Coffee heat rising

Humanity…HOW have we survived?

Seriously, how HAS a creature so many of whose representatives seem dumb as posts managed to survive at all? Gawd, but humans are stupid!

Out the door this morning, in an early hour of a hot, sticky morning: doggy-walk time.

Ruby dearly loves to walk around the park. The human dearly hates it.

No doubt Ruby loves it first, because our yard has no grass, so that grass stuff is THE bidness. And second, because the damn place is overrun with dogs, many of them as ill-trained as she is. Whatever her sentiment, a visit to the beloved park means an hour-long Dawg Drag for the human: she hauls me around the park at the end of her lead, jerking here and jerking there.

She arrived here at the Funny Farm just as I was getting both boobs lobbed off at the Mayo. Upshot was, I had neither the strength nor the inclination to leash-train an obstreperous puppy. Upshot of that is: the morning dawg-drag.

This would be OK if other people would keep their dogs more or less under control.

Today, for a change, we didn’t encounter any dogs off the lead over there. The “dogs must be on leash” sign at the entrance is for other people, y’know… But on-leash dawg or off-leash dawg, Ruby wants to lunge at them, yanking me with her.

And today, just barely beginning to recover from the Cough from Hell, I am distinctly NOT in the mood to be jerked around.

I should call a vet and try to get a recommendation for a professional dog trainer. My dearly beloved, now long-retired vet did that for me when I had Anna the German shepherd. The guy he referred me to was a miracle-worker. Seriously: he had that dog under control in two sessions.

Heh! Here’s a new movie series, V, which really does bring up the question of how humanity will survive — the inevitable alien invasion, o’ course. Unreality oozes out of the production room, though, and comes to visit us right here. If it just weren’t so…true to life… 😮 Substitute a virus for the aliens, and you’ve got it.

Speaking of survival — or not: This morning I felt like maybe the agèd body was begin to schuck off the Killer Virus. Now, late in the afternoon, it seems to be thundering back. Dunno about you, though, but in my case whenever I come down with a bug like this, it’s always worst in the late afternoon. It’s 4:30 as we scribble. Can’t sleep — not least because of some moron coming door-to-door trying to hustle up lawn maintenance business. If I hadn’t been busy hammering at Death’s Door, I would have taken him up on that, since Gerardo and the boys have disappeared into the forest.

While hammering, though, I spent half the day driving from pillar to post through Phoenix’s Hellish L.A,-style traffic.

Up to Young Dr. Kildare’s office. They insist I owe them $160, even though I’ve repeatedly tried to pay them. Why my payments don’t go through escapes me. And them, too…apparently.

So I staggered through a covid fog up to his place and insisted on paying the bill in person. This time they took my AMEX card, even though over the phone his staff insists they don’t accept credit-card payments.

Why? Is there some REASON to inflict a mindless hassle like this on your clients? What, really, is the point?

Then it was over to the credit union, to check in person if there was some reason earlier payments didn’t go through. Staff were as mystified as I was.

So now I’ll have to ride herd on that nonsense for a couple of weeks, But…in my covid haze, I’ll be damned if I can get through the online hoop-jumps to access my account. So that means I’ll have to drive back up there again in another ten days or two weeks. Better put that on the calendar, or I’ll forget it.

Hmmm…in other sylvan realms…

Think solar power will be our over-developed planet’s savior? Think again!  We’ve been merrily trashing the Mohave Desert, sucking up its water and blighting its surface.

{sigh}  Y’know, folks…there’s only one solution to the Kill Mother Nature problem: that’s to QUIT MAKING BABIES.

Covid and Our Pets: How scared, really, should we be?

Got a referral to a pool guy who cleans tiles — mine now being encrusted with lime. When he learned that I’ve tested positive for the Dread Disease, he announced that he wouldn’t come anywhere near the place.

This, frankly, seems reasonable, especially if you have a pre-existing condition of one sort or another.

But his moment of terror led me to wonder…how scared, really, should we be of catching Covid from our livestock?

And…can I give Covid to Ruby? Can she give it to me…or to other humans?

Well, the obvious answer is that this is a damned uncomfortable ailment, even in its milder form, which apparently is what I’m enjoying just now. So, yes: it does behoove us to avoid discomfort — of any kind, particularly of the variety that lays you out in bed.


The truth is…it would appear that unless you’re elderly or you have a pre-existing condition, the bug is unlikely to kill you. And it also would appear that yes, contagion between humans and dogs and between dogs and humans is not only possible but fairly common.

Here’s our source:

Anna Csiszar, et al. “Companion animals likely do not spread COVID-19 but may get infected themselves.” 2020 Oct; 42(5): 1229–1236. Published online 2020 Aug 7. doi: 10.1007/s11357-020-00248-3

These authors find that domestic pets, even in First-World countries, are vectors of the disease. However, they regard the risk as rather low: “”Actually, there is no evidence for a single case of pet to human transmission to date.” (Bear in mind the article’s publication date, though.)

More currently, the CDC tells us that

  • The virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals during close contact.
  • The risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is low.
  • Pets can get serious illness from infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, but this is extremely rare.

Hmm… Okay. Even though we’re advised not to let our critters sleep on the bed with us (hah! Good luck with that!!), the chance of a dog or cat catching the bug from us exists but is low; serious Covid illness in your pets is unlikely.



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I can hardly wait…

Welp…in the few minutes that I’ve been sitting here (very few), I don’t see any differences. It all looks the same and works the same.

That doesn’t mean that it won’t change, before we know it, make a great leap forward.

Nice timing, guys! When people are sick as dawgs and can barely think clearly enough to make their way from the bedroom to the bathroom…

Man, covid is grand fun. I haven’t been this sick since I was a very little kid.

As a young child, I was preternaturally susceptible to respiratory infections and to certain meds. If you believe my mother, I spent time in the ICU, and at one point was not expected to live through the night.

This became convenient for me, actually. Come the second grade, when I discovered how deeply I hated school and how VERY much I didn’t want to go there, I learned to take advantage of her fear by claiming to be sick. The “my tummy hurts” maneuver almost invariably got me out of the horrid place. 😀

LOL! This particular ailment, though, is no ruse.

The cough is so violent it tears up your throat as you hack away.


Along about 7 a.m., I dish up a mound of dogfood roll for Ruby, her favorite stuff. Set it down in front of her…and she refuses to eat it!

She’s a corgi, for godsake. Corgis do NOT have picky appetites.

Break open a can of the mushy stuff she likes.

Turns up her nose at that, too.

Oh GOD!  Can dogs get the dread disease?????


Yes. Holy shee-ut!

  • The virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals during close contact.
  • The risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is low.
  • Pets can get serious illness from infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, but this is extremely rare.

At the rate I’ve been going lately, “extremely rare” is another way of saying “commonplace.” She sleeps on the bed with me, so “close contact” I guess is included in that.

Ohhh gawd! Now I’ll have to get on the phone to the vet the instant the clock hits 9 a.m. And make a 30-minute drive to his office when I feel like a limp rag. And of course he won’t let me in the building, since I’m shedding viruses like sawdust.

…hmmmm…  She’s in the kitchen now…think she’s eating, but am not barging in there to disturb her. But…this reluctance to eat is NOT normal.

In other precincts…

Wanna live in Phoenix? Here’s a garden spot for you.

It’s at least 50 or 60 years old. Bordered by two of the noisiest streets in the city. Devoid of landscaping. All spiffed up on the inside, in the latest shades of prison-gray paint. A hot plate for a stove.

They want half a million bucks for it!

For the luvva gawd, that is just INSANE. And we’re told real estate prices are coming down!

Nope. Dawg was not eating.

ooohhh gawd…now as soon as the clock hits 9:00, I’ll have to start getting through to the vet.


Day from Hell…on Steroids!

HOLY mackerel, what a day!!!

Along about late morning, I started enjoying some breathing and coughing problems. COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGHETY COUGH COUGH!

Pretty much a dry cough — not hacking anything up. Well, actually, once or twice during the night I practically strangled. But…WTF? The coughing wouldn’t stop.

Nothing I tried beat it back one bit.

I’m thinking this does not look good. COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGHETY COUGH COUGH!

Eventually I come to light long enough to take my temperature: 101 degrees.

Holy shit.

My normal temp is around 98.2.

I’ve already been charging from pillar to post out there in the heat. The last thing I wanna do is traipse to a doctor. Way to hell and gone up in North Scottsdale!

Try the mercury thermometer. It’s off the scale: over 106.

Oh, sher…

RE-try the electronic thermometer: 100.8.

Prob’ly not very drastic, after all the crap I’ve been through this afternoon.

Call the Mayo. Nurse Kim gets all anxious. She wants me to drive right out there, or else call an ambulance and have them cart me up there.

a) I do not want to drive halfway to Fountain Hills to get to the nearest Mayo facility.
b) There’s no way in Hell I’m going to our nearest full service hospital and ER: John C. Lincoln, the home of the careless and the incompetent.
c) Nor am I trudging downtown to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where I’ve had a truly hair-raising experience.
d) I suspect these wacky swings represent…well…Looney Toons.

So we decide I should go to a nearby pharmacy or the neighborhood Urgent Care Clinic, which is right down by the Albertson’s. She wants me to get tested for covid-19.

Albertson’s has an excellent pharmacy, and straight across the street, Walgreen’s has one very similar to it. If it weren’t 96 degrees out there just this minute — at 7:20 p.m. — I could walk down there. In mid-afternoon, Wunderground suggests, the high was a balmy 99 degrees, with 19% humidity.

Garden spot.

No, Albertson’s pharmacy does not have covid tests. No, Walgreen’s does not have covid tests.

So I go to the Urgent Care Center next door to the Albertson’s. That fine institution has six people sitting in the waiting room. And outside, the most horrifying, pathetic bum…the poor guy is collapsed on the pavement, in the shade of the pony wall that separates the parking lot from the sidewalk.

Even if I had any cash — which I didn’t — I don’t give handouts to panhandlers. Many of these folks are dangerous, when they’re not making pests of themselves.

Inside the “Urgent” (yeah…) Care place, I wait and I wait and I wait and I wait and I wait and I wait and I wait and I wait, along with all the other “patients” (got that right) who are waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting.

Finally I think oh fukkit! Get up, walk out, drive back home. Gasping for air.

Call the Mayo. They try to get me to drive out there. I bang around trying to manage that…but finally think, once again, oh fukkit!

I just. can. not. bring. myself. to. drive, a half-hour or forty minutes. and then get to a place where I have in the past waited HOURS for care.

If I die, I die. Kulawahed!

Right now the mercury thermometer won’t let me shake it down below 99 degrees. Screw it. The battery thermometer reads 100.8.

So presumably I have a low fever. Or I’m fricaseed in the heat.

Here’s what I’m gonna do:

First, I’m going to set up the steamer to blast

I’m a-gonna traipse into the backyard and take a dip in that cool but not at all cold swimming pool.

Well. Maybe not. Now that the steamer is put together, I feel a little cooler. The headache could go, though….

Reset the electronic thermometer. FRANTIC beee-eee-eep beee-eee-eep beee-eee-eep!!!!!!!


Now it claims I have a temp of 101.1!!!

Make up your mind, ya damn thing!

WhatEVER: my mind is made up: throw on some clothes and head for the Mayo. DAYUM!


So…here I am, in the Mayo’s shiny, majestic new ER. Quite a place!  The computer’s iOs (or the surrounding architecture??) is not letting me save much to disk, or save copy written in Word or MacMail. My son is in the middle of a dinner party…offered to drive me out here, but that was not necessary.

How could I do without this little horror show? Let me count the ways…

I hate hospitals, to begin with.

Especially, I’m not fond of ERs, which are scary places…IMHO.

A little kid is back there being tortured: screaming her sweet head off.

My head hurts like hell, speaking of heads.

I need to go to the bathroom, but am afraid they’ll ask me to pee in a cup so I’d better not get rid of the present collection.


LOL! We’re now all pee’d out, X-rayed with a vengeance, ridden around in a chariot all over the new and old parts of the ER. Zowie! They’re still threatening to drain blood out of me with a damn needle: THE part of this sorta thing that I hate the most. But ohhh well.

This is a nasty li’l cough. I’m as sure as I’m sitting here that it’s GOTTA be a case of covid.

COULD be an ordinary cold, o’course. One could keep on hoping. BUT…I don’t get a fever with an ordinary cold. And rarely get a fever with the flu. So I think it’s pretty safe to guess that whatever ails me begins with a “c” and ends with a “d.”

My computer isn’t working right in here. Though I’m in Funny’s post-building function and it seems to be working…nothing else is functioning. This post is up and the system is letting me type in it, but other pages are nonfunctional. So it remains to be seen whether any of this copy ends up on the Web.

Lordie!!! All these professional folks with tattoos! About every second or third staff member is covered in skin artwork!

Heh… My mother would have been SO abhorred!!!! She thought tattoos were low-class even on men. And on women? Well! It just wasn’t done!

Another thing that would have sent my mother into a spiraling tizzy is the price of gas!

It’s well over $5 a gallon here. Yesterday I did manage to fill up at a QT: a bargain $4.99!

Back in the Dark Ages — this would have been in the late 1960s or early 70s, I think — my mother once remarked, reflecting on the State of the World, That when gasoline reached a dollar a gallon, we would have soooooo-shal-ism!!!

My parent were right-wingers, Goldwater types. My father: even more extreme than that. I recall him sitting me down one day to lecture me about the virtues of bigotry. He was, as you might imagine, an extreme bigot: anyone who wasn’t white like him was less than fully human. Not only white, but American of English and German extraction.

Ironically, though…as we’ve mentioned elsewhere in these precincts, he was a quarter Choctaw.

Soooo….how it came to be that he hated anyone who wasn’t lily-white is a great mystery.

Cultural thing, I expect. It was probably just the way people who lived in rural Texas were.


It’s almost midnight. I think they’re going to spring me out of here pretty quick. One of the staff was in here collecting my insurance information.


A-N-N-N-D…I was right. The disease of the day IS Covid 19.

Holeee sheeut!

Online! It’s a miracle…

Been offline for a few days, thanks to some kind of screwy computer thing. Noooo idea what it was.  A Best Buy tech came over the afternoon and banged around and banged around —  very rushed, obviously running late and overworked. He seems to have gotten the thing working again. We’ll find out soon enough.

Meanwhile, the Human crashed, too: fell into the sack around 7 p.m., a ridiculously early hour. But I was sooooo tired I just couldn’t stay awake another minute after we got back from the evening doggy-walk.

Come 8:30, the Human is awakened by a familiar melody: urp urp urp urp urp a-a-a-a-a-a-c-k!

The chorus: Ohhh godDAMMIT!!!!!!!!!

Dog barfs all over the bed.

Fortunately, the Human has smartened up a little bit over the years: to keep the dog hair off the bedding, we lay a splendidly washable knock-off serape over the quilt. Exactly like this one, as a matter of fact. We have several of them, in various gaudy patterns…and the one Ruby defiled a few minutes ago is now running through the washer. Mwa ha ha!

The hour is still ridiculously early as we scribble: 8:47 p.m.

My belly feels like there’s a rock in it, speaking of bilious bellies.

Kulawahed, though. It looks like the MacBook is back online. At least it seems to be downloading the email. We’ll find out when we go to upload this post.

Come dawn, I’ve got to pay American Express…at least I think so. A $5500 bill came wafting in (!!!). Was going to have WonderAccountant help figure out what caused that, but at this point I just can NOT deal with any more conundrums. My plan is to pay it and then just not charge ANYTHING for the next couple of months.


We’ll see how THAT goes, eh?

So much paper has piled up on the tables, though, it’ll be a God’s Miracle if I can find the damn bill. But I’ll deal with that tomorrow.

Meanwhile, cruising the national and local gnus…

CAN you believe Americans voted this ogre into the effing White House? One who thinks he has a right to insult and cuss out everyone around him?

Welp. We’ve failed to educate our people, and this is what we get for our non-efforts: grown men and women who don’t know any better. My apologies if you’re one of those who was suckered into voting for the guy…but the truth is, THAT thing is not now and never was Presidential material.

Then we have the lovely local gnus: I was up in this area just a few days ago, very likely as this woman was being murdered. The cops claim to have caught the perp…but how that could be possible escapes one.

Hiking around the local mountain parks — a popular activity among the fit set — is riskier than it looks. Not only because you can slip and fall, requiring the cops to come extricate you with a helicopter, but because of this sort of thing. A surprising number of creeps are crawling around out there. I was hiking on a trail near North Mountain, when I noticed some guy following me by a couple hundred yards. When I tried to dodge him, he followed. Managed to hop down into a little arroyo where the trail curved around a little hill. Slipped off my bright blue back back, tossed it in a ditch, and hunkered down on top of it, hiding under a creosote bush.

Sure enough, along he came. I could see him stop and peer all over the area, searching for me. After about ten minutes of eyeballing the landscape, he turned around and headed back in the direction he came.

Thank God!

I don’t go out there alone anymore. And no, little Cassie is not enough dog to negate the “alone” definition: in the Dog Department, you’ve got to have something the size of a German shepherd. Best not something that looks like a lovable golden retriever, either.

Ugh! The 21st Century…what a time we live in! What a place we live in!

Speaking of the which, it looks like the city is going to try to spiff up the defunct Metrocenter Mall, once the largest shopping center in the land. It’s abandoned now.

Heh heh…good luck with that, folks…

With its acre on acre on acre of (now empty) parking lots, it will be a major stopping place for the new lightrail system: one end of the line, at least for awhile.

This, we can only hope, will carry the bums on out of our neighborhood, dropping them in someone else’s lap.

Just now the end of the line for the damn lightrail is right here at the top of the ‘Hood, about four blocks north of the Funny Farm. The bums ride for free — no tickets are required to get into a car, so all you have to do is step into a car and then, if you see a cop getting on at a stop (there are no conductors — clever, eh?), hop off before he can ask to see a ticket. Then just hop back on the next train that comes along.

So the ‘Hood is overrun with drug-addicted derelicts, just deee-lightful. Another good reason to carry a pistol when you go out. 😉

Seriously: that’s why I wouldn’t even think of walking to the nearby grocery stores or Walgreen’s. You’d be nuts to do that.

Anyway, if the accursed lightrail carries the bums, the pickpockets, and the rapists all the way up to Metrocenter, our neighborhood may get a little safer. Maybe.

Dog Back; Human Unraveled

Whew! WHAT a Day from Hell!

If you’re ever (un)fortunate enough to land in (un)lovely Phoenix, remember this survival tip: never, EVER drive around this exquisite city in the rush hour. And bear in mind that evening rush hour extends from about 3 p.m. to something after 6 p.m. Morning? Make it 7 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. At least.

Y’know, I hated living in Southern California: crowded, crass, ego-driven, ticky-tacky junky dumps every which way you turned. Shopping was annoying, time-wasting, and often fruitless. People were so focused on themselves they didn’t even notice the other humans around them. Driving was a horrid, hectic, miserable hassle. Neighborhoods were bland, faceless grody collections of ticky-tacky apartments and cheaply built houses.

Chez Pitz.

Welp. Gotta say: I feel approximately the same about this place. The only difference between Phoenix and unlovely Long Beach is that Phoenix gets one helluva lot hotter in the summertime. In all other respects, the two garden spots echo each other when it comes to the…uhm…graces of living. Dump A and Dump B: one smeared up and down the Pacific Coast, the other oozing across the Sonoran Desert.

Started out the day perusing real estate online, briefly. Just in the past few months, housing prices have exploded.

We have, for example, this garden spot. The place is smaller than my house. Jammed closer to the neighbors. And when you come down to it, situated in a neighborhood that’s about the same as mine in terms of quality, economics, social class, and crime rates. The thing is on the market for a good $200,000 more than my place is worth (Zillow claims my house is worth $540,500…and here I thought I paid way too much at 235 grand…). That would be because it’s located in darkest Arcadia, rather than on the top end of North Central. It’s been on the market for two hundred and sixteen days and still hasn’t sold.

That, I would offer, suggests the asking price is WAY too high.

First thing this morning it was off to the vet’s, there to get her smelly teeth worked on. The vet is way to Hell & Gone over in the Arcadia Lite district, a good 30-minute drive under the best of conditions. Make it 40 to 50 minutes in the accursed rush hour.

Leave the poor terrorized little dog there. Traipse back home, still navigating the horrific morning rush-hour traffic, and mope around all day in the absence of my furry friend. Worry, worry, and worry some more about a) the state of the pooch’s health and b) the staggering amount I figure Dr. Bracken is going to charge for yanking rotten teeth and scraping the rest of them clean, presumably under full anaesthetic.

Back at the Funny Farm, wrestle with the finances, wrestle with the busted garage door, wrestle with the pool, fart around fart around fart around fart around. Study real estate ads, thinking…really…I do need to get away from the accursed Tony situation. Calculate how I could buy a new house without cluing the bastard to where I’ve moved. Not difficult, really. 😉

Waste an inordinate amount of time on these and similar ventures.

Along about mid-day, call — yes, I can come get the dog.

Back into the traffic, this time plugging into the early afternoon rush hour (wherever you need to turn left, you can’t!). Drive and drive and drive and drive and…and…huh?

OVERSHOOT the street where the vet’s office resides.


Now I’m LOST in darkest Arcadia.

Drive around drive around drive around drive around…can NOT FIND HIS STREET!

Pull into a parking lot, walk into a business, and ask them if they know where Meadowbrook (his street) is. They do not. They pull out a cell phone, look it up, and decide I prob’ly passed it some blocks to the north. This: puzzling, since their phone seems to be showing the map in an east-west layout.

Drive around drive around drive around drive around…STILL cannot find his street!

This is weird, because I’ve been going to this vet for a good 20 years (with a hiatus or three) and yes, I DO know where Meadowbrook Drive is.

Go into another shop. This place is close enough that the clerk can say…oh, yeah: it’s three streets up that way.

Drive around drive around…FINALLY find the vet’s place.

All this driving around is happening as the afternoon oozes on and the traffic thickens. And thickens. And thickens.

Retrieve the little dog. Staff tells me not to feed her and not to let her drink too much water.

Right. Don’t know much about corgis, do ya?

Amazingly, though…unlike the avaricious vet here in our part of town, the one who proposed to extract several of Ruby’s teeth, to the tune of something over a thousand bucks, Dr. Bracken has not yanked out even ONE of Ruby’s fangs…all of which are now shiny and white.

Drive and drive and drive and drive and drive, the better part of 45 minutes: through heavier and heavier traffic, dodging up side routes I happen to know about, admiring the very expensive and fancy real estate in Paradise Valley (is there any way I could afford one of these palaces?), scrabbling past a couple of chronically congested intersections…at last, make it into the ‘Hood.

Get the dog out of the car. She is PARCHED. Let her drink some water but try to keep her from drowning in it. Not an easy task.

Refrain from feeding the dog. Piss off the dog.

Reheat some left-over grocery-store pasta…bolt that down. Yech. Why DO Americans eat this stuff?

Reflect on how horrible Southern California was as a place to live in the late 1950s, early 1960s. Reflect on how much lovely Phoenix has come to resemble that scene. Want to go someplace else.

Anywhere else.