Sunday, July 27, 2014


I sometimes overhear Lou & Eugenie saying that I was running in my sleep and having another 'doggie dream'. Until recently, the idea of canine dreams was largely dismissed as another case of humans anthropomorphizing their pets. New research, however,  suggests that we may, indeed, be doing just that. In a recent Parade Magazine article, Your PetExlained: The Truth About Cats & Dogs, veterinarian Melissa Bain, associate professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, says that "we don't know…but we think they dream.” That’s because their brain-wave patterns resemble those seen in people. “Dogs go through sleep cycles very similar to humans’, with periods of deep sleep and periods of rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep,” says Stephen Zawistowski, Ph.D., an applied animal behaviorist and science adviser to the American Society for the Prevention of ­Cruelty to Animals. “Dreaming happens during REM sleep, which is also when dogs twitch their legs, move their lips, or vocalize.” ­Wonder when your own dog might be dreaming? As a dog starts to doze, and his sleep becomes ­deeper, his breathing will become more regular, says canine ­behavior ­expert Stanley Coren in his book How Dogs Think. “After a period of about 20 minutes,” Coren writes, “his first dream should start.” (read the entire article).
Tanner and his newest 'baby' (Thank You, Aunt Robby)
Not only do we dream like our two-legged partners, it seems we get jealous like them, too. As reported by CNN online, "a study by scholars at the University of California, San Diego found that dogs showed jealous behaviors when their owners displayed affection toward an animatronic stuffed dog that barked, whined and wagged its tail. The dogs snapped at and pushed against the stuffed dog and tried to get between it and the human. This may come as no surprise to any owner of multiple pooches who has seen them jostle for space on someone's lap."
Joe Long, far right
Thanks to the billion dollar stage hit and recent movie, JERSEY BOYS, millions of younger Americans now know the music, and tumultuous story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, a quartet of street smart 'goombahs' who mixed music with the Mob. Well, it turns out that Lou has a personal connection to one of the Seasons, #5, Joe Long (photo, far right). Joe was born Joe LaBracio, in Elizabeth, NJ. His mom and dad, Mary and Joe, lived on High Street, a scant half-block from Spirito's Restaurant, the landmark eatery founded 80+ years ago by Lou's grandfather. They were such close friends that Lou's mom and dad chose Mary & Joe to be Lou's godparents, a big deal for Italians. When the Seasons tabbed Joey, a talented, classically trained bass player, to replace the disgruntled Nick Massi, Joey became an instant hero in  the city's Italian Peterstown neighborhood. Fifty years later, Joe's hometown has decided to honor him by renaming High Street Joe Long Way. It couldn't happen to a nicer, humbler or more deserving guy. (listen to the interview).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


On July 10, Lou read from GIMME SHELTER and followed up with a Q & A for the juvenile probation students at Camp Miller. While they know him as a motivational substitute teacher, this gave the boys a chance to ask about the book, the writing process and his battle with anger. Afterwards, he visited the classrooms and talked about the opportunities available via KDP and CreateSpace to self-publish for no, or very little money. He tossed out a few intriguing story lines and offered to 'give' them to any student willing to run with the ideas. His presentation went so well that he was invited to do an encore this week at Camp Gonzales. In the fall, both camps will be using Gimme Shelter as part of a scholastic unit on the theme of 'Discovery'.
Tanner & Lola ("'She Was A Show Dog..") Mazza

Switching hats on the fly, Lou went from speaker/writer to concerned citizen when he addressed the Malibu City Council, urging them to put an initiative intended to control local retail development on theNovember's ballot. While he's rarely at a loss for words, Lou admitted to being taken aback when he was asked to follow actor/writer/director and producer and Malibu resident Rob Reiner (All In The Family, Princess Bride, This Is Spinal Tap, When Harry Met Sally), who sponsored the initiative with his wife. In classic 'dad' style, Lou joked about having to "one-up the famous guy". Then he made an earnest, humorous appeal to the council to honor the democratic process.
Rob Reiner
While most of our news involves dogs, books and related matters, we're happy to give a hearty 'Bravo!' to our dear friend, John Mazza. A lifelong surfer who has amassed an impressive collection of boards, John generously loaned 15 of his vintage 'sticks' to the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park in San Diego for an exhibit on Surf Craft. Richard Kenvin designed and organized the show which continues through December.
John Mazza, surfboard collector and historian
Here's a YouTube tour of John's Collection at the Pepperdine University Library. Below are some of the reviews and media coverage of the Balboa show: 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Even though we're on the wrong side of the tracks (in this case, Pacific Coast Highway), every July 4th we get to watch the Paradise Cove pyrotechnics from our balcony. It's  huge treat for us humans but not much fun the neighborhood dogs. As he's done for the past 5 years, poor Tanner spent several hours shivering like a North Pole skinny dipper while searching in vain for a place to escape the skyrockets and firecrackers. Four days later, he's still not back to his normal, easy-going self.
                                                                            ~ ~ ~
While Independence Day celebrates America's breakup with England, this year the holiday brought us some love from the U.K. in the form of a glowing review of GIMME SHELTER courtesy of Emma Powell and The Review Group. Here's hoping that her kind words lead U.K. dog lovers to rush out and buy a copy. From the review: "You don’t have to be a dog lover to appreciate this book. I was happy to review it as I have always had German Shepherds, my latest one a rescue with problems, so can empathise with judgemental attitudes that surround certain breeds. But this book is so much more than dogs; it’s a person’s story of how he developed coping mechanisms, life-changing attitudes and how hard it is to work at changing lifestyles.  By having to work with a dog that had issues, such as fearing everything, surrounded by people with preconceived ideas of the dog, the author cleverly shows how this path forced him to take his own issues to hand. The author is very honest and open that he has anger problems stemming from childhood and through his 20s and I think this is a very difficult and brave thing to do. "
Tanner…American Staffordshire Terrier & Yankee Doodle Dandy
If they're anything like their Yankee counterparts, they'll likely enjoy the book's sidebars that offer tips on training and dog care, as well as pertinent statistics about dog-human interactions, such as dog bites and how to prevent them. Cesar Millan's latest newsletter puts the annual number of U.S. dog bites at 4.5 million, with 31 fatalities. On the surface, these numbers suggest that  man's best friend is nothing of the sort. As Tanner will attest, it's crucial for pet guardians to train and socialize their dogs and to safely restrain them if they show aggression towards people or other animals. But before you muzzle Bowser or show him the door, consider that every day in the U.S. 4.5 children die from abuse and neglect and that the Center for Disease Control is predicting 33,000 gun fatalities for 2015.