When I first met the future Mrs. Milo, I had long hair, a shaggy beard, an attitude problem and unresolved mental issues. I was chronically unemployed, belligerent, had poor dietary habits, questionable hygiene, a gambling problem, abused alcohol, tobacco and drugs, and regularly entertained impure thoughts.
Getting married changed my life. It made a new man out of me. Since entering into the hallowed institution, I have shaved off my beard and gotten a haircut.
I’m still working on the other stuff.
Marriage is wonderful, but it’s not for everyone. Some people (and I’m referring to males of the species) are incapable of withstanding the rigors of marriage.
There are men who are so set in their doggish ways, so unwilling to compromise even the slightest bit of their independence, or answer to anyone for their behavior, that matrimony is simply not an option for them. They live by their own rules and schedules, and answer only to their own consciences.
I have a dear friend, who I’ll call Bruce Diksas, to spare him undue embarrassment, who has never married and doesn’t plan to get married anytime soon. He lives on his own terms, enjoying a rigorous lifestyle that most wives wouldn’t tolerate. I once asked Bruce if he had ever considered getting married.
“I almost asked Martha to marry me.”
“I remember her. You two were together for a couple of years. What happened?”
“It was just one of those things. I was getting ready to have my usual breakfast. I rolled a joint, popped a beer and got the cold pizza out of the fridge, when Martha said, ‘Are you sure you wouldn’t care for some granola and skim milk?’”
“I couldn’t believe she said that to me.”
“Swear to God, just when you think you know somebody…”
While there are lots of men who have never gone to the trouble of getting married, there are many others who are plainly unsuitable for matrimony, yet they keep getting married, over and over again. They are as unfit for marriage as any boozing, drug-abusing, whore mongering career bachelor, but that doesn’t stop them from marching down the aisle whenever they can convince some foolish woman to join them in wedded bliss.
I asked a friend, an old hell raiser named Rodney, who had been married four or five times, why he didn’t just give up on marriage and live in sin, or make some other satisfactory arrangements. Why, I wondered, did he insist on being married when he was obviously so bad at it.
“I’m Catholic. I was schooled by nuns. I’ve got a lot of guilt in me. I don’t want to add to my bad karma by living in sin.”
“That’s a bullshit excuse. Catholics aren’t supposed to get divorced, either.”
“Heh, heh, I’ve given that a lot of thought. There’s a very fine line there. You see, technically, I never divorced any of my wives. They divorced me. So, I figure that gives me some wiggle room.”
Ah, well, I guess people get married for all sorts of reasons. They marry for love and for money. Some marry because they want to and others marry because they have to. Some marriages are arranged and some are deranged. Some unions last forever and some are doomed from the start. I suppose the great thing about being married is that if things don’t work out, you can always try again.
There are not many situations in life where people get second or even third chances. The institution of marriage, however, comes with a lifetime supply of mulligans.
I was having a few drinks and discussing the subject the other day with a guy named Phil, who is a commodities trader and a ladies’ man with a string of ex-wives in his wake.
“So, why did you marry your first wife?” I asked.
“She had great tits.”
“What about the second wife?”
“She had a fantastic ass.”
“And the third wife?”
I suppose that’s as good a reason as any to get married.
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For the last few days, I’ve been watching clips of Noam Chomsky on youtube–an odd obsession I get into at least once a year.
Chomsky’s the 80-something-year-old genius, who probably knows more about everything than anyone else in the world.
He’s an unapologetic leftist, unafraid to criticize U.S. foreign and domestic policies and, as such, is reviled by many people to the right of Bernie Sanders.
As smart as he is, he’s not pedantic or arrogant or condescending. He has a way of flawlessly explaining the most complex of ideas in a way that makes you feel smart, even if you’re not exactly sure what he’s getting at.
He also speaks in soft-spoken, generally unemotional monotone that can put you in a trance.
As you can tell, I’m a big fan, even if I disagree with what I think he’s saying. My guess is that many people would find him unimaginably boring.
Or exasperating, especially if he’s pointing out the inconsistencies of the assumptions that underline the way they look at the world.
William F. Buckley once got so frustrated with Chomsky that he threatened to punch him in the nose. This was back in the 1960s when they were debating U.S. foreign policy.
Chomsky never even raised his voice.
My current burst of Chomsky watching began with a documentary called Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?
Basically a long interview with Chomsky on the subject of linguistics, it’s made by Michel Gondry, who speaks English with a heavy French accent. So it’s sort of like listening to Chomsky being interviewed by Inspector Clouseau.
Though I should point out that Gondry’s English is a hell of a lot better that my French.
Sometimes it’s hard to understand what Gondry is saying and other times it’s hard to comprehend what Chomsky’s getting at. Think of it as watching a 90-minute conversation between two men who are hard to understand.
I liked it so much that I watched it twice.
The title comes from the linguistic puzzle having to do with the sentence: ”The man who is happy is tall.”
As Chomsky notes, if you switch “is” to the front of the sentence, a declaration becomes a question. And we get: “Is the man who is tall happy?”
But the “is” that gets switched is the “is” that’s farthest from the start of the sentence. In that regard, it’s an illogical choice since it would seem more logical to move the ”is” that’s closer to the start of the sentence. In which case, the sentence would be: “Is the man who happy is tall?”
Which is gibberish. Somehow our minds were genetically coded to figure out that it makes more sense to do the illogical thing.
I’m exhausted from having explained that. Just think–Chomsky explains things like this all the time.
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Rolando: Crazy Kid
AUGUST 1ST, 2015
I was a bizarre kid with a lot of weird ideas when I was growing up. And lately for some odd reason, I’ve been revisiting a lot of memories from my childhood and having a good laugh in the process.
I mean, the crazy shit that I used to think up. Most of it was based almost entirely on my own imagination, some of it was based on observations my young mind would make, but almost all of it–now that I look back as an adult–was hilarious.
Take, for example, my take on some of the differences between white folks and brown folks. I can remember clearly, at the age of seven or eight, believing that white people did not feel cold the same way brown people felt it.
I was convinced that white people didn’t feel cold on their legs or arms.
How did I come to this conclusion? Well, it was simple, really. We’d be in my dad’s car, driving down the street, and I’d see a white person, jogging, with shorts, a t-shirt and gloves and a skull cap on. In the middle of winter. Just bare arms and bare legs.
I saw this repeatedly. So I formed an opinion: White people’s arms and legs don’t get cold.
Or take for example my belief that, as a young, nine-year-old little league baseball player, if I were transported back to the twenties or thirties, I would be as good, if not better than the pro ball players of that era.
The Babe and all those old timers? I’d show them how to knock it out of the park. I’d run faster, hit harder, throw missiles from any position on the field–they’d have to rewrite the history books about this young Puerto Rican kid phenom who was killing the league.
How would I be able to do these things at the tender age of nine? Well clearly (in my mind) the human body had progressed so much in the intervening six or so decades, that a nine-year-old in the early nineties, was much stronger and a more capable athlete than someone from the twenties or thirties.
If only I could’ve gotten a fully-functioning time machine. I would’ve been a star.
The funny thing about all this is that I don’t remember at what age I stop believing these things or what it was that finally made me understand that things didn’t quite work that way.
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Mr. Randolph’s on the road in Argentina. While he’s away, enjoy some of his greatest hits…
Up to no good in Uptown…
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Heading south to Greektown, when my youngest daughter breaks the news….
“You have bad breath,” she tells me.
Not sure what prompted her to drop the bombshell at this particular time. No matter, I must deal with it.
“Is this true?” I ask my wife.
“Not always,” she says.
Well, that’s hardly reassuring.
“Did you plan this?” I ask.
“Huh?” asks my daughter.
“Is this an intervention?”
“Oh, my God — you planned to have a family intervention to tell me I have bad breath.”
“We did not plan a family intervention,” says my wife.
“Don’t be defensive,” says my daughter.
“I’m not defensive,” I say.
“Yes, you are,” says my daughter.
“No, I’m not.”
“Just bring a mint with you….”
“Yeah, you used to carry mints with you,” says my wife. “Why did you stop doing that?”
Then they worry that they’ve gone too far. So they start telling me what a great guy I am. As in — great guy, despite the bad breath.
“Do I have bad breath all the time?” I ask.
“No, just once in awhile,” says my daughter.
I have this flash. Have I had bad breath in public places where it could come back to haunt me?
“When was the last time I had bad breath?” I ask.
“I can’t remember,” says my wife.
“Yes, you can,” I say.
“Okay — when we saw Flight.”
That’s the movie in which Denzel Washington plays this super cool airplane pilot who has lots of problems — excessive drinking, drug taking, womanizing — but not bad breath.
“But you didn’t tell me,” I say.
“I don’t always tell you.”
“You mean — you let me walk around with bad breath!”
It hits me that I’ve probably had bad breath while standing in front of people I was trying to impress only they didn’t tell me cause it wasn’t the politically correct thing to do.
I recall sitting next to a friend — Michelle — in a gym and she handed me a Tic Tac that she happened to have in her pocket. Obviously, she was sending me a subtle message. How could I not see it at the time?
Fast forward several hours….
I’m lying on the couch reading a book. The dog comes by. Sniffs in my general direction and then lays down besides me.
Suddenly, I’m aware of a horrendous odor. I check my shoes to see if I stepped in shit.
Nope. It’s the dog.
“Damn, Nicky,” I say. “You need a Tic Tac.”
It’s reassuring to know that my breath is not as bad as the dog’s.
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It’s no secret that I am an obsessive dog mom. This is partially because I own the worlds most neurotic dog and partially because I am the worlds biggest control freak.
It’s quite the combo.
This past weekend some of us, including Belle, went up to Michigan. This trip was 90% relaxing, and 10% Belle digging up the yard and then getting into the leftover bbq ribs at 3am. Her digging is a pretty random habit, but as it turns out she can dig a pretty deep hole for having such short legs. So if we’re sticking to percentages, I am 98% annoyed at her digging and 2% kinda proud.
The real issue of the weekend was the whole 3am rib feast she got into. This rib feast led to her being up night whining in the bedroom when she couldn’t get back out to the rib feast, and then her refusing to eat her dog food the entire Sunday, and eventually she realized eating crap and then not eating her real food would make her feel terrible and irritable and so she took it out on everyone on Sunday night by being generally an asshole.
Here’s where my dog mom habits got kicked into overdrive.
I immediately got on Pinterest and searched “homeopathic dog remedies”, and the amount of results that came up were astonishing. It seems I am just one drop in a large pool of dog parents who would spend hours giving their dog a therapeutic bath and then hand feeding them pig dicks.
Thankfully, the above mentioned was not a cure for Belle’s “generally an asshole” diagnosis and I could skip feeding her animal genitalia. This time.
When it seemed like Pinterest wouldn’t be able to solve my problem, something I’ve never experienced before, I walked over to the local dog store to ask him what he thought I should do. I went in and sort of browsed around the remedy section of the store until I looked lost enough that the owner came over to ask me what I was looking for. I explained that while taking a 3am potty break this weekend, by dog had gotten into some ribs and was now acting like a real bitch. No pun intended.
I was already holding coconut oil because all the dog blogs told me it worked wonders on basically everything a dog could ever suffer from, and the store owner agreed with the online community of dog owners aka my best friends. He also suggested that I give her a little bit of tripe with her food, as it’s an immune booster.
Immune booster? Check please.
So I left the store with a jar of coconut oil and three cans of tripe aka cow stomach. Pretty gross, but not quite genitals.
I still had some hours in my workday so I couldn’t run home and pile all of these remedies on Belle’s food like I wanted to. Upon reflection I am genuinely ashamed of my excitement level about plopping these animal insides and oil on top of a dogs food. But here I am.
It’s worth it to mention now that before the whole ribs fiasco, I had already been putting a spoon of sweet potato and a spoon of wild salmon on top of her dry food. So now I was adding two other toppings to her breakfast and dinner, making it a total of five different ingredients that went into her breakfast and dinner.
On a good day, I’ll pack myself a lunch that would consist of maybe three different things. But here I am feeding my dog a four topping pizza two times a day.
Who owns who, am I right?
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Walking down the street a few hours ago, and what do I see?
A man in a Packers cap and Packers T-shirt with a Packers lanyard string around his neck.
On the streets of Chicago! Home of the Bears!
I should just walk on. But sometimes I can’t help myself. So…
“Do you really like the Packers?” I ask.
“I love the Packers,” he says.
“What about the Bears?”
“I hate the Bears?”
“You hate the hometown team?”
“I hate all the hometown teams. I hate Chicago.”
Wow. I’ve met all kinds of Chicagoans. I’ve met Chicagoans who love the Lakers cause they love Kobe. Or love the Yankees cause they grew up in New York. Even a Chicagoan who loves the Packers cause he took one too many blows to the head during high school wresting. I told you to wear the helmet, Kevin.
But I’ve never met a Chicagoan who just flat out hates all of Chicago.
“Why do you hate Chicago?” I ask.
“Not the city–the teams.”
“Okay, why do you hate the teams?
It goes back to 1964, he explains, when he was 19-years-old and the Cubs traded Lou Brock–his favorite player. There and then he started hating all teams in Chicago.
“That’s absurd,” I say. ”I can see you hating on the Cubs for that. But why take it out on the Bears?”
“I told you I don’t like Chicago,” he says. “And you’re really going to hate this.”
“It can’t be worse than loving the Packers.”
“I love the Cardinals.”
“Oh, my god, that’s worse.”
“I told you–I hate Chicago.”
“Your friends must love watching games with you.”
“I don’t have any friends–cause I hate Chicago. Whose gonna be my friend?”
“Well, you got to love the Bulls,” I say.
“No, I don’t. I hate the Bulls.”
“What about Michael Jordan?”
“I don’t like Michael Jordan.”
“You don’t like Michael Jordan!”
“Until he left Chicago. Then I started to like him.”
“What about Ernie Banks? Everybody loves Mr. Cub.”
“I don’t like Ernie Banks, though I had my picture taken with him once.”
“Okay, you must love Walter Payton. Even Packers fans like Walter Payton.”
“I don’t really like him either.”
At this point, a ticket-writing, meter man stops by to check the parking meter.
“Hey, man, “ I say to the ticket writer. “Give this dude three tickets. One for loving the Packers. A second for loving the Cardinals. And a third for hating Michael Jordan.”
The Chicago hater just laughs and says: “I’ll see you and your Cubs in the playoffs.”
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