Monthly Archives: January 2010

Road Dogs.

Reading Elmore Leonard is a lot like eating chiffon. Or cotton candy. It’s a lot a fun, it’s real good, but there ain’t a whole lot there, if ya know what I’m sayin’.

Leonard’s latest, Road Dogs, is no exception. And that’s fine. Lots of times you don’t want to read something that makes you think too much or too hard. Sometimes you just want to be entertained.

And this is a great book for those sometimes.

In Road Dogs, Elmore Leonard brings back Jack Foley, the thinking man’s bank robber, and Cundo Rey, the little machismo Cuban one man crime wave.

Foley and Cundo meet up in the Florida prison where Jack has been recently sentenced to 30 years and to where Cundo has been transferred to finish the last half dozen years of his sentence.

They become road dogs, slang for convicts watching each other’s back, and Cundo hooks Foley up with his high powered attorney who gets Foley’s sentence reduced to roughly the same half dozen years.

The years pass, and.

Jack is released earlier than Cundo so Cundo pays him to go out to Cali and check on his angel-but-not-quite-wife, Dawn Navarro, until he gets out a couple a days later.

And ya know what?, most all of this happens in the first few pages of the book.

The rest of the story circles around the post prison week that they all spend together.

It’s always surprising what can happen in a couple a days time.

It’s good.

It’s fun.

It’s cotton candy.

And there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.


As an initiative is tough to beat.

Miss Carol proclaimed that it was Ladies Night this morning and then I forgot that that meant I had to cook for myself.

I forgot and then forgot again, and all the sudden, Mister Wonderful with His Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses had pulled up out front to pick up Miss Carol for Ladies Night in His Yellow Corvette.

He never comes in, just drives onto the lawn and toots his horn.

Miss Carol swears he picks them all up for Ladies Night but I can’t for the life of me reckon how they all fit into that little car.

But anyway.

After I got tired of waving goodbye and Cutter and Tug had slouched back into the living room I went to find something in the ‘fridge to make for dinner and to grab the carrots that’re Cutter and Tug’s bigtime treat.

As I was pawing through the refrigerator with them whining and wanting I found me some leftover ground beef, some cheese, and some tortillas.

And suddenly? I knew I was destined for glory- Oceandoggy cheesy beefy bean burritos.  Ooh baby.

What’s not to love?

So this is what I did. First I cooked up some pinto beans, they’re easy. Empty a can into a saucepan, season with salt and pepper and whatall and turn ’em on high for like 10 minutes max till they’re boiling and then turn ’em down to low.

As they heat moosh ’em with a spoon, kinda crushing the beans along the bottom and sides of the pan to soften them and make a beany gravy. You’ll know when you’re doin’ it right.

While the beans are cooking drink beer and watch TV. Cookings nice that way.

After about an hour of slurping Buds and mooshing beans put a fresh flour tortilla on a paper plate (yes I said paper-no clean up), put some cheese and leftover ground beef on ‘er and microwave her for about a minute.

Garnish with hot beans, roll it up, and slurp it down. It’s heart stoppingly sloppy but oh so damn good.


Miss Carol and me, we had to attend a black tie gala affair to benefit the foundation that does whatever good things for the hospital on Saturday night.

I always feel spotlighted at these kinda things. Like a big turd. Like I don’t belong. Like at any minute someone will point at my Wal-Mart dress shoes or my JCPenny tux shirt and tie and call me out.

I hate stuff like this like a root canal.

But we had to go.

We were the guests of one of the vendors that Miss Carol works with and there weren’t no gettin’ around it. All week long, I envisioned a huge room full of self important muckedy-mucks clustering in small clusters and talking quietly and importantly to one another while a string quartet played annoyingly quiet music in the background and with me wondering how I’d get a second beer without them staring down over their narrow noses at me. You know, with distain?

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

But then again, I’m wrong a lot.

It was a blast.

Sure the bar was closed for fifteen minutes or so during the invocation and the CEO’s speech but other than that? Full time, full throttle party. I didn’t know that men in tux’s and women in beautiful gowns could be that much fun.

It was almost like there were regular folks underneath all that finery.

Who  knew?


I was being yanked around on our nightly walk and between the herking and jerking and the panting and the cursing Cutter and Tug I got to thinking that I was getting to wear my raincoat WAY more than I’d ever dreamed I’d wanted to.

I was thinking that maybe if it keeps raining all hope will disappear and I’d just somehow get used to the soggy existence that’s been our unending evermore.

Maybe dry, maybe warm, is overrated?

And so I splashed through the road lakes, dodging the spray from cars and trucks and hurrying behind the twin turds.

I know there are way worse places during the winter than our little island I gotta admit age and pussiness are rapidly converging to make me long for sunnier and warmer. And bikinier (new word)

Cause honestly? There’s times, lots of ’em, that I’m over it. Times that I wanna just grab Miss Carol and Cutter and Tug and head south. Waaaaay south.

But then I think, and I remember. And the decades and centuries all pile up and crest over me and I know I’m luckily stuck in a deep mire of old friendships, inescapable.

And so, I’m just keepin’ on as winter grinds on churning ever endlessly and my Cutter and Tug pull me down the road twice a day whether I want to go or not.

Things could be worse.

Mr. King rules.

I loves me some Stephen King.

I loves his storytelling and I really loves his length. There’s just something about settling in with a thousand-plus page book that just makes me want to put life on hold and curl up and grab a beer and just read ’till my eyes bleed.

His newest, Under the Dome, is all about a small town in Maine that’s suddenly cut off from the rest of the world by a huge, impenetrable, semi-permeable, invisible dome. Think of the world’s biggest salad bowl slam down, cupping your world.

At first, the inhabitants of Chester Mill treat this weird anomaly as a strange, larger than life, mostly unbelievable, novelty. But then, it begins to collectively dawn on them that they are well and truly trapped like specimens in a jar. And that’s when Stephen King weaves his magic.

I’ve always loved the way Stephen King’s books feel and read like a long story told by an old and loving grampy.

If I ever had me an old and loving grampy.

But I didn’t and that’s a hole nother story.


I loved the book and while I wasn’t real crazy about the ending, maybe at 1072 pages Stephen King got a little tired and just needed to wrap it up. Or maybe that’s the only way the story could end. I don’t know and don’t really care.

The story was that good and that fun and just get it and go baby.


What to say?

I stumble and fumble for words, knowing none are even close to adequate.

Imagine, just imagine, your world turned upside down, strapped in, and sent for a bonus ride on the world’s worst roller coaster that demolishes everything you’ve ever known and kills just about everybody you grew up with.

And then.

Imagine being slapped in the face with the reality TV event that Haiti’s suffering has become. Imagine, instead of food and water, you get a steady stream of reporters, correspondents, photographers, videographers all angling for the best victim shot or story. Media trucks and satellite dishes elbowing for space, focusing on the need but doing nothing about it.

If you don’t believe me watch one of the network segments with the sound off.

Over the years, we’ve been through hurricanes and storms and while nothing like what hit Haiti, there have been events that’ve left us powerless, in the dark, and cut off for days. And since we’ve surfed the way outer fringe of something like what they’re enduring our empathy and sympathy gush like a fire hose.

I can’t even imagine what it must be like in Haiti.

And I wonder what’s going on.

I wonder, why, after six days, aid is still just “dribbling” into a country less than a hundred miles away from the US. Why, after six days, news correspondents are still forlornly wringing their collective hands and posing with the hurt and torn for their photo ops but doing little else. Why, after six days, it’s looking more and more like fun times in news story land.

Hell, they can milk this baby for weeks. Or months. Ain’t nothin’ better for the six o’clock news than bad news.

And meanwhile the people of Haiti suffer. Truly suffer.

And I wonder- WTF?


Things are accelerating rapidly downhill in oceandoggy postingville.

Tonight I bring you Poo-Pourri.

One of Miss Carol’s sisters gave us this at Christmas. I’m not quite sure what the motive was but we laughed wholeheartedly, guffawing in a friendly, familial way knowing all the time that MY poo doesn’t stink.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, that’s one of them there goodun’s


We got back home and eventually we took the Christmas tree down and moved the gifts around, slowly absorbing them into our lives and our little home and we came across our Poo-Pourri.

Miss Carol put it in one of the bathrooms and later that following day I test drove it.

And guess what?

It actually works just like it says it will. Amazing.

Who’d a thunk it? and who thinks up this shit? er, I mean, stuff?

Old. Dude.

I was working today and I went out to my truck for yet ANOTHER effing tool and while I was crossing the parking I passed a young woman and her father (?) (hopefully he wasn’t her husband) headed into the building.(lots of Doctors offices)

I didn’t want to eavesdrop but her conversation was crystal clear in the early morning air. The old guy was doin’ that half step shuffle that old folks do and she was telling him that after they got his teeth to fit right she would take him home and shave him.

And at first I thought, wow that’s cool that she’s taking care of her dad.

But then, hot on the heels of  that sunny happy thought was one much more disturbing about the old dude. Why? Why would anyone want to get old? Why do we yearn to add the years to our resume like yearly accomplishments to breathing and staying alive?

I climbed up into Big Black and sat for a time behind the wheel pondering.

I mean really WTF? Life starts to suck at a certain age so why keep pushing it along uphill like a rusty creaky wheelbarrow? Getting sicker and sicker and forgetting shit and doddering around looking surprised all the time.

A depressing thought for a Monday. I know. But, honestly? Isn’t Monday when this shit hits?



This is just good. Really good.

At first shallow, cursory, glance Richard Russo’s Bridge of Sighs is just another longish (600 some odd pages) story about a fairly unremarkable man whose sole claim to fame is that he lives his entire life in the same small town in upstate New York.

But, on a deeper, more introspective level we find it’s all about, um, well, er, you know, deeper more introspective stuff. Stuff I don’t have but let’s don’t worry about all that right now. I mean, one doesn’t necessarily have to understand EVERYTHING about sumpin’ sumpin’ just to enjoy the sumpin’, now does one?


So anyway, this is one of those books that book lovers love to read and hate to have end. From the very start Richard Russo pulls you into a story that’s as comfortable and comforting as your favorite pair of jeans, or that warm blankie on a cold day, or maybe the soft embrace that rubs away, at least for awhile, the sharp corners of life.

It’s that damn good.

Adding to the book’s readability is the book itself. Printed in a font on a type of paper that just makes it a big ‘ol floppy book begging to be read, it just kinda sprawls all over you, limply wanting.

Sometimes a book is not solely about content but also about the feeling it evokes and this one’s a warm fuzzy one.

Get it and read it and you won’t be sorry you did.



This was my Me Only Room.

It was a dark dingy disturbing place crammed chockablock full of books and notes and pictures and work stuff and post ideas and crap. Every horizontal surface had stuff on it that you had to move to get to the stuff underneath which was usually stuff that I had forgotten about because it had been buried for so long.

I’m not sure how it got this way, but the worse it became the more it resisted cleaning and straightening and the more I dreaded even touching it.

It was easier just to close the door.

But then, this past weekend, inspired by Miss Carol’s burst of housecleaning energy (she had to-we hosted an impromptu New Years Eve party) I decided enough was enough and waded in.

Armed with a six-pack and a Lethal Weapon marathon on Spike TV (who knew there were 4 of them?) I spent an epic day cleaning and sanding and varnishing and filing and did I mention cleaning?

When I finally staggered out, buzzing a little bit and a little bit tired of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, my Me Only Room had been transformed.

It’s still full of crap, but it’s clean, good-smelling, put-away crap.