Tag Archives: dogs

The doggie dance

ELEANOR POWELL was Glenn Ford’s first wife, the mother of his only child. Fred Astaire said she was the best dancer in Hollywood, and that included him too.

This is worth watching. She even turns into a gymnast toward the finale. Four minutes of your time well-spent.

The clip is from the 1941 movie Lady Be Good, and Powell was 29 years old. Glenn Ford was a fool to let her get away.

August roof view

ON THE ROOF recently to wipe the rods of the solar water heater, I took this video and snapped the photo below.

I’m a sharing sort of fellow.

At about 10 seconds into the video, you can see what I call the Garden Patio down there with the red water tank. It’s where I keep yard gear. And then at about 23 seconds you can see the solar heater at the left, briefly.

In the photo below, the brick surface is the roof of the kitchen. Farther along, the red tile covers the downstairs veranda.

In the upper right corner is the home of our grumpy neighbors, the ones with the horse, pigs, dogs, etc.

It’s fun to go up on the roof because the view is spectacular, not just the neighbors but the mountains.

roof

The only other video I’ve shot from atop the roof was made five years ago. It’s on YouTube, not Vimeo, and presents quite a different perspective. Plus, it’s got Hillbilly music!

The video was shot very early. That’s morning mist.

That’s all for today. Enjoy yourself.

Object of envy

New Image
How it looked today, June 30 of 2016.

HERE I SIT on the veranda, just in from the morning walk around the neighborhood plaza, something I do most days to maintain my boyish physique and high humor.

I am an ideal object of envy. No job. No money worries. My health is good. My wife is young and beautiful. The weather is wonderful. Waffles and maple syrup (100%) await.

Birds sing. Burros bray. Horses neigh. Dogs bark. Hogs oink. All within earshot, night and day. And last night till 2 a.m., musicians howled on the plaza, so we slept with earplugs, something that doesn’t warrant envy, alas.

Hereabouts 11 a.m., the sky is blue and white. The temperature is 69. My utility bills are low, and my grass is high, green and damp. My wives are all alive and my daughter too.

I have no dogs, no cats, no outstanding bills, and both of our cars run smoothly though they could use a wash. It’s the rainy season, a constant battle for self-respecting vehicles.

The waffles are ready now, I’m advised. The maple syrup too, the daily second breakfast around the hour of 11.

It’s an enviable position in which to find oneself.

Rambling man

THIS MORNING, shortly after  dawn, I stepped out onto the upstairs terraza, as I often do at that hour, looked at the thermometer and saw 60 degrees. That rarely varies a degree much of the year at that hour.

The moment brings the standard thought: I’m lucky to live here.

I pause. I listen to the roosters. I listen to the burros. I listen to the dogs, all distant enough. Sometimes I listen to a passing freight train. It’s music to my ears, as someone famous once said.

Almost every day I head downtown in the afternoons for café at a sidewalk table, and there are options for baked sweet potato, lemon ice, shrimp cocktails from sidewalk stands and hot fig bread from a woman with a basket on the small plaza two blocks away.

Truth is, I rarely am interested in going elsewhere. When you’ve landed in a sweet spot, as I have, why climb out of the bowl? I’d just as soon not, but sometimes it’s necessary.

We’re heading to Mexico City shortly for as brief a visit as I can manage. We have to air out and dust the condo, plus my wife is going to try to make a hair more headway toward getting the deed to that place.

We paid it off years ago.

And then we’ll come home. Bus both ways. And the following morning, just at dawn, I’ll step out onto the upstairs terraza. There will be sounds of dogs and burros and roosters, and the air will measure 60 degrees.

And the red sun will just be creeping over the mountains.

The coffee view

cafe

I WAKE UP early, go pour coffee from the machine that’s already got it waiting. I break off a touch of Bimbo toast and go upstairs to read the news and some gossip. This season it’ll still be dark outside.

dawg

As time passes, the day outside the window over the computer screen starts to lighten, turning from dead of night to dawn as the sun brightens the mountaintops. I finish the coffee and the touch of toast.

horseSometimes I stand and walk out onto the terraza to get a feel for things. I’ll check the thermometer that’s nailed to the exterior wooden frame of the screen door. This time of year, it’ll be the high 50s. Sweet!

I take a look around, always liking what I see, the neighborhood.

Next door, of course, I see the horse in his makeshift barn. The street out back is where a house sits with its permanent dog up top. I doubt he’s ever felt tierra firma. He’s the stereotypical Mexican roof dog.

hotel

The horse and the dog are off to the right and behind. To the left is the sex motel, which is the building with the windows. The closer section is the corner of our upstairs terraza, here where I am standing.

Appears all of one piece, but it’s not.

The day is dawning foggy, as many mornings do these days. It will blow off in a couple of hours, and clear, sunny skies will emerge.

Until it rains this afternoon.

It’s a great place to live.

A baby’s funeral

church

AS WE ENTERED the old church, I looked at the baby on the floor by the door, and my wife noticed the other one in the small casket up by the altar. We sat down, and listened to the recitation given by a woman seated somewhere among the crowd.

We had not intended to crash a baby’s funeral. We were just on a Sunday afternoon stroll around the neighborhood plaza. We saw the church open and heard things coming through that big door.

The baby the young woman is holding in the photo was on the floor, smiling at me. The young woman was seated by the door. The toddler was nearby. The dog was inside too. We entered and sat a few moments. Then we left and sat on a plaza bench across the street.

Normally, when someone dies in the neighborhood, the church bell gongs for hours. We had heard nothing for this baby’s funeral, and I’m thinking the child died before it was Baptized, meaning all bets are off. Perhaps to Hell with it or simply Purgatory. Doesn’t seem right.

Offhand, I don’t know how Catholics handle this, but I hope the baby’s getting a less-raw deal. There was no priest in sight. It appeared that the neighborhood was winging it for the child.

Hoping for the best.

Newspaper days: San Juan

san juan

A PACK OF mangy dogs always loitered about the front door because a kind-hearted employee threw them scraps of food every day.

That front door took you into the lobby of The San Juan Star where I worked in the early 1970s. The newspaper in that time was like the French Foreign Legion of the newspaper trade, and it was really fun, the only journalism job I ever actually enjoyed.

The small newsroom was up a flight of stairs. It was nothing like the monster newsrooms of Houston and New Orleans, places where I also toiled both before and after San Juan. The Star newsroom was kind of cozy, and the people were very nice.

I worked, as always everywhere, on the copydesk, and my boss at the Star was a handsome coal-black news editor named Teddy who was from the island of St. Kitts. Teddy spoke with a lilting Caribbean accent, and he started out being very suspicious of me since I had arrived from Louisiana, and Teddy knew all Southerners were Klansmen who hang black men from trees.

He’d never been in the United States, and much of the news staff were New Yorkers.

But after a couple of weeks, Teddy realized I did not fit his stereotype, and we got along just great.

Handsome Teddy was a bachelor and a womanizer. He was particularly smitten with the Lifestyle editor, a tall, good-looking black woman with big boobs and behind who sashayed regularly through the newsroom on high heels, leaving Teddy with his eyes open wide and a silly grin on his face.

She was married, but I doubt Teddy cared much about that.

The composing room was just off the newsroom, and they played music there which often seeped out into our space. My favorite was Eres Tu by Mocedades. I still love it.

A pack of proofreaders sat in another adjoining room. Though they spoke little or no English, they were employed to correct errors in the English copy proofs. Made no sense whatsoever.

They were unionized.

The cafeteria downstairs that served lunches and dinners also sold beer, which we could buy to sip at the copydesk while working. Even in New Orleans, the booze capital of the world, the newspaper did not offer that perk, something I only did once in San Juan because it wasn’t smart.

Stepping out the front door, down to the right and just around the corner, you’d find a small establishment where you could sit at an eatery bar in dim light to sip black Cuban coffee almost the consistency of good, watery mud. It was tasty.

The San Juan Star was located in an industrial area off the John F. Kennedy Highway nowhere near downtown where I lived, so I traveled, standing, in a sweltering, jam-packed city bus to work every afternoon and bummed a ride back to Old San Juan at midnight with a coworker, or I took a taxi.

That was the routine on my second stint in Puerto Rico. During my first, briefer, stay, I rode a black BSA motorcycle shipped down from New Orleans in the hold of a Sealand freighter.

There were two midnight options. I could drink in a bar, or I could drink at home. At home, a black-haired, freckle-faced Argentine was waiting for me, so that was the more common destination. I had skin in that game. Home was a small penthouse apartment overlooking the sea.

mdI never got a haircut in Puerto Rico. I only cut my hair once, and I did it in St. Thomas in the nearby U.S. Virgin Islands where I flew on a couple of occasions as a passenger in a Goose seaplane. Mostly, however, I stayed pretty hairy. It was the 1970s.

I doubt The San Juan Star was ever much of a money-maker. It was owned by Scripps Howard, and it had won a Pulitzer. It was the sole English newspaper in Puerto Rico, catering to the American community and, of course, tourists. Union activity was a constant problem that finally ran the publication into the ground in 2008, long after I had departed. Such a shame.

It was reinvented the following year by different owners as the San Juan Daily Star. I don’t know where it’s located now, and I doubt that a pack of homeless dogs sprawls at the front door or that beer is served in the cafeteria. And God knows where Teddy is.

Guts gets styled

Guts goes metrosexual.
Guts goes metrosexual.

THE DOG NAMED Guts got himself a haircut, a bath and a tartan cloak. Following this transformation, it was revealed that Guts is a schnauzer. Who knew?

We first mentioned Guts here a few days ago, including a photo. Guts’ life has changed a lot in the past few days. First off, my sister-in-law decided to keep him, which delighted my nephew immensely, and how not? Who wouldn’t want to keep a dog who’s a gentleman, a scholar, a football player and — now — a metrosexual?

First, a local fellow who trains and grooms dogs was called, and Guts was carted off for an afternoon in what might be considered a dog spa. He came back transformed, a new man. Alas, his bath apparently took place with frigid water, and Guts came down with a cold the next day.

But it only lasted two days. Guts is sturdy. And it resulted in his receiving a tartan cloak because Gus was not accustomed to being bald on so much of his body. He was a hairy, street mutt.

I have learned more of Guts’ story: Over two years ago, a relative of an employee in my sister-in-law’s business received Guts as a gift. The gift was unwanted, so the recipient gave Guts to the employee. But it turned out that the employee’s young son is allergic to dogs.

So Guts was put out on the street in front of their house. He was still fed and watered out there, but he was not allowed into the house. Guts lived pretty much alone on the street for two years, though fed.

Somehow Guts ended up visiting my sister-in-law’s business downtown last week. He got along so well with everyone, the employee said: Keep Guts. And they did.

I’m no dog person, but Guts is incredibly amiable. Even my child bride, who refuses even to pick up a dog because it gives her the willies, is partial to Guts. Guts has winning ways.

And now he has a new home, a haircut, a bath, a tartan cloak for warmth, and soon he’ll be getting his shots. He also has a doghouse cut from a big cardboard box. It’s just inside the business, next to the human bathroom.

Good for Guts.

A dog named Guts

Guts
This is Guts.

HE’S A GENTLEMAN, a scholar, a football player and a pooch. He goes by Guts.

He’s a gentleman because he doesn’t jump up on your leg. When he is outside my sister-in-law’s business, he only goes to the open entrance, no farther. He stops there and waits, one paw on the stoop.

He’s a scholar because he’s clearly intelligent, which is also why he’s a gentleman. Perhaps his formal schooling is deficient, making him not technically a scholar, but if you want smart, then Guts is your guy.

He’s a football player. Actually, it’s soccer because he lives in Mexico, but it’s not called soccer but football or rather futbol  in Spanish. Guts plays second fiddle on a two-man team.

The star player is my nephew who is 11. The two play on the sidewalk late in the evenings after the business has closed for the night. Guts is really into the game, playing with his paws, not technically kosher, of course.

Guts is a street fellow and needs a bath. You may wonder where he got the name of Guts. The daughter of one of my sister-in-law’s employees named him that. Actually, his name is Tripas, a Spanish word that means, well, Guts. It also means Intestines, but I favor Guts, don’t you?

It has more style.

Guts has guts because it requires guts to live on the street in Mexico and remain somewhat clean, especially when in your heart you’re a gentleman, a scholar and a football player.

Guts, a little guy, is also an optimist with a sunny disposition. I like him.