New Feature: Tales of a Veterinary Spouse

“The best doctor in the world is the veterinarian. He can’t ask his patients what is the matter-he’s got to just know.”–Will Rogers

Episode One: You called me for what??

You may laugh, but this is literally true.  I finally became inured, but she ruined my appetite many times.

You may laugh, but this is literally true.  She has ruined my appetite many times.  Image credit unknown.

I don’t know if a veterinarian is the best doctor in the world, but I do know this:  to survive thirty years of marriage to one, I may be the most patient spouse in the world.  The early years were the worst.  Why?  In two words: on call.  Thanks to a proliferation of 24-hour veterinary emergency clinics, she no longer gets those middle of the night wake-up calls.   But here are just two of the many gems she dealt with through the years.

Phone conversation Sunday afternoon late summer day

Panicked client: “Help! My dog can’t get up!”

Dr. Sackler:  “What’s happening.”

Panicked client: “My dog can’t get up.”

An effective restraint device?

An effective restraint device?

Dr. Sackler: “Well can you describe the situation?”

Panicked client: “I see my dog outside struggling to get up and he can’t get up.”

Dr. Sackler: “Well stay calm and go out there and take a closer look.”

The dog’s collar ID tag was caught in a slot between planks on the wood deck.

Phone conversation at 1 AM, Monday Morning

Ditzy client: “Dr. Sackler, I swallowed my dog’s heart worm pill, what should I do?”

Dr. Sackler: “Mrs. So-and-so, I can’t help you.  If your dog had swallowed your birth control pill, that I could help you with. But I can’t advise you on a human accidental dosing, you have to call your medical doctor.”

Ditzy client: “OH, It’s the middle of the night, I can’t bother my doctor!”

Dr. Sackler: “What am I, chopped liver?”  CLICK!!

The second story was so ridiculous, my daughter, who was in 9th grade at the time, wrote it up and submitted it to Readers Digest for their On The Job column.  They published it–sans the closing chopped liver line– and paid her $300.  Oh, and it also turned up a couple of years later on a page-a-day calendar created from that column.  Those were fifteen minutes of  fame my wife could have lived without.

That’s enough for now, but stay tuned.  These stories are just the tip of the iceberg–they get better.


Cosmic Quote(s) #16

“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my works. I want to achieve it through not dying.”–Woody Allen

“I’m very pleased to be here.  Lets face it, at my age, I’m very pleased to be anywhere.”–George Burns

I’ve had enough of it for now.  I’m calling a moratorium on in memoriam memeranda, momentarily.   (Try saying that five times fast.)  So if you are planning on dying, please have the courtesy to hold off for at least a few weeks.  My attention now turns back to the living, at least while I’m still breathing.


Guest Post Reblog #2

I’m back from the Iberian peninsula just in time to reblog my second monthly guest post on The Blog of Funny Names. Appropriately enough, it’s a place name and not a person.

In other news, my thanks to Sue of Dreamshadow59 for nominating me for the very inspiring blogger award. I do appreciate the nominations (this my 8th I think) but I don’t participate–meaning I don’t jump through the required hoops among which require nominating so many other bloggers, so that it spreads like a rhinovirus through the blogosphere.

Now, if I can find my office under all this snow, back to real life.

The Blog of Funny Names

Truth or Consequences, NM,is indeed one of the odd names in American Geography.  The story of the name’s origin is odder still.  I thought I had it nailed back in the early 70’s, long before the founders of this blog were even born.  I drove through Truth or Consequences on a cross country trip.  As I passed beyond the city limits heading north towards Albequerque, I saw a huge sign on the interstate proclaiming “NEXT SERVICES 100 MILES.”  Aha!  That has to be it, I thought, as I looked down at my dashboard. My gas gauge had better be telling me the truth, or I would pay the consequences!

Wrong.   Well, sort of right; my observation about being screwed if my gas gauge was inaccurate probably was true.  But  the true story of how the former Hot Springs, NM changed its name is more unlikely than that. It…

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In Memoriam: Mary Ruth “U.V.” Ray

mary ruth rayMary Ruth Ray (Aka”U.V”; Aka “Vi”) died Tuesday, January 29 at age 56 after a three year battle with cancer.  She was a world class viola player,  a founding member of the Lydian String Quartet and an artist in residence at Brandeis University for more than 3 decades.  Others knew her better and longer than me,  but she was a friend and a follower of this blog.  I refer you to her biography page on the Brandeis University web site, and obituary in the Boston Globe.   The list of recordings and Grammy nominations is particularly impressive.  One blogger described her playing as demonstrative of quiet excellence; that describes her perfectly as a human being as well.

I am not one for eulogies and she did not want any.  I will close with an expression of deepest sympathy to her family, friends and professional colleagues, and a repeat of a past memorial post from last fall that was one her favorites from this blog.  I have lost too many friends and family this year,  and now another bright light has gone out.

In Memoriam: Life, Death and Leaves

  (originally posted Sept 29,, 2012)

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower”–Albert Camus

It has been a difficult week as three people I know died.  They were an 82-year-old uncle whose death had been anticipated, a 59-year-old work colleague whose demise was an unexpected shock, and most tragically, the 29-year-old son of one of my poker buddies whose death from illness had been feared for some time.

Here is an elegy to these lost souls with the only piece of poetry I ever wrote which I would deem appropriate.  It’s well over 35-years old–the sort of thing one could only write in one’s youth.

The Leaves

Words ©1976, 2012  Mark Sackler

Sit and look at the leaves,

Amber arms descending from October’s trees.

Covering delicate grasses,

sweeping the highway,

bedding the rain,


Solemn songs to life departed,

Sit and look at the leaves.


Winter rerun: This is Not a Pipe

While I’m out photographing the Spanish countryside today, here’s an apropos rerun of one of my back posts.  What else can I say–other than “this is not a blog?”  

“I am two with nature.”–Woody Allen

This is not a pipe

The Treachery of Images, by Rene Magritte, 1928-29
Ceci n’est pas une pipe. This is not a pipe.

René Magritte’s message is rather unambiguous.  An image of a “thing” is not the thing itself.  But don’t worry, I’m not headed toward a heavy ontological discussion here.  I have a simple question which, believe it or not, my overly opinionated philosophical mind has virtually no idea how to answer.   Maybe one of you out there can help.

I love nature photography.  Flowers, birds, wildlife, oceans, lakes, clouds, mountains, landscapes–you name it, I like looking at these images and they are my favorite to photograph.  Good grief, I’ve even photographed mud puddles and insects.  And yet I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, what one would call a nature lover.  I hate gardening and yard work.  I won’t even mow my own lawn as I am allergic to grass pollen. I haven’t been camping in 30 years and only rarely go hiking.  I do spend a good bit of time outdoors, but this is almost entirely involved with playing or watching sports.  It seems that I prefer a well framed image of nature to the actual experience of nature itself.  And to add to the conundrum, this only applies to photographic images.  My preferences in other visual arts tends towards styles or schools–Surrealist (Miró), Social Realist (Hopper), Post-impressionist (Seurat, Rousseau, Van Gogh), Geometric Abstraction (Klee, Mondrian).  (Here is a link to my favorite contemporary artist, Yanick Lapuh.)

I have only just realized this–and really have no strong ideas about why this should be.  A preference for a well-composed image?  Remnants from a childhood anxiety of physical reality?  Or, like Woody, am I just at two with nature?   All you amateur psychologists please provide your opinions by email, snail mail, or pony express.  (Comments herein are OK, too)

Below, three of my personal favorite landscape photographs from my own travels, as well as a couple of representative pieces by Monsieur Lapuh.

(Click on images for full size)

Sideways tree

Sideways Tree. Looking out from the Great Wall of China. Copyright 2006, Mark Sackler


Costa Rica Coastline. Copyright 2008, Mark Sackler


A Scottish Loch. Copyright 2010 Mark Sackler

Objection Your Honer, Yanick Lapuh, 1993

Envisioned Solution, Yanick Lapuh, 2006


BLAHS #3.2: And the winner is…

“On my tombstone just write: ‘The sorest loser who ever lived.’–Earl Weaver

It’s all over but the shouting.  Fortunately, I can’t hear you scream on the internet as long as my volume is turned down.



In a hotly contested battle, 529 ballots were cast, at least 400 of them by voters other than me.  Essa edged out Clotilda by a nose, even though I am pretty sure her nose is not the favorite part of her anatomy.  Congratulations Essa.  Or condolences, depending on how you view the BLAHS.  As for Clotilda and Sooz, I hope you are not sore losers.  Your followers tried, but could not out-stuff the ballot box.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.


BLAHS #3.1: Down the stretch they come

“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries.”–Will Rogers

With just about 24 hours to go, it’s neck and neck in a tight three-way race.   (And remember girls, not only is ballot box stuffing permitted, I also accept bribes.).  I’ll attempt to close the voting at 5PM EDT Sunday Feb 3, which may not be easy as I am presently in a far distant time zone and don’t even know if I will have internet access.  At any rate, if you missed the initial post and want to know what all the commotion is about, you can review here.  If you don’t have a clue and are too lazy to do the research, don’t worry.   This is like a real election: you don’t have to know squat to vote.


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