Ear Goop and Humpy Crack Puppies

Meme -- Cute Always Wins


The duty has fallen to me to put medical ear goop into the Crack Puppy’s left ear.

This is necessary because she is a Maltese/Shih-Tzu cross.

And “Shih-Tzu”, in English, means “making your vet a millionaire”.

So in addition to giving her 3/4 of a phenobarbitone tablet morning and night, wrapped in cheese, for her epilepsy, the blog now has to convince the Crack Puppy:

a)  to lie very still in our lap every night as we;

b)  ram a nozzle down her ear canal and squeeze goop into it.

Which goes really well, as you can imagine.

A bit like putting drops into Junior’s ears when he was just a baby, except the Crack Puppy is way squishier and lots more expensive than he was.

As we recall, the baby hospital bill was only about $12,000.

Which is chicken feed when it comes to Shih-Tzus (in English, means “American Express Platinum Cards Accepted Here”).

Plus, our addictively cute Crack Puppy also needs her anal gland squeezed.

A lot.

The vet says her ear and butt problems are linked.

“Her immune system seems to be reacting to food.  What are you feeding her?”

Shih-Tzu Means ‘Kaching’

To which we responded, “Oh, just the usual dog food and a few treats.”

And by that we meant: “just a little bit of grapes, raisins, real chicken, chicken treats, chicken sticks, chicken dunno whats, green teeth cleaning sticks, fried eggs, boiled eggs, eggs over easy, chicken and eggs, Vitamin C bits, apple bits, carrots, raw salmon, cooked salmon, salmon and eggs, cheese, cheese dip, Cheetos, cranberries, pancakes…”

Turns out this is not the perfect diet for a high-needs Shih-Tzu (in English, “You will NEVER be able to retire.”

The vet said the Crack Puppy would do best on a very strict diet of $900-per-bag Special Science Diet food, sold only at vets.

Except that no Shih-Tzu on the planet has ever eaten this dry food.

Not even one nugget.

Because, what do you think they are, dogs?


Shih-Tzus, (“Cute is never cheap”), do not believe in sitting on the floor while people have dinner.

They hop up into the chair right behind you and stare at the back of your head.

Like laser beams.

Without letting up.

They paw your back.

And go, “aagggggrrrrrrrrrr.”

Then they emit impossibly powerful Cute Rays that would melt the heart of Donald Trump.

So, of course, you give them people food and sign your house over to the vet.

Following the recent $330 visit to our vet (motto: “The Crack Puppy is sending my children to Harvard”), it was agreed that the blog would do the nightly ear-gooping thing, and the Missus would do her very best to stop feeding $100 bills to the Crack Puppy.

But, this is the woman who kisses and cuddles and baby talks her Crack Puppy every night.

“Oh, my Ling Ling.  My Ling Ling, uhmmm uhmmm uhhmmm. Look at that cuuuuuuuuuuuute little face!  You are just so adoooooorable!  Who can resist you? Mwah. Mwah. Mwah.”

So you just know that people treats are coming, no matter what anyone says.

Thankfully, the sister-in-law happens to be a midwife and is not grossed out by anything.

She is happy to stick her finger right up the Crack Puppy’s cute little bazoo whenever she starts dragging her butt on the carpet.

“The glands feel just like cute little grapes, heeheehee,” she said as she gently squished them, and I passed out on the floor.

Oddly enough, there seems to be a side-effect linked to the application of ear goop and/or anal gland squishing.

Nowadays, as we prepare for our evening rosary, the spayed and very gurly Crack Puppy assumes her position between us.

But she is not getting ready for doggie prayers.

She is choosing which of the teddy bears lined up along the back of the couch that she wants to drag down and, how can we put this politely, uhm, “date” for the duration of our prayer time.


I guess “Shih-Tzu” also translates to one more thing:

“Who’s your daddy?”

I have no idea what the vet will charge to fix that.



Elmo and Cookie Monster in NZ; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in Houston; Which Was the Deadliest?


elmo cropped 2

My life passed before my eyes last week.

I look around and all of a sudden realized that my normally laid-back New Zealand mall was jammed with people.

Specifically, jammed with Moms, and Dads, and Grandmas, and LOTS of wide-eyed kids.

Plus at least 10,000 strollers.

As a highly trained observer, I quickly scanned the scene for clues.

I saw a colorful, animated sign and huge security guards.


elmo security

Dear Lord, I was standing at Ground Zero, not more than 20 feet from Elmo and Cookie Monster.

And my life truly passed before my eyes.

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Stupid, Evil Goat Heads and Sticker Wars


Somebody posted a photo recently of a goat head, the evil nemesis of my youth.

I cannot hardly express how much I hated those things.

If you grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, you didn’t wear shoes during the summer.

Every now and again, you’d step on those suckers.

They’d stab you right in your heal, and bury the “horns” to the hilt.

When you tried to rip them out, half the time the “horn” would stay embedded in your heel, and blood would start trickling out.

That would cost you important play time, because you’d have to limp home so your Mom could perform surgery, using a needle, tweezers and Methiolate.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the wound would ache for days, because the evil goat heads had some kind of poison in them.

It was sort of like getting finned by a catfish on your bare foot.

As I type this, I can literally feel the goat head pain in my heel.

I hated the stupid, evil, goat head stickers that no respect for anything.

On the Christmas Day that I got my Deluxe Renegade Stingray bicycle — complete with “slick” back tire —  I was roaring down the rough hills that still surrounded Cleveland Elementary School.

And a goat head gave me a flat tire.

I mean, c’mon!  It was CHRISTMAS DAY.

But the evil goat heads did not care.

Good Stickers 

Even though I loathe goat heads, I have to admit that there were some “good” stickers.

They were part of the boyhood rights of initiation on Nebraska Street.

For some idiot reason, probably because we were idiots, Steve Madden and I every spring would back into the HUGE holly bushes in our front yard.

This was called “getting a shot”.

After which you would rub your rump and laugh hysterically.

Every single time.

It was all good clean boy fun.

Until wintertime, when all those pointy-ended leaves would die and fall off.

Then, if you happened to be racing next door while barefooted, and you stepped on one or more of the nasties, you’d look like you were wearing moccasins — with the stickers impaled on your heels, arches and even the balls of your feet.

That was not fun, but even so, they in no way hurt as bad as a goat head.

The best kind of stickers, bar none, were the ones that grew on grass stems.

I have no idea what they were called.

But I know that at a certain time of year, they were responsible for 99% of the Mercurochrome used on Nebraska Street.

You’d gather them in bunches, like flowers, taking great care to only pick the best ones, with just the right amount of stickers and the perfect throwing stems.

Then, BOOM, it was like a full-on snowball fight, but with stickers.

Man, that was some fun, especially when your opponent was wearing only cut offs.

There was nothing better than seeing the stickers you’d just thrown stabbing directly into the flesh of your best friend.

Steve was way bigger than me and a two-fisted thrower.

I only had one hand, so I dared not go toe-to-toe with him during these epic Sticker Wars.

My strategy relied on “strafing runs”.

I’d race at him running about 900 miles per hour, throw a couple of stickers, and then, poof, be gone.

My strategy would change when we got tired or one of us got really mad — usually me.

That’s when I’d race by one final time, and unload my entire payload of maybe 900 stickers.

Man, it was awesome.

The best thing was that, even if Steve wanted to kill me, I could always outrun him.

And by the next day, he would have gotten over his mad, so he wouldn’t pound me.

Face Shot

I know it’s hard to believe, but there were rules in Sticker Wars.

You could only target from the shoulders down.

You could never, ever, never throw at somebody’s face.

And no one ever violated that rule.

Unless they were really mad at Steve because they’d been getting their butt kicked all day long.

Now, it was almost impossible to gross out a young boy on Nebraska Street.

There were countless stubbed toes, and stepped-on nails, and black eyes, and dog bites, and rivers of blood.

But the time I hit Steve right in the face during Sticker Wars was awful.

This particular missile had five individual stickers on the stem.

And it hit him right in the eye.

By God’s grace, he got his eye closed just in time.

The stickers literally sutured his eye closed, with some impaled on the top eyelid and some on the bottom one.

When he gingerly tried to peel the stickers off, the stem just pulled away, leaving every single sticker impaled in his eyelids.

He had to pluck them off with his fingers, one at a time.

Now, I don’t recall running away from Steve very often.

But on that day, I ran home like a rabbit.

And I did not dare come out until the next day; until I knew that Steve had two good eyeballs left.

Then it was on again.

I had to give him a chance to nail me right in the face during Sticker Wars.


Click HERE to read all about Nebraska Street Monkey’s Blood.




‘Lent’ Me Your Ears

Our record for Lent is pretty spotty over the last couple of decades because we have made some very, very bad decisions.

There was the year that we gave up sex for Lent.  If our memory is correct, that’s the year that we killed 900 people and got divorced. So overall, not so good.

That was ALMOST as bad as the year that we gave up coffee for Lent.  Lord have mercy.

We tried to do that when we were a) drinking maybe 10 cups of coffee a day b) working in a HIGH STRESS P.R. agency and C) trying to keep a low profile because the police were still looking for us for all the people we killed during the “no sex” Lent.

Then there was the Lent we gave up ibuprofen.  Can you imagine, a former 128-pound football player from Norman High School — read “broken” — giving up ibuprofen while still mowing and digging and building stuff?  Can you say, “moron”?”

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Valentine’s Day Flowers are for Kids; True Love is in the Rubbish Bin



Love means never having to say, “you are SO IRREEEEEETATING.”

Or at least it should near Valentine’s Day.

But the Chinese Missus felt the need to say that again the other day, for perhaps the 10,000th time since we’ve been married.

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Wheelies? Evel Knievel Had Nothing on Me and My Deluxe Renegade Stingray




The bike I got for Christmas when I was about 10 was a rocket.

I could pedal that sucker so fast that my feet were a blur.

It gave me enormous pleasure to outrun a high school kid’s Volkswagen, because I loved speed, and because it drove him crazy.

But it wasn’t enough to be a certified speed merchant, at least on Nebraska Street.

You also needed elevation.

And, for what seemed like an eternity, probably at least two weeks after getting my bike, I could not pop a wheelie.  Not even a little one.

That was as bad as being a girl and wearing a frilly dress, or so the older boys mocked.

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Junior Be Cruisin’ De World, Playing Dem Songs


Junior on keys for the Rat Pack.

Junior on keys for the Rat Pack.


Junior emailed me this morning that he would go ashore in Ecuador and Skype us in the afternoon.

Which was great, except that he didn’t say whether this would be HIS afternoon in Ecuador or OUR afternoon in New Zealand.

As it turns out, it was both — his 6 p.m. and our noon.   Win!

Except that wi-fi had not come to Ecuador.

Everything would have been just fine if he’d been in Peru, which is where I thought he was and which has wi-fi.

Who knew there was any difference between Ecuador and Peru?  I mean, they are both somewhere in South America. Or possibly Africa.

I’m not totally sure about that.

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