Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Uncle Angus is very proud

ANGUS, OUR COWBOY Corgi, is about to become an uncle. Angus' sister, Jess, lives just east of town on the same farm where Angus was born. Jess is very, very pregnant. Very soon a litter of cute Cowboy Corgis will be born.

There has been some hinting from Sheryl about a new puppy coming to Hart Manor in Calftown. I am against this, because we already have three dogs and a cat (Josie) who thinks she is a dog. Four is enough.

I asked Angus about this, and both of his ears actually perked up (one is usually down, since he only half-listens most of the time. Geesh. What a boy dog.) Angus says he is unsure of this whole uncle thing and says he really doesn't care if he gets to meet his new nieces and nephews. But you can tell he's proud of being a new uncle and secretly he'd love to road-trip it to meet them.

When the puppies are born I'm sure there will be plenty of photo-sharing on Sheryl's Facebook page. Perhaps we will go meet the puppies, but I'm pretty confident we'll remain a three-dog and a cat family.

Still ... they will be pretty darn cute...

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Bette Davis lawyer eyes

EVERY MORNING WHILE the dogs and I stroll and get ready for the day, Sheryl watches Perry Mason on our local MeTV station. I will sum up every episode, so apologies for the spoilers, but somebody gets murdered, the wrong person is arrested and hires Perry Mason, he methodically takes apart the prosecutor's case, and the real murderer breaks down in court and confesses.

Never mind that this is usually during a pre-trial hearing, not even the preliminary hearing or during an actual trial. But why let real life get in the way of "so good it's bad" 1963 television?

This morning, lo and behold, Perry Mason had suffered some unfortunate malaise and was in the hospital. In his place stepped up the legendary Bette Davis, playing a widowed attorney defending a James Dean-like young man falsely accused of murder. Again, I hate to spoil it, and I only saw the very end, but Better Davis runs through all the suspects and then points out the real killer. In the courtroom. Right. The killer breaks down and confesses on the spot with a maniacal laugh, and the accused breathes a huge sigh of relief as the camera closes in on the smirking and triumphant Betty Davis.

"She's got Bette Davis eyes," I said, recalling the horrid 1980s song.

"I know, and they are .... piercing and disturbing," Sheryl said. "This is early women's rights!"

Actually, it's kind of cool. I'm sure Hollywood was a man's game back in the 1960s, and to have a woman portray a figure of authority and slick coolness was probably rare. Bette Davis pulled it off with a bad haircut and those eyes.

In the end, Perry Mason calls her from his hospital bed and says he is going to get better because the prosecutor can't take tangling with Bette Davis, and wants a fairer fight. Of course, Perry Mason went 255-0 during his days as a defense lawyer, but again, why let reality interfere with classic television?

Uh oh. Matlock just came on. Better turn the TV off and head to the store - not even Sheryl would leave Matlock on to torture the poor dogs while we are at work.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Is Marino the quarterback?

SHERYL ACTUALLY PAUSED her Dr. Who show last night when I told her to watch this clip of her Miami Dolphins beating New England on the last play of the game.

"Is Marino the quarterback?" she said. Sheryl was born in Florida. She couldn't care less about football, but she does like the Dolphins, especially if it means beating New England. Don't we all?

A guy named Ryan is the quarterback. He threw a pass, and one guy flipped it to another, and a receiver playing defense for New England fell down and couldn't tackle him, and Miami won in miraculous fashion.

"That's a good thing," Sheryl said. Then she resumed watching Dr. Who.

And that, friends, is a classic Dolphins fan reaction.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Twitter and not communicating

I'M ABOUT TO give up on Twitter. Sheryl made me an account and I admit I scroll through it daily, though I never post. Twitter is a great thing to keep up on breaking news, but it's so virulent and full of unchecked lies and rants. If you make this the way to communicate with your people, well, you aren't very good at communicating.

Tuesday night I was working at the paper in sports, getting results from games and putting stories together. Basically the way it works now is that coaches email scoresheets to the paper, and we put together a short story. If the game is close or if a player goes off, we'll call the coach and try to get more information.

One of our young college kids got a result from a double overtime game and alertly called the coach to get more details. The coach said, "Everything I have to say about the game is on Twitter." And he hung up. So our guy called the losing coach, but of course he didn't answer or return the call. The coach's twitter account was private and we couldn't access it, of course.

Really? Your team just won a double overtime thriller and a local newspaper is calling you and you shrug it off? Hmmmm .... maybe there is more to this, but I suspect it's the way of the world these days - screw you, I'm just tweeting my results and you can take it from there.

This coach is just torpedoing his own program, keeping his team and players from getting recognized. I understand it's tough being a coach and the last thing you want to do sometimes is deal with the media, but the smart coaches realize it's part of the job and something you have to do.

I am not speaking about anybody in particular, but sports guys tend to have long memories. They remember who is good to work with, and who isn't. I spent 10 years in sports and working relationships were huge. If we had a program with a coach who didn't quite get it, do you think that played into coverage of games, all area teams and other things?

Yup. I was human and petty about it too, I guess.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Critters in the cemetery

WE ENCOUNTER PLENTY of critters on our morning Woodland Cemetery walks. We've seen tons of squirrels and moles, of course. The dogs have kept the mole population down this year and have probably killed at least 30 to 40 of them. Moles breed by breathing air so poor Eric and his staff are constantly dealing with mole trails through the grass. So they like the dogs.

This morning Genie caught a squirrel, which then played dead as it hung in her jaws. Since it wasn't fighting back, Genie simply dropped it, and the squirrel got up, looked Genie square in the eyes and said, "SORRY SUCKER." Then it flew up a nearby tree and laughed like a maniac at the ticked off dogs.

A couple of weeks ago in the far southwest part of the cemetery we saw from a distance what looked like a large cat. It was reddish in color, and it kind of hard to tell because it darted into the woods, but I thought it might be a red fox.

This morning, not 10 yards in front of me, the fox suddenly popped up. Tucker and Angus were off somewhere but Genie saw it right away and gave chase. It was no contest - the fox was a blur as it gathered momentum and flew down the hill. Genie chased it for maybe 100 yards, then gave up.

There are also deer, possums and raccoons hanging out in the cemetery. I saved a possum not long ago by the City Vault - it was so fat that it could barely waddle, and the dogs nipped at it a few times until I shooed them away, and off the poor frightened beast went into the safety of the wood.

There are also lots of hawks and bald eagles, especially when the river freezes up and then head over to the lock and dam to fish. You know there is something dead in the woods when you see the turkey vultures circling in the air and about to swoop down to pick at the carcass.

The dogs agree - it's a beautiful thing hanging out with all the creatures!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Ukes are still cool

ONE OF THE best decisions we've ever made at Second String Music is getting into ukuleles. They are massively popular because they are affordable and easy to play. Yesterday was Uke Day at Fifth and Maine and typical of this time of year.

It started when a woman came in and bought three awesome Luna ukuleles for her grandsons for Christmas. We sold two more ukuleles, including our last Alvarez pack. No worries - we still have lots of affordable Penguin ukes and lots of Amahi,  Gretsch and Luna ukes.

They are easy to play because they are small, lightweight and have four strings. The chord shapes are relatively simple and it's not hard to strum. I had to learn about a year ago to play them because I have three uke students now and three or four others this past year.

If you have a child interested in music, a Penguin uke is perfect, starting at $45. These aren't the Wal-Mart toys, either. They are real instruments and sound great. We have them in concert, soprano and tenor sizes, and there's a uke for your budget and abilities.

It's all about Yuletide and Uketide greetings at Second String Music!