Monday, May 30, 2011

The Glades

Last Wednesday morning I got up and took Chandler for his early morning walk. When we stepped out front, I was confronted with a truly strange sight. Overnight, at the end of our block, appeared numerous semi-trucks, mobile office trailers, scaffolding, lights, and dozens of cars. When Chandler and I got down there, I asked one of the many men scurrying around what was going on.
"Shooting a television show."
"Really? Which one?"
"The Glades."
"The Glades? Never heard of it. What channel is that on?"
"A&E. This is the second season.", he answered gruffly, and then turned and walked off towards all the hubbub.
He seemed to be a bit perturbed that I had even asked him, and even more when I expressed my ignorance of The Glades.

Of course the minute I got home I Googled The Glades.
"An attractive and brilliant Chicago homicide detective moves to the sleepy, middle-of-nowhere town of Palm Glade, Florida."
I checked out the cast, and didn't recognize one name in it. The star is some guy named Matt Passmore. I wanted to see the show, so I set my DVR to record it that afternoon. After all, if our little block is going to be on television, I want to see it. Sadly, I will probably miss it because after watching The Glades, my opinion is that it's boring. This guy, Matt Passmore, plays a cop who thinks he's the moral superior to everyone else. It had bad acting, and a stupid story line, and put me to sleep halfway through it. Later, just for kicks, I Googled Matt Passmore with the added word naked. Turns out that I might just give The Glades another chance.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Photo Friday

 Memorial Day

In 1945 my dad was in the Army Air Force. He was the radio man on a B29 bomber. This is a photo he took from the plane as they flew over Japan.

 Back of photo

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Seriously, I Don't Like Tornadoes

All these tornadoes tearing up the middle of the country bring back memories. We had two hit our little town outside Chicago when I was a kid, once when I was around seven and another when I was in high school. Both times I wanted to stay outside and watch them, but older and smarter people dragged me into shelter. When we went out and surveyed the damage afterwards, it was surreal.

What I don't understand is why county codes in areas prone to tornadoes, don't insist on implementing the Miami-Dade County building codes. Down here homes are built to withstand very high winds over 100mph. Roofs have straps that tie them into the walls. Walls themselves are almost always reinforced concrete block construction, and windows must be impact resistant. You can hit a hurricane window with a hockey puck traveling at 100mph, and it'll bounce right off. Back in the 1980's they relaxed some of the codes, and the result was the utter destruction of brand new homes by Hurricane Andrew. Older homes tended to fare better, so the counties in South Florida reinstated the codes, and beefed them up.

I know using the South Florida codes won't stop the damage from an F4 tornado, but it would mitigate it, offering the residents a chance to survive. Those balloon frame constructed homes of the prairies, just can't stand up to the force of a tornado.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Matthew 21:12

When I was a small child, every Sunday my dad would send me off to mass with a little envelope containing my 'donation'. I would sit there in the pew, and feel that envelope, pressing on the coin inside until there was a perfect impression of Jefferson in the paper. Yes, it was only a nickel, but back in the nineteen fifties a nickel could buy a lot. Down at Rudy's Candy Store I could get a foot of candy dots stuck to paper, for a penny. For a nickel I could walk away with a little brown bag full of candy. The temptation was too great for me, and I finally found a way to slide the nickel out of the envelope, while leaving it intact. This little maneuver doubled my allowance for the week, from five cents to ten cents. I was a happy boy. What I didn't know is that the church audited those envelopes. Each one had a unique number associated with each one of my dad's children, and when my number started showing up empty, the church snitched.

Apparently nothing has changed in those fifty plus years. Religion and churches are still all about the money. Over the last few months I've been getting mailings from some bizarre church, that talks to you like you're a child. They are printed in large type, and include cartoon like drawings that are supposed to convince you that if you send them some money, all your dreams will come true. At first I entertained myself by mailing the envelopes back with silly names, and requesting that they pray for me to receive millions of dollars. Today I received two pennies from the church, which I guess is my down payment for the millions that are coming. At that rate, if I get two pennies a day, I'll receive my first million in 136,986 years. March 20th to be exact.....
Wait a minute, I forgot leap years. Damn it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bucket of Beer

Ninety degree weather. Humidity so thick you almost need scuba gear to breathe. It must be summer in Florida again, or as I like to call it, bucket of beer weather. Yesterday, Mark and I made our usual trek up to the 'Drive', and sucked down a few brews. Honestly, I would rather be drinking my beer on Sunday afternoon in an air-conditioned bar, but my favorite bartender has moved outdoors. What I can't fathom is the fact that people lived here before the invention of air-conditioning.  Imagine what that smelled like. I was a spent, wet rag, after only an hour of sitting out there.

As bad as South Florida summers are, I still remember the heat waves we would endure back in Chicago. My family didn't have air-conditioning until I was seventeen years old, and for those first seventeen years, we made do with fans, Kool-Aid, and our  basement. Yes, back in the nineteen fifties the only way to beat the heat was go down into the basement. It was smelly, and damp, but at least five degrees or more cooler than the rest of the house. At night I would sleep up in my second floor bedroom, in seersucker, shorty pajamas, while the large window fan would whine away. It was like sleeping in hell. When I think back about those days, sitting down in that spider filled basement, or trying to sleep in that stifling hot attic, I can only think of how nice it would have been if mom had helped us out with a nice bucket filled with ice and beer.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Photo Friday

Have a nice Saturday

6:15 PM Saturday, May 21, 2011
Still here! Nice sunny evening.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Gray Squirrel

I'm not really sure how to tell this story. I don't even know that I should, but here goes. Twice a week since my knee surgery, I have gone to physical therapy. It's kind of a pain in the ass, but not too difficult. It usually consists of a lot of me lifting my leg, bending my knee, and when I'm done with all that, laying on a table with ice on my knee. Yesterday I was on the table, all iced up, and one of the therapists put an older lady on the same table with me. This was like a giant double table that could accommodate two, and the lady was laid down in the opposite direction as I was. I turned to look when she laid down, only to see her cottage cheese thighs, and ugly yellowed bare feet next to my head. I immediately looked away, and for the next fifteen minutes stared at the clock above the table. Now I know she didn't have it any better, looking at my freakishly hairless legs, and nasty sweat socks, but that was her problem.

Now here is the part I'm not sure I should be telling you. I hadn't noticed, but it seems she was wearing a loose fitting pair of sweat shorts, and she was laying with her legs spread apart, facing the entrance to the facility. At the appointed time, Mark came strolling in to pick me up. Behind me I could hear his squeaky voice. "He's over there.", one of the therapists told him. Almost at the same time somebody came over and threw a blanket over the elderly lady next to me. When Mark came over and sat down, he had a strange look on his face, like he had seen a ghost.
"Something wrong?"
"I'll tell you later."
"Why can't you tell me now?"
"Never mind, later."
When we were in the car on the way home, he told me.
"I saw a squirrel."
"I don't understand."
"The lady on the table next to you. She wasn't wearing underwear."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Fog of War

'What about me?'

"I'm sorry....   I didn't mean to say those things."
This was followed by a very awkward silence.
"Don't you have anything to say to me?", Mark continued, obviously waiting for me to reciprocate.
"You locked the dog in the car! You locked the fucking dog in the car!", was my reply.
And once again the argument blew up, albeit this time with a little less vulgarity, and less anger.

This is what happened, to the best of my memory.
Yesterday afternoon Mark took me to the pharmacy. Little Sasha was so excited when she saw me put on my shoes, that I decided to bring her along for the ride. At the pharmacy they informed me that my prescription price had quadrupled since the last refill, so I refused the prescription, and told Mark to take me home so I could call the insurance company. I was pissed and fuming at the insurance company all the way home. When we arrived home I was still cranky. So when Mark got out of the car, and immediately locked the doors, it started.
"Open the door, the dog is still in there."
After waiting two seconds I barked at him again, "Open the door you &%#$@&#, the dog is still in the car!"
Mark then started cursing back at me, and stomped off into the house, while Sasha sat locked in the back seat. Much door slamming, key tossing, and many filthy words followed. Most of it by me. After having my say, I limped back out to the car on my newly repaired knee, and retrieved the perplexed little Sasha. For the rest of the afternoon a cold, and icy silence fell over our house.

When we both cooled down, we compared notes on who was to blame for this argument. According to Mark it was me for not waiting while he fumbled for the car keys. Of course I saw it much differently. Mark had committed the sin of locking one of my dogs in the car. Honestly, I really don't remember what was what, only that I got pissed and slammed some doors. It would be nice if I had a recording of the whole thing, but I don't and I guess I have to take Mark's word for what he thinks happened. All I know is that it's over now, and he's taking me out for food and drinks now.

Oh, and by the way, I'm sorry.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Genocide In The Garden

Imagine you are a tomato plant at Home Depot, and you see Mark strolling towards you. If you had feet I'd tell you to run. Run like your life depended on it, because it does.

Here's how it works. Mark goes to Home Depot and buys the plants. Flowers, tomatoes, pepper plants, whatever bug he has up his ass at the moment. He then brings them home, and sets them out back by the swimming pool. About three days later he will ask me if I'd plant them in the garden. By that time they are already a bit withered, and begging for water, but I do my duty. I stick the little buggers in the ground out in the back yard, and that's the last time they will ever see Mark again.

Every day I go out there and water Mark's plants. I weed the garden, and harvest anything worth picking. After my knee surgery two Friday's ago, I was unable to do that for about four days. That was too bad for the tomato plants, because in the South Florida sun plants become shriveled, and stressed within hours. Weeds have the ability to grow inches a day, and battle the garden plants for what moisture is left in the ground. In other words, Mark's garden is nearly dead, and I have given up on trying to save it.

Now this might seem inconsequential to you. So what if Mark can't keep a garden going without me to do all the work. Let the garden die you say. It only becomes disturbing when you realize that Mark has bugged me for years with the suggestion that we adopt a child. It's an idea I have steadfastly refused to go along with because it would probably interfere with my afternoon naps, and evening cocktails. Besides, I understand that they require a bit more attention than spraying them with the hose once a day to keep them alive and thriving.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Photo Friday

Hooray! Blogger is fixed!
In case you missed it, my blog was not working correctly for the last 24 hours.
In fact all of Blogger was not functioning.

After twenty five years in the computer business, I can sympathize with the people at Blogger. I've had to deal with more than one system crash that took down entire businesses for more than a few hours.
P.S. All the witty comments posted in the last two days were lost. Sorry.

Video Thursday

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bad Walkies

I've really been feeling bad for Chandler and Sasha this week. I haven't been able to take them for their daily walks since last Thursday evening, and they've let me know about it. Sasha, of course, by shitting and pissing in my bathroom. Chandler, by sitting in front of me while I sit reclined in my chair, and giving me sad puppy dog eyes. If I'm not in too much of a pain killer stupor, I will either drag myself out to the kitchen, and let them out, or yell across the house for Mark to do it. If I am passed out, and miss the allotted time, that's when Sasha will leave one of her little calling cards.

Last night I decided that maybe my knee was good enough that I could take them for a short walk to the corner and back. To help me, I enlisted Mark. I figured I could give Mark little Sasha, and I'd be able to control Chandler. Unfortunately, Chandler was so overwhelmed with excitement that I couldn't handle his pulling. My knee still being very unstable, it was obvious he might yank me down, so I switched dogs with Mark. That proved to be a bad idea.

I glanced down to take Sasha's leash, and when I looked back up all I could see was the back side of Mark disappearing around the corner with him screaming for Chandler to stop. With a bit of effort, I hobbled around the corner in time to see Mark still being dragged along, still screaming. I called for Chandler to come. Once again Mark was jerked down the street, this time back towards me, still screaming, "Stop goddamnit, stop......   ".
Obviously I shouldn't have expected Mark, who outweighs Chandler by only ten pounds, to be able to control him. Chandler is a headstrong dog who needs all two hundred pounds of my weight, and two stable knees to keep him in line. I'm afraid the dogs will have to go out back for a little while longer. I can't afford for Mark to be dragged to death. At least not until my knee heals.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


After a long weekend of oxycodone induced serenity, I was not ready for Monday morning. I knew it was coming, the doctor had scheduled me right away for physical therapy. I mean it's right there in the name, 'physical', I should have known. I guess I kind of expected that I would be made to try and walk around on my repaired knee, get a little massage, and go home. Instead I walked into a room full of large, broad shouldered women who immediately started ordering me around. Most of all they wanted me to move my leg and knee back and forth in a way that seemed to me to be unnatural.
"I want to see you bend that back more than a hundred degrees!", a nice lady named Fiona barked.
The truth is that never in my life have I been able to bend my leg back that far. For forty five minutes my leg was twisted and turned, lifted and dropped, and then finally bent back as far as it could.
"Ninety nine degrees, c'mon Alan, you can do better...", and with that Fiona ordered me to try again, urging me on like I was some kind of slacker. Finally, with one last gasp, I moved my leg back one hundred and two degrees.
"Good boy Alan."
Like Chandler, I was ready for my treat for being a 'good boy'. But there was no treat, just instructions to do more exercises at home, and a date to be tortured again on Thursday.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Body Parts

I have come to the awful realization that I have reached the point in my life where my body is falling apart faster than it can be repaired. I am sitting here with my knee wrapped up, swollen, throbbing, and useless, and I noticed that my middle finger has some kind of growth on it. A wart like growth, or maybe a cyst, who knows, but something is growing there, and it looks nasty.

A couple of years ago I invested in foot surgery so that I wouldn't end up a cripple later in life. Just as I was getting up to speed, and walking normally again, Chandler ran head long into my knee. Ninety pounds of raucous dog hitting my already fragile knee at full speed. That is why I'm sitting here with the newly repaired knee, with plenty of down time to look for other problems like the growth on my finger.

It all starts out so good. If you are lucky like I was, you are born with a well operating body. The problem is, it starts wearing out immediately. At eleven years, my appendix failed and that was removed. No problem. Everything worked well until I turned twenty two, and my left testicle blew up like a big pink party balloon. That required a little repair procedure where the doctor reached the aggrieved orb through my urethra. It was not pleasant. Over the years I continued to compile a list of ailments, but I always recovered, with plenty of up time in between the failures. As I entered my forties things started to ramp up. Cancer, Blindness, hemorrhoids, and various minor maladies started stacking up, one after another, until I've reached this point in my life. I at this moment have the bad knee, the growth on my finger, a crumbling molar in the back corner of my mouth, and various other rashes and aches that require salves, lotions, and shots. It seems to be a never ending battle. My calendar is checkered with doctors appointments, to the point where it's getting confusing. My only hope is that I don't mistakenly show up for my hemorrhoid doctor on the day I should've gone to the eye doctor.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Knee Jerk

The knee doctor
I've known something was wrong with my knee for quite a while. In fact I've had twinges of pain for years, and knowing my family's history of knee problems I should have been more proactive. It wasn't until I was lying on the side of the street, dragged down by Chandler while he chased lizards, that I finally admitted I should see a specialist. It's got so bad that I've had to make concessions. When Mark and I go out, my first piece of business is to find a place to park my ass. Often you'll see me sitting at the bar with Mark standing, wedged between me and the next occupied bar stool. He is ten years younger, and it doesn't bother him, but it still looks bad. You know, the old white guy making the black guy stand while he takes the primo seat. In fact the more I think about it, with Mark driving me everywhere, cooking my dinners, and doing my shopping, it sometimes has the appearance of the old south around here.

Anyway, I finally went to a knee doctor, and this Friday I'm getting the knee 'scoped'. I'm not exactly sure what that means other than I'll have a television camera, and a laser beam inserted into the knee. The doctor will then do some kind of magic, and within a few weeks it should be like I was forty years old again. Until then I think I'll be on some good pain killers, and Mark will have to wait on me day and night. Once again, it will look suspiciously like the old south. However, we will be in the privacy of our own home, and believe me, it may look like the mean old white man is bossing the poor black guy around, but the reality is Mark controls this house. I just walk the dogs, take out the garbage, wash the dishes, mop the floors, and generally do the household cleaning. Mark will do anything to get me back on my feet.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Crash Course

'Beep, beep'.
The call waiting was rearing it's ugly head again. I hate call waiting, yet I never remember to turn it off. I could sit in this house for three days and never get a telephone call, yet let me pick up the phone and call interrupting will start nagging me.
 'Beep, beep'.
"Just a minute, I have another call."
"Somebody hit the car! They wrecked the car!"
It was Mark, in a panic, his voice so high it was almost out of the range of human hearing.

After calming him down, I managed to get the pertinent information out of him. It seems Mark had parked the car behind a store, and somebody tearing through the alley had clipped the tail-light. That meant that I had to go and take care of it. You see, Mark doesn't handle things. By that, I mean if the house was burning down, he would have to call me to come home and dial 911 for him. So Saturday afternoon I took the little free bus up to where Mark had parked the car, and called the police.

Of course the cops couldn't do anything. There were no witnesses, and whoever the asshole it was who hit our little PT Cruiser, took off without leaving any note. Now I have to pay that five hundred dollar deductible that I opted for, so I could save twenty dollars a month on collision insurance. So what was Mark doing at that store? He was helping out a friend who owns the store. She works twelve hours a day in her business, and Mark was giving her a break for a few hours. She paid him of course. He made fifty dollars.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Royal Line of Succession

What a royal pain in the ass. Last Friday I got up in the morning and turned on the news, totally forgetting about the 'Big Wedding'. The worst part about it is that the only news channel I could find that wasn't slobbering all over William and Kate, was Fox. It must have something to do with the polls showing Americans are getting over the republicans, and they needed to get back to slanting the news.

Sorry, I just am not impressed with the comings and goings of those who belong to the lucky sperm club. I don't begrudge those who were born into a very fortunate life, I just don't care about them. You see I kind of think I was born lucky. Ten brothers and sisters, and a mom and dad who stayed married right up until the end. In addition to having a fairly decent family life, I also had a dad who managed to teach me some important things even if it was unintentional sometimes. For instance what we as kids perceived as his cheapness, was a chance for us to learn the value of budgeting our money. We might not have had the latest and greatest crap that our friends had, but we always had food on the table. Don't spend what you don't have, and you'll do fine in the end, that was the lesson. Now if I can only teach that to Mark.

Another thing I learned from my dad was fear. Fear of his gigantic hand coming down on my ass was a powerful deterrent during my teenage years. I am sure I'd have been a drug crazed high school dropout if I wasn't so afraid of the consequences. I'm proud to say I was a drug crazed hippie with a high school diploma thanks to my dad.

Today is dad's birthday. He's not with us any more, and I do miss him. I hope he knew how much I appreciated him before he left us. After all, he did beget some royalty. A big old drag queen named Alicia.