The next time anyone in the MSM bitches and moans about having to cut back on the sort of "real" investigative reporting that takes years and years and years to complete and can only be done by, well, MSM outlets circa 1974, or about how awful it is to be closing bureaus in Ulan Bator, or whatever, point them in the direction of The New York Times, which has just unleashed a weekly series "dedicated to the challenges and satisfactions of raising a puppy through its first year of life." I am relatively confident that for the equivalent of the man-hours that went into creating the animated graphic pictured here that the Times could have foregone several rounds of staff cutbacks.
Penned by Jill Abramson, a managing editor at the Times and the co-author of Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas, the series opener includes this cogitation on the conqueror worm and the need to keep movin' on:
Buddy, our beloved, stone-deaf, feisty-to-the-end West Highland terrier, had expired at 15 in March 2007. My two children, who grew up with him but flew the nest years before his demise, joked that Buddy was my one perfect relationship in life. I spoiled him, terribly. Houseguests often awoke to the aroma of my grilling free-range chicken for Buddy. Henry, my husband, would sometimes note, without rancor, that when I went on business trips I always asked how Buddy was doing before I inquired about his or our two children's well-being. When congestive heart failure claimed him, I was beyond brokenhearted.
And they say owners end up looking like their pets! The pooch dies of heart failure, she is beyond brokenhearted. I guess she should be glad that he didn't die of cirrhosis of the liver.
But let the dead bury the dead, along with soup bones. There's a new family member in town, gotten after trips to a breeder (no pound puppy for Abramson, despite much anguish on the matter, both in her col and the truly insufferable comments on same), named Scout.
There is the special puppy smell, much like the distinctive scent, better than perfume, of a new baby's head. There is the reflexive urge to smother with kisses. There is the getting up in the middle of the night. There is the singing of lullabies to sleep, lying next to Scout's crate as if it were a cradle. There is the arrangement of play dates for socialization. (My husband, who is doing the lion's share of the work these first weeks, jokes that the high point of his day is the 4 p.m. play date with Cyon, our friends' older golden.) There are the books written by experts (our puppy manual is by the Monks of New Skete). There is the feeling of total relief in seeing tired eyes close for a nap.
Speaking as a human being with (human) offspring and as a journalist who can't go a day without hearing about the death of hard news, real news, what a tragedy it was that the Rocky Mountain News went tits up, blah blah, blah, can I simply suggest that this is why the terrorists hate us? And by terrorists, I mean the dwindling universe of print subscribers.
Hot tip: Someone should take an option out on a new version of Neil Simon's Chapter Two. Replace either James Caan or Marsha Mason with a dog and, boom, you've got bigger B.O. than Marley & Me.
Hat tip: Bill Wyman not of the Rolling Stones but of the indispensable Hitsville music-biz blog.