Saturday, April 21, 2012

Oz gone to meddling

“Dr. Oz, who asked you?”

    Dr. Oz is trying to do everything he can to mess me up. And, the man doesn’t even know me.

Oz is the guy with a one-hour health program that airs every weekday. There is only one way anyone could come up with an array of health related topics every day and present them in an interesting manner. He’d hafta make stuff up. Certainly the only way I could do it.

There’s not a bodily function that Oz is afraid to simulate or discuss. I’ve seen about two episodes and that was enough for me. There are some things happening in our nether regions that I don’t care to know about. Especially in your nether regions.
The ol' pour water down your nose trick

Unfortunately, Kay is a big fan of The Oz Man. She enjoys passing along some of his ingenious insights. Does that way too often. The latest thing she shared has ruined me. Life, as I have come to know it, is over for me. Thanks, Dr. Oz, you dodo-head.

I had just poured a cup of joe from my French press coffeemaker. The French press does to coffee what cheese does to macaroni. More than that. It turns sharp, bitter, strong coffee into a smooth, delectable mouth party. It has revolutionized the entire coffee experience for me. It’s like—I’m sorry. Where was I?

Oh, yeah, I’m in the kitchen pouring myself a cup of joe. Kay, with pencil poised over her Sodoku, said, “I saw on Dr. Oz that French press coffee is really bad for your cholesterol.”

Anywhere in that scene did you notice me asking her what Oz thought about French press coffee? I chose to ignore the unsolicited revelation. “If you’ll recall, your cholesterol was up considerably the last time you were tested.” Kay wouldn’t let it die. Had to twist the knife.

“What do I ask from life?” I asked. “A little laugh, a little dance, a little seltzer down my pants.” I got that from the Chuckles the Clown episode on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” I’ve adopted it as my life’s creed.

Kay didn’t grin, look up or reply. She does that when she’s upset with me. Sometimes I’d prefer a pinch. I told Kay I’d hafta research the finding just to make it sure it wasn’t one of those things that Oz made up. By the way, I don’t fault him for that. I’ve even made up two or three things in my column. Really.

Turns out Oz was right. I’d apologize for calling him a dodo-head, but I don’t want to. At this time, French press coffee is the bad way to go. In five years they may reverse that finding and say that it’s a cure for Alzheimer’s. But, for now, it’s bad.

The stuff that the French press does to make coffee taste better is the very thing that messes up your cholesterol. I read a half-dozen publications before accepting the finding. If you drink only two cups of coffee a day, you don’t have to worry about it. I drink only two pots a day. I’m surprised blood ever makes it to my brain. Those red cells are probably putting up a monstrous fight, ‘cause my memory is like a post hole.—I don’t know what that means.

Bottom line, today was my first day back to the ol’ drip method of coffee brewing. It’s like having a can of pork ‘n beans for supper after a lunch of Ruby’s pinto beans. I had to put the newspaper down and leave the room once, ‘cause I didn’t want Kay to see me cry. It’s as if I’m denying myself of laugh, dance and seltzer.

Brad and I were at “Another Broken Egg CafĂ©” today. Their coffee is among the best non-French press I’ve had. I think part of it is due to their coffee mug. It’s perfect in every way. And hand-potted. Uh, hand-shaped? Anyway, it’s got the perfect lip and handle and torso.

Tomorrow, I’ll try my new mug out on my homebrewed coffee. At times, coffee presentation can make a slight difference in the taste. We’ll see.

I’m sharing this information, not because I want you to quit using your French press. I care about that about as much as I do your nether regions. I wrote this in the hope a scientist might run onto this article and discredit the horror ‘caused by Dr. Oz.

The stuff that makes the coffee taste so good is the part that’s bad for you? I’m not a proponent of killing the messenger, but I’m not opposed to messing him up a little.   After all, who asked him?


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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pet Parade this Tues. Apr 17

“Pet Parade”

    Okay, I need you to go get your calendar. Do it quick, or I might forget what I sent you for. Oh, and a pen. Get a pen!

    Uh, no, that’s a 2010 calendar, but we’re not waiting. First off, a qualifier. -- I don’t generally promote stuff. You know that. Just doesn’t seem prudent, proper or lucrative. Unless I’m directly involved or paid up front, I don’t promote.

 I refuse to make an announcement about your wedding, graduation, invention, business venture, parole… whatever. You didn’t hear it from me. I’ve got some standards, and they’re up there. Way up there. A little lower than eye-level. 

Having said that – You simply can’t miss the cutest event in the history of eventdom. It happens at about 6 p.m. on April 17 at the Montgomery Country Fairgrounds. It’s in one of the big metal buildings on the north side.

So, write the time and place in the appropriate square on your calendar and then write in “Pet Parade!” Include the exclamation point. Hey, I don’t own a pet, don’t want a pet, seldom pet pets, but I’ll be there. In fact, I’m going to emcee the thing.

Not only that, but Kay will be there! Kay has a degree from the Caesar Milan School of Psst! She’s good. I’m in the process of persuading her to join me on stage. I told her somebody might bring a penguin. Kay loves penguins. If you were to bring a penguin – or a reasonable facsimile – I’m fairly certain it would win in “The Miscellaneous Pet Division.”

I’m fairly sure of that because my kid brother, Big Al, is one of the judges. I couldn’t sway his vote, but Kay can. He likes Kay.

By the way, when you show up at the event be sure to hug Lisa Hightower and her noble assistant Lesa West. They’ll be the ones working their buns off getting everything to run smoothly. And, apologizing for me. There would be no Pet Parade without Lisa and Lesa.

And, what do they get for their effort? Must be warm fuzzies, ‘cause there is no money involved. It doesn’t cost a thing to enter a pet. Just show up at 5:00 and sign up. There are three categories. Small Dog, Big Dog, and Miscellaneous. Miscellaneous can be a fish, turtle, rabbit… maybe even a cat. A kitten would be better. 

Of course, nothing I’ve said so far fully describes the “cute” aspect of the event. What makes the Pet Parade so fun is the fact that you have to be eight years old or younger to register a pet. And, in order to finish at or near the top, it would be to the child’s advantage to be in costume. Don’t have to be, but it’s so neat if they are.

For example, last year there was a Dorothy with a Toto type dog. Rottweiler I think.  Also there was a Miss Muffet with a dog made up to look like a big spider. For a minute I thought it belonged in the Miscellaneous Pet category. I couldn’t tell the real legs from the fake ones. – I forgot to tell you. I emceed the event last year. And, they asked me back! That seldom happens.

Oh, and this is very important. Each dog must have proof of rabies vaccine, and any horse must be accompanied by proof of “Negative Coggins.” If you have no idea what that means, you’re like me and don’t own a horse.

One other thing. Please note that this is not a professional, certified, worth-suing-over Pet Show. It’s just a fun time. Each child will be asked to escort his or her pet across the stage (with parental assistance as needed.) I will attempt to get the kids to talk about their pets. Give them a chance to impress the judges. The children are a big part of what the judges are observing. Give Big Al a wink and you’ll score some serious points.

If your child needs to pad his resume, borrow the neighbor’s goat and enter the thing. If you’re childless but have a duck that needs some attention, borrow the neighbor’s kid and sign ‘em both up.

Okay, you’ve got a week or so to give this some thought. Pet or no, be sure to show up and enjoy the spectacle that is “Pet Parade.” Oh, and be on the lookout for a penguin. You won’t have to dress it or your child up to win. The thing will be a shoo-in.


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You can reach Mark at

Saturday, April 7, 2012

twilight roofsit

“Venus, Jupiter and Kay”

    ROOFTOP – I need everyone to settle down. I know there are mosquitoes out tonight… which I believe is a song by either Reba or Dolly. But, if you’re gonna witness tonight’s spectacle, you’ll need to pay attention. I said if—Okay, that’s better.

    Kay’s already been out to see it. She refuses to climb to the roof, so she walked to the road and looked west into the night sky. No, the other west. See?

    No, it’s not the moon. Although it is neat looking. Look just down and to the right of the moon. See! Isn’t that something. The top light is Venus and then down a ways is Jupiter. I understand they were much closer to one another on March 15… the Ides. You won’t get to see this again till May of next year.

    Okay, everyone do an about face and look into the Eastern sky. That dot up there is Mars. Notice the red tint. Is that not cool? Tonight, the three brightest non-lunar dots in the sky are planets.

    A few of you seem as impressed as Kay. Before going into the house, she said, concerning Venus and Jupiter, “I thought they would be closer.” I told her about the Ides of March, but she didn’t seem to care.

    That girl is a doodle. Before we get carried away by mosquitoes, I’m gonna use this night and this time to tell you two recent Kay stories. It’ll do so much to help you understand the girl. Doesn’t do much for me, but maybe for you.

    Last night before bedtime, I kicked my houseshoes off in the study. I don’t sleep in the study, but it’s where I kick off my houseshoes. If you have to bend over to take off your houseshoes, you bought the wrong kind. The first shoe flew across the room, hit a box of folders, and landed vertically, toes to the ground, leaning against the box..

    That alone was bizarre, and was duly noted as such. Then I kicked my left shoe off, and it flew across the room, hit the box and landed toe-side down right next to the other one. They were touching, even!

    What do you do when something like that happens? I yelled for Kay. She came running out of the bedroom apparently looking to see a chest of gold doubloons. I pointed to the houseshoes and said, “I kicked ‘em off from here, and that’s where they landed.”

    Kay had no expression. She said, “For some reason I was expecting something different.” Of course, she was expecting something different! Few people could even imagine witnessing such a marvel.

Then Kay left. Not me. Just left the room. It was as spectacular as sinking two consecutive shots from mid-court, yet it failed to impress her. Talk about a tough audience.

    Yesterday morning I was sitting on the carport while Kay cut my hair. All six of ‘em. Kay was pointing out the different bird calls, when a woodpecker lit a few limbs up on the old oak. The thing was toying with a two-foot string, trying to make Jacob’s ladder. Which is not easy if you’re using just your nose.

Kay suggested that it was using the string to build a nest. Then she used one of her smart words on me. She’s been doing that more and more. – Beg your pardon? Right, it’s not easy to find a word that stumps me. Was that sarcasm?

  Kay said, “I need to put out some of my raffia so the birds can use it to build their nests.”

    Raffia. Put out her raffia. I let it set there for about eight seconds before asking. For the men, “raffia” is thin, ribbon-like straw. Kay bought some for when I dressed up like the Mayan priest for a calendar skit Brad and I put on. Only, when Kay was applying the stuff she didn’t refer to it as “raffia.” She sprang that on me during my haircut.       

It was an apparent attempt to remind who the brains of the outfit is. And, I didn’t argue with her because she had scissors in her hand.

And that concludes tonight’s roofsit. You got to witness an astronomical spectacle and hear two fascinating stories from the life and times of Mark and Kay. And, what did it cost you? – Right. I’ll see if we’ve got some mosquito bite cream downstairs. Kay will know the actual name of the stuff. She’s a doodle.

You can reach Mark at

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What? Run outta movie ideas?

“TV to Movies”

    Kay was right. Yesterday she told me they were making a movie about The Lone Ranger. I seldom doubt Kay, but of all the Westerns to choose from… The Lone Ranger?

Why on earth would they do that? Are there no more decent stories out there, that they’ve got to dig down in the well of the Been Done? Our generation is the only one that has even heard of The Lone Ranger, and
Hollywood never makes a movie aimed at us.

How many of you over 30 have ever heard of “Hunger Games?” Supposed to be a buster of blocks, yet, it was as foreign to me as Tibetan poetry until I saw the trailer last week. I’m not considered any film producer’s audience.

 That’s what I told Kay. In so many words. When I finished, she said, “Guess who’s gonna play Tonto?” – “Al Pacino?” I didn’t care. --“Johnny Depp,” she said.

Hokey smoke, Bullwinkle! I ran to the computer and googled Depp. Sure enough, there was a photo of him as Tonto sitting on a pinto…or sawhorse. I could only see him from the waist up, but you could tell he was straddling something.  His face was all painted and he had a stuffed crow sitting atop his head.

Something tells me Depp will do a great job… as long as he doesn’t try his Jack Sparrow voice again. He needed to bury that thing after “ Pirates I.” Too much of a cute thing. 

The Native American lobby will have a fit over Depp playing Tonto, and rightly so. They better have at least given Wes Studi a shot at the role. Regardless, Johnny Depp! He could play almost anybody. Gabby Hayes, even.

Still, one has to ask why movie producers feel the need to revisit old TV series. Particularly the less interesting ones. Car 54, Dukes of Hazzard, George of the Jungle, McHale’s Navy… Oh, and “The Lone Ranger.” The guy never shot to kill. He just nicked the occasional arm or leg. Mostly he shot the gun out of the bad guys’ hands. Not exactly “Wild Bunch” stuff.

Westerns that should’ve been considered for movies are
This is the character ripe for a movie. 
Have Gun Will Travel, Johnny Yuma, Yancy Derringer, Sugarfoot… Uh, scratch Sugarfoot. The others deserve a place on the big screen. 

I read I read years ago that “H G W T” was in the planning stage and that John Travolta was going to play Paladin. Nothing more was ever said. It’s like one of the three dozen cures for cancer that appear on the news, but are never heard of again. I really hate that.

There are a few current TV series that I would consider movie worthy. “Castle” is not one of ‘em. That is among the poorest written series out, and Kay and I watch it every week. We like Nathan Fillion. Did you ever see the “Firefly” sci-fi series he was in? I consider it among the best ever. Probably why it got cancelled.

If you ever watch Castle, I wish you’d notice how Castle and Becket no sooner mention a problem in an investigation than one of the other two detective guys walks up with information related to it. Oh, and notice how the four main characters will be in a room and each take turns continuing the other person’s train of thought.

Beckett: “He ran away from home at the age of 12”
Castle: “Robbed a bank in Cloverdale in ‘98.
Detective #1: “Did a dime at the Fishkill Unit.”
Detective #2: “Was spotted in town yesterday, so he could be our perp.”

    I’m assuming  screenwriters believe it’s easier for actors to remember lines if they know to talk right after the person on their left. Stuff like that kills brain cells. There was a study done of that at Panola College. At least there should’ve been.

I guess that means 20 years from now they’ll make a movie of “Castle.” Johnny Depp will probably play Kate Beckett. He’ll use his Jack Sparrow voice. 

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