(aka Dogger, aka Dog, aka Dawg)

[ Update Jan, 2013 » I posted an updated treatise on the Dog » here.
and another piece » here (Feb, 2015). ]

A Dogbrother is more than a best friend. It's someone who will be there for you -
no matter what. It's somebody you can count on, 24/7/365 .. someone you like,
enjoy, respect, care about, but most of all, trust.

A Dogbrother is somebody who's got your back, who will do you no harm, and who 
has the sac to confront you when you're screwing up, cuz he has your best interests 
at heart. 

He's somebody you connect with, from the moment you meet .. like you've known him
all your life. Somebody who knows your faults & shortcomings .. and still accepts you.
It's somebody you can discuss anything with. Somebody who believes in you, even 
when you doubt yourself. 

Proverbs 18:24 says: A man of many friends comes to ruin, but there is a Friend who 
sticks closer than a brother
. "A Friend who sticks closer than a brother" .. you might 
say that's the King James version of a Dogbrother. |

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "
The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand,
nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; rather it is the spiritual inspiration
that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing
to trust him.

It's fashionable now for gangsta rappers to call each other "Dawg," but the Dog and I
pre-dated this popular trend by at least two decades.

verybody needs a dogbrother.


The Dog and I were both born in the Chinese year of the Dog - but that's not where 
we got the name. The name Dogbrother came from the
Conan the Barbarian series. 

In the summer of '79, in Hawaii (when/where I met the Dog), our roommate (Courtland)
was reading a Conan book. Courtland was several years older than the Dog and me, and
lightyears more mature. He kept us out of trouble.

One day, Court said we reminded him of Conan's dogbrothers .. the way we looked out
for each other. We began calling each other Dogbrother the moment we heard it.
It seemed natural and stuck like a bad habit. Over the years (20), it's been shortened
to Dogger, and eventually to Dog. 

I read that special friendships are sometimes forged in the crucible of war. We weren't 
in a war, but I did meet the Dog while in the military - in the Navy. That's what we were
doing in Hawaii. We were both stationed aboard one of the Navy's ballistic missile submarines,
home-ported in
Pearl Harbor: a nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarine. 

When asked 'the question,' the Navy instructed us to respond like so: I can neither confirm
nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons aboard this Naval vessel
. They made us recite
it over repeatedly. A recent PBS television special described the firepower of an FBM (fleet
ballistic missile) submarine this way: more firepower than all the bombs dropped in all the
wars since the beginning of time immemorial


I liked the Dog from the minute I met him. Not sure why. I felt comfortable with him. We 
seemed to operate at similar wavelengths. I felt like I could trust him. He is one of those
people that everyone likes.

The Dog biggest liability is that he's a Jersey boy (Hoboken) - something I never let him
live down. He loves The Sopranos and Saturday Night Live .. cuz they make him feel at

He's quick to let you know that both Frank Sinatra & The Boss, Bruce Springstein, are 
both Hoboken bred boys. I grew up in Connecticut, so we were both East Coast boys
enjoying the Aloha spirit, and learning new Hawaiian words, like Mahalo, MaiTai, and
Book 'em, Dano. =)


Our sub had two crews:Blue & Gold. We were on the Gold crew - the good crew. The
'Bluies' were a bunch of dipshits. When the Bluies had the boat, we kicked back in Hawaii, 
on Oahu, beginning our time off with 30 days of R&R (rest & relaxation). 

During the "off-crew", the Dog and I got a place together downtown Waikiki (with 
Courtland to keep us out of trouble), on
Ala Wai blvd

Two Vegas strippers - Sandy & Bambi - lived above us, in an identical apt. It felt 
surprisingly comfortable hanging out at their place, maybe cuz of the layout identical. 
When the girls moved in, the Dog & I carried their (big, heavy) chests up four flights 
of stairs. 

They rewarded us with front-row tickets to one of their performances (at the Chinese 
Cultural Center, downtown Honolulu). The Dog even got pulled up on stage for the 
famous airplane stewardess skit (we were barely 21). 

We were in Hawaii for a couple years .. '79 & '80 .. when we weren't at sea. Every 
100 days or so, the government would fly us 1/4 the way around the world, to Guam, 
USA - Where America's Day Begins
, and we'd take over the boat from the Bluies

We heard that the way the government came up with the 100-day number is cuz that's 
the maximum period of time humans can be confined in an enclosed environment, like a 
submarine before they start cracking. The crack rate begins to accelerate after 100 days. 
Submarine life is not for everybody. We have some great stories of people weirding-out. 

There was a 5-day turn-over period, where the Blue crew told us everything about the 
boat we needed to know. Each person on the Gold crew has a counterpart on the Blue. 
During the turnover period, the on-coming crew sleeps on a (refrigerated) barge, kept 
colder than a meat locker. 

Everybody got sick, cuz we kept going for sweltering-hot Guam weather to the barge's 
refrigerated meat locker .. working 20-hr days. It's amazing how long and hard you can 
work when you're 20 years old. 

Guam is on the other side of the International dateline - near Japan, in the South China 
Sea. It's twice as close to the equator as Hawaii is. Hawaii is 23 degrees north latitude, 
Guam is 13. 

Flying to Guam, we lost a day. But when we flew back (to Hawaii), we were able to live a 
day over
. Some of the guys were able to relive New Years Eve - once in Guam, then again 
in Hawaii. 

I got to the boat a few months late for that, but remember leaving Guam 6PM  Sunday 
eve, and arriving at Honolulu International Airport (12 hrs later) at 6AM .. Sunday morning, 
just as the sun was coming up over
Diamond Head. That was cool. 


We both worked in the Engineering dept. Official job description was operation, maintenance 
& casualty-control of US Naval nuclear propulsion plant
. We were in charge of starting up, 
shutting down, and running a General Electric reactor plant, connected to a Westinghouse 
steam/propulsion plant. 

Nuclear power - especially US Navy nuclear power is different from most industries in 
that it's extremely intolerant of (any) errors. In other words, nuclear power does not 
do mistakes well. It's not like a graphic designer who may try several different approaches 
before finding one that works. 

If you make a serious enough mistake, you have to go talk to the black box. Needless 
to say, working in an environment that doesn't tolerate errors can be stressful, requiring 
creative ways to relieve that stress.

The Navy owned us & worked us like dogs (actually dog have a much better life). We 
used to compare our lives to prison life, and note how prisoners at least got to see 
the sun once a day, and probably worked less than half the hours. 

We were on an older submarine, which typically need more work/maintenance than 
newer ones. The hours were relentless. I can't recall how many times we worked 
around the clock, from 7AM one day, to 4PM the next, with zero sleep.

The main thing that kept us going was knowing that, when you wake up tomorrow 
morning (provided they actually let you get some sleep), you have one less day to go. 
A lot of people didn't make it. 

The the attrition rate between day one of boot camp, and the end of the standard 
6-year enlistment was 6 out of 7. In other words, the Navy had to input seven recruits 
to get one to the end of six years. You lose a lot of good friends along the way. 


After the Navy (6 yrs), the Dog applied for and was accepted at Columbia University 
(Ivy League school, NYC), where he got a degree in Industrial Engineering. He worked 
for Arthur Anderson Consulting for a while, but not being one to sit still for long, he soon 
headed West, to LA, and wound up in Hollywood. He lived 5 minutes from the landmark 

I still remember calling his mother, and asking where he was. She said, "Tommy quit his 
job and left for California. He took his girlfriend." I said, "Does he have a job there?" 
Mom said, "No, he's gonna find work when he gets there." That's typical for the Dog. 
Just pack-up and head out for territories uncharted. Right now, he just quit his job 
and is heading to Ireland. That's the Dog. 

While working in LA, the Dog got his Masters at USC (in Safety) - same school Wendy's 
going to now. Ironic that the Dog is now in Safety .. cuz when, I knew him back in the 
day, he was anything but safe. 

Dog moved to San Jose a couple years back. Lately he's been talking about pulling a Leary,
turning on, tuning in, and dropping out. Maybe he'll open a pub on the outskirts of Dublin, 
and search for 4-leaf clovers. Packing up & moving to different parts of the globe is one 
of the Dog's signature trademarks. 

The Dog came *this* ][ close to starting his MBA, but first decided to take a couple of 
Writing classes (at Stanford). He made quite an impression. He has many unique 
experiences (to put it mildly) from which to draw. 

Most notably, he's intimately familiar with the dark side of life. He's able to describe, with 
remarkable clarity and detail, things which most people are unaware of, while keeping 
one foot in the cogent world of reason. 

I posted another one of the Dog's pieces - titled Roadtrip - here at my site, but received 
a request to remove it (long story) .. which I did. Never before (nor since) have I ever 
been asked to remove anything posted at my site. The Dog has always been a lightning 
rod for controversy. 

to be cont'd ...

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