|THE ATM, TOM (left) MATT (right) AND ANDREW.|
In some cases, my memory failed because the episodes that I had built-up in my mind as classic were less than clever, dull or stupid. A perfect example of this failure was Popeye’s 1942, “SCRAP THE JAPS.”
|THIS PROPAGANDA-FILLED CARTOON WAS PRODUCED WHILE THE BOMBING OF PEARL HARBOR WAS STILL RAW. BY TODAY'S STANDARDS, THE DEPICTION OF THE JAPANESE AND ASIANS IN GENERAL IS SO INSENSITIVE THAT THE EPISODE WAS BANNED.|
Some of the cartoons that are still special to me include; Daffy Duck dreaming that he's Duck Twacy in 1946's, “THE GREAT PIGGY BANK ROBBERY.” While competing with Sherlock Holmes for detective turf, Daffy runs afowl of such grotesque criminals as; Neon Noodle, Pumpkin Head, Pickle Puss, Eighty-Eight Teeth and Hammer Head.
|AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, I STILL GO CRAZY FOR THIS TOON, ESPECIALLY WHEN RUBBER HEAD (HE LOOKS LIKE A PENCIL WITH AN ERASER FOR A FACE), SAYS, "I'M GONNA RUB YUH OUT..."|
In 1942, Daffy gets second billing under, “CONRAD THE SAILOR.” The screwball antics are still funny but, "THE SONG OF THE MARINES” (aka, "SHOVIN' RIGHT OFF AGAIN)," sung throughout, takes me back to happy place in my heart. And now that I heard it for the frst time in twenty plus years, I'm proud to say, I can't get the song out of my mind.
|UNDER ALL THAT THEATRICAL MAKE-UP, CONRAD (right) IS APPARENTLY A CAT. AN INTERESTING BIT OF TRIVIA, MEL BLANC OF COURSE VOICED DAFFY. BUT A GENTLEMAN NAMED PINTO COLVIG SPOKE FOR CONRAD. AND COLVIG (using the same voice) WAS DISNEY'S ORIGINAL GOOFY.|
The cartoon I wanted to see again the most was 1945’s, “FRESH AIREDALE.” I especially loved the nightmare sequence and the repetition of the line, “Number-One dog.” I liked it so much that in the past three decades since I saw it, I bet I’ve thought about that phrase or made reference to it hundreds of times, (Unfortunately, I didn't hear it today either because I didn't want to fork-out the cash).
All this Number-One Dog talk started me thinking. To my surprise, I have Roxy, a worthy candidate for the World’s Best Dog Award, living at my house.
|ROXY DOESN'T LIKE BIRTHDAYS ANYMORE. BUT DUE TO HER VANITY, SHE RARELY TURNS DOWN A PHOTO-OP.|
On a few occasions when I thought I was protecting her, she was indeed protecting me.
Once a small wren flew into our kitchen. While I panicked, Roxy waited for the right moment. On her first jump, my girl caught the flying varmint in her mouth. I scurried outside. My pooch followed, opened her mouth and the bird flew away. The potential disaster was solved in less than a minute.
Another golden moment came during a walk around the corner. The owner of a vicious monstrosity accidentally let their goliath dog (Jasper) out…unleashed. This canine whale charged at my doggie. Roxy’s could have been swallowed whole but she stood her ground. She raised her hackles and growled the blood-sucking behemoth into a stalemate, just long enough until Jasper's owner (a beast herself) corralled this Clydesdale of dogs.
|ROXY IS A LOVER NOT A FIGHTER. TO PROVE IT, LAST VALENTINE'S DAY (2-14-2013) SHE INSISTSED ON THIS HEART-SHAPED POSE TO SEND OUT TO ALL HER FRIENDS.|
My most memorable Roxy moment was when I heard her give-out an unfamiliar, continual, blood-curdling bark. I thought I knew every bark in her arsenal but this wasn’t the one reserved for an intruder on the lawn, a strange car out front, the meter reader, a flock of Jehovah Witnesses or the Fuller Brush Man….plus she was in our Florida Room, staring out back.
|THIS PHOTO'S PROSPECTIVE IS PRETTY ACCURATE EXCEPT THE SEASON ISN'T RIGHT, ROXY IS FACED THE WRONG WAY...AND SHE ISN'T BARKING HER HEAD OFF.|
It was March so the leaves from the barren trees had already been raked and disposed of. The only hiding spot I couldn’t see was the tiny sliver of space behind the shed, (see photo above). I was satisfied that Big Foot, a hippopotamus or a T-Rex hadn’t invaded my property. I was buried..as my puppy continued to bark, yelp and squeal in terror.
I got on one knee to see if I was overlooking something. But to my surprise (shock), I was “under-looking.” Because from her lower vantage point, all I could do was look up. And there it was, high up in the tree behind my shed, (about a hundred feet away), a hawk.
This menacing bastard was so huge that it looked like it was on a steady diet of steroids and an avian version of human growth hormones. If its girth wasn’t intimidating enough when it flapped its wings, it looked like it had eaten a handful of amphetamines and washed it down with a can of Red Bull.
I stood up in awe. Together with Roxy we admired this king of the Galloway skies. Suddenly, the great brown bird took off. It swooped down, soared under the canopy of trees and zoomed like a Kamikaze directly at me and my dog. To underscore the threat, while within the safety of our Plexiglas-walled addition, I flinched from this strafing. I was still breathing heavy as, at the last terrifying second, the hawk pulled up and presumably flew over my house.
Those examples alone should have won Roxy the Number-One Dog Award. But she has far more to offer. One of my great joys was watching her chase squirrels in the backyard. I pity the fool rodent that she catches because despite all her love, there are nine-years of frustration behind all those fruitless chases.
|MR. T WAS BORN IN 1952 AS LAURENCE TUREAUD. IN HIS ROLE AS CLUBBER LANG, HE MADE THE CATCHPHRASE, "I PITY THE FOOL," POPULAR IN THE 1982 MOVIE, "ROCKY III."|
In the past, one of the treats I liked to give Roxy was an occasional Sunday romp through the fenced-in ball fields, at the local middle school. Free from the restraints of our nice-sized backyard, it's a thing of beauty to watch Roxy run this colossal open range.
About five years ago, on a frosty January day, this privilege suddenly ended, (as did her Number-One Dog status) when my little genius rolled in another dog’s droppings, (thank goodness she wasn't with us on Fifth Avenue).
My wife Sue wasn’t around to share in my delight. So without the luxury of my outdoor hose, I had to drag my newly nicknamed Muttzilla into her least favorite place in the world, the tub. It was like a WWF caged fight to the death, until I washed the pudding-like
|THIS ESCAPADE ALSO COST MUTTZILLA IN HER MOST VULNERABLE SPOT, NO SITTING WITH US AT THE DINNER TABLE...FOR ONE YEAR!|
Last week, in the heart of the holiday season, this whole Number-One Dog Award concept resurfaced. I felt sorry that I punished Roxy, by taking away her freedom to run, (as well as my great joy in watching her).
|ROXY IS A FOUR-LEGGED, GOOD CHEER MACHINE. WHO CAN SAY NO TO THIS FACE?|
So it was my aim to reward her loyalty, friendship and sweet, lovable nature...and hook her up today, with a fun-run at the middle school.
But alas, I woke yesterday morning to the tragic news that in the sanctity of our backyard, Muttzilla's intellect short-circuited, causing her to roll in her own fecal matter. Sue alone had the displeasure of tourturing the dog and herself as she hauled the former Number-One Dog hopeful into the dungeon-like tub, (Sue took an unscheduled shower afterwards too).
It doesn't matter if you call my dog, Roxy, Muttzilla or Little Lady Frauntleroy. And it also doesn't matter if she isn't the best dog in the world or even the country...she'll always be the Number-One Dog at my house. But the next time she rolls in poop, I say it's her brother's turn to wash it off...thus giving him and his college buddies fodder for, a Least Favorite Activity list.
|LIKE A NORMAN ROCKWELL PAINTING, NOTHING IS MORE HEART-WARMING THAN THE LOVE BETWEEN A BOY AND HIS DOG.|
In the mean time Andrew me boy, get ready to take an unscheduled shower.