Friday, August 28, 2015


After a respite from the positive (and a STRICTLY PISSED OFF post; hopefully no more of those to come, but don't hold your breath), we're back to it, albeit against the backdrop of another shitty week in American culture. There are many things I admire about my Australian roots. I wish the U.S. could follow in Australian footsteps regarding gun control. But this is a positive post, so here you go:

Exhibit A:  FOOTBALL IS BACK! Well, almost. Training camps are under way, and that means HBO's hard-hitting football documentary, Hard Knocks, is in full swing. This season, the cameras are trained on the Houston Texans' camp. I've watched Hard Knocks off and on over the years, some seasons held my interest, others far from it. I tuned in this year because J.J. Watt has become one of my favorite people (works his ass off, does a ton of charity work, posts about his love for his mommy and his grandma on social media - what's not to love? That's a rhetorical question. If you know a reason not to love J.J. Watt, please don't tell me, let me have just one good person to root for, eh?).

In any event, this season is golden. I just watched episode 2 last night (if you're watching live you've seen 3), and the following actually took place:

1. WR DeAndre Hopkins went clothes shopping, then discussed his desire to get a Yorkie so he would have a dog small enough to carry around in his "man bag," which he would then take clubbing. I think I threw a clot laughing at this one. Then he actually told his teammates he was considering this and asked if they would judge him. One reply "I won't judge you, but I'll delete you from my phone."

2.  Two players shopping for baby clothes for their little girls. There's something adorable about a ginormous man holding up jean shorts fit for a toddler for his shopping companion, another ginormous man, to see.

3.  Charles James II wears "happy socks." We got to see a few pairs. It's too bad the NFL has strict uniform policies, because the field could use this kind of individuality.

4.  J.J. Watt and Vince Wilfork discussing breakfast foods, the greatness of brunch, and eating breakfast for all meals. Wilfork described a great brunch item his wife makes, at which time Watt invited himself over the next time she makes it.

If you're a football fan, it looks like this is going to be a great season of Hard Knocks, and will scratch your football itch until the real games get going. If you want to follow along on the internet, Grantland has some fun episode recaps. Here is the recap for episode 2.

Exhibit B: Ok, back to mushy stuff. If this video of a baby who loves his kitty doesn't make you smile I've got nothin' for you. (h/t to Shaina for this gem)

Exhibit C:  From the "Cats are great, but dogs are the bomb" files: Georgia Bradley was vacationing in Greece when she was accosted by two men on a secluded beach. A stray dog jumped in, scaring off the predators. Georgia felt an instant bond with the pup, who she named Pepper (Pepper even ran after her car when she left for the airport - is this the stuff of movies or what?). Although Georgia had to return home, she flew 6,000 miles back to Greece to ensure her adoption of Pepper (and, as it turns out, Pepper's six pups - she was pregnant when Georgia brought her back to the UK). A happy ending for all and a mutual saving. I could read stories like this all day long.

Exhibit D:  Just so dogs don't get all the glory today (as you know, I'm wont to go off on that tangent), here is a story of a smart and brave young man who saved a woman in serious trouble. It's kind of a long story, so I encourage you to hit the link, but here's the gist: Seventeen-year-old Malyk Bonnet was on his way home from work when he noticed a couple arguing by a bus stop. Fearing the man might hit the woman, Malyk noticed how frightened the woman was and formulated a plan. He pretended to be getting on their bus and even bought their tickets for them. Long story short, Malyk kept them in the public eye until he had an opportunity to call the police, who showed up and arrested the man. Turns out he was an ex-boyfriend who had already assaulted and made death threats against the woman. The police were already looking for her as she had been reportedly kidnapped by him earlier in the day and they “believed that man was very dangerous,” said Lt. Daniel Guérin of the Laval police. Not only did Malyk help, he went above and beyond to carry out his plan and make sure the woman was safe. At 17 he has that good a head on his shoulders. HERO (plus adorable).

Exhibit E:  This guided meditation is called "Fuck That" and it's a gem. Learn how to "feel that fucking nonsense float away." Perfect the art of breathing in strength and breathing out bullshit. I've never been one for meditation, but this may be one such practice I can find time for in my day.

Exhibit F:  Karma. She can be a bitch or a goddess. A couple of firefighters, exhausted from spending 12 hours clearing a fire, went to a diner at 6:00 a.m. to get strong cups of coffee. The waitress, Liz Woodward, heard them talking about their work. When they went to pay their tab, they found it had been paid and a note left by Liz in its stead (see below). Nice, right? It gets better. The firefighters learned Liz’s father has been paralyzed for five years. Liz set up a donation page in an attempt to fund a wheelchair-accessible vehicle so she can take him out and about. The firefighters, Tim and Paul, urged people on Facebook to donate to Liz’s crowd-fund. In a few days, Liz had $70,000, more than enough to pay for her dad's van. Huzzah. (Thanks to Cathy for this one.)

Exhibit G: Do I have to spell it out each week? G is for...

Exhibit H: More "dogs are awesome" evidence, and this from CAT OWNER Elizabeth, so you know it's true. This is the story of Ricochet, the surfing dog, who surfs as an aide for people with disabilities, kids with special needs, wounded warriors, and veterans with PTSD. Sisters Savannah, 17, and Bellamy, 19, are from Denver, Colorado. They both have the same terminal illness, Friedreich’s ataxia, a debilitating and degenerative neuromuscular disorder with no treatment or cure. When they learned about Ricochet, it became their dream to surf with her. But the family couldn’t afford a trip to San Diego where Ricochet is located. So Ricochet’s water handler, Dave, came up with the idea of Ricochet hosting a fundraiser to bring the girls to San Diego. Within 24 hours, the whole trip was funded. (And to answer your question, YES, I totally want to do this with B. However, while I am willing to risk my own skin with The Landlord, it freaks me out a little to let her look like a seal while out in the breakers. But, someday.)

Obligatories:  The list of things my nephew, 4, is better at than me grows longer by the day. Recently added:

Walking in pumps:


Bird had her final therapy dog test/observation last Sunday and passed with flying colors. She has now completed all the requirements and once we get her paperwork and registration back, she's ready to heal the world!  Here she is with some of her new friends:

There was a little jousting for dog landscape going on:

Thank goodness no tennis balls on the legs of this walker:

These people were so kind and gracious and glad to see the dogs. And though most of them seemed happy, our visits had their sad moments, usually in the form of dementia. Typical conversation:

Me: Would you like to meet my dog Bird?
Resident: Oh yes!
*pets Bird*
Resident: What's her name?
Me: Bird.
*Bird turns and looks at me when she hears her voice as she's supposed to, I redirect her to Resident*
Resident: What's her name?
Me: Bird.
*Bird turns to me...*
*lather, rinse, repeat*

It was interesting to hear what questions/stories were repeated. One woman asked me three times if she ate much. One told me a dog quote several times, using the exact same hand gestures each time. The mind is a fascinating and curious and damnable thing. I'm not sure what mood these folks are in when dogs are not around, but they sure light up when they are.

That's it for the SP this week folks, have fun and peaceful weekends. May The Force be with you.

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About Malcolm Avenue Review

I was lucky enough to be born and raised in a nifty, oak-shaded ranch house on Malcolm Avenue, a wide-laned residential street with little through traffic, located amid the foothills of Northern California. It was on that street and in that house I learned most of my adolescent life lessons, and many grown-up ones to boot. Malcolm Avenue was "home" for more than thirty years.

It was on Malcolm Avenue, through and with my family and the other families that made up our neighborhood of characters, that I first learned about and gained an appreciation for the things I continue to love the most to this day: music, animals, photography, sports, television/movies and, of course, books.

I owe a debt of gratitude to that life on Malcolm Avenue. It gave me a sense of community and friendship, support and adventure. For better and worse, life on that street likely had the biggest impact on the person I've become. So this blog, and the things I write here, are all, at their base level, a little bit of a love letter to Malcolm Avenue.


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