Today I Was Intimately Sniffed By Pit Bulls

It’s true.

I was minding my own business, whistling a tune while heading to the mailbox to send a movie back to Netflix, when I spied two pit bulls in the grassy area in our circle. They were gamboling, after a fashion, and then one noticed me and stopped in its tracks. It did its best to catch my eye, which it did; I kept walking, nonchalantly, as it loped toward me. I was wearing a light sweater but suddenly felt very, very cold. I stopped and let it come up to me, and it sniffed, and then slowly wandered off.

“He just wanted to sniff you,” a young lady called out; I’d never seen her up close but she lives in the house with the owner of the dogs. “Don’t worry.”

And then the other one came toward me. They just do NOT look friendly, those dogs. Their little beady eyes are not like the eyes of dogs I’ve met in my life, dogs that you know you can trust. These dogs have mean eyes. That sounds irrational, I know; I’ve heard plenty of stories about friendly pit bulls, usually in response to articles reporting horrific events involving the dogs. Something in me just does not trust them.

And this second one came closer– determined, and definitely not as “friendly” as the first one. She called him away, not angrily, and I said “thank you.” And she said “you’re welcome” with a nice, big smile.

It was all so civil, though I could clearly see those animals in my mind’s eye, feasting on my marrow. I could easily picture my defining characteristics strewn across the green like cast off detritus… I remember a few years ago when the homeowner’s association polled us on the circle to see how we felt about letting a neighbor raise pit bulls. There must have been a resounding NO, because all we ever see are those two dogs. I haven’t seen them in months, actually, but this morning I was out early to go to Office Depot and the Post Office, and there they were.

I hope this wasn’t a sign regarding my hopes and dreams for 2011. There are old tales that tell of packs of dogs that come out of the forest at night, wreaking havoc on small villages, and I believe every one of them. Many times I’d been accompanied by dog packs when I came home in the dawn hours from a night of disco-ing. I’d have to walk blocks and blocks from the subway to get to my house, and there would be these dogs following me, sometimes surrounding me. Strange: thousands of people in the surrounding apartment houses, and just me on the street with all those dogs. I would stand there in a sweat and wait until they finished growling and sniffing, and then they would go away into the darkness.

But I survived. I’m still here, and I’ll just have to be careful of the devil dogs out there in the grass. After all, I don’t want them to impact my new year.

Happy 2011 everybody !

Blueie the Lovebird Takes A Shower

OKAY !!   No more bird blogs until his first birthday next April First. Meanwhile, due to popular demand, here is a YouTube video of Blueie taking a shower:
After refusing to finish, he finally agrees to wrap it up and is escorted back home:

What My Bird Is Really Thinking

Blueie the lovebird just turned eight months old. He was born April 1, but I think the only fool around this house is the old fool. Blueie has me completely wrapped around his claw– rationally, I know this– yet I persist in regarding him as an innocent example of pure avian love and trust.

If I think about it– and these days I have plenty of time to think about what Blueie is thinking– I realize that he’s probably not as sweet and innocent as he seems. Witness:

What I do: I get him to climb shoelaces up onto bookshelves above my desk.

What Blueie is thinking: Oh, for God’s sake. Doesn’t the idiot realize that I hated gym class? Who does he think I am, a Ukrainian gymnast living on testosterone and fear? And there’s never anything on that shelf when I finally get there. All right, a little secret: I’ve found the naked Key West pictures tucked behind a picture of Immaculate Mary, and those are always good for a laugh. What an idiot! But I suppose I should keep climbing the damn shoelaces because, one day, there might be some food at the top.

What I do: I get him to lay on his back on my palm so that I can massage his stomach. He loves it!

What Blueie is thinking: He thinks I LOVE this? Granted, it feels a lot better than when I hump my toy in my cage, and it’s a lot less work, but still… I feel pretty vulnerable in that position. suppose the big idiot should drop me, or sneeze on me? What if he pokes my eye out by accident? Then I wouldn’t be able to find the shoelace and would probably run around in circles, screaming, until I fell off his desk and hit the floor and go into convulsions. That’ll show him !!

What I do: I use the computer mouse while he imitates the noise by buzzing and clicking.

What Blueie is thinking: Buzzing and clicking, eh? I’ve got the big lug completely snowed. What I’m doing is distracting him by sounding cute, all the while patiently biting through the mouse cord. He’ll either become enraged when he realizes that his system seems to be completely frozen, or he’ll electrocute himself. Whatever happens, I’m laughing !

What I do: I refer to his food and water as foo foo and wa wa; he recognizes the words and goes to his feeding trays.

What Blueie is thinking: What is he, retarded? Foo foo and wa wa? He’s fifty-five years old– I know this, I heard the lame birthday singing last week– so why doesn’t he use adult terms? Foo foo is actually a paltry mix of dried seeds, petrified fruit pellets, and something called millet spray. Wa wa is a plastic bin half-filled with tepid water, into which I’ve invariably crapped. Why can’t he be honest?!?!

What I do: I arrange things so that he has a fun-filled shower up at the kitchen sink.

What Blueie is thinking: This is rather humiliating, because I’m expected to be on my best behavior. Every two days the big dope entices me to the kitchen faucet my making me climb down, then up a ladder until I reach the countertop. Then I’m expected to march over to a dribbling faucet and have a shower while the stupid jerk stands there clapping his hands and singing what he calls The Shower Song. Please! If he wasn’t responsible for feeding me, and if I had an extra set of hands, I’d crown him on the head with that ladder. And the reason why I get under the dribbling water is that I’m exhausted from all that ladder climbing. And, okay, so maybe I was expecting there to be food… but there never is. Bastard!!

What I do: I allow him to climb all over me.

What Blueie is thinking: Ahh, pay dirt! No food awaits me, but I get to nip away at his gold necklace in the hopes that it’ll fall away and be lost somewhere inside his whities. Or else I can make off with it and cash in… gold is fetching steep prices these days! And I’m also picking at the threads of his tee shirts and bathrobe so that those will fall away too, hopefully embarrassing him in front of his friends.

Not that that’s possible, actually…

Muahahahahaha !!!

James At 55


Another December 1st., another birthday. They come quickly these days! And 55 is such a clunky age to be, numerically: it was Jimmy Carter’s exhortation to Drive 55 and Save Gasoline; it’s deep into the curmudgeonly AARP rolls; it gets you discounts on things like creamed corn at those senior buffets that serve soft, bland food; and it’s the age of mass murderers. You know, when you read in the paper about the nice man next door who was arrested because they found three hundred bodies under his house? They’re always 55. And referring again to driving, 55 is what they make you do when threading your way through endless turnpike construction projects. “Speeding Fines Doubled. Fun Halved.”


Fifty-five doesn’t LOOK good on paper. In my manner of thinking, 5 is a “heavy” number, just by the way it looks. Numbers like 1 and 2 and 7 are “thin.” 8 is definitely heavy. So put two fives together and you end up with a heavy, clunky number– not like, say,21, which is svelte and streamlined.

I also notice that, when filling out online forms, you have to make an extra mouse movement or two to get to the boxes that include that age. I have officially passed “39-54.” Now I have to roll down to “55-70.” It takes more time!

I was also born in 1955; that’s not even SEEN in forms where you have to click the year you were born. When you scroll, it feels like you are going back in time. Years like 1955 share the screen with 1931, 1923, and 1902… and sometimes you even see 1899. Who the hell is on the internet at that age!

But, if you know me, you see that I’m really not complaining about being 55. It stymies me only in the sense that it’s a number corresponding to how life has changed my body. My mind, however, will always be that of a precocious six-year-old wishing he was eighteen.

How many years do I have left…maybe forty? I hope! It’d be nice to be approaching 100. I hear that the president sends you a birthday card, so maybe I’ll be hearing from Bristol Palin.

It’s been a beautiful ride so far. The world challenges me and causes my eyes to pop open a lot. And my Dad was right– you realize that life is about your family and friends, not about stuff and nonsense. Though he didn’t actually say “stuff and nonsense.” If he did I would have had to look at him and say “where did you hide my Dad?”

One of the things I enjoy is the fact that the good friends I have who I knew when they were in their twenties are now all in their forties, some even approaching fifty. And I don’t mean that snarkily; what I mean is that we share a lot more now– the gap has lessened.

Here’s to another 55 years !  <<CLINK>>