Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Keeping the Marmaduke in Christmas

I would be the first to admit that I'm not a big fan of Christmas. Just when we had all had it up to here with political ads, shazam, Christmas ads. The newspaper weighs 10 pounds.

But everything has a silver lining and by silver lining I mean giant, internally lit, inflatable yard decor. Within dog walking distance of my house there's a rooftop Santa on a motorcycle, Frosty the enormous inflatable Snowman, a six-foot snow globe, and best of all, Marmaduke. I mean, what's more Christmasy than Marmaduke? Second best is the potentially-inflatable Santa down the road apiece who has yet to be inflated. He lies, face down, in a capacious field as though he has overdosed on sugarplums. All that's lacking is crime scene tape.

Fa la la la la.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

But Do I Need to Know the Secret Handshake?

From an online review of a local Portland Eagles Lodge, posted August, 2009:
"Okay, seriously. I don't know why the rest of you don't join the lodge. We raise $$ for charities like the Oregon Food Bank and the Giving Tree; the booze is cheap; friendly service; free wife, and very soon a public computer terminal; pool tables, shuffleboard, Golden Tee; and hey, if you're not sold yet, we've got live bingo action and square dancing."

Now, I don't know about you, but I wouldn't require the live bingo and square dancing as long as I got the free wife. No more vacuuming for me.

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's the Little Things

Falling asleep on an airplane and, when the flight attendant comes by, the guy on the aisle doesn't get any cheese crackers for you. Or maybe, just maybe, he gets your crackers and eats them himself.

The guy who is just too important to shut off his electronic devices when it's time to take off (phone) and land (laptop). Incidentally, this guy probably has cheese cracker breath.

TV news that promises "Next! Exclusive video of the amazing rescue of a camel from a sink hole!" and then plays another entire segment with commercials at both ends before you get to see the camel video.

A center-seat passenger on a plane, age, oh, maybe 25 or 30, who feels compelled to put together a Lego® jet plane that requires pages and pages of instructions and involves cocking her elbows in the faces of her fellow travelers as she roots for the requisite Lego® and much rummaging around her fellow row-mate's collective feet for parts that zing into orbit during the deconstruction phase.

Coworkers who sing along with their iPods.

People who repeatedly say "maybe I'll be there", but can't expend enough energy to call to say they're not coming.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Product Placement

Those Dirt Devils®, they really do the job when you have a big mess to take care of.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Marketing 101

Heard as I drove along, half listening to NPR, my attention mostly elsewhere, "This segment brought to you by Barnes and Noble, offering the Nookie Reader." Say, what? Did I hear that correctly? The Nookie Reader? What? You can only download Jackie Collins novels? If I had been paying attention to popular culture and its attendant gizmos, I'd have been aware of the Nook eReader, a recent addition to the proliferating family of digital book devices. But I don't (pay attention, that is). Someone, somewhere, in the B and N marketing department must be giggling.

Menu item for the upcoming "Senior Prom" at the local senior center "Herb Roasted Airline Chicken". No kidding. Airline Chicken. Will they serve it on a styrofoam tray? Does it bounce? Will the next event feature "Elementary School Cafeteria Weiner Wraps"? It turns out, if I had been paying attention to food (which I don't, pay attention, that is), I'd have known that airline chicken is a type of cut that fits nicely on airline food trays. Regular people can get it without getting on a plane. Who knew?

Lately I have been obsessed with all things diaper. Pee containment has come a long way in the last thirty years. So far, in fact, that it seems to have come full circle. Almost. The young women in my life are having babies and, bless their environmentally responsible hearts, they are going to upholster them in cloth diapers which, in the modern world, are a little elusive. Babys R Us has them, but you know what they don't have? Pins. Or "snappies". Or any other way to keep them on the baby. The clerk suggested I look for pins at Fred Meyer (One stop shopping!) I haven't checked Freddies for diaper pins yet. But I know they have duct tape.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

All We Have is Now

Since there exists in this four dimensional structure [space-time] no longer any sections which represent "now" objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three dimensional existence. Albert Einstein, 1952
A few days ago my companion and I were following a car adorned with a bumper sticker that read:

That's not as pretty as "Today is not yesterday, today is not tomorrow" or "The journey is the reward", big favorites I saved from my 2005 Little Zen Calendar, and I was moderately disappointed when I found out it's actually a song by the Flaming Lips. Nonetheless, it's a darn good philosophy, particularly if you want to justify polishing off the leftover chocolate chips. Carpe Nestles.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Simon's Cat

Why did I not know about Simon's Cat until today? Everyone on this planet needs to go look at his transcendently wonderful short animated films. You can watch them all in less than 10 minutes. Go now. It will make you happy.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I'll Be Right Back

My friend, David, sends me his essays from time to time, seeking my 2 cent's worth which I am happy to supply since, in return, I get at least a nickel's worth of things to ponder.  His latest, tentatively titled "Travels in My Three Pound Universe", expounds upon the disconnect between our physical and mental selves, to which he refers as Me and Me.2 (or I and I.2 and/or You and You.2, as appropriate, but isn't Me.2 fun to say?).

I can't speak for anyone else, but my Me.2 is in the driver's seat virtually 99% of the time. There may be those rare Zen moments when Me stops to drink in some physical sensation (i.e., being mindful of the moment which is harder to do than it sounds) but, mostly, I live in my head. And my head (ok, mind), while remaining firmly attached to my neck, goes on journeys from which it often returns only reluctantly, dragging its feet and looking back over its shoulder.

Anyway, David covered all this in his essay better than I can. However, it reminded me of how unnerved I was around the age of 13 when I first became aware of how seldom Me and Me.2 were in the same neighborhood. I thought I was nuts. No one else, I thought, can possibly feel this way or they'd be talking about it. That I could find myself in the middle of a game of dodge ball (ok, that's a bad example - during dodge ball Me was front and center trying to save my skin by hiding behind Shirley Crawford) eating a sandwich and feel like I had just returned from some lengthy mental journey that felt like it must have taken much longer than the allotted lunch period was, frankly, terrifying.

Years went by and I didn't seem much crazier than anyone else - more anxious, more shy, certainly - but not crazier. When I finally got around to discussing this with a couple of people it turns out we pretty much all feel that way in varying degrees. A friend told me her mother called it "sitting on a cloud" which, hands down, sounds better than "being a lunatic".

Someone needs to explain this to children. I can't be the only one who was frightened. And while they're at it, they can teach them to draw by employing the right sides of their brains - which is just about as mindful of the moment as you can get. It's a nice vacation from feeling crazy and everybody's drawings turn out great.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Today has much to recommend it. Today is Martin Luther King Jr's birthday. Well, probably not, but close enough for holiday purposes. And today the tv news showed a woman being pulled, alive, from a collapsed building in Haiti after being trapped for six days. And today Poppy, previously known as Puppy, became available for adoption through the kind services of Pacific Pug Rescue.

Puppy, who I shall commence calling Poppy in honor of her bright future, was sold to an eighty-something couple who lived on a busy road and have an unfenced yard. The "breeder", and I use the term loosely, passed her off as a pug, the closest thing to an upholstered concrete block as you can get in dogdom. How odd, then, that she clocks in around 75 mph as she makes the circuit through living room, dining room, kitchen, over the back of your chair, between your feet, across the dining room table, and ricochets off your chest. Pugs, unlike Poppy, do not normally require the use of a salmon net to retrieve them when they escape into the wild blue yonder.

As much as they loved her, despite the gouges from loving claws paws and the occasional broken pelvis (whoops! bad dog!), said eighty-something couple agreed to give her up as long as she went to a good home. I called Pacific Pug Rescue and by lunchtime Poppy, who it turns out, is a Boston Terrier with a possible smattering of pug somewhere in her lineage, went to stay with a lovely foster mother named Vicky who has a pug and a seven-month-old Boston Terrier.

So, thanks to the people who do big things like fomenting social change and reuniting families. But, thanks also, to the people who scoop poop at the Humane Society, and the volunteer surgeons at the Feral Cat Coalition, and thanks to the rescue groups who even take in rescues that don't quite fit the profile. Thanks Vicky.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Always Take a Camera to Costco

I guess they wouldn't call them Veggie Veggieballs. That would be redundant. Accurate, but redundant.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Why I Don't Want to Be a Kid Again

The film adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are perfectly captures the frustration, fear, meanness, savagery, and helplessness that is childhood. With big fuzzy monsters. And a kid so obnoxious that women everywhere will be gobbling birth control pills.

Some things are just better on paper.

It has a PG rating. I think it stands for pretty grim.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Party Town, USA

My friend, M, went to the Benson Hotel for champagne and dancing to a big band on new year's eve. She thought for a couple of days in advance about which dress to wear, and tried to get to bed early the night before. I went to Astoria. Oregon.

We started at the Pig 'n' Pancake for a little visit with friends passing through town. The wait staff kept giving us meaningful glances and heaving heavy sighs, so we didn't linger. They wanted to go home. A Pig 'n' Pancake official locked the foyer doors behind us before we even had our jackets zipped up against the (periodically horizontal) rain. Our friends set off for Long Beach. We went looking for debauchery or a reasonable facsimile thereof. With dancing, please.

Astoria is dotted with a variety of bars, pubs, and restaurants. One promising doorway had a portable fence like the one that keeps you in line at the bank - only they didn't have anyone to keep in line. And, besides, they wouldn't let us in because one of us left home without a driver's license. Being, clearly, decades past legal drinking age (face it, Oil of Olay can't work miracles) wasn't good enough and the conscientious bouncer turned us away.

In the end we dropped into a waterfront lounge and, lo, on the table was a card advertising dancing in the banquet room! What we found was a fresh faced DJ with enormous headphones playing electronic music to a virtually empty room, save for one medium-small girl in a party dress perched on the edge of a chair swinging her legs to the beat. A tiny disco ball twirled on the ceiling. Never being of a mind to pass up a dance floor with plenty of elbow room, we asked the DJ to look in his library for something suitable for swing dancing. He knit his teenage brow and allowed as he might have some Rat Pack music.

Good enough. We shed our shoes (the dance floor was carpeted...) and got right to it - a little east coast, some one step, a dip here and there - and darned if people didn't stop and look. And then they came in. And then they danced, too. Even when the DJ played YMCA. At midnight the restaurant staff brought us plastic hats, horns, and tiny cups of champagne. It was just dandy.

Happy New Year, loyal readers. Both of you.