how else do you stop a dog from sleeping on your bed?

Today, Oedipus would not stop barking at the linen closet, which I thought was pretty weird, because I've been training him to AVOID bedsheets, not confront them. So I grabbed my shiny broadsword that the Jehovah's Witness gave me, hushed the puppy, and yanked the closet door open.

Out pops a ghost. How do I know? He was dressed in a white sheet, with eye holes, and he shouted "Boo!" when I opened the door. He also floats. He is like the embodiment of every ghost cliche I know, and he won't stop moaning, or rattling his stupid chains. I already hate him, and he's only been my new pet for like two hours. I call him Marley. Way to go out of your way to fulfill stereotypes, Marley. You are like a half-black half-Jewish sports doctor.



a lot can go wrong in a bakery

You know that cheap sitcom trick where two people are having a conversation, and a third sap sneaks in to hear only part of it, so they totally misinterpret what was being talked about, ensuring hijinks for the rest of the episode? Believe it or not, Mr. Ripley, but this actually happened to me today.

I was taking Oedipus for a poop-in-the-neighbor's-yard morning stroll, and I had just stepped into my favorite bakery (Challah At Me Dog) for a cheddar cheese bagel. It must have been a slow morning, because there was just one guy in line, dressed in a leather jacket like he was so cool, he could wear a fucking leather jacket in June. As I stepped in the store, he pulled a pretty hefty looking gun out from the front of his pants, pointed it at the cowering cashier, pointed it at the ceiling, and then fired a shot. I figured a roof must have killed his dad or something -- such aggression. But then he shouted, "Do it NOW!" and the cashier immediately started whimpering and reluctantly removing his clothing.

I stayed freeze-tag-still while he untied his apron and took off his shirt, but when he unbuckled his belt, I figured I should make a move before the kielbasa came out to play. Now maybe a lesser man might have backed slowly out of the store and left the cashier to his leather-buddy fate, but I am a man of action, so I walked to the front of the store and demanded to see the manager.

OK, no I didn't. That would have been crazy. Actually, I backed out of the store and without another thought to the half-naked cashier's predicament, untied Oedipus from the bike-rack and walked home. I feel a little bit guilty about it, but I tell myself that just before I came in, I missed the part of the conversation where the jacket-and-gun-guy tells the cashier, "Our mom is dead, killed in her sleep by the Jewish bakery you work in. I'll shoot it to keep it stunned, while you take off that evil bagel uniform, and then we'll make a break for Mexico. On my signal..."



babies are the ultimate bling

Today, I saw a dude standing at the bus stop dressed totally straight-up G-style -- baggy cargo pants, shoes with the phat laces, diamond studs in his ears, and a cap worn just slightly cocked -- except he had a baby strapped to his front. Check it -- the baby was holding some sort of Cabbage Patch doll, and the DOLL had on a platinum chain. TRIPLE BLING. This guy was wearing three levels of bling at once -- first, what could you strap around your neck that is more priceless than life you created? Second, he took us old-school with the Cabbage Patch Kid; according to the Antique Roadshow, a vintage CPK is worth more than most bling. Third, just in case he was being too subtle with the alterna-bling he was boldly presenting, he just draped some ice around that doll, so there could be no question.

Not just bling-bling. Bling-bling-bling. Triple bling.
Word to your mother.



king solomon would have cut me in half

My car was at the mechanic's this morning, so instead of a regular rectangular Nutri-grain breakfast, I was able to stay home and whip up some awesome-tangular Donut McMuffins. I had the bacon singing that sweet hiss, and the eggs were crackling in the pan like a four-year-old playing with bubble wrap. Needless to say, I was not in the right state of mind when the Jehovah's Witnesses showed up at my front door. I was surprised they got there at all -- Oedipus should have waged terrible war upon their ankles. But, there they were, and I was so serene with the joy that is the Donut McMuffin on a Monday when I should be at work, I didn't even question how Oedipus got that pork chop he was happily gnawing.

So here are these two smiling women with their Watchtower magazines, and I am feeling so generous, that I INVITE THEM IN. Now, it isn't that I felt bad for all the hostility they endure as door-to-doorsmen, I just figured that every second they spent in my home was a second they were not bothering anybody else, and that sacrifice was What Jesus Would Do.

I cleared space for them at the kitchen table, which was overflowing with packets of instant margarita mix I won in a bet, and they each took a seat. I grinned at them, crossed my arms, and then asked a grandly ignorant question about their religion just to get them talking: "So, if I was dying in front of you, and ONLY YOUR BLOOD could save my life, would you give me a transfusion?" Man, I don't think I should have said that. I didn't really listen to their response, but it sounded like angry hens clucking, and if there is one thing I know, it is how to tell if a chicken is pissed off.

Of course, just when I was wondering if it was a mistake inviting these two in to kill time, I got another knock on the door. I excused myself to answer it, and diggity damn, would you believe it -- two strapping young men wearing short-sleeved collared shirts and holding helmets. Crew cuts. Metallic name tags clipped to their shirt pockets. One held a couple of books that looked Biblical, but weren't. That's right folks: Mormons at the front door. For the record, I am afraid of Mormons like George Bush is afraid of pretzals.

Just as I'm telling them, "Sorry guys, not today," the two Jay-Wits peek out of the kitchen, and I feel like I'm in one of those movies where the girlfriend shows up at 3am "just to talk," and my one-night-stand steps into view behind me, wearing only a towel. Holy crap. As soon as they saw the two men, they froze. I tried to diffuse the situation, explaining to the pissed-off Mormons, "Look, they came on to ME okay? This is NOT what it looks like." This was high-noon tension right on my doorstep, and it did not look pretty. I backed the fuck up, and even Oedipus knew to join me behind the couch. Bill and Ted Mormon were snarling as they snapped on their helmets and pulled out nunchucks from holsters strapped to their shins. One of the women pulled a Saturday night special out of her bra, and the other one unsheathed a gleaming broadsword -- I have no idea how she hid that under her frumpy dress.

I was about to watch a literal battle for my soul, and I was terrified. I always thought I'd meet my end at the hands of an overzealous US Marshall who chased me off a waterfall, but it looked like I might become a cult crossfire casualty. There was a moment right before the two groups charged: the four combatants slowed their breathing, and held themselves still as they measured each other, playing out their opening moves in their minds, like the scene right before Michael Caine laid the smack down on that rival butler in Remains of the Day.

And suddenly, the moment passed, and the Mormons rushed the door, one in front of the other. The Witnesses must have sensed that the door was a choke point, because just as quickly, the lady with the gun shot the first Mormon to step inside, while the one with the sword closed in to take him down before his friend could pull him out of the house. But surprise! The Mormons were rocking the Kevlar, and in the narrow entryway of my house, there was no room for the unwieldy broadsword the woman was brandishing. Her mistake was in letting herself be drawn into the same choke point she was trying to take advantage of. In moments, she was on the defensive, awkwardly parrying nunchuck strikes. With the way she was blocking the entrance, her friend couldn't even get a clean shot from the living room.

She was scratching the hell out of the walls of the entryway, and I was vowing to pledge my allegiance to the religion that got my full security deposit back despite all the collateral damage, when God called me on my cell phone. OK, so it was actually a guy asking if I was interested in switching to Capital One, but I was thinking quickly. The combatants had ignored the ringing, but they all stopped when they heard me say, "Oh, hi God." That threw the guy on the phone a bit -- he laughed uncomfortably before starting up his pitch again, but I just talked right over him: "No way God, you just called me to say that all religions should stop using your name as an excuse to kill each other? Wow, you say that if man could just learn to love his fellow man, we could focus our attention on more important problems like how to stop puppies from aging? Yeah God, I totally agree. I mean, it is so timely that you just called like that." I stopped to look meaningfully at the folks in my house, "Yeah, I hope we can all learn from this too. Uh-huh, take care. Bye." I hung up, and hoped that they hadn't heard the phone-off-the-hook dialtone at the end of the call.

The Mormons looked sheepish, and the Jehovah's Witnesses were positively ashamed -- which they should be. Pacifists my ass. Anyway, the woman with the gun was the first to act: she clicked the safety back on and stuffed her gun back down her bra. The Mormons folded up their nunchucks and put them down by the front door, and after her friend gave her a stern look, the William-Wallace-wannabe shrugged, and put her sword in the umbrella stand.

I was happy to have averted a religious war, so I invited them in to the kitchen for some Donut McMuffins, hoping that such a deliciously greasy snack might blunt their bloodlust. The one I had been cooking before was all burned by now, but I gave it to Oedipus, who happily gobbled it up, so I guess that in the end, everybody won.



fiddle me this, batman

I attended a friend's recital last night. She plays in an Amadeus-style classical music trio (piano-cello-violin, and at least two Asians), where you can only cough between movements, and people get angry when you try to start the "wave." Unfortunately, I'm not such a fan of any music where old people don't cover their ears like they just heard Michael J. Fox shred the guitar, but she is my friend, and as they say, friendship is not a river in Egypt.

So I confess, I zoned out the music a bit, but I have to admit that she looked pretty damn cool rocking out on the piano. Likewise, the cello player had girls screaming her name like she was channeling the two dead Beatles. On the other hand, the violinist looked like she had a giant tumor sticking out of her neck. Speaking of, I once had a friend with a real giant neck tumor. One time he showed up at our annual Halloween party with no costume, except he drew a smiley face on his goiter in black sharpie. We had always avoided bringing it up in conversation -- I guess this was his way of saying, "Be my guest."