Tucker For President

As the Beltway blowhards get their onanism on while the pitiful children in charge of government have their long-awaited tantrum (will the government shut down or not? To flee or not to flee, that is the question), any opportunity for distraction and levity is most welcome. Enter Tucker, my new hero.

Tucker, the singing schnoodle:

Review: first, the fact that it’s a schnoodle (schnauzer mix) had me at hello; second, look at that guy! Before a note was played, I was done the second he flew into the frame, and the ears flopped like popcorn-scented wings (if you have ever had, or loved, a miniature schnauzer, you’ll understand).

Tucker, round two:

Review: it couldn’t possibly get better, but it gets better. Tucker is not holding back here; with a barbaric yawp that would make Whitman blush he cries out to articulate the pain, profundity and joy of existence. At least that’s what I’m getting from it. But the best part is when he realizes he is being filmed (you can see the exact second his eyes connect with the camera) and he abruptly halts the performance. Then he expresses his displeasure with a brattiness that is well-known to anyone who has owned or loved a miniature schnauzer, and, as a non-poodle endorser, I have to give it up and concede that the poodle factor is only upping the cute ante here.

I am reluctant to admit how many times I’ve watched this in the last 24 hours, or how much bliss it has delivered. Has a dog ever been stalked before, on the Internet no less? I’m not saying it’s on but I would buy a baby grand for Tucker without a second thought.

And then just when you are thinking: that is a tad too precious (and I know if you are thinking that you are not fooling anyone), we hit the animal jackpot. No set-up or explanation necessary; just watch and savor (and then weep):

Finally, for old time’s sake, our good friend Myron (more on him here):


Thanksgiving 2010: Some Things I’m Grateful For

Give it up for old school (and the Oskar Blues brew pub’s vintage arcade room):


John Davis for helping make people aware of obscure American treasure, Blind Tom Wiggins (for eight bucks you can download this album at Amazon.com and it might just be the best money you spend this month, and possibly this year).


Speaking of American treasures, how lucky we are to have Mark Morford who is like a Mark Twain for our times or a David Sedaris with a political acumen. He slices, dices and souffles our imbecility and hypocrisy, and makes you laugh while you read about it (that itself is a minor miracle). Check him out this week, at the top of his game on the TSA silliness. Sample for your pleasure (and so I can read it for a third time):

Let’s also put aside the assorted political bitching of people like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — never one to pass up an opportunity to whine like a goddamn child and blame Obama for everything, despite how it was the Bush administration that invented the damnable TSA in the first place. Jindal says we should skip the groping and scanners and use some kind of profiling instead. Dear Gov. Jinhal: That’s a fine idea. Of course, you yourself, with your shifty eyes and scary, anti-American Hindu lineage, would be singled out for a hard grope in a millisecond. Just sayin’.

More? Okay!

And let’s ignore the inconvenient truth that a recent ABC poll found that 81 percent of Americans actually support the full-body scanners, at least until it happens to them. Is it not wonderful? Are we not a nation of fanciful hypocrites? Just add it to the list: security cams, irradiated food, red light cameras, handguns in bars? You bet! Except, oh wait, unless you’re talking about something near me.

That artists like David S. Ware, Matthew Shipp, Hamid Drake and William Parker are making music today that will be studied the way we dissect and savor all those impossibly perfect albums from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s:

William Parker Quartet:

David S. Ware Quartet:

For GQ writers, who continue (along with Esquire and Oxford American) produce the best feature stories year-in, year-out. 2010 is not over yet, but I already know I’m not going to read anything better, or more affecting, than Kathy Dobie’s piece (from the March issue), The Few, The Proud, The Broken. I’m sure the guy sitting next to me on the plane thought I was quietly weeping because my iPod had run out of juice, but it was actually because of the coruscating story I was reading. It got inside me and is still there. I’d suggest you read it, and keep it handy for future debates when your tax-cut-for-the-wealthy fellow Americans are using that shallow, scolding tone to talk about “entitlements”. Our collective willingness to wage war (on future generations’ tab!) and ignore the traumatized soldiers who return home has to rank near the top of topics we need to address.

For air conditioning:

Hey DeLay, how are you enjoying the (long, long overdue) hammer of justice?

For this guy with the Red Sox tat on his SCALP (and for me being able to get his picture without him noticing and beating me up):

For the spider that has lived in my car since this summer.

For having a great Pops, Mom and sister/brother combination.

For John & Holly:

For Arthur Lee and all the gifts he left behind, like this:

For Beethoven and Barenboim:

The collective wisdom of crowds (thank you YouTube!).

And finally (for now), Myron (and his mum), one of the most wonderful, soulful stories I’ve been fortunate enough to see this year.


Dog Is My Co-Pilot

Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows I am a big fan of all dogs (even the occasional poodle).

Major hat tip to Andrew Sullivan for putting this video on his site.

Blind dog playing fetch?

Is that a sick joke? A cruel animal hater’s unfunny viral video?

Neither. It is incontrovertible, life-affirming evidence of the pure soul that dogs epitomize.

Get the tissues out. This is a tear-jerker, but the tears are joyful and come from a place of incredulity: that enigmatic place that gives us answers to questions we don’t think or even try to ask.

On a whim, looking for a picture of this wonderful pup, I found that he is actually a bit of a celebrity. Check it out here, here and here.

As if Myron was not sufficient reason for celebration and another reminder of how much we can –and should– try to learn from dogs, we have his owners (Raquel and Terry Wood).

I have to say I’m not terribly surprised (although I am amazed, delighted, and inspired) that a dog who happens to have no eyes continues to live –and enjoy– life because, well, he’s a dog (which also inspires metaphysical rhetoric like what choice does an animal have? which also, of course, applies to human animals who happened to be born without sight–many of whom have contributed some of our greatest paintings, literature, and, above all, music) and this is what dogs do. The happiness they receive in proportion to the love and joy they expect or need is always humbling to the perceptive observer. I am, in a way, more appreciative of the example set by these two amazing people, who refused to let Myron be put down (as the vet advised) and have devoted the extra time and care to ensure he has a meaningful existence. The payoff, of course, is that this little miracle is also enriching their lives in ways that are easy to articulate, and quite evident in the videos here. More, Myron is able to provide –for anyone fortunate enough to recognize it– the type of meaning that we, like blind dogs chasing their tales, are too often unable to find via money and material acquisitions.