Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's been a big week for me (which it stands to reason means that it's also been a big year for me) in terms of my relationship with technology. As my vast readership is already acutely aware, on Tuesday I finally got high-speed internet for my personal computer. And having that made it so much easier for me to shop online for my first camera phone, which arrived in the mail today. So, to recap, that's high-speed internet (so fast) and a new camera phone in the same week. It makes me wonder what might happen in 2010. An HDTV? A Mac? Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Baby steps. And this year, I took some big steps forward. In more ways than one.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I've had high-speed internet for over 24 hours, and I haven't gone to one porn site. I guess I'm just a freak like that.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Seeing and spending time with Sidney was far and away the highlight of my time in Florida. I figured that it would be, and it did not disappoint. He was just the best dog he could be. The only thing that I was sad to leave was him. Otherwise, I was more happy to get home from a visit to Florida than I can ever remember being. Even returning to the truly winter weather that has beset Pittsburgh recently. I love Florida. But Pittsburgh is my home. It's where I feel the most comfortable.

Monday, December 28, 2009

It's good to be home . . .

JIM: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Uncle Dave.

Enjoy the weather in Florida! the skin on my legs has begun to get dry and itchy. Very dry. Very itchy. No moisturizer.

Do you have your high-speed internet yet? I have holiday porn to share!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

DAVE: I think Troy is done. At the very least, he is not anywhere near worth his big contract with him standing on the sidelines.

MICHELLE: What?!?!?! What has brought this about?????

DAVE: He doesn't play a full season anymore. These next two games are critical , and he can't play? Done.

MICHELLE: But I did hear that he signed on with a Hollywood agent….but I can’t imagine him giving up on football just yet.

DAVE: Yeah, I've seen him in more commercials this year than ever before. Good to know that he's keeping busy.

Is it the Madden Curse? Except that Larry Fitzgerald is fine.

MICHELLE: It does disturb me.

On a brighter note, are you in lovely Florida?

DAVE: I am. And it is lovely. The only problem is that as Uncle Dave, I am pretty much the low man on the totem pole around here. I have to sleep on the world's most uncomfortable pull-out couch, I generally don't sleep well here, and last night was no exception, I don't really have any space to call my own and provide some privacy, and everything is about the baby. But Sidney is here, and the weather is warm and humid. No dry, itchy skin today. No need to moisturize. And no socks for the first time in months.

Speaking of drunk relatives, read my blog.

MICHELLE: LOL! Merry Christmas Uncle Dave.

MICHELLE: Very funny – enjoyed catching up on the blog, except for the photo of the chick with very large breast enhancements. What is that about?????

Maybe if you have some vodka and tonic you will be less annoyed by your brother-in-law?? Just a thought. It’s always helpful during my family gatherings.

DAVE: That photo was part of the joke about the Catholics having coffee. It came with the joke. Jim likes seeing hot girls on my blog.

I know. I've tried that before, but I only end up feeling crappy afterward. He does not appear to get hungover. But I do. So, although I am sipping on a glass of Pinot Grigio right now, I'm going to keep my drinking to a minimum. Family gatherings. They are always better when you have the option to leave. When you're all packed into Grandma's house, there's no getting away from everybody. Even now, I'm in my parents' bedroom (which has become the de facto diaper changing room, for some reason), and my mother, father, sister, Evelyn, and Sidney are all in here with me. My sister's husband is outside. Nope, I spoke too soon. He's in here with the rest of us now.

MICHELLE: I know what you mean. We are planning on spending the night at my parents' this evening and I’m wondering if it is wise. But at least there will be visits to other family members in between. Then it’s off to Kentucky. Sigh. Not much time for relaxing.

Does your brother-in-law help with the baby at all? It seems likes he is a functional alcoholic.

DAVE: I really don't understand why people insist on running themselves ragged around the holidays. I swear, my mother has done more work since I've been here than I can ever remember her doing in any 24-hour period. She just won't stop. You can try to talk to her, reason with her, but it does no good. So, I try to help out here and there, but it bothers me that a woman of 71 puts herself through all of the craziness around the holidays.

Jerry does help with the baby. Even as I'm typing this, he just finished changing her and he's "getting her ready for bed." However, the reality is that he's a little passed out right now with his daughter in his arms. He passed out after dinner last night. I don't know what his deal is. I don't know whether he drinks this much at home normally, but he always seems to indulge when I see him. My parents and I were talking last night after they went to bed about whether my sister even notices.

MICHELLE: I don’t know either. All the preparation and it goes by so quickly! I try and remind myself every year to just relax and enjoy, but it never seems to work out that way. And I’m not even the one doing much cooking or preparation! There is just a ridiculous expectation that people try and maintain. It’s craziness. I look forward to Christmas, but it’s also nice afterwards to get back to some so-called normalcy.

Does he bring his own vodka???

DAVE: My mother slaved in the kitchen all day. My sister (who really doesn't cook herself) did not offer to help (that I know of) and even had the unbelievable audacity to ask my mother to watch the baby in the middle of her cooking, while her husband sat outside having a drink and reading, which is pretty much what he does when he's here. The thing of it is, I think, that when they're here, they consider it "vacation" time. And so they just sit back and relax and let my mother work her ass off to accommodate these ridiculous holiday expectations that come from god knows where. They definitely take advantage of her kindness when it comes to Evelyn, and it has been bothering me while I've been here. Because nobody says anything about anything, except in hushed secrets. And he drank a ton again today, only he didn't pass out. Honestly, this has not been a great visit for me so far, and I really don't know if I want to do it again next year. If it weren't for Sidney, I would be looking for a flight home tomorrow.

He drinks the big 1.5 liter bottles of Stoli that my father buys for him to drink. I think he's about halfway through his second bottle.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

. . . And the vodka and tonics have begun.
Well, I arrived in Florida yesterday to spend Christmas with my parents, my sister and her husband, their daughter Evelyn, and, of course, my buddy Sidney. Last year when I was here, it was under somewhat different circumstances as I was having some issues with my depression. But this year I come to Florida feeling pretty good. It's been wonderful to see Sidney, perhaps a little less so to see everybody else. I suppose we all have issues with certain members of our family, especially those that may not be related by blood. But suffice it to say that the universe around my parents' pleasant little house seems to revolve around Evelyn, which I'm quite sure is normal. However, it doesn't leave much room for me to even find a place to put my small bag, with baby items scattered about all over the house. Even Sidney's traditional distribution of his toys doesn't compare to the chaos of having a baby in the house. Anyway, that's the way things are, and I will have to just adapt and deal with them while I am here. Meanwhile, I suppose we all have issues with certain members of our family, especially those that may not be related by blood. As he often does when he is on "vacation," yesterday my sister's husband apparently drank his trademark vodka and tonic water cocktails all day long. The good news is that it's Christmas Eve Day at about 10:30 in the morning, and he hasn't had a drink. Yet.

Monday, December 21, 2009



Sunday, December 20, 2009

High lead levels in office for lead prevention
Shabby Lawrenceville building's peeling paint is likely source

Sunday, December 20, 2009
By Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Saturday, December 19, 2009

So, Pittsburgh got its first significant snowfall of the season overnight. No matter how little or how much snow we get, there are two things that you can always count on. Pittsburgh motorists do not clean all of the snow off of their cars before they hit the road, and they don't turn on their headlights, which are often still covered by snow, even if they are on.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I think my married friends with children have been grumpy lately. Is it the holidays? Are the holidays stressful for people with children? I guess they could be. I'd hate to think that the holidays were stressful for my parents when I was a young lad, but maybe they were. Perhaps I will ask them.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

DAVE: I received your politically correct, all-inclusive, environmentally conscious, recycled, and just plain brown holiday card today. Thank you.

MICHELLE: LOL!!!!!!! I love it. Only a few of my dearest friends will actually get that! I did also purchase recycled cards that said “Merry Christmas” as well!

DAVE: You know, considering how "earthy" you are these days, it's somewhat surprising that you don't come home from a day at your job and light up a nice, big, fat one.

MICHELLE: But I am too health conscious. I fear that would get in the way of productivity at the gym!

MICHELLE: You are lucky I didn’t just send a holiday E-Card. I gave it serious thought! Instead I opted to cut down my card output. You should feel very lucky.

DAVE: I do. I do feel lucky.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Interesting article:

The "word of the year" actually happened to me. And apparently, I'm "funemployed," another new word from 2009.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A funny joke from Jim . . .


Four Catholic men and a Catholic woman were having coffee.

The first Catholic man tells his friends, "My son is a priest. When he walks into a room, everyone calls him Father."

The second Catholic man chirps, "My son is a Bishop. When he walks into a room, people call him Your Grace."

The third Catholic gent says, "My son is a Cardinal. When he enters a room, everyone says Your Eminence."

The fourth Catholic man then says, "My son is the Pope. When he walks into a room, people call him Your Holiness."

Since the lone Catholic woman was sipping her coffee in silence, the four men give her a subtle, "Well....?" She proudly replies, "I have a daughter,



38D breasts,

24" waist, and

34" hips.

When she walks into a room, people say Oh, My God."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Steelers are not playing today, thankfully, so my attention is not as drawn to the football on TV as it might normally be on a Sunday in December. I'm blogging instead. I wanted to post a conversation that I had with Jim (aka Mr. Blondie, for you newbies) (That's the first time I've ever used that word, "newbies," in written or verbal form. I don't know how I feel about it.) last week.

JIM: So, over the past two days it's gotten really cold for this first time this year. Both days, I went out to my NEW CAR and the windshield was frosted up with ice.


This morning, I actually had to scrape the ice off the inside of my windshield with an ice scraper.

Called the service dept. at the dealer where I bought the car. They said I could bring it in and they would look at it if I really wanted them to, but there was nothing they would be able to do. The manager of the service department said that this is perfectly normal and happens to cars all the time.

Why does this always happen to me? I play by the rules, try to be a productive member of society; have a house in the suburbs with my wife, two kids and a dog; pay my taxes...

DAVE: That has never happened to me, and I lived in Toronto for two years. Maybe it's a trait unique to the Prius.

JIM: It's perfectly normal. There's not a problem at all.

And then we talked about turtlenecks.

DAVE: In addition to corduroys, I'm also a big fan of turtlenecks. Winter wear at its finest: corduroys and turtlenecks.

JIM: I think I might have a turtleneck somewhere. I wear a turtleneck once or twice a year. when my wife makes me wear one under a sweater around the holidays or something like that.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I was grumpy today. And I am rarely grumpy. Like many citizens of Pittsburgh, I was dealing with the reality that the Steelers are not only not going to make the playoffs this season, they really appear to be a team in complete disarray. In every phase of the game. So, rather than a nice follow-up season to last season's Super Bowl, the Steelers are having a down year. A bad, down year. It happens to every team in the NFL, and I would argue that it actually happens to the Steelers significantly less often than any other team. There are few down years for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But this is one of them. And, if you take the same comfort from this that I do, it appears that the Patriots are also a team in a bit of disarray and having a down year. So, it can even happen to the great, evil genius Bill Belichick and Golden Boy Tom Brady. And you know what else you can take comfort in? The Steelers will do what needs to be done in the off-season, and they will be back in the hunt again next season. Because that's what they do after a down year. They don't allow it to become a trend.

It's not like they're the Pirates.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why Leigh's last name no longer appears in the previous post . . .

AMY: Dude...what if your dream girl goes out to Google and types in her name? The first thing that will come up is your no-longer-quiet observation about her. Not just the delightful sexual encounter (albeit in your subconscious), but also how you think she's old and frumpy and overweight.

I worry, Dave.

I worry.

DAVE: She said she was middle-aged and frumpy. Those were not my words.

Sometimes it's hard having a blog, man. The story is so much better with her real name. It's perfect for the story.

AMY: Well, it's an inconvenient truth, but sometimes I think Al Gore's internet does more to damage relationships than to build them.

But I would find a way to damage my relationships no matter what, so I can't really blame Al.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs . . .

I went to a well-known private school in Pittsburgh from nursery school through tenth grade. And it wasn't until I got to high school that I had my first experience in coeducation. Of course, I cannot possibly describe for you what it was like to finally go to school with girls. It was glorious (cue: "Hallelujah Chorus"). But that's not the point of this post. One of the great objects of my burgeoning adolescent lust was a senior named Leigh. She had the most amazing body that I had ever seen in real life. Typical freshman boy lusting after a super hot senior who only dates the biggest jocks in school. Blah. Blah. Blah. As it turned out, I did get to know her (I was very convincing back then.), and we became friends, and I discovered that she was a really nice girl. Like, really nice. And she played for Jesus and all that. So, I guess you could say that my raging lust was somewhat dampened after I got to know her. But she was still a perfect unobtainable senior for me to enjoy the very sight of strolling, as she did, down the hallway in her corduroys. Oh, yeah, I forgot about that. It was 1983, and we weren't allowed to wear jeans to school. So, most of us wore Levi's corduroys, which were as close to wearing jeans as you could get. Well, the girls wore them, too. And some girls could really fill out a pair of Levi's corduroys. I think Leigh wore those Levi's corduroys better than anyone else in the school. At least that's how I've chosen to remember it now. So, anyway, all of this is exposition to the point of this post.

A couple of nights ago, I had a dream in which I found myself going down on Leigh.

In the morning, I was lying in bed thinking, and I was wondering, what ever happened to Leigh? And then I realized that thanks to the wonder that is Facebook, I could probably find out pretty easily. So, I did. I found her. Last night, I sent her a friend request with a little note. Today came her reply:

LEIGH: David, I'm not sure it was a good idea to accept your friend request - now you can see that the girl of your 9th grade dreams is now a frumpy, middle-aged mother of 7! :)
Dare I ask what, exactly, I was doing in your dreams of late? :)

So, I looked at one photo on her profile. Sadly, her description of herself was not off the mark. I was, I'm afraid to say, a little devastated. We're all in our 40s now. We're all middle-aged and frumpy. And a lot heavier than we were in high school. Including me. So, I wrote back:

DAVE: It's funny. Nobody calls me David except my parents and people from school. Anyway, I am so entertained by your profile photo now that I understand that you have seven children. That's really quite a lot, you know.

I didn't look at your photos. I'm not really much of a Facebooker. I only use it as needed. Like to find you. But perhaps I should just take your word for it that you're "now a frumpy, middle-aged mother of 7." You know, keep the fantasies intact and all that. And that's probably about all that I will dare to say regarding what, exactly, you were doing in my dreams.
DAVE: I'm getting high-speed internet on the 15th! Imagine the possibilities!


DAVE: Did you see the comment on the blog? FF already posted that website. You people are all alike.

JIM: Really?

Of course I saw it. I have never been on, but must admit that I am intrigued now. Let me know how it is.

DAVE: I'm not going to check it out. I didn't get high-speed internet so that I could watch porn on my computer. I got it so that, well, so that I can do everything that I do online now, only much faster.

Monday, December 7, 2009

After Michelle sent me a text last night in which she said that the only person that she really felt sorry for following the Steeler loss was Mike Tomlin . . .

DAVE: I'm going to disagree with you about Tomlin. I put a lot of this season on him. I understand and fully expected a Super Bowl hangover this season. That's why I felt in my heart that it was going to be 8-8. But once Troy went down, we stopped bringing the pass rush, and when the Steelers defense doesn't bring the pass rush, the secondary gets picked apart. It's been that way for years. The great blitzing protects the lousy secondary. Which, I admit, has had a particularly bad year. But Tomlin could have stuck with the pass rush. But he didn't. I'm actually very disappointed in him.

MICHELLE: I don't know, Dave. I don't know what the problem is...

DAVE: They sure as heck didn't unleash hell in December.

MICHELLE: Indeed not. And the more I think about it, I am getting pissed about Troy. He has played in what - 2 or 3 games tops? I hate to say it, but I hope his recent physical troubles are not correlated with his big contract. Probably not, but I'm still cranky.

DAVE: I understand. But I think, regardless of what everyone in the media says, that the defense is worse than people think it is, even with Troy in there. No pass rush and a lousy secondary. I will preach this as long as I live.

MICHELLE: Is LeBeau losing his touch??? Seems impossible. But yes, the defense should not fall apart without Troy. Seems like the secondary and special teams are always the bane of our existence!!!!!

DAVE: Yep. Secondary and special teams. That's it right there.

I doubt that LeBeau will return next season.
DAVE: Meineke Car Care Bowl! Woohoo!

JIM: I was joking with people on Saturday that Pitt would end up in some scrub bowl like the Meineke Car Care Bowl. I am prescient.

DAVE: Well, at least Pitt had a better season than the Steelers are. Wanny should get an extension just for that.

JIM: Did you mean "better" or "bitter"?

DAVE: Oh, I definitely meant better.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I just joined the 21st Century. I ordered high-speed internet, begrudgingly from (media mega-giant and getting bigger after buying NBC from GE last week) Comcast.

And because I know that it can take hours to accomplish something with Comcast on the phone, I placed my order online, using good old dial-up. Speed: 56 Kbps.

My whole life is about to change. Hopefully, for the better.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

JIM: I'm wearing corduroys today. Could life be any better?

DAVE: Big day. You're wearing corduroys, and Alan Iverson is coming back to the 76ers.

JIM: The corduroys are comfortable. But it makes me kind of sad to wear them. As it turns out, they are comfortable because they are a size 34 waist and all of my other pants are either size 32 or 33. I have been putting on weight lately because I have no time to exercise and barely have time to eat (and end up eating dinner quite often at odd times like 9:00 or 10:00 at night) and certainly have not been eating as properly as I should. So it turns out most of my other clothes are becoming somewhat snug around the waistline. I have pretty much given up even trying to wear any pants that are size 32 and even the size 33s are becoming uncomfortable. So, wearing my size 34 corduroys kind of makes me feel like I've just given in to getting fat and that's the way it's going to be.

DAVE: A few months ago, I gave all of my 32s to Goodwill. I am a 34, and I've accepted it. You will in time.

JIM: You aren't helping.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I have a confession to make. I live in some degree of fear that the depression will come back. I even have dreams in which I am experiencing depression, and then when I wake up, I am incredibly relieved. It's ironic, because when I was suffering severe depression, I would have dreams that I was fine, and when I woke up to find that I had been dreaming, I was devastated. I feel good now, but this specter haunts me.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Last week, in response to the complaint from Amy the Christian that I was not disseminating any information about myself via Facebook, I gave her the web address of this blog, knowing that there are a lot of things that she doesn't know about me, but not being able to think of a good reason not to let her know about the blog. I know that I have mentioned her before, but without checking, I'm quite sure whatever I said was not derogatory. At least I hope not. Anyway, today I received this response:

AMY THE CHRISTIAN: Well, this is like a Thanksgiving miracle.

LOVE the Quiet Observer...I have done a bit of scanning and have really enjoyed your insights. I haven't dug too deeply, but I'll be sure to check in on a regular basis from this point on to read your musings.

I had no idea of your hatred for Luke Ravenstahl.

That was probably the most surprising thing I've learned about you so far.

Very sincerely,
Your Old Friend Amy the Christian
The doctor treating Ben Roethlisberger's recent concussion is Dr. Joseph Maroon. He is a concussion specialist who other NFL players with concussions often come to Pittsburgh to see. About fifteen years or so ago, I went out on a few dates with Dr. Maroon's daughter. She was an interesting young woman. Like so many of the women who have come in and out of my life over the years, she had "Daddy issues."

Friday, November 27, 2009

I like a firm pillow. The firmer, the better. But it's hard to find a really firm pillow. There are all sorts of pillows at all sorts of prices that claim to be firm, but the only pillow that I have ever encountered that was truly firm enough to accommodate my sleeping needs was the Laura Ashley ultimate support pillow. Yeah, that's right. Laura freaking Ashley. True, the pillows come from an unlikely source, and they are Laura Ashley, but the pillows are the best. FF turned me onto the ultimate support pillow shortly after we met in the Fall of 2005. They sell them at Marshall's and at Bed Bath and Beyond, and she came with me to Marshall's to pick out the right pillow. I got one, and I loved it immediately. I've had that pillow for about four years, and I recently decided that it was time to replace it with a new one. (One without all of my dribble stains on it.) That pillow and I have seen a lot over our years together, including a lot of time that I spent in bed when my depression was at its worst. But I've been getting some new things lately, and replacing some things, so today, while the hoards were flocking to the malls, I made my way to Bed Bath and Beyond (because I had one of those blue $5 off a $15 purchase coupons that appear ubiquitously in the mail) where I bought my new Laura Ashley ultimate support pillow. At the risk of sounding a little cliche, I find myself at a point in my life where I am leaving some things in the past and moving forward with anticipation. And when I go to bed at the end of my days, and lay on my side in the fetal position, my head will be resting on a Laura Ashley pillow. Ultimate support.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's Thanksgiving and the window air conditioner on the second floor of my condo is still in. I always take it out for the winter, but I never did this year. Do you remember how it got chilly seemingly overnight starting on Labor Day, and how it never warmed up again above 80 degrees, and how it got cold early this year, and how we never really had Fall, and how we never had an Indian Summer? Yeah, well, I left my air conditioner in through all of that because I believed that it would get above 80 degrees again. But it never did. And now it's Thanksgiving. I've accepted that it is very unlikely that I am going to need to use my air conditioner again until Spring. But I think I'm going to leave it in this winter. There is already so much heat leaking out of this old house, and there are drafts everywhere. Leaving it in probably won't make a bit of difference.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I walk dogs around an area of Pittsburgh that is already overrun with dogs. And some of the owners of all of those dogs don't stoop and scoop. So, as a frequent walker in the area, I have to keep my eye out for those random landmines on the sidewalk. I have been walking dogs for almost three months, and it was not until today that I stepped in dog poo. And it was a bad one, buried and hiding surreptitiously in a pile of leaves. My left shoe got it. And it happened less than 50 feet from the daycare. Once I got back inside, I stood at the utility sink and washed my shoe for five minutes. It was disgusting. Stoop and scoop, people. It's your responsibility. And it's the law.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The fairytale romance and marriage of Pittsburgh's Boy Mayor and Mrs. Boy Mayor appears to be over.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I am really in the mood for some carrot cake. Like, right now. Mmm. Carrot cake.
Ben Roethlisberger is a big, strong man. But I fear that his football career will be cut short someday by repeated concussions.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

November in Pittsburgh. The sun did not come out today until 3:30. It was a beautiful sight. Then sunset was at 4:45.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

PRECIOUS: pharmacology lecture this morning [yesterday] on autonomic nervous system drugs, mechanisms, etc, given by Dr. T. C. Theoharides, Ph.D., M.D. Professor of Pharmacology, Internal Medicine and Biochemistry; Associate Professor of Psychiatry; Director, Molecular Immunopharmacology and Drug Discovery Laboratory- Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Tufts University School of Medicine. Clinical Pharmacologist, Massachusetts, Director Drug Formulary Commission (appointment 1986-2010).

we're going over treatments for depression and he's talking talking talking about the mechanisms of all the MAOIs, SSRIs, tricyclics, etc, and I'm writing writing writing all these notes and trying to catch everything he's saying about how such and such neurotransmitter is the target of this drug, and such and such other neurotransmitter is the target of this other drug, etc etc...

and then he says, after like, the entire hour lecture -- "so what's the main point of all of this information? the point is that we have absolutely no idea how to treat depression."

i thought you'd appreciate that.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Post Number 500 . . .

The dog that was attacked yesterday was fine today. I was glad to see that no additional wounds had been found on him. He was pretty lucky. I was particularly nice to all of the dogs today, even the ones that I don't like as much as some others. Of course, I have my favorites. But today I made an effort to repeatedly pet and interact with all of the dogs at daycare. I love dogs. And I want to help all of them live better lives. And I miss Sidney and his cute little face and his little licks on my nose.
Later last night, when I took my socks off, I realized that the pain in my left ankle was not from long dog walks in the rain yesterday, but rather from a single puncture mark where the bulldog must have gotten me during our little tussle. It's not a bad dog bite. I've gotten a few since I started working at the doggie daycare, but I do think that this one is the worst one and the most painful. I'm limping a little bit this morning. But there are dogs to be walked today. And I am looking forward to seeing how the collie is. I've been thinking a lot about him since I left work yesterday. It really was an upsetting experience.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Yesterday, I had something pleasant on my mind. Today, I had to convince an English bulldog to remove its jaw from the head of a border collie mix who was not very happy to have the bulldog attached to it. I've become rather adept at breaking up dog attacks at the daycare. I don't separate the dogs the textbook way, but I get the job done. After showering the two dogs (as well as several innocent doggie bystanders) with the contents of the water pan (a technique that worked beautifully last week when I had to break up an attack on the same collie mix by a bull mastiff), the dogs didn't separate, so I made the mistake of placing myself between the two dogs to try and physically push the bulldog away from the collie. It worked, but I put myself in harm's way. But the beseeching yelps that were coming from the collie were too much to do nothing. I acted instinctively and swiftly, but the collie still got some scratches and was clearly traumatized by the whole incident. Frankly, so was I.

A little while after I wrote the above, it hit me just how to verbalize how I reacted during and after the attack. I reacted as though the dog being attacked was my own dog. I got down on my hands and knees, grabbed the bulldog's sturdy chest, and shoved him away from the other dog. Technically, that was a pretty stupid thing to do.

But I would do it again.

I have a Master's Degree in Education.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I must admit that on this particular Wednesday evening, I have something on my mind. And while I'm thinking about that special something, I just thought I would let my vast readership know that I think that a little hair between a woman's legs is sexy.

That's how I roll.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

JIM: Hey, I guess I'm probably asking the wrong person, but do you have an external hard drive for backing up the stuff on your computer? I want to get one, but there are so many and I have no idea what to look for.

DAVE: Yeah. I got nothing for you. Why don't you just backup your files on a flash drive?

JIM: Dude, I have two kids and a wife armed with a digital camera.

DAVE: Not enough capacity? Jeepers.

"Uh, excuse me, sir. May I please borrow your phone when you're finished? I don't have any pockets to carry a phone."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Damn you, Fanene!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

At around eight o'clock last night, I went to Penn Station East Coast Subs for a large Italian, no onion, no banana peppers. Surprisingly, I was the only customer in the place, so I got my sub pretty quickly. While I was waiting for my sub and watching muted ESPN on their TV, this big black SUV, an Escalade, pulled up and parked in front of the shop. Then this muscular guy wearing a tight, light blue t-shirt and a big gold chain got out of the Escalade and started walking around the front of the store, looking back and forth inside. Then he finally came in and placed his order. I turned away from ESPN to get a look at this guy up close, and I realized that it's Jeff Reed. I think that he sort of turned his head away from me so as not to draw attention, but it was definitely Jeff Reed. I will say this for him, he knows where to get a good sub in Pittsburgh.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Precious and Dave talking about medicine . . .

PRECIOUS: I'm studying for my exam, and I'm just so frustrated. I'm learning details of a lot of things I already knew before coming to medical school... I feel like I really have yet to have some epiphany moment about WOW, THIS IS how disease happens. The truth is that so much is STILL unknown. It's the only thing I've ever studied where so much is still so yet to be discovered, and it kind of makes me angry. Everything feels so immature, so undiscovered, so poorly understood. As if medicine is this truly new, budding field. i want some answers.

DAVE: When people are really, really depressed, they shock them with electric current to help them feel better. Yeah. There's a lot we don't know.

PRECIOUS: Yes yes I agree that our treatment of mental illness is quite archaic, barbaric even to some extent of course --- but you WERE going to do it, weren't you? Wasn't it I that told you no no no!? Anyway, either way, that's obvious. It's the other things... like immunology for instance, that you really could have sworn was all figured out. But no. Not at all. Very frustrating.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Just to keep my vast readership up to date on the Tunnel of Love project going on over on the North Shore . . . From today's Post-Gazette . . . "The $538.8 million project to extend the Light Rail Transit system to PNC Park and Heinz Field is about half finished, and on schedule, said Winston Simmonds, Port Authority's rail operations/engineering officer."

So, the total price tag on this boondoggle has gone up about $100 million since the last time I heard about it. But it's still well below the final cost of $1 billion that I predicted in a blog post some time ago. But you heard the man. The project is "about half finished." So, there is still a lot to be done. I'm going to stick with my original prediction.

Oh, and from the article, it sounds like the ride is going to be a little curvy. Even though the trip under the Allegheny River is only 2,240 feet long.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Try and imagine my shock and horror when I drove by Mike Tomlin's palatial estate today and saw that there was a big "RAVENSTAHL: GETTING IT DONE" sign hanging on the big black fence that surrounds the Tomlin compound. Tomlin may well be the coolest head coach in the NFL. But that sign hurt me. It hurt me bad.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Racy news from Precious in medical school . . .

PRECIOUS: so, for the past month or so, i've been hearing these noises. they are so disturbing. i'd hear them basically all the time -- throughout the day and night (you see, i pretty much stay in the same location all day and all night... my desk). and quite frankly, i thought it was sex. i thought the noises were coming from my neighbors having sex. and they were INCREDIBLE noises. like, perverted fetish noises, yells and yelps etc, and they were so frequent that i figured these people were having sex ALL the time. multiple times per day, every day. So, of course eventually it began to get annoying. Can you imagine? I'm sitting here, studying, all the time, NOT having sex, while i always hear my neighbors not only having sex, but having sex that is making them SCREAM!? all the time!? well, it started to really piss me off so, tonight, it just kept going on and on. i decided i was going to investigate -- to either confirm or deny that this sound was actually sex sound; to confirm or deny that my sex life was pathetic. Well, the suspects live below me in the basement apartment, so i had to go outside in order to get a better listen. As i went outside, i heard the noise even more violently! and it was coming from above me! not below me. so i look up, and in the window a floor above my apartment there was positioned NOT a fucking couple fucking each other, but rather, a little yippy white bichon frise. she was barking. no. she was yipping. whatever she was doing, she was the culprit! this whole time! i'm so relieved. relieved that it wasn't my neighbors (aka, relieved that my sex life isn't THAT abnormal) and also relieved that neither of my bichons ever caused such a raucous.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Today I wore a light, blue jacket that I hadn't worn in years. Years, I tell you. And I don't like the jacket. I mean, I like it, but it is too large for me, despite being the right size. I suppose the fact that I feel like I'm swimming in it is the main reason why I stopped wearing it. But apparently I didn't stop wearing it until after I met FF in the Fall of 2005, about this time four years ago. Today while I was wearing the jacket, I reached into the inside pocket and found two items. A stick of Wrigley's chewing gum (I don't know what flavor) that FF probably gave me one night because she was always giving me gum. The other item was the ripped half of a complimentary ticket to see "The Mikado." I must have worn that jacket the first night that I went to see the Gilbert and Sullivan classic that FF was in the process of directing when we met. I know that play backwards and forwards. Anyway, it's funny because FF came with me to REI when I went to buy a better-fitting light jacket. Which I did. And which I never wear. But I'm going to start because this blue jacket is done.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

DAVE: I had my first prostate exam a couple of weeks ago. All clear. Have you ever had one of those, Focker?

FOCKER: never dude. i guess i gotta do that. life with kids is bonkers, and i only have one. there is no time for anything, but i love it all the same.

time to get on the phillies bandwagon i suppose, huh?

DAVE: I think you're a little late coming to the Phillies party. But it's as good a time as ever.

You're supposed to start getting prostate exams after you turn 40. I had been peeing a lot, so I went ahead and had it done, even though I would have otherwise been content to wait years. It really wasn't that bad, but the anticipation leading up to it wasn't great.

You have really turned out to be quite the family man. Life never ceases to amaze me.

FOCKER: what do they do in a prostate it invasive?

DAVE: The doctor sticks his or her index finger in your ass and feels around for about 5-10 seconds. Then you have to clean the lotion that the doctor put on his finger off your ass before you pull your undies back up. It's just good clean fun.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

World Series chatter . . .

DAVE: Good game last night. Just one question. What's up with Chase Utley's hair?

JIM: Yeah. It has been a topic of discussion. Whatever he's been doing, he should just keep doing it.

DAVE: Maybe Cole Hamels should slick his hair back.

JIM: If I was him, I'd try anything at this point.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just a short time ago, I used moisturizing lotion on my dry, brittle hands for the first time this season. Being a man, I had waited as long as I could. The lotion on my hands is so fresh that my hands are still a little bit slippery. I also already have winter itch on my lower legs. When you scratch, it just turns into white powder. It's bad. But I don't put lotion on my legs. That there's for sissies, I tell you. I'm a man.
I eat a lot of takeout. Like every night. Recently, I made my first visit to my new favorite hoagie place, Penn Station East Coast Subs. They are so good. Perhaps the best that I've had in Pittsburgh, other than Uncle Sam's Subs. In college, my friend Jim (aka Mr. Blondie) took me to Uncle Sam's in Oakland for my first Uncle Sam's cheesesteak, and I have been going there ever since. Anyway, I was shocked when I got to the register to pay for my order and saw that there was no "tip jar" squatting there. I don't like tip jars in takeout restaurants. I never have. The emergence of them at coffee shops when places like Starbucks exploded unto the scene seemed to trickle down to every place that offers any kind of takeout food. But I fail to understand them at, say, a pizza place. I come in, I order my slices, the person puts them in the oven to heat them up, the person rings me up, and then the person takes the pizza slices out of the oven, puts them in a box, and hands the box to me. The person did the job that they were hired to do. Why does that deserve a tip from me? Am I wrong here? I tip generously when I dine out, and I very much appreciate the need for tip money by servers whose actual hourly pay is ridiculously low (but that's our system, no matter how flawed). But ice cream servers at Cold Stone Creamery? Child, please.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I do not like Halloween for anyone other than young children. To me, it's a holiday for them. Not adults. So, I guess that means that, unlike so many others, I am not a Halloweener.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

JIM: I was rooting through my closet the other day. I don't even remember what I was looking for, but in the back, WAY, WAY in the back, I came across a pair of corduroy pants. So, in honor of Dave, I took them out to wear. And it was good.

In fact, I am wearing them, quite comfortably, right now.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This is the email that I received from my mother this evening. It speaks for itself.

Dear David,

Sidney had an appetizer the other morning, a wrinkled and ugly tree frog. He/she must have exuded a nasty smell because Sidney jumped two feet off the ground and violently shook his head. He went back for the prey and stepped on it. After he had it in his mouth again he shook his head violently again and dropped it and stared at it. I guess he had had enough and was ready for his regular food!

Dad went out Friday afternoon and bought a car. It is a Chrysler PT Cruiser, 2007, 1035 miles and cream colored. He only went one place and did not shop at any other dealer. He said he wanted a car now so he bought it. I was seething and angry for a day. It reminded me of the time he took my car, the oldsmobile 88 and ended up buying a diesel cutlass which was a mistake from the beginning. I think you went with him to buy it when you were very young.

It does fit in the garage but space is tight because I have boxes and stuff along the side of the garage waiting for the electrician to come and install fluorescent lights above the washer and dryer. I have also taken down the pegboard and replaced it with a white one. I have to cut the table down (it is really a door) to size and reinstall the horses for support. Then I can put the boxes back under the table and have access to the table for workspace. Tomorrow, Overhead Door is coming to check the garage door opener in the ceiling to see if we need a new one and hopefully we can get two new openers for each car.

I was trying to take a nap this afternoon and Sidney would have no parts of it. He would walk on my hair, lick my face and nose, and bark at me. His body clock sometimes gets out of whack and he thinks it is time to eat and you have to keep him entertained until 4 pm. Well, I got up and we walked around the pond and he went after all the geckos he could see and ended up getting wound around my legs all the time. I took the lead that stretches and that was a mistake. He sure loves to run and hunt!

We are having tropical weather today and we are due for a rain storm later on this afternoon. We could use some rain.

Hope all is well with you.


Monday, October 26, 2009

I didn't like work today as much as I usually do. It was a hard day. Much more activity at the doggie daycare than usual on a Monday. And there was a lot of barking. I was happy to get outside and walk six dogs, back-to-back, giving each dog a walk of about one mile. So, that's six miles for me today. My legs ache. But they always do when I get home from work. And they ache when I get up in the middle of the night to pee, and I have to shuffle my feet across the floor like Jerome Bettis after a big game. But they feel better in the morning, and the process starts over again. But today I was just not digging the scene at the daycare. The dogs were bothering me, the people were bothering me. I was generally bothered. I didn't like the dogs as much as I usually do, although the crowd did not feature many of my favorites. Oh, well. I got through it, I got to spend a lot of time outside on a beautiful Fall afternoon, and tomorrow is a brand new day hanging with the dogs.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

JIM: May take you awhile to download, but worth it.

DAVE: [VIDEO DOWNLOADING] It's still downloading. I guess it's a bummer that I don't get to watch all of these videos, but it does keep me from spending a lot of time online.

JIM: I don't send you anything like that very often, so give me the benefit of the doubt on this one and be patient.

DAVE: [VIDEO STILL DOWNLOADING] I know. I think it's almost there. Have I told you that I have moved getting DSL to the top of my "To Do" list? Which essentially means that it could happen within the next year.

DAVE: [VIDEO FINISHED DOWNLOADING] That was pretty funny. I guess pulling pranks on hot chicks is a whole industry unto itself. And this is what I'm missing. I do like hot chicks. I don't really need the pranks. Just the hot chicks.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I love corduroys. They are my pants of choice. When I think about all of the years of my life that I spent wearing khakis and chinos that I could have spent wearing corduroys. Why, my whole life could have been different.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

There is a really big black spider with a really big web camped outside of one of the windows on the second floor of my condo. And when I say a really big black spider, I mean that a Kleenex would not be enough with which to kill it. And when I say that it's outside of the second floor, I mean my bedroom. Where I sleep.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And . . .

When I was telling the nurse with whom you meet before you see the doctor the reason for my visit today, she was surprised to hear that I was 40 because she said that I did not look that age. I do seem to hear that frequently. As do many of my closest friends from high school. It's an odd commonality that a small group of us share, despite being cigarette smokers, pot smokers, and heavy drinkers for parts of our lives (some still). I have some gray on the sides of my head, and my beard gets more gray every day. But some of my friends show very little gray. It's interesting. We're lucky.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Interesting experience. It really wasn't that bad. Perhaps worse was the series of jokes that my PCP made in what I guess was his attempt to "lighten the mood." It was only the second time in my life that I had someone's finger in my ass. (Conversely, it was the "fourth or fifth" time he had had his finger in someone's ass that day.) I didn't even remember the first time until today, and that was years ago in the emergency room. That's such a crazy story that it shouldn't even count. So, today will stand in the history of Dave as the first time someone put their finger in my ass. As I said, it wasn't that bad. It did take longer than I had expected it to take, but I guess he had to check a lot of things while he was in there. And he took a stool sample to check for blood. It was clean. As was my prostate. I'm in great physical health, all in all. Of course, I noticed in the handy-dandy "What's Your BMI?" chart on the wall of the examination room that my weight puts me in the "Overweight" category. And I can't argue with that. But I have an amazing metabolism. That's not the problem. The medications that I'm taking cause you to put on some weight. And I have. But as my doctor and I were discussing today, it's a trade-off that you make. Because despite my seemingly excellent physical health, I have depression. And I have to take drugs (and smoke others) to live a normal life. The good news is that I am enjoying that normal life.
Before you go to the dentist, you brush your teeth really well, and sometimes you even break down and floss them for the first time in, er, a little while. But what do you do before you go to see your doctor for a prostate exam?
DAVE: Oh, silly, silly Jeff Reed.

MICHELLE: I know - I just heard about that! I don't think his off the field behavior is winning him any points with Tomlin.

Speaking of which, I think we have the coolest coach in the NFL. I love that he totally rocks his Raybans during the games!

DAVE: Yeah. Tomlin's pretty freaking cool.


DAVE: Yes, yes, he's a handsome man. No question.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

As those close to me know (and other members of my vast readership can probably figure out), I come from an interesting family. My parents have many fine qualities, but one thing that neither of them is is affectionate. I grew up in a home where physical gestures of affection were, and still are, rare. Sometimes my father treats me more like a business associate (or perhaps even an employee) than a son. For instance, voicemail messages and emails from my father are always a fascinating look at the dynamic that exists between him and me. Here is an email that I recently received from my father in Florida:


I understand that some mail was left at the house rather than being forwarded. I usually get a month-end report from Morgan-Stanley, which arrives by the 7th or 8th of the next month. So far I have not received the September 30 report. I would appreciate knowing if it is among the mail that was left at the house. Then you can send it on to me. If it is not among that mail, I need to call Morgan-Stanley to ask them to send out another report.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

I work part-time at a doggie daycare located near where I live. Best commute a person could have. I have been working there for six weeks. It's a perfect job for me at this point. I do the bulk of the dog walking during my daily shift at the daycare. So, I am walking a ton. I wore a pedometer for a week to get a sense of how many steps I was taking in an average day. 14,000 steps. When I'm not walking dogs, I'm socializing and monitoring them in the daycare. I'm around dogs all day. And we already know that I prefer the company of dogs to humans. I have my favorites, and it's always nice to see them and walk them when they come in. I have learned so much about dog behavior that I can't even begin to quantify it. So much. And for the most part, I'm having fun. Even when I was walking dogs in a steady rain in the cold on Thursday afternoon, I was having fun. It's good for me to be outdoors, even though this has been a horrible Fall so far. On the nice days (that I can vaguely remember now), I really enjoyed being outside walking dogs. Anyway, so that's what I've been doing. And in that time, I have felt better than I have in years. Years. Since the last time I had a job that I loved. That was teaching English in a private school. My dream job. But I digress. Actually, I find that working with dogs all day is not altogether different from teaching in some ways. You always have to be alert to what the group is doing. You need to know how to quiet the group down if it gets excited. And you have to be able to get the group to focus. My new classroom is a big sturdy pen, and my new students are a diverse gathering of neighborhood dogs. And just like with human students, I am trying to teach the dogs something, and in turn, they are teaching me more than I expected.

When will the swine flu madness end . . . ?

Friday, October 16, 2009

JIM: I have a friend from college whose wife just had a baby. They named her Saiorse Rosalie.

Then, I got the email giving people the proper pronunciation of the name.

Then, I got another email correcting the spelling of her name because he spelled it wrong in the initial email. It's really Saoirse.

Don't these people realize what they are doing to their children? I see nothing wrong with a nice simple "Dave". Or "Jim".

DAVE: Troubling news, to be sure. But is that all that's bothering you?

As for me, my first prostate exam is on Monday. I'm pretty psyched!

JIM: Well, I have another friend whose wife had a baby last week and he named his son Finley. Because it's the Gaelic word for "proud warrior". Or something like that.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Well, I needed to go to the store" . . .

Stroller with baby rolls into traffic; mother charged
Thursday, October 15, 2009
By Jerome L. Sherman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A woman was arrested yesterday after a stroller holding her 1-year-old daughter rolled into traffic on a North Side street while she ducked inside a store, police said.

Lynnette Brown, 27, was charged with reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of children, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

About 1:30 p.m. yesterday, police Officer A.J. Scarpine witnessed the baby's stroller rolling across the cobblestones in the 1000 block of Chestnut Street. Two cars heading from opposite directions on the street came to a screeching stop.

A tan van heading north skidded slightly on Chestnut, which was wet from rain, and the vehicle's front bumper tapped the stroller, the affidavit said. Officer Scarpine ran to the stroller and found the baby, Myonna Mollett.

The baby's mother, Ms. Brown, then exited a store on Chestnut and said to the officer, "That's my baby. What are you doing with my baby?"

When the officer explained what had just happened, Ms. Brown replied, "Well, I needed to go to the store."

"But you left your baby outside, alone in the stroller," Officer Scarpine told her, according to the affidavit.

"I wasn't that long. Why you messing with me [sic]," Ms. Brown said.

The officer then arrested her. Ms. Brown faces a preliminary hearing on Oct. 23.
DAVE: I wanted to get your picks for the LCSs. In what you may consider a surprise move, I'm taking Los Angeles and Los Angeles. The Dodgers and the Angels. If that's the World Series, I wonder what time the games would start to accommodate us East Coasters.

JIM: Well, the major media outlets have already made it perfectly clear to major league baseball that they want to see Yankees-Dodgers. And I'm a big fan of conspiracy theories. What TV wants is what TV seems to always get. And they think that Yankees-Dodgers will make them the most money...

Of course, money has nothing to do with it. What I've seen them say is that they need to have the Yankees versus the Dodgers in order to "get back to the purity of the game" (I'm pretty sure that's an exact quote from somewhere too). There was no explanation though about what makes the Phillies and the Angels (and I assume the other 25 mlb teams) "impure".

DAVE: Well, I can't speak for the other 25 teams, but the Pirates are most definitely "impure."

JIM: You're sulking again. Just enjoy some good playoff baseball. You had to like those last two Phillies games where they scored the go-ahead runs with 2 outs in the ninth and then had to bring in Lidge for the suspenseful save both nights!

DAVE: I'm not sulking. Just stating the facts. I have been enjoying playoff baseball. However, the first-round sweeps were boring, and this long layoff is just not good for anything. Just another way that TV has fucked up baseball.

JIM: Agreed.

Then again, baseball might as well be fucked up. Everything else is.

DAVE: Now who's sulking?

JIM: You picked up on that, huh?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Seventeen years ago tonight, I was an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. I was working on a paper that was due the next day, while simultaneously watching Game 7 of the 1992 National League Championship Series between the Atlanta Braves and my then-beloved Pittsburgh Pirates. The details of the evening or even the game or even the bottom of the ninth inning aren't important now. We know how it ended. I've talked about it in this blog before. A bottom of the ninth that started out with so much promise deteriorated quickly and ended when Sid Bream scored, thus breaking so many hearts in Pittsburgh, including my own.

The Pirates, fans of good baseball, and I have not recovered yet.

But I did get a great name for a dog.
What the fuck is up with this weather? I'm wearing socks on a daily basis. And I've been looking at little fleece caps. I've never liked to wear a winter hat because of the number those hats do on my hair when I take them off. Static cling of biblical proportions. But now that my hair is so short, I really don't have to worry about what a hat like that will do to my hair. One of the many advantages of having short hair.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I am always amazed when I take my recyclables to Construction Junction that there are so many people who live in Pittsburgh who prefer to take their recyclables there, rather than putting them out for curbside trash pick-up. Why do we do this? Is it because we think or fear that the blue garbage trucks that come around once every two weeks to our homes do anything different with the blue bags of recyclables than the blue garbage trucks that go to Construction Junction to empty the dumpsters there, which are often overflowing with recyclables? What is the difference? And yet so many of us do it. Including me.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

This afternoon I watched the first two episodes of the new season of "The Hills" on MTV. I miss Lauren Conrad. And why is Spencer beginning to look like John Travolta in "Urban Cowboy?"

Friday, October 9, 2009

Like many residents of Florida, Sidney is a friend of the manatee.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

JIM: Have you heard this? Congress is going to pass a law that gives every American a $500 savings account when they are born.

DAVE: Every American needs health care when they are born. Not a savings account with $500.

JIM: But I read that they tried this in Great Britain and some of the accounts actually increased in value over time. Some of them even got to be worth $600.

DAVE: Are you being serious? The integrity of my blog depends on it.

JIM: That is what I read.

One of the politicians quoted also said that these saving accounts would continue to help stimulate the economy. Since the money in the accounts would not be available to be withdrawn until each child reached 18 years of age and could only be used for very specific purposes (such as education or retirement), I'm not sure I understand that comment. Then again, most people would say that there are a lot of things I don't understand.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

JIM: My wife's friend's mother passed away on Sunday. The only reason we found out about it was because my wife's mom read the obituary in the paper. But, since few people read newspapers these days and newspapers, especially local ones, will become pretty much extinct in the not-too-distant future, how are people going to find out about this kind of stuff from now on?

DAVE: You make a good point. With the internet people do not go to their newspapers for the kind of stuff that they used to. I don't know how that information will get disseminated in the future, other than word of mouth.

DAVE: It's ironic that you raised that issue about obituaries today. I'm not kidding, just yesterday I was thinking about the friends in my life. I don't belong to a "social group," per se. I have individual friends who are usually themselves members of their own social groups. Many of my friends don't know each other, or have never met. They only know about them as I refer to them in conversation. And on top of that, many of my friendships are conducted primarily through email, along with the occasional phone call or meeting up. Sound familiar, Jim? So, anyway, I was wondering (for whatever reason), if I were to die, how would people find out about it in a timely manner (i.e., to attend a funeral)? Don't ask me why I was thinking about this yesterday. It wasn't morbid, just idle curiosity. Something to think about while I'm walking dogs around Point Breeze on a lovely Fall afternoon. Someone (I don't even know who this would be) would have to access my laptop and get the email addresses of my friends to contact them. I don't have all of my friends' phone numbers in my cell phone because there are friends with whom I never talk on the phone. It's all email. Anyway, that's what I was thinking about yesterday.
"So, Dan Onorato is running for governor. That's great. But who is going to watch over the Boy Mayor in Pittsburgh?"
Friends don't let friends do this to their dogs.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

DAVE: Who do you like in today's 163rd game? I'm taking the Twins.

JIM: After your latest bile-spewing diatribe against the once-beloved Jim Leyland, I am not surprised.

Ok, maybe "bile-spewing diatribe" and "once-beloved" are both a little exaggerated. After your recent criticism of the Tigers manager, I am not surprised.

And yeah, go Twins. I say that Joe Mauer, the guy who should be AL MVP but won't be because he doesn't play in NY or Boston, will come up big.
Sidney has been in Florida for less than 24 hours, and he has already hunted down and killed one of the many little geckos that scurry about all over the place. In addition to all of his other fine qualities, that dog is a hunter. And Florida geckos are his prey of choice.

Monday, October 5, 2009

DAVE: I'm beginning to think that Jim Leyland is not the manager that he once was.

JIM: None of us are the person who we once were.

DAVE: True. But in many ways, I'm a better person than I was in the early 90s. It doesn't look like Leyland is.

JIM: How could anyone be after smoking as many cigarettes as he has?

JIM: And by the way, I knew you in the early 90s and I thought you were a perfectly fine person.

DAVE: That's very kind of you to say. But there was room for improvement.

JIM: Well, duh. There always is.

DAVE: I suppose you're right.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Does this ever happen to you?

Like most people, I have a routine for my alarm clocks that get me up in the morning. I set a soft alarm on my cell phone that goes off for about 30 seconds from across the room as a sort of "warning" that the real alarm is going to go off in 30 minutes. And then, half an hour later, the really loud, obnoxious alarm clock next to my bed goes off to do the dirty work of waking me up and getting me out of bed. So, last night (seeing as it's the weekend) I set the alarm on my phone but not the alarm on the clock next to my bed. This morning, when the alarm on my phone went off across the room, here I was banging on the snooze button on the alarm clock next to my bed trying to get it to turn off. It took me a few hits on the clock before I was awake enough to realize what was going on.

Go Steelers.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My parents left with Sidney for Florida this morning. Last year at this time, when they left, I was not in good shape, and as my posts from last October recall, I deteriorated rapidly after their departure, going through a period of depression that was one of my worst. But this year is a completely different year. I had a good summer, one in which I felt better and more like myself and got stronger as the warm months went on. I am doing really well, and I was ready for their impending departure. In recent weeks, my parents had started to get a little on my nerves (as I'm sure I was getting on theirs), and I was spending less and less time at their house. I was really only going over their to spend time with Sidney. So, on my last night with my parents until I go down to Florida at Christmas, I endured their litany of last minute instructions on how to take care of their house while they're gone, as if I don't know the routine by now. Saying goodbye to my mother and father went well, and I felt comfortable with it. But I struggled to say goodbye to Sidney. I was playing with him, trying to find a way to express my love and affection for him that he would understand. But he's a dog, and he was distracted by the packing of the car by my parents and his toys. After several attempts, I finally cajoled Sidney to give me one of his patented, very gentle, soft licks on my nose. At that point, the tears started to come. I couldn't help myself. But I took great comfort in knowing that my tears were tears of goodbye, rather than tears of extreme sadness and depression. Sidney is a very special dog and a very important part of my life, both now and in the future when someday he will live with me again. A lot has happened to me in the last year, but I am in a much better place than I was then, and I am confident that I will not suffer the severe depressive episode that I experienced last Fall.

By the way, I drove to Youngstown, Ohio two years ago today to meet a young, spirited, happy dachshund and try to determine whether I wanted to adopt him. Like it was ever in question. Sidney (formerly Seth, formerly Oscar) came home with me that day.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Did you hear that the founder of the Gap clothing chain recently passed away? Apparently, he was laid to rest in his favorite suit made from premium denim. Black, of course.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The temperatures around here have plummeted, it rains everyday, and the stink bugs seem to have disappeared. But a couple of nights ago, I did see a black woolly caterpillar in my parents' backyard while I was playing with Sidney. It was the first woolly caterpillar I have seen in years. Years, I tell you. What does that mean, again, according to legend? A bad winter? Super.

But, dear readers, I feel compelled to tell you that I have been feeling very good lately. Great, even, at times. I haven't felt this good in two years, and I am really enjoying life these days. Thank god for medication and keeping busy.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I did not sleep well last night. I was tossing and turning. And I dreamt that God spoke to me. He told me that I had to build an ark. I'm really not very good with tools.

Friday, September 25, 2009

JIM: Stink bugs are everywhere.

DAVE: But how do they get inside? I understand how spiders get inside. They're small and creepy-crawly. But stink bugs have that armored plate on their backs.

JIM: All I can tell you is that stink bugs are everywhere.

DAVE: Do you know why they are called stink bugs?

JIM: Because it stinks that there are so many of them and they are everywhere?

DAVE: Very funny.

JIM: I don't know what else to tell you. Here, lmgtfy:

DAVE: Uh . . . what does "lmgtfy" stand for?

JIM: Sorry. See if this helps:

DAVE: AHHH. I should have been able to figure that out. How crazy. A site that Googles Google.
How do these freaking so-called "stink bugs" get into my condo? My windows are closed, and yet there they are.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Or Jennifer Antkowiak.
I do not like Tom Bergeron.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

JIM: Well, it seems our conversation about boxer briefs is kind of timely.

I went to the gym this morning for a run and then showered after. When I went to get dressed after showering, I started to put on my nice, clean pair of boxer briefs and suddenly, to my horror, realized that they were way too small. Turns out, my wife did laundry and put the clothes away yesterday and ended up putting a pair of my 9-year-old son's underwear in my drawer. When I was getting clothes together to go to the gym, I just grabbed the pair on top and didn't notice they were not mine. When it comes to boxer briefs, mine and my son's do look very much alike without close inspection.

This never would have happened with my old, trusty tighty whiteys.

DAVE: That's a very funny (and timely) story. I didn't know they made boxer briefs for the young ones, but I guess there's no reason why they wouldn't. You wife does your laundry and puts your clothes away. It sounds so foreign to me.

JIM: She does the laundry (she actually doesn't ALLOW me to do laundry!) and I usually put the clothes away. But, now that both kids are in school full time, I guess she is finding that she has lots of free time during the day and needed something to do.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Absolutely gorgeous day today in Pittsburgh. Perfect day. Truly. And how did I celebrate such a wonderful day? Not unlike a woman, I went out and bought a new pair of shoes. I needed a pair of shoes that was more comfortable than the shoes that I regularly wear. And this is what I came home with (actually, I wore them right out of the store, and I have them on right now). They are very un-Dave. I love them.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

DAVE: Do you really like boxer briefs? I'm wearing a pair right now.

JIM: That's more than I needed to know.

I wear whatever my wife buys me and I learn to like it.

DAVE: Really? Your wife buys your underwear?

JIM: You don't know much about wives, do you?

DAVE: Some things. But obviously not everything. Dude, you should be able to pick out and buy your own underwear.

JIM: That's not going to happen.

DAVE: Maybe it's best if I stay single, then.

JIM: I've come to realize that what's going to happen is going to happen when it comes to things like that. You really don't have as much control over it as it seems like you should.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Although Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger are both among the best quarterbacks in the NFL, there are many things that are different about the two. For instance, Ben Roethlisberger did not emerge from the off-season with a new personal logo that he wears on a hat every time that he does an interview.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

False alarm. It looks like summer may have returned today. I was a little worried last week.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What happened to summer? I'm wearing corduroys and a turtleneck right now.

Friday, September 11, 2009

As I've been saying for the last year, Willie Parker is done. He's a great guy and has been a very productive running back for the Steelers, but the lifespan of a running back in the NFL is short, and his time has come and gone. Even without him, the Steelers will find a way to win, just as they did last year, and just as they did last night. Ben Roethlisberger is the man.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I've decided that I like boxer briefs. There, I admit it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Different shades of white.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

DAVE: I have tried changing the settings on Facebook, but when I log on, my home page is always filled with a news feed of what every one of my friends has done/is doing. You may have to take a look at it, old buddy, old pal. Next time you're here. To see my new lamps.

FF: I'll help you. Facebook virgin.
JIM: My mom told me tonight that she has a bunch of boxes of my old stuff that I have to go through. Maybe she reads your blog...

DAVE: Hilarious. I went through a box of baseball and football cards tonight. Just took the boxes of cards out of an old moving box and put them into a nice, new plastic container. As I've said, I have no idea what I'm going to do with all of these baseball cards.

JIM: My friend Grant used to own a baseball card shop.

DAVE: I remember Grant. How did the shop go?

JIM: He did OK, but closed it after a few years. It would be too long of a story to tell. Let's just say that it involved a woman and leave it at that.

JIM: I meant to tell you this yesterday and I forgot.

My grandmother's maiden name (on my mother's side) is Eisenberg.

DAVE: That's ironic. Maybe you two are distantly related.

Monday, August 31, 2009

I recently discovered that there is a pizza place located within walking distance (and driving distance) from my condo that specializes in big, New York style slices in various combinations of toppings. And they're opened late. I do not think that it would be an exaggeration to say that this discovery has changed my life.
I watched the movie "Adventureland" last night. Not usually my kind of movie, but someone had recommended it to me a while back, and it was filmed in Pittsburgh and at Kennywood Park. And there really wasn't much else that interested me at my neighborhood Blockbuster. I was surprised to find that the main character was played by an actor named Jesse Eisenberg, who looks remarkably like my friend Jim, especially when he was in college. Even his facial expressions and mannerisms. Google him.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

We must be getting close to the official start of the Steelers' season.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I saw "Crazy Steve" today. You know, the man who has been walking around the streets of Pittsburgh's East End for many years. His hair used to be blond, but it turned completely gray in recent years. He doesn't walk as quickly as he used to. But who does? Well, today when I saw him, he was hunched over, and he was walking with a slight limp. I don't know why he has been walking the streets of Pittsburgh for all these years. But now he looks worn down by it all. The energy he possessed is seemingly gone. And his gaze is downward at the sidewalk rather than straight at the path ahead.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

DAVE: My mother made me go through three boxes of my old stuff last night. It was painful. Now, I've got a bunch of books and nowhere to put them.

JIM: All of my books are in boxes in the garage.

DAVE: Are you one of those families with a garage that you use for storage while the cars sit in the driveway?

JIM: Isn't everyone?

It is funny you ask that question, because the day we moved into our house (12 years ago?), I wanted to park my car in the garage, just for a minute, because I knew that it would never fit in there again. But I wasn't allowed to.

And, to this day, I have never parked a car in my garage. And I most likely never will.

DAVE: Very funny. Was there ever a time when Kathy wasn't in charge?

JIM: 1992.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Good-bye. And thank you.