Downward-facing dog

Last weekend, Amy saw some lady trying to smuggle her dog into the opera. It was a small dog, stuffed into a purse. Someone saw the little dog and asked the owner: “Does that dog enjoy opera?” The owner replied that she “really did not know” if the dog liked opera or not. That is a reasonable answer. Who the hell knows what dogs, or animals in general, think about anything? But then the dog owner added that her ratdog preferred ballet and yoga. I find this hard to believe. Dogs can’t stand upright for longer than a couple of seconds. They can’t brachiate (extend their arms in a rotating fashion.) I can’t see how a dog could do a Sun Salutation Pose without serious discomfort.

Wondering why no one from Canada ever looks at my blog (updated, revised and reconsidered — thank you, Canada.)

I’m getting some email inquiries from Singapore, Israel and Algeria. I’ve heard from England a couple of times, and Icelanders have discovered this site. But I’m wondering why no one from Canada ever writes in. I am trying to think of ways to make Cactuseaters appeal to Canadians more overtly. At the same time, I don’t want to pander by throwing in references to the obvious Canada-related topics such as grizzly bears, Seth Rogen, Sealtest Ice Cream, Neil Young and Neal Peart’s lyrics to “Subdivisions.” Stay tuned. I’m going to mess with the formula to make Cactuseaters more Canada-friendly in the future. And here is my addendum to this thoroughly outdated post: thank you, Canada. In the past few months I have received many heartening and inspiring messages from people living in all parts of Canada, including one who recently bought The Cactus Eaters and a two-year subscription to Catamaran…

Bagel update

I hate to say this, but after all my kvetching and moaning about the bad quality of bagels on the West Coast, I just baked up a batch of bagels that are, if anything, even worse than the ones I’ve eaten here!! The bagels I’ve eaten in this state are flavorless and insipid. They aren’t real bagels. They are nothing but dinner rolls with navels, and I doubt the bakers even boiled them or used even a speck of malted barley powder or syrup, not to mention high-gluten flour. But this doesn’t excuse the fact that my own home-made bagels are slimy hockey pucks, too gooey in the middle, and with crusts so hard that biting down on them could pull your jaw right out of your skull. I’m not going to give up on bagels just yet but I promise to stop whining about bagel quality until I can…

I am available at Target

I never thought I would say this, but I am currently available at Target. Actually, that is not quite accurate. What I mean to say is that I can be pre-ordered in bulk through Target’s website. I first saw the listing today at|The_Cactus_Eaters:_How_I_Lost_My_Mind—and_Almost_Found_Myself—on_the_Pacific_Crest_Trail_(P.S.)_:_Books&ref=tgt_adv_XSNG1060 This is exciting for me because Target is the place where I buy all my Grape-Nuts as well as my padded retro telescoping ladder chairs and paper towels. In other news, my students have stopped calling me “Dan White” or “Professor White” and have taken to calling me “D. Money” and “Professor Diddy.” I have no idea how this happened.

Marie Antoinette

This weekend, my mother and father took me to a special exhibit about Marie Antoinette in the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. The exhibit shattered many preconceptions I had about Marie Antoinette. Here are some things that I learned during the exhibit: 1. Marie Antoinette’s actual name was Maria Antonia Josefa Johanna von Habsburg-Lothringen. 2. Marie Antoinette was quite homely. 3. The Palace of the Legion of Honor and the Palace of Fine Arts are two separate places in San Francisco. They are nowhere near each other. If you arrange to meet somebody at one of the palaces, but show up at the wrong one, you will experience humiliating shame. 6. To get away from the suffocating splendor of Versailles, Marie Antoinette built a suffocating splendid outbuilding in her yard. 6. Marie Antoinette enjoyed pastries. She had a pug, and many shoes.

The coyotes of San Francisco

I’m amazed by the variety of creatures that live within city limits. Bears, raccoons and many other animals have been seen throughout this seaside burg. Recently, someone took a bunch of pictures of a lone wild dog prancing through a meadow in Noe Valley. The images are inspiring. A hawk lives just outside my window. Every day, I hear him screech. Sometimes I take long walks through Buena Vista Park, where a family of good-natured squirrels squeaks out their good tidings while the sun pours down on their auburn fur. The other day I was shopping at Walgreen’s on Castro, and an opposum filled my prescription. He did a very sloppy job of it but I think it’s pretty cool that marsupials are making their way into the workforce. Every day, I see pigeons and woodrats standing on street corners, flagging down taxis and MUNI with forceful flicks of their…

Watch my politeness increase

Lately I’ve become very interested in etiquette. I am trying to learn new manners every day. With this goal in mind, I went to the library yesterday and checked out a 709-page book on the subject. I’ve already read 110 pages. Here are three lessons that I learned for today. 1. “Walk down the street with a deliberately pleasant expression on your face (not a suffering frown …)” >: 2. “A smiling face, symptomatic of an upbeat personality, is like the flame that fascinates and draws the moths.” 3. “Act fascinated by the new people you meet, even if they look very boring indeed.”

Jerry Garcia and Palmolive dish soap

I just heard a story (possibly apocryphal?) that Jerry Garcia refused to wash the dishes when he was living in the famous communal Grateful Dead house on 710 Ashbury, which is roughly a three-and-a-half-minute walk from where I live. According to the story, Garcia made a case that the Palmolive dish soap would soften the calluses on his fingers, therefore harming his guitar playing. Recently, I tried a similar argument in my household to get out of doing the dishes. She isn’t buying it, though.

Not the same cactus eater

I have learned about some disturbing cactus-eating activities in Cyberspace. Someone told me about a hair-raising video that apparently shows some guy consuming a cactus with sauce dumped all over it on YouTube! I also heard about a site advertising “penetration cactus-sex.” (yuck!) Let me assure you that these extreme cactus-related ventures have nothing to do with me. Personally, I think people shouldn’t trifle with thorn-covered plants. They will always get you in the end.