Random musings on a writer's life & times, with occasional input from acquaintances


Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Did you know that Alexander Graham Bell, the man who invented the telephone, refused to have a phone in his study or at his winter home in Florida?

Reminds me of Joseph Guillotin, the 18th Century French doctor who devised the guillotine. He was reluctant to use his invention, too.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Which nightmare do you have?

The one where you just discovered you have a final exam in ten minutes for a class you didn’t even know you were taking? The one where you go to work naked and everyone else shows up clothed? The one where there is a nuclear war and you have to rescue everyone you love by leading them through the woods to safety? The one where your mother is lurking in a shadowy doorway outside a downtown theater with a butcher knife hidden in the folds of her billowy skirt?

Just wondered.

Monday, February 16, 2004

What is it with these people who leave sacks of dog crap in front of my house?

I live on a street with a grassy, tree-lined median down the middle, and people come from all over the neighborhood to walk their dogs on it. That’s okay, I guess, to a point. One of the reasons we moved here is because we got a kick out of watching the neighbors parading up and down. (It’s sort of like observing the evening strollers on Las Ramblas in Barcelona.) But an unwelcome side effect is the dog crap that gets left behind. It’s so common, one guy who lives a couple of blocks down refers to our street as Dog Doo Lane.

The neighborhood contains a large, if minority, contingent of liberal, tree-hugging type folks, so some people who walk their dogs arrive equipped with plastic bags to pick up their animal’s leavings. My compliments to them, for the most part. Specifically, my compliments to the ones who pick up the dog crap and TAKE IT HOME with them to dispose of it in their own garbage can. A pox, however, on those who pick up the dog manure with a plastic bag and then abandon said bag on the median, especially those who leave their little packages in front of my house.

I went out running yesterday, and as I finished gasping along the median half a block from home I spotted what appeared to be a plastic bread wrapper lying on the grass. Figuring it had fallen out of someone’s trash, I bent over and picked it up. I planned to take it home and throw it away. The plastic had an odd weight, though, and as I plodded along I wondered if there was bread inside. Directly in front of my house, though, I spotted another bag. This one was clear plastic, though, and I could see the contents. Dog crap. Suddenly, I realized what was inside the bag I was carrying. It wasn’t bread scraps.

So I had trudged half a block carrying someone else’s dog crap. This left me with a choice -- drop it, so that the grassy median in front of my house would be decorated with TWO bags of dog crap, or continue carrying the offensive stuff to my garbage can. Or should I pick up the second bag, too? I couldn’t saddle myself with more crap, and yet I’d already carried the first bag a hundred yards or more. I settled on a compromise. I hauled my bread wrapper to the garbage can in my driveway, and left the clear plastic bag on the grass.

People should not force me into these quandaries. As I write, the second sack of crap sits in front of my house, visible from the living room window. It’s taunting me. So is the person who left it there. I may be forced to take drastic retaliatory steps. I wonder if you can get fingerprints off a plastic bag.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Did you know the Seven Deadly Sins are pride, lust, envy, anger, greed, gluttony and failure to read the Sunday Seven? Be without sin. Read on.

1) What are you wearing?

Black turtleneck Grant Union High School baseball jersey (in honor of spring training beginning this week), white t-shirt with drawings of a left-handed pitcher on the front, blue Levis jeans, white Nike sox, sweatboots.

2) What are you reading?

“The New York Trilogy,” a collection of odd novellas by Paul Auster.

3) What’s for dinner?

I have no idea. Nobody ever tells me anything.

4) What’s the best thing that happened this week?

I received my results for the first stage of the draft for the stat league baseball season. Scoresheet Baseball used its computers to dole out 11 players to me, led by Oakland pitcher Tim Hudson. I am playing this year in a league with my two eldest sons, Joe and Mickey. It’s a league based on statistics run up by American League players and my sons are experts on the junior circuit, while I am a National League man (being a Dodger fan), but I nonetheless intend to kick their young beau-ttocks. I am the greatest of all time! And I’m pretty! So pretty! Wait, that’s boxing -- but you get the idea.

5) What’s bugging you?

I didn’t make it out to Pacific University in Forest Grove this weekend for the Women’s International Collegiate Duals wrestling meets, which featured three of the top-ranked women’s wrestling teams in North America. I wanted to experience women wrestling. Really. I even thought about signing up to compete.

6) Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

Hygiene, Colorado

7) What’s it all about, Dave?

Filmmaker Orson Welles spoke for me when he said: “I passionately hate the idea of being with it. I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time.”

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