Alone in a locker room of wannabe Oakland Raiderettes

Well, not completely alone. Imagine my surprise, as I – post work-out, dressed in boy muscle shirt, boy shorts, wearing weight gloves and my iPod – rounded the corner into my section of gym lockers, and literally walked into a gaggle of twenty 20-something wannabe Oakland Raiderettes Cheerleaders. Yes, today was the second Sunday of Raiderettes try-outs at my gym. And I was there. Again.

I’ve never had to walk over and around so many nylons, contestant numbers, and stiletto heels especially in a narrow section of gym locker room. These woman, dare I say contestants/interviewees/candidates had gobs of accessories. Who knew there were so many shades of “who knew it came in that color” pink? Sparkles and sequins, short shorts, zippers, white belts, either purchased online, at the store, or hand-crafted by their mother-in-laws. Fake eyelashes that could double as umbrellas. And spray-on tans. No one came without. And velour sweat outfits. All true, folks.

This scene made me uncomfortable. Why? Was it because I have never seen so much spontaneous arranging and rearranging of parts, real or assisted? Weren’t they of the same sex and because of my chromosomes, a sight I should be enjoying?  Uh, no. Raiderettes and pre-Raiderettes are a different species than I. Consider a Sporty Spice action figure and a plush Hello Kitty doll. You can put them together on the same carpet in a family room, but you would never see them run off together and start a family even in fantasy land. Now, that would be weird.

Anyway, I high-tailed it to the showers, gym bag in hand and ran into an older woman wrapped in a towel who looked at me with a sour look on her face and asked, “What is happening here? I thought they weren’t allowed in here.” Well, last week they weren’t allowed. This week, apparently, with the “fierce” competition and all, these women needed to be ready for pictures and cheering, so they needed our locker room.

A lot of these women were mothers, one wishing out loud that her two-year old daughter was old enough to be a junior Raiderette. I guess they could practice together. Think of a cross of something Diablo Cody would create and Little Miss Sunshine and you’re starting to see what I saw.

As I was leaving, as quickly as I could, one Raiderette hopeful went up to another and said that she looked great. You could have heard a pin drop. All at once, these curling- and flat-ironed heads of hair, bottle blondes and reds, hushed and turned toward the one who got the compliment. Fierce indeed.



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A dog, a checkbook cover, and a bit of separation anxiety

Oliver has been with us for three months now and he continues to surprise us. He has been left alone all day during the day, has never peed in the house, and is generally pretty well adjusted, or so we thought. Now that he gets to spend his entire day with his dog sister, Frances, and his “for the time being, stay-at-home” mom, he gets a lot of attention. But is he getting too much attention? And if so, what does that mean?

The other day, Shelly had the gall to hang out in the basement while two guys were attempting to install a new washing machine. She left both dogs upstairs together so they would be out of the way. Well, Oliver heard Shelly’s voice and freaked out a bit. He wanted to be with her. So, he did the next best thing in his mind. He found her checkbook with the leather cover and ate as much of it as he could before Shelly came back upstairs. Needless to say, he didn’t learn any lessons from the eyeball incident and we’ve yet to see any evidence of said checkbook.

At least he didn't eat any checks ...

At least he didn't eat any checks ...

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Job line for Specialty’s in San Francisco

Okay, call me naive, but it’s been a while, if ever, since I have seen something like this. This line started deep in the back of Specialty’s on Pine Street, snaked out the door, and down the block.

Something you don't see every day

Something you don't see every day


What happens when your dog throws up an eyeball

When we were in LA over New Years, Oliver got hold of a few rubber dog toys that my mother-in-law keeps around for her grandpuppies. The hideous red-antennaed squeaky thing quickly lost a few of its antennae. We pulled some from his mouth, along with some squeaker parts from other toys. We finally took the toys away when we noticed one of the bug-eyed toys was missing both of its bug-eyes. One was on the floor, but the other was MIA.

Thankfully, one of the antennae showed up days later in Oakland. Apparently, antennae in, antennae out. But the eyeball didn’t surface and we were a bit worried. Fast forward two weeks later to a very sick Oliver. Sick enough to go to the emergency vet at 7am on a Sunday. His symptoms (throwing up, painful bloated stomach, crying when moving) were way too similar to what we had experienced with Mickey so taking him that day was a must. But $500, many x-rays, and a blood test later, the vet chalked it up to gastroenteritis. The x-ray showed a small thing or two in his stomach (hello nylabone pieces), but nothing that would cause his distress. I peered at the x-ray, looking for that eyeball, but nope, it wasn’t there. The vet did point out the hairline fractures and a weird alignment thing with his hips, and three metal sutures in his leg. Metal sutures? That’s where the limp comes from. No one told us about a messed up leg. This little guy has really been through a bit of everything.

So, Oliver got better and we were very relieved to say the least. But that’s not the end of the story. A week and a half after our excursion to the emergency vet, Shelly came home to some dog puke surrounding a few weird looking things. She was as startled as I was when she showed them to me a few hours later. Apparently, rubber eyeballs grow when hanging out in canine stomachs for a few weeks.

The watch is for scale.

The watch is for scale.

I really don’t know why we couldn’t see that thing in the x-ray. The stick, seed, and valve were stuck inside of the eyeball waiting, I guess, for the ride out.


The Oscar Grant shooting

I feel compelled  to write something about this tragedy. Fruitvale Bart Station is my stop. I shop at Farmer Joe’s where Grant worked behind the meat counter. Every day this week, as I got off the train, I couldn’t help but try and imagine what happened last week and where it happened. Is it down there, or am I walking by the very spot he was shot? I’ve been imaging all of this because we were in LA when this happened, and up until now, I have only seen stills of the shooting.

Today, I watched three different cell phone videos of the shooting, and man, Oakland is lucky they have seen only a few days of violence, misplaced as it may be.

To me all cops are bent. I sometimes feel bad when I think this, but that’s what it is. I can understand the need to do good and uphold the law, but to do so with a swagger, a uniform, and guns at the ready, as you patrol your beat, I’m sorry, but a cop is not wired the same way I am. And then Bart cops. Not real cops, are they? A glorified security guard with a real gun, perhaps? How many people get their GED, graduate high school, and say, I want to be a Bart cop? Exactly. Yes, many generalizations here, but after all, this is my blog.

Tell me after looking at the videos you can’t help but think that something went terribly wrong here. Look at the body language of the Bart cop, Johannes Mehserle. His animal instinct was to grab a gun, taser or whatever, to let Grant know he had no choice. But Mehserle fucked up. Big time. After the shot, his buddy jumped back, yelled something at him, and Mehserle held up his hands, as if to say I don’t know what just happened. And don’t you just love how the cop buddy turned Grant over like a piece of meat, checking to see that really was a bullet. Not a lot of compassion here.

You’ve got witnesses. Witnesses that were feet away from the shooting, up against the wall, awaiting their fate. Witnesses by the many in the form of Bart police. Witnesses on the train who were taunting, yelling, encouraging, and then scared once they figured out someone was shot. And now you’ve got thousands, if not millions of witnesses, watching these videos on YouTube, and feeling the same way I do now.

Oscar Grant didn’t get his day in court. His verdict came in quickly, noisely, publicly, on New Year’s day in Oakland on a Bart platform. Mehserle can hide all he wants, resign, hide behind his unions and lawyers and due diligance. But give him his day in court. And quickly. Justice needs to happen. We need to start seeing some justice.

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A faux review of dog beds

Reviews were conducted in December 2008 using two test subjects, Oliver and Frances; and two beds, one purchased, one DIY. Each dog was compensated with a treat following the tests.

A round, soft, portable, and washable classic dog bed. A perfect bed for a 15-pound dog.


Laundry basket filled with dirty clothes and sheets. Not a proper dog bed for any animal, although Oliver disagrees.


A round, soft, portable, and washable classic dog bed. A perfectly sized bed for a 15-pound dog, but not a 70-pound dog, but Frances couldn’t resist. Note the placement of her left paw, as if she is trying to hold the bed together. Surprisingly this little bed stood up quite admirably to the Frances test.


I guess it really doesn’t matter what kind of bed it is or what you consider the correct definition of a bed is. If it’s off the floor and it’s soft and warm, it’s a bed fit for dogs.


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Doxie Tales: Squirrel hunting

Well, make that squirrel hunting from a second-story bedroom window. Great view, but no physical contact. Makes for a no-fuss, no-mess squirrel hunt.

Here’s Oliver complete with feral sounding growls and whines:


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Doxie Tails: Oliver, Meet Mort

I probably started asking for a dog when I was seven or eight and when I was ten, for Christmas, I got to pick out a dog at Doctor’s Pet Center in Stonestown. Yes, he was probably from a puppy mill, but we didn’t know from puppy mills in the ’70s, so no negative comments people. All my future dogs have been and will always be rescue dogs. But I digress. I chose Mort, a rambunctious 13-week old dachshund.

Morton John Badertscher. I was going to name him Brodie after the 49ers’ quarterback at the time, but instead I jumped on the name Mort, because he was one of the guys my dad sat next to at Niner’s games. He was AKC, so when filling out his paperwork, we needed a middle name, so I borrowed my dad’s first name. Mort only heard his full name when he got in trouble, which was quite often.

Mort's first Christmas and my first dog.

Mort's first Christmas and my first dog.

Anyway, he lived for 15 years. One of the saddest days in my life at that point was putting him down. But he lives on in infamy. (Just ask the people he bit, including my sister.) My family still tells Mort stories to this day.

And now, many years and four dogs later, another dachshund is in my life. Oliver is a purebred as was Mort, and probably a tad overbred. He’s got a bit of a limp either from being overbred or from being hit by a car back in July. His xrays didn’t show hip fractures like we had been told, but instead showed major chest trauma and broken ribs. How could his first family dump him after that?

In less than three weeks, Oliver has moved in with remarkable ease. He’s a super lap dog and moves from Shelly’s lap to mine with no hesitation. He and Frances have become fast friends and engage in impromptu chases throughout the day. Everything is just very exciting to him.  He (like Mickey did) loves figs and has to be watched in our yard or he’ll literally stuff himself with ripe and half-eaten figs. Nice.

So, Oliver, let the nicknames begin – Ollie, Ali Baba, Oliver Twist …

Here I am more than 35 years later with Oliver, the dachshund.

Here I am more than 35 years later with Oliver, the dachshund.

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What to name the new pup?

Is he an Oliver or a Kirby? We can’t decide.

He’s 14-months old. We adopted him from H.O.P.E. rescue in Turlock, CA. He’s red, long, sports a white strip down his chest, walks with a slight limp when he’s tired (he was hit by a car in July), is under 15 pounds, and gets along great with Frances. He pulled all of the toys out of the basket, had a bath, and now, is fast asleep on the couch.

More details to come. We’re exhausted.

Playing with one of many toys.

Playing with one of many toys.

His first close up.

His first close up.


Obama, Happy-Go-Lucky, and a rainy day

It was a perfect day to see a movie. We sloshed our way over to Albany to see Mike Leigh’s “Happy-Go-Lucky.” A wonderful little film and classic Leigh: a well-written character study, great actors, and no-nonsense directing. Of course, now we want to move to England again.

The marquee paid tribute to the film and as is common in the Bay Area, it paid tribute to the times. With just three days left I couldn’t have said it better myself.

On the right is a photo I took while behind a truck today.

Three more days.

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