Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Robert Kurzban & Goose

Who is in the photo at right?

This is a picture of Goose, Nicole (aka, my sweetie), and me, during the holidays.

My name is Robert Kurzban. I’m an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. I recently wrote Why Everyone (Else) is a Hypocrite, my first book.

Goose is a gentle lady of 9 years, of mixed ancestry. Our best guess is that she’s a pit bull and lab mix.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

No occasion. Goose and I don’t need an occasion to get together for a cup o’ joe. This [photo at left] is a shot of Goose sitting next to me during our morning ritual. Sometimes she prefers her bed, but usually she’s happier here on the floor, next to me. We’ve been together for a while now, so during these morning moments, there’s not a lot of conversation; we both just know.

What's brewing?

I drink Eight O’Clock coffee, freshly ground, black. It’s simple but good.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Morning coffee is a goodie.

Any treat for Goose on this occasion?

Goose is watching her weight. Treats are restricted to the evening hours, usually, one greenie, though Frosty Paws are always possible.

How were you and Goose united?

Nicole was Goose’s first person, but when Nicole and I got together about six years ago, we formed a little family. Goose and I hit it off right from the start.

How did Goose get her name? Any aliases?

Goose’s real first name is Lucy. Inevitably, we dropped the formality and started calling her “Luce,” which somehow became “Goose,” and then attracted a definite article and relaxed a bit, turning into “The Gooooooooose.” Now she’ll turn her head to nearly anything that has that long “o” in it.

Your new book is Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite--did Goose play any role in your research and writing?

Of course. She was behind me the whole time. And by that I mean she was literally behind me the whole time. She curls up on a little cushion – we call it “the dot” – behind my desk chair. Occasionally when I didn’t want to leave the book when it was clearly Her Time, she would nudge my arm with her snout to remind me that there was more business to be done than just writing.

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

Squirrel. Always with the squirrels, our Goose.

Tennis ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Plush animals. The small ones last about fifteen minutes or so. The well built ones can make it a few days if their stitching is heavy enough. She seems to particularly savor ripping the stuffing out.

Where is Goose's favorite place for an outing?

Anywhere there’s a sunbeam to lie in.

Who is Goose's best pet-pal?

Goose likes all people, and is pretty much indifferent to all canines.

What is Goose's best quality?

There has never been nor will there ever be a dog as sweet as Goose.

What is Goose's proudest moment? Her most embarrassing?

Well, “proudest” might not be exactly right, but during our walks, Goose likes to face down squirrels. She seems to enjoy it, so we usually let her stare at them for a while, and then she’ll make a move, after which they run up a tree, she loses interest, and we move right along. Once, she was staring down a particularly fat squirrel who – I want to be clear about this – was standing right next to a tree, and we figured it couldn’t possibly manage to fail to escape from our sweet but pokey dog. Well, we had her on a long leash, as we often do on the walks in the country and, like a dog possessed, Goose shoots at the squirrel, and, whap! In a blink of an eye she had actually managed to get the poor creature between her teeth. Nicole screamed, the Goose dropped the squirrel – which finally did scamper up the nearby tree – and we felt awful for the poor squirrel. But we did have to respect the fact Goose, just that once, actually got the better of a squirrel.

Most embarrassing. Well, Lucy is getting on in years, and we’re concerned with her hips when she goes up the stairs. So recently she’s started to use the “Rob Elevator,” which is me carrying her up the stairs. She knows that it’s good for her, but it’s clear she doesn’t find the arrangement dignified in the least. She bears it stoically though.

Visit the official website for Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite.

The Page 99 Test: Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite.

--Marshal Zeringue