And Now, Here To Perform The American National Anthem In The Key Of C-rap…


What exactly is this man doing? Yes, I know he’s attempting to sing the Star Spangled Banner at a baseball game, but what is he doing? And more importantly, why is he doing it? Did he just discover right now, here in this moment, that he suffers from crippling anxiety? Did he overshoot his vocal cord and social lubrication targets by a couple of miles? Is he dying of something and this is his make a wish?

I figured it had to be at least one of those things or that perhaps he’s spent his entire life away from civilization and was rescued and cleaned up right before show time (How else do you forget the words to the American anthem?), but no. Turns out it was just cramps. Brain ones would be my guess.

It happened Sunday, before a game between the High Point Rockers and Sugar Land Skeeters and involved a “last minute fill in,” Fox Carolina reported. High Point is about 80 miles northeast of Charlotte.

Video posted on Facebook by TV station WXII reports Rockers employee Chuck Hayworth was the singer, and it shows him struggling with both the melody and the lyrics. The results include uncomfortable pauses, skipped lines and occasional shouting.
Hayworth apologized later on social media, explaining he developed cramps from getting overheated just before starting “and you saw what happened,” the station reported.
“By no means was this any disrespect to our country or our organization, nor all those who serve it,” WFMY quoted Hayworth as saying.

The team apologized, too, saying “the rendition was not up to organizational standards,” and noting the singer was standing in for someone who got sick at the last minute, GreensboroSports.com reports.

How much worse could the sick guy have sounded, I wonder.

Ride Me Back Home

Willie Nelson, who is still very much alive…

…has a new album coming out. It’s called “Ride Me Back Home” and it’s set for release on June 21st. It’s a mix of originals and covers, including a version of “It’s Hard to Be Humble” which I’m curious to hear since I’ve liked that song since I was a very small child.

Here’s the title track, which also serves as the first single.

I’ve only listened to it once, but I’m already pretty sure I wouldn’t mind learning it and playing it with somebody.

Six Months Of Shmans

Tansy has been very much neglected up here, but I have once again amassed quite the list of updates, observations and acknowledgements of time.

Back in October, Tansy got out her barf bingo dabber and checked off that month. I think the little rip stole some dropped food at a social event at work, but even so, it’s another month where she has barfed. I wish she wasn’t so silent about it. I had no idea it happened until a colleague pointed it out. Hmmm, is that less or more disgusting than asking a colleague to graphically describe ooze coming from a cyst? Maybe it’s a toss-up. Har!

Shmans went through a phase of having little lumpy bumpy skin irritation things. The vets weren’t sure what they were, and we treated them with medicated pads and they went away. A few came back when I went home to mom and dad’s so I’m not sure if it’s an environmental allergy or what. Thank goodness they have stayed gone though. I kept having nightmares that one day I would rub her belly and a great hunk of skin would be covered in lines of unnoticed lumpy bumpies!

Then one day, when Brad was here, he commented that Tans’s underbelly looked all baggy and bunched up. His comment was “it looks like she’s going to have pups!” I had a few nightmares about discovering that Shmans wasn’t spayed after all and was about to have puppies. You can see it’s really easy to fuel my nightmares. The vet says that’s just the way she is and not to worry. It hasn’t changed, so I guess that’s just Shmans.

I also noticed one day that her neck felt flabbier than usual. For now I’m going to say I’m just paranoid. Her weight is mostly staying the same, but I can never predict when it will bump up or fall down.

She had another session of losing hair on her paws. This time, when it grew back, it came back white. We don’t know if it’s the boots, maybe this brand isn’t as uniformly made as the official Pawz ones, or they’re made out of a different kind of rubber, but once again she had rubbed patches. It’s always on different paws though. In previous years, it was on the rear paws, now this time it was on the front ones.

Speaking of boots, I had a new experience. I had to put boots on her while riding in a car. I would have never been able to pull this off with the other boots. But with difficulty, I got them on. When I left, I didn’t realize how much salt was out until she started hopping. The car was right there, so I had to put the boots on during the ride so when we got to where we were going, she would be protected. Add that to the list of things I’ve learned to do, right up there with relieving two dogs and having to find something else to serve as an emergency poop bag.

Poor Shmans has such a hard time finding dogs that can handle her level of energy but aren’t too rough. I saw a dog who actually scared poor Tansy. We went to visit a coworker, and she has two little dogs. The one was pretty calm, but the other one wanted to make sure that Tans knew she was on his property. The first thing he did was pee on his house. Then, he wouldn’t stop trying to dominate poor Shmans. Imagine a little Boston Tarrier-like dog trying to show Shmans who was boss. Not only that, but he kept trying to hump her head! He’s blind, so I guess he just aimed for some part of her and went to town. Tans was not sure what to make of this and just tried to stay out of his way. Tans, you have such a hard time.

She is getting older though. She has some grey that is visible, and some white on her paws in addition to the new white that came back after the hair loss. Someone described her as salt and pepper, and that she has a beard. Someone else said she looked wise, I’m not sure if it was her facial expression or what. I also notice that she seems more chilled out. Her moments of insanity are shorter and she takes longer to charge as I used to call it. She’s started lying down on the bus again, and she lies down in places where I wouldn’t expect it. Yes, this dog is mortal.

Our buddy J thinks she’s more chill too. While he was here, we were getting ready to leave but I had to head back for something, so Steve and J stepped outside and Tansy just wandered out with them and stood there. That would have never happened when she was younger, as history will attest. She would have been up and down the hall like a shot. But she just stood near J and waited for me.

But she is still full of beans. She still loves J a lot, and when I went to meet him at the station, Shmans jumped on him. Randomly, as he was sitting around, she would come running over and start bonking into him and being a total goofball. One morning, he tried to do some stretches and situps and things, and Tans got right in his way and thought he was on the floor to play with her. She has been known to give in to her impulsivity a little bit more. I can’t remember where I mentioned this, but during the fall semester, I had a co-op student working with me until January. Inexplicably, whenever her teacher would come to observe, Tansy would surprise me by leaping on her in harness! Just once, thankfully only once, she decided to suddenly increase her speed while on the stairs because she saw something that distracted her. That little lapse in impulse-control scared me. She absolutely adores the guy who sometimes brings a dog to work. I now have a picture of that dog!

Tansy standing with Charlie, one on each side of me.
Tansy and her new deskmate

Anyway, even if he doesn’t have that dog with him, Tans will exuberantly greet him. His desk is right next to her space and sometimes, when we’re coming back from somewhere, she’ll try to go visit him first. She also will forget her manners and run from our area to say hello to that one coworker with the super-dominant little dog I talked about earlier. Occasionally, if I’m working late and the cleaning lady comes around with the vacuum, Tansy has decided she’s a play toy too. I have sometimes heard a voice say “Go to mamma, go to mamma!” and I have to rescue this poor woman while hiding my embarrassed face. And of course, she has been known to lure other dogs into our area. I don’t know how she does it, but every now and then, some dog will break free of its owner and come bounding in here. So Tans keeps life interesting.

All these stories remind me of something I heard while passing by a kid and his mom. The mom was telling the kid that the doggy was working so he couldn’t pet the doggy, and the kid was trying to argue that no, the doggy doesn’t look like he’s working. Wanna bet, kid? If you’d seen the events above, you would know that yes, she is working sooooo hard not to be bouncing off the ceiling right now.

But she still can control those impulses. She was hilarious with my co-op student. She would be very reserved, then I would take the harness off and only if I brought her over to the student did she say hello. She would get up on her hind legs and give her a hug and some kisses. I wish I had a picture. It was like she knew the student wanted a guide dog and wanted to show her what it was all about.

Shmans was none too pleased with the last winter. Sometimes I think she wished she could hibernate. In the morning when it was almost time to go, she would get super quiet, as if I might forget her if she didn’t make any noise. Oh dog, I don’t like this winter either.

Something new she’s started doing is she won’t just celebrate after a meal, but she’ll celebrate while I’m getting it ready. Well, I’m glad she’s happy. She also chooses where she sleeps, and if she misjudges when it’s time to rise and shine, she’ll take the hint and either go back to bed or flop into the crate.

If I’m at the office late, even if I feed her, she will get so excited when I show signs that we are leaving. It’s like she’s saying “Good! I can go home and totally loop out and then relax. Finally!”

Let’s add some songs to the list of songs Tansy gets excited over. Oddly enough, she likes “Joshua Giraffe”, but only when it starts speeding up.

She has decided that River by Sarah McLachlan

is a good one, as well as “Is Anybody Home” by Our Lady Peace

and “On Top of the World” by the Carpenters.

Oddly enough, a song she has heard many times has recently joined the awesome list, and that’s “The Happy Song” by Imogen Heap.

Just a few weeks ago, she decided it was worth dancing to. It sometimes seems like she likes the theme from Dr. Demento,

but I’m not sure about that one. W’w’w’w’w’w’wind up your Shmandaloop!

We learned at Christmas that Shmans will not tolerate wearing things for fun. We tried to get a picture of her with a Santa hat on, and that Santa hat flew! We also tried to put bells on her, and that was not a good idea. I have never seen her work so fiercely to get something off. So, harness, jackets, boots and mut muffs are ok, but keep those bells and hats away. Ok then.

Another amusing part of Christmas festivities was when we started singing “If you’re happy and you know it.” Somehow, we ended up singing “If you’re happy and you know it, pat your leg,” and this drove Shmans nuts. Everybody was patting their leg! Were they all calling her? What was she to do? Poor, poor confused dog.

She got some toys at Christmas from my Secret Santa. We had a funny Aira moment. The agent was describing the package since I couldn’t find a braille note until we got to the bottom, and maybe the lighting wasn’t awesome. When we got to the toys, they were stuck together with Velcro, and the agent thought the big one was a kangaroo. So we thought the thing stuck to it must have been its baby, or Joey. Then we found the note and found out it was a squirrel and an acorn. So, they were nicknamed the squangaroo and the jacorn from then on. The squangaroo didn’t make it because Tans was trying to use it for rougher play than it was intended, and the poor thing ripped, but the jacorn is still with us. We also got some smaller stuffed toys in March, and sometimes she picks up the jacorn and one of those and brings them to us.

Sometimes when she’s playing, she will inexplicably let out these little yips. I was worried they were pain, but I’m not so sure anymore. It’s like she’s so happy she can’t contain herself. Of course, I’ll keep watching and we’ll see, but for now, I’ll say they’re happy.

I am sure there are things that we do that probably frustrate our guide dogs, like getting on different buses. I’m sure they’re thinking “You just got off that moving chair thing, why do you want to sit on another one?” But I can add shopping for a couch to the list. There are few times when I actually imagine what Tansy is thinking, but last Saturday as we shopped for couches, I heard her thought process loudly and clearly. It went a little something like “Woman, I just found you a seat. Why do you want to find another one? I just got nicely settled and you’re asking me to get up again. Did you not like this one? What’s so different about the one we moved to? It’s not that far from that other one! You’re weird!” Sometimes, on our way to the couch we were interested in, Tansy would just stop and try to direct me to a seat, any old seat. Poor baby, she had no idea.

Back in September, my grandma moved into an assisted living place. When I have had the chance to see her, Tansy has decided that random residents need some love. We’ll be trying to go by one of them and she’ll try and scooch over so she can nuzzle them. Even though I mind, thankfully they don’t. I wonder what she notices about them.

Can you believe that Trix has been gone for over a year? February 21 marked the anniversary of her death, and it is now April. We are chugging through all of her anniversaries too, and it blows my mind. I reached out to her raiser on what would have been her birthday and we both said we were thinking of her. It was really weird not to buy her Christmas presents this year.

One of the things Tans inherited from the Trix days finally bit the big one. Remember that no-spill water bowl I bought for Trix at work? It finally died. It started showing signs of wearing out with a wee crack, and then it just started coming apart. I ordered a new style of no-spill bowl, and after one bowl nearly got lost in the postal strike, it arrived from Amazon. It stores one heck of a lot of water. Even with two dogs drinking out of it whenever my nearby coworker brings in his dog, there is still lots left. It must seem magical to the dogs. It has this floating piece that only lets up so much water at a time, but as they push on it with their noses, more water comes up. It makes me think of a bottomless cup.

A couple of weeks ago, Tans and I celebrated 6 years as a guide dog team. Shmans has now worked the longest out of all 3 dogs, Trix being the only real close competition. But she has smashed all her records in age while working and time working together. On May 31, Tans will turn 8. To put it into perspective, when Trix turned 8, she had been retired for nearly 8 months, had been with Brad for almost 6 months, and Tans and I had just gotten home a couple days before. I’m not trying to call Trix a crappy guide dog or anything, I’m more saying I can sigh a sigh of relief that I am not a dog-breaker.

And those are the majority of the Shmans updates for now. I have a bit more news, but it needs to be in a post all on its own. Basically, Shmans got to see her raisers again, and I want to chronicle those adventures, complete with pictures! See you then.

Concerts, Dentists And The Damn Website

A few things as I sip on some tea that I’ve just realized I absent-mindedly put sugar in twice. Fuck.

I keep forgetting to mention it, but if for a couple of days last week you tried to leave a comment and couldn’t, feel free to try again. I didn’t notice a problem at first because the comment volume for everything that isn’t spam is way down these days, but I fixed it over the weekend and all *should* be ok now.

I also want to apologize again if any of you are getting weird internal server or page not found errors when accessing the site. I don’t think most of you are, but if you do just refresh the page and everything should load up normally. I’ve done a few things in the hopes of fixing it, but I think whatever it is might be beyond our control. For now, just hang in there. A lot of you have been through broken with us before. We’ll get through it together. Yes, I’m saying that more for my own benefit than yours. Breathe Steve, breathe.

I think I may have mentioned this before, but am I the only one who gets headaches from hell after going to the dentist? I don’t know what causes them, but I’ve had them for as long as I can remember. They’re even worse than a lot of the ones I get from being on the phone. They’re so bad that Carin has taken to meeting me afterwards whenever she can and helping me get home so I don’t get lost or hit by a car. That’s the one disadvantage to the dentist being right across the street from the house. It’s great on the way over when I’m feeling fine and dandy, but at the end when I’m almost a corpse but I’m too close to home for getting a ride to be sensible, no buys. It might not be so bad if medicine wasn’t dirt useless on them, but none of the stuff that generally works on me will touch them and I’m usually a write-off until at least the next day.

Thankfully after my most recent bout with this shit I was better the next day, because the next day was yesterday and I had a concert to go to.

We went to see the Crash Test Dummies and Grapes of Wrath. If you don’t remember the Grapes of Wrath, if you’re me they’re these guys,

and if you’re Carin, they’re these guys.

They played both of those and a bunch more tunes old and new. They sounded great. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing them in more of a club setting as opposed to the theatre we were in.

If you don’t remember the Crash Test Dummies, if you’re Canadian they’re these guys,

and if you’re American, they’re most likely these guys.

I still can’t hear that without my brain inserting the kazoos at the end.

They were also pretty great. I’m not sure I’d go as far as saying I have a new favourite Dummies song, but I definitely discovered at least one more last night that I really, really like.

Last night they stripped it down and slowed the tempo a little so that everything had a bit more time to sink in. It was, as I sit here feeling rather in articulate at the moment, quite wow. There are lyrics here if you’d like them.

Good job picking that show, Carin!

And now, I am off to make a cup of tea that will not punch me in the pancreas and to see what else today has in store! Farewell for now!

Today In Not Freaking Happening: Bring The Phone To Bed With You For Customized Sexy Time Music

I’ve been off the sex market for a very long time. But let me assure you that if I weren’t and if one day I happened to find myself with someone and the conversation went something like “Ok, before we do this I’m just going to set the phone on the bed,” that person is outa here. Yes, even if we’re in her house.

Dude. Seriously. No phones on the bed, even if the reason is kind of creative. It’s creepy.

Besides, if this thing doesn’t have Short Music for Short People, it’s not doing me a whole lot of good anyway.

BEDBEATS
A musically responsive app that syncs with your sexual rhythm …
YOU’RE WELCOME!!!

AWESOME FEATURES
It’s simple, download the app, adjust for mattress firmness, select one of the music categories—dance, trance, funk, chill, roots or smooth jazz —choose your song, then place the phone somewhere on your mattress.
MUSIC UPDATES
Regular New Music releases, designed just how you like it!
BLUETOOTH CONNECTIVITY
Connect it to external bluetooth speakers for great sound!

RESPONSIVE
The music moves with you as you move with your partner
ADJUSTABLE SENSITIVITY
From soft to hard beds we have you covered!
SIMPLY AMAZING
BEDBEATS is the world’s most advanced bedroom music app, using the incredible new capabilities in phones to maximize your together time.

BEST APP, EVER
We don’t claim ‘world’s most advanced bedroom music app’ for nothing. BEDBEATS is stocked full of high-quality custom music that ebbs and flows as you move. Finally, a DJ for between the sheets.

Huh. People Like To Drink Beer and sing. Who Knew?

I call it most of the good parties I’ve gone to, but nowadays they call it Beer Choir, apparently. Looks fun, whatever name you want to give it. And what a fantastic theme song.

One group of Edmontonians has come to realize that songs and craft beer can make a perfect pairing.
A new musical movement called Beer Choir is coming to the capital region, and it’s exactly what it sounds like — the new community choral group will sing together while sampling beer at breweries, pubs and bars across the city.
In the words of the official theme song: “The Beer Choir is the choir that sings while drinking beer.”
“It really is that simple,” said Sara Brooks, the founder of the local Edmonton chapter, in a recent interview with CBC Edmonton’s Radio Active. “It combines two rather fabulous things — community singing and craft beer.”

Help Our Friend Barb Win This Year’s Holman Prize

Our friend Barb MacDougall is a very talented musician, and she wants to share her love of music and the benefits of it with as many people as she can. So to help herself reach that goal, she has submitted an application for this year’s Holman Prize.

What is that? It’s this.

In 2017, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco launched the Holman Prize to support the emerging adventurousness and can-do spirit of blind and low vision people worldwide. This endeavor celebrates people who want to shape their own future instead of having it laid out for them.
Created specifically for legally blind individuals with a penchant for exploration of all types, the Prize provides financial backing – up to $25,000 – for three individuals to explore the world and push their limits.
The ideal candidate is someone who is willing to probe their environment and eager to savor the richness of a world that is so often thought of as inaccessible to the blind. This exploration may involve travel, community organizing, athletics, creating art and more.
The Prize begins with a challenge: blind applicants must submit a first-round pitch, in the form of a 90-second YouTube video. Later, a select group of semifinalists will submit in-depth written proposals, and an even smaller group of finalists will be interviewed by LightHouse staff.

This is Barb’s first-round pitch.

Give it a watch and share it with anyone who might be interested.

We’re totally pulling for you, Barb!

Listen To This Or Don’t. I Don’t Give A Fuck

Not a song about snow days per se, but it seems appropriate.

I’ve tried, tried, tried
And I’ve tried even more
I’ve Cried, Cried, Cried
And I can’t recall what for
I’ve pressed, I’ve pushed, I’ve yelled, I’ve begged
In hope of some success

But the inevitable fact is that
It never will impress

I’ve no more fucks to give,
My fucks have runneth dry,
I’ve tried to go fuck shopping
But there’s no fucks left to buy

I’ve no more fucks to give,
Though more fucks I’ve tried to get,
I’m over my fuck budget and
I’m now in fucking debt

I strive, strive, strive
To get everything done
I’ve played by all the rules
But I’ve very rarely won,
I’ve smiled, I’ve charmed, I’ve wooed
I’ve laughed,
Alas to no avail
I’ve run round like a moron,
To unequivocally fail!

I’ve no more fucks to give,
My fuck fuse has just blown,
I’ve been hunting for my fucks all day,
But they’ve upped and fucked off home,
I’ve no more fucks to give,
My fuck rations are depleted,
I’ve rallied my fuck army but
It’s been fucking defeated!

The effort has just not been worth
The time or the expense
I’ve exhausted all my energy
For minimal recompense
The complete lack of acknowledgement
Has now begun to gall
And I’ve come to realise that I
Don’t give a fuck at all!

I’ve no more fucks to give,
My fucks have flown away,
My fucks are now so fucked off
They’ve refused to fucking stay!
I’ve no more fucks to give,
My fucks have gone insane
They’ve come back round and passed me
While they’re fucking off again!

I’ve no more fucks to give,
My fucks have all dissolved,
I’ve planned many projects
But my fucks won’t be involved!
I’ve no more fucks to give,
My fucks have all been spent,
They’ve fucked off from the building
And I don’t know where they went!

I’ve no more fucks to give,
I’ve no more fucks to give,
I’ve no more fucks,
I’ve no more fucks,
I’ve no more fucks to give!