June 29, 2015


Have you ever felt as if the world were slowly slipping beyond your grasp and that, if allowed to sit quietly in a corner to contemplate it all for about ten minutes, you will quietly go insane?
This is where I am now.  No, not sitting in the corner—just quietly going insane after having come to the conclusion that the world is completely out of control.
I’ll tell you how I know this.
I helped out a friend last weekend in her shop.  This is a business where people come to buy clothing and specialty items. . .for their dogs and cats.
You heard me.
At first, I was mildly amused, when a little old blue-haired lady dashed in and grabbed me by the sleeve as if I were a lifeguard on the Titanic.
“Will you help me, please?  I’m in a terrible hurry,” she said.  “I need a collar for my pussy—she likes blue.”
I looked at her crotch and asked, “How can you tell?” and she left before I could show her a single collar!
Well, it was easy to laugh off…at first.
But then things abruptly got worse.
The next customer to happen by was an older gent who was tethered to an English Bulldog.
“Nigel needs a dress coat,” he declared.
I glanced down at Nigel, who was slobbering so copiously that he looked as if he’d just chewed up a can of shaving cream.
“No, sir.  Nigel needs a raincoat…”
Nigel proceeded to prove this by shaking his head with such alacrity that he coated me, his owner, and the car across the street with more slime than Bill Murray could have ever imagined.
“…and so do I,” I said.
Nigel’s owner, dripping saliva that smelled like something FedEx’d from the bowels of hell, didn’t miss a beat.  “Nigel already has a raincoat.  Now he needs a dress coat, if you please.”
“Ah, a dress coat—of course,” I said, donning a scuba mask and snorkel.  “And would you like spats with that, as well?”
Up strode my friend.  “Good morning, sir.  Is Carson being of help?” she asked, shooting me a withering look.
I jumped in before the old baggage could dry his soggy handlebar mustache enough to reply.  “Oh, yes, Gail.  This gentleman is looking for a dress coat for Ninny, here…”
“That’s Nigel.”
“Of course, Nigel, pardon me.  At any rate, he may be interested in spats to go with it.  Do we have them?”
“Certainly we have spats.  What size?”
“I think a medium would do nicely,” Nigel’s owner said.
Good God!  Not only did we actually have spats for dogs, but this wacko knew his dog’s size!
“And I have a marvelous black camel hair Saville Row dress coat that would look wonderful on him,” Gail gushed.
Remember, we’re talking about a dog here.
So, Gail trotted out a size 20 hand-tailored coat and matching spats for this four-legged professional drooler and dressed him, wrapping a Burberry scarf around Nigel’s not inconsiderable neck for a peak fashion statement.
“What, no trilby?” I asked.
“I’m getting to that,” she whispered, skewering me with a filthy look.  “I’m on a roll.  Just step back, watch and learn.”
I must admit, when Gail got going, trying to stop her would have been as futile as holding a newspaper over your head during a monsoon and expecting to stay dry.  Before the fellow left, not only had he purchased the coat and spats, but he also opted for the trilby, a set of four Florsheim shoes and Yves Saint Laurent monogrammed socks, a trench coat, three pairs of silk jockey shorts, a smoking jacket, a pair of Egyptian cotton pajamas, and some erotic leatherwear for when he’s feeling frisky with the ladies.
Total bill?  $4500.00
He paid it without a blink.
I watched him walk out the door.  “Gail, I’ve been wondering—is this store near an asylum, by any chance?”
I received my third stink eye of the day in reply.
There followed a breeder of Corgis, whose pick of the litter was having a coming-out party and needed a blue taffeta gown with matching heels; a Basset Hound requiring a plaid cummerbund to complete his tuxedo for a New Year’s Eve celebration; and a Rhodesian Ridgeback, whose owner purchased two original Matisses because the dog house was looking so very drab.  Oh, and let’s not forget the French Poodle that absolutely had to have a hand-carved, solid mahogany Louis XIV dog bed.
And the food!  Cats choose from freeze-dried Komodo Dragon, Minced Mouse Mousse, Chinchilla Sushi, or Passenger Pigeon Pate.  Our little canine friends are offered Steve’s Raw Chateaubriand Diet, Elephant Loin, White Buffalo Brain, and (yum, yum) for those puppies that have been especially good, Braised Suckling Pig.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to lunch. Today I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple, which I share with the homeless gentleman down the block.

June 16, 2015


I worked in the pet trade years ago, and came away from the experience with a ‘pet peeve.’
New dog ‘breeds.’
You’ve all heard of the Labradoodle.  This is a cross between a Poodle and a Labrador Retriever.  When this ‘breed’ was newly-minted in Australia at the Tegan Ranch, the progeny sold for $1500 to $2500!
Not a bad price for a mutt…and that’s what these puppies are. 
But folks used to come to the pet shop daily with their noses in the air over these mongrels.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against mutts—they make terrific pets, they are smart, and they have many fewer health problems than the purebreds.  But for these affluent upper-classers to ponce around with their noses in the air over a three-thousand-dollar puppy that they could have had for around fifty bucks at a local shelter makes me think that the money would have been better invested in brain transplants.
As an enterprising citizen, I have decided to cash in on this disposal of discretionary income that only P.T. Barnum could have devised.
I am going to create my own breeds, too.
Here are my new Poodle crosses, as well as a few others to be on the lookout for come next spring:
Great Poo—A Great Dane/Poodle cross.  The name sums up what he will leave on your lawn.
Cockadoodle—Poodle/rooster cross.  Must be fed promptly at dawn.
 Shoobedoobedoodle—Poodle/Frank Sinatra cross.  Has questionable business associates and blue eyes, but at least it’s hypoallergenic.
Kittenkaboodle—Poodle/cat cross.  Smart enough to do tricks, but refuses to.
Hungarian Pukei—Interesting looking dog with a sensitive stomach.  Eats freeze-dried Pepto Bismol.
French Chihuahua—usually seen around Taco Bell, turning up its nose at the food because the proper wine isn’t being served with it.
English Sheepdoodle—Sheepdog/Poodle cross.  Herds circus performers.
Saint Limberger—foul-smelling dog that revives unconscious skiers by breathing on them.
Pugoodle—Pug/Poodle cross.  A small feisty dog that punches itself out for looking like a sissy.  White curly coat, black eyes.
Schipperkoodle—Schipperke/Poodle cross. A small, irritating dog that lives way too long.
Bagel—a small hound plagued with yeast infections.
Pit Poodle—Pit Bull/Poodle cross.  A small fighting dog that slaps its adversary into submission, then runs him over, pushing a gaily-decorated wagon full of cats while balancing a ball on his nose.
Am I going to make a fortune, or what?

June 4, 2015


I have a question.
When did the simple act of a child brushing his or her teeth become a festival?
was in the grocery store the other day and happened to notice that there is now an entire section of dental products geared for the kiddies.
We didn’t have this back in the Stone Age, when I was a child.
When learning the fine points of dental hygiene,  what we had was a mother standing over us, handing us a plain old manual toothbrush, and squeezing onto it the same mint-flavored toothpaste that the grown-ups used, then showing us how to hold it and the proper way to brush.  Oh, and not to swallow the toothpaste, because we’d get sick if we did.
That was it.  We brushed our teeth twice a day and didn’t think anymore about it.
That was then.
NOW it’s a party.  There are, conservatively, 700 different types of toothbrushes, and even more if Disney comes out with yet another animated movie hit.  They are every color of the rainbow.  They are electric. Some play music.  Some talk.  I think some even have DVD players in them.
So NOW, in a bathroom gaily festooned with streamers, balloons, and glitter, the brushing of youthful teeth becomes a rite of passage.  Photographers are hired.  DJs set up in the bathtub.  Party dresses and suits are purchased.  The family is invited over.
Kids don’t even have to worry about learning not to swallow the toothpaste—there is toothpaste that they CAN swallow, in all different flavors including strawberry, chocolate, tutti fruitti, split pea, and avocado.  Not only will they brush their teeth with the stuff, but will probably put it over ice cream, too.
It’s going to be a bad day at the local Emergency Ward when the kiddie toothpaste eventually changes over to the regular kind and all the kids in town have to get their cute little stomachs pumped because they each ate three tubes of regular toothpaste, never having been told that they can no longer do that.  On the up-side, the stomach pump will be pastel colored and sport stickers from ‘The Lion King.’
Then, there’s the kiddie mouthwash in many bright colors, most of which are reminiscent of toxic waste. These products will brighten their teeth, give them healthy gums, and raise their IQs by 75 points.  And the bottle even converts to a scooter!  That’s another thing—the bottles.  In order to add to the society-page cotillion that oral hygiene has already become, we add mouthwash containers shaped like ‘Hello Kitty,’ the Minions, Sponge Bob SquarePants, Edgar Allan Poe, and Charles Manson.

Well, the kids can have all that crap.  Me?  I’m waiting for the Chardonnay flavored toothpaste.