Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mich Again

The mitten-shaped state has new driving laws for those dastardly teenagers.  For those unsupervised drivers under 21, you cannot have more than a single passenger and you must be off the roads between 10 pm and 5 am.  Since my driving privileges are not affected by this, I say its a wonderful law.  That means less obstacles on the road when I leave the local establishment at closing time. Now if we could only do something about those cars that try to prove that they have the loudest bass speakers on the planet.

The Detroit Tigers are currently tied for 1st place.  I hope this holds true the rest of the week.  Tomorrow is the season opener.  If they are only in 1st for 3/4 of the season, then I hope its the last 3/4 and not the first like last year.

Center Line, the city where I have spent a lifetime, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.  I imagine there will be festivities.  I have memories of the 25th anniversary in 1961.  I recall how they had a greased telephone pole with money stapled to it.  The further up the pole, the bigger the denomination.  They were letting the youngest contestants attempt to climb the pole first.  Single dollar bills were at the seven, eight and nine foot levels. A five was ten feet from the ground, a ten at the fifteen foot mark and a twenty at the twenty.  The biggest prize was a fifty atop the pole, thirty feet up.

The singles and the five were gone fast, taken by elementary school kids.  It was funny watching kids my age get all greasy trying to shimmy up the pole.  I wanted to try but my parents wouldn't allow my participation.  I protested loudly and my father gave me a quarter to shut me up.  I could always be bought cheap.  The high schoolers were next in line.  One of the early entries got the ten in the first few tries, but the twenty proved to be harder than any teenager expected.  They could get up to where the twenty was stapled, but as soon as they let loose their grip on the pole to try and snag the bill, they would slide right down to the bottom.  Finally one of the teens came up with the idea to use his mouth.  As he hugged the greasy pole at the twenty dollar level, he chomped his teeth down on the bill and won the prize.

The fifty was the last prize and proved to be the most allusive. This prize was open to anyone willing to climb.  I tried to coax my father to give it a try but he refused to consider it.  Instead he talked our next door neighbor, Al, into giving it a whirl.  Al failed at retrieving the big reward.  When he finally retreated from the pole, my father was close to rolling on the ground with laughter at Al's greasy striped shirt and pants. As the contest wore on, more and more grease was wiped from the pole by its climbers.  Finally, the pole was easy enough to climb and the fifty dollar bill was won.  The winner was a good sport and he invited all the  adult climbers over to the beer tent to have a cold one on him.  Al was happy at this.  My father, not so much.  He hadn't participated in the climb and would have to buy his own "cold one."

I hope they have the celebration this year and include the greased pole.  I doubt if I would partake in the climb, but any excuse to have a "cold one" is good enough for me.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Jeopardy Jeopardy

I have a recurring dream.  In my dream I am standing behind the center of three podiums, holding an electronic clicker in my hand.  I am a contestant on Jeopardy.  Alex Trebek is standing across the stage next to the board of categories.  The $400 square opens under "Presidents by the Numbers."  Alex reads the answer: "The 15th after Washington."  I press the button on my clicker too late.  The fat little college freshman on my right has rung in before me.  I can't believe my bad luck.  Fifteen after Washington would be the 16th, Abraham Lincoln.  Lincoln and I share the same birthday. (Abe uses it on weekdays, I get it on the weekends)  I should be the one responding, not this snot-nosed geek next to me.  Alex indicates "Harold" has buzzed in first.

Harold says, "Who is James Buchanan?"

Alex says, "That's incorrect."  Of course its incorrect.  Buchanan was the 15th president.  Harold forgot to count Washington.  I jam my thumb on the button, but the lights on the other podium go on.  I was late again.  The middle-aged, vulture-faced woman to my left has beaten me to the punch.  Alex says her name, "Maude?"

"Who is Arthur Godfrey?"

Alex squints at her.  "The category is Presidents by the Number.  Do you really think that Arthur Godfrey was a President?"

Flummoxed, Maude says, "Who was Godfrey Cambridge?"

Alex shutters. "Godfrey Cambridge?  The Watermelon Man?"

Maude nervously says, "Godfrey Daniels?"

Alex hangs his head and squeezes his eyes shut.  When he looks back up, he walks over to Maude and slaps her across her face.  She falls to the floor.  He screams at her, "You idiot!  There never was a President named Godfrey.  Godfrey Daniels is an expression W.C.Fields used instead of saying `God Damn.'"

It would be up to me now and I knew the proper reply.  I said, "Who was Abraham Lincoln?"

Alex turns to me and snarls.  "Did you ring in? No, I think not.  I didn't hear your buzzer."  He turns to audience and asks, "Did anyone hear a buzzer? No?  I thought so."  He turns back to me and raises his hand. His voice intensifies stating, "You're suppose to ring in before answering.  Harold and Maude rang in before answering.  Do you think you're better than Harold and Maude?"

From the floor, Maude says, "Who was Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort?"

Alex, hand still raised, turns from me and looks down at Maude.  He walks around the podium, pulls out a snub-nose and puts a bullet in Maude's forehead.  She winces in pain and says, "Ow.  Alex, that hurts."  Alex empties his revolver into Maude.  She jerks with each bullet as they penetrate her chest and stomach.  She pleads, "Alex, please, quit that."  Alex triggers several times on empty chambers; the gun clicking away like a telegraph key.  Maude, no longer being struck by lead, smiles up at Alex and says, "Thank you."

Alex, red faced and raging, throws the empty gun at Maude and storms off the set.  Maude turns to me and asks, "Where did he go?  We haven't finished the game."  I stare at the hole in her forehead.  I can see all the way through.

Harold, who had also stood there witnessing Alex lose his temper, suddenly turns and runs off.  He shouts back at me, "Better look out.  He's coming back."

Maude, having heard Harold, smiles saying, "Oh, good, now we can finish playing Jeopardy."

My gaze searches the stage and in the farthest corner Alex has started racing back to us.  He is carrying a Thompson machine gun, like the ones gangsters used during prohibition.  About halfway back, Alex fires the Tommy gun.  The podiums are being shot into kindling.  I squat down and hurriedly duck walk away from the onslaught.  I push my way through the first door I come to.  It is a public bathroom.  I rush into a stall and lock myself in.

I hear the echoing rat-a-tat come and go.  Between blasts, I hear Maude saying things like, "Alex, that isn't very nice" and "I don't care for this portion of the game" and "Would you mind shooting someone else for a while?"

After a short time the gunfire ceases, but the silence is worse.  I don't know what has happened, or where Alex is.  Did he finally kill Maude?  Has he spent his anger?  Or is he seeking new targets?  I also wonder about Harold.  Did he find safety?  Has he alerted the police?  The door to my stall flies open.

Alex Trebek, hulking over me, his face red with anger, aims his machine gun at me. His lips are parted revealing clenched teeth.  I can see the forming of horns at his temples. His nostrils are puffing out smoke.  He lets out an ear piercing shriek as he pulls the trigger.

As the bullets rip open my chest, I wake up.  I am safe in my bed.  I am breathing hard and I can feel the rapid pulse of my blood.  The bedsheets are stuck to me with my sweat.  I peel them off and make my way to the bathroom to wash myself off.

Inside the bathroom, I have to peek behind the shower curtain to be certain I was alone.  And it has been like that ever since.  I am constantly on the lookout for Alex Trebek; behind drapes, under tables, in closets...   He could be lurking anywhere, armed and ready to go amok.  I won't feel safe until they catch him and put him where he belongs, like a jail or mental institution or a deserted island.  I just hope that day is soon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

When the Future Arrives

By show of hands, how many know about the "singularity."  This is some future point where artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence.  This will also be when man no longer can control his future.  Kind of like the future in the Terminator movies where Skynet rules the planet, or like the first Star Trek movie where earth's Voyager has become self-aware.  But with computers becoming super intelligent, it will mean that mankind's diseases will also be eradicated.  Problems like cancer and AIDS and brain tumors will be solvable. Missing limbs regrown. Aches and pains non-existent.  Aging is also considered to be an ailment.  So the aging process will stop, and in some cases reverse.  Everyone will be young and beautiful forever.  Sound nice?  You may ask, "How long before the Singularity arrives?"  The predicted answer is the year 2045.

Everybody will be young and beautiful forever...

Does that really sound so nice?  No more challenges.  Every problem is instantly solved by machines. Procreation will be banned.  This planet only has enough room for those that are already here.  No room for new entries.  Unless you want to live on Mars.  They say that once Mars has been seeded with grass, it will take about twenty years for the planet to produce enough oxygen to support man.  I know they discovered ice on Mars, but is there enough to thaw out and support flora and fauna.  The temperature there is usually below freezing although it does get up to 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit).  Right now the US wants to launch a manned flight to Mars by 2020.  If with them the astronauts take and then sow grass seed, we may be able to populate the fourth planet by the 22nd Century.  We could become the Martians we once had feared  so much.

If you don't want to spend eternity on Mars, then maybe Titan, a moon of Saturn, is more to your liking.  After Earth and Mars, Titan is the third most livable celestial body in our solar system.  Lots of water there; a regular Venice without the architecture.  In any case, after the singularity, there may not be much to do on Earth, so space exploration may be the best way to beat boredom.  Sure, it may take years of travel to go from one planet to another - its five years from Earth to Mars - but since we are no longer aging, what else are we gonna do with all that time?

But before I start planning my space flights, I first have to reach 2045 and then knock about fifty years off my birth certificate.  If I was ninety and I started aging backwards, I wonder what age I would choose to stop at. If I were to start backing up now, I would stop at thirty-five.  Yet if I were thirty-five backing up, I would probably knock about ten years off.  With the way I think, when I start backing down from ninety, I will probably stop at the age of sixty-five.  Don't wanna miss out on those social security checks.

1984 was a disappointment.  No big brother.  2001 was a horror, instead of HAL, we had Bin Laden.  The next date for a big event is 12-20-2012.  The day all life will end.  After that, if 2012 fails to be our total annihilation, the date to look towards will be 2045.  The year of the Singularity.  Everybody will be young and beautiful forever.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Creating Monsters

Just finished watching 20/20.  The majority of the program was about two separate murderers who claim that watching "Dexter" made them do it.  For those who do not know, "Dexter" is a drama on Showtime about a serial killer of serial killers.  It has been on several years.  It is quite a fascinating show.

Anyway, it was being debated on 20/20 if fiction could create reality; could a book or movie or TV show influence an individual and turn them into a killer or rapist or bank robber...  After all, look at all those delusional people who read "Catcher In The Rye" and tried to emulate Holden Caulfield; Son-of-Sam, Mark David Chapman, John Hinckley, Jr.  Listening to "Rap" is said to turn some people into women beaters, gang bangers, and killers. Comic books, back in the 1950s, was blamed for corrupting the youth.  So was Rock and Roll.  And look what happened when "Portnoy's Complaint" made the best sellers chart.  People couldn't keep their hands off it.

There may be a seed of truth in the idea of being possessed by fiction.  I can use myself as an example.  Ever since I read "The Cat In The Hat" as a child, I have been trying to balance fishbowls atop closed umbrellas.  I have long lost the tally of dead goldfish and shattered bowls caused by my compulsion.  I grow weary of toting this bumbershoot with me everywhere I go, constantly seeking fresh goldfish bowls.  The number of friends and family members I have alienated due to my obsession is mind boggling, and I dare never enter a pet shop.  I don't believe it possible to successfully balance a bowl of goldfish at the tip of an umbrella, yet I am compelled to keep trying.  Damn you, Dr. Seuss!

Back to the 20/20 show.  John Carpenter, king of the horror movie genre, claimed movies and such cannot preoccupy an individual to the point of changing their nature.  Then a Doctor of some sort stated that it is very possible for a work of fiction to spark a change of morality.  Since they negated each other, the issue remains unresolved.  Well, you know which way I lean in the matter.

Once again: Damn you, Dr. Seuss!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An Apple Owl of Gee

I have been chided.  Now that's a word you don't hear everyday.  Chided.  Perhaps that is too strong.  Yet, if you were to look it up, you would find one of the definitions to be: scold, or reproach; to find fault.  Yes, one of you has chided me, and rightly so.  I used the phrase "Gallows Humor" incorrectly.  Or did I?  Recently I stated that "Gilbert Gottfried has what is known as Gallows Humor" and someone made the comment that "...traditionally gallows humour is used by those who are themselves in horrible situations."  (Note the spelling of the word humour.  I will talk about this in a bit.)  Since Gottfried is not in Japan among the suffering, his humor should be referred to as Black Comedy and not Gallows Humor.

Join with me now on a journey into my convoluted wisdom to try to correct my obvious error.  Gilbert is driving along Santa Monica Boulevard in his brand new Toyota Prius.  His car accelerates without warning.  He steps on the brakes but they do not slow the vehicle.  He is heading straight towards a cliff with a 200 foot drop into a cavern below.  He tries to turn away but his steering is locked.  He had received in the mail that morning a Recall Notice about his Prius.  The electrical controls were found to be faulty and if he takes his vehicle into a local dealer, they will replace the bad parts with good.  Gilbert had taken his Prius to the shop where he had bought it.  In fact that is where he is coming from now as he speeds towards the cliff.  When he was at the dealers, they told him that they do not have the part he needs in stock, and since the parts are manufactured in Japan, there is no telling when said parts will become available.  The earthquake and tsunami have destroyed the manufacturing plants where the parts are made.  Gottfried realizes that, even though thousands miles away, Japan's earthquake and tsunami are going to end his life.  The last thing he does in this life is tweet a few a jokes and then fly off the cliff to his demise.  Therefore, I can safely state that his remarks can be construed as gallows humor.

Now for my next song and dance...

I am now going to do something I have never done before.  I am going to recommend another blog.  Here is the link:
This very well written blog is by an "Incoherent ranter and rambler, specialising in topics he knows little about, usually from the comfort of an armchair."  If I did not know better, I would say this is British version of my blog.  I am assuming that he is from Britain.  I do not know this for a fact.  Remember what is said about the word "assume:"  "When you assume, you make a SUM out of AS and E."  (or something like that)  In fact, I do not know if he is a he.  Gender aside, the blog is worth a look.

But I am not finished with the blog author (or my blog commenter).  I said earlier to look at the word "humour,"  remember?  This is why I believe the author to whom I refer is British.  In Great Britain they have an abundant supply of the letter U.  They have so many, they try to slip them in words all the time.  Color becomes colour. flavor turns into flavour, humor into humour, etc.  They keep slipping in these smile-shaped letters every chance they get.  I wish they would get it into their heads that we do not have the time to read all those extra U's.  The same came be said for pronunciation of certain words.  Is it really necessary to pronounce every letter in the word "schedule?"  And where do they get off putting an F sound in the word lieutenant?  Okay, they may have started the English language, but it was in America that Daniel Webster's favorite cousin (that's favorite not favourite) Noah spent 27 years compiling the dictionary.  Oh, sure, you got your Oxford-English Dictionary, but try carrying one of those around in your back pocket.  Webster is the way to go.

Well, enough of my blather.  I don't want to start an international incident.  To end with a compromise I will admit that I really am a big fan of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards... all of the Rolling Stones I should say.  But do you know where they got their name from?  From a song of the same name by American Blues musician, Muddy Waters.  So there!  Are we good, UK?

One last thing to put a smile on some faces.  Locked in Gilbert Gottfried's trunk, plummeting off the cliff along with Gilbert, is Charlie Sheen.  How he got there is up to your own imagination.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

To Quack Or Not To Quack

Gilbert Gottfried will no longer be the Aflac duck.  He has been fired for "Tweeting" jokes that are considered bad taste due to the current condition of Japan.  I will repeat some of his jokes here.  I have no fear of being fired since I no longer have a job.  And if you consider these jokes to be crude, unwarranted and ill timed, remember I am only the messenger.

This is from the mind of Gilbert Gottfried.  He wrote: "The Japanese are really advanced.  They don't go to the beach.  The beach comes to them."

He also tweeted: "I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, `There'll be another one floating by any minute now.'"

And he wrote: “Japan called me. They said ‘maybe those jokes are a hit in the U.S., but over here, they’re all sinking.”

Gottfried is known for inappropriate timed humor.  When Greg Giraldo died, the next day Gottfried said, "If he gets cremated would that be considered the Greg Giraldo Roast?"

Gilbert Gottfried has what is known as Gallows Humor.  This does not mean that he is insensitive, although many, many people will not see him any other way.  It is just a way that some people deal with horrible situations.  Greg Giraldo was one of Gilbert Gottfried's closest friends.  They were so close that they shared the same initials.  Yet, when Giraldo died, Gottfried almost immediately came out with jokes.  This is how he grieves.  In tense situations, like the Japan earthquake and tsunami, a witty remark to ease the stress can be a relief.  Some people are wired this way.

About 75% of Aflac's business is in Japan.  This is one of the main reasons Gottfried was fired.  In his defense, I did not read anything that he wrote to be with malicious intent.  He did not wish further harm nor state that this disaster was deserved.  He simply made light of a terrible happening.  Plus, he wasn't on Public Radio  blathering diatribe like another celebrity of late.  He posted on his twitter account.  If someone doesn't like Gilbert Gottfried's sense of humor, why sign on for his posts?

Well, I laughed at Gottfried's jokes.  I think the Japan earthquake and tsunami is a horrible thing.  If I had the power to turn back time and avert the disaster, I would do so without hesitation.  Yet when I read some of Gottfried's jokes, they struck me funny.  Sorry.  That's just the way I'm wired.  If I see a pallbearer slip on a banana peel, I'd be slapping a hand over my mouth to hold in the laughter as the coffin drops.

On a side note, for years I had weekly deductions from my paychecks to have Aflac insure me with short term and long term disability.  This was to guarantee an income in case I was hurt or sick.  After many years of payments, I ended up stuck in bed for five weeks.  Aflac was suppose to pay thirty-five dollars a day for the time I was off.  Not an enormous amount of money, but it would help with the medical co-pay, and other bills.  Aflac paid five days worth.  When I called to complain, they kept saying I was right, that I should be receiving additional monies.  They never sent any.  They gave me the run-around for a few months, never denying my claim, but never paying the full amount owed, until I finally gave up.

So I say "F*** Aflac!  Gilbert Gottfried is better off without them!"

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Gravity of the Situation

I've been practicing my telekinesis.  Its a lot harder than I thought.  I only use small objects like paper clips and bottle caps.  As I concentrate, the objects shake ever so slightly but so far I haven't made them defy gravity.

I just thought of something the government doesn't tax.  Gravity!  You can use all the gravity available and not pay a penny.  And lately, I've been using a fair share of the stuff.  Ever since I quit smoking 8 1/2 years ago, my gravity consumption has been on the upswing.  I'd hate to imagine the government pounding on my door and demanding payment for past gravity use.

Here's a wild thing that is true.  If you successfully rob a bank, the government can lock you up for not paying taxes on the loot.  And the IRS is nobody to screw around with.  Just ask Wesley Snipes or Richard Hatch.  From Al Capone to Al Pacino, the IRS goes after everyone.  Al Pacino is latest entry in the IRS's list of tax evaders.  One of my favorite tax stories is Joe Louis, the heavy-weight championship boxer of the thirties and forties.  During WWII, Joe Louis donated all his winnings to the war effort.  After the war, the IRS comes up to Joe and says "Where is our money?"  Joe is confused.  What money?  The tax money from all the fights during the war!  Well, he gave that to the government.  Yes, but he did not give the IRS a share.  It was still considered income and they declared that he owed back taxes.  A lot more than he had or could come up with.  Poor Joe winded up being a Greeter at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas just to pay off the debt.

Joe wasn't the only one this happened to.  Abbott and Costello found themselves in a similar situation.  They spent the war years donating their talents and income to USO shows and other benefits for the war effort.  The IRS wanted a cut out of those donations also. Bud and Lou went on the radio and asked the public to help them out by sending in a few bucks.  The FCC got involved at this point.  They deemed it illegal to ask for donations for themselves.  If they would have formed a charity, they could have asked for money for that charity.  Nobody told them this, so it never happened.  Whatever money was sent in on their behest was returned immediately.  In the end the IRS ended up selling off Bud and Lou's houses, furnishings, cars and other acquisitions.  Lou Costello died a pauper, but Bud Abbott lived a couple decades longer and died without debt.  If you ever saw Abbott and Costello cartoons that were made in the 60's, the voice of Abbott was indeed Abbott.  This is how he got out of the red and into the black.

Well, back to my notion about a gravity tax.  If you know an IRS agent, please, and I stress "PLEASE" do not tell them about it.  I'm certain that sooner or later, they will get around to figuring a way to tax it without any help from me or you.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

`Til the Sheen Wears Off

Did you hear about Charlie Sheen?  If not, then you are most likely dead and should not be reading this.  My television is dedicated to him.  My subscription magazines include articles about him. My car radio is "All Charlie, All the Time."  If you Google "Charlie Sheen" you will get 139,000,000 hits.   There is no escape.

Yesterday I was shopping at Mal-Wart (I changed the name of store to keep its identity a secret.) when I overheard two young ladies talking.  The first girl was telling the second about how some fellow from the night before was constantly hitting on her even though she had made her disinterest very well known.  The second girl said, "Who'd he think he was, Charlie Sheen?"

Speaking of secrets, I heard on the news Friday that the USAF launched a Top-Secret Space Plane.  I was waiting for the reporter to put a finger to her lips and go "Shhhh.  Don't tell anyone."  This unmanned flight will orbit the earth for nine months before returning.  Hmm, they said "unmanned" not "unwomanned."   Plus, nine months is a gestation period.  Could this be some form of "Rosemary's Baby" meets "Alien?"

Looks like Qaddafi is successfully fighting the rebels.  I hope those rebels got something else up their sleeve.  I hate these gas prices, but it may be worth it if it causes Muammar to say bye-bye.  Yet, for the sake of my wallet, lets get this thing settled quick.  $3.59 a gallon is enough.  Please, don't go any higher.

Still, when compared to bottled water, gasoline is the least expensive.  At $1.50 per bottle, water would cost eight dollars a gallon.  This is for Propel.  I do not know other water brands.  If you needed nasal spray to run your car, you would be paying $748.00 per gallon.  If someone came up with a milk powered car, then it would be anywhere from $2 to $3.50 a gallon, depending where you buy your milk.  I could fill my car for about twenty bucks.  Just think, while your milk powered vehicle moos along contentedly, you could use the exhaust to make lattes.  Now that is what I call multi-tasking.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Three Verne Books

This will be a short post.  I am watching "Mutiny on the Bounty" with Clark Gable and Charles Laughton.  No, I did not dig up their bodies and place them in my house.  I meant to say the film starring Clark Gable and Charles Laughton.  Anyways, Linda and I were talking about pirates and mutinies and things of the sea when I mentioned Jules Verne's classic "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and how long a league is.  Do you know this?  A league is the distance a man can walk in an hour or roughly three miles.  So, 20,000 leagues is around 60,000 miles.  Do you know the diameter of the earth?  The diameter is just under 8,000 miles.  These distances were known at the time Jules Verne wrote his novel in 1870.  Either the Fact Checker had not been doing his job, or that position had not yet been conceived.  In either case, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" is over 52,000 miles outside the opposite end of the planet. If you were going "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" you would have to start out by taking a "Journey to the Center of the Earth," continue through to the other side and travel one sixth the distance "From the Earth to the Moon."  Do you think Jules thought about this when titling his books?

I just had to put that out there to give you something to ponder and discuss.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dogs Day

March has arrived.  Let the madness begin.

A rabbi walks into a bar.  The rabbi says, "Ow!  Where that bar come from?"

Speaking of the bar.  I was sitting up at the local watering hole with a few friends when I was asked "Do you know what a protégé is?"   I am not one to pass up an opportunity.  I responded, "Yes, its someone in favor of tégé."

The closest I ever cane to having a protégé is owning a dog.  Not the dog I currently have.  The one prior.  It was an Alaskan malamute that I had named Zushi. (rhymes with hush-ee).  I had taken Zushi under wing and taught it everything I could.  She was a very smart dog.  When she begged, she held a plate in her mouth and she  would say "pretty please."  This is true.  Of course, it wasn't actual words but she grunted out a near facsimile.  I wanted to teach her how to drive a car, but she could not work the pedals and see over the dash at the same time.  Oh, well, at least we gave it try.

The dog we have now is named Roxy.  If Zushi and Roxy were alive at the same time, and were attending the same school, it would be a safe bet that Roxy would ride the short bus to get there.  I also believe that Roxy has a masochistic attitude towards me.  She is constantly leaving toys and bones in places where I step.  She has turned the backyard into a minefield of trip holes.  And she also scoots between my legs when I walk as if in attempt to stumble me.  Lately she has taken up the habit of staring at me from other rooms.  This is quite disconcerting.  I'll be in the kitchen and look towards the hallway where I see Roxy steadfast with her eyes fixated on me.  She uses the hallway as her observation deck.  While I'm lying in bed, she'll be peeking at me through the doorway.  If I am not careful to completely close the bathroom door, she will push it open with her snout and stare.  Because it is so hard to determine a dog's expression, I can never tell if she is looking at me with fascination or disdain.  If I should ever mysteriously disappear, please have the police interrogate Roxy.  It is well within her capabilities to dig a grave.