Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cat Clips--Weaving the Web

Please click on the photo above to watch the next installment in the "Cat Clips" series, entitled "Weaving the Web." Synopsis: After "Honey" wakens from her nap, the male cat and Tuck form new alliances.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pubescent Prowlers Perturb Proud Property Parent

One of the things I take great pride in these days is the grooming of my property. Particularly because of all the new flowers, plants and landscaping I’ve installed over the past three years. And though I spend most of my time in the backyard by the pool, I also make a point of keeping the front yard as colorful and vibrant as I can.

The neighborhood schoolchildren, however, seem to feel my front yard is their personal property to play on, climb over and tear up. During the winter, I don’t pay much attention to them, but come the Spring, when all the new growth is just starting to happen, I keep my eyes peeled every day at 2:30 to watch for the oncoming slaughter. And sure enough, the kids climb on my rock wall (potentially dangerous), cut through my yard, pull on my trees and pick through my flowers. I got so fed up one day that I opened the second story office window and screamed at them to get off my property.

Yes, I became “THAT GUY”---the guy you remember from your childhood who used to yell at you when you stepped on his grass. The annoying older neighbor who seemed to value his precious rose bushes more than your ability to have fun picking through them. And now I completely understand where “that guy” was coming from. After all, the neighborhood kids didn’t pay for all the mulch, and sod, and flowers and plants and trees and fertilizer and irrigation and watering and general upkeep. They just look at my yard as a fun place to play.

Naturally, I was going to do everything in my power can to put a stop to that. So I began sitting outside on my front stoop every day from 2:30 to 3:00 to make sure no one laid a foot on my stone wall or tore a branch from one of my newly blossoming trees. And for a few days, everything seemed to be fine. Then I began to get so bogged down by work, I couldn’t monitor the kids on a daily basis any more. Some time went by, and then one day I happened to be glancing out my office window, when I noticed that the local children had slipped into their usual bad habits. So once again, the window flew open and my screaming voice could be heard echoing throughout the land to “please stay off the grass, and stop pulling on the flowers.”

The kids, for the most part, listened to my pathetic pleading and stuck to the sidewalk for the next few weeks. But there were still a few who would try to sneak up on the wall, or cut through the yard. So for those few occasions, I tried to ignore it. Until one day, when I saw a little boy pick up one of the rocks on our stone wall and throw it on the pavement below him. Meanwhile, his much older sister, who was standing not three feet away, didn’t even try to stop him. (And he was even throwing the stone in her direction.) And when I came running out of the house to reprimand him for it, they both looked at me as if I was crazy.

That’s when I decided to take further action. I began taking pictures of the daily offenders from my office window. I figured I could send them to the Principal of the school, believing that if anyone had influence on these kids, it would be him. And one day, thankfully, I actually got a picture of a kid tearing up an entire bush of flowers. (Well, not thankfully for me, but thankfully for the necessary “evidence” of my complaint.) I sent the group of pictures, along with a well-written diatribe to the Principle, whose only response was “I’ll talk to the children.”

The next day, sure enough, I observed the principle standing in front of my house, waiting for the children to arrive. He spoke to them for about ten minutes on respecting other people’s property and how they shouldn’t cross the lawn. I heard many of the children answer that they never crossed the yard and didn’t know why I complained so much. One girl even began snapping her fingers in a triangle motion, no doubt berating me for having a yard at all.

The talk helped for a few days, perhaps even a week or two. Then the climbing and defacing began all over again. So now I sit on my front stoop again every day with my cell phone and a magazine, daring anyone to touch anything that even looks like foliage. I can’t wait until June when school is out, so I don’t have to constantly disrupt my day in order to defend the integrity of my property. But such is my life in the suburbs.

But that’s just me. Do you have any issues with little prowlers on your property? (And I’m not talking about the squirrel or raccoon kind.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dog Days--QuasiPUGo

Please click on the photo above to watch a new episode from the "Dog Days" series called "QuasiPUGo." In this episode, tension arises when Lenny and George get cast as Quasi-PUG-o and Es-FUR-elda in a local community dog production of "The Pugback of Notre Dame."

Friday, May 15, 2009

How Did My Daffodills Become Daffo-DON'Ts?

When it comes to gardening, I have the patience of a firecracker with a lit fuse. As soon as I plant the bulbs in the ground, I want the darn flower to start growing. Who cares if it’s not the right time of year. I just want to see the fruits of my labor---NOW!

That being said, this is only my second year of planting bulbs in the Fall to reap flowers in the Spring, and I have to tell you, this year was a huge failure. It all began last Fall when I noticed that the local population of squirrels was digging up my yard and running away with all my tulip bulbs. I had planted them the previous Fall, and was like an expectant father in the Spring waiting to see them all come up. And bloom they did, filling my yard with an abundance of Holland’s finest, and making me feel like I might had some sort of latent Green Thumb brewing inside of me. But when the trees failed to produce enough nuts and acorns last year, the squirrels began looking for anything as a substitute, and thus my yard full of tulip bulbs was Rota tilled with so many claws and paws that it began to look like a miniature Grand Canyon.

I became quite discouraged, until someone told me that Squirrels don’t eat the Daffodils bulbs because they’re poisonous. And since I no longer had tulips to look forward to, I decided to throw all my energy into Daffodil cultivation. I bought three bags of bulbs, which ended up being a ridiculous 150 bulbs or something. More than enough for my yard, and then some. And so I set to the backbreaking task of digging holes and distributing the bulbs all over the yard. When I was all through, I stepped back to imagine how beautiful it would all look in the Spring. That is, if I could only last through the winter.

Sure enough, in the Spring, the stems began to break through the ground in alarming numbers. I guess 150 daffodils makes more of an impression than I could imagine…especially when they are spread out as individual attractions all over the garden beds. (Only later, in January, did I learn that you should probably cluster them together in groupings.) Nevertheless, I was very excited to see so much new growth, and glad that none of the bulbs had been confiscated by a woodland creature or a jealous neighbor.

After a week or so, I was happy to see some actual blooming flowers, though not all the Daffodils seemed to bloom at the same time. In fact, some of the stems seemed downright opposed to producing anything that even looked like a bud. And that’s the way they remained for the next several weeks. No flowers, just stems. And since only a half dozen of the flowers actually bloomed, I now have a garden bed filled with nothing but stems. It’s like Mortician Addams decided to do my gardening for me.

Can someone please explain to me what I did wrong? Or is this normal? (I’m sure it’s not, but I can dream, can’t I?) Do some of these Daffodils actually produce flowers the second year of cohabitation with the ground? Or am I forever doomed to a sea of stems every Spring?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cat Clips--Stair Wars

Please click on the photo above to watch the next installment in the ongoing "Cat Clips" series. In this episode, Tuck makes a secret deal with the male cat.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Bitter Blandness of Boring Betty

When “Ugly Betty” first premiered several years ago, I'm sure I wasn't the only one confused about the title. Were they actually calling the lead of a prime time TV show "ugly," and in public no less? Even stranger, they seemed to be promoting ugly as a good thing. And true to their word, when poor Betty finally burst upon the scene, she appeared to be a sort of stereotypical assembly of every flaw and physical character imperfection they could find…minus any noticeable zits or warts (which surely might offend the sensitive ABC audience). She did have glasses though. And braces.  And bad hair. Not to mention an incredibly eclectic sense of style which presumably would land her in the "no-dating" zone for most of her hum drum life.

But then, like a glimmer of hope, Betty landed a plum job at a high powered fashion magazine, and it would only be a matter of time before we saw the Ugly Duckling turn into a beautiful swan. After all, that’s what we’ve come to expect from countless Disney movies and romantic comedies…the ugly girl always becomes more pretty than the pretty girl by the end of the film. Well, it’s been three years now, and Betty still looks like the poster child for Blackwell’s Worst Dressed List. True, her outerwear has moved away from looking like an ethnic parade float to a colorful canvas of expensive knits and fabric. But with all her acquired knowledge and face time with so many high fashion divas, you’d think she’d do a much better job of coordinating her daily appearances. As it stands, she still looks likes she’s dressing for a tea party at Salvador Dali’s.

And why, after three years, does she still have braces? She must have the worst dentist in the world, because underneath those metal facades, her teeth look perfectly fine. And what about those thick eyebrows and horrible glasses? Hasn’t her years of employment at Mode taught her anything about personal grooming?

All that aside, my main contention with “Ugly Betty” these days is how boring and bland it’s become. It used to be great to tune in just to hear what clever puns or phrasing Vanessa William’s character would throw around. But now those lines have become predictable, and the plotlines of the show have become tired. I’m so sick of Betty always getting into stupid situations and then being bailed out at the last minute. It’s a formula the show has used from the beginning, but now we’re so used to it, I almost want Betty to fail miserably just so we’ll see something different. She’s the eternal “good girl” whose need to always do the right thing inevitably ends in disaster, with everyone blaming poor Betty for even trying. Been there, done that, let’s move on. And don’t even get me started on her brassy shrew of a sister. Someone needs to put a muzzle on that mouth and teach her a few things about social etiquette.

I hope if Ugly Betty comes back next year, they finally shed the Ugly Betty image and make this girl a real person. Or at least a superficial version of a real person, which is much more than she is right now. Because at the moment, both Ugly Betty and her show are about as interesting and surprising as wet cardboard. And that’s being generous.

But that’s just me. What are your thoughts on Ugly Betty?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cat Clips Contest--Win a Car!

To celebrate the 60th episode of "Cat Clips," I'm holding a little contest for my YouTube subscribers that you are more than welcome to join in on. (You just have to be a member of YouTube--which is free to join and only takes a minute to sign up.) To participate, simply click on the photo above to watch the video and answer the three questions asked during the video. The prizes are explained at the end. Good luck!


1. Must be a subscriber to ScoobyHubby--which is my YouTube screen name. (Again, you can do this by joining YouTube, which only takes a minute.)

2. Watch the video and answer the three questions. (Hint: There are no wrong answers.)

3. Ideas and clues can be found throughout the 50 different "Cat Clips" currently available on YouTube. (But creativity and originality are important.)

4. Leave your answer as either a text comment below the video on YouTube, or as a video response--Again, the more creative, the better.

5. The deadline for entry is May 31, 2009 and you may enter as many times as you like.

Hope to see some bloggers joining in on the fun. After all, there's cash and a car to win!!!!