Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Table For Two

We walk up to the man behind the little lectern, hoping there will be just a short wait.
"Hello, Table for two?"
"Uh, yes please."
"Okay, that will be about fifteen minutes. You can have a seat at the bar. When the pager goes off just come back over here."
The man hands me a gizmo that looks a bit like a bad Star Trek phaser.
Again with the seat at the bar. Inside my head I am screaming No! No, goddamn it. I would not like a seat at the goddamn bar. I don't want to get drunk before I eat. I'm fucking starving and if I have a drink or two on this empty stomach I will be drunk before I even sit down for dinner, you moronic little man behind your stupid little lectern. Except I don't say that. I don't say exactly what I'm thinking because the maitre d' would hate me, Mark would hate me, and the waiter might just spit in my food if he heard me. So again I am sitting at a bar on an empty stomach sucking down my first vodka drink. I know that the bar is the life blood of these restaurants, and they need me to sit here and have at least one drink at twelve dollars. Doesn't matter if the actual food, the dinner, is a two for one early bird special. They get you at the bar.

Thirty minutes later the Star Trek phaser starts vibrating, and little lights are flashing as if it were about to explode. It instills a sense of urgency in me.
"C'mon, pay the bartender and let's go."
I guess that I fear they will give away our table if I don't run over to the maitre'd right away. Fact is they will. You have about a one minute window of opportunity before they go on to the next customer.

We make it over to the lectern, and a nice lady shows us to our table. The waiter comes around and the first order of business is making sure I have more vodka.
"Can I get you a drink sir?"
By the time the food comes I've had at least three drinks, and I'm shoving food into my mouth that I cannot taste because my tongue has a coating of vodka on it. I might as well be eating a sponge.
Halfway through dinner the waiter comes back over.
"Can I get you another drink sir?"
"Sure, vodka soda, no lime."
Okay, so maybe the problem isn't the restaurant.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Some people don't value dogs very much. They consider them a nuisance, and not worthy of their time. Such people do not recognize that dogs have emotions, and attachments to humans. I know better. I also know that they can help out humans in ways you never expect.

If a white man tells you he or she is not racist, or does not harbor any racist thoughts, they are either lying or simply cannot recognize what a racist thought is. When I was fourteen I thought that I wasn't racist, that I didn't hate negros (We called them that back then, except when we called them niggers). For the next fifteen years I believed that, and then I drove a taxi in Chicago for two years. My racism came flowing out in long tirades. It was ugly and persisted through the next decade. As I entered my forties I softened somewhat, and then I met Mark. Now I'm not saying that I overcame racism overnight, but the fact that the man I fell in love with happened to be black, helped me tamp it down to a subconscious hum. I found that every time I saw a black person and I had a racist thought, if I would picture that person as being Mark, they would be rendered human. Thuggish looking kid walking down the street? Put Mark's face on him, and he was family. I did this over and over again until I actually became a bit more tolerant of black people than Mark himself.

On the first of May a new family moved in across the street. Damn they looked ghetto. And instead of picturing them as family, I pictured them as fucking up my property values. I was not happy with my new neighbors. Even Mark was upset, "They look like they moved here from Sistrunk." Turns out they did move over here from the ghetto off of Sistrunk Boulevard.

Just a couple of days after they moved in I was walking my little Schnauzer, Sasha. As we passed our new neighbors place a little girl came wobbling down the sidewalk, "Doggy, doggy." She was followed closely by her father, a large, and very tough looking black man.
"She loves dogs. You don't mind if she pets your dog do you?"
"No, Sasha loves people."
Sasha wiggled and squealed in delight as the little girl scratched her back.
"My name is Tony, and this is Gina." He then introduced me to his wife who's name I don't remember (I have trouble with that, remember?). We talked for a little while, and then Sasha and I finished our walk. Turns out this guy is just trying to bring up his little girl in a nice place. Now every morning as I walk by with Sasha or Chandler, Tony says hello, and I wave and say hello back. Sometimes I walk up to their porch and we chat a bit while Gina plays with the dog. Things could have gone another way, I'm just glad that I had Sasha to lead me up the good path. Our new neighbors still could fuck up my property values, but I don't care about that as much now.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Photo Friday, The Devil and Dad and Mom

Mark has been shopping again. He brought home this hideous creature,
 and what's worse he put it on the table right next to dad and mom. 
"It's art." Mark said. And then he added, "It's was only a dollar."
I promised him a 'Christmas Story' moment.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Video Thursday, The Reverend Worley Comes Out

Pastor Charles L. Worley comes out to his congregation.

See the original, click here

For those who can't make out what he's saying in my video, here is the transcript.
I'm a homosexual lover.
You say, did you mean to say that?
You better believe I did.
Do you know why I'm a queer?
I imagine kissing some man.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Secret Inner Office

I grew up in a house with ten brothers and sisters. Is it any wonder that I love the fact that I have my own bathroom now? Until I was twelve we only had one bathroom in the whole house. Now as an adult I get to go into a bathroom that rarely has the imprint of anyone else's butt on the seat, or strange hair in the sink. Mark has his bathroom, and I have mine. I truly treasure the privacy of my little tile lined sanctuary. When I was a kid you could be sure that somebody would be pounding on the door before you were done. Now I can stay as long as I want. Well, almost as long as I like, for no matter what the time of day, as soon as my ass hits that toilet seat it is guaranteed that either the dogs will start barking, or the phone will ring. I have learned to ignore those interruptions though. If it's the phone, the answering machine will pick it up. As for the dogs barking wildly because somebody is knocking at the door, I've found over the years that the UPS truck is already halfway down the street before I've pulled my pants up. Let them bark.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


It seems that when you get involved with a dog shelter, dogs start falling into your lap. Since I've been volunteering at Abandoned Pet Rescue I have been involved in at least four stray dog affairs, including the one who got run over by a truck when I called to it.
I definitely learned my lesson on that one. Yesterday while my friend Dean and I were on our way to APR to walk dogs, we spotted a cute little Boston Terrier running around in the middle of a very busy street. We stopped the car, and I jumped out and into the street with my hands up, stopping traffic. I made a point of not making eye contact with, or calling the dog. Like I said, I learned my lesson. When I got to the other side of the street where the dog was, he ran right up to me. Luckily for little Murphy, who had no tags nor a chip, his owner called Abandoned Pet Rescue within an hour. When they were reunited I suggested to the owner that he get tags at the very least, and that a chip would be a good idea. He looked at me and said, "Oh, Murphy never goes out. He doesn't really need that."
I swear, if I ever see that dog running around in the street again, Chandler and Sasha are going to have a new brother.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Face Time

"Mark, who's that woman?"
We were watching a movie, and it's the inevitable question that I ask every single time.
"That's Mila Kunis."
"Have I ever seen her before?"
Mark looks at me like I've just beamed in from the Star Ship Enterprise.
"That '70s Show, Black Swan. What the hell is wrong with you?"
"Oh, she looks different."
She really doesn't look any different, it's just me and faces. I have a hard time remembering them unless I have constant contact with a person. If they have a funny hairdo, that also helps.
I don't know if I have Prosopagnosia, I just know that I don't recognize people, especially if I run into them away from the setting that I'm used to seeing them in. I am a bit better with men than women, but only if they are extremely good looking. I burn those faces into my memory.

Saturday Abandoned Pet Rescue had their annual benefit dinner. This is the fourth year Mark and I have gone to it. Many of the people there are people I know. The problem is that I know them in the context of the animal shelter. In this setting, all dressed up with makeup, and nice clothes without dog hair on them, I have a hard time recognizing many of the same people I talk to all the time. So Mark and I are sitting alone at a table, and I see a lady I walk dogs with. Her name is Jackie, and I know it's her because she has a funny hairdo. She is with another woman, and I motion across the room for them to come sit at the table with us. They make their way over to our table and sit down. We chit chat for a minute, and then I look directly at the lady with Jackie, and I say "Hi, I'm Alan, what's your name?"
She looks at me with a sort of astonished look on her face, followed by the words, "Nancy, I'm Nancy."
Mark rolls his eyes, and looks at me. I've done it again. I see this lady at least twice a week. We've joked about picking up dog poop, yet she was a stranger to me. Maybe if she had a dog on a leash, and a bag of poop in her hand I'd have recognized her.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Alex, I'll Take Bad Reception For $200

It was twenty minutes to eight yesterday evening. Mark, and I were doing our nightly Jeopardy duel where we try to be the first to shout out the answers. Suddenly, in the lower right hand corner of the television screen I see a quick flash, 'Searching for signal'.
"Crap, the television is about to go out again."
"Casablanca!" Mark shouts out the answer.
"It's gonna go out, it's about to rain Mark."
"E.T.!" He shouts out another answer.
Finally the 'Searching for signal' message comes on solid, and the screen freezes. Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and the other contestants suddenly look like a bad Van Gogh painting.

I have finally had it with Directv, and the problems of trying to watch satellite television in a place that has regular tropical downpours. When it is working Directv is just fine, but let a couple of pigeons drop a few turds between the satellite and the dish, and you lose your picture. The only reason I have Directv is because of the NFL Ticket. It is the only way I can watch my Chicago Bears break my heart every year. Without it I am cursed with having to watch the Miami Dolphins. I really hate to have to go through all the hassle, but I am going to have to go with Comcast. I would go with an antenna except for the fact that Mark would throw a hissy fit if he couldn’t get his Bravo channel.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Yum, Want More.

On bowling night I like to wear my loosest, largest shirt. It gives me the freedom I need to bowl those crappy games I've been bowling lately. How crappy do I bowl? Well, we just finished the season in ninth place out of ten. Tenth place was a team of nothing. In other words we only had nine teams, and we filled out the roster with what is called a blind team. Worst part about that, we lost two games to the blind team last night. Anyway, one thing I noticed is that my favorite large bowling shirt was riding up my belly all evening. Every time I would finish throwing my ball down the lane, I would have to pull my shirt back down and pull my under pants out of my butt crack. I suppose that the fact I need a triple xxx large shirt now means that I am officially obese.

Last evening, just before I left for bowling, a friend of Mark’s from New York stopped by. Anthony is a sweetheart who stays with us when he is in town every so often. As a visitor he is almost invisible, the way I like it. Anthony, I have figured out, doesn’t want to return the favor, and I understand. He lives in Manhattan, and has a small apartment not equipped for overnight visitors. So to thank us for putting him up, Anthony brings us cookies from his Queens bakery/restaurant that he owns with his husband George. Last night he brought us macarons, and chocolate chip cookies. They were delicious. Notice I used the past tense because I am a pig. I swallowed those cookies like a python swallowing an antelope. I’m not even sure I chewed them. So I hereby thank Anthony for bringing the cookies, and I curse him at the same time for adding to my fat ass. However, if you don’t care about such things as calories and fat, and you are ever in New York, Queens, stop by The Astor Bake Shop for some really great cookies. I think Anthony is Satan.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I Like To Think I Run Things Around Here

Seeing as how Mark and I live down here in South Florida without any family nearby, we are always happy when we get family visitors. This past weekend Mark's sister was here, and it got me to thinking. I should publish my rules for over night guests. This is not directed at any one visitor like Mark's sister, it is just that she made me think about it.

Okay, so rule number one is, you will be staying in my/our office/guest room. It is my office, and I will need you to vacate it on occasion. I know you need your naps and beauty rest, but I need to play Mahjong Titans once in a while on the computer. Rule number two is, entertain yourself. I am not a tour guide, I have seen almost everything there is to see here in Florida. I don't want to go to the beach with you, don't ask. It is full of dirty sand and stinging jelly fish. Rule three, don't help me in the kitchen. I do all the cleanup. I load the dishwasher, and I empty it. I swear to god, I have been looking for my favorite cereal bowl now for three days. Finally, if you open the freezer and see a giant tub of Blue Bell pistachio ice cream with only enough left in it to feed one person, do not eat it! I know, a good host would just look the other way while you suck down his favorite ice cream, but I am not that guy.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Circle of Life

Mark's garden is doing great. The tomato plants are taller than Mark, and the pepper plants look like little trees. I water the garden every day, and I weed it. Yes, Mark's garden is doing very well indeed, just like 'his dog' Sasha. I do have to admit, he planted it. If it were up to me there would be perennials in that spot, or maybe I could plant cactus. They're very low maintenance.

The odd thing about Mark's garden is that we have only harvested one tomato, and one eggplant. From the looks of the garden we should have too many tomatoes, too many eggplants, but we have nothing. Yesterday morning I noticed that one of the tomato plants was withering. It had been broken at the stem, and wasn't getting nourishment. I looked a bit further and I could see damage to other plants. It was when I went out in the yard this morning with Chandler that I figured out what was happening. Two iguanas about eight inches long scrambled out of the garden and up the fence. Apparently the iguanas are making a comeback from the cold weather of two years ago. I have two kitty-cats living out in that yard, and I was hoping they could keep down the varmint population. Instead they are on the window sill every morning, looking in, waiting for me to feed them. So I am feeding two dogs, two cats, feeding the tomatoes and other garden dwellers plant food which in return are feeding the iguanas. And it all starts with Mark feeding me, so in a way I guess that does make it Mark's garden.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Puerta Potty

For about three months there has been a new door laying across the floor in our sun porch which is right off the living room. That stupid door has been within my line of sight while I watched television, while I ate dinner, and while I sat sulking with a vodka drink in my hand figuring out ways to kill Mark. I have tripped over that thing, cursed it, and ignored it as much as possible. How did it get there? Mark wanted it. I told him that the door to his bathroom was fine. It was in good shape, fit the opening just right, and most of all, it was already there. Not good enough. Mark wanted a new door to go with his new shower, floor, and bathroom fixtures, so he went out to Home Depot and bought one. Yesterday I finally gave in, and put the damn thing up.

For some reason Mark thinks I am some kind of decent handy-man. I am not. Ask my tenants with the kitchen door that has a gap large enough for an iguana to crawl under. Check out the cabinet on Mark's bathroom wall that tilts ever so slightly to the left. No, I am not all that handy, and now in my sixty second year I am not all that keen to do that kind of work.

What was I to do, leave that door lay there until Christmas and put a bow on it for Mark? No, I was sick of looking at it, so I removed the old door that fit just right, the door that closed with a nice click, and replaced it with the door from the sun porch floor. The new door does work, it closes, and locks shut. But it leans in at the top just a tiny bit, and there is quite a gap along the latching side of it. At least it's out of my sight, and for the time being I have Mark off my back. It would be a shame if it jammed shut though, and Mark got stuck in there. Such a shame.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I've Fawlin' and I Can't Get Up!

Hilarious, an old lady falls down and we all laughed. It was an old commercial from twenty years ago, where an old lady fell down and calls out in her best New Jersey accent,
"I've fawlin' and I can't get up!"
For some reason everybody thought that was so funny. I know I laughed at it when I saw it. But what were we really laughing at? Certainly not the old lady falling down, that would be too cruel. No, it was that accent, that New Jersey, New York accent. The very same accent that Mark has, yet I don't find him nearly as funny as the old lady.

It was early in the morning, and the dim, gray light of dawn was just breaking. In my half awake state I made my way to the bathroom to pee. I finished in the bathroom and as I walked out, I stepped on one of the many pairs of shoes that Mark leaves strewn around the bedroom area. My foot turned, and I lurched forward. On the way down my elbow smashed into the shelves Mark has clogging the little hallway to the bathroom. When I hit the floor my skull bounced with the thud of a ripe melon. As the pain coursed through my body I let out a scream followed by a five minute tirade liberally peppered with the word fuck. It was when Mark finally stirred and called out to me, that I realized I couldn't get up. I had fallen and I couldn't get up, not because I was hurt, but because I am now that old, and that out of shape that I couldn't pick myself up. As I lay there cursing, and moaning, I could hear Mark roll over in bed and say, "So shut the fuck up awlready."

Friday, May 4, 2012

Photo Friday, Dad

Brothers, Sisters, Nephews, Nieces, Husbands, Wives, and a few Ex's.
This photo was taken about twenty years ago.
Wednesday was dad's birthday. He died twelve years ago, but mom is still kicking, and other than her legs being not quite right she's got all her senses. Hell she can see better than me. In this photo are my seven sisters, three brothers.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Can't We All Just Get Along?

My next door neighbor calls Sasha, Beer Keg. She doesn't mind. She waddles over, wiggling, and waggling, all happy to say hello and get a belly rub. That's the great thing about that girl, no matter that she's had three owners, she is still an extremely friendly dog. When we do our morning walk she goes into a frenzy of cuteness when another human is out there. She likes the other dogs, but it's the humans she is excited to see.

Yesterday morning we came upon some new folks, a man and a woman walking their large pit bull. Sasha got excited so I started to ask if the pit bull was okay around other dogs. The man smiled, but before I could get all the words out, the woman spat back, "We're pooping, go away."
At that point the man took the pit bull behind some bushes, and Sasha continued trying to pull towards the woman, wiggling and waggling.
"I said we're pooping over here."
"She just wants to say hello... "
Before I could finish saying that she wasn't going to bother the pooping dog, she again sneered and screamed at us.
"I don't want to say hello!"
I pulled Sasha away, and mumbled something about the woman being quite unfriendly, and somewhat of a...  well let's just say it wasn't a nice word.

It's probably a good thing Sasha didn't get to say hello to the pit bull. No need to make friends with a vicious bitch, or her pit bull.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Ever since last Friday evening it has been raining here. Great for Mark's tomatoes, and perfect if you're a mosquito, but horrible for my dogs. Sasha won't stick a toe out the door if there is so much as a hint of moisture out there. Thank goodness somebody in her past life taught her to pee and poop in the shower. Chandler, on the other hand, does not seem to mind walking in the rain. I can take him out in a downpour, and while I am huddled under the umbrella, Chandler is romping in people's grass. In fact he will roll around in it until he's soaking wet. Which leads me to another problem. Immediately after I remove his harness, and leash, Chandler bounds into house, where it is a race between him and me. I run to grab a towel and dry him off, while he races over to the sofa to rub himself dry on the cushions. This morning I won, and got him all dry before he ran into the bedroom and rolled around on the bed. Geez Mark can scream. Did I mention that Mark was still sleeping in the bed, and Chandler was still a little damp?