I’m in the Mood for Validation . . . Simply Because You’re Near Me

Rob’s family is still in town, which means I can have amazingly intellectual discussions on any topic, at any time of the day or night, with people who agree with me on almost everything. I’ve never tested this, but I could probably have intellectual discussions with my own family, as well—however, as we agree on almost nothing, the bloom would quickly come off of that rose. I’m all for expanding horizons by engaging in respectful debate and all that jazz, but sometimes you just want someone to share your amusement and outrage.

Speaking of family, Goblin Foo is amassing lyrical tributes and wants more more more! (Email them here.) Today, we have this little ditty from Coffeedog:

Oooo, black n white Gob Goblin comes bob bob bobbin’ along…………
She’s so sweet,
Pretty pink feet,
We’ll give her a treat.
Look at her bobbin’ down the street.

Meanwhile, Crash submits (this) to us:

Goblin Foo!: The Musical

To the tune of “You’re Just in Love” (with apologies to Irving Berlin)

I hear growling from beneath my chair
I feel something chewing on my hair
Doggie breath is wafting through the air
It’s Goblin Foo
It’s Goblin Foo

Though she barks, this lady doesn’t bite
‘Cept for squirrelies and that is her right
Since their frolics whet her appetite
Chasing them’s a delight
It’s Goblin Foo

She don’t need doggie psychics
Showgirls doing high kicks
She just needs squeak toys and her dads

‘Bout the town you might spy her
Zippin’ round like some live wire
Barkin’ at those stuck up art school grads

Wicked girls try to smear her
Jealous folk mock and jeer her
But to her own self she stays true

She is happy as a clam
‘Cause she doesn’t give a damn
The one and only Goblin Foo

Goblin wonders when she ever growled beneath a chair (mostly she does this under the coffee table) or chewed on anyone’s hair (although she once peed on my father’s lap). But she appreciates the sentiment and is looking forward to wafting her doggie breath in Uncle Crash’s face.

Keep those cards and letters coming, folks.



Over the weekend, Rob’s family and I took a holistic animal health course taught by a woman who wore black underwear under an unlined white dress and believed that receiving psychic messages from cats and flowers qualifies as valid scientific data.

Yesterday, in my acupuncturist’s treatment room, I heard muffled voices coming through the wall from the psychotherapist’s office next door. “Blah blah blah!” said one voice bitterly. “Blah blah blah!” said another voice, in a substantially more mocking tone. A third, quieter, voice sounded soothing and practical. This was clearly the couple’s therapy session of two people who hated each other. I tried to send them a psychic message-“Less disdain, more love!”-but it was not received. Probably the lines of astral communication were already jammed by those chatty daisies. You know how they are.


All right, so some lovely people have written songs about my Boston terrier! These are truly Top Forty material, and we look forward to receiving more (especially Goblin, who is looking for an excuse to buy a new iPod). Here are the two we received so far. You can email me more. In fact, you must!

Goblin Foo, by Hanuman

(Shamelessly stolen, and sung to the tune of “My Best Girl” from Mame)

My Goblin Foo, a cutie beyond compare,
I’m proud you belong to me;
Dealing with drunkards at my store,
Has become a colossal bore.
And if that Jwer, drops by with a fresh remark
It won’t take him long to see,
That I’ll still be found, just hanging around
Goblin Foo.

Goblin Foo:
Oh, Daddy Dear, you’re handsome and brave and strong,
There’s nothing we two can’t face;
Chasing the squirrels, around the park
Scaring them with my mighty bark.
And when Crumblord comes home from his latest job
Determined to take your place,
I hope he’s resigned, to falling behind,
Daddy Dear.

David And Goblin Foo:
And if someday when everything turns out wrong,
We’re through with this blogging crap,
Come running to me,

Goblin Foo:
For I’ll always be
Goblin Foo…

Goblin Foo!


Tribute to Goblin Foo Uvula, Boston Terrier Extraordinaire, by Someone Else named David

(Sung to the tune of ?“You Shook Me All Night Long”)

Her name is Goblin Foo, 
They call her Uvula, too,
She likes to lick her dainty privates, 
take a stroll and pooh.
Her coat is black and white, 
Her teeth are ultra bright,
Can terrorize squirrels, 
and then just call it a night.
That canine eclair
Loves the autumn air,
Once devoured a child when she was off on a tear

Now her bladder’s aching,
The dawn is breaking,
Her gay dad’s waking,
‘Cause she ain’t faking it

And Foo
Walked you all night long.
Oh yeah Foo,
Walked you all night long.

Hits the pavement hard,
Wished she had a yard,
Shares her daddy’s opinion W’s a ‘tard.
Likes the kibble fine,
Favors Kevin Kline, 
Obviously Leo is her zodiac sign.
Never acts the square,
Loves her hedgehog, Cher,
Is the belle of the park every time she is there.

But now her bladder’s aching,
The dawn is breaking,
Her gay dad’s waking,
‘Cause she ain’t faking it

And Foo
Walked you all night long.
Oh yeah Foo,
Walked you all night long.

(repeat until fade out)


Songs of Goblin

Hello, who are you? I am me. Currently, I am the me lost in a swamp of work and suffering from chronic pain throughout most of my body. The acupuncturists, rolfers, and zero balancers are circling. Last week, I went rock climbing twice and was not affected in the least by these mysterious aches, but if I try to sit in a chair or chew a piece of bread, I’m suddenly howling at the moon.

My in-laws are coming to stay with us on Friday, which means I need to start cleaning today. You would think a maid would be up there in the rafters with everyone else who wants my money, but some people are just too hoity toity to do an honest day’s work. I have started writing mysterious notes to myself on index cards, such as “Cln. 1st Fl.” This is in code so I can later pretend I didn’t know what it means, but I know what it means: six hours on my hands and knees with a bucket of Murphy’s Oil Soap. Ooh la la.

Speaking of Goblin, she is feeling as if she is not getting enough attention lately. This means you, dear readers, are not keeping up your end of the bargain. Where are your tithes? Have all of the soup bones been misdirected by Federal Express? Frankly, we are not impressed.

I have decided to send out an open call for songs about Goblin Foo Uvula, Boston Terrier Extraordinaire. Everyone must submit. Everyone. Email in your lyrics (along with your apologies to whomever’s tune you are stealing) over the next two weeks. I will post them all, along with Goblin’s commentary.

Here are some particularly apt rhymes to get you started:

“Sweet” and “Little pink feet.”

“Good girl” and “Best girl in the world.”

“Nice” and “Does not have lice.”

“Goblin Foo” and “Schnoblin Schnoo.”

“Boston terrier” and “Could not be less scarier.”

OK, you get the idea. Email your brilliant entries to me using the link below. You don’t want to know what will happen if you don’t, but keep in mind I know where you live and what car you drive.


Should Not Even Be Seen

Yesterday, at a Father’s Day barbecue, I said something like:

“Children are hideous monsters,”


“Children are horrible creatures,”


“Children are hideous, horrible, disgusting, monstrous creatures.”

I think we would all accept these statements as axiomatic, but perhaps I should not have made any of them in the presence of my long-suffering sister-in-law, who was at that moment sitting next to me with her son on her lap. Of course, at that moment, my three-year-old nephew was simultaneously farting, picking his nose, and spitting over the back of the sofa onto the floor.

I probably didn’t tell her anything she doesn’t already know.


The Screech of a Passing Bald Eagle

This is an email I received today:

Hi there, I’ll very happy have realtionship with good man, if you interested in me, please write me directly to my personal addr. and don’t forget write me more about you and send me photos. Looking forward to hear back from you soon and please don’t forget to attach your picture…

Svetlana ( this my name )


This is my response:

Dear Svetlana,

Thank you for getting in touch yet again. I see you have not yet located a good man or a basic English grammar text, but that’s OK. I have confidence in you, and I’m flattered that you consider me worthy of your repeated attention. I imagine you brushing off the dust after a long day of planting turnips on the collective farm, sitting down at the computer, and scanning the Internet for a good man who can whisk you away from such a grueling existence. It’s no wonder that you’ve settled upon me. You saw my photograph and were magnetically drawn to the panicked glint in my eyes, or you’ve stumbled across one of my essays and became aroused by my anal-retentive punctuation.

Yes, Svetlana, I am the total package.

But I’m afraid the answer is still no.

Please don’t do anything rash: my life is problematic enough without having the blood of a buxom Russian peasant girl dripping from the chandelier.* For example, I’m working fifty-hour weeks, I’m getting screwed over by various overpriced contractors and the entire regulatory bureaucracy of the city I call home, progress on my book has stopped, I’m finding it difficult to exercise given the archipelago of chronic pains spanning my musculo-skeletal system, a heretofore undiscovered but decidedly pungent species of mildew is frolicking in my carpets, and all my houseplants died weeks ago and have been steadily decomposing in their pots.

Not that I’m complaining, but I just thought I’d clue you in as to the species of tree you’re barking up: as you growl and pace and gnash your teeth around the trunk, you might want to be careful of the wolves that were there first.
But I don’t want to give you the impression, Svetlana, that my life is without its high points. Sunday morning, for instance, I took the morning off and went with my friend Stephanie to a local rock-climbing gym, where we learned the basics of climbing and belaying. I expect this will be a useful skill to have when you and the Russian mafia show up at my house for a shotgun wedding. With a trusty belayer at my side and a length of nylon rope fluttering in Prudence’s slipstream, I will make a beeline for the nearest rock face to metropolitan Baltimore, and I will climb it, leaving you and the Russian mafia scratching your heads in the dust. (As a gesture of goodwill, you can have the trusty belayer.)**

I’m getting ahead of myself. The climbing gym. For months, Svetlana, months, I have been obsessed with learning how to rock climb. Not that I would ever touch a rock in its natural setting, let alone attempt to scale one. Even on the plastic rocks screwed to the climbing gym wall, I spent the entire three-hour lesson praying that a bottle of hand sanitizer, glowing with holy light, would drop from the heavens. But you should know, Svetlana, that things don’t happen in America because we sit around wishing for them.*** I didn’t find my husband by messing around on the Internet,**** and I didn’t destroy all of the harmful germs on my hands by spreading around any mumbo-jumbo. It takes hard work.

But as I mentioned, I was trying to avoid hard work, so I spent my day at the rock-climbing gym convinced that bacteria were dissolving the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet. It was a small price to pay, however, for the exhilaration of it all, of tying the proper knots, performing that extended safety check, and finally, finally, having my rental shoes leave the rubber floor mat, relying on my wits and strength and the rope and a trusty belayer to guide me up the twenty-foot practice walls. We in the brotherhood (and sisterhood!) of rock climbers can easily lose ourselves in this “inherently dangerous”***** sport, scaling our way into the stratosphere, leaving the troubles of the world behind, with only high-flying bald eagles for company. Or perhaps the occasional shaggy yak.

You should try it sometime, Svetlana. Maybe after you’ve been blinded by the blaze of the sun on the snowy peaks, tasted the bite of the arctic air through your mask, you will stop looking for a “good man” to rescue you from your woes. A “realtionship” is not a magic wand, Svetlana. You are a strong and functionally illiterate woman, and the world is your oyster. Maybe after you’ve climbed a few mountains, you’ll give up on your starry-eyed ideas about the way the world works and settle down and start a business of your own, perhaps selling mashed turnips from a stand in your front yard, and let me tell you, it won’t be easy going. People will try to swindle you and hinder your progress for no other reason than that they can. But, Svetlana, you will look at those people as rock walls to climb, scary-looking from below but easily surmountable with just a bit of preparation.

All the best,



* I don’t really have a chandelier.

** Sorry, Stephanie. I’ll make sure this happens on your day off.

*** Things happen in America because the Republicans lie, cheat, and manipulate them into occurring and then bamboozle the media into claiming that it was an uneventful day.

**** Actually, I did.

***** A direct, machismo-enhancing quote from the brochure.


Sibling Rivalry

If anyone wants to buy my old car-Ellen Ettoinne VIII, M.D.-she’s available. Ellen is a silver 2004 Mazda3 hatchback who is perfect in every way except she had the bad fortune of not being born a gas-electric hybrid, a requirement for my new business.

I love Ellen and will miss her. Until I find her a new home, I own two cars at once. This has never happened before, and I am trying not to pit them against each other, but it’s hard.

“You know, Ellen, if you got sixty miles per gallon, I wouldn’t have to put you up for adoption.”

“Prudence, why can’t you have the rich styling of your sister, Ellen?”

They may need therapists instead of mechanics, but at least I keep things interesting.

Luckily, Goblin is an only child.


Dirty Laundry

Well obviously I’m mortified. The other night, right before a Young Adult Friends meeting, I changed my shirt so I wouldn’t show up in the same sweaty clothes I had been wearing all day. The meeting was lovely, la la la, and two hours later, I’m home, and the shirt is draped over a chair.

The next day, I thought, “I’m going to wear that same shirt again today. It’s still clean, and no one will know because I’m going to see completely different people today than I did yesterday.” So I put on the shirt and went, la la la, about my merry business—business that included walking to a meeting I had scheduled at a nearby café. It was a fateful stroll, upon which I encountered not one but two people who had seen me in that shirt from the day before. Thanks a lot, Smalltimore. Maybe next time, you can arrange for me to go to the gym without any pants on.

Anyhoo, in other news, my Prius came yesterday. I named him Prudence. Prudence the Prius. Get it? It’s a name and a description!

Yeah, yeah, I’m wearing the same shirt today. Jesus God, I only have one short-sleeved shirt. I’m in Baltimore, not the Bahamas. And I’m holing up in my air-conditioned Prius until Thanksgiving.


Where’s My Lucky Charms?

Faith and begorrah, it’s Saint Patrick’s Day!

Huh? Are you sure?



Let’s Hope Fire and Famine Don’t Get Any Clever Ideas

It’s like the end of the world here in Hippoland. I blame the Republicans. First, Apple announces it’s switching its Macintosh platform to Intel processors and then, during an apocalyptic deluge that sent Goblin and I scurrying for cover under the dining room table, my roof leaked gallons of water all over the carpets and other specially selected items. My favorite shirt may be ruined, which is all right because it has since been spotted on the clearance rack at Banana Republic. My favorite throw rug, which was dyed with ground-up insects in a secret native ritual, has come through worse, so I have a sprig of hope. The last time this happened, I had to miss my own birthday dinner so Rob and I could clean it up; this time, I’m alone and hideous and surrounded by half-full buckets and pots, and sodden towels.

I remember the first day I learned what the word “drenched” meant. I was maybe four or five, and my grandparents lived in an apartment in Aspen Hill. I think it was Aspen Hill. And it was raining so hard, and we were sitting in a car in the parking lot, waiting for it to let up so we could go in or they could come out. And my father said something like, “We’ll get drenched!” I had never heard that word before, but I was proud of myself for instantly understanding what it meant, and I remember saying it a lot.

My house is drenched. Some part of me, I think, may be drowned.


Three Years of Vast Success

Jesus God, it’s my blogiversary. I’ve been writing this nonsense for three years today; going by the number of words alone, that’s two novels’ worth. Considering I seem to have stalled somewhere around one third of the way through my real novel, I suppose it’s clear where I should have been channeling my energy.

Just kidding! I love you, dear reader. I would never write some stupid, critically acclaimed book that will become a bestseller and earn me millions of dollars if it meant I couldn’t give you regular updates about my dog’s poop.
So what have you done in the past three years? I’d tell you what I’ve done, but I forgot. That’s what the archives are for. Sometimes, I click through to see what I was doing on THIS DAY IN HISTORY. For example, on this day, three years ago, I started this web log:

Credit where it is due. I have wickedly stolen the idea of a web log from my friend Joe, who writes about his sex life, and Wesley Crusher, who writes about why he is not as obnoxious as he appears on television. (LIES? On TV?!?!) I do not yet know what I will write about, but readers who share my actual experiences will no doubt notice that I have spruced them up for publication. I cannot be blamed for this; I am not a notably exciting person. Those of you in Tennessee who imagine that life in New York City is an everlasting and inevitable pageant of theater, gallery openings, and nights on the town have never witnessed my typical day of sitting around the apartment, in my pajamas, entranced alternately by whatever is on the computer screen and reruns of “Three’s Company.”

This is like “Inside the Music.” I wish we could have a televised retrospective with a bunch of talking heads discussing my blogging career. I could reveal all of my secrets. For example, “Joe” in the paragraph above is a code name for none other than Faustus (which has since been revealed to be a code name for someone else).*

Then Joe/Faustus/Someone Else would pop up on the screen and credit me for all of his vast success to date, and then they’d cut to me crediting him with saving me from going insane. Then Rob would pop up on the screen and credit me for all of his vast success to date, and Goblin would comment on that time we dropped acid and came back to our senses in a squirrel lair in Central Park. Good times.

A lot can change in three years. On 5 June 2002, I was unemployed, as crazy as a loon, and wrestling with the sneaking suspicion that the writing was on the wall for my relationship with Rob. On 5 June 2005, I am unemployed, as crazy as a loon, and happily married to Rob.

OK, this is getting self-indulgent, but if anyone else wants to credit me with all of his or her vast success to date, the comments are open.


* I didn’t know how to make links back then. Also, I have since stopped watching “Three’s Company.”


Can the Rapture Be Soon, Please?

Does it seem to you as if Republicans are determined to bring about the end of the world by whatever means possible?

If the esoteric clause in their Christian mythology doesn’t pan out, there’s always World War Three and complete environmental collapse.

One way or the other, we’ll get there.

And on that note, they aren’t the only ones praying that they will disappear into thin air.



Last night, on Goblin’s nighttime promenade, I was urging her to excrete so we could go inside, when I heard a strange echo in the night air.

“Goblin, go poop,” I said.

“Poop,” said the night air.

I paused, furrowing my brow.

“Um. Go poop,” I said.

Another pause.

“Poop,” said the night air.

Looking around with phony casualness, I tugged on Goblin’s leash so we could move from that supernatural spot, but not before hearing the eerie voice again. “Poop . . . poop . . . .”

I realized it was someone speaking in the apartment directly next to where Goblin was sniffing a tree root. The window was open. The strange thing is, I don’t believe the occupant was talking to us. He seemed to be in his own, entirely separate conversation on the topic of poop. (Of which, perhaps he thought I was the echo.)

Goblin gave in to fate, pooped on the sidewalk, and moved on.

To Goblin, this dialogue must not have appeared very unusual: poop has a way of popping up when she is around. It is a topic dear to her heart. She is the Queen of Poop.



Today I was sitting on the stairs outside my future store with my assistant, waiting for a sign contractor to appear, when a young man who claimed to be homeless appeared instead. He did an energetic rap song, complete with funky arm movement, about how his brother was currently peeing in the alley next to my future store, and how they had both just come from the hospital, where they had received a bagful of mini-mouthwash bottles. He capped off this routine by kindly presenting both me and my assistant with two mini-mouthwash bottles apiece. The mouthwash was purple.

“Oh, we simply couldn’t,” I said. “You’ll need those.”

He started another rap song about how he had plenty and was happy to share, but at this point, his brother had finished peeing in the alley and came around to join him, and the two walked off down the street together.

We left the mouthwash there on the stairs, but I sort of regret it.