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mrs. norman maine

My comic inner ear must be tone deaf this week. I love a bizarre story as much as anyone, but I can't imagine why a woman watching her dog's skull get bashed in, and then seeing it tossed down the basement steps like a sack of garbage, all while having no idea if she was next, is....funny.

Even the name Muffin isn't funny, at least post-mortem, because it reads like what it was -- the adored name of a pet belonging to a woman who didn't have much else going for her.

I know you said it was funny except for the dead part, but I'm just not there on any level. ('Course, I realize I sound like Mary Tyler Moore in the newsroom BEFORE Chuckle's funeral.)


The punishment seems perfectly reasonable, even a bit easy. As the judge suggested, the guy will get around to killing somebody sooner or later.


i dont find much humor in this at all.


I'm waiting for the follow-up because this only sounds sad and disturbing. I have an old dog and the thought of him dying is sad enough let alone the thought of him dying at the hands of a malicious person. I am certainly capable of gallows humor, but I am not seeing it here... is there more to follow?

David W.

It's funny in a Danny DeVito sort of way, I guess. Which I don't find funny, actually.


Not funny, Lance. Not even in a greek tragedy way. Asshole should not be allowed parole for any reason.


Hmmm...I guess I'm in the "this is too twisted to be funny" group, too.

But then I've been debating libertarians over at my blog. This is what I get for highlighting that one of them is starting up a local issues magazine.

No good deed goes unpunished.


The funny part comes when the guy explains to his cell-mate what he's in for.

"So, you're in here for wiener chokin'."


As you say, those who intentionally inflict harm on the animal kingdom are just as likely to commit harm on the human side of species....


BTW, at the very beginning of "The Strong-Willed Child", James Dobson describes his own family, then spends about three pages describing how he beat the shit out of the family datchund for snarling at him (then proudly announced how the dog remained obedient to him for the rest of his life and used that incident as an intro how to deal with children). Familiar? BTW, the dog's name was Sigmund Freud, or Ziggie - tells you a little more about Dobson. I bet the boyfriend from your story was raised by someone just like Dobson....


My thirteen-year old dog died just last month. His name was a joke, originally, but it was his name. His death was not funny. If his death had been caused by any human agency, that would not be funny, either.

blue girl

Ok Lance. No one sees the humor in your post, so let me inject a little humor in the comment thread.

The name "Muffin" for a male weiner dog is funny, but not as funny as...

Our old neighbors, two gay guys -- had a weiner dog and its name was -- ready?!!



I have read that excerpt from the works of James Dobson. George W. Bush and his flying circus may have taken all the fun out of believing in God for me, but still I know that a time will come when men who take pride in the violence that they have inflicted on creatures physically weaker than themselves -- whether women, children or dogs who look silly to baby boomers who keep Labrador retrievers and other "real" dogs -- and boast about the authority that they have obtained through such violence, and adduce some misbegotten line in the Old Testament as justification, will be judged, and judged harshly.

Exiled in NJ

Lance, I think you have a core of dog-owners/lovers here, including me truly with an almost 12 year old sheepdog named Farfel. Doesn't this fact make you feel superior to Kevin Drum and his cat admirers?

Before Farfel we had a 95 lb collie shepherd named Muffin by my daughter.


To inject political commentary into my last heartfelt comment, my dog was never struck in anger or by accident. He was the best behaved dog I have ever known. If he ever did anything that we disapproved of, a single "No" prevented him from ever doing anything similar again.

Dobson is a fucking authoritarian idiot asshole.


John- I am sorry to hear about your dog. I have had the honor of sharing in the lives of 5 dogs, 2 of whom are still with me. Somehow the best dogs keep managing to find their way into my life. I hope that you find yet another best dog. Your former one sounds wonderful. Again, I am sorry for your loss.



You know how I feel about cats, but I have to be careful because I have a lot of cat lovers among my readers too, the poor misguided souls.


I'm sorry about your dog. I know what it's like to lose a friend like that. It's been 20 years since my dog died and I still miss him so much I don't want another dog ever.

But, folks, the story I found comic was the one I linked to, not the one I told, the story of the idiot's sentencing not the story of the killing of the dog. I found the people involved comical, but not the man's cruelty or the woman's grief.

And part of the reason you all found no humor in the story of the killing of the dog is that I didn't put any in it. I told the story straight, not as a joke.

That said, pets named Muffin are funny.

But then I'm the guy who named his beloved dog Binky.



You know what I find funny? Jennifer's comment sent me into a sobbing jag that I haven't had since my puppy died.

I don't cry. I'm "bottled up", according to my wife. Yet a simple expression of sympathy for my *dog*, for god's sake, broke me up. I'm still sitting here with tears streaming down my cheeks as I think about him. (His name was Red, short for "Red Menop Menop Tuna Dog".)

He died of cancer. Thirteen years ago, we were struggling students who could barely afford to pay the vet bills for his mother. This year, we could easily afford the best medical therapy for him. But none of the best chemotherapy worked. Still, at the last moments, he lifted his head and wagged at me. I held him, and he wagged, and went to sleep.

I've got a long commentary that I have deleted. Let me summarize: Fuck Dobson, and all of his friends. They don't have a fucking clue about how to raise a dog, let alone a child.

Shakespeare's Sister

I like cats and dogs. So there.

Mike Schilling

What do you call a collection of dogs? A pack.

What do you call a collection of cats? An infestation.

blue girl

"But, folks, the story I found comic was the one I linked to, not the one I told, the story of the idiot's sentencing not the story of the killing of the dog."

Yeah, sure. Prove it.


I like cats and dogs (and horses and birds and insects...), too. We are on our third dog and second cat right now. Nothing funny about a death of a pet. But the courtroom scene WAS funny, I have to admit.

Kevin Wolf

Odd thing, Lance, is I knew exactly what you meant. I'm not thinking the same thing as everybody else (though I find Blue Girl's first comment to be on target, as usual). I think I got it.

Sometimes the actions of the flakes, the flukes, the freaks and the stupid fuckers in this society have to be "told" like stories - depicted in movies, acted out by Monty Python (is there a present-day equivalent?) or otherwise acted out - for us to see the absurdity of the world we live and die in.

I'm not making myself clear, I think, but I believe you did - right in the first and second paragraphs of this post.

Earl Bockenfeld

It's comedy, and it's fun to imagine what Elmore Leonard or Carl Hiaasen could do with the scene and this cast of characters. Except you have to remind yourself that the evil ex-boyfriend killed the dog, in front of her.

Lance, your posts about mystery writers, and the mention of Elmore Leonard is kinda like a secret handshake, or some kinda serendipity. My only knowledge of Leonard is having seen the movie "Get Shorty" and not having paid any attention to the author. Then a few months ago, my grandson serving a tour in Iraq requested books, mainly anything written by Elmore Leonard. After checking the bookstores, it was some surprise that he has authored over 25 books, most of which we were able to locate and ship-off to the soldier. During the past year we have been on a search, purchase and fast-ship, and we have managed so far to keep him stocked up with Leonard's books. My wife or I haven't had a chance to read any of them, as yet but we are looking forward to getting acquainted with Elmore.

I read the link, for this post, and it was funnier than the post, but as a dog owner of our third dog, the brutish and vicious behavior of Guy is so gross that the dog killing makes the whole story kinda like a toothache. Muffin is an unusual name for a dog, not just for a weiner dog, but 'what's in a name'. My son, who loves cats, named his first cat "Kitty Babe" which our entire family bugged him why he didn't give the cat a 'real name'. He always replied that Kitty Babe was the cat's real name.

cali dem

Abusing and/or killing a person's pet in front of them is standard procedure among wife abusers and child abusers. Who knows how many years of practice this creature has had kicking dogs? And, when he gets out of prison, he's going to have more rage...

John, I'm sorry about your dog's death, too. Sounds as if he had a nice life with you up to the end.

cali dem

"She wanted DeGiorgio to take responsibility. And, she said, "it was also to protect other women from what this man is capable of."

Exiled in NJ

Now I must issue a disclaimer, Lance, that I too have had three cats, the last Susie Creamcheese our defense against the field mice of Upstate NY. When I moved to NJ, another lovely person took Susie because we did not think she would co-habitate with a parakeet, but my dog misses her.

Posting this story reminded me of deVito making the blackest of comedies, "War of the Roses," but still had to give we canine lovers hope after the infamous pate scene by letting us hear a dog bark outside.

I can never read the last part of Unbearable Lightness without having my eyes mist over as Karenin leaves the story.


i imagine a dog-killer would get the same reception in prison as a child-molester, so maybe
a four year sentence will be sufficient.

i was a dog person into my 20s, then one day i found in the woods a pair of kittens so tiny i thought at first sight they were baby squirrels.
took them home, fed them milk repacer, watched them take over the house and my heart. as friendly as a golden-retriever and even more entertaining. after 15 years of irreplaceable friendship and in the final year, 9 operations, i finally had to have sass put down. i lost a parent as a child, an aunt to cancer at 53 and my best friend to cancer at 46- yet putting my cat to sleep was tougher.

if you're not a cat-person it's because you haven't met the right cat.

by the way, john is right-dobson really is a dick.

mrs. norman maine

I did read the link before posting.

But it was an interesting thread because any argument about what's funny that doesn't involve the Three Stooges is always a relief.

mac macgillicuddy

MNM - Those were three funny guys! ;)

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