Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Curious Alan

Taken with my cell phone while waiting
I was a curious kid. I don't mean curious as in odd, though I was that too. I mean that I was always looking at, and touching, and opening things I shouldn't. I'd often get into trouble at friends homes for going through their parents things because adult things were the most interesting. In my teen years I would baby sit for neighbors, which opened up a whole new world for me to explore. I think I found every porn stash that those good, church going husbands and fathers had. I haven't changed much in my adult years. I will open a medicine cabinet, or drawer just to see how much the same, or different people are from me. I don't mean any harm, but I am surprised at how many people have hemorrhoids, and dye their hair.

Last week I went to see my eye doctor. He's an okay guy, but he does seem to do a lot of unneeded exams, and cause me to do a lot of waiting around. Doctors have a formula for seeing patients that allows them to see the most possible in a day. They all have a series of examination rooms where they store the patients. Then while you are sitting there waiting patiently, the doctor runs from room to room, in a whirlwind of activity. So there I was last week, sitting in a room full of equipment, waiting. I could hear the doctor through the not quite soundproof walls.
"Everything okay Mrs. Goldbloom? Blah, blah, blah,..... put two drops per day in each eye. See you again in six months."
Meanwhile, I am sitting in a room alone with a bunch of high tech examination equipment, and drawers and cabinets full of doctor things. I could barely contain myself. After projecting eyecharts on the ceiling, and screwing with the magnifying thingamabob, I started playing with the electronic exam chair. Forward, back, up, down, it was like a cheap carnival ride.

No, the doctor didn't catch me messing with his things. But I wonder. How reliable could all his tests and exams really be, after I screwed with all that stuff.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Brownie

Popeye, saved by paramedics
This story does not end well. Really, if you don't want to be depressed don't read this. I've put off writing about it for two years because at the time it was quite disturbing.

What brought this story back to mind was an incident here in our town where some numbskull was riding around on a bicycle with his dog in tow at the end of a leash. Oh, and it was ninety degrees with seventy percent humidity. When the dog finally flopped down in the middle of Wilton Drive with heatstroke, the asshole simply dropped the leash and rode off. I'll start off with the good news. The dog was saved by the local paramedics, who despite rules to the contrary, took the dog to a veterinarians office. Popeye the dog will probably be adopted soon, and all his medical expenses were paid by generous donors. It's a small thing to help a dog, but it gives you a good feeling inside when you do.

Three years ago I started volunteering at Abandoned Pet Rescue. Twice a week my friend Dean picks me up, and we drive over there to take all the big dogs out for a walk. One at a time we take them out the back gate for their walk along the grassy space next to the railroad tracks. After returning them to their cage I always give them some love, and a cookie. About two years ago Dean and I were on our way to walk the dogs, driving down my street, and I noticed the two teenage neighbor girls running in a panic.
"What's wrong?", I called out the car window.
"Brownie got loose. She ran down the street."
Brownie was their sweet little Boston Terrier.

At the end of the street I spotted Brownie, and told Dean to stop the car. I grabbed my dog leash, and got out. I was ready to cross over the street to grab the fugitive pup when she spotted me. Brownie knew me and started running over to me. It felt good that I was able to catch Brownie, and behind me I could hear the girls giving a little cheer of relief. However, my happiness was premature. I hadn't actually grabbed her and put the leash on her yet. When Brownie came bounding across the street, a telephone company truck zipped by. Brownie was run over. She died within seconds. As she lay there in my arms twitching and gasping her last breaths, I tried to comprehend what had just happened. I was on my way to do good deeds for homeless dogs when I saw my neighbors in trouble, so I stopped to help them catch their dog, and now that dog was dead. I still don't understand.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Celebration of All Things Odd

When you habituate taverns as often as I have in my life, you will inevitably wander into one where crazy shit is happening. One evening, many years ago in Chicago, my friend Dennis and I stopped in for a beverage at a bar on Clark Street, totally unaware that it was cross dresser's night. Not trans-sexual, not drag queen, not even transvestite night, but cross dressers. Apparently the term cross dresser is reserved for those men who are mostly heterosexual truck drivers, who just like to put on a frilly frock once in a while. No makeup, no fake titties, just a dress and maybe a wig. It wasn't a pretty sight, but it was entertaining. On another occasion Mark and I visited another bar in Chicago on what turned out to be Girth and Mirth night. That is, the night set aside for corpulent fellows, and the men who love them. We actually stayed for a few drinks, until Mark became uncomfortable with the hungry stares of the fat men. I think he was afraid of being crushed to death in a stampede of rutting tubbies.

This past Friday evening we took a trip up to our favorite bar. All seemed normal until my second vodka when I noticed that the clientele was aging rapidly. I asked Mark if he noticed that everyone around us was much older than usual, and he agreed. After loudly expressing my distaste for spending my evening in a wrinkle room, the owner of the establishment, Lori, came over and explained to me that it was a special night. "A Celebration of Friends", the annual week long get-together of mature men and their admirers. It was then pointed out that I fell directly into that group, as did Mark, who she described as an admirer of a mature man...      

Mark admiring his mature man

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Video Thursday

 Our gay little town throws a party.
(Notice at 31 seconds into the video, in the Mustang, is Thomas Roberts a MSNBC news anchor)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Traveling Man

When I was a kid, I never understood the logistics of my mom and dad taking the entire horde of children with them on vacation. Now I think about it, and it terrifies me. Anywhere from five to eight kids, sometimes including friends, stuffed inside a hot station wagon. Up on top of the car would be all the necessities of life, gathered by my mom. She would have to plan for every possibility. Entertainment for the younger kids, distractions for the older kids, and plenty of baby things for the ever present infant in our house. Mom would make sure we packed enough clothes and underwear for an entire week, and not just the one bathing suit I figured would be all I'd need. I was thinking about this because Mark and I are planning our yearly summer trip to Chicago, and all I have to do is account for myself, Mark, and Chandler. I do have to arrange for Sasha and the cats to be taken care of, but that won't be any problem. I'm sure my mom would have loved to just tell a neighbor to put food out twice a day, and leave us kids behind.

Now it's not that traveling with Mark is much easier than my parents taking a gaggle of kids. He does tend to over do things, like packing enough crap for two months. But that's his thing. I simply make sure the car runs, has gas, and is supplied with enough music and books on CD's to keep me happy. I also will have to make sure we have motels to stay in that will welcome a ninety pound mutt. Luckily, La Quinta Inns solves that problem.

Traveling as an adult is so different than as a child with my parents, or for that matter when I was nineteen, or twenty. Back then my friends and I would decide on a whim that we wanted to go to California, or a music festival in a swamp in Louisiana, and jump in the car and go. Often with just the clothes on our back. Motels? We didn't need a bed, we would swap off driving, with one snoozing in the back seat. Yes, those were the days. But as much as I think I'd like to be that free again, I remember the smell of a car full of hippies. I'll take La Quinta, and Mark's over packing, thank you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It Gets Better... Sometimes

Every evening before bed we have a little routine we go through where I call out, "Who wants chewy strips!". Usually only the dogs respond, and at that time I give Sasha and Chandler rawhide strips. This is done so that while they are busy munching away on them I can claim the best spot on the bed, and get comfortable. The only time this gets screwed up is when Mark interferes.

Not a rare occurrence, last night Mark came home late. I was already in bed, Sasha ensconced on the pillow above my head, and Chandler stretched out on Mark's side of the bed.
"Who wants chewy strips!", Mark shouts out, breaking all the rules of our game.
"They already had 'em. Turn out the lights, and come to bed dammit!"
Despite my objections, Mark treated both dogs to their second helping of chewy strips. As I lay there in the dark, I listened to the stereo sound of dogs chomping and chewing away. Sasha to the right of the bed, and Chandler gnawing away over to the left. After about a minute, I heard the tinkling of dog tags cross the room, left to right, and back again. No more chewing sounds were coming from Sasha's side of the room, only a content snort from Chandler. He had stolen Sasha's chewy strip again.

My dog is a bully. He constantly tries to steal Sasha's food, and treats. He chases the outdoor kitty cats around, and grabs Fat Kitty's food bowl if I don't put it in a safe place. Poor Sasha has a stash of squeaky toys that she rarely gets to play with, because if I don't hide them from Chandler, they are ground into useless shreds of cloth and stuffing. It makes for a confusing combination of gates, fake outs, and tricks, to make sure every one of our animals get their fair share. Unfortunately for Sasha, I hate to tell her, it doesn't get better. She isn't going to get any bigger, Chandler isn't giving up a chance at a cheap chewy strip, and Mark will still come home drunk late at night.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Melon Head

I can sniff out a funky smell fairly easily. From dog farts, to failed food in the refrigerator, I can usually nail it. Friday evening I came back home after going out for a few cocktails, and I smelled funk. A nasty stench magnified by my vodka buzz. I began checking the obvious. Not the garbage, I had taken  that out. No dog shit anywhere in sight, and no cat vomit either. After checking the kitty litter, and the bathroom to see if Mark had flushed, I started the room by room search.

Mark loves to shop, not for the sake of buying, but for the sake of buying crap that is on sale. So it is not unusual to have bags of things lying around our house for days on end. One such bag was lying in front of Mark's closet for a couple of weeks. I assumed it had clothes in it that Mark found on one of his shopping safaris, so I had ignored it. Imagine my surprise when I looked in that bag, and found a watermelon. A rotting, leaking, smelly, watermelon.

I have on occasion gone to the supermarket and bought a small section of watermelon for immediate consumption. Full sized watermelons don't fit in our refrigerator, so I just buy what I intend to eat. Obviously watermelons were on sale a few weeks ago. I don't know any other reason Mark would bring home a gigantic watermelon, and leave it in the bedroom to rot. Unless he planned to sit on the front porch eating it, spitting seeds out into the garden, and just forgot.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Video Thursday

 We've had Sasha since last November. She's been in the back yard numerous times, but she never went into the swimming pool until Mark's nephew went swimming. She dove in right after him. Now we can't get her to stop going swimming.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Was I Too Mean?

I'd had a hectic morning yesterday. I walked the two dogs, and made Mark breakfast. Then I spent an hour on the phone talking, and faxing documents back and forth, over a monumental screw up by my flood insurance company. So when I went back into the bedroom to lay back for a few moments, I wasn't ready for more crap.

I heard the tap, tap, tap on the window. I didn't need the dogs to let me know somebody was outside, but they jumped to the task, barking loudly, and running to the door in a race. Pushing the hounds aside, I opened the first door, and found two old ladies holding beat up bibles outside the outer glass entry. They were selling religion door to door. Here's my problem with that. I don't go to their home and bother them. I don't go find out where they live, and try to push my ideas of life, and death on them. My beliefs don't hinge upon their approval. If your religion is so wonderful, and is the greatest thing since Jesus walked on water, then why the hell do you have to go door to door and try to convince me of that? So I opened the door, enough for an enraged Chandler to stick his head out, and cursed at them. I shouted for them to "Get the hell off my property!". As they skedaddled down the sidewalk, I wondered, was I too mean? The whole purpose of being so aggressive is so they won't ever think of coming back. I learned that when I was a kid, and mean old men would shake their fists, yelling out the door for me to get off the grass.

It's not like I only do it to religious salesmen. When phone sales people, poll takers, and politicians call, I scream and curse at them. When bums come up to the car and beg for money I...   well I don't scream at them. I just roll up the window and pretend I don't see them. I figure if I ignore them they'll go away quietly. They usually do, unlike the religion ladies who harrumphed and cackled as they waddled towards the front gate.

Okay, I have got a lot of comments saying I should put up a sign. I am conflicted between which sign to put up. I like the first one, but the second one covers more than just the JH's. We do have crazy Mormons who come around too. (And if you don't think Mormons are crazy, watch this video  South Park Mormon Episode )


 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not Just For Gays

I'm not sure how many television shows on Bravo have the words 'Real Housewives' in their name, But there are too many. The problem is that Mark watches them all, and if something in Mark's life interferes with watching, he will record them for later viewing. On any given day, at any given time you can walk into our bedroom, and if Mark is there he will be watching one of those insipid shows. Obviously I hate them.

So who wears the pants in this family, you might ask? We both do, but Mark's seems to have more influence because he wears them in the kitchen, and makes me dinner every night. If there was any question, it was answered Sunday night. At eight in the evening there were two events live on television. One was the NBA finals, with the Miami Heat battling for survival against the Dallas Mavericks. It was a do or die game, and if the Heat lost it was over. On another channel was the Tony Awards Show, where the best of Broadway is rewarded. My choice would have been the NBA, but Mark had both televisions tuned in to the Tonys. To make it worse Mark was recording it on both televisions, and recording 'Real Housewive' shows on the second DVR receiver. I couldn't even flip over to check the basketball score. I'll never admit it to Mark, but I think he made the right choice. Sunday evening I watched the Tonys instead of basketball, and I actually enjoyed it. As for the game, the Miami Heat blew it, and I would have wasted the whole evening watching a bunch of overpaid, undereducated, freaks of nature, lose instead of seeing Neil Patrick Harris do his great opening act.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Give Me A Head With Hair. Make it a Small Head Please.

Last Thursday I finally got to see something I've wanted to see since I was eighteen. Hair. No, not the nasty gunk clogging Mark's sink drain, Hair the musical. Nudity, drugs, simulated sex, what's not to like? Actually what originally drew me to want to see Hair was the music. Most of the big songs were covered by pop groups that made it big on top forty radio in the late nineteen sixties. Mind you, the Cowsills were lame, but the actual song, Hair, was so good even they couldn't screw it up. Then there was Aquarius by The Fifth Dimension, Easy to be Hard by Three Dog Night, and Good Morning Starshine by some guy named Oliver. Over the years I've become familiar with most of the rest of the songs in the show, thanks to the movie and hippie radio stations of the seventies.

So here it is, I've waited over forty two years to see this show in person. Mark managed to get great seats, in the orchestra, on the aisle. Aisle seats are important because all through the show the hippies are running through the aisles, interacting with the audience. The first act starts with the song Aquarius, and I'm happy. The actors jump from the stage, start running up the aisle, and I get the top of my head fondled by the head hippie. I'm even happier. At one point one of the actors comes over and grabs my hands, forcing me to clap along with the music. I'm really happy. Then it happens, as it seems to every time I go to the theater in Fort Lauderdale, the asshole has arrived. Forty minutes into the show the worlds largest man and his little blonde, bimbo, girl friend, comes lumbering down the aisle, and sits in the seat directly in front of us. It is like an eclipse. The stage has disappeared behind the huge mound of fat on his back, and the giant orb that passes for his head.

There were signs all over the theater, 'No Video Allowed! Turn Off Your Phone!', so of course the first thing Shrek did was pull out his i-phone, and start taking video. When he got tired of taking video, he started texting, and when he got bored with that he began a loud conversation with his air headed girl friend. As I sat there fuming, I thought about what my dad would have done if he were here. Dad was a big guy, with a commanding voice. He would have said something. I didn't. I just sat there, pissed off, and unhappy. That is until intermission. No, I didn't tell the fat ass off. I snitched. I casually mentioned to one of the little old lady ushers that the guy in front of me was taking video. Within a minute the head usher, along with a small army of his little old ladies surrounded him.

My joy returned in the second act. The gigantic fat guy was gone, along with his girlfriend. The hippie actors were singing their songs, still running up and down the aisles, and once again Mark and I could see the stage. It was far out man.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

This Is Not The Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile

I was watching Anthony Weiner last week, and I thought to myself, 'I have seen this before'. The squirming, the concocting of a convoluted cover story, it all seemed familiar. Then there was the forced admission Monday that it was all a lie, that Anthony Weiner was what people were saying he was. That look of shame on his face, you could tell he would have loved to been anywhere else than under that scrutiny, exposing himself to all his loved ones and friends for who he was. This was the same thing I went through when I was a kid. In ten days Anthony Weiner went through the same forces of society that gay teenagers go through over a period of years, right down to the school bully, Andrew Breitbart. The difference of course, is that he chose to be who he was, and the way he is.

I'm not trying to defend Weiner, or say that his predicament is the same as a gay teenager. It's a totally different situation. I'm just saying, watching all that happen these past eleven days, brought me right back to those years in high school, making up stories of girls, and fearing I'd be exposed. I kind of wish everyone could experience being backed into a corner like that. Maybe they'd be a little more understanding about others.

All that said, I just want to know, when did we all become so damn prudish? I was watching all the news channels, and the network news shows, and they all referred to Weiner's wiener photo as lewd. Why is that photo of Weiner in those gray underpants called lewd, and Mark Wahlberg posing for Calvin Klein twenty years ago, called advertising?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Photo Finished

It was quite understandable that when Mark walked in, and saw what had been done, his head nearly exploded.
"Why, why, why, why? I hate you, I hate you, you horrible creature, I hate you! Why......".
It wasn't me he was screaming at, it was cute, innocent, little Sasha, and Mark had good reason to lose his composure. Sitting in a pile on the dining room table were the shredded faces, and bodies of  Mark's family.

Fourteen years ago Mark's landlord illegally evicted him, tossing all his belongings, including family photos, into the garbage while Mark was away. Ever since, Mark has been trying to recover as much of his family's photo history as possible. Recently when he attended a family funeral in the Bronx, his cousins presented him with a package of old photos. They ranged from Mark's teenage years, to old pictures of his grandparents, and parents. When Mark returned home he was so happy. We sat down that evening, and each photo was shown, and explained, "That's my grandpa, and my dad. This one is of me in high school."  Every time somebody would visit, the photos would come out, and Mark would again reminisce. Unfortunately, the last time he showed them, he left them near the edge of the table. I'm not sure how they ended up on the floor, but our little shredder, Sasha found them. We've known since we first got her, that Sasha likes to tear up paper, so we have been careful not to leave important things within her reach. Things like old family photos. Apparently, Mark didn't learn that lesson well enough.

When Mark came home that evening, and his temper flared at the sight of the carnage, I let him go at it. He could scream at me as much as he wanted, and as long as he didn't try to punish Sasha I figured it would do him good. Besides, the whole time he was bouncing around, and screaming, I knew it would all be okay. I had scanned every one of those photos into my computer the week before.
Mark on the left

Monday, June 6, 2011

Why does it smell so nice in the Home Goods store?

I hate to go to the shoe store. It takes me much too long to find a pair of shoes that I can be satisfied with. It's sort of like the princess and the pea. If there is any tiny bit of irregularity inside a shoe, I can feel it. If the sole is one eighth too thin, I can feel the pavement as if I were barefoot, and I hate barefoot. Other than the shower, I am always shod. Last week I realized that I had worn out my favorite shoes, and I needed new ones. This meant that I had to go shopping.

There used to be a free bus that stopped half a block from the house, and went directly to the mall near here. I loved that bus, it gave me the freedom to go shopping without Mark. Unfortunately, because of the economy, the county killed that service. Now unless I want to take a stab at driving with my bad eyesight, I am dependent upon Mark to make my way in the world. So last Thursday I was driven up to Famous Footwear, where Mark turned me loose while he toddled off to explore the rest of the mall. When I shop, I am single minded. I know what I want, and that is all I want. Mark on the other hand looks at shopping as a pastime, as entertainment. His favorite store is a place called Home Goods, and Home Goods is to Mark as Disney World is to little children. When he goes in there it's like he's intoxicated. I wouldn't be surprised to find that they pump some kind of gas into the store to make the most vulnerable shoppers go giddy, and lose their mind.

After trying on about a dozen shoes, I finally found a pair that sort of felt good to me. After paying for them, and assuring the cashier that I did not need any socks, I went off to find Mark. Sure enough, I found him at Home Goods, his eyes glazed over, dragging a large pool toy around the store.
"Mark, we don't need any pool toys."
"Yes we do. When I go swimming I like to float on them."
"You never, ever, go into the pool though."
Suddenly Mark veered off into another aisle.
"Hey! Don't you love this huge ceramic yard gnome?", the pool toy conversation apparently over.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Photo Friday

This Week, Food

Mark likes to buy bargains. This is the bacon he bought this week. It's not very good.
The question is, can I call the Geek Squad to make it better?
Then there is our friend Tommy who is a flight attendant. 
He brought us some cheeses and butter from Paris, so last night 
I had some French vodka, and a nice cheese snack.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Video Thursday

Alicia and friends sing a tribute to those loveable losers, the Chicago Cubs.


Click on Jib Jab to make your own.
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kristallnacht

It's thirty minutes until the dinner guests arrive, and all is going according to schedule. I have just retrieved some napkins from the drawer in the china cabinet when I hear the sound. It starts as a low groan with some light tinkling of glass. I've heard this before. It's the sound of disaster in it's initial stages. Before I can react it has built into a crescendo with crashing wine glasses and other bric-a-brac tumbling out of the china cabinet, and onto the floor.  It seems that when I closed the drawer, one of Mark's platters that he had artfully displayed on the top shelf, started slowly sliding forward pushing all that was before it off the edge. In one final loud crash the large platter itself hits the ground. This is followed by a low wail coming from the kitchen that also builds until it becomes a loud shriek. I look up, and there is Mark standing in the doorway his face contorted in anguish, mixed with loathing for me and my clumsy ways.

All around our home is the evidence of my knack for knocking things over. Most especially the wine glasses. There is not one set of four matching wine glasses in the entire house. I freely admit to my destructive ways, but this time was different. This calamity was Mark's fault. It was purely his clutter, his way of trying to fit every purchase he has made onto the tiniest of spaces. All I did was close the drawer, and gently I might add, when the platter Mark had carefully balanced on the top shelf was nudged off center. Despite the fact that I knew I was in the right, I was too terrified to challenge him on that point. I had looked into that face of rage, and hatred. If at that time I had suggested it was Mark's fault in any way, I would have unleashed a hellish reaction that could have ruined the entire evening. I let it go, and cleaned up the mess.

We had a lovely dinner party. Mark was pleasant, I was happy, and the guests had no idea of the disaster that had preceded their visit by only a few minutes. As we all sat there drinking our wine out of mismatched glasses, I started thinking. I should try this keeping my mouth shut thing more often.