Tag Archives: Pumik

Show Time!

June 27, 2018

One of Anka's three written evaluations. It is nice to have them. It can be helpful for exhibitors.

One of Anka’s three written evaluations. It is nice to have them. It can be helpful for exhibitors.

 

The future generation of Hungarian handlers, Virak Mester and Marko Tuncsik

Up and coming young Hungarian handlers, Virag Mester and Marko Tuncsik. Pro-handlers give a big boost to the Hungarian conformation show scene.

Marko Tuncsik Junior Handler with Anka right after the junior handler show. They earned second place.

Marko Tuncsik Junior Handler with Anka after the junior handler show. They earned second place.

During last weekend, I have entered Anka at the HPK (Hungarian Pumi Klub) and Budapest Grand Prix shows in Budapest.  Originally, I signed up Agyag to finish her Hungarian Championship, however, because of the change of airline, I could fly only one dog and I’ve ended up choosing Anka because of her scheduled breeding. Consequently,  I scratched Agyag and showed Anka instead.

 

One of my favorite photos of Anka

One of my favorite photos of Anka

The shows have also given me a chance to eyeball a limited cross section of the Hungarian Pumi stock again during these turbulent days when European Pumis conquering America.

My scope was limited because of the long time ongoing schism… – PU…MI – between Hungarian Pumi breeders. (For beginners, the two major opposing groups do not show at each other’s shows -with a few exceptions… (the two percent…) and a number of breeders, who are opposing the official Pumi Club, rather break the law  and register their Hungarian born dogs in foreign countries than join the Hungarian Kennel Club and Hungarian Pumi Club’s data base. – crazy isn’t it…?

So when you buy a Pumi from Hungary with a NON-Hungarian pedigree (!), watch out, because AKC might do not register your imported dog and you are supporting some crazy illegal Pumi activities.

Anyway…

After all, my Anka did well and has been complimented by both, the natives and the judges too. She’s got Res.CAC Excellent, CAC Excellent 1, and Res.CACIB Excellent. All three of her written evaluations are glowing and I cannot be happier.

Anka and Marko second place at the Junior Handler show, Budapest Grand Prix

Anka and Marko second place at the Junior Handler show, Budapest Grand Prix

Overall, the quality of dog shows in Hungary are slowly getting better. Most importantly, the dogs’ grooming is improving, however, showmanship still needs a bit more push. Exhibitors also pay more attention to their ring attire, that is already a positive commitment. The number of pro-handlers have been steadily increasing and that certainly has a  positive impact on the quality of dog shows.  The venue, “HUNGEXPO,” the international Budapest Fair Center also makes people to take dog shows a bit more seriously.

The quality of judging could be a bit more formal (based on my experience) and less partisan (as I have overheard people talking…), however, the judges’ knowledge of the Pumi is certainly outstanding.

Another graceful Anka photo

Another graceful Anka photo. Remember, NECK NECK NECK…(read the standard..)

I have met about 52%…(?!) of the “Who is Who on the Hungarian Pumi Scene.” People have been nice, open, and curious about the state of the Pumi in the US.

Grooming Queen, Tunde Baloghne Jovanovics also visited the show. She has panned each dog with her laser piercing critical eyes in the grooming area, than has given some pointers to people and the quality of Pumis suddenly increased in no time.

Overall, it was a nice show and I hope to be back sometimes soon.

Anka and Marko with a lavender background. Love my girl!

Anka and Marko with a lavender background. Love my girl!

Mark Walley with Ilka the star of the weekend. Congratulations to Gabriella Kassai, Mark Walley (owners) and Kate Pinches and Budd (Breeders) :-)

Mark Walley the lone British (soon English or  potentially Northumbrian – thanks to Brexit F.C.) soccer fan with Ilka, the star of the Budapest Grand Prix weekend. CONGRATULATIONS!  Mark doesn’t know that he is lucky, because if he decides to prepare for the Hungarian citizenship test, two of the questions coincide in Hungarian and English history; November 25, 1953 and May 23, 1954.  I’ve heard somewhere that these two dates are  automatically tattooed on every new born  English baby boys’ butt in English hospitals to never forget… or… always remember…?  it is cheeky…

 

 

 

 

Ilka and Gabriella in the ring.

Ilka and Gabriella in the ring. Congratulations for the outstanding performance at the Budapest Grand Prix.

with Pumi grooming legend/guru/expert/authority, Tunde, Balogne Jancsovics. The debate is still out there, what was first the Pumi or its grooming by Tunde. She has taught me all the shop secrets...

…with Pumi grooming legend/guru/expert/authority, Tunde, Balogne Jancsovics. The debate is still out there, what was first the Pumi or its grooming instruction by Tunde. She has taught me all the shop secrets (almost…) over the years

 

Julia Szurdoki, one of my mentors, and main sources of "Everything Pumi One by One."

Julia Szurdok, one of my super mentors, and owner/creator of one of the most extensive collection of  written private records on the breed “Everything Pumi One by One…” So…watch out.

Mobile Vendor at the Budapest Grand Prix

Mobile Vendor at the Budapest Grand Prix

With Piroska Nagy and her Pumi Gomolya. He was BOB Friday at the HPK club show. Congratulations!

With Piroska Nagy and her Pumi Gomolya. Gomolya was BOB Friday at the HPK club show. Congratulations!

 

Yeah… World Cupcake…, the new online baking course…

June 24, 2018

Finally I could reach Laszlo Thursday night. He is off the grid, so to speak.  He said that he signed up for a live streaming baking course, called “World Cupcake,” or something like that, if I remembered correctly. Supposedly,  he is really busy  to watch it to be able to keep up with the demanding curriculum.  So I did not bother him too much. He’s sent a few pictures that everything is ok at home…

Laszlo watching his baking course...

Laszlo is watching his online baking course…

Laszlo's online classmates...it is an interactive course

Laszlo’s online classmates…it is an interactive course

he told me that he feeds the dogs and they are ok

The dogs seem ok, so Laszlo has not forgotten to feed them – hopefully…

can you see the plants from the puppy? Scarlett has staying with us until July 2, when she can move in with her new owner to their newly restored home.

can you see the plants from the puppy? Scarlett is staying with us until July 2, when she’ll move in with her new owner to their newly restored home.

Even the newly planted veggies are green, unless he photoshopped them...

Even the newly planted veggies are green, unless Laszlo photoshopped the picture…

The Schengen Terrier….

June 20, 2018

The Schengen Terrier

A composite picture of the elusive Schengen Terrier…No one has ever really seen it and no one has ever cleaned up after him…

I have a bad news for U.S. puppy millers, there is no such a breed as the Schengen Terrier on the AKC’s FSS list.  Also, the Schengen Terrier is not an umbrella term for liberal European dog laws allowing dogs pretty much do anything on the continent.

Countries covered by the Schengen Agreement

Countries covered by the Schengen Agreement

Well, yes, it is true, dog laws are pretty relaxed across the pond, comparing to the United States.  Some of the crazy stories what you’ve heard that pooches are allowed in restaurants, on public transportation and beaches are partially also true, however, they are controlled by no-nonsense animal  laws.

So than what is this Schengen thing anyway? Actually, it has nothing to do with dogs, however, by now, I think you are curious enough to read about it. http://www.loc.gov/law/foreign-news/article/european-union-schengen-area-and-re-introduction-of-border-controls/

The point is that the  Schengen Agreement is like an European dog law.  It spells out where you and your dog are permitted to go under the laws of the Union, however, it might be too generous and generates more mess than expected…

It is really upto the store owner what pet is allowed in the store

It is really upto the store owner what pet is allowed in the store or restaurant.

So I am back at the original crime scene with Anka for over a week now. Have checked in with some friends and family, visited government offices and other public places always taking Anka along.

Anka in the restaurant evidently she is covered under the Schengen Terrier Agreement

Anka in the restaurant. Evidently she is covered under the Schengen Terrier Agreement

 

Did you know that…

…in Hungary, a three months old pup needs to be registered whithin its local jurisdiction? Vets have to report each dog’s microchip and vaccinations to a central  national database. TO complicate matters however, local governments can have their own additional “dog laws.”

Dogs are allowed free in back yards, only, if it is fenced in.

Dogs must be leashed in public, dogs cannot enter to play grounds, untrained and vicious dogs must be muzzled in public.

Doggy Esperanto

Doggy Esperanto

Dogs can run free in designated areas, however, untrained, vicious dogs must have their muzzle kept on while off leash.

Every dogs must be leashed and muzzled(!)  on public transportations. (They can take public transportation)

Dogs cannot bother neighbors, (good luck with your Pumi that is kept outside) and one’s property must be fenced in if dogs kept outside. Small dogs have to have a minimum 10m2 area and no shorter than 6 meters long chain  and a dog house. Larger dogs have to be kept within a minimum 15m2 area. with no shorter than an 8 meters long chain and a dry shelter.

If  one owns a “mean breed,” a clearly visible sign must be posted at the entrance of the property that there are guard dogs on the premises.

To recover lost dogs from shelters, the owners must present proof of vaccinations and microchip.  Dogs are allowed to put down by law if no one claims or adopts them after two weeks.

Breeders need the local major’s office permission to start a kennel.

Sandboxes at playgrounds are regularly checked for toxicity... One of the most frequent complaint is dog poop in the sand box

Sandboxes at playgrounds are regularly checked for toxicity… According to official surveys, one of the most frequent complaints is dog poop in sand boxes.

Dogs are strictly prohibited to enter…  schools, daycare centers, social and cultural facilities,  government offices that are open for the public (e.g. DMV)

In the same time, dogs cannot be tied up outside (in front of stores, government offices etc. (while the owner takes care of business) without supervision.

If you are planning to buy a coop in Hungary, the good news is that the  coop board cannot oppose keeping dogs in your apartment.

…and do not forget to pick up after your dog!

Penalties: No registration 165 Euro, no leash 35 Euro Your dog kills another dog and you are a no show at the court, your penalty is 350 Euro. Beyond that, no-one really cares and you cannot be jailed.

Why do I bother to tell you all about these things? Because I’ve been visiting a bunch of government offices, banks and other public places in Budapest and I’ve been taking Anka along. The good thing is that no one really cares about pet laws and restriction as long as you have such a cute and well behaving dog as Anka.

farm dog visiting big city dwelling...

farm dog visiting big city dwelling…

I’ve also taken her to stores and restaurants, (where she was even fed,) The waiters and clerks at all locations have given in to the “Anka Pressure” and let her to come in. Of course, Anka’s behavior has always been exemplary at any establishments.

After we’ve finished all the official stuff I had to take care of, we’ve had some serious dog fun in the City. We also had some quiet… agility time at the  “Pilisi Kutya Iskola” training facility. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yswtxyX8kl0

To be continued…

 

What a small world. It was funny to read about St Elisabeth, a Hungarian Saint. I was commissioned to build a mural for the Chicago St Elisabeth Church back in the early 1990's

Went to see an outdoor exhibition in Budapest. What a small world… It was funny to read about St Elisabeth, the Hungarian Saint.  I was commissioned to build a ceramics mural for the Chicago St Elisabeth Church back in 1991

It can happen only in America

It can happen only in America…a Hungarian ethnic German former Catholic nun’s daughter originally from Transylvania is commissioned to design and build an exterior mural for a black Catholic church in Chicago,  named after a Hungarian Saint, Saint Elizabeth

 

 

Fun with the dogs...went for a hike to the popular "Harmashaterhegy" hiking area on the outskirt of Budapest. It is actually part of Budapest with Metro Area transportation to and from the City

Fun with the dogs…went for a hike to the popular “Harmashaterhegy” hiking area on the outskirt of Budapest. It is actually part of Budapest’s 2nd and 3rd district  with Metro Area transportation to and from the City

The mobile and police communication tower at "Harmashatar-hegy"

The major transmission tower for mobile carriers and police communication at “Harmashatar-hegy”

Cannot remember the leash laws...

Cannot remember the leash laws…

Andrea teaching geology and rock formation to the dogs.

Andrea teaches geology and rock formation to the dogs.

"Harmashater-hegy is home of the "glider plane's airport for many decades

“Harmashater-hegy is home of the “glider plane’s airport for 50-60 years

the popular cogwheel train taking tourists and their dogs up to the popular hiking area.

the popular cogwheel train taking tourists and their dogs up to the popular hiking area, the “Harmashatar Hegy.”

Andrea Csilla Szabo and her dog Sio at the

Andrea Csilla Szabo and her dog Sio at the “Pilisi Kutya Iskola”

 

 

 

 

 

An der schönen blauen Donau (Blue Danube)

June 16, 2018

As I was driving in the afternoon Budapest traffic jam along the riverbank of the Danube River, an old pleasant memory popped into my head.  https://youtu.be/9dYLEI3lrUg

The cover of Johann Strauss II's

The cover of Johann Strauss II’s “An der schönen blauen Donau

When I was a kid and even later in life, it has been a family tradition to watch the Vienese Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance on television in the  morning of January 1 each year. Many people whom I’ve known,  got up in the morning of the first day of the new year and  watched the concert regardless of how sleepy or hangover they were after their new year parties.

As a kid, the “Blue Danube” by Johann Strauss II was the highlight of the televised new year’s day concert.  I guess, for no particular reason. Of course it has catchy  tunes that has turned  into a lifetime jingle (especially when driving along the Danube in Budapest in an afternoon traffic jam…), because my mother always talked about it during the concert and overtime the stories she said has built up my expectations. Also, because of the waltz’s dreamy title, “The Blue Danube…” and the awesome superimposed photos of the cities along the Danube’s 1770 miles banks, Ulm, Linz, Vienna, Bratislava Budapest, Novi Sad… as they slowly floated across the black and white television monitor to the tunes of the music.  It has made me dreaming of distant lands along the river.

The ultimate Kodak moment of the Blue Danube.

The ultimate Kodak moment of the Blue Danube.

There is one memorable photo, easily the  signature picture of  Budapest split by the mighty Danube, taken high up from the great distance of the Castle hill.  The picture shows the Parliament building, the famous Chain Bridge, and the calm mirror like magnificent river below.  It has been the perfect and sanitized Kodak moment of the “Blue Danube.”

But how blue, and how calm and how perfect is the Danube anyway?  It is the second longest river in Europe about 1770 miles long. Its headwater in the Black Forest in Germany and it enters into the Black Sea somewhere near the Romanian Bulgarian border after rolling through 10 different countries.

The Danube's River monster, the Huchen or Danube Salmon it can go about four feet long and weight 110lbs.

The Danube’s River monster, the Huchen or Danube Salmon it can grow up to four feet long and weight 110lbs.

It is one of the most important major transportation water-ways on the continent, has its own unique fauna and flora, including its own river monster, the Danube Salmone or Huchen, that can grow as big as 4 feet and weight 110 lbs.  Last, but not the least, the Danube is also a much feared and respected river in large parts of Europe. People along its river valley have a personal, relationship with the river.  On the one hand, the river has  provided jobs, irreplaceable drinking water, food, helped in building wealth, contributed to prosperity and inspired arts and cultures. On the other hand, its floods have also been the most destructive events that have taken thousands of lives, destroyed crops and wiped out communities over the centuries.

As the results of the repeated devastating floods, Budapest's Danube river bank infrastructure has been rebuilt and improved over the last 200 years.

As the results of the repeated devastating floods, the river banks of the Danube in Budapest  has been repeatedly rebuilt, expanded and improved over the last 200 years.

Uniquely, there has been no major superstitions and biblical prophecies applied to the Danube over hundreds of years, as Christian Rohr explains in his study of meteorological history, “The Danube Floods and The Human Response and Perception (14th to 17th Century) “. In fact, there has been a very sober and rational relationship between the river and its human inhabitants as Rohr describes it. People have learned to ignore god and his alleged doings during major devastations and instead of  trying to appease God,  they have focused on rebuilding and developing more effective flood prevention technics and river control methods . Oddly, the church has shared this approach and has provided generous financial support after each flood to help rebuilding  the destroyed lives and communities.

the old riverbank of Budapest around the turn of the 20th century. It had failed to protect the city from floods over and over again.

the old unenforced riverbanks of Budapest around the turn of the 20th century.They had failed to protect the city from floods over and over again.

It’s been a constant armwrestling between the river and its people throughout history. Budapest has also experienced its fair share of devastating floods during its existence. In the 1800’s, 23 major floods ravaged the City (not counting smaller ones) that have generated repeated severe humanitarian disasters.  If you think about it, it is a very disturbing number. It means that people have experienced a devastating flood every four years in one century. Countless iives have been lost,  tens of thousands of people have been displaced, properties destroyed and food supplies wiped out when major floods hit Budapest 23 times in a hundred year time period. For instance, during the flood of 1838, 150 people had lost their lives, 50,000(!) had become homeless. That number was about 1/3 of the entire population of Buda and Pest in the 1830-40s.  (the two cities, Buda and Pest was not integrated that time.)  The Danube effected real estate fortunes, impacted infrastructure over the centuries and  the City kept  defending itself from the destructive power of the river. People have not moved…

However, the mighty river cannot be blamed as the single culprit for all the pains and sufferings of its inhabitants. The river is also a long time witness and a passive conduit of its people’s lifestyle, biases, cultural, religious differences, and hubris, especially in the 20th Century.

Military personnel in protective gear searching for survivals at the Ajka Aluminum chemical waste product escape disaster. The toxic sludge ultimately ended up in the Danube.

Military personnel in protective gear searches for survivals of  the Ajka Aluminum chemical waste product disaster. The toxic sludge ultimately ended up in the Danube.

contaminated creek carrying chemical waste toward the Danube after the Ajka disaster

contaminated creek carrying chemical waste toward the Danube after the Ajka disaster

The Danube has often been used  as industrial  waste dump, harnessed for its energy in harmful and devastating ways, and used to hide humanity’s sinister acts as a mass grave for people and war machines. It has also swallowed up cultures that were nihilated in the name of progress.

The Ada Kaleh, the tiny Turkish island on the Romanian section of the Danube River was sank to give way to the hydroelectric power plant on the Danube. a 300 year old thriving ethnic culture was eliminated in the name of progress

Ada Kaleh, the tiny Turkish island on the Romanian section of the Danube River was flooded to give way to the hydroelectric power plant on the Danube. A 300 year-old thriving ethnic community was uprooted in the name of progress

the island under water on a satellite photo

the island fo Ade Kaleh under water on a satellite photo

The tragic fate of the frequently romanticized “Turkish island,” Ada Kaleh,  or the “Ottoman Atlantis,” as historians named it, on the Danube’s Romanian section has been a longtime Austrian outpost for the Habsburg Empire until  it was seceded to the Turks, in the 1600’s.  The Ottoman inhabitants of the tiny island, have established a thriving economic and cultural life during their close to 300 years of existence, until the Romanian communist government decided to built the infamous Iron Gate  hydro-electric power plant on the Danube in the 1970’s.  The newly built  dam flooded the island that simply disappeared under water like the city of Atlantis with its buildings and entire unique muslim history and culture.

The infamous Iron Gate hydroelectric power plant. Its dam system flooded the island of Ada Kaleh.

The infamous Iron Gate hydroelectric power plant. Its dam system flooded the island of Ada Kaleh.

When Central Europe’s multicultural melting pot have over boiled time to time, it has brought violence, destruction, ethnic cleansing and suffering for the area along the Danube’s river valley. Two world wars have been started in the region, in which the river has always played an important strategic role.  Near the end of WWII hundreds of Nazi river warships were sunken by the Germans to avoid the Soviets to seize and use them against the retreating forces of the Third Reich. These boats have never been lifted from the bottom of the river and during excessive droughts, the gost ships break  though the surface of the water and can be seen from passing boats and from the shores.

During the 2003 drought the water level has lowered so much that sunken german warships broke the surface of the river. this event has opened a new research projects for historians

During the 2003 drought the water level has lowered so much that sunken german warships broke the surface of the river. this event has opened a new research projects for historians

The monument on the waterfront of the Danube remembering the jewish victims of the holocaust

The monument on the waterfront of the Danube remembering the jewish victims of the holocaust

One of the most shameful WWII atrocities along the Danube is memorialized by the abandoned shoes memorial on the river bank of the Danube in the center of Budapest. Between 1944-1945 the henchmen of the Naci sympatizer Hungarian government, executed twenty thousand  Jews on the river front of the Danube. The memorial is a chilling testament about one of the darkest moments of humanity.

Disasters and tragedies in more recent memories were the cyanid pollution of the Danube from the Romanian gold mines in 2000 and the infamous toxic sludge river pollution from the caustic byproducts of aluminum production from Ajka, Hungary. The heavy sludge  broke the levees of the giant storage pools and polluted over 15 sq miles of lands, creeks, displacing and killing wildlife, and livestock.  More than 10 people have died and hundreds were seriously injured. Towns and villages in the area have been abandoned and never rebuilt. The chemical sludge ended up in the Danube that has carried the devastating pollution further downriver to other communities.

What is the takeaway of these stories?  I do not know. Perhaps that the “Blue Danube Syndrome” is really not an isolated chain of events specific to a certain geographic area or its people.  While we tend to dismiss our hubris and the plentiful cautionary biblical prophecies, we cannot escape to be repeatedly reminded of our not too bright future.  In a twisted way, the entertainment industry and cinema have taken charge of the delivery of prophetic messages by way of rolling out apocalyptic action movies and stories that depicts mankind’s potential gloomy fate in response to our arrogance.

Has the cinema industry replaced the role of religion or it has become "the religion? Do movies take over the role of scripture and the diminished impact of prophecies?

Has the cinema industry replaced the role of institutionalized religion or it has become “a religion?” Do movies become the ultimate delivery platforms  of biblical prophecies?

Budapest and the Danube also have their very own apocalyptic film now, produced in 2017. It is titled, “DVNA” (Danube). Tamas Yvan Topolanszky, the young Hungarian director in his nightmarish movie,  depicts life in Budapest, immediately after  the Danube disappears from its river bed overnight.

What is the outcome of the movie? I won’t be able to tell you because the traffic has finally started moving along the river bank and I am not supposed to write on my phone while driving the car.

Instead, I start doodling the “Blue Danube” again.

To be continued…

 

.

CCCC or the Catskill Climate Change Chronicle…

June 13, 2018

blogdry

Bad planning or bad execution?

Man plans, God executes … (or corrects what man keeps screwing up…) I am back in Hungary again, at this time with Anka.  Even though, this trip has been planned in advance, our departure date has been seriously circumvented by climate change.  As it turns out, climate change manifests not only in rising sea levels, more frequent and more intense weather events or dying coral reefs, it also effects my dogs’ physiology.  To be precise, my bitches’ heat cycle have turned on like clock work in the past, however, this year, because of the unusual long winter (I believe…), everyone has been late. 

When the tension is high enough, we are ready to travel,

When the tension is high enough, we are ready to travel,

Ironically, it was a relief to see the sudden growing tension between my girls, as their hormones finally started kicking in. It was the long awaited signal to set preparations in motion for my trip. Veterinary certificate, USDA papers and most importantly the airplane ticket with two dogs in the cargo hold.  ( FYI I also planned to take  Agyag along to give her a chance to finish her Hungarian Championship at the Budapest Grand Prix.) 

Well, instead of " yes," I've got a middle finger from Luftwaffe - the second time...

Well, instead of saying ” yes,” and correcting the botched booking, I’ve got a middle finger from Luftwaffe – the second time…

I am not lucky with Lufthansa – to say the least. Back in 2013, Lufthansa have lost Fruska and Agyag for close to a full day that has created some major complications to reach the Budapest WDS,  my destination at the time.  Booking my ticket and two dogs in the cargo hold with the airline, has seemed unusually easy at this time. Once ticket purchase was out of the way (or so I thought), based on my flight schedule, I went ahead to plan my entire itinerary. However, as it has turned out, Luftwaffe not only friendly fired my plans and screwed up my ticket with the two dogs in the busiest traveling season, they also refused to honor my original reservation.

 

Since my trip has been time sensitive, I had no time to run after my loss. I had to look for a another airline that could accommodate two dogs and flew me to Hungary for a reasonable price. While I’ve managed to secure a ticket, unfortunately, they could accommodate only one dog.  Obviously I took Anka.

My least favorite Hungarian road sign

My least favorite Hungarian traffic sign

So we made it to Budapest where I am staying with my sister and planning to see many friends and acquaintances while managing Anka’s dating schedule. 

To be continued…

Farewell Warrior Princes

March 7, 2017

Bubbles farewell girl you've made me to realize that I was a closeted small dog guy Go terriers and types!

Bubbles, farewell my girl. You’ve made me to realize that I was a closeted small dog guy Go terriers and  terrier types!

Bubbles the JRT, got to us about twelve years ago from the Manhattan ASPCA where she was facing euthanasia.  She was already five years old. When I picked her up I thought I’ve seen it all.  Bubbles thought otherwise. It took us months to build a relationship. When we moved to the farm, Bubbles has gone through a cathartic change. From an urban menace she turned into a hard working farm dog. She has never left our side while doing the chores and she has faithfully patrolled the chicken and duck coop where she has decimated the annoying rat population daily.  She killed  martins, several weasels, even one fox with the assistance of Schatze, the other JRT. Bubbles had an unsavory relationship with skunks. She has always lost those battles. One day after a major loss, she could not open her eyes for three days.

Bubbles enjoying the sun

Bubbles meditating before the next kill

She’s always terrorized the UPS guy and learned how to extort  at least three “Large” biscuits out of him at delivery times. In my estimation poor guy left at least $100 worth of dog biscuits here over the years.

Bubbles was a tough cookie, she growled and fought most of the Pumis and got into trouble with Fruska all the time.

Bubble also has a gentle side. when one of the goat kids got sick, she has guarded her from the Pumis.

Bubbles also had a gentle side. when one of the goat kids got sick, she has fiercely guarded her from the Pumis. She had an uncanny ability to understand the difference btw farm animals and wild creatures, infants and adults.

Bub the beast. She was the greatest protector of our chicken and ducks. This fox had taken seven chickens in three weeks until one night ran into Bub in the barn.

Bub the beast. She was the greatest protector of our chicken and ducks. This fox had taken seven chickens in three weeks until one night he ran into Bub in the barn.

We will always fondly remember you  Bub. Rest in Peace.

Norway, A Little Bundle Of Paradoxes

February 6, 2017

The Norwegian flag. It is clear of Eiric Magnusson's golden lion, ex and crown.

The Norwegian flag. It is clear of Eiric Magnusson’s golden lion, ax and crown.

Actually, there is such a thing as alternative reality and in fact we live in it.

The magic wand, or the alternative time piece in an alternative Pumi universe

The magic wand, or the alternative time piece in an alternative Pumi universe

Pumis rule our life and clocks have been replaced by animal ovulation detectors to measure time.  So no surprise,  I am on the road again. At this time, traveling with Anka to Lora, Norway. Our host is Lisbeth Åvangen, the owner of Ares, a beautiful black male Pumi. I also have a chance to meet with my friends, Jacky Neeras and Berit Thyra Meland Pedersen, who are the owners of two of my Catskill Pumis, Cherry and Erös. We had a short, however, busy  week in Lora.

my flight

my flight

My wonderful hosts, Lisbeth Åvangen and her dad, Oddbjørn, owner of Ares in Lora, Norway. THe woodwork in the background is Oddbjørn's master craft work.

My wonderful hosts, Lisbeth Åvangen and her dad, Oddbjørn,  in Lora, Norway. Lisbeth is the owner of Ares, the black Pumi. The  house and cabinet woodwork is Oddbjørn’s master craft work.

Ares... head, ears, neck, body, tail color and disposition you've never dreamed of...

Ares… head, ears, neck, body, tail color and disposition you’ve never dreamed of…

Traditional dinner, including rakfisk, a fermented aged raw fish with Lisbeth and Oddbjørn.

Traditional dinner, including rakfisk, a fermented aged raw fish with Lisbeth and Oddbjørn.

I always love to read about the places where I go to, before departing to my destinations. So I’ve looked into the history of Norway where we are traveling to at this time and I hope that I can entertain you with some information that you’ve not been familiar with.

Catskill Pumi summit in Lora, Norway. Catskill Anka, with Ildiko Repasi, Catskill Cherry with Jacky Neeras and Erös with Berit Thyra Meland Pedersen.

Catskill Pumi summit in Lora, Norway. Catskill Anka, with Ildiko Repasi, Catskill Cherry with Jacky Neeras and Erös with Berit Thyra Meland Pedersen.

The genealogy of Lisbeth's family. Scandinavian countries has a very precise records of their family trees.

The genealogy of Lisbeth’s family. Scandinavian countries has a very precise records of their family trees.

While settlements along the Norwegian coastlines have been present as early as 10000BC,  the  nation’s history as a lose tribal system  reaching back to the more recent and truly chaotic period, of the Völkerwanderung, or migration period of Europe. It was around the second part of the first millennium, when Viking tribes along many other migrants pressing from the east invaded and either nihilated or pushed out earlier migrants further west. The stories of seafaring fearless Vikings are widely known, however, some historians from the prospective of nation building characterize this period as nothing more than “plundering, fish and potatoes.”  Vikings had sailed, pillaged looted and traded as far as Iceland, and  North America. Finally, a couple of hundred years later, Christianity, under King Olav transformed the Vikings into a nation of the Kingdom of Norway in 995.

Local ski resort

Local ski resort

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Overtime, the country had periodically fallen under Danish and Swedish rules or entered into unions, until its final independence in 1905. Interestingly, the 1905 referendum concluded that Norwegians had chosen monarchy over a republic.  Since no Norwegians could trace their ancestry back to any medieval royalty, the government invited Carl of Denmark to the Norwegian throne. (in Europe, traditionally without “blue blood” no citizen could claim the right to a monarchy). Norway is a constitutional monarchy today.

Lesja Church, the place of the first election in Norway

Lesja Church, the place of the first election in Norway

Norway has a harsh climate and unforgiven terrain. Isolation has been a given until the advent of broadband internet in the 1990's.

Norway has a harsh climate and  an unforgiven terrain. Isolation has been a given for centuries until the advent of broadband internet in the 1990’s. However, broadband internet has also shown its sinister dark side, via the availability of free internet porn.  As a result, sex crime has increased an approximately 20%  in Norway . based on the study, “Broadband Internet: An Information Superhighway to Sex Crime?”  by Manudeep Bhuller, Tarjei Havnes, Edwin Leuven and Magne Mogstad  in July 7, 2011.

Rattus Norvegicus villain or victim of the Black Death?

Rattus Norvegicus villain or victim of the Black Death?

The country has had its fair share of epic catastrophes. In 1349, the black death has killed over 50% of the country’s population while during the 1695-96 famine about 10% of Norwegians perished. The experience of centuries of wars, occupations, upheavals and religious wars pushed Norway to chose neutrality during the two world wars. Unfortunately, this noble idea  did not work in practice. During the Great War, the British pressured the Norwegian government to use its merchant marine fleet to support the British war effort with great sacrifice and heavy losses.

Norway’s link to the Great War, however, has a far more significant story.

The war ended in the fall of 1918 and it was immediately followed by the worldwide outbreak of the Spanish flu that killed 20-40 million people around the world. This deadly flu virus has never been isolated and because of the reoccurring deadly influenza outbreaks in the last few hundred years, scientist welcomed a rare discovery in the small Norwegian mining town of Longyearbyen above the arctic circle. This tiny town’s church grave yard has provided final resting place to seven Norwegian miners who died of the Spanish flu between October 2 and October 7, 1918. These seven bodies have a great  significance in epidemiological history because given the location of Longyearbyen, just above the arctic circle, the bodies were buried under the permafrost and therefore, they could potentially preserve the lethal virus of the devastating Spanish flu. Malcolm Gladwell’s 1997 article, “The Dead Zone” is a fascinating read about the scientific and moral meaning of this medical expedition.

Ares, Lisbeth and Anka posing for a picture

Ares, Lisbeth and Anka posing for a picture

Lora might be a small place, however, has a pretty decent beer selection

Lora might be a small place, however, has a pretty decent beer selection

Twenty two years after the Great War, Neutrality has failed again In 1940 when Germany occupied Norway for its  unique ice free harbors as a strategic location for its Navy fleet and to exploit Norway’s iron ore mines for the war effort.

The post-war years have brought state sponsored and strictly regulated industrialization in Norway.  Price control and rationing of housing or automobile purchase were still in practice as late as 1960.

NO hopes lost. There is always a place to shop, even close to the arctic circle. Lisbeth and I in front of the local food store in Lora

No hope is lost. There is always a place to shop, even close to the arctic circle. Lisbeth and I in front of the local food store in Lora

In 1968, an unlikely figure from Iraq, Farouk Al-Kasim has confirmed that Norway has enormous off shore oil reserves. When Phillips Petroleum Company from Oklahoma has started drilling following Al-Kasim’s instruction, they hit the jack pot and oil has changed the projectile of the country and the life of its citizens forever.  However, Al-Kasim’s more significant contribution to Norway’s economy was the proposal of a government run Petroleum Directorate that aimed to avoid the so called “resource curse” that keeps many oil rich nations’ citizens in poverty due to  government corruption, the abuse of local environmental laws by multinational petroleum corporations and also the “killing off” of most domestic industries by the over extension and domination of oil related businesses in the host country.   With the help of economists, Norway established a “Sovereign Wealth Fund.” By using only the interest of its oil revenues, the fund has a close to a One Trillion(!) US Dollar from various investments (that is close to $200,000 per Norwegian citizen – not per household….!) – today. This wealth enables the country to maintain a high quality democratic welfare system, during “rainy days.”  Norway in general  provides excellent education, healthcare, safe and generous social security system among many other things, that Americans mistakenly call “socialism.” Government investments are consciously selective. Retirement funds do not support “dirty” or unethical businesses and industries (i.e. coal mines, tobacco, guns, etc.) of the stock market. For the records, Norway is not alone with its Wealth Fund. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and even China have their citizens’ current and future welfare in mind. (Hey US politicians is  anyone planning to travel to Norway anytime soon…?)

warming up in the local cafe house with Ingeborg Noren and Lisbeth. Sitting in front of all these ceramics, I had a sudden flashback when I was working ceramics including porcelain many years ago

warming up in the local cafe house with Ingeborg Noren and Lisbeth. Sitting in front of all these ceramics, I had a sudden flashback when I was working ceramics including porcelain many years ago

Trolls, the mythical creatures that live in the forests are a serious business in Norway. Trolls have their own stores. Honestly, they look more fun than Batman and probably has a much more colorful storyline.

Trolls, are mythical creatures that live in the forests.  Norwegians are serious about their Trolls. Trolls also have their own stores. Honestly, they look more fun than Batman and probably have a much more colorful storyline.

Norway is an affluent (No. 4 GDP in the world) and…a  “green country” with extensive network of hydroelectric power plants strong wind energy development, and a diverse and flexible economy supported by a highly educated work force that gets an inexpensive, however, high quality university education.

An interesting fact; Norway has the most Tesla automobiles per capita in the world. One out of ten cars is a Tesla in Norway. Tesla runs for about $100.000 in Norway. However, government incentives makes expensive electric cars affordable. (No sales tax, income tax reduction, free parking, no registration fee, free toll route use, free use of bus lanes in rush hours etc.)

Will trolls make Norway great again? perhaps not, however, they will put a smile on your face.

Will trolls make Norway great again? perhaps not, however, they will put a smile on everyone’s face.

Surprisingly, this perfectly oiled economic gearbox of Norway, (pun intended…) has almost  gotten to a screeching halt by the “smør-panik” or “Butter Panic.” In 2011, the unusually wet summer  destroyed many dairy pastures and dairy production, especially butter production has dramatically declined. Major dairy producers ignored the growing domestic butter shortage and kept up their export volume. Since dairy import has been limited by very high protective tariffs in order to shelter local daily farmers, a  perfect storm ensued and created a severe butter shortage, especially around Christmas time. (Norwegians have a low carb high fat diet and consume lots of butter especially during the holidays.)

Prices skyrocketed.   8oz butter suddenly did cost $50 (!). To further complicate things, shoppers refused to buy and use margarin as a substitute. People were arrested for smuggling butter from neighboring countries in to Norway and butter was also auctioned off on the internet.  The government was forced to reduce import butter tariffs over 80% to temporarily remedy the situation.

Norwegian butter served on Constitutional Day. Norwegians take their butter seriously.

Norwegian butter served on Constitutional Day. Norwegians take their butter seriously.

While the overall economic picture of Norway is appealing, skeptics find it hypocritical and simply call the Norwegian miracle carbon laundering.  The country is frequently criticized for  building a picture perfect eco friendly green country, from its main source of wealth, oil and gas and accused of indirect environmental pollution and contributing to global warming by selling its fossil fuel.

A furry troll to hug in a cold day.

A furry troll for you to hug on a cold day.

The past few years, declining oil prices concerns the fund’s director, Mr. Slyngstad.  With lower revenues, the fund’s growth has slowed. Also, missed investments in emerging markets has caused significant share losses in developing economies.  The relatively large refugee influx has also jeopardized the highly prized relative homogeneity of the country’s population within the last decade. The fear is that a more diverse society with naturally more diverse opinions might negatively impact the investment trends established for the fund.

Suddenly a new unavoidable question emerges, can the descendants of the  heroic Vikings keep sailing, trading and exporting Norwegian values without returning to “looting” and ethnocentrism in this new era of Völkerwanderung? http://mackenzieinstitute.com/worth-repeating-volkerwanderung-the-next-40-year-crisis. (The Canadian Big MacK… might not be my favorite conservative right-wing think tank but as the “Comment 20 years on” says, they are half-right half-wrong.)

My advice is that get a Pumi and stop worrying.

Sources: Freakonomics, Wiipedia, www.psmag.com, “The Dead Zone” by Malcolm Gladwell (New Yorker Archive), The Telegraph, “Why Nations Fail” Acimoglu and Robinson, Mackenzieinstitute.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumis, Bacon, Palinka, Terrorism, Politics and The Ominous Toilet Bowl

March 26, 2016

At Hajnalka Velekei's "Ttoktudó Kennel" at Tápióbicske

At Hajnalka Velekei’s “Ttoktudó Kennel” at Tápióbicske

Pumi talk with József Árkosi Club president, Gabriella Szabadosné and me (pictured)

Pumi talk with József Árkosi Club president, Gabriella Szabadosné and me (pictured)

We are home at long last!  After six weeks in Hungary we are back home on the farm in Delhi, NY.  Every day has been a continuos inseparable experience in Hungary. Pumis, family, friends, food, alcohol, melancholy, nostalgia, literature, religion, political discontent  and the dreaded central European toilet bowl…- essential attributes of Central-European existentialism.

I’ve spent six weeks in Europe, mostly in Hungary where I’ve traveled all over the country to see groomers,  breeders and their Pumis.  I also had a quick trip to Austria and a short stop in Helsinki, Finland.

Felt art - preparation for Easter

Felt art – preparation for Easter

ham ham ham

ham ham ham

We were also invited to a Pumi Club party/meeting, where current changes in the law affecting breeders of Hungarian native dog breeds have been discussed along Club life, activities and delegation of responsibilities.

 

For Hungarian women, the work place, formal organizations and even everyday life in general still offers different experiences and less opportunities than for men in Hungary.  To summarize my experience, the food was great while club business and female membership are still incompatible today.

Bacon Nation

Bacon Nation

An authentic and legal... distillery in Mezöberény

An authentic and legal… distillery in Mezöberény

Dog shows are reflections of the existing power struggles of the opposing Hungarian Pumi parties.  According to rumors  oppositions have slowly been eroding however. The word is out that more people are considering to join the official club – after all common sense might prevail in the interest of the breed.

Undoubtedly, Hungary remains the Mecca of the Pumi, even though, dog culture and breeding practices could use a bit of update and a few gallons of fresh paint.  The good news is that changes are  coming along thanks to the Hungarian Pumi Club’s (Magyar Pumi Klub) efforts.  Health testing is becoming more frequent, the registered breeding stock is managed better through frequent breeding stock review, including essential temperament tests.  The number of breeders who take responsibility and health test their dogs are slowly increasing. What is ironic however is that many who still refuse to test their own dogs, demand to see test results from breeders who have done the health tests.  hypocrisy at its best…!

Street musician in the heart of Budapest playing using wine glasses

Street musician making music by using wine glasses in the heart of Budapest

The mobile pedal powered beer cart riding through one of the historic districts of Budapest. Patrons must be pedaling to move the vehicle on the road while drinking beer.

The mobile pedal powered beer cart riding through one of the historic districts of Budapest. Patrons must be pedaling to move the vehicle on the road while drinking beer.

For Hungarians, life is well greased with bacon, smoked with cigarettes and wetted with Palinka in Hungary.  Vegetables and fruits are expensive and therefore they are not integral part of Hungarian diet. Fresh green products, including fruits’ prices have been controlled by the vegetable mafia for over five decades.

Meat, cured salami, smoked sausage, lard, alcohol and its corollary, high blood pressure overwhelms everyday folks’ lives. Heart attack is the most frequent killer of Hungarians.

The ever present healthcare crisis you to severely underpaid medical professionals further complicates the story.Any ambulance can be easily redirected from hospital to hospital while the patient is dying of  a heart attack in the ambulance due to serious shortage of doctors. The exodus of doctors from Hungary is the second largest human migration in Europe after the  current middle eastern refugee crisis.

Demonstration of power at the Liszt Ferenc Airport in Budapest after the Bruxelles, Belgium terror attack. Opposition parties regarded it unnecessary, ineffective and expensive. An anchor woman in one of the the morning news asked, "So who is going to pay the overtime for the S.W.A.T. team?" The following day the number of military vehicles were reduced at the airport entrance

Demonstration of power at the entrance of the Liszt Ferenc Airport in Budapest after the Bruxelles, Belgium terror attack. Opposition parties regarded it unnecessary, ineffective and expensive. An anchor woman in one of the the morning news asked, “So who is going to pay the overtime for the S.W.A.T. team?” The following day the number of military vehicles were reduced to two at the airport entrance.

 a WWI museum show pushing government propaganda through glorification of militarism - rally around the right wing government

a museum show about the Great War and its consequences. Pushing government propaganda through glorification of militarism – rally around the right wing government

Hungarian politics is authoritarian and it is in close alliance with Putin’s Russia. Corruption is rampant in many aspects of life. Politicians are like feudal overlords who buy public land below market price and abuse power. Opposing voices are often intimidated and muted. The last television news I watched in Hungary has secretly followed the trail of a big chunk of money recently appropriated by the EU to investigate government corruption in Hungary.  The news story revealed that the money  has been embezzled by those government  agencies and politicians who should have been investigated for alleged corruptions.

Regardless, Hungary is still a fascinating country that you must put on your bucket list to visit. It is a beautiful place, with welcoming people, lots of Pumis,  fantastic architecture, endless history and  great cultural and culinary traditions. Also,  is still relatively inexpensive.

Architectural details in the castle district with a "cool girl"

Architectural details in the castle district with a “cool girl”

world class architecture

world class architecture

But remember, when visiting Hungary and Central Europe, always be on the alert.  The region has always been an exciting, however a complex place that often surprises visitors.  Hungarians like other nations in the area are absorbed by existentialism that is present in every aspect of life and sometimes can be overbearing. It can also appear in the least expected context like the often discussed “shelf modeled toilet…” But I guess, these are some of  the things that makes Hungary and Central Europe authentic and different from the rest of the world and also why we all like to go there.

The German shelf toilet - Heideggerian Existentialism explained -

The German shelf toilet – Heideggerian Existentialism explained –

CLICK HERE ——>https://youtu.be/bpSiMbkhkuE

to be continued….

World Class Pumi Grooming…

March 19, 2016

The good thing is as Tünde Balogh said, that when you get tired of your Pumi, you just just pick the dog up and carry her under your arm. like your fake Lois Voutton Cluny bag ..

“The good thing is,” as Tünde Balogh said, “that when you get tired of your Pumi, you just just pick it up and carry her under your arm like your fake Lois Voutton Cluny bag.” has she ever said that? I am not sure…

 

Thursday I had an appointment with Pumi groomer legend and extraordinaire, Tünde Balogh in Budapest. During the World Dog Show week back in 2013, she groomed my Kaffogo Agyag to success.

Since I was in Hungary again and she could fit me in to her crazy busy schedule, I thought it is never late to learn more about the tricks of the trade and why not to learn from one of the best ones.

Sorry, it is too late, now you have to love her...Tünde's husband got tricked by the "acting needy" Agyag

Sorry, it is too late…, now you have to love her…(Tünde’s husband got tricked by the “acting needy” Agyag)

ouch... be careful what you wish for in the presence of Catskill Pumis...

ouch… be careful what you wish for in the presence of Catskill Pumis…

I also had the opportunity to video record her with original narration while working on both of my dogs.

I do not know the house rules of the Baloghs, where grooming turned out to be a family affair with lunch, coffee and serious entertainment,  however, I know that I’ve got the royal treatment.

I had the opportunity to video record her with original narration how to groom a Pumi...can you see me in the picture?

I had the opportunity to video record Tünde with original narration how to groom a Pumi… can you see me in the picture?

 

 

 

 

My Pumis have also seemed to have a good time, while spoiled by the Balogh’s. They were a bit surprised when they had to share my lap with Tünde’s cat after lunch while resting in the living room.  C’est la vie Pumis.

I am grateful for the opportunity to learn some new grooming moves to improve my skills that I can use on my dogs and and help to improve the look of hopefully many  American Pumis after my return.

The Pumis were genuinely surprised when the cat leaped into my lap and landed right in between the two of them to rest after lunch.

The Pumis were genuinely surprised when the cat leaped into my lap and landed right in between the two of them to rest after lunch.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2016

Happy involuntary St Patrick's Day at TXL/Berlin, Airport Germany

Happy involuntary St Patrick’s Day at TXL/Berlin, Airport Germany

I am involuntarily celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at TXL/Berlin airport in Berlin, Germany. I am stuck here for most of the day because I missed my connection to Budapest, Hungary.   It is a pretty depressing run down place. It feels like the European version of Jim Crow era public place – only the appropriate sign is missing “Germans Only…”

The only thing consoling my distress is the 40 Euro voucher that I got from Airberlin for my pain and suffering.  That is about 8.88888 beers in an airport bar. My options are; make friends by buying a few pints for some random intimidating  strangers  or drink it all by myself… but than I might miss my connection again.

Baby in the airport bar -early child hood education - or no chid left behind

Baby in the airport bar -early child hood education – or no chid left behind

Until than, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

loud rowdy crowd drinking beer at the airport. A beer putsch for every day

loud rowdy crowd drinking beer at the airport. A beer putsch for every day. In 2016, 366 day…

the dog and the fat man

the EX and the dog

 

more dogs

Do you have a beer bone?

nn

give me a beer biscuit