Thursday, November 03, 2005


In Which It All Depends on Your Point of View...

We had quite a little event at the Magazine Mansion, just after dinner one night last week. I could tell you all about it, of course, but I thought for variety's sake, you might appreciate hearing the story from someone else's perspective. And so, today, I offer you a guest blogger. Or two. Or three.

Which means this is a long entry--running to some 4,000 words.

But hey, at least you can't yell at me for pulling a cliffhanger.

Let's begin:

Guest Blogger #1

(transcribed from an overheard conversation)

I don't know what I was thinking the day I let my husband get that damn dog. Why did I ever listen to him?

It's my own fault. He had to have the damn dog. Oh I'll feed it and walk it, he says. I'll clean up the barf and vacuum the rugs everyday. Like I haven't been married to him for 11 years and don't know how quickly he forgets these things. He can tell you the name of the first girl that ever let him touch her boob or whatever, but ask him to bring paper towels down from the laundry room and he always, always comes down empty-handed. Always. So do I think he's going to remember to feed and clean up the dog? No. And who ends up doing it? Give you one guess.

Arrrrgh. Anyway. I'm upstairs working on some paperwork for a project for my Master Gardener's group. I've had the kids all day and just need 20 minutes to finish this. Can you please just clean up the kitchen while the kids finish eating and then get them up to the bath? I asked him. Simple request. Not like I'm asking him to organize a carpool or throw a birthday party. Oh sure, he says.

I swear to God I'm not up there five minutes when I hear that damn dog scratching up my hardwood floor and next thing I know everything goes crazy downstairs. There's barking, the Brownie is screaming, my husband is trying to growl at the dog to get him to stop but...well, there's another thing I just do not understand. Simplest dog training technique in the world. I figured it out in five minutes and I'm terrible at that stuff. Just growl at the dog and he stops what he's doing. But no, my husband can’t master this. So he's roaring and I can just hear the spit spraying out of his mouth onto my walls and the kids are screaming and the dog won't back off. So, dammit, I have to go down see what's what.

The Brownie's on the floor, crying. Thomas is up on a chair waving a piece of paper and screeching like a bat. My husband is running around with a dish towel in his hand yelling Baaaaaarrrrrgggh! Baaarrrrrggggh!

Oh, and the dog? The dog is gone. Just gone.

Don't worry, he says, it's all under control. As if! I pick up the Brownie and she's all pouty and crying Save me! Save me! Then she says Blazey knocked me down and licked my head. Apparently SOMEONE forgot to feed the dog and asked his 4-year-old daughter to go out to the garage by herself and open a 40-pound bag of dog food and scoop some out and walk it across the house to his bowl. Well, of course, the moment she gets the door open, all hell breaks loose. The dog decides he can't wait for his food and rips across the floor (I can still see the scratches. Dammit!) and knocks her over. Then he runs into the garage, and my useful husband just closes him in there. Like that solves anything!

Great. So now I can hear the dog running around the garage. I can hear all my pots and plants and garden supplies getting knocked over. Thomas is making screeching and clawing noises and yelling something about monsters at the door and his sister is crying in my ear and I just can't even listen.

That dog is wrecking all my garden supplies! I yell at my husband, because he's just standing there, useless. Go! I yell. So he goes. With my dish towel.

I swear, that man can take the simplest task and make it last 10 hours. He's in the garage forever. And I can still hear the dog. But I can't even bring myself to open the door and see what's going, not after I hear my husband yelling at the dog to get off the tricycle. Get off the tricycle? What the hell are they doing in there? Then I hear more barking and he's yelling Get the net! Get the net! and I just will my eardrums shut. Only I'm still mad because guess who's cleaning up the kitchen now? And then it was time to take the kids up to the bath.

By the time I get them washed up and into jammies, he's still nowhere to be found, so I go to open the door to the garage but he's locked it.

What is going on? I yell.

He doesn't answer.

Now I can't hear anything. I start pounding. I'm really mad. What is he doing in there? Playing with himself? What?

Open. The. Door. I yell. Nothing.

That's it. I go out the front door figuring I'll open the garage through the main door. Oh but wait, when I get's already open! Nobody's in the garage. He's gone. The dog's gone. They just went off for a walk!

And now he comes around the side of the house, his hair's all up and his shirt's torn. He looks like someone grabbed him by the ankles, turned him upside down, shook him and stood him back up.

And he's carrying a butterfly net.

Where were you? I ask.

Nowhere, he says, all innocently. I hate that!

The dog's there too with a big grin on and wagging his tail at me and trying to butter me up. But I've had it and I told him so. I told them both. You always wander off to chase butterflies or whatever when I need just a little bit of help. Plus you stink. I mean it, you reek. Now go in the garage and pick up all my planting stuff your damn dog knocked over. Then go take a shower. He opens his mouth to say something but I'm not even interested. Just go do it! I say.

So he goes.

Bad enough he can't do one simple thing I ask him to do like pick up after dinner.

But you know what really annoys me most about his little jaunt with that damn dog?

He lost the dish towel.

I know this sounds terrible but there are times when I really can't stand them. They're smelly and hairy and loud. They never do what you ask them. They ruin your stuff. And they're always trying to stick their noses in your crotch.

I'm talking about dogs here, not men.

No. I'm talking about both.


Guest Blogger #2

We had a good dinner tonight! Corn dogs are my favorite and then Mom had to go do work and she made Dad put the dishes away. But I helped. I put my dishes in the sink and cleaned up my side of the table so I could work on my mouse and snake book. I was drawing at the table while my slow sister was finishing her green beans. Then a LOT of stuff happened.

I was sitting on the side near the garage door. I was just then drawing a picture of a mouse digging in his hole. And guess what? At the same time I heard scratching and digging noises! Like a mouse!

I looked all around.

Then I heard it: There was scratching noises coming from the garage door!

I told Dad. He was putting dishes in the dishwasher. I waved my mouse picture and yelled, I said, "Dad, I think there's a mouse like this one scratching on the garage." But all Dad said was, "Oh, I forgot to feed the dog!" The garage is where the dog food is.

And my sister says, "I'll do it." She'll do ANYTHING not to have to eat her beans. Also she loves Blaze and she always gives him more food than anyone. So Dad gave her the scoop and she walked to the garage door.

I couldn't hear the scratching then, but that's because Blaze started growling. He was under the table eating crumbs and all of a sudden he was going GGGURRRURRR.

I got scared and jumped up on my chair. I yelled my head off! "Don't open the door! There's a monster in the garage!" But my sister never listens to anything. She just made a nyah-nyah face and opened the door.

Then she screamed her face off!

(I tried to tell her.)

I looked and there were lotsa blurs. But I saw it: A GIANT MONSTER RAT FACE was in the garage with teeth right by my sister!

And then ZOOOSH, there was Blaze!

He knocked my sister over with his dog butt and stood in the door, barking his head off. The MONSTER RAT FACE disappeared. But I stayed up in my chair.

Dad jumped out of the dishwasher and hit his head. He didn't see the MONSTER RAT FACE. All he saw was my sister on the floor, crying and dog food everywhere. Dad started barking at Blaze. But Blaze was GONE. He chased the MONSTER RAT into the garage. You should have heard it. It was like a big fight going on in there.

My sister was still crying because the MONSTER FACE scared her. Dad went to get her then Mom swooped down the stairs and yelled. I tried to tell her what the face looked like and my sister was yelling, "Blazey saved me! He saved me!" But she was all mad at Dad, so he ran away into the garage and locked the door.

Then there was lotsa crashing. Blaze and Dad were crashing over pots and stuff. Mom was crashing plates and pans around in the kitchen. Then she made us go up and have a bath.

Dad came up later to kiss me good night. I was sleepy but I was worried about the MONSTER RAT. Dad said there was no rat and he made me promise not to tell Mom that I saw one. I wouldn't do that. Mom HATES rats and mice and stuff. She once climbed up a bookshelf and said swear words when we had a mouse in the house and Dad had to carry her away to her room so she wouldn't have to walk on the floor where the mouse walked. So I promised Dad and he went to go take a shower.

He smelled like a wet dog. Maybe he was hugging Blaze.

But here's a picture of the MONSTER RAT FACE I saw anyway.





Guest Blogger #3

A Fine Evening of Sport


A Possum's Peril

Being An Account of a contest between A Right Wild Animal and the Sacred Protector of the Girl (and Her Family)

Pet peeves? Shall I tell you mine? For indeed, this "pet" has a peeve, and that is the phrase: "It's a dog's life." The phrase connotes the ease of canine existence.

Ease? I growl at the word.

This dog's life, I'm here to tell you, is a precarious existence. Every day as I go about my sacred duties, I trot along the gossamer-thin line that separates perception from reality. For the perception is that I am a living novelty, mere entertainment, a hirsute clown to amuse children and serve man. In reality, I live to protect my family.

And they need protection. On this point, you must trust me.

It astounds me that the Boy and the Girl lived as long as they did before I came along. To be fair, the Woman is a fine watchdog in her own right and capable enough.

But The Man! Speak not to me of this ape, this chimp in clothing.

I grant he is occasionally of some use to me. None can hurl The Chewy Ball with the speed and distance that he can. And he can scratch The Good Spot Behind The Ear with the best of them. But otherwise I live in stark, drop-jawed, tongue-lolling amazement that he is considered the primary provider of this pack. I ask you: What faith would you put in a leader whose primary hobby seems to consist of following you about your territory, carrying a plastic bag with the sole intent of collecting your droppings as though they were precious jewels? You'd think there was a law requiring it!

And what others of his kind seem capable of grasping with alacrity is apparently beyond him. As a point of illustration, I offer this story:

Not long ago, a woman came to visit my home and I made the happy discovery that she could speak in the tongue of my people. One moment she was babbling in that chittering speech they have, the next she turned to me and said, "Hello Blaze, protector of the house, dog-king of the neighborhood. What a great big mastiff of a dog you are!" I rather agreed, of course. And in short order, she tutored The Woman in the rudiments of my native language (although decorum prohibits me from revealing what she said).

Then the Man tried his hand at it, with predictably appalling results.

It was the verbal equivalent of watching an orangutan at a typewriter. The nonsense that spewed forth from his mouth was not worth dignifying with a response. "There are bones in my ears and what grass you cannot find will be given in the rump!" he cried. I mean, honestly.

I humored him, of course, but then we went out into my territory and it was as though I had custody of an asylum inmate for a day, between his obsessive collection of my droppings and his incomprehensible yipping and woofing. (On one occasion, I must confess that he did frighten Mean Dog, the brainless mongrel up the street. But tell me truly: if you were a brainless mongrel, would you not give a wide berth to man who screamed. "Tar and dirt! The poop is in the bowl and death cocks his leg on the tree!")

Sigh. Still, it is my lot, my duty, my charge to protect this family from themselves. And it is a job I do well.

For example, after The Big Food one night, I was waiting patiently for my kibble and saw with some delight that The Girl had been delegated this task. She is the smallest of the pack but clearly the smartest (next to myself). When The Big Food is held at the table, she always smuggles to me choice cuts from her plate. And she distributes the kibble with a heavy hand as well. She went to the door to the Big Room Where the Car Sleeps, while I went about one of my evening duties--cleaning food from the floor underneath The Big Food Table.

That's when I caught it.

The Smell.

Every dog knows The Smell. An intruder. An encroacher on the territory. An Animal in the house.

In this case, my nose was telling that one had somehow made his way--perhaps through the old cat door the previous owners installed--into the Big Room Where the Car Sleeps. And, incidentally, where my private supply of kibble is stored.

At that selfsame instant I saw The Girl open the door. Though intelligent, her nose is not as keen as mine, so she did not realize The Smell was just beyond the door. I tried to warn her. I called to her, but it was too late.

She opened the door.

And there was The Opossum.

I am, in general, a live-and-let-live sort of dog. Like rabbits, opossums are a delight to chase--for sport, you understand--but never to kill. However, this creature, which stood about a foot tall, bared his teeth and hissed at the Girl, and that I cannot countenance.

People think dogs are color-blind but we are not. For just then, the world went Red, as it does when there is trouble and I moved to protect the Girl. Alas, the Woman sought to handicap me last year by making the floor smooth and it requires some effort to gain purchase. But when The Girl is in trouble, nothing slows me.

The moment that followed was absolutely delicious. You should have beheld the Opossum's change of expression when he saw me. He was off like a shot, I tell you, scuttling back and under the car.

The Girl stood frozen, stock-still in the doorway, too close to danger for my comfort (People can be so slow some times). I was compelled to nudge her to the rug. I checked her and groomed her reassuringly. A quick glance confirmed The Boy was safely located on a high vantage atop his chair, screaming about giant rats (in fact, opossums are not rodents, a common misconception. Interestingly, they are, however, the only marsupial indigenous to North America. But now was not the time to elucidate).

The Man, being The Man, found himself entangled in the inner workings of some large dish-licking appliance and so was once again useless to assist me. I went back to the open door and announced myself with authority.

"Foul creature! Know that you have violated the Territory of Blazey Bellow Hoska Boo Boo Ba Doo and I swear by all I hold sacred, by the very hair on The Girl's head, by the holy name she has given me, I shall now drive you from this place. Fie and be warned!"

It gave me pleasure to hear the creature squeak in dismay and attempt to hide himself deep in the innards of the car.

But my joy was short-lived as the stupid Man, freed at last from his chore, and not having so much as witnessed the incident, assumed I was the cause of the disturbance. He charged up to me and began yelling in his approximation of the tongue of my people. "Socks! Socks!" he cried. "Squirrels in the bushes and throw the cat over the fence!"


As it happened, I could hear the Woman coming too, luckily for me. So I made my move into the garage while the Man was scolded.

My nose told me the Opossum had climbed up under the car and was now lodged in the engine. There is a lid on the engine that men can lift. I could smell him just under there. When the man finally came out--brandishing a dish towel of all things--I informed him of the Opossum's location. He stared at me with his dull monkey eyes, then picked up a stick and began poking it under the car.

Finally, and only by alternately climbing into the wheel-well and jumping on the hood, I conveyed to him my knowledge of the location of the Opossum.


At last, the Man opened the lid.

And there he sat. The Opossum.


The Man made a cry not unlike the Girl (what was he expecting to find after my explicit warning?) and backed away. He grabbed the Boy's net, the device he uses to catch bugs.

"That will never work," I mouthed, trying to explain how Opossums can climb. But the Man wasn't hearing it. He reached in with the net and...

No, I can't tell what happened next. It's too painful.

Oh very well.

The creature leapt upon the net and quickly scuttled up the length of the pole, the very pole the Man was holding. The Man squawked and threw the pole into the air, forcing the Animal to leap.

He landed on the Man's shoulder and there followed a display of flailing and hopping such as I have not witnessed since the Boy and I watch a program about native dances on The Discovery Channel (a fine network, that). The Opossum was far more frightened than the Man, not that you could tell. Except for the fact that Man did not mark himself.

The Opossum, however, did. Urine spattered everywhere (I'll be re-marking my territory for the next month).

Then both Man and beast fell to the floor and, in a move of dexterity that had to be more accident than design, the Man scooped up the net and dropped it on the stunned Opossum.

I would like to tell you that was the end of it, but of course, the Opossum jerked and the pole came free from the Man's hand. Thus I was compelled to chase the net across the garage and over the Girl's tricycle (almost got him there!) while the man rolled on the floor, wiping the creature's offal from his body. Finally, I grabbed the net and the creature began to emerge. A grave mistake! I snapped at his tail and he retreated into the net.

At that moment, the Man had found his feet and opened the Big Door to the Outside. I looked around at him in disbelief. "Now see what you've done!" I called as the net propelled itself out the door and across the yard. The Man stared, his mouth open, as if perhaps to receive a banana. As if he never anticipated the Opossum might try to escape. Honestly.

I pursued of course, and in the back, I caught the net again. Before I could deliver the Final Bite, however, the Man grabbed the Leash that was around my collar and lashed me to a post. He wrestled about with the net for a while and, I must confess, that was marginally amusing. Finally, the Man threw the soiled dish towel over the net. Was he thinking to dry the Opossum off? At that moment, the Opossum broke free of the net again, only now he had the towel in his teeth and off they ran, under the Fence and into the woods, Opossum, towel and all.

The Man just looked at me and said, "He got away."

Truly, his grasp of the obvious stuns me.

At length we returned and it was hard to say who was more frustrated, the Woman or I. She growled at the man for a time using their own chittering tongue. Not a word of praise for me, of course, just looks of disdain, as if she had no idea what had just occurred.

At least the Girl lavished affection on me when we returned.

Later, when she came down to say good night, she lavished roast beef on me too. And they call her a child. Truly she is the wisest of them.

As for the rest? I swear, I will never understand humans, not if I live to be 16.

I mean, honestly.

Your humble servant,

Blazey (BHBBBD)

You did exactly what I would have done in that situation, for definately. :D

Great post! Especially with pictures of The Dog and MONSTER RAT FACE. *Thumbs up!!*
So I'm reading, and snickering and then I realize that Flip is also snickering in the other room and it hits me that we're reading about Blazey and the MONSTER RAT FACE at the same time.

All I can say is it's a good thing you got pictures because I never would have believed a tale that tall with out them. Great story. Good dog,.
I laughed and laughed and laughed (and I am still at work at nearly 7 p.m. and so had to do it quietly). Then I felt grateful that a possum has never gotten in my house. I have no idea what my dog would do, but she probably would try to make friends with it. Then I wondered about the possum's version of events. He was just minding his own business ...
Blaze is most wise, loyal, and patient. I love the Rashomon-esque storytelling for this tale.
You know, I love good writing-- but what makes your blog so great are that you have pictures to make the whole experience truly real. Hilarious and SO GREAT! Thank you.
Yay for Blaze! If you're keeping this a secret from HLS--um, aren't you thinking she just *might* see the whole story on here? Just maybe? You could lock her out of the garage to spare her the scare, but what're you gonna do on here?
The Man stared, his mouth open, as if perhaps to receive a banana. As if he never anticipated the Opossum might try to escape. Honestly.


This was great! I enjoyed HLS's unwitting, exasperated version of events, loved Thomas's adventuresome tale, and about died laughing at Blaze's telling. Fantastic. Yay for alternate perspectives!
MM - 0
Possum - 2
Blazey - 4

I think the possum should count his lucky stars with the Grandparents visiting and all. Grandpa could have been serving up some mystery meat tomorrow.

I hope MM counted his ears, fingers & toes when all was said & done. Those rat faced monsterd are nasty when cornered!

Give that hero some more roast beef!
Just got the kids to bed, and almost cannot stop snickering at this post. I cannot believe you had the presence of mind to grab a camera in the middle of all that commotion.

Way to go Blaze! Way to go!
Thanks for the chuckle. And I thought the opossum in my home with my husband in his underwear and boots, trying to chase it out the door with a broom and a shovel was funny.
I have to admit, I loved Blazey's retelling of events the best. I'm just waiting for the perfect time to spout "death cocks his leg on the tree". Perhaps a formal dinner party? It cracks me up every time I repeat it.
Blaze reminds me of the dog on "The Family Guy" - Brian. They definitely are the smartest members of our families aren't they? Great story MM!
Add this to the list of greats MM. This was a wonderful, hilarious post! Hooray Blaze!
OMG. Things happen to you that don't happen to anybody else.

And now I'll always think of a dishwasher as a "dish-licking appliance". :)
Excellent. Just excellent. Laughed out loud at work this morning and then sent the link to all my friends. Thsi reminded me of the recent CSI episode where they approach the same case from 3 different perspectives. Yours, of course, was much funnier, and had more Possum Urine. Keep living the good life my friend, keep living the good life.
I love you Blaze!
OMG... I couldn't stop laughing... The freaking possum peed on you...

Oh what would I do without you every day!!!
I think Blaze deserves some sort of medal of valor - he's definitely put in his "protect and serve" time.

Of course, he'd probably prefer the roast beef.
best story ever --- the Brownie and Blaze will soon take over the world, I should think
I didn't think it was possible to make me laugh aloud as much as you did with "MM: Medical Oddity", but this tops it. Simply marvelous stuff.
That opossum business is as real as it gets when you live in the suburbs. They are some ferocious monsters. You're incredibly lucky that the timing went the way it did, especially thinking about The Brownie. I mean, there is a real chance that if Blaze had not picked up on the scent, The Brownie could have been seriously hurt, scratched, or bit. Bravo to Blaze, who should know that Angel, The Senior Officer in Command, Redondo Beach Opossum Obliterators, says "Well done indeed. Should we send reinforcements? We will have a unit on standby, awaiting your request."...

Mr. Man, thanks again. Your craft is finely honed and your kung-fu is very powerful.

Mr. Lad, I've seen one of those suckers up close and your viewpoint so aptly captures my memory of that scary night! Really Excellent!!

Ms. Brownie, great job on being a great friend to Blazey. You were the only one smart enough to know that Blazey was being a good dog.

Ms. HLS, remember (especially with your husband - Flies and Honey and Vinegar.
Great post. I really enjoy reading everything you write. Keep it up.
Brilliance. Perhaps the funniest piece you've written yet. Blaze is my hero (well okay, MM. So are you) ;) Bravo.
More tales by Blaze PLEASE!!!!!That was the best (and longest) laugh I've had in a looong time..tears were streaming down my face!
check out
That was the funniest damn thing I've ever read.

You need to let me in on your secret so when my husband and I have our kids, our daily lives can be as chaotic and entertaining as yours.

As a tribute I should write a first-person narrative for my dogs. Though I can assure you; they are nowhere near as intelligent nor well-spoken as Blaze.

Give Blaze props for me.
By my fleas, that dog can write!
Ok, just one question:

Blazey Bellow Hoska Boo Boo Ba Doo?!? He really loves The Brownie to put up with that. I swear my dog glared at me every time I called her Molly Wolly Doodle All Day.
"large dish-licking appliance" - awesome :)
Very funny! I nearly marked myself while reading, I laughed so hard.

I didn't share the romance stuff with my husband, because I didn't want to make him feel targeted. This one I can share because it'll make him laugh.
I spend part of almost every weekend reading aloud to my wife from the previous week's best (imho) entries. We laugh, we reminisce, we move a little closer to center. It's true, Magazine Man is silicone for your marriage.
I'm new to blogging and stumbled on to your site, actually artlads first. I am an educator and truly love to read waht the little guys write
he is totally lucky to have you in his life willing to allow him to be creative your family is very lucky. i hope someday to have grandchildren to share these types of adventures with, thank you for allowing us a glimpse of everyday adventures
another level attained by the fact that a chip so stupid can type so well.

now we understand why he is the sole provider of the family.

who else do you know that can tell a tale of such misgivings of himself with such flair.

I love blaze's blog the best.

damm that dog could blog.
Don't f@#k with a possum, man. Them's mean critters.

Which reminds me of a story about a ship, three screaming city coasties and a "gigantic, hairy-@ssed rat monster" in the engine room. The captain didn't know whether to laugh or chew @ss.
Excuse me while I retrieve pieces of my colon, thanks.
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