Life with a dog

Charley is sitting on the sofa while I work next to him on the computer. He is chomping away contentedly on a hard, hollow bone.

At one point, the bone clatters to the floor and slides under the coffee table. The pooch puts his head on his hands, stares at the bone, and whines a little. Whether he dropped it on purpose to get my attention or it just fell off the cushion remains a mystery.

Sometimes I let him deal with these issues on his own. Today I come to his rescue.

“What is it, pup?” I ask him (I always talk to him, like an old lady with a cat instead of a husband, never mind that I have a fiancee who’s a good listener), kneeling down on the floor in front of him.

Charley looks up at me, gives me a happy lick on the chin, then furrows his brow—dogs furrow their brows; it’s what makes them more aw-shucks lovable than cats—and stares back at his bone.

“You want your bone back? Gimme another kiss and you can have it.” Smart dog that he is, Charley licks me on the nose. I pick up the bone and toss it on the sofa to his left, expecting him to pounce on it and get back to his fun.

Instead, Charley looks back at me and gives me two big licks on the cheek, as if to say thanks. Then he happily goes back to his chewing.

No number of early and late walks in the rain is too many for such simple affection.

Information booth

I have, in my years living in New York, turned into a true New Yorker, to the extent that I look and act the part when out of doors. Something about the way I traverse the city—purposeful, distanced look in the eye, fast gait, a tendency to read the newspaper even while walking—flags me as a local. As a result, I get asked a lot of questions.

Summertime in Union Square brings out the visitors, and I have found myself giving directions more and more often. Often, I am walking my dog when I am stopped, which makes sense. On occasion I will be out solo and someone will just look at me and ask me to help find their destination. I am always happy to oblige.

But I was taken completely by surprise last week. Crossing Park Avenue South mid-block in traffic, a man in a Toyota called out from his car. It didn’t register that he was looking for me until he called out a second time. I doubled back to the driver’s window from the front bumper.

Me: “Yeah?”

Him: “Do you know where the Toys ‘R’ Us is?”

Me, businesslike and without hesitation: “Next block up on the right.”

Him, unfazed: “Thanks, man.”

I made it across the street before the light turned. He took off, presumably to find a parking spot.

Jaywalker as information kiosk. Who knew?

Must be one terrible movie

“[Vincent] Gallo has put the heebie-jeebie on my colon and prostate. I am not too worried. I had a colonoscopy once, and they let me watch it on TV. It was more entertaining than ‘The Brown Bunny’.”

—Roger Ebert, putting a stamp on the Ebert-Gallo tiff regarding Gallo’s new movie

Home pages

I updated my home page today (mainly to refine the self-aggrandation now that my three-pronged weblog is back to one) and rediscovered my home page archives. I have faithfully saved my index files dating back to 1999, archiving a page the last day before a change. Take a look:

October 1999

January 2000

May 2000

September 2000

from when I switched servers (11/00? no date listed)

December 2000

January 2001

January 17, 2001

February 2001

August 2001

August 2001 to June 2002

June 2002 new

February 2003

March 2003

No end to Apple’s sensibility

According to this report, Apple is wisely (and perhaps proudly) submitting iTunes sales data to SoundScan, giving an added burst of legitimacy to its numbers.

When I was younger I used to consider buying some of my CDs intentionally at larger stores where sales were being reported to SoundScan. Let my indie voice be heard! So I’m spending my $15 at Sam Goody—at least the world will know I’m buying the new Odds record. BBC Records will understand.

SoundScan has been tracking online music sales for a while, so this news isn’t a big stretch. But it is good news.