, small, happy dog looking at camera

Nikolay Tchaouchev

Top 10 List of Woof

Dogs! They are great companions and most people love them, unless they have been bitten by one, or they don’t have a soul. One day, browsing a lonely corner of YouTube I ended up watching dog videos. I soon moved on to he pinnacle of quality content, Top 10 dog videos, more specifically “Top 10 dog breeds recommended for first time owners”. Now, the first one of these I watched because why not, and the rest I watched because I found it hilarious. Imagine if someone who clearly never had a dog before decided to make a guide about dog breeds, and this is basically what we have here. These videos are the embodiment of true tragedy. On one hand, they are funny because they are so wrong and shallow, on the other hand they are really sad because we are talking about living, breathing creatures, and I can only hope that no one actually decides to get a puppy based on these videos.

I’m only going to look at a few breeds because they repeat a lot and the whole idea of “purebred” dogs is elitist nonsense anyway, but here we go! (In order to get full enjoyment out of this, I recommend that you watch this video for reference.)

Poor, inbred bastards

1. Shih Tzu

I would never recommend a dog for a first time owner that requires extensive grooming. I’m sure you have seen the typical Shih Tzu, pictured with the fur tied in a bow on its head, but you have probably not seen one that was badly taken care off. The fur gets tangled and hangs in locks, etc. Depending on the length of the coat the dog will need combing every day to every 3 days, and need a bath once a month.

2. Poodle

Again, can you afford to take the dog for professional grooming every 4 weeks? Can you learn to do it yourself? Is this something that you can commit to? Do you actually want to do this? Also, if you hear anyone say that “Poodles are one of the easiest breeds to train.”, it means one thing, and one thing only: they saw Kingsman. More on this later, just pin it for now.

3. Golden Retriever

Beautiful dogs, but 60% of them die of cancer. They tend to live about 10 years regardless, but it is something to consider.1 Also, they shed all year around.

4. Cane Corso

Excerpt from video: “They make excellent, gentle, loving family companions… extremely docile.”

Some article I found: “The Cane Corso is not an appropriate choice for an inexperienced dog owner. First-time dog owners and people who have had only “soft” breeds such as retrievers, spaniels, or toy breeds need not apply. This dog is large, powerful, intelligent, active, and headstrong.2

Most of the things that I found as reference regarding this breed are very opinionated and difficult for me to verify. Saying things like “[..] no amount of socialization will make him friendly toward people other than his family.”, is very dramatic, but I’m not sure I can subscribe to it. It sounds like a training issue to me. Just because the dog is serious about guarding a family doesn’t mean it should perceive other people as potential threat. On that note, I’m a 100% sure that this dog will own you if you don’t know what you are doing. This is true to all other dogs. If you can’t establish yourself as a leader, you are going to have problems… except those dogs are not 90% muscle and look like a tank. 

5. Pugs

If you squeeze them too hard their eyes will pop out.3 No joke. The condition is called ocular proptosis and it’s common among breeds with short snouts and bulging eyes. So, even though you often hear how pugs are great family dogs and they are great with children, I have to disagree. I wouldn’t want a dog that has to be treated like a delicate china cup around children. Imagine if the child hugs the dog too hard, and the eyes pop out… Both will be scarred for life. Pugs have a number of other health issues, one of the more significant ones is that their flat faces make breathing a challenge.

“[Pugs] have a tendency to develop such severe breathing difficulties that they may need surgery to live a somewhat normal life — or even just to live at all.” 4

6. King Charles Spaniel

“It was found, in a recent study, that 70% of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels showed syringomyelia by six years of age – the presence of fluid-filled cavities in the spinal cord of the neck.” 5

Basically, as a result of their malformed skull these dogs experience severe neck and head pain. This condition is difficult to treat and most likely results in lifelong pain and disability, sometimes paralysis.

7. Dachshund

Now, I’m emotionally attached to these dogs*, because my grandfather used to breed them, but I’m sure it’s obvious what is wrong here. As a result of their elongated spine they are prone to spine injury. This can be due to an accident, old age or in most cases a genetic disease called Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). The damaged (abnormal) discs put pressure on the spinal cord, which result in severe pain and in worst cases paralysis and death.6 Dachshunds should avoid jumping, climbing stairs etc, to reduce the stress on their spine, so if you expect the dog to climb a lot of stairs, it is not the breed for you.

Notes on Training

There is a common misconception that certain breeds are easier to train than others. I used to believe this too, but not anymore, mostly thanks to Peter Caine, dog trainer, comedian, Sasquatch enthusiast. He also has a raven, which I find amusing.

“It’s ridiculous. About every two weeks I’m asked ‘What is the easiest breed of dog to train?’ and my answer is always the same. ‘There is no easy dog to train! Are you out of your mind?’ It’s not easy to train any dog!”

The abridged version is that the ease of training depends on the individual dog’s characteristics, such as dominance, excitability and playfulness. Even a generally less dominant dog can one day decide to be stubborn. Age can also be a factor, for example an adolescent dog —much like a teenager—  is more likely to test your competence as a leader, however at the end of the day all dogs can be trained. It’s a very informative video and I definitely recommend watching it if you have the time.

So, whenever you hear “this breed is a breeze to train!”, be skeptical and keep in mind that most people wouldn’t be able to train a pet rock 😛

In conclusion

Consider getting a mutt! The dog that you pick up from a shelter might be healthier than the purebred sold by some esteemed breeder. Dogs have been our brave and loyal companions for thousands of years and all they ask in return is the occasional belly rub. Instead, we reward their loyalty by giving them cancer and lifelong disability.

When getting a dog, the color of the coat shouldn’t be a deciding factor. It’s a nice option to have, but it’s superficial. Consider where the dog is going to live. Do you have enough room? Are you allergic? Are you willing to clean up after the dog? Are you willing to train it? Can you afford to take it to the vet? Getting a dog is a serious commitment and one that should start with proper research.

 

Anyway, dogs are the best  

Until next time,

Alice
alice@cozyloft.us

 

Thoughts on Walking the Bones – A Randall Silvis Mystery

 

Footnotes

Association of cancer-related mortality, age and gonadectomy in golden retriever dogs at a veterinary academic center (1989-2016)/ www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

2 The Cane Corso/ www.vetstreet.com

3 Ocular Proptosis: Why is My Dog’s Eye Bulging!/ www.pethealthnetwork.com

4 How to Protect The Eyes of Pekingese, Pugs, Bulldogs And Other Short-Nosed Breeds/ www.vetstreet.com

5 Genetic Welfare Problems of Companion Animals/www.ufaw.org.uk

6 Dachshund – Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)/ www.ufaw.org.uk

*They were not on any lists, but I’m familiar with the breed and they are mostly here for personal reasons.

The Sad Tale of a Red Velvet Muffin

by Alice Morgan

I had my wisdom tooth removed. It was something I was dreading since I was a teenager, which is one of the reasons I still had all four. My thought process was, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” Unfortunately, one of them decided to come up and say “hi!”, and it got impacted.* It didn’t hurt, but it was annoying, so off I went to oral surgery. Yay! Everything went well, and a few days later I returned to work. I was living on apple sauce, yogurt, soup and pain killers for days, and I couldn’t decide what to eat. I didn’t want to eat soup again, so I thought maybe I could tackle a muffin. Muffins are soft, right?
It was just me and the red velvet muffin, the two of us in the breakroom eyeing one another with great intensity.
Will I be able to eat it?
…and then I failed, because the outer crust of a muffin is a lot harder then I remembered. Fear not! I also remembered there was a box of utensils on the counter, just a few feet away! So I go there to get a fork or something and what do I see? All the forks and spoons are gone, and there are only knives! WHY? It was full the day before, so my theory is that some dickwaffle took them, or threw them out of spite. So there I was, forkless and sad, all my red velvet dreams crushed… but then I was like fuck it, and took a knife. Have you ever tried to eat a muffin with a knife? It’s not easy. I cut the pastry into tiny cubes that were destined to crumble into pieces, and then I ate the crumbs of off the knife… and looked classy while doing it. My only regret is I couldn’t take a picture, because my phone died, (naturally), so I drew this instead.

 

Don’t take chewing for granted!

love, Alice

* you don’t necessarily have to have an impacted wisdom tooth removed. Depending on your situation you can opt for antibiotic treatment, etc. I decided to have it removed because I figured it was just going to be a problem in the future.

It’s finally over

The best thing about 2017 is probably the fact that it’s finally over. What a horrifying fucking nightmare it has been 😀 We truly had something to celebrate this New Year’s Eve. If you ever needed a reason to get wasted…
I move forward to 2018 hoping that things will change for the better. I try to focus on things that I look forward to, such as:

Westworld will return to HBO with a second season. I’m also excited for the Black Panther movie, another addition to the marvel universe, and most shocking of all —drum roll please— … Stargate Origins.  I used to be a Stargate fan. I loved the movie and enjoyed the series a lot; I stuck with it until the very end. I must have seen every episode 2x at least. I was sad when it was canceled and I was hoping someone would pick it up and continue to work on it, even in the form of a reboot. There were whispers, but they resulted in nothing but disappointment, so when I found a random article about a prequel I was surprised. Here, take a look:

I couldn’t believe there was a teaser for it already. It is said to be released on February 15th, and I’m excited to see it. This series will probably determine if there is any hope for this show to live on in the future. Traveling to other planets through gates was always such a cool concept to me; I would be really sad to see it swallowed by the pits of mediocrity. Oh, and the second installment of Fantastic Beasts is coming out at the end of the year too. Yay!

New Year’s Resolution

I made a solemn oath that I will post more frequently. HAHA, nope. I did start a challenge with my boyfriend to finish reading at least 12 books this year. Yeah, it’s pitiful but you have to start somewhere. Mind you, I used to read 3 to 5 books a week. Then I made the horrible mistake of enrolling in college. I don’t think I really enjoyed reading since then. The challenge is really a quest to turn the smoldering flames of passion into lasting candle light. I haven’t picked my first book yet, but I will keep you updated.

Anyway, I wish you the best and a year filled with less bullshit.

love, Alice

 

 

by Alice Morgan

What is “Gloomy Sunday”?

If you ever heard about “Gloomy Sunday” it was probably in the context of the “notorious Hungarian Suicide song”. You heard the rumors about hundreds of people taking their own lives after listening to its melancholy notes. You heard about the sheet music being found in the hands of many suicide victims, and you heard about the song being banned in many countries. You might also know that the lyrics were written by Laszlo Javor and the music was composed by Rezso Seress, who took his own life by jumping out of a window.

I recently became fascinated with the story, so when I started to read more about it — trying to separate fact from fiction — I found it upsetting that a lot of the materials available in English fell victim to sensationalism, poor research, miss-translations or they were just flat out lies. In these series of essays I would like to bring a piece of history closer to those who are not fluent in Hungarian and as such would not be able to read about the following events. I will attempt to correct some of the wrongs, and paint a fuller, slightly less hazier picture of the story behind “Gloomy Sunday”, and how it came to be. In this first article I want to focus strictly on the poem itself.

Disclaimer

It is important to recognize the fact that during the 1930s —  when many of these events unfolded — the internet was suffering from severe lagg; so severe that you might say it was unusable. Information to the public was mostly conveyed by newspapers, as most people couldn’t afford to buy a radio yet. As such, there is not a lot of material evidence we can refer to when looking for sources, and even then we can’t ignore the context of major world events and the political climate. In conclusion: be cautious of what you believe to be true. If there is no source to support it, where is the information coming from?

first impressions

I wanted to analyze the poem but for that I had to conquer the language barrier. I looked at a number of different translations, but I found that many of them ignore the narrative structure as well as the shifting perspective, so I decided to translate the poem myself. I tried to preserve the literal meaning as close to the original as possible without making it sound too weird in English. The one on the left is the original poem in Hungarian, the one on the right is my translation in English. Try to ignore all the negative connotations that you think you already know. What do you think it is about after just reading it?

 =======================================================================================================

Szomorú vasárnap

Szomorú vasárnap száz fehér virággal
Vártalak kedvesem templomi imával
Álmokat kergető vasárnap délelőtt
Bánatom hintaja nélküled visszajött
Azóta szomorú mindig a vasárnap
Könny csak az italom kenyerem a bánat…

Szomorú vasárnap

Utolsó vasárnap kedvesem gyere el
Pap is lesz, koporsó, ravatal, gyászlepel
Akkor is virág vár, virág és – koporsó
Virágos fák alatt utam az utolsó
Nyitva lesz szemem hogy még egyszer lássalak
Ne félj a szememtől holtan is áldalak…

Szomorú vasárnap

Jávor László, 1934 (original)

Gloomy Sunday

It was a gloomy sunday with hundreds of white flowers.
I was waiting for you, my darling, with divine prayers.
It was that hopeful sunday before noon,
That the chariot of my sadness returned without you.
Ever since then sunday is always full of woe.
Tears are my drink and my nourishment is sorrow.

Gloomy Sunday

This will be the last sunday, my darling, please come!
There will be a priest, a casket, a wake and hearsecloth!
There will be flowers waiting for you, even now, and a casket.
Under the blooming trees this journey will be my last,
But my eyes will be open, so I can see you one last time.
Don’t be afraid to look at me, I will bless you, even in death.

Gloomy Sunday

Alice Morgan, 2017 (translated)

   =======================================================================================================

before the song, there was a poem

Now that you have some idea of what the lyrics say, let’s meet the person who put them on paper. Hold on to your thoughts, because you are going to need them soon!
The story begins with Laszlo Javor who was born in Budapest on May 4th,1903. He was a journalist and poet and he wrote the lyrics of Gloomy Sunday. He is the least known part of the successful duo, probably because he didn’t commit suicide and thus his story doesn’t carry the same weight of irony as his partner’s. It is a shame really, because even though I wouldn’t describe his life as tragic, he was just as interesting as Seress. We don’t know a lot about him, but he was certainly a talented and mysterious figure.1

The poem was first put to paper in 1934.2 The inspiration for the poem came from Sylvia, a dancer (and/or singer) who used to perform at a club in Budapest. (She is often mentioned as Javor’s fiance, but I haven’t found any evidence so far that they were ever betrothed to each other.) One day she was offered a contract abroad, and she left Javor. It is believed that she moved to Turkey, but later she settled down in Italy, where she got married. Javor was heartbroken. He aimlessly wandered the streets at night until one night — overcome by sorrow — he put his thoughts on paper. 3, 4

Laszlo Javor in Paris. The song became so popular in Paris that the impresario invited him to performer’s night.
szinészkönyvtár.hu

deciphering the gloom

Let’s take a closer look at the poem together. After reading it for the first time, I think your impression is that the meaning of the second paragraph is a lot more clearer than the first one. It’s a lot darker and presence of death is stronger, but why is that? What is the first part about? You might also notice that the first paragraph is written as something that already happened, but the second paragraph is referring to the future. It’s referring to a “would be” scenario. It’s something that could happen, but it didn’t happen yet. It’s a fantasy.

“It was a gloomy sunday with hundreds of white flowers.”

Pretty straightforward. We get a time and a setting.

“I was waiting for you, my darling, with divine prayers.”

The poet was waiting for a woman to arrive. He calls her “darling” so we can deduce that this lady means a lot to him. The poet was praying or getting ready to pray. In the original it actually says “I was waiting for you with churchly prayer.” That doesn’t translate well into English, so I changed it to “divine”. The conclusion is that it relates to religion and it also hints at the location of the story.

“It was that hopeful sunday before noon,”

In the original he describes “before noon” as a “dream chaser”. Here, the poet personifies “noon” by giving it the ability to chase dreams. In reality he is referring to himself being full of hope. Sunday is not the “dream chaser” nor is it full of hope. It’s him.

“That the chariot of my sadness returned without you.”

This line is our last clue to figuring out what the hell is going on and it’s not a metaphor either. I think chariot is referring to an actual chariot. The poet was waiting for a lady to arrive in a chariot, but she didn’t. That’s how a simple transportation device becomes “the chariot of sadness.” So, if we read the first four lines again, what do we get?

There are lots of flowers, probably outside a church because the poet was waiting for a chariot to arrive. He felt a trace of happiness, until the lady didn’t show up. Where is he?
I think he was waiting for the bridal chariot to arrive, but he got stood up at his own wedding. He was praying because he was getting ready to swear the oath of marriage to his future wife. Don’t forget, everything that we read so far has already happened. The poet knows that she is not going to show up. He knows the conclusion, which adds another layer of emotion to this already painful memory.

“Ever since then sunday is always full of woe.
Tears are my drink and my nourishment is sorrow.”

At this point, the reader caught up with the poet. We are not in the past anymore, we are in the present.
Every Sunday the poet is reminded of this painful memory. He is expressing sadness and disappointment.
Onto the second paragraph!

“This will be the last sunday, my darling, please come!”

The poet is hinting the end of his suffering and he is asking her to come see him.

“There will be a priest, a casket, a wake and hearsecloth!”

Here we learn that the poet is planning his own gruesome end. He is not merely asking her to see him, he is begging for her to come. He is trying to list all the reasons that could make her show up, because he is still haunted by the memory of her not coming to their wedding. He is afraid, and is trying to turn his own funeral into a spectacle that would attract his beloved’s attention.

“There will be flowers waiting for you, even now, and a casket.”

This sentence refers directly back to the first paragraph. The flowers at the wedding belonged to her. The flowers in the funeral should belong to him, but he is saying “even now” at his own funeral these flowers will belong only to her.

“Under the blooming trees this journey will be my last,
But my eyes will be open, so I can see you one last time.
Don’t be afraid to look at me, I will bless you, even in death.”

 In the original the poet says “Don’t be afraid of my eyes”, but it’s not really his eyes she would be afraid of, but the reflection of her own guilt. The guilt that people feel when someone close to them commits suicide. He doesn’t want her to feel anything but happiness and he will think of her fondly even in death.

What did we learn?

I can say with certainty that the first paragraph of the poem describes a wedding that is in clear contrast with the funeral of the second paragraph. The poet is playing with opposites here, if the wedding stands for hope then the funeral stands for despair;  the loss of hope. Past is set against a possible future.

We learn that nobody is dead at any given time. People seem to think that the woman is dead, but she is only dead in the figurative sense. He lost her because she left and married another man, not because she physically died. The entire second paragraph wouldn’t make sense otherwise. Why would you invite a ghost to your own funeral? He is clearly talking to her as if she was still alive.

The poet can’t be dead because he is the one talking and describing a possible grim end to it all. There is no double suicide, or a single suicide for that matter. No ones dead. There is no revenge or anger. There is just pain and a deep sense of loss.

Patrick Tomasso

The other meaning of Sunday

There are cultural differences and nuances that we learn specific to the region where we grow up; things so simple that we tend to think that they are universal and rarely question them. One of those things is the meaning of Sunday. What does Sunday mean to you? Depending where you live, Sunday may represent the beginning of the week, or the end of the week. In most Western cultures — including Hungary — Sunday is the last day of the week and appears as such on the calendar. But, what if that doesn’t apply to you? Did the meaning of the poem change already? Javor certainly thought so. More on that in the next episode!

translation and poetry

It is difficult to translate anything from another language, but when it comes to poetry, it’s almost impossible. Language changes the way we think and this becomes painfully obvious with every single word that we read. The word “house” doesn’t carry the same weight as “home”. They both describe the same object, they are synonyms and yet one carries more emotion than the other. “Home” is more inviting, personal and warm. One word can make a subtle but huge difference, so how can someone convey that to millions of people who all speak different languages? It can’t be done. Changes has to be made so the words can better resonate with the audience. It’s a compromise; something needs to give in order for something else to be improved. I adore all the English translations out there, and I wish I could understand all the hundreds of versions of other languages just to see what people came up with. ♥

The end. For now. I’m planning to write at least two more longer pieces about the subject and I will see where it goes from there. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! If you have something to share with me, (feedback, opinion, mistake?) shoot me an email or leave a comment below.

love,  Alice

I’m grateful

Special thanks to I. Marinov from urbanlegends.hu for his advice and guidance.

notes & trivia

♦ In Hungarian, family name always comes before the given name, so “Laszlo Javor” is really “Jávor László”,

♦ “Szomorú vasárnap” literary means “Sad Sunday”.

♦ Javor published two more books under the name “Gloomy Sunday.” The first one was a collection of his poems; 31 including “Gloomy Sunday”. It was published in 1935 by Horizon. He also wrote a novel, a contemporary love story that took place in Budapest. It was published by Nova in 1937. 5, 6

 

Footnotes

(most of these requires a paid subscription to view)

1 mek.oszk.hu

2 Somogyi Néplap, 1983. április (39. évfolyam, 77-101. szám) 1983-04-13 / 86. szám

3 Esti Kurir, 1937. november (15. évfolyam, 249-272. szám) 1937-11-12 / 257. szám

4 Népszava, 2010. november (137. évfolyam, 254-278. sz.) 2010-11-13 / 264. szám   

5 8 Órai Ujság, 1935. július (21. évfolyam, 147-172. szám) 1935-07-10 / 154. szám

6 Pesti Hírlap, 1936. december (58. évfolyam, 275-298. szám) 1936-12-26 / 296. szám

 

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