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For Esme, with Love and Slobber

 

A horrible thought just occurred to me.

You know how dogs sleep? Usually with their feet skipping along, to accompanying mini-yips. It’s really cute.

But then I realized: We  assume a dog is having a pleasant dream when we see that. Perhaps images  of untrodden fields and unsniffed anuses.

Yet my dog never acts that way when she’s awake. I’ve never seen her yip playfully when she runs. Shit, I’ve never heard her bark. Esme would have made a great mime; she’s already got the whiteface.

What if she (and her canine brethren) are actually having nightmares when they’re yipping and skittering along the dream circuit? What if dogs are actually picturing Buick-sized cats and electrified fire hydrants? What if Fido is actually calling out for help: Please, wake me from this hell! I have a memory that lasts 15 seconds; not only will I forgive it — I’ll forget it before I fall back asleep. PLEASE HAVE MERCY!

So I’m going to go on Amazon and buy an air horn. When I see her nodding off, I’ll just gently hold the button and BBBBRRRRRAAAAAAAPPPPPPPP!!!!! No more bad dreams.

You’re welcome, honey.

And now, beloved bitches, a non-alternative Factslap:

  • Only 17% of 11 to 38-year-olds experience no mental disorders, according to a study in New Zealand.
  • There is a castle in Scotland shaped like a pineapple.
  • In 1989, a new Blockbuster store was opening in America every 17 hours.
  • “Sesame Street” has won 167 Emmys and 8 Grammys. An estimated 77 million Americans watched the show as children.
  • Scientists usually omit left-handed people from tests because their brain works differently.
  • Tear gas is banned for use in international warfare, but is still legal to use in the U.S.
  • In 18th century Paris, it was fashionable to wear hats and umbrellas with lightning rods attached.
  • All octopus species are venomous to humans, but only one is deadly, the Southern Blue-Ringed octopus.

 

 

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A Father’s Day Letter to a Child I Never Had

 

These are the olden days
These are the golden days
These are the days that we get
For time is a con
Yesterday’s gone
And tomorrow is simply a bet

 

Why is life such a leadfoot?

We speed the plows of our world until the only thing we are maintaining is velocity. The momentum of Things eclipses the meaning of them. We mock Sisyfus in the great boulder shoulder. 

We know to watch for this, of course. We know the lines by heart, the part by rote drumbeat: Smell the roses, live the moment, be thankful for receiving more todays than yesterdays. Or tomorrows.

Yet we press the gas. And blur the background. And grind in the gnash.

How do we stop it? Maybe the first step is recognizing it.

Ask yourself this: What was the highlight of today? Every day has one, if only that it gave us another.

But the question, when asked honestly, can be tricky. And if it’s tough coming up with an answer you believe, you may want to check your speed.

When that question is no longer difficult, you’ll know you’re maintaining a healthy distance.

Which is this:

On the bumper and in the mirror, where today is closer than it appears.

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Dear Mr. or Ms. Amazon

Dear Mr. or Ms. Amazon,

First off, this is not a complaint letter. I imagine you get a lot of those. No, this is more a question and a couple suggestions. And don’t worry, I’m not a kook. I’m an Amazon Prime Member!

Anyhoo, I recently purchased an Amazon Tap, the digital home assistant that goes by the name Alexa.

She’s great! Much better than my Google Home that I also purchased (I have a gadget problem). I like that Google Home can tell me what a whale sounds like and has the correct definition for the word “irony” (the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect). But the base unit HAS TO BE PLUGGED IN!! Why not also require that you connect through a rotary telephone? Am I right or what?!

Back to Alexa. As the Tap is portable, I often bring it to my backyard spa to enjoy the dusk sunset. Have you ever though of teaching Alexa bird calls? Just an idea.

The day hadn’t been going great, so I wasn’t in the most groovy mood. In fact, I was pissed. So I wasn’t in the mood to hear John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Road (Not Alexa’s fault. That was just the last playlist on Pandora.).

Anyhoo, I asked Alexa to play to play one of the baddest-assed songs I know, Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold. (Side note, I interviewed Nugent once on gun control. The Motor City Madman nicknamed me Scottily Wottily.).

In the spa, I told Alexa simply: “Play Stranglehold.” I’ve done it so often, I know that’s all the instruction she needs.

Except this time, as I made the request, a plane buzzed nearby overhead. (I live near the Van Nuys Airport, one of the busiest general aviation hubs in the world, handling 217,000 plane movements in 2015.

The plane and my words must have co-mingled, because Alexa heard something that made her reply: “That’s kind of you to say. Thank you.”

So now I’m wondering: ‘What did she hear?’ Worse: “Was that just a polite thank you, an uncomfortable response to a creepy come-on?” When I told her “Sorry,” she said “No worries.” But, honestly, it sounded a little rote, like she was saying it just because she had to.

So, two-part question: Have you considered programming Alexa to answer this question: “Alexa, what do you think I just asked you.”

I’m dying of curiosity. I’ve tried to replicate the incident. Even tried to come up with a similar phrase that might evoke another electronic blush. The closest I could come to “Play Stranglehold” was “Stay dangle gold.” But she didn’t know what that meant.

So, part II: Would be to please have your tech people let Alexa know I really am sorry? I may have been naked when I said it. Do I have to register with some sort of electronic predator list?

Anyhoo, that’s it. Keep up the good work. I hear you’re making Alexa sweep now. One  tip: Do NOT let her watch those Terminator movies.

Spank my behind…er, Thanks for your time. (Siri can be a real smartass).

Sincerely,

Scott Bowles

p.s. Ever notice your logo (especially for your Amazon Video service) looks like an erect penis approaching the vaaginal ‘O?’ Was that on purpose, or the work of a disgruntled graphic designer?

 

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