Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Updates and some Blonde On Blonde Interviews

Outtake photo of Dylan from BOB photo shoot
If I'm guilty of anything it's that I have a bunch of great ideas and that I never follow up on them...Like when I envisioned a Magnificent Ambersons podcast back in 2011, or when I told people that I was working on a book about 2001: A Space Odyssey in early 2012.    The latter, of which, was a extremely naive idea considering what I know now about the Kubrick estate thanks to these two years of work on a book about The Shining.  I'm glad these things are behind me.

I have to say that 2014 has been a great year for me.   2013 was awful in many ways, but it was still an improvement over 2012.  2012, was probably the worst year of my life since the late '90s.

Keeping in the tradition of closing the door on old ideas and focusing on new ones--I decided at the start of 2014 that I was going to clean my work's closet.    This meant that I was going to be cleaning my backlog of interviews or anything else associated with writing/researching that may have been  left behind lingering unfinished since 2006.      I'm happy to say that it's October and I've nearly done this as of today.    I'm almost done.  I've got a few left to knock-out before the end of the year and I'm feeling great about it actually.   Almost all of my 2001: A Space Odyssey interviews are up online. I have, yet, a couple to finish.    Any single interviews that had been done prior are now up online or off towards appearing in a magazine.   I've managed to clean 90% of my backlog.  It feels great.

These aren't hanging over my head any longer, and I know I'll be at 100% by the end of this December.

I'm notorious for biting off more than I can chew.  I come up with great ideas--I start to work on them--then another great idea comes along--and then I go and work on that.   This is how a backlog gets started.   Avoid it.  It's my goal in 2015 to not allow any of this to happen ever again.

Part of this would be the several interviews I did in late 2013 and early 2014 about the recording of Bob Dylan's masterpiece Blonde On Blonde.  It's one of my all-time favorite albums and I was thrilled to get the opportunity to talk to a handful of the Nashville studio musicians who recorded the album with Dylan.   I'm placing these up online now.   I've put up two thus far.   The first, with Hargus 'Pig' Robbins--Dylan's piano player on the BOB sessions.  And today, Charlie McCoy--Dylan's guitar and harmonica player on the BOB sessions, firstly, in New York City, and then eventually finishing out the recording with Dylan in Nashville.  

Check out Hargus 'Pig' Robbins HERE:
Check out Charlie McCoy HERE:

I'm solely focused on finished the books I have moving now.   Spending two years working on Studies In The Horror Film: Stanley's Kubrick The Shining has really inspired me and opened my eyes into exactly what goes into a valid and important volume of work.   I'm confident that the book projects I'm working on now will come out in the same manner.   

This week I'm traveling to Wilkes-Barre University to talk about Norman Mailer's Tough Guys Don't Dance (1987).   There I'll be sitting down with Mailer's estate to discuss the possibility of editing  a volume of essays/transcripts/interviews about Mailer's film work.   It's something that I'm looking forward too, because, damn, I get to edit something associated with the greatest writer of the 20th Century, Norman Mailer.  

A week later--I travel back to the East Coast for several days to research through the private archives of Frank Perry.  The '60s filmmaker--as I've written about here--is the sole subject of the book I'm working on now.  I'll be the first person granted access into Frank's archives, as the archive is not open to the public and I'm working with his estate on this project exclusively.

In January of 2015--I'm traveling to Los Angeles to visit another film archive associated with Frank Perry's work but also to sit down and discuss a project that I'd like to work on afterward with another filmmaker that I admire.  This time, someone who's still alive!

Then in March 2015--I have to focus on marketing The Shining book.

Can't you see that I'm doing again exactly what I told you above that I was trying to avoid !?!?!

It's safe to say that I'm legitimately tied up until the end of 2016, and that still doesn't account for the documentary that I've been prepping!

As for the podcast?  Well, I'm sort of leaving it up to Aaron for the time being.   Aaron is busy too though.  He's a Unit Production Manager in Canada and has worked on several feature films and television series after all.  I can't see myself focusing on anything that doesn't pay me for my efforts, and I'm not talking about "stats" or "emails" for the time being.    Aaron has been editing the next episode of the podcast, so hopefully he'll be able to get that finished and out before the end of this year.   I'm sure we'll squeeze out a few shows in early 2015 on top of that too.

Sayonara, love stuff...

Friday, October 3, 2014

The end of a two-year journey...

After my own journey of 2 years of assisting in the research, conducting over 30 interviews, securing the rights to the re-printing (s) of essays and interviews with the long-time deceased and never-before-seen photographs... It's thrilling to know that in a few months this book, Studies In The Horror Film: Stanley Kubrick's The Shining will be released. It's 600 pages--I'm toiling through the first galley now... Full color goodness on almost every page. The first printing will be available via Amazon, but also a limited edition will be available that is autographed by myself, editor Danel Olson, as well as many members of the cast and crew of THE SHINING. This book will put you on the set of the film, and you will gain a profound insight into SK's working method.    Now...onto finish up my book on filmmaker Frank Perry and prep a collection of writing on the films of Norman Mailer.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Goodnight, Sweet Marilyn: Interview with Jeff Buchanan

Boy!  I sure do love Larry Buchanan.

Especially his later period films like DOWN ON US (1989), MISTRESS OF THE APES (1979), STRAWBERRIES NEED RAIN (1970; his Bergman film) and this one--A real masterwork: GOODNIGHT, SWEET MARILYN (1989).

 Many equate the name Larry Buchanan with the '60s low-budget rubber suit monster melodrama--and then there's his Marilyn Monroe twofer masterwork.   First, GOODBYE NORMA JEAN (1976), and then the pièce de résistance GOODNIGHT, SWEET MARILYN (1989).

NORMA JEAN, released 13 years prior to MARILYN features Hee-Haw's very own Misty Rowe as the pre-Marilyn Monroe Norma Jean Baker.   Where this whole thing becomes tricky is when Buchanan takes outtakes from NORMA JEAN and infuses them with new footage shot of Monroe.  GOODBYE is a string of outtakes inter cut with new footage shot at the end of the '80s with a completely different actress in the role of Monroe.  

 The NORMA JEAN story chronicles Monroe's pin-up days and the trauma that transcended her into the silver nitrate witch, Marilyn Monroe.  GOODNIGHT, SWEET MARILYN is a true masterpiece.  With its melange of sincerely and depravity, Buchanan, with the chutzpah of a true auteur casts an older Paula Lane (THE LADIES' MAN, FADE TO BLACK) to play Marilyn Monroe in the final hours of her life.

For you contemporary film thinkers--it'll make no sense.  Buchanan, true to form, breaks every rule you may have imposed on your own enjoyment of cinema.   He creates a sort of fictionalized Monroe universe, much like Norman Mailer's penned Monroe mythos that flirts with conspiracy theories surrounding her tragic death.  Buchanan uses '70s rock songs in a film written about Monroe which is set in the 1940's and 1950's.   In addition, he casts actors and actresses that all have very similar looks about them--making it difficult for us, the audience, to differentiate between any of them. It's confusing to the unconscious mind, yet, when we see Misty Rowe, firstly as Norman Jean, and then as the transformed Marilyn Monroe--we come to understand that Monroe's beauty and presence over shadows everyone around her--man or woman.

With the casting of the older Paula Lane, Buchanan creates a sort of oneiric dream fantasy that allows us to see Monroe in a very fragile aura.  Buchanan takes this notion even farther by showing the much older actress--wrinkles and all--as she fucks a visitor who comes to her house in the very final hours before her death.   Buchanan even goes so far as to point out during the scene--that Monroe's actual fans never saw her in such a compromising light in any of her Hollywood films.

The genius in GOODNIGHT, SWEET MARILYN is how Buchanan distorts aesthetic approach.  GOODNIGHT, is a cheap film.  It feels low budget--yet it blends fantasy, reality with flashback, and present tense--which is effectively the past.  It feels sleazy at times too.  It produces a great empathy in one as well.

It made my list of 100 favorite films for a reason......

With all this...Let me present an interview I did earlier in 2013 with Larry Buchanan's son, Jeff Buchanan, about both GOODBYE NORMAN JEAN and GOODNIGHT, SWEET MARILYN.    You can check it out HERE:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pre-Order my book on Amazon now! Studies in the Horror Film: Stanley Kubrick's The Shining

Fans of Stanley Kubrick and THE SHINING can rejoice as Studies In the Horror Film: Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com

Here's the official Amazon description:

 "Edited by Danel Olson, with nearly two dozen new interviews by Justin Bozung, this is the first book of new essays by top critics and new interviews with cast and crew ever published on Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. Includes rare photographs, archival material, a special gallery of artwork inspired by the film, excellent essays, new and reprinted interviews, and much more in a handsome, full-color, brilliantly designed sewn paperback."

Modestly put, but the book at 600 pages features over 50 behind-the-scenes photographs that are NOT in Kubrick archive in London.  There are portions of the various early versions of the screenplay inside as well as an incredible selection of in-depth interviews with many members of the cast and crew such as: Jack Nicholson, Joe Turkel, Shelley Duvall, Director Of Photography John Alcott, Camera Operator Douglas Milsome, Art Director Leslie Tomkins and many more!

This version of the book is currently available now via Amazon but as we approach the actual release date of March 15th, 2015, there will be a limited edition printing made available through the publisher's website which will be autographed by Editor Danel Olson, myself, and various members of the cast and crew of the film.

I spent almost two years working as the interviewer for the project as well as a researcher and I am incredibly thrilled that the journey is coming full circle with its release.   I can promise everyone that this book will put you on the set of THE SHINING in more ways than one.

Pre-Order HERE:

Monday, September 15, 2014

A extraordinary true account of my dog Stanley

It was two years ago today that my wife and I had to make the heartbreaking decision to let our precious little buddy Stanley go. 

Stanley was a rescue dog.  He came to us abandoned--found on the streets in a derelict area of one of the worst Detroit suburbs.   He came to us with his vocal chords cut, an enlarged heart, and a collapsed trachea. 

He had been found and was recovering in a rescue in Belleville, Michigan. We were approached to foster him by one of the rescue volunteers as she worked with my wife Lindsey in Ann Arbor.  The rescue wanted to find a foster home for Stanley to recover in--as the rescue was loud--and they really wanted him to have a quiet and comfortable home to rest in because when he was discovered wandering the streets--he could barely walk.  Having just lost our puppy-dog Preena some months back due to old age (she was 14), my wife and I felt comfortable doing such--even though he would be the first rescue we'd ever have taken on.

I, for one, was a bit nervous about doing such as I was worried that I'd get too attached to Stanley and wouldn't be able to let him go once he was feeling better. Boy--was my intuition right!

There is such a thing as first love.   My wife and I experienced it with Stanley instantly.  We both fell hard on our first meeting with him.  When we went to the rescue to pick him up--Stanley walked out of his enclosure and walked up to me and buried his head in my lap.  The rescue tried to fill us in with what to expect with Stanley when we got him home.  Because of his health conditions--they told us to expect that he was a dog that was very vocal.  Having trouble breathing gave him a hacking noise that you would hear when he would walk around the house. 

The first night at home with Stanley was a pretty rough one.  Stanley was scared, nervous, filled with anxiety out of not knowing where he was, how he got there and when you combine that with his difficult to manage health problems--he was pacing the house making noises all night.  None of us slept that first night.

As foster parents--part of our duties were to take Stanley to the vet on a regular basis.   After about a week of Stanley living in the house with us--the time came to take him for a check-up.  We were instructed by the rescue to take Stanley to a vet of their choosing.  

We didn't feel "good" about this vet.  He wasn't particularly friendly.  He treated Stanley coldly.  It just wasn't a good experience overall--and considering how much we already adored Stanley we decided to take him to our trusty local vet Dr. Barb for a second opinion on his health.  We were thinking already in those first two weeks of just adopting him.

We had no idea how old Stanley was when we made the decision to adopt and bring him into our lives. Dr. Barb explained to us that given his array of health conditions that we'd be lucky to have him with us for no longer than 2-3 years tops.  Anything over that, would be a day-by-day blessing as it was only a matter of time before the small wind that was fluctuating through his collapsed trachea would cease to be and he would be unable to breath and we'd have to put him to rest.

When Dr. Barb told us that Stanley had 2-3 years left to live--we understood it.  We hoped, and rather naively so, that he'd have that time left and hopefully more if we did everything we could for him.   Never, did we ever consider at that point that Stanley would actually be in those final stages of his life by the time he arrived to us as our first child.

With that information floating around and creating a serious dread in our collective unconscious we set out to give Stanley a quality of life that he might not have had before, and this needed to be done with various daily medicines.  He needed medicine every day: a pill for his heart and a liquid that would cause him to urinate more often--which in turn---would assist in keeping the fluids off of his enlarged heart. We knew that taking Stanley in as part of family would be more about giving him a quality of life and not a quantity.  We would take him to get regular haircuts, to keep his shagginess down. Less hair equals less heat contained inside one's body.  

In order to help with his breathing we made a consummate effort to maintain the house at a temperate of 67 degrees.   Snow or summer, rain or sun, we never allowed our house to exceed that temperature ever.  At night, we made it even colder in an attempt to give him a great nights sleep.  The cold seemed to help him, not just to breathe but also to sleep through the night--even though at times-- Stanley did have some sleepless nights. 

Preena R.I.P
On those sleepless nights, he would pace the hardwood floors of our house.  With his collapsed trachea, just walking out to the kitchen to get a drink of water was a lot of work for him, and it produced a sound in him much like the noise of a broken kazoo being played by a little kid. 

It was a sound that if you heard it for the first time--really worried you.  It was a sound that we became very accustomed to ourselves--yet one you just couldn't ignore at 2 a.m. while it was roaming through the house when you're trying to get some sleep.  Stanley would pace the house for hours--finally coming into our bedroom and eventually collapsing onto our cold hardwood floors like someone who had dropped a heavy bag of cement down in place--eventually letting free a high sigh of relief.   Other nights, he couldn't get to that point even--regardless of the temperature.  On those nights, I'd get up with him, and we'd go out into the living room.  I, laying on the couch, Stanley laying under our church pew by our front house door--his favorite spot.   Getting up with him seemed to help him relax.   It was like he didn't want to be alone when he wasn't comfortable.  I didn't blame him one bit. I was happy to do it.

The thing that is the most striking to me about Stanley--and its my favorite of his qualities--is how he always acted as if he was a little boy.    My wife and I thought of him as our little boy too, so perhaps that's the reason why he started to act--not so much like a dog--but more like a sick little boy.  Dogs are smarter than humans and when it came time for his medicine he was off and running and would hide where ever he thought that you wouldn't be able to find him.   Yet, he would forget about how noisy he was--so you could hear the little huff-puff no matter where he was trying to bask in sanctuary inside the house. 

To pick him up from his hiding place--you gently snatch him up as if he was a toddler sitting on a floor.   You would carry him out into the kitchen, place him on the counter so that you could administer his daily meds to him.   Taking his medicine was a chore for Stanley as well.  He got really stressed out by the experience. Once you managed to get it down him--the quickest way to calm him and get him breathing a little easier and quieter was to take your thumb and rub the inside of his left ear. He loved it!  He couldn't get enough of it!  It would take his problems away for a moment, and he would disappear into a trance-like state of pleasure and being.

His eyes would almost roll into the back of his head when you do it.  It was his bliss--and you were glad to do it for him just so you could give him that moment where he didn't have to worry about breathing--even if for just a two minutes.   Yet you could tell that he was still aware of his problem as he would poke his little pink tongue out of his mouth ever so slightly between his lips(?) as it gave his breathing passage that little bit extra as so to get him through that moment without honking and coughing and wheezing. 

Following nights of restlessness--my wife would take Stanley to Dr. Barb's to get him a steroid shot.   

This would really reinvigorate Stanley. It would make him a happy dog.  A new dog in a way.   It would open up his trachea and allow him to breathe better and sleep a bit better.  But the result would only last but a few days.

Stanley was a very funny kid.  He slept most of the day--as most dogs do when they get older--yet he was always aware of when food was present.  As most dogs are too!   He liked to eat, and he did it as if he was a pig at a trough.

He was a good boy.  He told you when he had to go outside.  He told you when he was hungry, and he tried to defend the house when a stranger would visit.  He did that silently as his vocal chords had been removed for whatever reason, so when Stanley would sense something--he would bark as loudly as he could.  You could see the awareness in his eyes, his posture, his ears, and his mouth would be moving--yet no sound would come out.   

Stanley was wonderfully quirky too!  And in the best ways.   Because it was so difficult for him to get up and merely walk through the house--he would stop to take breaks.   He would get winded and he would stop midway through his travels to take a rest.  He did this via his "kickstand."  He would stop in mid-walk, sit, and anchor his right leg out as if his body was a bicycle and his right leg was a kickstand.  He would put his leg out to prop himself up.   When you saw him doing such, he would look back at you as if to say:  "What?  What are you looking at?"

Each night Stanley would tell you when it was time to go to bed.   It didn't matter what day of the week it way or what time of the month or year even--when it was time to go to bed--it wast time to go to bed!

Come 9:30 or 10:00 p.m., Stanley would rise from under his church pew and traverse across the carpet of the living room and across the hardwoods out to the communal water bowl of the house to take a drink--at times--putting his feet into the water bowl (it would cool him off)--and then come back into the living room, stop, drop his kickstand and stare at you.   He did this for a month or two after we first adopted him before we began to understand what he wanted.  He did it--because he was telling you that it was time to go to bed!  

Such became our nightly routine with Stanley.  Between 9:30-10:00 p.m., as Stanley was up and moving--I would get up myself, pick up his bed, and take it down the hallway into the bedroom, turn on the light in the bedroom and then proceed to deliver his bed at the foot of our own.   I would turn on the television for him.   Often times, I would turn on GHOSTBUSTERS 2 for him.  He seemed to like it!   Moments later--Stanley would putz himself down the hallway into the bedroom, get into his bed, and then fall right asleep.   I would say to him, "Night Stanee..."  Then I would shut the bedroom light off and close the door off to a crack.   He was a tired little kid at the core.   The funniest thing about his bedtime behavior was that he wouldn't do such and then come back out moments afterward to see what the humans / his parents were doing as would be the assumed behavior.  He would stay in there and sleep to his content.

He was a funny kid.  He was sweet and loving.  He liked to give kisses when he could.  He liked to have his ears rubbed.  He loved his belly rubbed.    He was perfect in the definition of the word.

Three days before we lost Stanley, my wife noticed that he seemed to be having a harder time that usual getting around.  In our daily routine, meds, sleepless nights and frequent trips outside had become part of existence.    Yet, he seemed to be having a harder time than usual in everything he did.  I noticed this out at his stops at the water bowl, and it just seemed to be taking him longer to do things around the house too.   

After a couple days of observations and things seeming to get worse in the nights--while at the same time seeing moments where you thought that he was just fine in the day--the weekend came around and considering the fact that Dr. Barb's office was only open in the mornings on Saturday--we decided that it might be best to take Stanley in for another steroid shot.   We considered the possibility that if we didn't take him in at this time on Saturday--we risked the chance of him getting worse and not being able to do anything about it until after the weekend was over.  

We thought that we were taking Stanley in for another simple, quick, in-and-out steroid shot.  We thought that he'd be home and sleeping under the church pew in an hour.   We didn't know then that we'd have to let him go while we were with him at Dr. Barb's.

When we first decided to adopt Stanley, Dr. Barb had told us of his life expectancy and how when it was time for us to let go of him we would see signs of such.  But we didn't fathom that these signs would be coming to us a mere ten-months after Stanley had become our baby boy.  We thought that he had 2-3 years with him yet!   We didn't realize that those years that Dr. Barb had mentioned when we first introduced her to Stanley were the partiality of our moments with him.

Stanley just couldn't catch his breath.  He could catch it at home or at Dr. Barb's office.   Dr. Barb gave him some medicine and it just didn't seem to work.  You could see his gums turning blue and the worry in his eyes.  He was panting as if he hadn't been allowed a drink after just sprinting to the finish line in a marathon.   Stanley was placed on oxygen and while this calmed him a bit in the moment--when it was removed the panting and trouble breathing continued on.   

Stanley was our son.   I'll never forget seeing the look in his eyes--the worry and fear--that seems so unimaginable--but when imagined must be something similar to the idea of seeing someone underwater who realizes that they can't breathe in that moment and are about to drown.   As Stanley wore that little oxygen mask--he tried to climb into the arms of my wife.  Our little boy wanted to be held by his mommy.   My wife held him gently and whispered a loving voice to him in that moment.  His little body resting on her arm as he was trying to catch a break in calm. "It's okay Stanee. It's okay baby boy..."

It was at that point that we had to make the decision to let him go--and it was the most difficult decision I've ever had to make in my life.  

What my wife and I thought was going to be a purely routine visit turned into something painfully surreal, unfair, indifferent and tragic.   My wife and I held Stanley tight as we both kissed him and told him over-and-over-and-over again just how much we loved him, and how we would always love him.   Then he slipped away gently into the late morning.

In the following days that passed after Stanley left us--things just never sat right with me.  I thought about it every minute of the day.   We had lost our first dog Preena a year-and-a-half before due to old age, yet, we were able to give her a passing via Dr. Barb in the warmth and comfort of our own home, quietly, and non-medical in the sense that Preena didn't have to leave us on a slab of cold and ugly surgical steel in a vet's office tied to a oxygen mask.   Preena left us on her favorite bed covered with her favorite blanket and with me holding her tight in my arms--I whispered to her about how much I had loved her and how thankful I was for her and how she had saved me on many occasions in my life in the years prior in every way possible.  

With Preena, I had time to comprehend and accept and understand that her passing would be inevitable, whereas with Stanley--it hit us like a mack truck.  We didn't see it coming, nor were we ready for it in any way.  I didn't want Stanley to have to take his last breath in such a cold environment regardless of how warm and caring Dr. Barb herself is. I wanted him to take his last breath at home with us, in comfort, with his family by his side, in his bed and not under such a unfair and natural attack.

With Stanley, there were too many questions.    Was it the right thing to do for him?  What if we would've never even went to the vet that Saturday morning?   He seemed to be fine in the day, but bad in the night?  What would have happened if we just would have let him sleep away the day and not rushed him to the vet?  Would he have remained with us a few extra days?  Did he agree with our decision?  Was he okay and where was he now?  Did he know that we truly loved him?   Did we give him a quality of life in his remaining days?

In one's grief, there isn't much to do but to talk to friends and family.   Was I supposed to revel in the 'Rainbow Bridge'?   It's a quarter-century old poem that only reminds me of Jimi Hendrix for a reason in which I do not know directly.   Am I supposed to find solace in a poem?   I've just lost my son--my little buddy and a poem is supposed to make it all right? 

In my grief I began to research the notion of a pet psychic.    I know--it sounds insane, ridiculous, foolish, wasteful, unethical--what have you!    Yet, I began to read about them, and how Oprah Winfrey had had one on her show.   A discourse on whether you believe or do not believe in such at this point would be futile, so for the sake of brevity just know that I reached out not because I thought that I could actually talk with Stanley--but just to gain a peace of mind regardless of however that might sound.

I called an office and said, "I'd like to schedule a reading please..."   The lady on the other end of the phone said, "Okay, would you like to come in or would you like for us to send someone out?"   I said, "I'll pay the extra for the person to come out."   The women then proceeded to collect my address.  I also gave her my first name and I did not tell her why I needed a reading.   I did not tell her my last name, nor my wife's name, what I did for a living, or anything about Stanley whatsoever. 

A couple days later, the psychic women, who we'll call "Janet",  arrived at my home in the evening. 

When she walked into the door she said, "They've lost someone here..."  Then she said in response to herself, "Someone here has also had some kidney problems."   Our cat, Herman,  who we nicknamed "Butters", had just had some serious problems with his kidneys some months before Stanley's passing.   Janet came to our house with her daughter, who had driven her there because of some health problems of her own.  

As we all sat down in our living room, we began to tell Janet about Stanley and how we had just lost him a couple weeks prior and that we were hoping to talk to him just to make sure that he was okay wherever he was.    She asked for a photo of him.  

As Janet began her own process, I myself, began to get very emotional.  My wife was the rock of the evening--staying true and calm--feeding Janet with responses to her questions of us.

Janet told us that Stanley had wanted us to know how much he loved us for taking him in when he needed it.  He had had a hard life.   He had not had much luck in his life and had suffered through a bad owner before coming to us.  Janet told my wife that Stanley wanted to thank her for making him feel as if he was a beautiful boy.   And he was!  He was our boy, a beautiful boy, our angel, our love.   

He said through Janet that our home was the first time that he had been able to feel love.  

I, myself, had wanted to know if he was okay where he was.  I wanted to know if he understood and supported our decision to do what we felt we needed to do for him.  After all, we had done it, not out of selfishness--but out of love for him and his quality of life.   Janet told me that he had understood and that he wanted to thank me for being able to give that to him.   Stanley then went on to tell us through Janet that he had been born in Tennessee and had suffered via the hands of a puppy mill and that he had come up to Michigan with another dog. He told us about how he had been rescued from the puppy mill by a woman named "Sharon".

He continued to explain that he had been adopted by a family.  The matriarch of that family was named "Stacy" and that her young kids weren't ready for a dog and about how the children had been mean to him and he accidentally had bitten one of them in defense and how the family had to give him up.   From there, Stanley told us about how he had been adopted again and that the woman who had had him couldn't afford him and his ever growing needs via his health problems and how she had abandoned him in the street.  

Janet, after a moment of silence, looked up to me and said, "Stanley wants to know when you're gonna get his tattoo?"   This took me for quite a shock--as some months prior to Stanley's passing I had gotten a tattoo of the face of Preena over my heart on my chest.  Janet told me explicitly that Stanley was hoping that I'd get one of him too.  

Janet continued to deliver us information about Stanley and about our daily lives.   This was information that one couldn't find via a Google search about another.  She didn't know our last names, what we did for a living, she couldn't access our Facebook pages as our profiles are set to private for non-friends.  She didn't know that I had any tattoos--let alone one of my chest. I was wearing a shirt after all!  Besides that, this information--in particular the notion of my tattoo wasn't something I had shared with anyone outside of my own wife either.   Now, before you give up on this story allow me to provide you one more fact:

The day after Stanley passed away, I called the rescue in Belleville, Michigan to let its owners know that Stanley had passed away.  I felt it important to let them know as they had been trusting and kindly enough to allow us to first foster Stanley and then adopt him.   When I called P&M (names withheld) that next day--I broke down into tears as I tried to fight my way through the bad news.   It was at that point that I requested a copy of Stanley's file there from the rescue.  We had not gotten it prior or after adopting him as his compiled record was something that wasn't normally given out to foster parents or those that adopt. Information about medical history was only relayed in such situations. 

M agreed to give Stanley's file to us, perhaps because we were grieving or because she had hoped that we would decide to help the rescue out by adopting another puppy in desperate need of a good home.   In any event, my wife and I drove out to rescue and were greeted by P&M. Each  promptly gave us each a warm huge that seemed to feel as if it shot straight out of their souls. 

When we adopted Stanley we had no prior information about him.  We only knew that he had been found wandering the street.  We didn't even know how old he was!    As M handed me the file for Stanley--I opened it up in desperation.   In front of me, on a collection of printouts and papers, was Stanley's history.    Stanley had in fact been adopted previously and he had in fact come up from a puppy mill from Tennessee!    With further examination of the paperwork, I discovered that the woman who had rescued Stanley from the puppy mill was in fact named "Sharon", just as Janet had told me it was!   Also indicated in the paperwork was the name of a women who had first adopted him, "Stacy"!   

As we were leaving the rescue in pain, sadness, heartache, but also awe--we noticed a picture on the wall in the sort of make-shift lobby of the rescue building.  It was a room in the rescue that included a washer and dryer.  On the wall to the left of the washer and dryer was a photograph--a page of paper--printed from a computer screen.  It was of Stanley and another dog sleeping together in one of the rescues' bins.  My wife, said, "Oh Look! It's Stanley, right there!"   P, observed us looking at the photograph.  He said, "Yep, that's him and his brother.  They came up here together in the raid on the puppy mill."  

Regardless of whether you believe in psychics or not doesn't matter.   I called Janet for a little peace of mind only to have one hell of coincidental experience in the quest.   Looking back now, there doesn't seem to be any way possible that she could known about Stanley, the puppy mill or the names of the two women from earlier on in his life.   The possibilities of researching such out in two days time boggles the mind even of this professional film researcher. She certainly couldn't "hack" the private computer system of the rescue, now could she?   It isn't possible, is it?    My wife or I don't think so either.

I won't go up on a soap box to preach about how life isn't fair, and the possibilities of God existing, or how nature isn't fair, or how people that mistreat animals should be put into prison.  Many people, who are more passionate about such topics can speak better about that than I ever can.   I didn't write this story to create a feeling of empathy in those that read it either.  I wrote this because I want people to know Stanley, my son.   He was just the specialist little boy ever.   My wife had a nickname for him.  She called him, "Lil' Romeo".   She called him that because whoever saw him fell in love with him instantly.  
I loved Stanley's fur, his honk, his hiding, his kisses, his imaginary barks, and his ability to tell time without understanding how to read the clock.    I made up nicknames for him all of the time.  I do it a lot with the animals I've had in my life that I love.  I called him, "Monkeybone".  For what reason, I'll never know.  In fact, since his passing--my wife and I made a little plackard and hung it up on the wall in the living room under the church pew in his honor.   "Stanley's Corner.."

He was my little buddy, and there are times even though he's been gone for two years now that I still wake up in the middle of the night thinking that I'm hearing him pacing around the house trying to get comfortable.   I can still see clearly in my head, his face, as it ran docile and patient as I would pick him up as if he was an infant in the early morning, with his little pink tongue barely breaking through his lips (?), as if he was saying, "Oh No! It's time for medicine again?  Oh Dad, not again!"

 I loved him, and I miss him so much.   I have thought about him every day since he has been gone.  I try to remember what the inside of his ear still feels like when I would put my thumb inside of it.   I try to forget the bad times.  I try not to think about that Saturday at the vet.   In a way, I feel like I failed as a parent, in that I wasn't able to give him those last moments the way I thought that he should have had them.  The day he deserved them really.   It enrages me when I think back about it, but I try not to think about it.  I try to think about only him, and how much we loved him. 

If you take anything away from this--be it that it's important that we all consider the well-being of senior dogs and of rescue animals desperately in need.   Consider making a senior dog or rescue dog part of your family today.

Here's a video of Stanley that was taken a few weeks after we got him.  It was a breakthrough--as it marks the first time that Stanley tried to play with some of the toys laying around the house.  All kids like to play with toys.  He was our baby boy.  I love you Stanee.  I miss you.