It’s pretty clear our wonderful little dog is losing his hearing. He responds to sharp hand claps or stomps on the floor, but not much else. I’ve considered he might be indulging in the traditional right of the elderly — selective hearing — but increasingly it seems he just doesn’t. The other day I took him for a quick walk when we were traveling, and as we circled around back to the car, the sight of Alan made him put his ears up, in a “that shape looks familiar, but I just can’t place it” sort of way, so I suppose he doesn’t see too well, either. Ah, the depredations of age. On the other hand, he still has a lust for life, and an interest in his environment, only now he relies on his sense of taste; if I let him, he’ll lick my hand for 20 minutes straight. I’m grateful shorts season is over, because for a while this summer, he was fond of tasting all our guests as they stood in the foyer, and let me tell you, it takes a serious dog person to put up with that for very long.
Needless to say, I won’t be taking him to Partridge Creek, the latest open-air mall to open in the neighborhood, which advertises itself as dog-friendly. (The billboards feature a dog with its head out the window of a car, with the legend, “Are we there yet?”) I was there today, and wondered about the wisdom of both the policy and the sorts of people who think it’s a good idea to take a giant Labrador retriever to a packed pedestrian space for no good reason other than that you can. I suppose the idea was conceived as a way to attract the Paris Hilton purse-dog contingent, but yesterday there were at least a dozen enormous breeds on display, including a few excitable specimens that really should have been somewhere else. I suppose it’s possible the owners were training their dogs to be around big crowds, but when I see an 80-pound Lab barely controlled by a 150-pound man — man in a semi-crouch, holding the leash with both hands, spluttering impotently at the pooch — I’m not reassured. Either get a collar that works, a trainer with a clue, or leave the beast at home.
Not much of a weekend, otherwise. Wrangled the last of Kate’s Halloween costume, took a couple long naps, sat poolside during a kid’s birthday party — the usual. Rented “Knocked Up” on Friday with great anticipation of yet another Apatow sweet-raunchfest, and came away disappointed. It was too long by many minutes and lurched jarringly from comedy to not-comedy. I found myself snapping my fingers for a cut, but then, am I a genius director? No, I’m just the person who has to sit through a two-hour-and-14-minute sex comedy that had not enough of either. I hope “Superbad” is better.
One of our stops Saturday was the American Apparel store, where I offered my child as a model. Ha ha kidding — I was really on my never-ending quest for a simple, well-cut, white T-shirt made of fabric thick enough you can’t read your watch through it. The verdict: The search goes on. But hey, I found a scoop-neck, cap-sleeve specimen seemingly spun by anorexic spiders for the low low price of $30. Forget reading your watch through it; you could have read the box scores from the agate page through it, which I suppose is the point, but jeez, it’s a damn T-shirt. HOW HARD IS IT TO GET THIS ITEM CORRECT? It’s like a cup of coffee. Two ingredients, an infinite number of ways to screw it up. This should be a Project Runway assignment. A grateful nation would make the winner rich.
I was thinking if I were Mitch Albom’s editor, how easy my work would be. Take today’s. It begins:
When did adults start dressing for Halloween?
I’d write, “About 30 years ago, by my reckoning. Thanks for noticing, but see if you can’t do better by deadline. — Ed.” Then a big red X through the next 600 words, and careful placement in the middle of his desk.
Only it doesn’t work that way, not anymore. I doubt Albom has a desk in the newsroom, and anyway, no editor bosses him around, and anyway, he has an excuse — his other Sunday column, the one in Sports, lets everyone know just who has the biggest d–, er, book sales in the newsroom, who’s been on Oprah, and who better look the other way when
three out of four nine out of ten nearly all the Sunday Metro columns are lame-ass. (Cf: iPods: What’s up with that? or School shootings: What’s up with that?)
Ah, well. I’m not one to talk, am I?
Here’s a somewhat meatier story, an oldie but goodie: Mark Jacobson’s 2000 profile of Frank Lucas, currently being played by Denzel Washington in “American Gangster.” Many choice passages, much rich detail, lots of heroin.
Finally, Fox Business anchor or porn star? I only got 50 percent right on this quiz. It’s that difficult.