WRIGLEY FIELD -and- BORDER COLLIE EXPLOITS WITH THE POINTY-PRICK (EARS) SQUAD

As my loyal and faithful followers know, I go EVERYWHERE with My Dad.  I have a reputation as an “autonomous” Border collie…I know what is about to happen, and I act accordingly.  Going bye-bye in the car means I walk out of the apartment, right to the Scion xB, My Dad opens the rear driver’s side door and I hop up.  Automatic.  I know what is going on.  I don’t have to instructed or commanded to accomplish the normal, simple, routine parts of life.  I get it.  When My Dad is out on his assignments as a private investigator, I watch everything.  I alert him to cars too close to the Scion xB, to strangers approaching the car, to Canada geese, to most canines.  And My Dad always says, “Good boy.”  I like to be told I am a “good boy.”  Allow me to bring you up to date on my adventures with my life, friends, and special interests.

In March, My Dad and I took six hours of additional training with Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy (RAAT) and I passed their registry test…easy stuff.

In April, My Dad spent a couple of hours with Kenosha County, WI Sheriff’s Department investigators on a confidential matter.  We then stopped at the Kenosha County Airport for a photo-op near an Antonov AN-2.

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HR-ARK, an Antonov AN-2 single engine Soviet built plane.  Production of this type started in, get this, 1946!  This one looks a bit forlorn with a ragged vertical stabilizer and tires sinking into the turf.

During a foray to downtown Chicago, My Dad made me pose in front of the “honorary” Armenian Consulate located in an exotic rug shop…really!20180322_131836

On the way back to the Scion xB, a quick photo-op at the FAMOUS Gene & Georgetti Restaurant.  Best steaks in the City.  Unfortunately, we did not stop for a meal…

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This past weekend, we (My Dad and I working together) were investigating a  creep-o-zoid who lived in Uptown, around Wilson and Broadway.  After we finished our inquiries, we drove south to the Wrigley Field area for some additional visits and photo-ops.

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An example of, “it’s not always the dog who is photo-bombing.”

For the Cubs being in St. Louis (getting swept) this weekend, there was A LOT of activity going on at Wrigley.  Restaurants were busy, the Wrigley Run had just finished up, and many dogs were out with their owners, like I care.  Ian, one of the Wrigley Field Security dudes, wanted to pet me, and My Dad turned it into a photo-op.

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“Hey, Ian, it’s me, MAGIC!  What’s happenin’???  Am I photogenic, or what?

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The MUSIC BOX Theater opened in 1929.  An integral part of the busy and thriving Southport Avenue commercial district several blocks west of Wrigley Field.

I had some friends over in my spacious back-yard for some play time, bitey-face, chase me-chase you, and dust-ups.

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The Pointy-Prick squad…ears that is.  CASH, an ACD mix is in the foreground.  OZZIE, who looks like a chocolate lab in a German Shepherd body and head is to my right.  Tongues hangin’ out means everyone is having a good time!

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CANADIAN HIGH PRESSURE OVER HUDSON BAY -or- HOW MUCH MY DAD HATES THE %$#@*&$%#@ WINDY CHILL OF THE LAST EIGHT WEEKS.

“I didn’t know you could hold a pen.  And you’re drawing a picture, too?”

“Border collies are very aware of the weather, not that it bothers us much, and I am a big fan of Tom Skilling!  He has been talking about the HIGH pressure dominating our weather here in Madiganistan, oops, I mean Northern Illinois.  The HIGH pressure over Hudson Bay, way up in Canada.”

Yes.  The HUGE SPRAWLING HIGH PRESSURE over Hudson Bay that is funneling this constant flow of cold, chilly, refrigerated, ice-cube-spitting wind.  See illustration below.

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My Dad does NOT like the wind.  Since mid-February, there have been just two days where the winds were calm.  And, My Dad isn’t the only one with that crazed look tucked underneath two hats and a hoodie, and gloves, and three layers, and sometimes ski goggles…I know…My Dad sort of looks like The Thing when we’re out for a walk.

And this weekend was really heart-warming (or is it, heart-rendering) in the wind-cold-rain-snow categories.  Over 36 hours of wind-driven rain, followed by snow-rain mix, followed by icy streets and wind driven snow.  Did I forget to say it was windy?  OK, ask.  How windy was it?   30-40-50 mph with gusts that turned My Dad’s umbrella inside-out.  He gave up on the umbrella and switched to the Eddie Bauer Storm Coat – with the hood pulled up.  At least we didn’t get hit like Green Bay…over two feet of snow.  Hoooooowl.

I can tell when My Dad is irritated with the wind.  He makes this sound, sort of like a car with a flat tire…PHUUK-PHUUK-PHUUK-PHUUK.

So, picture the North American continent.  Starting at Portland, Oregon, draw a line towards the east.  Portland-Boise-Denver-Kansas City-New Orleans-Miami.  Everywhere NORTH or NORTHEAST of that line is cold and windy.  Back to the weather map, and then another LOOOOOONG walk – right, Dad?

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PLEASANT AND UNPLEASANT SIDES OF WINTER

As my loyal followers and fans are aware, My Dad is a soccer referee and he had been very busy during the Fall season. (He LOVES to officiate soccer and sometimes humans who know My Dad will allow me to sit with them along the touchline) The beautiful November weather here in the Chicago boasted of some days in the upper 60’s (F) and close to 85% sunny skies.

However, all good things must come to an end, or is it, no good deed goes unpunished? (My Dad says that a lot!)    The past two Sunday’s, the change to (real) winter has started and so has My Dad’s complaining.  My Dad tolerates some aspects of winter, especially if the temperatures are close to freezing with no wind.  Our Sunday snowfalls were both very pleasant and I spent a lot of time outside with Kaya – I really like to play in the snow, eat snow, catch snowballs, roll in the snow, relax in the snow.  But, let me clarify – no complaining by My Dad on those past two Sundays.

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Kaya and I playing in the snow.  We did not like when the snowman was being built.

The real complaining started two days ago.  My Dad does not like the wind, especially when the temperatures are single digits Fahrenheit.  I demand five to six walks per day and when I give My Dad the let’s go out stare, I watch him put his cold weather gear on.  Over long-underwear and Nike Combat Gear, he will don:  a U.S. Soccer jacket with a high neck collar, a black North Face fleece with a high neck collar, an Eddie Bauer storm coat with a high neck collar AND a hood, two knit hats, and ski goggles.  EARTH TO LUNAR BASE, DO YOU COPY?  Wait, I forget two pairs of gloves – I am not making this up.

MAGIC, WHAT ARE YOU GIGGLING ABOUT IN THERE?

JUST BLOGGING ABOUT OUR PLEASANT WEATHER.  DID YOU MAKE YOUR DINNER SALAD, YET?  DON’T FORGET ABOUT MY DINNER.

Mmmm….ok, he’s in the kitchen.  But My Dad does look out for me.  He puts on my Therapy Dog jacket to keep me a bit warmer and our walks are limited to about 20 minutes, on snow only…My Dad is worried that the salt slush will freeze my little toes.  And when I go poop, My Dad is VERY complimentary, very happy, because we can head home – to WARMTH.

My Dad takes me INTO O’Hare International Airport when we pick up his sister, Mary.  I know I am supposed to be in a down/stay, but people always come up to pet me.  They always smile at me, talk to me, and pet me.  My Dad is very proud of me.

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United Airlines baggage concourse, near baggage claim #6.  Being a good boy.

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One of those 60F days in November, I needed a drink!

 

THE DE-MUZZLING OF DANTE, SECRET MISSIONS TO DOWNTOWN, and CREEP-O-ZOID IN THE PARKING LOT

Last Sunday, My Dad and I were up at 4:30 am; we had to drive into downtown Chicago on a “secret” mission.  My Dad is quite candid when he describes me as a “lure,” as in fishing lure.  Who would suspect that a handsome 57 pound, very well behaved, Border collie, would be involved in subterfuge, a guise, a ruse?  However, before our departure in the Scion xB, I needed my morning walk which was completed with typical Border collie efficiency.  But after our return, My Dad alerted me to suspicious behavior in our parking lot.  I saw My Dad peering out the bedroom window blinds, so I stepped up to the lower level of the window blinds to see what he was interested in.  A stranger (stranger-danger) had just parked his older Nissan in the lot, exited his car and was looking in cars using a flashlight and pulling on the door handles!  My Dad was soon on his cell phone.  I followed him to our front door and we both watched the stranger skulking among the cars, we could hear door handles pulled.  I gave a deep growl, My Dad quietly said, “good boy…shhh…good boy.”  I love being called a good boy.  The skulking stranger soon left in his car, and several minutes later, the police knocked on our door and talked with My Dad.  The stranger’s car had been pulled over by the police a short distance away.

As the sky to the east lightened, My Dad and I left in the xB and headed downtown.  My Dad said we would be on surveillance – waiting for someone to leave their condominium high-rise near Millenium Park.

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Here I am outside of 400 E. Randolph acting as the “lure.”

As part of the ruse, my disguise, my being a “lure,” I am required to say HI! to a constant stream of people, many with dogs.  As all of my loyal readers know, I am the canine-psychologist, the mentor, the facilitator, the play-with-me specialist.  One of the dogs I encountered Sunday morning was Dante, a retriever-collie mix, and as he approached with his humans they placed a soft, fabric muzzle on his muzzle.  His humans said that Dante sometimes became aggressive with other dogs.  Mmm, obviously Dante hadn’t made my acquaintance, yet.  So, you may not be aware of this, but, dogs can easily communicate by thought-transmission.  Oh, don’t believe it?  Google it…canine thought-transmission…  So the muzzled Dante and I activated our thought-transmission capabilities…easy stuff, really!

why did your humans put that black tube on your mouth?  is that a toy?

mmph…mmm…zzz…le….mmmph…

you seem like a cool dude, you want to play, i won’t hurt you, you’re not going to bite will you…

mmmpph…play with me…can you take this off….mmmum?

ok…looks easy, hold still, i am going to place my mouth over your mouth, won’t hurt you….easy….easy….ha, it’s off…you’re sure this isn’t a toy, i can turn it into a toy?

And then we were playing, instant best friends.  No aggression, no biting, no growling…just dog fun.  Dante’s parent were SHOCKED when I removed the black tube!

The following Thursday, My Dad went back to the same building for additional covert activities, don’t tell anyone.  And can you guess who we ran into?  Yes, Mr. Dante, who is now my BFF.

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Dante with his Mom, Brittany.  She owns the Absolutely Chicago Segway tours which meant she had a constant source of water in a large bowl for us during our play activities!

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Marketing!  Are we cute, or what?!

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This is a dog-hug.  Dante and I trusted each other from the moment we first met.

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Sometimes, Dante wanted to get REAL friendly with me.  But, that does not bother me…a quick word and Dante responded well to subtle corrections.

 

MISSION TO DOWNTOWN and PUDDLES OF VOMIT

“I’m taking the train downtown this morning, will you be alright for about three hours?”

“Mmmm…not really…why don’t you bring me with?”

“Traffic will be a pain, taking the train downtown will be more relaxing, I will be back by 12:30.”

“Hah!  That is not three hours, that is more like four hours and 34 minutes.  OK, I will entertain myself, can you leave your gloves on the table, or a hat?”

“Blackmailed by a Border collie…is that how it’s going to be?  My gloves and my hats are already displaying Border collie damage…divots, gouges, nicks, pieces of fabric missing, fingers missing…”

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My Dad taught me how to remove his hat from his head…some unfortunate damages have occurred as a direct result of my quick learning abilities.

“Oh, c’mon…we’ll drive together…we can go for a walk downtown…I know you love to show me off…right?”

Easy stuff for a determined Border collie…pushing My Dad around, manipulating him, he is so ruminant-like, at times.  Yes, we are going bye-bye in the Scion xB to downtown Chicago on a “mission.”  And the traffic on the Kennedy Expressway was just fine – I love sticking my head out the window at a leisurely 17 miles per hour…sometimes 2 miles per hour.

After My Dad had successfully completed his mission, serving a court summons on a very cooperative Registered Agent, he returned to the Scion xB on the 7th floor of the parking structure.  I am still getting comfortable with elevators.  While I will no longer hesitate to board an elevator, once I am inside, I have a tendency to spread my legs and drop into a crouch – I feel a bit more steady on my feet this way.

My Dad told me that the prior weekend, the City of Chicago had dyed the Chicago River GREEN (as if it was not green enough) for St. Patrick’s day (My Dad’s birthday) and this event coupled with the Saint Patrick’s Day parade encourages a lot of humans to drink a lot of alcohol…and this results in numerous puddles of VOMIT – EVERYWHERE.  While these puddles were interesting for a Border collie, especially the pink puddles and orange puddles, My Dad kept telling “NO” in his very calm voice, and I listen VERY well!

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Wacker Drive with a view to the east…and no puddles of yucchy stuff to be seen!

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The Marina Towers “corncob,” and the curved glass of the Trump Tower in the background.  No, those people behind me were not throwing-up.

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Jumping into a raised flower bed is very easy for a Border collie.

By the way, I have a large number of canine friends who visit frequently.  I am not food-aggressive, so when my canine friends visit, I will watch them have a meal at my place.

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Brandy (a/k/a Demonic Schizoid) after enjoying MY breakfast…I just watch, why cause an argument?

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Coco and Loli visited last night.  Their Mom was out of town.  Coco is a Border collie wannabe, she runs next to me outside and barks whenever I bark.  They are official members of the Magic Fan Club.

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And, meet LOLA (Lo-Lo-Lo-Lo-Lo-La, from the song by the Kinks), she is an eight month old Shiba-Inu, who has just joined the Magic Fan Club.  Nice ears, YOU BABY!

BACK IN CHICAGO, BACK IN THE GRIND

Another seagull, and another, I cannot catch them.  They tease me, wait until I am almost within reach of those tail feathers.  They open their wings and lift from the gentle waves, into the sky.  And then a squirrel is swimming next to them…whimper, growl, yip, yip….HUH?  WHAT?  My Dad is in the waves next to me?  What are you doing?  Here?  Oh, how embarrassing…I am dreaming and My Dad has been watching me, he is smiling, he places his gentle hand on my head.

“Let’s go to work!”

I love to go in the Scion xB to work with My Dad.  I no longer need a leash for the short walk to Scion.  The rear hatch opens and I jump right in.  I sit behind My Dad’s seat and watch everything, herd the cars, move back and forth, window to window.

Last Sunday, we drove to the South Loop area to serve paper.  My Dad was thwarted by a security guard at this exclusive high-rise, but that story has yet to be written…My Dad is very imaginative…he chose me, right?  And we went for a walk.  We found an interesting sculpture with three foxes, or are they Border collies?  The northeast corner of East 11th Street and Wabash, just west of Michigan Avenue.

My Dad thinks these are foxes...I thought Border collies.

My Dad thinks these are foxes…I thought Border collies, reading up on, and discussing herding techniques.

This is the north wall of a 1960’s something parking garage located on East 8th Street, across from the Hilton Hotel on Michigan Avenue.

East 8th Street, south of Hilton Hotel on Michigan Avenue.  I was bored.

East 8th Street, south of Hilton Hotel on Michigan Avenue. I was bored.

EXPLORING DOWNTOWN CHICAGO and THE SHAR-PEI EXPERIMENT (IF YOU CATCH ME, YOU CAN BITE ME)

The warm sun on my black fur, the smells of the city, a stroll through Grant Park...life is good.

The warm sun on my black fur, the smells of the city, a stroll through Grant Park…life is good.

Why can’t they drive in their own car?  Mmmmmmph.  I have just been informed by My Dad that I may be a bit cramped in the Scion xB this morning.  Seems My Dad, the wizard that he is, has volunteered to transport his sister, his niece, and his daughter to downtown Chicago…something about a half-marathon embarking from Diversey harbor.  What!?  There is a long walk involved?  With me?  Whew, for a moment I became concerned that, perhaps, the world stopped revolving around me and making me, The Magic Man, happy and mentally stimulated.  OK, I’m IN!  And the area behind the rear seat does have ample room to accommodate a slender Border collie…temporarily…but I would rather have my head out the window enjoying the smells of the city. OK, this calls for some sacrifice, but an adventure awaits!

Do I look like a happy Border collie?  With My Dad and his sister, Mary, in Grant Park.

Do I look like a happy Border collie? With My Dad and his sister, Mary, in Grant Park.

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Waiting for My Dad, outside of the Congress Hotel on Michigan Avenue.  He was using “the facilities.”

We walked by Federal Building twice.  They had these very nice planters with boxwood shrubs, it was very easy for a young Border collie to jump up into the planters to leave messages on the boxwoods.

We walked by Federal Building twice. They had these very nice planters with boxwood shrubs, and I found it extremely easy to lauch myself up into the planters to leave messages on the boxwoods.

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It was another cramped ride on the way home.  I couldn’t stick my head out the window.  Suddenly, I was a part of the conversation.

“Do you want to meet, Bob?”

Seems Bob is an older Shar-Pei (Chinese Fighting Dog) who has always been aggressive with other dogs.  My Dad thought that with my “magical powers of friendship.”  I would be able to convince Bob that I was a friend…not to mention my very high level of maneuverability and speed.  When we arrived at Mary’s, Bob was released from his dungeon (just kidding), and I was released from the Scion xB.  Bob ran right at me while emitting a deep growl…I am thinking, “this will be fun.”

Shar Pei trying to out maneuver the Border collie...ain't happening, dude!

Shar Pei trying to out-maneuver the Border collie…ain’t happening, dude!

A deke left, a deke right, and color me gone.  Bob could not keep up with me…I ran a tight circuit, checked my “six” every couple of seconds…I would let Bob close to within inches of me then push the afterburners FULL forward.  After five minutes, Bob was running out of gas.  He made some more attempts to run at me with his mouth open…I didn’t see any teeth…and with a half step to the left or right, I always placed Bob a little out of position.  I am all about fun, so when Bob had to take a “mark” break, I moved in for some push-and-sniff action on his back and ears…I even told him, “Hey, Bob, I just want to play, I won’t hurt you.”  And he settled down…within minutes, we were buddies, just hangin’ out together.  Bob’s Mom, Mary, was VERY surprised that we became friends so quickly!

Some "push-and-sniff" action showed Bob that I was a friend, that I did not want to hurt him.

Some “push-and-sniff” action showed Bob that I was a friend, that I did not want to hurt him.

Post pursuit and deke out session.  Bob said, "No way I can catch you, man.  Let's be friends."

Post pursuit and deke out session. Bob said, “No way I can catch you, man. Let’s be friends.”

Shar-Pei's have a tough guy persona, but a man's got to know his limitations.

Shar-Pei’s have a tough-guy persona, but a man’s got to know his limitations.

My Dad always carries a bottle of water in the Scion xB...always refreshing after a "chase-me, chase-you" session!

My Dad always carries a bottle of water in the Scion xB…always refreshing after a “chase-me, chase-you” session!