mo still keeps books on her nightstand. that’s why i love her.

that, and her Secret Taco Recipe. ok, mostly that second one.

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talk like a pirate yin/yang

yin: i find myself at the home depot, not even having realized i was lost. mo is buying spray paint to support her habit, so i’m wandering aimlessly. until i see it.

it’s parked in front of the store. not being A Guy, i have no idea what it does. but i desperately want to rent it (only $107 for 24 hours!) on International Talk Like A Pirate Day. I can hook it to the back of my car and drive around. people will look at it and ask me what it is.

i will reply simply, “AUGER!!!!”

i can’t wait.

yang: i look up the date for Talk Like A Pirate Day. it was exactly one week ago. oh, well. maybe i can hitch some pancakes to the back of the car.

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he’s a doctor, so it MUST work

mo is in pain and sent me to the store. among all the high-tech stuff, i found DR. J.H. MCLEAN’S VOLCANIC OIL!!!!!!!!! i think it was still on the shelf from 1835, back before product liability suits changed things.

best thing: active ingredient is turpentine oil, combining pain relief AND paint brush cleaning. bonus: mo has discovered the chief source of her pain. maybe volcanic oil out of a shot glass …

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once upon a masterpiece


it’s called masterpiece in a day. you go out on the street and paint something,
ingesting red bull and big red because it’s before noon and besides. red.
have you ever SEEN a mo painting?


our friend tinker came to hang out while mo painted.


mo was painting a dog, so we got a lot of dog visitors. no butt sniffing that i’m aware of.


the dogs seemed to like it. or maybe mo smells like a cat.


after a couple of hours of inhaling paint, the hallucinations began.


which of course means an appearance by frida.


and more dogs.


and then a parade broke out.


followed by dogs. some of whom weren’t too sure about art.


and some just wanted a treat. my kind of dog.


in the end, mo couldn’t decide between versions 1 and 2, so she asked her new friend annabelle, who studied them for a minute and then chose no. 3. everyone’s an art critic.


and when it was all over, the dog ended up where it started, with tinker,
who promised to give it a good home.

it was a good day. i hope i don’t have fleas.

the end.

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skittles and me

i grew up with m&ms. the straight-up chocolate no frills no peanuts no pretzels no peanut butter just chocolate thank you very much variety.

growing up in west texas, you appreciate the candy shell. a hershey bar melts on the trip from the store to the car. not an m&m. you could find them under the couch or on the floorboard of the car weeks later and they were still just as good. this was before we found out that eating stuff off the floor might not be so healthy. sissies.

by the time skittles debuted in the u.s. in the early 1980s, it was way too late for me. i was already set in my ways. besides, they just seemed like an imposter; a little candy tease until you bit into it to discover THERE WAS NO CHOCOLATE!!!! what’s the point?

so i almost never ate them. it wasn’t that i had anything against them; i had just grown up in an area where we were never around them.  they were foreign to me. i never gave them much thought.

but today i tried some. and i gotta say they’re pretty fantastic. chewy and fruity and like a mary poppins song without an umbrella or dancing penguin.  i like them a lot. chocolate is for suckers. 

it’s easy to avoid stuff you’re not familiar with; to stay in your comfort zone. but how many joys in life are there if you never try something different? my old boss used to say “different isn’t always better, but better is always different.” but then he got laid off, so whatever.

all i know is they’re pretty great, and it would be insane to ban them from the u.s. just because they originated in britain and we don’t trust foreign candy.

don’t be scared of things just because they’re different. candy is candy. not like it will kill you or anything. and if it does, death by skittles seems like as good a way to go as any …

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tommy and me

i didn’t know tommy. we grew up in different neighborhoods. i lived near davy crockett elementary in san angelo. tommy grew up in the bronx. but i read about him today.

when he was 7 years old, he tried to stomp out a fire in his neighborhood, but his pants caught fire. second- and third-degree burns. naturally, he became a firefighter.

he came from a family of 11. his grandfather, father and two brothers were all police officers. “he was very different from the rest of us,” his oldest brother said. “while the rest of us are kind of quiet, tom was very loquacious and extremely generous with his time, money and advice.” i’m not sure if this was  a compliment.

he was an enthsiastic firehouse chef who knew all the best recipes because they were his own, according to a story in the new york times.

he had 18-month-old twin boys who he showed off one evening at an annual softball game the firefighters held every year. a lifetime of watching the little guys grow up was ahead of him. just another sept. 10.

the next morning, his engine team responded to a call. while waiting at a stop light, they heard an explosion. they looked up and saw a large hole in the north tower of the World Trade Center. engine 6 was one of the first units to arrive.

tommy, along with his company, headed up the stairs of the North Tower. because that’s what firefighters do. only one of them came back down. tommy did not.

it’s easy to let things fade. as the years go by, you forget those images of people jumping from the buildings to their deaths. how horrible that day was. how firefighters and police officers went up those stairs to risk their lives in the hopes of saving others. over the years, it just becomes numbers again.

until you pick up your race bib and Thomas O’Hagan, Lieutenant, FDNY Battalion 4 is written across the bottom.

Tommy would have been 58 now, just a couple of years younger than me. he’ll be my running partner sunday. i couldn’t be prouder.

thank you, corpus christi police foundation, for the wake up call. and thank you, tommy. i’ll never forget. promise.

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just another work conversation, part 28

me: i don’t think it’s safe that all the copy editors are sitting next to each other today. what if there’s a bomb? the entire rim would be wiped out.

co-worker 1: maybe you should spread out across the room.

co-worker 2: just make gary move. he’s the only one people would want to bomb.

note to self: co-worker 2 is sort of mean.

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