Coping: Dogs, Cats, and “Template Monkeys”

A super-hot emotional topic this morning:  As expected, my note (in the Monday news section) about the dog mauling case in Arizona received a lot of email from dog owners, anxious to defend the pooch.  Several were quite good and some fine issues are raised.  This one is among the best:

Just a quick note about your article on the face chewing dog.

To start off with let me say that I am no fan of pitbulls.  The breed was bred for only one thing – to kill other pitbulls (or other breeds unlucky enough to fight them) in the fighting ring.  Unnatural, unacceptable and totally uncalled for.

It defies explanation as to how this breed of dog, vicious as they are, has become so iconic in our society.  Nary a weekend goes by that I don’t see someone selling pitbull puppies on a corner or across from Walmart.

I firmly believe that the breed should be erased from the canine race.

Having said that, the story you are referring to runs a little deeper than what you see on the surface.  You were out here in Arizona not long ago so I’m sure you’ve had the opportunity to hear the local news take on this story.

If not, here’s a quick synopsis.

The boy that was mauled has special needs.  Not sure what those special needs are.  News didn’t say and it’s really none of my business anyways.  But this is a factor in all of this.

The boy’s mother was at work when the mauling occured.  He was being watched by a relative who let him get out of their sight.  The boy got into the neighbor’s yard where the animal Mickey lives.  Not only was the young boy in the wrong place, but then he picked up the dog’s bone.

Have you ever owned dogs?  I have for most of my life.  My experience is that when a stranger enters into the dog’s territory even mild mannered breeds can become quite agressive.

Then take something that belongs to them?  Holy batsh**, Batman! 

So the young boy got away from the babysitter, entered into the yard where the pitbull lives and took the dog’s bone after which the dog goes psycho on the boy ripping his face off.

It is a sad, sad accident.  Mickey didn’t leave his yard (as is the case for most pitbull maulings), but was protecting his territory.  Unfortunately dog’s don’t make judgement calls.  They don’t think to themselves, “geez it’s only a kid.”  They act on instinct and on impulse.

Now had the dog gotten out of his yard and attacked the child that would be a different story.  Kill the dog when that happens.  But in his own yard?  On his own territory?  C’mon, George.  You got to take that into consideration.

Now I haven’t signed any silly petition.  Again I’m not a fan of pitbulls and am content to let the magistrate do their job and make a decision in this case without trying to put my two cents worth into the fray.  However I do see this as a tragic accident, nothing more.

And no, I do not believe that Mickey should lose his life over this.  Dog lovers everywhere probably feel the same even though many of us cannot stand pitbulls.

Just sayin…



And the Zeman had similar thoughts:

As a breeder, and knowing the possibility of being attacked by any dog, of any breed, I fell for the killer breed assessment too, as I had no experience with them. Then I was given a Pit, that was going to be put down because the owner simply didn’t want it…she was 4 months old. Having raised tens of dogs, I know how to raise one. This dog is much less apt to attack a human than a Dalmatian (which is bred for the express purpose of protection)…pits are bred to fight other dogs, but are great for killing vermin(as they are bred from terriers), but are not bred to attack humans. I can guarantee you that if you tried to take a bone from any dog, you are risking attack…and if you are stupid enough to try it on a dog that is on a chain(on guard, at work), well it would serve you right. That all being said, if the dog was mine, I would probably put it down simply because I would no longer trust it. Tell me this though, why is the baby sitter not being charged? Would you let your child approach a dog(of any breed), that is on a chain/leash (on duty) and let them attempt to pull a bone from its’ mouth? I think you know the answer to that.
      As far as dog bites, look up what breed is the most notorious for bites…and before you give me the old “well, a Poodle or Chihuahua can’t tear your face off” line, I can direct you to my vet, who will tell you that any bite can kill or maim, if not treated correctly. My neighbor nearly lost a finger (her doctor said it could have been much worse) to a nip from a Dachshund (which was not chained), when she attempted to pet it…she did apply antiseptic to it immediately…but it still became infected. Lastly, ALL DOGS are killer breeds, be it a Rat Terrier or Great Pyrenees, it’s why they have fangs. It is what they do, it’s why humans kept them around.
    The problem is stupid humans with something that can be hazardous. Since most murders/deaths are believed to be caused by 38 caliber and up guns, shouldn’t they be banned, as when you are shot by a gun of this size, isn’t death or maiming much more likely? Should we not ban all guns bigger than a BB gun? Tell me this George, if you point a gun at a person that is loaded and pull the trigger, can it not kill, regardless of its’ caliber? Well, George, guns in fact CAN kill, whether it is a BB gun or 12 GA. when used/misused by stupid humans. Lastly, have you not said “guns don’t kill, people do”? A dog is no different, no matter the breed….Z 
PS. Pit bulls are noted for one thing for sure, They WILL steal your place on the sofa when you go for a beer.

As I said, all great comments, but what are we to learn from the discussion?

Much –  if we employ my old technique called the Substitution Method of Learning.

I haven’t talked about this for years, but it’s important to have a quick lesson in it, I think because it clarifies one’s thinking when faced with an emotionally “hot” news story which whips up partisans.  A partisan being: “…a strong supporter of a party, cause, or person.”

We will be jumping around a bit in the discussion to follow, but I think you’ll find some real value in learning how you are a walking computer, and just like a computer with a database on board, you have different data tables that you’re constantly filling and updating.

It’s these that form your opinions, although most peeps have no consciousness of how the process works and how it holds them hostage of “old ways of thinking.”  Even more importantly, the “old way” is what makes people so easy to manage.

Just change your belief system update content and Presto!  You’re a new, more malleable duck, sheep, or dog, suitable for training to the PTB agenda.

Your Life is Based on Templates

As you are raised from childhood, the family around you imbues you with a huge series of templates.

Templates are “called” based on sensory inputs.  Think of templates as a “fill-in-the-blanks” approach to a situation.

Let’s begin with a simple one that will visit you today:  Odds are pretty good that at some time today your stomach will send a template call to your brain about FOOD.

In other words, your brain will receive a set of sensations or inputs that remind you that food is needed to keep this operation of yours (your Life) going.

How you respond to the template will depend which food/nutrition response has been installed in your by your “upbringing and education.”  In other words, programming.

As a result of where (and who) socialized and educated you (in other words, delimited your selection of templates) your answer will be different.  The template is a fill-in-the-blanks, remember.  What you put into the blanks  we call preference.  And that, in turn, is largely a matter of repetition, to a far greater degree, than conscious optimization.

Working Through the Food Example

Had you been raised in Russia, for example, breakfast might be kasha and blini.  In Mexico, it might be a breakfast taco.  Malaysian breakfast might be nasi lemak, or silog in the Philippines.

Any of these will do a fine job of powering up your body for 4-8 hours of work prior to lunch.

The main thing is (and pardon my repeating the point) Your senses call a template and you then strike to fill in a template based on early childhood and later life experience preference.

Emotional Templates (Ukraine vs. Venice)

The next point of discussion (relating to Mickey the dog) is just as the basics (breathing, eating, thirst, and so forth call templates from your onboard computer (the .EXE files of life), there is another class of templates (*belief templates) that are also installed in your childhood and teenage years.

How you operate in society is determined almost entirely by how your emo-templates were installed.

If you had a parent, for example, who preached honesty but then broke speed limits, you will have some built-in template conflicts.

And, since most people are not aware that they have these behavioral databases, we have long lines of sources that are anxious to load you up with template filler in order to elicit a particular behavior from you.

We can see it in how the myth of “democracy” template is used and abused  in America.

The first-choice of template fill for “democracy” is that the system works and is good.

However, the template is then tweaked by various interest groups, through mass media and advertising, in ways that are designed to push you toward unconsciously selecting a different template fill.

Thus, when you receive anti Obama emails, that’s because a group of people are trying to get you to contribute to their candidate, issue position, and maybe even give them money because why?  Everything is a business model, of course!

As you look across the spectrum, and openly ask yourself  “What template are they trying to fill?”  the answers become apparent.

If it is the neocons (leftovers from the Project for a New American Century) they may still be selling the “regime change” template fill that has failed so miserably in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, and which has been checkmated in Syria and now Crimea.

But we can recognize the emo-template of a situation like Ukraine/Crimea because other template fills are available that are extremely unlikely to escalate to the war-monger agenda.

There has been virtually no media coverage about how “Voting has begun in Venice and the surrounding region on whether to break away from Italy.

You know why, of course?  There’s big money to be made by certain industrialists and corporatists by grabbing control of the gas pipelines that flow into Europe.  It’s like taking over a toll booth on a busy turnpike.  What’s not to love?

Venice, in this other template (same problem, local autonomy) offers no such financial incentives since tourism *(and keeping the city from sinking) is not a high-revenue potential proposition.  Not on the neocon hit list, so no nuclear way dangers from Venice and it becomes back page news.

Alignment of Templates

I went to the grocery store after my periodic tooth-cleaning adventure.  ( I look forward to them since nitrous before noon is a lot more acceptable than popping into a local bar for an “eye-opener” plus there’s no hangover, but I digress.)

Afterwards, Elaine had given me a shopping list that included a few cans of wet cat food. On to the local Brookshire’s grocery.

Bravely on into the cat food aisle!  And there was an amazing example of template alignment.

The cat food was mostly packaged to fit my other templates.  A cat in its right mind wouldn’t distinguish between a “seafood feast” and the  “pate Florentine” choice.  And a cat would not be able to ready what a “seafood sensation” is, because their computers don’t have as many templates. 

Ours, on the other hand, do.  And that’s how the pet industry lines up your templates by linking animals to your templates.

(About here, animal people start to look at me like I have two heads, but bear with me…)

I haven’t found any good studies that show how pets “give love” except, insofar as they look at humans as their preferred feeding template and to a lesser degree sensory pleasure template.

Zeus the Cat, for example, knows that it’s easier to get a meal by coming into my office and correcting a few typos and then sitting up (like a prairie dog looking around) because I’ve taught him if he’s hungry, this posture is more effective than his previous template fill which was staring at his food dish for hours on end.  Less than mousing, though.

When he needs to step out, to use the lawn or get water, he goes to the door and issues a cat’s version of a bark, and out he goes.

When he wants his “affection template” filled, it seems he’ll come over and meow once indicating that I should immediately cease whatever it is I’m doing, and let him jump up in my lap.

But even this, too, is an template affection fill on his part since it usually happens when the weather is cold or its rainy out.  Lap to Zeus means mostly “I want to warm up my feet.”  It might just be his comfort template.

Unlike many pet owners, we have  a (more or less) business relationship.  I’m clear that when I want something for a physical or emotional template fill on my part, I either pick up the phone and call a human, or I go talk to Elaine.  The latter being my preferred fill…

To us, we’ve gotten old enough to stop kidding ourselves about pets.  They are “small template database” computers.  Most of the people we know are “large template database computers” and a few have achieved super-computer, self optimizing template-spewing monsters and it’s there that we focus our efforts.  Hanging around smart people really does make you smarter.  You learn their templates.

Why template focus?  We’re all going to die.  The only stuff we take with us is between our ears, and so with death out there (hopefully a few hundred more years, but likely not, lol) we want to get as much of this working with templates down as we can since Eternity is longer than a nap (or a lunch-hour) and so we need to evolve a good deal of self-programming and tune up our discovery templates for the Big Sleep.  Might need a fair bit of ingenuity to remain entertained over Eternity, know what I’m saying?

“Interesting, but what the hell does this have to do with Mickey the dog?”

Damn, back to the point of the discussion, eh?

OK, let me break it down for you:  Most people reading the story about Mickey the dog are going to fall into one template (the Poor Mickey template, let’s call it) or the second template which is the “euthanize Mickey” template.

But is the use of either of these templates the best we can do as self-optimizing humans?

I don’t think so.

There is another approach which is to take the story and rewrite it so as to pull a different template from your personal onboard library.  Which is how I get to a “everyone shares blame, to one extent, or another” position for myself.  It’s how the case is illustrative of human polarization rather than contemplative thought.

If you’re interested, here’s how to do it:  You begin with a blank template.  Just the raw story itself. 

Then:  Rewrite the story so that there is as little emotional content as possible.

In other words, take Mickey the Dog completely out of the picture and come up  with a different “thing” (placeholder) for how your read (and attempt to fill-in) your “template”.

Let’s say I chose a lawnmower that has been left running, or a branch chipper, instead.  And then, let’s put the same participants back into the equation.  The child is still seriously injured, the adult watching the child was still likely negligent, and the owner who left the lawnmower or chipper running in the backyard would also share some blame.

And maybe even the child, too.  But I don’t have enough (recent) experience with 4-year-olds to know about whether they can follow “don’t go there” commands, or not.  (My parenting skills are 35 years in the past.)

Do you see how the substitution method of learning works in a situation like this?  Change the point of emotional focus to something else, something without emotional strings on it.

As you begin to analyze the world around you, rather than just sweep up all kinds of data without introspection, you’ll begin to get a different sense of things.  Absolutes become a bit gray, for sure, but that how all relationships and situations are.

And that’s likely to be the outcome when Mickey gets his day in court. 

If I were a juror, I’d be asking a lot of questions unrelated to Mickey, substituting a lawnmower.  This kind of thinking, as a bit of knowledge about how jury nullification works, is why I’ve always been dismissed from jury duty.

Courts, your see, don’t want people who are critical of templates and framing involved in juries.  They claim power to frame and to template.  They rely on the prosecution to fill in one side of the template and the defense to fill in the other.

The most dangerous people in America are therefore people like me and you, now that you’ve been cursed with the knowledge of template control.

Oh, and even with the non-emotional lawnmower substitution?  I’d be inclined to make sure the lawnmower is turned off and the owner of the lawnmower be barred from “doing their own yard.”  And the personal in charge of watching would be barred from doing that.

Which gets me to reveal one of my innermost templates which merely asks a simple question:

“:Can you fix stupid?”

Mickey reminds us that humans and their templates “scale.”  Just like IT infrastructure and server-balancing.

Longshoreman/philosopher Eric Hoffer wrote iu The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (Perennial Classics)Show me a true Nazi and I’ll show you a true Communist…”  Works in pets and politics well, from what I’ve seen.

That’s rather the point, isn’t it?  If you aren’t controlling your own templates, then someone else is.  That’s the concept that scales nicely.

Modern-day situational ethics might hold that “Love is the Ultimate Law.”  But get over it:  The Law is 99% possession (ask the Ukrainians).  And if you don’t own your own templates, someone else does and they’re going to shake either money, or a behavior out of you, one way or the other.

Neocons and pet food companies, turns out, do have something in common. You maybe just never thought about it before.  But that’s because you used to be a simple template monkey.

Tuesday at the WoWW

Remember Tom’s case of the ringing phone from Monday’s column?  (Scroll down to “When is it Woo-Woo?)

Tom, as it turns out is not alone in this experience:

Hi George!

Re 3-17-14 letter from Tom of Albuquerque, and the phone calls from his wife:

Several years ago, family member got himself arrested for the umpteenth time on drug charges, sent to jail, then to prison for all the accummulated charges.  He often called at 9 pm from prison when he could get the phone.  Eventually he committed suicide there, and for several weeks the phone would ring around 9 pm with weird static on the line and no caller ID number.  It finally stopped but I always figured it was our family member saying he arrived wherever he was and was okay now.

Best wishes,

Pat from Madison

Darn odd, I have to admit.

And while we’re out in the World of Woo-Woo (WoWW) try on this case report from North Carolina:

Hi George,

Currently living in a motel 6 in southern pines nc. We moved from New Mexico about a week ago. New job, new house, new beginning, anyhow, we’ve been at the motel for about a week now, because we have pets, we’re pretty much left alone, no maid service. Etc. we were running low on toilet paper today, so my wife went to the front desk for another couple rolls. So far so good. I unwrapped one of the new rolls so I could blow my nose(sniffles) but did not place the roll on the spindle in the toilet/shower room. Later I thanked my wife for putting the roll on the spindle. She swears 7 ways from Sunday she didn’t put the roll in its proper place. Last time I saw it, it was on the sink in a different room. So I guess the leprechauns were busy in our bathroom today. No other explanation. Best in woo to you and Elaine.


These are the ones that make me nuts (noticeably more so than usual, lol).  So on that note, off to another day of fun-filled merriment.

And I the only guy who’s going to have corned-beef has with a couple of eggs on it this morning to finish off the leftover corned beef from St. Patrick’s day?

Write when you break even, or catch the Woo in action…  The news summary/analysis will be along about 7:55 central…don’t leave home without it.