Job done! Alex is ready for adoption.


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Foster dog, Alex, is better and ready for adoption.

My foster dog, Alex, is healthy again and ready for adoption.

After five months recovering from his broken leg, my foster “buddy,” Alex, left here to go back to the Coastal Humane Society in Brunswick where he will be adopted into a “forever” home.

Deciding to take care of Alex was one of the best things I’ve done. There were some tough days at the beginning as he got used to hopping around with a cast on his front leg, taking 20 meds a day, trying to get used to a special diet, and trying to get used to me!

I was told on the first day that if his leg did not heal properly, they would amputate it. At times it seemed his case manager had already decided Alex’s fate, but I intended to do everything I could to help get Alex better and keep his leg. That was my goal, and I am so proud of Alex that we were able to do that together.

Chance would be pleased that I did this in his honor, and didn’t do too bad a job, either.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit feeling terribly sad when they came for him yesterday. I actually tried to make excuses to delay the inevitable. Alex is a sweet, affectionate dog who tried so hard to be a good companion. He was certainly that, and more.

My hope is that he finds a loving family, perhaps with some kids who will run and play with him. I hope he will feel safe, wanted, and his “dog-gone” best.

Thanks for everything, Alex!


Alpha M gets nasty about vegans.


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Aaron Marino stuffs it to vegans.

For the past two years I’ve subscribed to a YouTube channel published by the self-anointed “Alpha M,” aka Aaron Marino. Aaron’s videos are about style and grooming for men. Although the target audience is primarily younger men, I try to not be a total putz when it comes to grooming, so I take what I can from his videos and leave the rest for the GQ crowd.

Aaron’s videos are invariably witty, informative, and useful, and I’m not the only one who feels that way. He recently broke the one million subscriber barrier. He is obviously doing something right. As one of the early subscribers to his channel, I’ve enjoyed watching his video “chops” progress and his business grow.

This past week, however, was a real downer. I can’t recall another occasion when Aaron went out of his way to diss one of his viewers. He had asked his audience for their take on grooming mistakes made by men. One of his vegan viewers wrote a very brief, non-aggressive comment about wearing leather and cruelty free alternatives.

I have mixed feelings about the commenter’s reasons for posting on Aaron’s channel in the first place. He had to know that at least 99.99% of the viewers would not be sympathetic towards his point of view. Based on my own experiences here on A Rake’s Progress, some men consider vegetarians and vegans as threats to their sacred right to kill animals for food, clothing, and the macho thrill of acting like their Neanderthal forebearers. Either the commenter was naive about the negative blow-back, or he has some masochistic need for pain and public humiliation.

Aaron decided to take a cheap shot at the vegan. Instead of acting like a gentleman and moving on to another topic (or not including it at all in his list of grooming “mistakes”), he played to the bullies in his audience by donning a leather jacket and essentially saying, “what the fuck is wrong with leather?”So if the commenter showed bad judgment by posting on Aaron’s channel, Aaron showed his own crass temperament in the way he responded.

I’ve stopped subscribing to Alpha M, though I know that with a million+ subscribers, I will not be missed. That’s fine. As much as I can I take a “live and let live” approach with the people in my life. I assume that most people are not vegetarians, let alone vegans. As long as they don’t go out of their way to rub my sensitive nose into their stinky abattoir, I don’t raise the issue with them. I reserve my loathing about meat-eating to this blog where I can say what I want, rant as I will, and get away with a different kind of murder.

Ciao, Mr. Marino!

Iowa, New Hampshire success rate in picking the Democratic nominee (UPDATE).


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Iowa, NH primary success rate

What do the numbers tell us about the Iowa, New Hampshire success rate in picking the nominee?

The closer we get to the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, the more interesting it is to look at the historical relevance of those two contests, at least as far as Democrats are concerned.

In putting this table together, what impresses me most is that only three times since 1972 did both Iowa and New Hampshire choose the same candidate who then became the eventual Democratic nominee (excluding the incumbent years of 1980, 1996, and 2012).

In other words, about a third of the time — 37% to be exact — did a candidate win both Iowa and New Hampshire and then become the nominee. The nominees who won both contests were Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, and John Kerry.

If we start with the 1972 campaign year, looked at separately Iowa has a better track record than New Hampshire in picking winners. Iowa picked the eventual nominee in five out of eight contested elections, a 62.5% rate of success (again excluding the incumbent races). New Hampshire chose the eventual nominee in four contested primaries, a 50% success rate.

Of course, each contest has its own little side story that is relevant to the relationship between primary winners and the nominee selection.

For example, although Bill Clinton did not win the 1992 New Hampshire primary, the “Comeback Kid” had enough momentum coming out of the Granite State, that he then used this “victory” as a springboard for future successes. Bill Clinton won neither the Iowa caucuses nor the New Hampshire primary but eventually became the nominee.

In an unusual case in which the victor in both contests did not become the nominee, Ed Muskie’s campaign quickly fell apart after the New Hampshire contest. Many believe that the publisher of the powerful New Hampshire Union Leader had a lot to do with Muskie’s demise. The cruel-hearted William Loeb taunted Muskie as weak and “unpresidential” after Muskie cried when his wife had been attacked during the campaign.

Perhaps more relevant to the current campaign is the solidarity among Iowa and New Hampshire voters in picking the same candidate — Gore and Kerry — who then became the ultimate nominee.

Time will tell, but my prediction is that Hillary will win Iowa and Sanders will win New Hampshire.  Ultimately, Hillary will become the Democratic nominee.

For more about Hillary and the 2016 presidential campaign, visit the Hillary Clinton Quarterly

DEM Iowa-NH History