Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Guess who’s got two thumbs, a chest infection, and a doctor’s note advising him to stay at home for the rest of the week? This guy. Guess who’s also got a bunch of home-based celebrations to keep him busy? Same guy. Guess who really has to take a leak? That’d be Liberty, our new puppy. Every five damn minutes. At least she’s letting me know in advance. But enough about that. This was yesterday’s party:

National Tortilla Chip Day

There’s nothing like a warm bowl of homemade tortilla chips, dunked into a chunky, spicy, also-homemade fresh tomato salsa. Unfortunately, all we had on hand yesterday was a bag of Tostitos and some Pace salsa out of the jar. I’m going to be honest: I’m sick of Pace salsa. We’ve bought the stuff for decades, and literally every time I’ve had salsa elsewhere I’ve enjoyed it more. I’d be happy if I never tasted the stuff again.

But yesterday was not National Salsa Day – in fact there isn’t one. There’s National Salsa Month in May though.

No, yesterday was all about the chip. The flavour of a proper tortilla chip should be enough to stir the senses on its own. Think of a drum and bass groove so thick it almost falls over into its own pocket. That’s the tortilla chip. The salsa bursts in with its flashy brass spice and its tomato-y waka-chika guitar and its fresh-frantic peppery keys, but every so often you’ve got to drop the extras and let that rhythm section take control. It’s too bad our snack yesterday was a tinny 80s Casio drum machine topped with bland, repetitive chords. But in tasting mediocrity we celebrated the heights we knew we should strive for.

The legend of tortilla chip origin only goes back to the 1940s, when Rebecca Webb Carranza from LA cut up some misshapen tortillas into triangles, fried them up and sold them as a snack. From there, an industry was born and a celebration was planted into the calendar.

Dog Training Education Month

As English bulldog owners for the past 16 years, we have had very little experience in dog training. Bulldogs are known for being obstinate and stubborn, and remarkably difficult to train. With all our previous pooches we achieved house-training (mostly), and the ability to sit on command, but that was it. Yoko – our smartest bulldog – also achieved a slight wave on command too, like a half-assed paw shake.

But now we have entered the world of golden retrieverdom. These are the dogs who – according to some Youtube videos I’ve seen – can be trained to open a fridge, retrieve a beer, close the fridge and deliver that beer to the slothy human on the couch. This is the dream: a dog who can learn. As such, Liberty attended her first puppy kindergarten class last night.

Dog training is a big task for human and dog alike, and also a terrific bonding experience. I recall learning this from our first bulldog, Rufus. He and I went to training together, and while we were kicked out of the class because Rufus refused to not pee on the pylon every time he walked past it, he and I also grew closer as a result of that class and the off-class training time. Liberty was taken by Jodie last night, given that I’m not fit for human contact at the moment. She (Liberty) was a star pupil, and showed a lot of promise for the future. I don’t need a dog to bring me a beer; I just want one who will come when she’s called. That said, if we can teach her how to roll a joint, I won’t complain.

If you’re in the area and looking for a great school, the classes run out of the Doghouse Daycare on the southside are top-notch.

National Self-Check Month

Look, we don’t need to get into all the gritty details, but we all know the dangers of not keeping up on one’s health. Check your man-parts, your lady-parts, and your everyone’s-got-em-parts for lumps, lesions, discharge, and anything out of the ordinary. If something seems a little outside the ordinary, get it checked out. We’ve got great health care in this country (apologies to our American readers), so make use of it and keep yourself in top shape.

Beyond that, you need to follow up on that check. If the doctor says yes, something needs to be biopsied or x-rayed or tested through some extracted bodily fluid, just do it. This isn’t the weird clunking noise in your car that will mysteriously go away by itself or can be ignored by cranking up the music. Also, I’m terrible with car maintenance, but that’s for some other celebration.

If you don’t know how to properly check yourself, there’s an internet out there with plenty of instructional videos. This goes for guys too. In 6th grade sex ed I remember they showed us a video of an extremely hairy man checking his own nut-sack in the shower. It was shocking, disturbing, and derailed us 11-year-olds into terrified laughter. A simple animation or diagram would have been much better. And there are lots of those online now – if you want to see a bunch of man-fingers kneading a pube-heavy scrotum, there are other websites for that.

The point is, check yourself out. Be healthy. And talk to your kids about it. Just don’t show them that video.

Today Jodie is at work until 11:00, so we’ll be partying on our own for the most part.

  • Fat Tuesday. Pancakes for breakfast! We’ve already done this one, and it was worth getting up at 6:30am for pancakes on a day when I was not leaving the house.
  • National Clam Chowder Day. Jodie will be grabbing some of this for dinner tonight.
  • National Chocolate Covered Nut Day. We’ve got some for snacking.

It’s also the 35th birthday of Tears for Fears’ Songs From the Big Chair, so let it all out!

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