The other night, I went

The other night, I went to a fabulous dinner with my friend Lauri and was going to go to a party with Rob afterward except I found out that he did not want to go to the party after all. He invited me to come over and bring a movie, so I went to rent a movie, and that is when I ran into Adriana.

Adriana is a lovely and extremely friendly Guatemalan woman who lives and works in my neighborhood. It recently occurred to each of us that we saw each other on the street a great deal, so we began to have conversations. When I saw her last night, she had just emerged from the video store as I was about to go in.

Now, I must reveal that I occasionally project the vibe of being helpless when talking to people I do not know well. (I get the idea that people I do know well also feel that I am helpless, or even hapless, but for entirely different reasons.) It is not that I am actually in need of assistance, it is simply that helplessness is a somewhat modest conversation generator that can be habit forming. So when Adriana asked me what movie I was going to get, instead of saying, “I am going to rent a suspense movie” (which was indeed my intention), I said, “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t rent movies very often, so I don’t know what’s out there. I’ll just go in and look around and maybe find something good.”

And Adriana said, “I’ll come in and help you pick something out.”

And indeed she did.

Adriana is a big movie fan and had apparently seen most of the store’s offerings, so she was full of suggestions. She was so anxious to be helpful that I did not have the heart to tell her I wanted to just pick up a Hitchcock film and run out. She put tape after tape into my hands and explained to me her system for choosing between several desirable movies.

Finally, I allowed as to how I might want something a little suspenseful or scary. With that to work with, she went immediately to the shelf and handed me Stir of Echoes, a movie I indeed had some vague desire to see. I grabbed Torn Curtain on my way to the counter, and we checked out.

Then I went over to Rob’s apartment and watched Torn Curtain, but that is a different story.


I recently designed some postcards

I recently designed some postcards for my friend Faustus’s upcoming cabaret. He had them printed, and they were about to be mailed, when he noticed that the reservations phone number that had been printed was incorrect (the man who had given it to him was dyslexic and had reversed some numbers). Faced with this dilemma, Faustus decided to go to the mail house, cross out the printed number on 2,500 postcards, and write in the correct one.

This led me to recall a time when I worked in a Chicago publishing company and had type reflow in a hardcover book I had designed. On my computer screen, it was fine, but when it was printed, part the last sentence in one of the chapters got knocked off the page and into oblivion. The chapter ended with the words “And you,” and then nothing.

The vice president of the company was not thrilled with this turn of events, and he blamed me for the printer’s error, even though I had done everything right on my end. So the editor of the book and I went to the warehouse and painted over the hanging phrase “And you” in 5,000 copies of the book, ending that particular chapter one sentence early instead of leaving evidence of the printing error.

It took a week.

Faustus, on the other hand, was able to pay the mail house $25 to fix the mistake for him in one afternoon.

There is no justice in the world.


I am watching an old

I am watching an old episode of “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century,” a television program from 1979. The premise of the show is that hunky astronaut Buck Rogers (Gil Gerard) is frozen in 1987 and wakes up five hundred years later, where everybody still dresses as if it were the 1970s and the world is run by computerized faces with light bulbs in them. In the twenty-fifth century, Buck earns his living as a combination secret agent and starfighter pilot.

In this episode, his mission is to protect a genetically perfect woman who is a passenger on a cruise spaceship. The genetically perfect woman is threatened by a sickly blonde-haired woman who transforms in times of stress into a nasty brown-haired woman who can throw people across the room with one hand (like the Incredible Hulk with feathered hair). Of course, her name is Sabrina.

Nineteen seventy-nine must have been the last year that anyone was christened with the name Sabrina before a five-hundred-year moratorium on its use. (I would expect teenage witches are exempt from this, as they are from most laws of the physical universe.)


I was in Ohio, which

I was in Ohio, which is not glamorous. There was an asphalt factory across the street from my hotel, which was in the vicinity of industrial parks and strip malls. The hotel itself was nice enough. There was a kitchen in the suite, which I did not use other than to store orange juice, the same purpose to which I put my kitchen at home. If I got too lonely, I could go sit in the lobby with the fat, middle-aged businessmen who huddled around the television congratulating themselves about the progress of the war.

Suffice it to say, I never became that lonely.


Today I lost my third

By Joel:

Today I lost my third combination lock in two weeks.

I left the first at the gym after gymnastics class, because after I put my lock on the bench, a strange and not particularly attractive Eastern European man came and lay down on the bench next to it; this disconcerted me so much that I completely forgot about the lock, and, for that matter, about my gym shorts and T-shirt, and left the gym without all three.

Properly speaking, I didn’t lose the second lock so much as I discarded it. I bought a replacement that turned out to be smaller than the first lock; I took it to the gym to work out and by the time I was done it had wedged itself so firmly in between the lock and the adjacent locker that I very nearly had to get the gym people to cut it off. Needless to say, I got rid of that one in a hurry.

I bought a replacement for the replacement, and for several days everything seemed to be going fine. But then today I left my gym bag on the subway; it contained not only the replacement replacement lock but also my headphones, my shorts, my T-shirt, and the CDs The Best of Debbie Gibson, Faster Than the Speed of Night (Bonnie Tyler), and the single of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”

Tomorrow I will go buy a replacement replacement replacement lock.

It occurs to me that the universe could be trying to tell me I should be more open, but I’m not listening.


David is still out of

By Joel:

David is still out of town. He claims that there is an asphalt factory across the street from his hotel, but I suspect him to be making this up to help me feel better about not being on a glamorous trip.

So Michael (David’s ex-boyfriend), whom I gushed about two days ago, read my gushing entry. Apparently at lunch we discussed David’s blog and it was clear that Michael read it regularly, but somehow when it came time to make my blog appearance here at Upside-down Hippopotamus, that fact completely evaporated from my brain, leaving me with the impression that I could blog about Michael with impunity.

So much for that idea.

And now, since he’ll probably read this entry too, he knows that I’m totally mortified and embarrassed that he read my other post about him.

On the plus side, this could provide me with enough blog fodder to last until David’s return.


David is off doing something

By Joel:

David is off doing something glamorous in some city more glamorous than where you and/or I live. In the meantime, he has asked me to guest blog so that his fans, insignificant as they may be, might not feel completely abandoned and betrayed. I am of course a poor substitute for David and an even poorer substitute for Goblin, but I will do my best.

What David failed to mention in his post from two days ago (about his ex-boyfriend Michael) is that Michael is absolutely the most adorable creature on the face of the earth. I had lunch with the two of them and spent the entire time drooling over Michael until he revealed that he had a boyfriend. I immediately started trying to figure out if there were any Mafia connections I could call upon to rectify this situation, but unfortunately I came up empty-handed, so I just grumpily ate my lunch and then went to work.


And so we come to

And so we come to Rob, the man of my dreams, and the man who left town this evening and can therefore not punish me for writing what I am about to.

How do I love him? I will not count the ways, as I would be here for days. (That was a fine example of my poetic wit, folks. You should thank your lucky stars you are getting this for free.) In any case, this week, everyone’s favorite Upside-down Hippopotamus has been about my boyfriends’ idiosyncratic behavior, and boy do I have a doozy for you.

This has been a busy week for Rob, as he is overwhelmed with numerous projects and assignments. I was happy that he also decided to take care of himself by going to the gym in the evenings. One warm evening, he was changing into his exercise shorts and tank top while also running around his apartment trying to accomplish a hundred other things. He grabbed his CD player, walked the four blocks to the gym, and did his workout.

Finishing up with abdominal crunches, he felt the need to adjust his shorts for some reason . . . only to discover that they did not seem to be present.

He had walked down the street and exercised for an hour in only his boxer briefs.

How could I not be in love with that?


Today, I will discuss my

Today, I will discuss my ex-boyfriend Michael, a discussion that will not be influenced by the lunch he bought me when he came to town this afternoon. Michael and I have always had a friendly adversarial relationship, but he knows I love him.

Do I love him enough, however, to refrain from dishing the dirt? That remains to be seen. It will be seen, in fact, in the following paragraph.

I always thought that the most idiosyncratic thing about Michael was his ratio of bravery to fear, as he is simultaneously one of the bravest and most fearful people I know. He has lived on four continents, visited a hundred mostly third-world countries, and survived a bloody civil war. In fact, he has almost been killed on any number of occasions, and he does not seem to find these occasions especially stressful in the retelling. He picks up snakes and bugs as easily as I might pick up a pen; once, during the height of the West Nile panic, he picked a dead bird off our patio with his bare hands and flung it over the fence. He has coolly navigated situations that would have had me ripping out my own hair in terror or disgust. And yet, one small mistake on a credit card bill will send him shooting to the heights of anxiety. He is deathly afraid of buses, undressing at the gym, and suddenly realizing, while traveling, that he has brought the wrong size suitcase.

I suppose we all have moments where we either shine or panic. It is just amusing to see where some of us cross that line.

In other news, yesterday evening, I was in Starbucks waiting for Rob and Joe to show up, when an enormous woman with shockingly red hair came in with two young boys, neither of whom could have been more than five. She spoke to them rather intelligently, and surprisingly, they formed halway intelligent responses; although they sat several tables away, their conversation dominated the cafe hubbub. At one point, she asked the couple at a neighboring table if she might borrow their newspaper because, she said, she wanted to see what was going on in the world. Taking it, she began to show the photographs to the children.

“Who is that a picture of?” she asked, then answered her own question: “That’s George W. Bush,” she said. “President of our country.”

She said it in such a booming voice that, in the current oppressive political climate, I was terrified she would burst into a rendition of “Our Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” but she actually surprised me. “That’s George Bush,” she said again, “and he’s the reason we’re in the mess we are today!”

A murmur of amused approval rippled through the shop (there was not a soul who could not hear her), and, encouraged, she continued: “There isn’t a picture of Al Gore, the man who should have been our President. Do you remember who Al Gore is?”

“Yes,” said the dutiful children.

“Do you remember our song about Al Gore?”

They did, and the three of them proceded to chant: “Al Gore, Al Gore, he’s our man! Throw George Bush in the garbage can!”

I like Al Gore about as much as I would like a hole in the head, but I suppose now that he has been elected to the Board of Directors of Apple Computer, I will attempt to appreciate him in a new light.

It was in that spirit that I did not cringe as much as I might have.


I spent this morning debating

I spent this morning debating whether I should move on to Michael or tell the story of how I almost became a Canadian Hare Krishna because of Bill. Now that I see it written out, the choice is clear.

Picture it: Toronto, 1992. For weeks, I had planned to drive up the east coast and visit my friends in New York and other northern states, perhaps ending up at Niagara Falls for some solitary contemplation. I had carefully arranged the excursion to coincide with a time that Bill was busy. Our relationship was troubled, and I did not want to compound the agony by spending a week in the car together. To my extreme displeasure, after I announced my departure date, Bill decided he was now available to join me. Oh joy, I thought.

Bill’s presence forced me to change my plans. Instead of a leisurely drive in the northeast, we decided to go to Canada, first spending a couple of days in Niagara Falls and then several days at a Toronto bed and breakfast recommended by a friend of his. From the first, my boyfriend’s schizophrenia triggered loud, irrational arguments followed immediately by periods of calm and affection. As the trip progressed, those intervals of calm and affection became briefer and further apart. One day we were shrieking outside a shopping mall when we were confronted by one of the cutest men I had ever seen. He wore baggy clothes, his hair was cropped close to his head, and he offered us a free vegetarian cookbook.

“No,” Bill said, walking away, but I stood transfixed. The stranger radiated peace, and his eyes seemed to bore deep into my soul. “Come on, David!” my crazy boyfriend yelled from a hundred feet away.

“You don’t have to go with him,” said the man softly. “You can come back with me.”

In all of my twenty years, I had never wanted anything as much as I wanted to go wherever this man led. I felt as if I were melting into the ground at his feet.

“David!” screamed Bill.

The spell broke. All at once, a million nagging thoughts shot into my brain: finishing college, my family and friends, having to give Bill my car so he could get home . . . . The reality of my life came crashing back, and I stumbled away.
Driving back to Baltimore, I played some music to help ease the journey. Music that did not meet with Bill’s highbrow approval. “Enough of this crap,” he growled, jamming his finger into the button that ejected the tape. I raised an eyebrow. Static from the radio filled the car, an endless, roaring crackle that consumed every other sound and thought. I surrendered to it. For some time, possibly hours, neither of us made a move, until he finally reached over in a huff and turned off the radio, plunging us into silence.

Two weeks later, I broke up with him.


This is my second post

This is my second post for the day. For a chronological listing of my boyfriends, please scroll down.

This just in:

Dear Mr. and Ms. and Uvula,

It has recently been brought to my attention that my boyfriend has, on at least one occasion, vomited on property belonging to a major United States Federal agency–an agency that, in fact, is now critically associated with Homeland Security.

Is this a sign that he is a terrorist? Does this act of digestive desecration foreshadow his eventual master plan to destroy the entire government of the United States, or even the whole of Western Civilization? Is my boyfriend actually a devious super-villain right out of a James Bond film, dead set on dominating the entire civilized world, dreaming of the complete stranglehold he will have over the leaders of all free nations once he reveals the diabolical Doomsday Device he is even now constructing that will turn the entire Antarctic polar cap into a pile of frosted blueberry Pop-Tarts if his insane demands aren’t satisfied?

Or is he just a goof who can’t hold his tequila?

An Anxious Patriot

David responds:
It is exactly this sort of email that is going to get me arrested and held without trial in a secret government installation.

Goblin responds:
No no no! Then who will feed me?

*lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick*

David responds again:
You will be shipped off to Canada to live with your uncles Erich and Alex, and your feline half-brother, R2-D2. And some other cat that thinks it’s so cute.

In any case, to answer the question that was posed, I am leaning toward goof, myself. However, do remind him that I prefer a cherry Pop Tart to blueberry, just in case.


Erich was not my first

Erich was not my first boyfriend. The order goes: Bill, Jim, Erich, Doug, Michael, and Rob. Bill was a brilliant, WASPy lunatic who was so terrified of ejaculation that I soon found that the quickest way to end our dreary, fumbling sexual encounters was to claim one was imminent. Jim was a trashy fellow who was just bright enough to have a political viewpoint, but not so bright that it was not conservative. We dated during the 1992 Presidential campaign; his idolization of Dan Quayle and my sudden discovery that he had subtracted at least three years from his actual age (I was twenty, and he had claimed to be twenty-eight but was actually in his thirties) put an end to things rather soon. The next year, I met Erich at a party I had not intended to attend. His Bulgarian accent intrigued me, and the resulting relationship lasted almost five years. Doug told me he loved me on our second date, and things went downhill from there. After we broke up, he became involved with my friend Marcelo, left to become a monk, and then became involved with Marcelo again.

We will be at war tomorrow, or the day after at the latest. This is good news for Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, and all of the other Bush cronies who will prosper financially from this undertaking. It is potentially very bad news indeed for New Yorkers such as myself who must now live with the increased threat of asymmetric warfare. Tom Tomorrow said it best on his brilliant blog: “On behalf of the 75% of my fellow New Yorkers who oppose this little bloodbath, I would like to say to those of you who have supported it so vociferously–and who believe that an administration that can’t even get their little color coded charts in order is capable of prosecuting it effectively–well, thanks so much. Thanks for risking our safety and our lives on the basis of nothing more than simplistic propaganda which any child should be able to see through. Thanks for increasing the likelihood that this city will suffer further grief and pain. Lord knows we haven’t seen enough of that sort of thing around here already.”

Tune in tomorrow for more joy and love.


I promised I would recount

I promised I would recount this adventure here.

Picture it: Tijuana, Mexico, January 1998. Just after the new year, my friend Tiffany and I flew to San Diego to visit my ex-boyfriend Erich, and we decided to spend an evening south of the border. Unfortunately, it was the evening of the same day Erich had one of his frequent dental surgeries to correct his Eastern European teeth. As the three of us caroused Tijuana’s nightlife, taking advantage of numerous two-for-one drink specials, we watched the coverage of Sonny Bono’s funeral on the bar televisions. Enraptured by Cher’s dramatic appearance, I failed to notice the dramatic deterioration of Erich’s condition.

While we had all drunk the same amount, Tiffany and I were perfectly coherent, while Erich could barely stand. The alcohol had interacted adversely with the pain medication he had been given earlier that day.

We took a cab back to the border crossing, where Tiffany and I had to physically support Erich, dragging him toward customs (pausing once to allow him to vomit on the carefully manicured lawn of the American checkpoint building) and fending off mercenary Mexicans with shopping carts who wanted to wheel him across the border for a small fee, apparently a prosperous business venture in Tijuana. (And in the interest of accuracy—something in which I have never been especially interested before—I must report here that any earlier versions of this story, in which we did solicit the services of one of these budding young capitalists, were slightly exaggerated.)

Somehow, largely unconscious, Erich stumbled through customs, his intoxicated state and German passport generating only slightly more attention than we Americans received. Afterward, the dragging of his body commenced anew, and Tiffany and I were faced with a new dilemma: I could take Erich’s keys and drive his car, but I had no idea how to get back to his apartment. Luckily, he floated to awareness in time to direct me from the back seat.

I realize this is not a particularly interesting tale, although it was both funny and horrifying at the time. I am not a heavy drinker, and it is my experience that straight people share stories of drunken exploits that make this look like a visit to Sesame Street. (I have noticed that, to a certain class of young straight person, telling drinking stories is like talking about the weather.) Still, this is theme week here on everyone’s favorite Upside-down Hippopotamus. As the world gears up for an unjust and hypocritical war, in which a country with an elected dictator will be attacked by a country with an unelected dictator for the stated purpose of disarming it of the weapons the invading country sold it to begin with . . . I will be blogging about the idiosyncrasies of my ex-boyfriends.

Tune in and feel the joy.


Yesterday, Rob and I ventured

Yesterday, Rob and I ventured into a small bookshop and each picked out a few items to purchase, for which we attempted to pay with credit cards. The owner of the shop told us that she would rather not take credit cards (I do not believe it was a matter of capability, as there was a card-swiping terminal on the counter), and did we have cash or checks? As we are broke New Yorkers, we had neither.

So she gave us the books and told us we could mail her the payment later.

We were instantly transported to a terrifying world where plastic did not bring power and people trusted one another completely. The woman smiled as we left, reveling in her hold over two more Manhattanites.

As soon as I got home, I instructed my Internet bill-paying service to send her a check. That will show her!


So we could end the

So we could end the recent spate of letters to Goblin on a positive note, I saved this one for last.

Dear Goblin,

I write to inquire about your status vis-à-vis companionship; that is to say, whether you might be what the humans commonly (and I mean the word in all its senses) refer to as “single.”

If you have not formed any attachments, I would be most honored were you to allow me the pleasure of your company one afternoon or evening in the near future. Your sage advice has instilled in me a deep belief in your sagacity and beauty; I also happen to have chanced upon a photograph of you among the papers of my human servant, and I hope you will not take it amiss if I say that you are most pulchritudinous. I believe that you will find me engaging, playful, witty, refined, attractive, and above all possessed of a delightfully aromatic butt.

Looking forward eagerly to your response, I have the honor to remain

Yr. very humble & obdt. srvt.


Goblin responds:
Yes yes yes! I’m single! Daddy says it’s best that I keep my options open vis-à-vis companionship so I’m not seeing anyone. Daddy says I should make a list of the qualities I want in a special friend and write it in hieroglyphs and leave it in the local café. Sometimes Daddy says the silliest things!


Daddy says that I’m the most pulchritudinous girl in the world! Me me me! Daddy says that I should be on the lookout for silver-tongued bandits who try to steal my heart. Daddy says I could go out with you if you aren’t a silver-tongued bandit. Daddy says my curfew is nine o’clock. Daddy says I’m not allowed to sniff anyone’s butt on the first date! Butt butt butt! Daddy says we have to be chaperoned!


Yesterday I went for a walk and people gave me carrots! Carrots carrots carrots! I love carrots. Can you bring me some carrots too? I will give you a kiss if you do. Daddy says I shouldn’t give too many kisses or people will think I’m easy but I can’t help it. One time Pashmina tried to kiss me and I started to bleed. Pashmina kisses too hard! Pashmina says she just wants to kiss me to death.

*lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick*

I’m free a week from Tuesday.


This is the second of

This is the second of two posts for today. Scroll down for more bizarre search parameters.

Rob’s (and my) friend Patty came to town to be in the latest reading of his musical Vanishing Point, which played on Sunday evening to a delighted audience. Patty is a charmingly thoughtful and spiritual person (who incidentally shone in her role of Agatha Christie). We had lunch together on the day of the performance, where she mentioned an interesting thing she had once heard: that if one encounters a feather on the ground while one is walking, it was a sign from the universe that one is on the right path in life.

The next day, I was walking down the street and was fortunate enough to see three feathers. In the midst of my elation over the universe’s tacit approval of my current life course, I stopped to take a closer look. The three feathers were lying quite close to each other on the pavement. In fact, I noticed, they were joined together. A triple blessing?

Then I saw that the feathers were connected through a raw, bloody piece of flesh that had clearly been painfully ripped from an innocent pigeon.

Clearly this is an omen that I should not look for any further omens.


This is the first of

This is the first of two posts for today.

My dear friend Faustus, who has guest blogged for me before and has access to my Blogger account, was kind enough to pass along the following after yesterday’s entry on the odd and curious search parameters that have led to this site.

At one point I looked at the Google references to your blog and also found the following three things:

“her glass eye”

“cheerleaders in desperation to poop”

and, most mystifyingly:

“lizzie borden pigeon”

We owe him a great debt for his vigilance.


“Carmen Miranda without underpants.” Someone

“Carmen Miranda without underpants.”

Someone found this blog yesterday by doing an Internet search for the phrase “Carmen Miranda without underpants.”
I always knew I would one day write something about the bizarre ways in which people come across this site, but these were the underpants that broke the camel’s back. I subscribe to a service that tracks number of hits this site receives, as well as the URLs that refer them. In the case of Google (or other) searches, I am also provided the search parameters. When search words match words I have written here, in whatever order, everyone’s favorite Upside-down

Hippopotamus shows up as a result. Until today, I have never used-nor would I ever dreamed of using-the phrase

“Carmen Miranda without underpants,” but I imagine I have typed “Carmen Miranda” and “without” and “underpants” at various moments.

I am also featured in these other Shining Moments in Search History:

“upside down sex”

“pooping on each other during sex”

“hippo sex”

“is amy wynn gay?”

“infected skin tag”

I actually did use this last phrase when recalling my most exciting birthday in recent memory. Unfortunately, those searching for “infected skin tag” are no doubt seeking a comfort from an irritating epidermal condition. My own solution, being miraculously healed by the Virgin Mary, may not be an option for everyone, although it does open up the tantalizing possibility of people finding this blog by Googling “amy wynn being pooped on by the virgin mary during sex.”

(One would think that the sex would introduce problems in maintaining the whole Virgin thing, but one is not quite certain thinking is as common an activity these days as Internet searches.)


Fresh from yet another tea

Fresh from yet another tea party with the nighttime squirrels (read: rats) Louise, Gladys, and Pashmina—as well as her mischievous invisible friend, Beetriss—Goblin is ready to tackle yet another reader quandary. I am slightly less fresh but equally prepared. This is the penultimate in the recent spate of emailed pleas for help, and possibly more up Goblin’s alley than the last.

hi David and goblin!

I’ve got a question that’s perfect for you two! I want a puppy really badly (not a terrier but a chiwuawa) I’m out of the house from 8am till 8pm (work then gym including London traffic hell) I’m thinking that it’s a really cruel and unusual punishment for any puppy to be left at home that long without being let out…. I’ve found a dog walking service in my area (15 p for 15 mins bargain). However the walker appears to be a teenager girl whom walks only after 4pm… now would that just be too long to wait to go out for a piddle? Also… how could I trust this ‘walker’ as I would surely have to issue her house keys in order to collect my precious pooch… isn’t that just a huge security risk? God I sound like a new parent and I don’t even have a dog yet? HELP!

Great blog btw!


David responds:
If you think complimenting our daily literary endeavor is going to endear you to us, Sarah, you have another thing coming. Actually, you do not have another thing coming. You are absolutely right. We love you. However, if you think we are going to do any research on your behalf, Sarah, you have another think coming. We will do our best to answer your questions from personal experience and things we have read before. We will also do our best to resist pointing out that there are no Ws in chihuahua.


It will cause her to blush, but I must honestly report that housetraining Goblin was one of the most stressful things I have ever done. This is largely because I was working very similar hours for the first few months of her life (although in Eastern Standard Time, not Greenwich Mean Time). It did not make things easier that I was actually allowed to take her to work with me, thanks to the progressive policies of my New Economy employer. (This was before the New New Economy came along and left all of the New Economy employees unemployed, myself included. At least I was able to spend more time housetraining my dog.)

It would indeed be cruel and unusual punishment to leave your puppy alone for that long without being let out . . . if you expect it not to go to the bathroom in your house. If you do not care if it goes to the bathroom in your house, you are one step ahead of the game, because that is an activity on which puppies spend an inordinate amount of time. I once left a three-month-old Goblin alone for eight hours, closed in the bathroom where I thought she could not do any damage, and she painted the walls with excrement.

Even if excrement were not a factor, it would still be not in a puppy’s best interest to be alone for that much of the day. Dogs are social animals, and while an adult dog may be able to occasionally spend that much time alone, puppies, especially puppies you wish to eventually have grow into well-trained dogs, will most likely not be able to manage.
If you absolutely must have a chihuahua, and if you absolutely must be away from home for twelve hours a day, you have three options:

1. Professional dog walkers. This is also a good way to socialize your puppy with other dogs (if you choose one who walks multiple dogs at once; these are usually cheaper). The problem is, as you mentioned, they are not necessarily the safest or most reliable choice. Do not shop for a bargain; ask other dog owners in your neighborhood for recommendations, and insist upon other references when contacting prospective dog walkers. Do all of this before you even get your dog. Also, find some way of occasionally spying on the dog walker when he or she is in your house, either using a hidden camera or by popping in unexpectedly.

The other problem is that this will do nothing to initially housebreak your dog, it will only help (slightly) with the loneliness problem.

2. Doggie daycare. Another good way of socializing your puppy, although it can be expensive . . . and many will not take untrained dogs.

3. Be one of those wacky people who carries her chihuahua around with her wherever she goes. This is probably the best option, although it may result in a dog that cannot stand to be separated from you at all.
Um. How about a cat instead? Or an iguana?

Goblin responds:
Puppy puppy puppy! I’m a puppy! Daddy says I’m eighteen in dog years and that’s no spring chicken but I feel like a puppy! Daddy says that I’m not a puppy and that I’m a dog and a girl dog and that makes me a bitch. Bitch bitch bitch! Daddy doesn’t know that sometimes his words hurt like weapons.


Daddy says I shouldn’t write too much because he wants to write something else later. Daddy says that if I write a short answer he’ll give me a Wheat Thin. Wheat Thin Wheat Thin Wheat Thin! Is this my lucky day or what? Daddy is going to have a frozen dinner for dinner because Uncle Bobby is out rehearsing his new show and isn’t here to cook something good. Uncle Bobby is addicted to saltines. I’m addicted to his crumbs! Crumbs crumbs crumbs! He is the Crumb Lord!

*lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick*

Speaking of food I just came from another tea party with Louise and Gladys and Pashmina. Our last one was cancelled because Pashmina had the plague again. Plague plague plague! Today she showed up with a pigeon head and told me to eat up. It was gross gross gross so I said no but then Beetriss ate it.


Oh yeah. Advice. I think everyone should have a dog and everyone who has a dog should be lucky enough to have a dog like me. Me me me! Everybody knows that Goblin makes the best poops in New York and that’s really saying something. Maybe your dog will make the best poops in London but nobody will know because they’ll be all over your floor and walls and maybe ceilings if you get a really creative one.


Do I get my Wheat Thin now?


I would like to revise

I would like to revise my response to yesterday’s letter, but I am not quite certain as to how.

My first impulse, in sitting down at my correspondence desk, was to be snarky. After all, I am quite opposed to the increasingly common practice of using the imagined welfare of children as a basis for one adult (or group of adults) making moral decisions for or judgments on another adult (or group of adults). Further, I do not believe that the use of drugs that are currently illegal is necessarily any more harmful than the use of those that are currently legal, such as alcohol and tobacco. As a matter of fact, according to many findings, alcohol and tobacco are even more addictive and otherwise dangerous than any of the illegal ones (although this may also be because of their ready availability).
On the other hand, I am an avid reader of the news and watcher of television programs such as “Judge Judy,” in which the lives of many children with unstable parents (those who abuse legal and illegal drugs, as well as those with violent tempers) are portrayed as chaotic, dangerous, irresponsible, full of ignorance, and otherwise devoid of potential for health and growth. If these children grow up at all, they often become locked in cycles in which they are doomed repeat the patterns of their parents, or suffer any number of mental and emotional instabilities. We all know this, regardless of our positions on the issues, and as the letter writer implied, we would not like to see children who matter to us raised under such conditions.

So I am torn. I dislike children in general, and I dislike those who attempt to inflict their personal morals on others . . . but are parents whose personal morals include a “riskier” set of behavior also not inflicting these morals upon those who are too young to understand (or reject) what is going on, thereby incurring lasting repercussions?

Issues like this paralyze me with indecision, which is why I advised that the writer of the letter in question, if he or she had reason to be truly concerned about the child’s safety, to contact the only “experts” I could think of.


Today’s letter is a bit

Today’s letter is a bit too delicate for my innocent little daughter to tackle, so I have sent Goblin to a tea party with her friends the “nighttime squirrels”: Louise, Gladys, and Pashmina.

Dear David,

I was strolling in the park the other day and I ran into the boyfriend of a friend of mine. I see her all the time, but had not seen him in a while. So I was surprised to find him unshaven and reeking with pinpricks for pupils. I would like to say something to her, especially since they have a toddler, but what?! “…oh, how is Kevin? Mainlining? Spiralling toward rock bottom?…do say hello…” But they are the kind of people that resolve their disagreements by hitting each other with chairs, so maybe I should just let sleeping dogs lie in their own filth. What to do?

-can’t decide

David responds:
One assumes you did not whip out a kit and test Kevin’s urine on the spot, so you cannot be certain of anything. When the physical safety of a child is at stake, however, it may be preferable to act upon less tangible evidence than would convict someone for murder. And speaking of that, if such action is likely to have the child’s parents attempting to murder each other with the décor, perhaps direct intervention is not the best idea: as any poltergeist victim will tell you, the environment becomes even less safe when chairs are flying around the room.

If you are truly worried for the welfare of the toddler, you may need to report this situation to your local department of social services and let them look into it. It may be possible to do so anonymously, so as to preserve your relationship with your friend. If things heat up, she may need someone to turn to; you should volunteer to help out however you can—although you should not get sucked into her situation if it seems as if she is doing nothing to rectify it.

I would tell you to approach your friend directly, but someone with the temper you describe is likely to react badly, both to you and her boyfriend. This seems like the sort of thing best left to experts.

Wow. Good luck.

Goblin bursts in and responds:
Hello hello hello! I’m home from my tea party early! The cookies were stale and Pashmina had the plague and spoiled everything. Plague plague plague!


It’s snowing today and Uncle Bobby took me for a walk in the park. We went to Squirrel Holler and I chased some squirrels! Squirrels squirrels squirrels! I got into a fight with one and she yelled at me. But Uncle Bobby was cold and we came home. Stupid stupid stupid squirrels! I am going to be friends with the nighttime squirrels from now on. Daddy says nighttime squirrels are also called rats but I’m being politically correct. They’re much more fun except for when they get the plague. Plague plague plague!


Oh yeah. Advice. Daddy says I’m too young and sweet to talk about mainlining and beating people with chairs! So I’ll talk about sleeping dogs and filth. Filth filth filth! I’m a dog and I sleep. Usually I sleep under the covers with Daddy and Uncle Bobby but sometimes I like to sleep in my crate. There are all sorts of smells in there that I made myself. I like them and they make me comfortable. Daddy says it’s filthy but as soon as he cleans it I make more smells. Smelly smelly smelly! Dogs like to sleep where they’re comfortable even if it’s filthy and not good for them! We don’t know that something else could be comfortable too but if we’re not too comfortable we might be persuaded to consider something different.

*lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick*


This is my second entry

This is my second entry for the day. For Goblin’s Oscar Picks, please scroll down.

Yesterday, my friend and I went to the gym and stopped afterward at a place called Smoochies. Ordinarily, if I saw that an establishment was called Smoochies, I would avoid it like the plague, but my friend wanted to go in, so we went in.
As we entered, the man behind the cash register called out, “Do you know about Smoochies?” I also make it a point to shun any person who asks me out of the blue if I know about something, because nine times out of ten, that person is gearing up to sock it to you. (The classic example is “Do you know about Jesus?”, to which my reply is usually, “Sure, do you know about Krishna?” I used to say, “Sure, do you know about Satan?” until I realized that people who want to tell you about Jesus are usually equally thrilled to tell you about Satan, while usually completely ignorant of every other religion. These people must be stopped.)

I did not know about Smoochies and was informed that it is a kind of tasty, all-natural ice cream with no lactose, no fat, and few calories. It is manufactured by magical elves in the land of Smoochiestan. I sampled a Smoochie and discovered that it is not bad, although it has the consistency of air.

The most unusual thing about Smoochies was the gentleman who waited on us, a part-owner of the franchise, who said that he thought my friend and I knew all about Smoochies, giving the final word a lascivious emphasis. We were unable to determine whether he thought we were lovers (we are not) or was implying that we were each so desirable that we had been given many Smoochies in the unspecified past (which is true but none of his business).

Either way, if someone is going to open an establishment called Smoochies, it behooves him to not use the trademark to sexually harass his customers. Either that, or get it out of your system while the bloom is still on the rose because it is going to be an awfully tired joke after the first week or so.


Hey Goblin– Do you have

Hey Goblin–

Do you have any predictions for who will win on Oscar night? I would like to see Queen Latifah win for best supporting actress, but I am in a quandary over the other categories. Can you help?


Goblin responds:
Yes yes yes! I love Oscars! Daddy says his favorite person used to be someone called Oscar the Grouch because he told it like it was. Daddy says Oscar is also the name of a frankfurter but that they are bad for you. Daddy says they’re also called hot dogs but we’re calling them frankfurters for the same reason some idiot is now calling French fries “freedom fries.” French fries French fries French fries! Yum!


Uncle Bobby says Queen Latifah won’t win the Oscar even though he and Daddy really want her to. Daddy says Julianne Moore will probably win Best Supporting Actress and The Hours should win Best Picture. Daddy says he doesn’t know who will win Best Director but it probably won’t be Almodóvar even though he once did a nice movie called El Ley de Deseo starring a young and hot Antonio Banderas. Hot hot hot!

*lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick*

Daddy says that Adrian Brody will win for Best Actor and Nicole Kidman should win for Best Actress. Daddy says that I am a good actress and I’m very pretty. Daddy says I will win an Academy Award for Best Poop. Poop poop poop! If I win I will thank my daddies and Uncle Bobby and all the little people who are making my magic poop pyramid.


(Daddy says if I’m wrong he will come back here and edit everything so it looks like I was right. Right right right!)


Goblin and I continue to

Goblin and I continue to work our way through our recent epistolary windfall, and we have gone back to slightly revise paragraphs in others for accuracy, although we never claimed accuracy as one of our virtues. (At least we are more honest about this deficit than the mendacious Mr. Limbaugh.)

I’m coming over to Manhattan in March and looking for advice on places to eat, and good theater. I live in London (England), occasionally dip into blogs, and often read yours.

I’ve booked a couple of shows to see (The Producers and Urinetown), and been to NYC four times before, and looking for advice on something different this time!

Hope you can help,

David responds:
As I almost never leave the Upper West Side, many of the things I would recommend are located in that vicinity. I do not pretend that they are quintessential New York experiences, only that they are decent things to do if you find yourself living on West 83rd Street and do not feel like getting on a subway or, god help you, a bus. (Actually, the buses are decent, I simply do not know where they go.)

The Museum of Natural History is largely boring but worth a look. The Metropolitan Museum, almost directly across the park from me, is much more interesting. Drip, on Amsterdam between 83rd and 84th Streets, is the best café on the UWS; some nights during the week, one might relax there with a green tea and watch how people behave on blind dates. Edgar’s (on West 84th at Broadway) and Lalo (on West 83rd at Amsterdam) are two pricier cafés with good deserts. Fred’s and Hi-Life are two restaurants on the corner of 83rd Street and Amsterdam that have good food.

No trip to New York City may be called complete without a visit to the Apple Store, located in SoHo at the intersection of Prince and Greene Streets. It is a gleaming temple where dreams come true, and one of the only destinations for which I will leave my own neighborhood.

Good heavens, I need to get out more.

Goblin responds:
Welcome welcome welcome! Welcome to New York! I was born in Maryland but now I live in New York. Daddy says I’m a city dog. Daddy says if I want to be the welcome wagon I have to stop licking people but I can’t help it!

*lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick*

Daddy says he never leaves our neighborhood but that’s not true. Daddy is a snob but we used to live in Queens so I don’t know how snobby you can be with that sort of thing in your past. Daddy goes out sometimes and leaves me all day and I make a nest under the covers on his bed and sleep there. He goes to the gym and to see his acupuncturist in Midtown and down to the Lower East Side to where Uncle Bobby works.


Oh yeah. Advice. I think you should go to a place in Central Park called Squirrel Holler because that’s where lots of squirrels run around. It’s not really called Squirrel Holler but that’s what Daddy named it for me. It’s by the Diana Ross playground. Squirrel Holler is a better name than Diana Ross if you ask me. If you go there you can chase squirrels like I do. Evil evil evil squirrels! Daddy says I’m the Queen of Central Park.


Also go over to MoMA Queens to see the Matisse Picasso exhibit and to Krispy Kreme to get the best doughnuts ever and to A Salt and Battery to get deep-fried Mars bars. And take the Staten Island Ferry but don’t get off at Staten Island because there’s nothing there and you get to pass the Statue of Liberty. And walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and read about its history which is astounding. And walk past the boat basin in Riverside park because there are some squirrels over there too. I think they all moved over there from Central Park when they heard there was a new Queen in town.

*scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch*


Today’s first letter: How the

Today’s first letter:

How the hell can a 30-year old gay man meet someone in this damn town? Even for sex!

David responds:
Me oh my, you certainly do get directly to the point. No pussyfooting around for you: no tiresome “Dear David and Goblin,” no irritating little electronic fund transfers to my checking account. And yet you wish people to pay attention to you!

Okay, first things first: work on that electronic fund transfer while I tell you the secret to meeting someone. I have successfully used this method on others to make them my boyfriends. Others have successfully used it on me to get sex. So either way, you can win. (Different secrets to finding sex can be found at a blog called The Search for Love in Manhattan. They apparently work just as well, except you run the risk of waking up with chewing gum in your ass hair.)

Secret One: Approach people you find attractive and begin a conversation that culminates in you asking them out. I would not bother with the Internet or personal ads or anything other than this direct approach. I did meet Rob on the Internet, but we met in person very soon after that. In the case of every other man I dated for any length of time, I made the first move in person. People seem to appreciate this: I have a near-100 percent success rate, and I am pretty shy when meeting people for the first time.

The two tricks about asking someone for a date are to make sure (or at least have a reasonable suspicion) the person is of the same sexual orientation as you are, and to ask him to meet you at a specific time and place. In this way, you can buffer the blow of a “no”: he is not rejecting you, he merely finds that time and place inconvenient.

Secret Two: To be successful at the above (or really, to attract anyone worthwhile at all), you need to embody an appealing attitude. For example, your letter seems frustrated and brusque, which will not do at all. Being confident, easy-going, and optimistic usually works. And if you take the time to notice (and point out) some of the other person’s good features (the key here is sincerity, not empty flattery), you get extra credit.

Goblin responds:
Hello hello hello! Daddy said I have to have to answer quick because there’s another letter. Daddy says that I usually talk too much. Daddy says I have something called Attention Deficit Disorder.


I don’t know if this will help but I usually meet people by sniffing their butts. Butt butt butt! Daddy meets a lot of people when he is walking me so maybe you could adopt a dog and regularly walk him or her through a gay neighborhood.

*lick lick lick lick lick lick lick*

Today’s second letter:

Dear Goblin and David,

I seem to have fallen for a bartender. Isn’t that always bad news?

A Loyal Reader

David responds:
I suppose that would depend upon whether or not he has fallen for you.

Goblin responds:
Hello hello hello! Today when I was walking home from Uncle Bobby’s house I threw up in middle of the street. It was yucky. Yuck yuck yuck! Daddy says it was because I didn’t eat breakfast yet so I came home and ate breakfast. Now I feel good.

*lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick*

Daddy says I shouldn’t lick people when I just threw up but Daddy always says not to lick! Lick lick lick! But that’s what I do! Daddy says I should go to bartending school and come up with something else to do. Daddy says he could use a drink. He always says that when I’m around!


Oh yeah. Advice. No that’s not always bad news. Now a dogcatcher . . . that’s always bad news.