For Valentine’s Day: Paul McCartney sings “Martha My Dear”


I couldn’t think of anything appropriate for today.



Then I thought of this: Paul McCartney’s love song to his sheepdog Martha.



Hold your hand out, you silly girl; see what you’ve done . . .



Happy Valentine’s Day.


09_Track_9.mp3 Listen on Posterous


Dog collar


I was walking home the other evening when I met a neighbor – a cute neighbor, sort of a younger Dan Hedaya – with his cute black-and-white dog.  The dog was wearing one of those awful lampshades around its neck.  “What happened?” I said, gesturing to the dog.



“He had a procedure,” the owner said.  “He’s nine years old.  Look how he keeps bumping his cone!”



The dog came toward me, looking sad and winsome.  His collar was scuffed from previous encounters.  His eyes said: I had a Procedure.  Don’t you feel sorry for me?



How could I not?  I patted the poor dog on the head.  “In nine years,” the owner said, “he’s never gotten this much attention.”



So keep that in mind, all you young things out there.



Illness has its uses.



But you have to be at least a little cute to make it work. 



Sunday blog: A humanity test


In “Dune” (both the book and the David Lynch movie), there’s a scene in which the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam tests young Paul Atreides to see if he’s a human being.  She makes him put his hand in a black box.  “What’s in the box?” Paul asks.  “Pain,” the Reverend Mother replies.



Paul passes the test.



Here is a test for you.  Go to the following link.  If you do not feel something very powerful tugging at your heart, then you are not very human, and you should stuff yourself in a dumpster immediately, or volunteer for medical experiments.



Very bad dogs

Back in the 1960s, I used to read a comic strip in the Vancouver Columbian called “Odd Bodkins,” written and drawn by a guy named Dan O’Neill. He was a stoner, a biker, and an independent thinker; most papers dropped his strip when they figured out what he was talking about, which was mostly dropping acid and fighting the establishment. In one of his strips, someone announced that African baboons were beginning to eat meat and use tools. “THAT’S IT!” one of the characters annouces. “GOD IS ANGRY AT US AND THE REPLACEMENTS ARE ON THE WAY!”



So I read the other day that Martha Stewart’s dog punched her in the nose and sent her to the hospital.



Also, I just read an article in the Times about how dog behavior on television has gotten pretty atrocious (see especially the horrible woman on “It’s Me Or The Dog” who lets her lapdog stick his tongue up her nose).



Also, there was a recent Times article about a dog named Chaser who knows over a thousand words and understands simple sentences. (This is more than most of my coworkers can do.)



I am beginning to feel that we are huddled around the campfire, and the dogs are peering at us out of the darkness with their glowing wolfish eyes, getting ready to pounce.



The replacements are on the way.



Partner’s fine with this. He will tell you any day that he wishes he were a dog himself. Short of this, he wants to lie on the ground and roll around with all the dogs in the neighborhood. I think the dogs brainwashed him a long time ago. I already told you about his dog Willy, who was not prepared to be my best friend.  Willy was obviously in on the plan.



But I’m not really worried about the dogs. They’re stoopid. You can always buy them off with a Beggin’ Strip or a Jumbone or something of the sort. They’re all about food, and they’re easily distracted.


Yeah. Go ahead, Yukon King. Try to replace me. You’ve got a big surprise coming.



I’m no pushover like Martha Stewart.




Who’s a good boy?

I was never much of a dog lover when I was young. We had one when I was a kid – a misbegotten cross between a chow and a husky, which resulted in a gigantic husky-sized chow with a purple tongue and a bad attitude.  I went without pets until years later in Tunisia, when I inherited a bipolar tomcat named Nimmer. Nimmer went feral every winter, then came home again in the spring for sardines and milk. He used to bring around his nasty-looking girlfriend, who had big white blotches on her face. I always shot her with a water pistol when Nimmer wasn’t looking.


Partner adores dogs. His last dog, Willy, was a big golden retriever who worshiped him. When we were first dating and I tried to sit on the sofa next to Partner, Willy would jump up and sit between us. When Partner left the room, Willy would jump off the sofa, run across the room, turn his back to me, and sit in huffy silence until Partner came back.


Willy hated me.


Willy notwithstanding, Partner’s love of dogs has rubbed off on me over the years. Our current apartment does not allow dogs, and apartment life isn’t good for dogs in any case – too dull, too stifling. But we know all the dogs in the neighborhood; we know them better than we know the people, in fact. There are two golden retrievers who live down the street, who watch us walking to work every morning; they sit looking out the window side by side, their chins resting on the back of the sofa. As we walk by, they follow us with their eyes, but they refuse to turn their heads. It would be too obvious.


Then there’s the little black Pomeranian whom we see walking her owner sometimes. She’s tiny and she holds her head up like a lady, and she walks tap-tap-tap-tap, quick and very delicate. Partner says she reminds him of one of those Italian girls from New Jersey with a big hairdo and a big black fur coat and high heels.


There’s a dachsund we always call “Barky von Schnauzer,” which name we got from a TV commercial, and I think the owner heard us calling the dog that one day, and he didn’t like it. And the big husky with the fluffy coat and the lolling tongue and the big smile, who barks and sings to everyone, and who likes to be fawned on, very Big Man On Campus. And the nervous-looking whippet who lives across the street (well, whippets always look nervous).


And a host of others.


At Thanksgiving, our hostess had a long-haired chihuahua named Winston. “Be careful,” Hostess said. “He’s nippy. He bit the DirecTV guy.” And, sure enough, Winston nipped my finger.


But in no time he was sitting in my lap looking up into my face dreamily.


You see? Time has passed, and now I can commune with dogs, soul to soul.


Or maybe I just smell like bacon.




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