02 September 2009

How it Came to Be Howling

The name of this blog, while not exactly original, is one to which I have a fond and long-term attachment.

It first earned a place on my list of favorites back sometime in the early 1600s, when several times a month I would lug boxes of live traps up and down a chaparral-covered hillside in the Santa Monica Mountains in pursuit of a dissertation. Another student, who lived at the site, built radio transmitters and used them to study rodent activity. He was a massive, burly guy with curly black hair, his rugged features largely hidden by an impressive black beard. A fierce aspect for a gentle soul. On my way back to my car after setting out my traps I'd see him bent over the workbench on his covered back porch, soldering iron in hand, attaching tiny radio transmitters to mouse-sized collars.

"How's it going, Smiley?" I asked.

"Oh, you know. The usual," he'd say, "Smokin' dope, and howlin' at the moon."

That pretty much summed it up. Long ago, and far away.

Slightly more recently I recycled the phrase as the title of an editorial column in the Michigamme English Setter Club newsletter, and then the Nodrog Gordon Setter Club newsletter. Howling at the moon. It was kind of like blogging, only, you know, not.

I'm not a zoologist anymore, and my last English setter died years ago, replaced by pointy-nosed dogs that require much less grooming. But when I decided to start a blog, the title was obvious. Three years later, when I finally get around to actually starting, it still seems like a good choice.


  1. Hey there! Thanks for visiting. Glad you clarified how it came to be howling. I guess I am showing my age but my association is always with Wolfman Jack 'howling at the moon' over some car stereo!

    Caregivingly Yours, Patrick