Monthly Archives: July 2016

Theodore Ruxpin Bowles (4/10/07-7/27-16)


Teddy wasn’t supposed to be a big dog. Or a furry dog. Or a male dog.

He wasn’t even supposed to be Teddy.

The plan had been to get a little hound after the divorce. For I can no more live without a dog than I can without a pulse.

I was thinking Puggle, a mix of Pugs and beagles. I fell for their faces and wanted a small, smush-faced female, diminutive and bright. Her name would be Henrietta Pugglesworth.

Then I saw Teddy in a forwarded email.


He was born in a litter of 11, an unplanned miracle for a Beverly Hills couple who thought their Golden Retriever was fixed. She wasn’t.

The pups were as small as gerbils when I first saw them, each suckling with vigor on a very fatigued mom.

I chose the smallest girl, the runt of the litter. She would be named Esme. You see, it’s humanly impossible to see a Retriever puppy and not take it home. That’s just science.

The owner put a pink ribbon  on her so he could tell the sexes. I waited for my pup to turn six weeks old as impatiently as I did for Christmas morning as a boy. I picked it up, brought it home, showed it the new home, wrestled a little on the floor.

That’s when I noticed the penis. Esme was, in fact, an aptly hung male. I knew the pup looked bigger than expected when I picked it up. But I never looked under the hood.

I called the owner, who was mortified. He apologized profusely, even offered to give me a full refund.

But it was too late. Looking at his tiny maw, chewing on my finger like a rawhide, I realized I would never give him back. To see a Retriever puppy is to fall deep. Again, science and all.

Esme became Teddy, and so we began life together, one often entwined. He was diagnosed with epilepsy in his first year, so we took our meds together. He was once run over by a car, so we both had to sport foreign body parts. We both had shitty eyesight, unreasonable optimism and very keen ears. Though he liked doctors visits more than I.


Which is good, because he went often. He once ate an entire weed brownie he’d swiped off the counter. He ate anything that smelled like me: wallets, pants, underwear. Even a bathrobe. He once ate $86 in cash. ‘What’s mine is yours,’ he seemed to be saying. ‘And, of course, vice versa.’


True to his word, he did share. I did get that smush-faced Esme, who Teddy treated like the little sister she was. She may be the smartest dog I’ve ever seen; he is the kindest. She would routinely place her head in his jaws, unafraid he would dare bite her. He didn’t.

Patience, say hello to Trust.


His body would slow over the years, though never his nature. He still greeted every visitor like a prodigal son, and shed on them like a fur retailer. He still barked  in mock anger at the lawn guy, who wielded the Machines of Great Ruckus.But all he’d do if he broke into the yard was run to play with the guy, who would gently walk him back inside. Ted would never pass up a car ride.


Teddy left today.

This afternoon, I sat in the shower to mourn and reflect and let the external rains wash away the internal. I left the bedroom door open for the first time (Teddy would feast on underpants otherwise). Esme came to shower and lay on the bathmat. She knew something was different. And I realized she’d feel the loss as much as I.

One day, I decided, she’ll have a younger brother. I don’t know what breed. I don’t know what size. I certainly don’t know what name.

As long as he’s nothing that he’s supposed to be.





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Oh the Bigly Humanity


So rare, when sensation meets realization.

How often do we hype up, only to be let down? Titanics sink. Hindenburgs blaze.  Y2Ks fizzle. Super Bowls are rarely super. And you just know the new Star Wars is gonna suck.


But somewhere, a pig is flying over its pasture. Somewhere, Satan is getting pelted with snowballs. For I have seen far more miraculous.

I applauded Ted Cruz.

Sure, he’s still crazy as a spotted loon. And there’s a residential suite waiting for him in hell for holding gun rallies at the site of school massacres (where he often eats bacon heated only by the hot muzzle of a freshly-fired AR-15).


Still, there was something gratifying about Cruz’s turning on Donald Trump. Like when a pit bull mauls its dogfighting owner.

Add to that the plagiarism scandal of Trump’s 11th wife, the Hitleresque anger over party dissent and an acceptance speech that Vito Corleone would have envied (Trump may as well have said “Nice country you got here. Shame if something should happen to it…” It was a reality show that lived up to its publicity, if not its promises.

Admit it: Didn’t you expect Chris Christie to burst in anger like a suicide bomber humpback whale when he learned he’d been passed over for vice president in favor of a human cue tip?


None of the carnival acts, however, broached Cruz’s speech, in which he urged — to a thundering chorus of boos — that Republicans vote their consciences in the next  election. Think about that contempt for thoughtfulness for five seconds.

Because the media did not. In our desperate search for something to filibuster 24 hours a day, we blathered over how Cruz had betrayed his party. How he doomed himself for Senate re-election. And we had truckloads of b-roll footage of Trump’s assault on Cruz’s wife and father that we couldn’t wait to rerun.

But ponder the unthinkable: that Cruz may have made the canniest maneuver of his political career.

Consider: When he knew he wasn’t going to win the Republican nomination, what did Cruz have to lose? He is positioned perfectly for a third-party presidential run.  And while a third party won’t win the presidency this year, it could derail one. Cruz remains an icon of the religious right, which has hardly been converted by Trump. Even the Pope took a dig at Donald, suggesting he tone down the homophobia (when devout Christians tell you to take it easy on the LGBT community, you know you overreached). pope

And to the fellow reporters predicting doom for Cruz’s political career, remember: We said the same thing about politicians who voted against invading Iraq.

Trump may have won the Michigan primary, but he apparently didn’t learn Detroit’s rule of thumb: Never talk about someone’s mother. You’re likely to get the shit beaten out of you. Or, at the very least, a snap-back.

And Cruz seemed hellbent on delivering one to Trump: “Yo mama, yo daddy, and yo slappy happy grandpappy.”

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Joltin’ Joe Has Left and Gone Away

Perhaps we were premature in declaring 2016 a banner year in sports.

Apparently, a free agency has ruined athletics everywhere.

Or so declared every blubbering bobblehead on ESPN after The Oklahoma City Thunder lost prodigious forward Kevin Durant to free agency and its sworn enemy, The Golden State Warriors.


You would have thought George Washington were revealed a British cross-dresser, the outrage ran so deep. Stephen A. Smith, the loudest of ESPN’s bullhorns, called it the ‘most cowardly move’ in the history of sport. Not just the NBA. Sport. You know, gladiators and the Olympics and O.J. Simpson and shit.


The self-flatulating Bill Simmons proclaimed that the Warriors now had the NBA’s greatest “supergroup” lineup in basketball history. imageFrom the covers of The Huffington Post to the Hollywood Reporter, a viral video of a toddler vowing to punch Durant in the face became the emblem of a brokenhearted city.

I get the hurt. I could never forgive the Detroit Lions for moving to Pontiac (bitterness probably fueled by dad’s stories about Pontiac laying off police to pay for the stadium).

Still, this Chicken Little response seems a bit much, if inevitable. Yes, the betrayals must sting, the shifting allegiances must discourage.

But name a sport that isn’t contaminated by money. Long ago, free agency turned major American teams — regardless of sport — into a collection of millionaire gypsies, villains to hiss. Think of most major sports and you’re likely to know the names of more players you don’t like than the ones you do.

Like that kid in the video.

Speaking of which: Who the hell is the dad? You know, the genius who decided how fun it would be to break his kid’s heart. And tape it. And post it. I can only imagine family holidays: ‘The Easter Bunny is here, Miles! Well, his leg, at least. I really should adjust that trap.

And whose drawl is that later in the video? My guess is the grandfather who raised his own little Einstein. You can almost see the bait drop in the water when gramps asks Miles his opinion of that black man who broke his heart.

So that’s how Republicans are born.

And so too, perhaps, dynasties. Few Vegas bookies would offer generous odds that the Warriors will lose in the next decade.

But from armies to rock bands to sports franchises, supergroups can be tricky things. While often potent, they can be short-lived; just ask Blind Faith or the Miami Heat.

And they often wilt facing a local kid with a reason to care.




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