Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Letter from My Assistant Ratdog RE: Looking for Yuckfest Volunteers

Every year, my master Ed (aka "Hymie") produces a comedy benefit at Rooster T. Feathers in Sunnyvale called "The Yuletide Yuckfest" It's a fun event that raises toys and $$ for Toys for Tots, which is a great charity run by the Marines. When Ed was looking for a charity to raise $$ for, he chose TFT because when you give them a toy, it goes to a child. With a lot of charities, as much as 90% of the $$ they receive can go to the administration and the day-to-day operation of the charity. The people it's supposed to be helping can end up getting very little. The reason for this posting is that Ed is looking for people to help him with the event. This may involve phonework, passing out flyers or helping out at the event itself, which is always in early December. As Ed's assistant I am supposed to bite anyone who has a "bah humbug" attitude and doesn't want to go with the program. It's a fun way to help kids out during the holidays, because I don't care who you are, we've all at one time or another been kids (or pups) during the holidays. I remember one Christmas when I was about six weeks, my brothers and sisters and I got up at 3 am to open our gifts. Boy, were we ever in the doghouse for that one. Please e-mail Ed, my master at: if you're interested. And please put in a good word for me, Ratdog. Do you know how hard it is to type with claws?
Ed's personal assistant,
If you want a great personal assistant that can type, make coffee and bark/growl at people when they don't do what you want them to do, visit: or and look under "Canine Assistants."

Why I love San Francisco!!

This town takes a while to grow on you, but once it gets in your blood, it's like really good vicodin (just ask Rush Limbuagh) -- you're basically hooked! Where else do they put snow on Fillmore Street and let people ski jump? (See photo). Where else can you go to a great show like Teatro Zinzanni and have a big guy in drag stick your face directly into his cleavage? (See other photo.) We've got the Giants, the 49ers (which isn't really all that much to brag about) great theater, (we recently saw Martin Short's one-man show -- terrible -- and a play called Killer Joe at the Magic Theater in Fort Mason -- shocking and memorable), amazing restaurants, the Golden Gate bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, Japantown, the Marina, there are all kinds of art galleries and museums, the music scene, the hippies in the Haight, the gays in the Castro, the Mexicans in the Mission -- it's all here and it's all happening in paradise. I lived in San Jose for almost three decades, and I will always have a soft spot for the South Bay, but my heart is now in San Francisco, the incredible city by the bay!
If you want to go see Teatro Zinzanni, which I HIGHLY recommend, their web site is: To find out what great shows are happening at the Magic Theater at Fort Mason, visit:

I'm Blog Crazy!

I just started this blog yesterday and I can't stop posting. It has my entire house in an uproar! The dogs see me typing frantically away at the keyboard and they can sense the excitement, I'm sure. The first thing my girlfriend said is, "DO NOT put my name in your blog. You don't mind flaunting your personal life in public, but I am a private person." (This from a woman who was a stand-up comic for six years.) It's just that I have so much to say, and I want my blog to have a little content -- so that people have something to look at and read when they visit my blog. My girlfriend (from here on we will refer to her as Angelina) said that I will do a bunch of posting for a few days and lose interest -- the same way I did with guitar lessons and juicing -- and the blog will be old and tired. I hope not. Right now I'm blog crazy and loving it. I may do 10 posts today, who knows. I have stories, ideas, songs, jokes -- I even do shadow puppets. I'm a blogging fool and I don't care who knows it.

There's Baseball in the Air!!

Baseball is in full swing. This is the time of the season I enjoy the most. Teams are starting to find themselves, stars are emerging while others are fading. The all-star game is coming up real soon, and before you know it, it’ll be September and the pennant races will really be heating up. After the World Cup concludes (Go Italy!) major league baseball will pretty much be the only thing on the sports schedule. Of course, there’s always golf, women’s basketball and car racing, none of which interest me even remotely. Baseball is THE only sport going on right now as far as I’m concerned, and I love it! That's why I have the Extra Innings baseball cable package from Direct TV -- it gives me all of the games every day so that I can watch every team, flipping around from game to game like a crazed baseball zombie, which I am. (this is a shameless plug -- Direct TV is writing a cheque right now.) After a while I don't know if I'm watching the Twins vs. Kansas City or the Tigers vs. the A's. Everything gets jumbled and I start sweating and chanting players' names out loud, "Ordonez, Garciaparra,
Feliz and Kent" (sounds like a law firm.) Anyway, I love baseball and now is the ideal time of year to be into it. I guess that's my point.

Well-behaved dogs & a great dog trainer

There is nothing like well-behaved dogs. When we first moved to SF, our dogs didn't take to the transition very well. They barked, they peed in the house, they were whining all the time and running up and down the stairs. It was not a good situation and my girlfriend was very upset. At one point it got so bad I almost had to put her up for adoption. I put an ad on craigslist, saying:
"This is my girlfriend. We have had almost three fabulous years together, and now I'd like to give her to a good family. She's somewhat housebroken. She's crate-trained. She's had all her shots and she loves kids. She just needs more love than I can give her, due to the fact that I work long hours. And a bigger yard would be nice, too." Seriously, I almost had to give my pooches away, which would break my heart, so instead we hired a dog whisperer. The first thing I told him was, "Speak up! Why are you always whispering, dude?" The end result is that the dogs are great now. We always have to stay on top of them, but they have improved tremendously since we hired the dog trainer. They stopped barking all the time, and they don't pull us around on walks anymore. They're also just calmer and have better attitudes. My staffie, (the one that looks like Petey from the Lil Rascals) is even learning Italian. They don't poo and pee all over the place anymore, which is excellent. I tried to explain to them that it wasn't that kind of party, that they could do that kind of stuff when they were out in the woods with their pack, but I couldn't get through to them. Our trainer (John Van Olden is his name) got them to understand that and a lot more. The process was pretty simple. I found John on craigs list (where else?) and he came by and evaluated our dogs, Shelly and Kaido (we have another mutt named Ratdog, a little, ugly but extremely endearing deaf dog who John said we didn't need to include in the training. Kind of like getting out of Phys. Ed in junior high because you brought a note from your doctor.) He took on the job and has changed our lives because now we have a calmer and happier household. It took a few lessons and a lot of follow-up on our part. Essentially, he was training us along with the animals. He even hit me with a rolled-up newspaper one time when I asked him a dumb question.
My girlfriend has since been watching the other "Dog Whisperer", Cesar -- the one with the TV show and now she has really taken to doggy discipline in a big way. She's tougher than me and we play good cop bad cop with the dogs, but hey, somebody has to be like that. If it was still up to me they'd be eating people food and sleeping on the bed with us and watching Animal Planet 24/7. This is a better situation all the way around, however. I highly recommend John Van Olden as a dog trainer. If you want to call him, he's in Alameda and his phone number is: (800) 649-7297. He's the best in our book and we are grateful he helped us get our mutts under control. It's amazing how attached you get to your pets, isn't it? They're like our kids, except they don't talk back or play video games or get bad grades or listen to their iPOD's all the time or spend eight straight hours on myspace.
To find out more about John Van Olden, visit his web site at:

I Feel Really Old Today

I feel really ancient today. I have a gimpy knee, I stubbed my toe yesterday and it's swollen up to the size of a small plum, my shoulder aches, I have a sinus thing going and my neck hurts because I slept on it in a weird position. I feel like the guy in this picture. And, since this painting was probably done in the 1500's, that would mean I feel about 500 years old. Maybe I was this poor schmuck back then and now I've come back as the poor schmuck I am today. Just a thought. Oh great, now I have a headache. I shouldn't try to think of heavy stuff before I've had my morning coffee.
For people who feel the same way I do today -- really old -- there's an organization for you called the AARP. Their web site is My only problem is that you have to be over 50 to get in, and since I'm almost 48, I don't qualify. Maybe I can convince them that since I feel at least 65, I should be let in early. The whole concept makes me tired.