Sunday, February 27, 2011


Bubba:  So, I was reading about the protests in the Middle East and—

Max:  Reading? Is that like eating?

Bubba:  No. You use your eyes instead of your mouth.

Max: You really must have to blink a lot to chew up a cookie.

Bubba: (baring her teeth and growling low in her throat) No, doofus, you use your eyes to see words.

Max: Oh, I get it. Kinda like when I see SQUIRREL?

Bubba: (sighing) Sort of. Except you don’t look in the yard, you look in the newspaper.

Max: The one Dad gets off the step in the morning? The one he saves the bags from to pick up our poop? The one that makes him all red in the face about something he calls politics?

Bubba: Right. That one. So I was reading about—

Max:  How did you hold it up? We don’t have thumbs.

Bubba:  I didn’t hold it up. It’s lying out on the patio.

Max:  Oh, in the place where Mom puts it because you’re not a boy dog ad you hate to squat in the wet grass?

Bubba: (sighing louder) Thanks for sharing that with everyone. Right. The paper is on my spot. Anyway, so people are protesting for more rights and freedom and democracy and I think we need that too.

Max:  Yeah. Freedom. Democracy. Rights. I want a whole goo-gob of rights. (Gets a suspicious look on his face) Wait just a doggone minute. Are those all good things?

Bubba: Yes.

Max:  As good as dog cookies?

Bubba:  Yes. Even better.

Max:  What do they taste like?

Bubba:  (groaning) You can’t eat them. They’re concepts.

Max: Uh, right, I got it. Concepts. Uh, huh, uh huh. (Tilting his head) Then why do we want them?

Bubba:  Because Mom and Dad are dictators. They decide when we eat and when we walk and how many cookies we get. And they make us wear collars.

Max:  Mine is blue.

Bubba:  And they make us do tricks to get treats.

Max:  Yours is pink.

Bubba:  Pay attention.

Max:  I like my collar.

Bubba: That’s not the point. We should decide what we wear, when we eat, and how many cookies we get.

Max:  Yay, cookies. Let’s protest. Right now. Power to the canines!
Let’s . . . lets . . . uh, how we gonna protest?

Bubba:  We make signs and lists of our demands.

Max:  Uh, looks like we’re back to that “no thumbs” problem.

Bubba: Much as I hate to admit it, you’re right. Okay then, we’ll refuse to obey them until they make concessions.

Max:  Ha. How is that different from what you do now? When it’s time to do tricks, you roll over once and then just sit there.

Bubba: That’s not true.

Max:  Is so.

Bubba: Is not.

Max: Is so.

Bubba: (Shaking her head till her collar jingles) Hey, look out the window. Isn’t that a—?

Max:  SQUIRREL!!!!!

To learn more about Bubba, Max, Carolyn, and Mike, visit http://www.deadlyduomysteries.com/ and check out their pages.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lying to the U.S. Census Bureau

Mike Nettleton:

I have a confession to make.

My wife Carolyn and I may have undercounted our household when we sent back last year's census form. We reported three people lived in our Vancouver home—me, Carolyn and our godson "The Viper." (His nickname may be the subject of a future blog.)

When the census swat team surrounds our home—the members all wearing stern expressions and Kevlar vests, all carrying automatic weapons and search warrants—I hope they’ll listen to our plea of extenuating circumstances: The sun was in our eyes. We got distracted by a passing herd of buffalo. A bearded stranger made us lie on the form at gunpoint. We're suffering from a vitamin deficiency. 

How am I doing so far? Are you buying this?

In the interest of full disclosure and for the therapeutic value and soul-cleansing inherent in the confessional, here's a comprehensive list of the additional residents of the Nettleton/Rose household.

   1."Somebody." This mysterious and mischievous individual
is responsible for a number of nefarious deeds and small
  domestic disasters. Most recently, Carolyn bellowed down
      the stairs at me, "Somebody didn't screw the lid down on the
       pickle jar tightly enough." I cowered beneath the pool table in
    my office, pretending the high-end hearing loss I’d suffered
      during my 42-year radio career had, just that minute,become
       total deafness.

2. “Somebody Else." This person often bears the brunt of the action taken by “Somebody,” as in, "Somebody Else tried to pick it up and the jar exploded, spilling pickle juice all over the bottom of the refrigerator.

3. "A Certain Person." Now this is where things get a little blurry. In certain situations (such as the now infamous pickle-juice-all-over-the-bottom-of-the-refrigerator incident, it appears that "A Certain Person"is an alias for "Somebody." Witness part three of the bellow. "'A Certain Person' needs to get off his big fat duff and come clean up this big mess." In case you wonder why "Somebody" might need an alias, I have it from a good source at the FBI that he’s wanted for questioning in connection with a multi-state crime spree involving destruction of private property with pickle juice and, in one case, assault with hot dog relish.

4. "Mr. Oblivious." This guy seems to have a lot of problems figuring out where things are located in the house especially after another undocumented residential stowaway has finished her most recent round of "I'm tired of where everything is, lets rearrange everything just for the hell of it." Her name of course is—

5. "Ms. Tee Hee." When pushed into a conversational corner by "Somebody," "A Certain Person," or "Mr. Oblivious" about her actions, motives, convenient memory lapses, or occasional bouts of unexplainable behavior, her first and only defense is, "Tee Hee." Luckily for her she's cute enough to pull this maneuver off and the mention of her name always ends any potentially contentious conversation.

You'll note that with the exception of "Ms. Tee Hee," my wife Carolyn is the sole witness to the existence of any of these additional members of our household. But, since I can see no reason for her to have fabricated them, we probably need to hand-deliver an amended statement and heartfelt apology to the U.S. Census Bureau. I know for a fact that "A Certain Person" feels horrible about the whole mess.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Longing For Love With The Perfect Pen

Carolyn J. Rose:  Years ago, when I was in high school, my grandmother gave me a fountain pen for my birthday. It was dark blue, as fat as a cigar, and fit my fingers perfectly. I wrote reams of journal pages with that pen, pouring out my teenage angst, making thick strokes and thin, creating letters that slanted right or left or stood at attention, letters that flowed into each other or claimed their own spaces.
            I loved that pen. I replaced the nib twice. When I lost it at college, I searched and sulked for days. I’ve never had another like it, never again fell as hard for a writing implement or loved one so deeply.           
      Yes, I’ve had fountain pens since then, but none had the same feel. They were too skinny, too top-heavy, too prone to clog up or leave blotches on the page. I tried to like them, tried to make myself care. I bought them ink in bright and exotic colors, I carried them along to work and on vacations. But the thrill just wasn’t there. After failing to replicate my first love with a slim blue one—a gift from my husband that I’m sure he paid too much for—I abandoned my quest and went for variety over fidelity, experimentation over commitment.
            For a time, I flirted with ballpoint stick pens, the ones that have an eraser on top and at first glance look like pencils. Then I went for pens with caps. I liked the feel of that bit of extra weight on the top. But too soon I was seduced by felt-tips in a host of colors and then lured by fat and rubbery pens with points that clicked in and out. Lately, pencils have caught my eye—number two yellow ones with sharp points.
            Granted, I spend most of my time tapping my fingers on a keyboard instead of wrapping them around a pen or pencil, but when I’m plotting or making notes for revision, I work with a yellow pad and a writing implement.
            Writing with a pencil lets me erase as I reconsider. Using every other line, gives me space to insert other additional ideas. Beyond that, there’s the feel of a page crisscrossed with pencil marks, and the rumpling riffle pages make when I turn them. I think I’m as infatuated with that sound and feel as I once was with my fat fountain pen.
But I still long to caress its sleek sides, to polish its nib, to revel in its strong strokes.
If it comes back, I promise I’ll never ask where it’s been or with whom.

            If you’ve ever had a romance with a writing implement, leave a comment and tell me about it. Just remember, this blog is rated PG, no kinky stuff, please.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


We were thinking of things to post for an initial blog and decided to put our dogs Bubba, a Yorkie-Schnauzer mix, and Max a Maltese milk ball of a canine, to work on it. Here's what they came up with.

Max:  Oh boy, oh boy, we're gonna blog, we're gonna blog we're--

Bubba: Hey, hey, hey, cool your jets Mr. Girly-dog. First of all, do you even know what a blog is?

Max:  Of course I do. It's a . . . It's kinda like a . . . It sorta looks like a . . . Okay, no, I'm clueless.

Bubba:  (Sigh) It's a place you go on the Internet to write your opinions.

Max:  Okay, okay, I get it. Go to the Internet, write opinions. Sure. I can do that. I can do that.

Bubba:  No, you can't.

Max:  I can't? Why not?

Bubba:  Because you don't have any, that's why not.

Max:  Of course I do. I got opinions. I got all kinds of opinions.

Bubba:  Such as?

Max:  Okay, give me a second here. Thinking, thinking, thinking . . .
Bubba:  You're not thinking, you're licking your dingle.

Max:  Huh, oh yeah, sorry.

Bubba: Why would you do that in front of everybody here?

Max: Uh, because I can? Okay, an opinion. Here it comes, a big old fat opinion. An opinion like you wouldn't believe. My opinon is SQUIRREL !!!!!

Bubba:  Squirrel? That's it? That's your big opinion? That's not an opinion, that's like a rat with a big bushy tail.

Max:  But I really like to chase them. And there are tons of them in the back yard. And, and, and . . .

Bubba: Keep thinkin', Max, that's what you're good at.

Max:  Dad's got lots of opinions. And he says the newspaper won't print em anymore because of the compliants.

Bubba: You mean complaints?

Max: What-----ever. And Mom's got all kinds of opinions too only Dad says he's tired of hearing 'bout them cuz they're mostly about what he ought to be doing during his retirement instead of playing poker and messin' round on the pool table.

Bubba: So they're going to put stuff up on the blog to let other people know what they think.

Max:  Yep. Stuff 'bout writing, and reading and movies and restaurants and life in Vancouver and . . .and . . . and . . .

Bubba:  Well, I'm having no part of this whole blog thing.

Max:  How come Mz. Schnorkie Grumpy-pants? Why don't you wanna blog? Huh, huh, huh?

Bubba:  What's in it for moi? I don't write books like Mom and Dad. Getting my name out on the Internet won't get me more cookies. And quit licking yourself. How many times do I have to tell you?

Max:  Oops, sorry. Forgot where my tongue was. No cookies? We're not gettin' cookies for this? You sure?

Bubba:  Nope, no cookies. They expect us to do it just for the fun of it.

Max:  Fun. You mean like playing the Squirrel-toy-down-the-stairs game?

Bubba:  Forget that, you already tore all the stuffing out Mr. Squirrel.

Max:  Oh, yeah. You mean like the sit-on-Daddy's-chest first-thing-in-the-morning game?

Bubba: (another sigh) Exactly like that. Only different. Really Max, they're exploiting us. No, I repeat, NO cookies involved. They can't expect us to go online and update this blog every week. It's a really bad idea.

Max:  Yeah, a really bad . . .? Just because of the no cookies thing?

Bubba: No, because if we write it and thousands and thousands of people read it and we get all famous and everything it could be a disaster.

Max:  A dis-what-ster?

Bubba:  Think about it slew foot. Next thing you know people will start talking about the incredible blogging doggies. And we'll get invited on David Letterman to do stupid dog tricks.

Max:  Oh, I like him. He's almost as sarcastic as
Mom. And that would be a bad thing why?

Bubba:  Because I'd be the one standing next to you when you lick your dingle on national TV, that's why.

Bubba and Max have a page on Mike and Carolyn's web site at http://www.deadlyduomysteries.com/