Saturday, September 03, 2011

This is not a picture of Charlie, but it looks a lot like Charlie did.

This is not, but looks a lot like, Charlie

Charlie Brown Kaseberg
The Erstwhile Earl of Elm Street

As I have been thinking a lot about our recently departed, Kasey, it brings to mind my favorite childhood dog stories about our dog, Charlie, the world’s most neurotic dog, as my Dad called him.

Charlie was a miniature poodle, taller than a toy or tea cup poodle, but smaller than a standard poodle. He was about beagle or spaniel sized. He had apricot colored curly fur that we did not trim in the annoying and silly style of a classic French poodle with the poofy hips and shaved legs, etc. No, Charlie was scruffy and cute.

At least to look at.

To neurotic I would add Charlie was one of the world’s most duplicitous as well as sexually ambiguous of dogs. (Our one attempt to have him mate resulted in such a hilarious and embarrassing disaster, my Mom could not bring herself to speak of it. Let’s just say when the lady dog made an advance, Charlie ran under the couch and hid) When asked about this topic, my Dad would simply say;

"Charlie squats to pee."

Charlie’s duplicity revealed itself in the fact that Charlie was my Mom’s dog, first and foremost. Their love for each other was limitless and unqualified. As for how Charlie loved the rest of us? Not so much. He tolerated us is how I would describe it.

When you put the leash on Charlie to take him for a walk he wagged his stumpy tail and danced around with joy and was affectionate. He even ran half way up the staircase so you didn’t have to bend over to put the leash on him, an accommodating trick my brother taught him. However, when you bent to unclasp the leash after the walk he would growl and snap. (Let’s add ungrateful to neurotic, duplicitous and sexually confused)

When my Mom came home, even after a quick trip to the store, Charlie would become utterly unglued he was so beside himself with joy. When my brother or my Dad or I came home, if my mother was home, Charlie would dutifully go through the motions of greeting us; he knew it made my Mom happy. If my mother wasn’t home when we came in the house? Charlie wouldn’t even bother to get up.

Duplicity. Thy name was Charlie.

Charlie was living proof that a dog could be too smart for his own good. When my Mom had a fender-bender, Charlie was thrown to the floor of the car. He was fine, but he refused to get in the car after that. He flat out refused. We had to get a sedative and drug him silly to get him in the car for trips to the vet or the groomer.

Charlie loved to stand on top of an upholstered chair we had by the window in our parent’s upstairs bedroom facing Elm street, there he would lord over our street. He would look out as The Earl of Elm Street as my Mom called him, as regal as any king. If he liked or knew somebody, a neighbor or friend, he would woof and wag his stumpy tail. If he didn’t know or like somebody or something he would bark and or snarl. The more he didn’t like something or someone, the more he would bark and snarl.

From the back he looked like a little man standing on the chair wearing a fur coat.

People walking down the street thought this performance was hysterically funny and would laugh and point up at the crazy dog. We didn’t think anything of it.

But Charlie reserved his most furious and judgmental barking for our down-the-street neighbor’s dog, Wotan. (Pronounced whoa-tawn) Although a nice dog, Wotan was not a dog to mess with. Aptly named for the Norse mythology god of war, Wotan looked the part. He was part Huskie and part Rottweiler. When Charlie would bark furiously at Wotan, Wotan would simply give Charlie a look of annoyed disdain.

One day while I was playing with the football in the front lawn, my brother, John, was coming back from walking Charlie and our neighbor was walking Wotan across the street to the park on the corner. Charlie waited until he was in safe running distance of our front door and then he let loose with furious barking and mean snarling at Wotan.

That was it, Wotan had finally had enough. (And part of me didn't blame him)

Wotan broke from his owners hands and ran at Charlie. Charlie and John froze. With a giant leap and one fell chomp, Wotan bit Charlie’s neck. Charlie yelped and then collapsed in a lifeless heap. John was hysterical, Wotan stood over Charlie’s lifeless body. Wotan’s owner was horrified and ran over across the street apologizing profusely and grabbed Wotan by the leash;

“Oh my god, I am so sorry, Wotan has never done this before. My word, I think he snapped your poor dog’s neck. I am so sorry.”

Uncharacteristically stoic, John picked up Charlie’s lifeless and limp body, Charlie’s eyes were closed, his head hung down with his mouth agape and his tongue hanging out, he was as motionless and lifeless as a rag doll. If he was a cartoon character, he would have X's for eyes.

In numb shock, we put Charlie in the house and deposited his curly body on the soft white carpet in the living room and went back outside to talk to Wotan’s owner and shut the door. How on earth will we be able to tell our mother her beloved Chaz-bo, Chuckie-whuckers, Charlie Brown Kaseberg, was dead as a mackerel?

After consoling Wotan’s owner who I remember as being very nice, we walked back to return in the house to put Charlie’s body in the basement as we tried to think of what to tell our Mom. We couldn’t have her walk in and see Charlie’s body. We decided to put his dog bed in the basement and put him in it.

When we opened the front door and looked in the living room, we couldn’t believe our eyes. No Charlie. His body was not there. What the hell could have happened? Nobody else was home to move a dead dog.

After a quick search we discovered Charlie was in the kitchen drinking out of his water dish as pretty as you please as if nothing had happened.

When Wotan attacked, Charlie had feinted. There weren’t even bite marks on the dumb dog’s neck.

The other classic Kaseberg dog story starts a lot more ominously with my Mom slicing open her wrist through a broken basement window.

There were six foxhole-sized cement trenches surrounding our house so the basement could get some light. Cleaning out the leaves in Spring the Fall was a dirty, slimey and thankless task. A window had stuck and my Mom put her hand through it trying to open it.

Once again, John was returning from walking Charlie when the chaos to drive to the hospital ensued.

We piled into the car, my Mom had her bloody wrist wrapped in a green kitchen towel. Before this the colors green and red together meant Christmas. Suddenly they represented abject terror and fear. My Dad drove so fast the police turned on their sirens in pursuit, but then led us as an escort when they saw what was happening.

After emergency surgery and thirty stitches later, we returned home, my Mom’s arm in an ace bandage and a sling.

But where was Charlie?

If we were quiet, we could hear a muffled “har, har, har, har” noise coming from behind the basement door. When I opened the door to the basement landing, we saw, in his haste and worry, John had put Charlie’s leash handle up on the shoulder high hook in the wall, but he had neglected to unhook Charlie’s collar off the leash.

Sadly, the leash was not long enough for Charlie to reach the ground with his front paws. Charlie had to dance around on his hind legs to keep from strangling the entire two hours plus we had been gone. He had been barking so hard and for so long, he was horse. When we finally let him down, he ran to his water bowl and drank water for ten minutes.

As he was a yappy dog, it was kind of nice having Charlie voice lost for a couple of days.

When I was home from college in Santa Barbara one summer, Charlie’s breathing became labored. He was now 15 and showing his age. With my Mom off at work running the Northwestern Kellogg graduate school Non-Profit Department, I had come home early from my job as a sports camp counselor at my old elementary school, Crow Island, to check on Charlie. As soon as I got home, it was obvious I had to call the vet to come to our house, Charlie’s breathing was rough.

I’ll never forget the look of fear in his eyes as he sat in my lap wheezing as I pet him and tried to comfort him. Clearly I was not Charlie’s first choice to be the one holding him at this time, but I was glad I was there for him. And I think he was glad too.

Suddenly Charlie stiffened up as if he was stretching. He looked up and off to something in the distance and then I saw the light leave his bright brown eyes; then his little body went limp, this time for good.

The vet finally arrived, although too late. I had to remove Charlie's collar with his tags and slip Charlie’s body in the black plastic bag the vet held open. His soft and lifeless body reminded me of Morgy, my beloved stuffed dog I slept with as a child. Before this exact moment, I didn’t realize how much I really did love that annoying, crazy dog.

Duplicitous, neurotic, cranky and judgmental though he may have been, you only get one dog of your childhood, and mine was Charlie. And now Charlie was gone.

When my Mom got home, I walked outside to tell her. When she got out of her car, her first words were a hopeful;

"How's Charlie?"

My face was all she had to see. My heart was so broken for my Mom, words would not come out of my mouth. Then she ran past me, inside, and upstairs and shut her bedroom door. It was the first time I heard my Mom cry since John F. Kennedy died when I was five.

Well, if you don’t count the movie; “Gone With The Wind.” Mom was an absolute blubbering fool when she watched that stupid thing.

My Mom was the picture of stoic bravery as she soldered on without Charlie the rest of that summer. But we could tell she missed him something fierce. Something awful fierce. What I didn't know until then, but what we all learn, is when someone you love so much hurts that much, it is a horribly empty and helpless feeling.

By the next summer, Mom could actually laugh at a Charlie story. Like the ones about Charlie's infamous gas problem, a problem we sometimes suspected my Mother occasionally framed on him, as Charlie was the perfect alibi: always right by her feet. And he could not deny it. And he truly was a farting machine.

Charlie was so much of a farting machine his gas magically continued even after Charlie was gone. We apparently had the world's only farting ghost dog.

(So sorry, Mom, you know I love you, but your taste for rank-smelling cheeses had dire consequences for all of us)

My Mom, a good sport, would try not to, but she had to laugh at this story. But after laughing she would wipe her eyes and quietly say;

"Poor Charlie."

Friday, September 02, 2011

New Mexico State Trooper caught on camera having sex with a woman on top of her car. But if you ask me, she's the real trooper here.

He claims he was just drilling her on the penal code.

Not sure what his rank was, but I am guessing Staff Sergeant.

Not sure what her car was, but I am guessing Mercedes Benz-over.

Since you asked:

Think of all the things we can now now thanks to cell phones, computers and web sites and digital advancement and improvement in transportation that only the filthy, filthy rich could afford 40 years ago. 40 isn't that long ago. 40-year-old guys still play professional sports.

Having access to and owning thousands and thousands of books and songs.

Watching any movie you want in your home on a big screen whenever you want to

Being able to access a powerful computer

Talking on a phone in a car

Being able to shop from home

Any kind of great food delivered right to to your house

Going to Europe

Having a time piece that was accurate to the split second

Being able to talk to someone face-to-face thousands of miles away using screens.

Instant access to the very best in medical equipment.

10 Funniest Movie Scenes 1997-2007

Great stuff

Thursday, September 01, 2011

He wearin’ his no-never-minds while out wit’ his used-to-be, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers

The Kentucky man, who lost his lawsuit against his doctor for amputating his penis without his permission, is still furious at the doctor. And you can’t blame him for being a little short.

It is really getting ugly between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. Is it just me or do these two guys look like the guys smoking pipes and raking leaves in the Fall LL Bean catalog?

Is it just me or do these two guys look like the golfers who can’t wait for a ball to go in the sand trap so they can say; “Hey, nice shot, you’re on the beach.”

After Irene, a storm called Katia is building. I dated a woman named Katia right after college. So East Coast prepare to get pulled into a bar fight, your favorite t-shirt stolen and your car keyed after an ugly break up.

It is really getting ugly between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. Is it just me or do Mitt and Rick look like the guys they would use in a Viagra print ads targeting older gay men?

After Irene, a storm called Katia is building. Once I dated a girl named Katia. It didn’t work out, you know a relationship isn’t doing well when your third date is visiting her father in prison.

Actually her real name was Katie, but she changed it to Katia to seem more exotic. It was like putting a racing stripe on a Vega.

Nearby a NASCAR race in Bristol, Tenn. Police arrested a drunk, naked West Virginia man in his car with his girlfriend and a raccoon. Or as they call that in West Virginia, a three way.

He was charged with public intoxication, indecent exposure and writing a country song without a license.

Since you asked:

Just because I personally don’t like pseudo-intellectual rock, specifically Depeche Mode and Husker Du, that doesn’t mean they aren’t talented in their own self-righteous annoying way. Got to admit, ever since “I Love You, Man” I have come around to like Rush. OK, tolerate Rush.

The bands I truly despised – besides, of course, disco - were the punk bands of the Seventies. Their fans never understood that the word loser cannot be eradicated by the word rebel. And this includes their devotees, those a-hole music critics of the “Village Voice” and “Rolling Stone” and “The New York Times” who constantly thrashed everyone from California and even Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones at times.

Like I said, documentaries have revealed that the majority of “musicians” in bands like The Dead Kennedys, the Ramones, and the Sex Pistols did not know how to play their instruments. They just pounded out noise. But because the lyrics were perceived as edgy and anti-establishment, the disenfranchised and unattractive New York area drugged-out moron youths ate them up.

Sadly some very talented bands were lumped into this category somewhere between punk and “New Age.” They include Blondie, Elvis Costello, The Talking Heads and even The Pretenders, great bands even though Chrissie Hynde is a world class hypocrite/bitch.

Musicians don’t have to be great in order to recognize great musicians. The band most mentioned by musicians as having the greatest musicians was first and foremost, Cream. All three musicians considered the very best at their instruments. Unlike with the useless critics, Led Zeppelin was known as a band with great musicians. Although I never liked his music, Frank Zappa surrounded himself with amazing session musicians. As did a band I did like, Steely Dan.

And sometimes sort of pop-like corny Seventies bands had amazingly great musicians, namely Chicago and Journey. (Yes, the Dawg, Randy Jackson, was one of the best bass players in the biz)

Doors? Not so much. Ray Manzarek was a great keyboard player, but that was it. Beatles? They practically started the cottage industry of rock studio musicians they had so many playing on their albums. George Harrison wrote some great songs, but was not known as a great lead guitarist. Ringo was not known as a particularly good drummer.

The definition of what makes a great musician can be very subjective. The Who’s Keith Moon’s wild solos and licks were the very iconic signature of their music, but he couldn’t keep time to save his life.

Is Neil Young a great harmonica player? Yes, because he has his own original, bare-bones, raspy sound and he is catchy as all hell. But he could not play a single Slim Harpo, Junior Wells, James Cotton and especially Little Walter, John Popper, Billy Branch or Stevie Wonder lick to save his life.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Neil Young fan. But there are musicians who claim you can throw a stick at any Malibu beach campfire and hit a more talented singer and guitar player.

Crosby, Stills and Nash used to roll with laughter in the studio at Neil’s one-note-repeated-over-and-over guitar solos. Dr. Hook's train wreck of a guitar solo on "Cover of the Rolling Stone" was said to be inspired by Young's solos.

But the man had a Tom Petty/ Lennon & McCartney/Stevie Wonder/Paul Simon/James Taylor-like ear for writing tunes people loved.

One of the greatest-selling albums of all time, the best selling album in 1972, "Harvest" consisted of all the Neil Young songs the egomaniac and coked-out Stills and Crosby refused to put on CSN&Y albums.

So he's got that going for him, which is nice.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not positive but I am pretty sure I just saw Moammar Gadhafi. He is working at a Van Nuys Seven Eleven and he was yelling at the skateboard punks to put down the "Penthouse"

The 11th foot in four years has washed up on a beach near Vancouver. As to who is doing this, like the victims, the police are stumped. They had to call an ambulance and a toe truck. It is the kind of gruesome and senseless crime that makes people hopping mad.

Here is my gorgeous board, J.C. - in honor of Jill Costello - with my bigger board, Gary the Gaucho in back of it.

Paddle hard, step back and crank a turn, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers

After Tropical Storm Irene, the flooding is so bad in Vermont, now when old men give directions by saying; “You cahn’t get there from heeere, ” they’re actually right.

Convicted child rapist and Texas polygamist, Warren Jeffs has been admitted to a hospital in a coma. It is the first ever case of a coma being disgusted and repulsed by who was in it.

A Pew report claims college plagiarism is up. Asked to comment, one student said; “These are the best of times, but they are the worst of times.”

Here is a little entertainment lesson on grilling for friends I learned the hard way.

We had guests coming over and I wanted to do a great job with steaks, so I went to the trouble and expense to pick up Spencer rib-eye steaks at the amazing Tip Top Meats in Carlsbad.

There were two girls – Ann Caroline invited a friend – four women and, including me, four men. I wanted to get the doneness of the meat exactly like they all said they wanted. All of the guys wanted medium rare, the way I do it.

When I explained to the women and the girls what my medium rare was, they said that was too rare. They wanted some pink, but that was all. So I told them that was actually medium. One woman said she wanted it medium to medium well, barely any pink at all. She even made a “eww grosss” expression when I suggested she try a little more pink.

So the first steaks for me and the fellas I grilled exactly medium rare. When I grill a ribeye, after letting it rest, I slice it into thirds sideways. That way people can take as much or little as they want, and they can see how done it is.

So I placed the medium rare cuts on the left and the middle of the pewter serving platter. The other steaks - for the women and girls - I grilled from just over medium rare to medium rare plus. With their coffee and sea salt and pepper crusts, they were amazing looking, perfect cross marks from the grill, bright red/pink to pink and all of them juicy.

But one steak I really cooked medium well. Just a slight, slight trace of pink, exactly like the woman asked for. Sliced it into thirds and put it farthest to the right on the platter so she would see it. And to make sure, I announced the cuts were placed medium rare on the left to medium rare plus in the middle and one medium well on the right.

Bammed them with chopped parsley and put it out for the guests to pick first, as I went back outside, covered the grill and did some cleaning up in the kitchen. And I poured myself a fresh glass of red wine.

When I got to the dinner table, guess which three solitary pieces were left for me? The three cuts from the medium-well steak. All the wonderful juicy, pink steaks had been snarked up. When I asked the woman, trying not to get testy, why she demanded medium-well but took the medium rare, she brightly said;

“Oh, sorry, all the other steaks just looked so juicy and good.”

Sorry, but not sorry enough to replace her fabulous medium rare cuts with my grayish dried-out cuts.

The moral of the story? Grill the steaks medium effing rare. If some baboon-head wants medium, let them nuke it in the freaking microwave.

This is now my only announcement to guests prior to grilling steaks:

“Attention, I paid for and am grilling these steaks the way god intended: Medium rare. There are no cold and bloody parts, it is cooked all the way through, but still pink and juicy. If you want them more done than that, take your pieces and nuke them for thirty to forty five seconds, you no-taste-having baboon.”

To the smug and self-satisfied douche-bag who parked his Volvo in the fire lane in front of Jimbo's Organic Grocery store to get his sushi order yesterday? Yep, you're the winner of today's Dewgie-bag-of-dicks award.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wrigley is our very own Thurber dog. Thurber said he gave his cartoon dogs the expression of a young man on the way to a social event he didn't want to go to.

So now tropical storm Katia is building. No lie, I dated a Katia in Santa Barbara. Her real name was Katie, but she changed it to Katia to appear more exotic. It was like putting a racing stripe on a rusty Yugo.

You have a good idea a relationship might not be going right when the third date was to visit Katia's father in prison. So, East Coast, prepare to have your favorite t-shirt stolen, your Heineken mirror shattered by your favorite coffee cup and your car keyed after an ugly break up.

Is it just me or do Mitt Romeny and Rick Perry look like the print ad for Viagra targeting older gay men?

Think maybe that hot dog I ate for lunch may have passed its expiration date. Since eating it I have felt like a homeless person eating out of the trash bin behind the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant's cafeteria.

Toll Booth in Blazing Saddles

Monday, August 29, 2011

"I'm walkin' here."

Careful, Ryan, there are things in here that don't respond well to bullets, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers

Sadly, I know how Lady Gaga feels at the VMAS when, after she admitted to masturbating to Britney, Britney would not kiss her. When I told Ana Faris that, she swore out a restraining order.

It is so wet in New York, somebody had to give that thing on Donald Trump's head mouth-to-snout resuscitation. Rats had to do the backstroke to get into KFC. For an extra $50, the Times Square hookers would give you a squeegee.

Upstate New York family terrified when a sewage truck crashed into their living room; they thought the channel had changed to "Jersey Shore."

The Tour of Spain is at stage 10. The Tour of Spain is a lot like the Tour De France except with even more people in the US not caring about a bunch of skinny, leg-shaving drug-cheating weasels.

Since you asked:

To give you an idea how exhausted I was following my 1 and 1/4 hour SUP surf session at Scripps on Saturday, I was headed for a quick and immediate bonk. Downed 20 ounces of SoBe apple and pear and felt better. Still, my brain was so fried, on the drive home, my emotions swung wildly from getting tearful at seeing a cute dog to my head spinning around and screaming;

"Why the f@*k can't you learn to drive?"

Then ate a sandwich and downed 32 ounces of organic lemonade. Tried to nap during a recorded Cubs game, but I kept doing that jerky, twitchy, snoring snark- thing which kept waking me up.

Downed at least 40 ounces of "Newman's Own" grape juice on the rocks during the rest of the day. (Damn that stuff is tasty)
Downed a few glasses of red wine with dinner.

That is about 110 ounces of liquids.

May be too much information, but I didn't pee until early the next morning.

In sports parlance a little before a body part indicates a minor injury that you can play through, but hurts. A slight sprain and it's "I got a little ankle, but I can go."

However, if you tweak a pelvis adductor muscle making a sharp turn on a surf board, as I did, you do not want to say;

"Yeah, I got a little groin."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Laird Hamilton shows you how to Standup Paddle

Another tough day at the office for Laird.