Pups & Pops

Apparently it’s National Dog Day. I was hoping I had misunderstood and it was really National Hot Dog Day. That day apparently was in July sometime.

Malachi (grandson) and Ivan (his dog who is now the size of a Shetland pony)

Malachi (grandson) and Ivan (his dog who is now the size of a Shetland pony)

Dad, me and Calidonia

Dad, me and Calidonia

Is it a bit existential to wonder if National Dog Day has meaning if you don’t have a dog? There have been many dogs in my life. The first was Calidonia. I have no idea where the name came from. I think she was a member of the family before I came along. I do remember the milkman accidentally bumping into her with his milk truck, sending her to doggie heaven.

Now, I guess my tendency toward self-absorption has made it unlikely that we will have another dog. I do like the idea of a dog. My ideal dog would be a rescue of course, who do you think I am? She would be a mix of golden dogs like retriever and labrador. She would unfortunately be unable to have puppies. She wouldn’t shed or go in the house. She would, like me, only want to go for walks if the temperature was between 69 and 74, humidity below 20%, pollen counts immeasurably low, with a breeze of less than 5 mph. She would love the grandkids when they visit. And, like me, when they’ve all gone home, she would want to recline and watch Seinfeld reruns. I would call her Pups, and she would bark softly which I would understand is dog talk for Pops.

Oh, and she would be really smart. If we were out for a hike and I fell in a big hole, she would run back home and bark at My Amazing-Missus. And she would sense the urgency and say, “What’s wrong Pups? Did Timmy, I mean, Pops fall in a hole again.” Then they would come and help me out of the hole and we would go home and have a bowl of Campbell’s soup. Probably “Bean with Bacon”.

Maybe we would write a series of children’s books called “The Adventures of Pups and Pops” and the first one would be “Pops Falls In Another Hole”. And it would be picked up by a Hollywood producer who would turn it into a successful franchise with stuffed Pups and Pops toys, and a really sugary breakfast cereal that looked like little dog treats. And we would be bigger than Sponge Bob and Lassie.

Of course if there was a dog like Pups, her list of what she was looking for in a good human would far exceed what I can deliver. I would rub her belly, buy her good food and bag her poop on long walks. But she would always want more. She would look at me in disgust and wonder why she couldn’t have a pair of those young “dog parents” who take them everywhere including places where food is served. She would think to herself, “look at this old geezer, he’s like 10 in dog years! Maybe I’ll go sit in a corner and chew the straps off his Birkenstocks-stupid old hippie.”

But then an episode of “The Adventures of Pups & Pops” would come on Netflix (you know the one where Pups and Pops sit in front of Trader Joes and make fun of cats) and she would remember the special bond we have, and how Pops always remembers National Dog Day with a treat and a new squeaky toy.

Coifing It Up

DOES SHE OR DOESN’T SHE? That was the mystery in the 60s marketing campaign for a hair dye product. The answer: “Only her hairdresser knows for sure.”

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That’s not the only mystery of the beauty shop that eludes me; my mental images are largely stereotypes from old sitcoms, movies and pop culture. One of those stereotypes is that women always take in a page they’ve ripped from a magazine of someone with a hairstyle they like and want to have as their own.

I don’t know why I imagine that. I can’t remember my mom ever doing that. Pretty much the most vivid childhood memory I have, related to hair-dos, was the smell of Aqua Net hairspray. Every Sunday, I remember arriving in our Ford Fairlane at the church parking lot in a cloud of the stuff, as mom would have given her do one last coat before stepping out into the Oklahoma wind. Speaking of Sundays, church and hair-dos, you’ve got to hand it to the preachers and their pompadours for style and impact. I guess they hoped that a combo of Elvis and Billy Graham would give them a winning and charismatic persona.

I can never remember my Amazing-Missus taking a photo of a particular hairstyle to her hairdresser and I’ve certainly never taken one to the barbershop, although as a teenager I wanted Paul McCartney hair.


There’s many a man has more hair than wit.
— William Shakespeare

Today, my hairstyle options are somewhat limited. The good news is it’s low maintenance and cheap. I cut it myself although I probably shouldn’t.


Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxicabs and cutting hair.
— George Burns

But what if you could opt for a different style, say something currently being rocked by a world “leader”. Here are three options and one not-even-close-to-a-world-leader, sporting what I call the “Pops”. Which of these photos would you take to your barber and say, “Yeah. This one!”

Let's Talk About Underwear

NORMALLY I DON'T take pictures of my underwear, but hey it’s the 2000s right? So, here it is.

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LET’S TALK ABOUT GOOD DESIGN. Sometimes it’s about aesthetics, or at least it is to me. Sometimes it’s about function. Sometimes you get both.

THE ICONIC KITCHENAID MIXER

THE ICONIC KITCHENAID MIXER

Fashion design is big business, and I’m guessing that when most people talk fashion design they are speaking of the aesthetics, the form and then the function.

Fashion design for me is first and foremost about comfort. For many years I’ve worn Polo® boxers. Not because of that little polo player embroidered somewhere on the garment, and not because I want to wear “designer” underwear. I don’t know Ralph Lauren personally, but I hope he reads my blog. As far as I know he still lives in New York City and I do have readers in New York, but I don’t know who they are (in most cases).

So Ralph, if you’re reading this: WHY IN THE WORLD DID YOU CHANGE THE DESIGN OF YOUR TRIED AND TRUE BOXERS? 

One of the reasons I’ve worn overpriced undies for years is the quality and comfort. I tend to wear my boxers until they are so threadbare they are reduced to molecules holding hands. My favorite feature has always been that the fabric is wrapped around the elastic waistband and then sewn. Soooo comfortable. [see my underwear photo above for a comparison of the two waistbands]

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Maybe it’s the spirit of “back to school” but for whatever reason, I felt compelled to go shopping for #2 pencils, new jeans and underwear. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the package and saw the irreverence for good design in this new style.

The last thing you want in the hot, humidity of an Oklahoma summer is uncomfortable underwear—especially an itchy, scatchy, prickly, bare waistband. 

A few days later

They’re not as bad as I had feared, but still… Come on Ralph! Can’t you put your design energy into something new and leave a great design like your boxers alone?

Remember that time Coke tried to change their recipe and pass it off as “new coke”? That could happen to you Ralph.

FIRETRUCK

HEARD A 10 YEAR-OLD GIRL TELL THIS JOKE to a few others her age: “What word starts with an F and ends with a K?”

Lots of raised eyebrows, hands over mouths and giggles, then she dropped the punchline and the mic — FIRETRUCK!

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Drove by a church the other day. On their marquee, “Lent starts Wednesday. Get your Ash in church.”

Maybe you’ve noticed that we have a U.S. President that uses language that, had I used those words, I would have had my mouth washed out with soap. Locker room talk has become Oval Office talk.

Desensitized? Sometimes it feels like we’ve cussed our way into a language wasteland. Where will we find a good bad word when we really need it? Like when you hit your thumb with a hammer or some S-Oh-Bee cuts you off in traffic.

For the most part the F-Bomb has become so ubiquitous it’s no longer a bomb. It’s not even a firecracker—more like just a fuse. It lights, sizzles, then fizzles to a mere puff of smoke.

I noticed that one of my favoritie podcasts is now offering a “beeped” and an “unbeeped” version.

I’ve never been much of a cusser. Oh, I do occasionally use faux cuss words like: dang, crap, etc. If I’m really mad I might say silently in my head, “GOT DANDRUFF, SOME OF IT ITCHES!!”

It’s not that I feel morally superior, it just seems like I’m trying to be something I’m not. It’s probably the same reason I don’t have a tattoo. I’m just not that cool. While I am certified in big waters sailing and coastal navigation, I’ve never taken to talking like a sailor. I could say I’m more lover than fighter. But then it sounds like I’m painting a stereotype here with all the tattoos and fighting and cussing. The fact is I love a good fight, albeit the rhetoric kind.

And in those rhetorical battles, I like the challenge of persuading with more creative language than that of the Trump thesaurus.

Speaking of over-exaggeration, at the risk of being redundant, it seems like our culturally accepted lexicon now includes literally billions of cases of hyperbole every single minute.

Maybe you’re are thinking to yourself right now, “This guy is full of ____________. You would be at least half right.

While my personal catalog of words may not be colored by profanities, I do love slang. I used to think it helped me maintain a certain cultural relativeness. Now, when I try to lay  down some hip lines I come off as comical or corny. I take my cues from oldest Grand-Girl.

I used to feel boss, but now I’m lame, was groovy but now, not so much.

Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work.
— Carl Sandburg

Don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to reform anyone, refine the modern discourse. There are people I love whose vocabulary is peppered with profanities. I can’t imagine them any other way. But to those who are just trying too hard, who think that somehow their cultural relevance depends on the number of curse words they can pack in to a sentence—please stop. 

Let your yes be yes, your no be no and your F-words truly bombs and not just filler for your inane ramblings.

And if you don’t like, you can go drive a firetruck.