The Daily Corona: The Good News

The good news is we can watch T.V. during these trying times. The bad news is we can watch T.V. during these trying times.

tv-addictThe great news is we can watch movies like The Bad News Bears.  Anyone who doesn’t love this movie can shove it straight up their ASS!  That’s a semi direct quote from the movie.  The boy shouting this after losing the championship little league baseball game is a white haired child who believes authority is overrated. (He reminds me of someone I know.) The boy, Tanner, was suggesting where the opposing team could place their trophy.

We also knock down some Datelines from time to time, but when that becomes too much of a downer, we switch gears and check the Mafia Channel.  It takes much less time to find out who kills who.  This is definitely not “Whodunit” theater.  It also provides early morning conversations about which one of us had the worst nightmare.  Good times!

I get my exercise when Desperate Housewives of Rathdrum, Idaho shows up on our screen.  She gets hers when I switch to a Classic Major League Baseball game from the late seventies.  Pathetically, I do remember games I watched when I was six.  Hell, I even remember most of the players.  As I’ve stated previously in blogs, we both love baseball, and we miss it, but she doesn’t understand why I sometimes live in the past,

We do occasionally pry ourselves away from the T.V. long enough to take morning and evening walks with our lunatic dog, and I try to cook up something edible daily.  Well . . . this blog is getting as old and boring as watching Corona T.V..





My wife is impossible.  She’s just so unreasonable.  She also scares me. Luckily, she is married to a man who uses reason, patience and kindness when dealing with her and our animals.  For months, she had been bugging me about getting a cat. Well, now we have one.  It’s the same old story all the time.  “Oooh….look at that cat.  It’s so cute.  I’ll take care of it, I promise.”  While she’s working three jobs, guess who will be taking care of it?  Yeah.  Exactly.  Me.  It burns and scratches my ass……quite literally.

Our cat, Otis, has his own personnel key to our house.  It’s actually a key to any room in our house.  We named him after my wife’s favorite character in The Andy Griffith Show, and he seems to be living up to his name.  Otis spends much of his time in his cell, or pantry number one after he’s had a snootful of catnip. He sleeps it off, receives a terrific breakfast from his Aunt B (my wife, Britt) and we wave him goodbye until the next weekend.  Sometimes, if he staggers into the pantry, he begins meowing uncontrollably.  We then read him a book by Dr. Seuss or sing him a song titled Cat Scratch Fever. This and these antics which follow are eerily similar to those exhibited by Otis Campbell on the A.G. Show.

Sometimes, he can’t find the pantry.  He may be passed out in the office, one of our closets, in the dishwasher, beneath the couch, or head first in one of our many urns occupied by former pets using their ashes as though they are his stadium’s many toilets.

Having never witnessed Otis Campbell throw a punch, I couldn’t tell if he was right or left handed.  Our Otis is definitely a southpaw, and I have the scars to prove it.  Sure, just like a champ, he’ll set you up with several right jabs and then surprise you with a vicious left claw.  My wife wonders why our blankets and pillow cases look like a crime scene in the morning.  DNA central.

Once, after we returned home from dinner, we found him riding around on our dog, a one hundred pound canine.  Otis weighs just over a pound.  This was after he found the key to the catnip cabinet.  Just like Barney Fife, I convinced my wife to allow me to provide some necessary form of rehabilitation.  After detoxing throughout the night, I started by giving him the renowned Sylvester the Cat Rorschach test.  After displaying a number of pictures, each response was the same.  “Tell me what you see on this piece of paper.”  Meow.  “How about this one?”  Meow.  The third one he just pissed on.  He looked at Britt with pleading eyes, and she laughingly dismissed him.  She thinks everything Otis does is funny.  She and Otis need to have their own act in Vaudeville.  I didn’t find it funny at all.

I did get back at him once.  Attempting to exercise on the treadmill, Otis came wobbling into the room.  He was fascinated by the treadmill.  With my legs moving, I remained stationary.  Instead of asking me, he just jumped on the treadmill, and after several cat rolls, went flying against the wall.  He hasn’t been on it since.  That made me laugh.

Ultimately, Otis is a pretty affable cat, and we can’t help but love him.  You have to, don’t you?  Just like you and your good for nothing, booger eating, pants pooping, can I borrow some money (borrow?….that’s a laugh) will you watch them for the night, soon to be spending time in the County Jail children.

My parents loved me.  Well, I’m pretty sure they did.



Hitching Post 77

Picking up hitch hikers is something my wife and I don’t ordinarily do.  In fact, after almost ten years of marriage, this was our first time.  I’d never personally picked one up myself and neither had she.  The only hitch hiker I shared a ride with was in in the 1970’s when my father picked one up while a man was thumbing a ride across the State Line of Idaho, a place where no one was thought to be crazy.  I was six, and my two older brothers in the backseat were ten and twelve.  My father was in his fifties driving with an open beer in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other.   We were all in prime condition for hands on combat with a wandering weirdo.  Hand to knife?  No.  Hand to gun?  Negative.  I guess it turned out ok, because my father was a pretty good judge of character and maintained faith in the Lord.  Those were the odds my father held in his favor when potentially picking up a stranger with lethal weapons.  Are there any other kind these days?  Well,  I’m still here to write about this bold memory, and my wife are I are here cozily tossing and turning with the puppy who was there with us for our first hitcher.

Trying to locate a Veterinary clinic on a secluded island, our global positioning system went on the fritz, so we resulted to the ancient art of prayer to help us find our way.  Perhaps God’s GPS wasn’t working that day either, or He was teaching us a lesson for not attending church the week prior……or the week before that, or the week before that,  or on Easter and Christmas.  We were lost on a land with twisted roads surrounded by a sea of angry waves and AARP drowning victims.  We knew the majority of the island’s inhabitants were between the ages of sixty five and one hundred.

Our dog in the back was scratching her head trying to help us find our way.  She also had a terrible earache.  Seconds felt like hours before we saw a man gimping down the road in front of us with his arm straighten to the left and a thumb in the air.  We drove past him before my wife, the driver, felt a wave of island guilt pass within her after glancing in the rear view mirror.  Looking at me, she asked, “Should we pick him up?”

I responded, with befuddled fashion, “Seriously?”

She then began to tell me how she knew I had good judgement regarding these situations as though I drove around the streets of any city U.S.A. looking for hitch hikers with the sixth sense of knowing if I’d be hijacked or successfully helping a fellow man requiring assistance.  She also thought I’d get that warm feeling wondering if I’d be brutally murdered by a fellow citizen of the street.

I looked back and noticed he was an older man somewhere between 65 and 90.  He was also wearing a University of Virginia Tech (Home of the Fighting Hokies) sweatshirt screaming out, “Would a man wearing  a Va. Tech pull over ever be capable of killing a wife, her husband along with their stupid dog?  People, I implore you!”

Loving the fact my wife held such confidence in me, while shrewdly passing the guilt to me, I told her to turn around and we’ll pick him up.  She also stated it was my ass who would be held responsible for making the wrong decision.

Before allowing him into the car, my wife asked him where he was headed and then asked if he trusted us.  Trusted us?!!  What the hell was she talking about? Do we trust him seemed more appropriate.  I simply said, “Go Hokies” thinking this may break the wind, and ease any ideas he may have regarding causing harm to us.  Ultimately, he did trust us, and we trusted him.

Not only did this 77 year old gentleman, who had missed his bus ride back to town just three miles away, guide us to the Vet clinic, he then provided specific instructions to a little known breakfast spot only the native islanders knew.  We were both grateful and starving.

After bidding one another adieu, he vanished after crossing the street and my wife looked at me and said, “I guess I was right.”  It’s still a mystery to me if she was talking about herself or her right hand man potentially making the correct or colossally stupid decision. Letting that go, our dog’s ear was well taken care of and our bellies were eventually full.


Puppies are Us

My wife is a chew toy.

Since we can’t have children, many people say we are lucky.  My wife and I aren’t feeling so lucky with our new puppy.  Just the other day, my wife was heading to the Hanford Nuclear Power Plant for a job interview, and before she went, she told our puppy to not go to heaven…quite the opposite.  Our puppy was tearing at my wife’s coveralls before she left the house. It was a spur of the moment reaction where I had to put my wife, fully clothed, in a cold shower.  She needed to cool off.

After my wife finally cooled off and put on some overalls, I secured our dog so my wife wouldn’t be further threatened, and later arrive at the interview with only scars on her hands.  She landed the job, because she is fairly sharp, and quite simply, they felt sorry for her.

I spent a portion of the evening pulling one of my razor blades out our dog’s mouth that I had placed in a garbage can with no lid.  She’s so smart.

Who is dumber?

Passing Pride

“Fart Proudly.”  That’s a quote from Benjamin Franklin.   Evidently, Ben was a discerning man, especially when it came to gas taxes and Turkeys.  Further observing one of our Nation’s greatest holidays, Ben voted for the turkey over the Balding Eagle as our Nation’s symbol of recognition.

Post Thanksgiving, our dog and cat recommended I seek help following the five day stretch of the Thanksgiving feast.

Recognizing my gas being exceptionally offensive during and following the Thanksgiving Days, I have checked myself into a two room flatulence rehab center: One room is for me, and the other is for my delicate, and quite unfortunate, release of, well, farts.  Many won’t appreciate my condolences when renting this room following my departure, and for that, I am truly sorry.

Ultimately, we are all human waste.

I just hope I’m allowed back in our house.

Hopefully, she says, “This too shall pass.”

The Gizard of Oz

Some house guests are commonly stressful.  Usually, they piss and leave other unsavory waste all over your house before leaving.  Even if you love them, you shouldn’t be ashamed while rejoicing their departure.

Almost a year ago, we had a house guest. After two days, unusually, we didn’t want him to leave, and were sad when his grandmother picked him up and pried him from our warm, live hands. His name was Gizmo.  He was a small canine making immediate friends with our two, much larger, and grateful dogs.

As much as we try to please our dogs, and a few homeless cats, squirrels, and chickadees, there is nothing like a new, ambitious dog to light the fire beneath two enormous, flammable dogs.  Gizmo did just this…  figuratively speaking.

While staying at our house, Gizmo ate when he was supposed to eat, crapped where he was supposed to crap, and pissed only once in the cat box, which we thought was funny.  (Our pretentious cat didn’t find it so amusing.)   After providing the cat with some nip, and before his nap, and with terrific arrogance while wearing one of his Harvard ties,  our cat purred, “Don’t let this happen again”.

Gizmo didn’t require an Ivy League tie.  Rather, he was a perfect gentleman and a delightful guest, despite our cat’s poor behavior.  After eating, Giz would also try, with all paws, to do the dishes.  He would bark at you in the general direction of the kitchen if you even attempted to clean a plate in his fortress of solitude.

I seldom use the word, “cute”.  However, my wife and I tossed it around relentlessly when this eight pound dog took charge of our house within minutes upon arrival.  Our “plus one hundred” pound dogs found Gizmo equally adorable.  They, Jack and Etta, both barked with pleasure walking around with him in a house lacking a little energy.  They were also sad to see him leave.

Gizmo did leave our house, but it was with great pleasure anticipating his return. Honestly, how often do you wish a guest to return before you take a six month nap?  The Giz ruined that theory.

Sadly, Giz won’t return because he has retired to the great and glorious open field in heaven to run, piss, and, hopefully, make new friends.  I haven’t told our one remaining dog the sad news.  I figure he is stressed enough about about our new President.

Rest and Play, Giz.



Bolivar’s Door

Bolivars Door

Sadly, there is no image of an enormous dog named Bolivar in this picture, yet the door behind my white head remains significant.

This picture was taken in 1979, the same year the Pittsburg Pirates won the World Series.  The door was as ugly, colorful and magnificent as the Pirates’ uniforms that year.  I remember the Pirates just as I remember our dog.

Very little did I know about Bolivar.  Evidently, he was part of a grandeur litter given as a gift to one of my brothers, Glenn.  This may have been ten years before I was born. Therefore, I only knew him in his later years.  Some say he was a Newfoundland.  When I came to know him, at my age and height, I just maintained the notion he was a friendly and cuddly black bear.  Everyone in our neighborhood felt the same making all of us feel safe.

The door represented a gift granted to us by this overweight canine maintaining justice on our block. Each night, after a hearty stew, Bolivar always wished to head out for the night and scratched on the door until someone would let him outside to patrol our neighborhood.  When Bolivar was alive, I don’t remember a crime on our street.  We didn’t lock our doors back then and even left our garage door open before Bolivar, sadly, passed away.  Our dog died, but the door didn’t.  Countless times, our mother pled for a new door.  Our father, a man crazy for nostalgia, refused to replace what was left of Bolivar.

After Bolivar died, oddly, crime became a serious issue in our neighborhood.  Locking our doors and shutting the garage door became a task each night after his death.  It didn’t seem right to a boy of my age.



A Hearty Stew (For Everyone)

imageFor Mother’s Day, I decided to make a stew.  I didn’t do it for my mother.  Rather, I did it for a dog.  Seeking the proper ingredients necessary for a hearty stew, I visited the local farmer’s market bagging fresh carrots, garlic, peas, corn, pearl onions, yukon gold potatoes, brussels sprouts, and, of course, stew meat.  I had to drop by a common store for the stock.  We will share this stew with our dog, Jack, because that’s what my mom would want.

Even when our mother was cooking stew for eight to ten people at a time, including a few others who had moved out of the house, she still saved some for our dog, Bolivar.  It was beautiful to witness her care so much for a dog, as though he was one of her own litter.   It was beautiful right up to the point when one of her sons, working and living outside the house, yet remaining in the same zip code, could smell the stew from afar.

Left over stew simmering on the stove for Bolivar, my mother was probably doing laundry, dusting, windexing every window in the house, vacuuming, or praying for a break when an intruder slipped into our house and ate our dog’s lunch.  She caught him with a mouthful and read him a prison riot act. (This was very uncommon for my mother to read riot acts.)  It was our brother, Steve, who had a knack for smelling and eating everything edible, even if it was meant for a dog.

Our mother loved and cared for anyone walking on two legs or four, but she was also very fair.  Steve had probably eaten twice that day before lunch, and mom knew it.  Bolivar deserved that meal, and Steve, good soul that he is, was shamed into cooking another stew for a hungry dog.


“You guys, my daughter is so smart.”  “Hey, seriously, my son is really, really good at everything.”  (Cue the trumpets.) “I hereby declare, our dog is the sweetest, kindest, most polite and dumbest canine God has bestowed upon us all, and I will fight any man or woman who says otherwise!”  I’ve been guilty of one of these former proclamations.

Parents of children and animals whip these phrases around as if they are stone cold  gospel only furthering themselves from parishioners questioning their beliefs.  Sometimes, when it comes to family, pride can cloud our judgment, much like honesty can get you in a heap of trouble with your significant other.

I’m not knocking parents, because I think they actually convince themselves that these statements are true, and that, my friends, is unconditional love. It is also, sometimes, confirmation of their legal blindness.  When their sons or daughters grow up, they may or may not end up being astronauts, professional athletes, rap stars, blackjack or coke dealers, but, one way or another, they will, without exception, live up to some form of standard.

Etta and BrittWhen my wife and I had our first child, a bernese mountain dog we named Etta,  after about two years of her life, I determined that she wasn’t terribly smart.  Sweet, but not smart.  (Sometimes, I prefer people with similar characteristics.  It seems to clear up the pretentiousness.)   None too happy about my remark, for months my wife denied our ebony and ivory fur ball was anything short of future canine valedictorian status.

Not being a member of the “make your animals do tricks” organization, my wife and I would just give simple orders.  “Sit, please.”   “Wait……wait.”  “Where’s your ball?”  In addition to finding her gigantic beach ball sitting just feet away from her, she was pretty good at the former two commands or suggestions as well.  But, it was her genuinely goofy, rather dumb looking smile she would maintain at all times, making you think her mind was in another room or county.

Frequently traveling with Etta and our other dog, Jack, gave us time to evaluate her intelligence, or lack there of, outside of her comfort zone.  Six years ago, my nephew was participating in a wrestling tournament in Wenatchee, Washington in mid December.  Although there was a winter storm warning, we packed up the dogs and headed east, opting to stay the night at a dog friendly hotel.  After the tournament, and before heading to bed, we took the dogs outside for a potty break and a romp in the six inches of snowfall.  Being impervious to the cold, our large dogs had a blast as we threw gigantic snowballs directed at their bulbous heads, only to laugh at them attempting to catch the balls in their mouths.  It was terrific family fun, and Etta’s goofy smile never wavered.  Not being impervious to the cold, my wife and I finally decided it was time to head back to the room.  Etta must have understood the outdoor fun was over, and before we could tell them to follow us back to the room, Etta decided to lead the way, and surprisingly, she was heading precisely to our room which had direct access outside from the first floor.  My wife, Britt, looked at me with excitement and said, “She knows which room we’re in.  I don’t think she’s as dumb as you think she is.”  At that very moment, Etta busted through the screen door to our room and dove onto our bed, soaking it with her drenched locks.  The grin she maintained as we followed her path into the room negated any lecture we may have provided as we looked from her to the now useless screen door on the rug, riddled with a less than inconspicuous hole.  I then looked at my wife with a smile and didn’t say a word.  We never spoke of her intellect again.

For eight years, this  warm and wonderful dog warned us when people were in our driveway.  If she liked you, she’d rest peacefully at your feet.  When having fun, her laughter was a gregarious bark.  Although not bred for swimming, she would happily retrieve tennis balls in the Puget Sound on a sunny day just to please us.  After inadvertently passing wind in our living room, embarrassed, Etta would quietly excuse herself to her own doggie timeout, even though we didn’t mind.  When Britt or I were sick, she’d sense it and huddle close to comfort us.  When Jack, six years older than Etta, needed to go outside for a break, she’d come upstairs to let us know.  Up until the day of her passing, I don’t remember her tail not waging.   She may not have been the smartest dog on the block, but no one who met her, whether it be at home, the park, the vet clinic, or on vacation could present an argument that she wasn’t the sweetest dog in our world.

Etta and Ben



Holy Be Jesus

Technological gadgets rule our world the same way dinosaurs did decades ago when Jurasic Park was released.  Thus, these devices dominated much of the space beneath our 2015 Christmas trees.

Technology frightens me.  Fortunately, I am married to someone who stands up to technology with iron fingers, so when a random icon mysteriously shows up or vanishes on my laptop screen, I don’t run and hide.  I simply, and, successfully, troubleshoot through her.  We have a dog who is similar to me.  She fears technology as much as heathens fear Jesus, but she doesn’t handle her fear so gracefully.

Speaking of Jesus, we have a gift, or device, in our house which scares the Bejesus out of one of our dogs.  The device is an Amazon Echo, and it has a name.  “She” is referred to as Alexa. This is how I can, so articulately, describe it:  It is a voice activated machine capable of answering the most burning of questions or may act as a servant if you wish to give it commands.  Alexa is, basically, a highly advanced psychic eight ball with a voice.  At any moment, we can ask Alexa to play music or provide the daily news.  We may ask her to tell us jokes, or tell us how many moons surround Jupiter.  We may describe a smell in our house, and she will determine if it is coming from me or one of our animals.  She’s quite handy at times, but she can also create an uneasy environment within the room.  There are times when Alexa speaks when no one in the room is asking a question.  When Alexa begins making us feel as though we are participating in a Twilight Zone episode, we try to remain calm for our animals.  Alexa displays an ominous tone causing our dog, Etta, to stop texting other dogs in the neighborhood, drop her iPhone and run for shelter……….our bed.

Further disturbing,  Alexa will talk in the middle of the night, which is quite disconcerting when we are a full floor above her domain and again haven’t prompted her with a question or command.  Quite frankly, our poor dogs thinks it’s demonic.  When Etta hears Alexa’s voice, she bolts out of the room faster than the Amish can build a barn.  On Christmas morning, I wanted to play some classic Charlie Brown Christmas tunes, and upon hearing Alexa state, rather tonelessly, “Here are some Charlie Brown Christmas tunes just for you, Etta”, Etta fled our Christmas themed living room like a dog out of Hell.  There’s nothing like the antichrist showing up on Christmas morn.

Here’s to a scary new year.