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Cowboy Pat


Some years ago, I noticed a dark splotch on my face on my right cheek just below my eye. It was about the size of a quarter, a mere discoloration of the skin. It seemed entirely possible that it had been there my whole life and I simply hadn’t noticed it. Except it wasn’t there in old pictures. A close personal adviser of mine (I have several) took me aside and said, “Have that looked at.”

I visited a dermatologist who called it a “seborrheic ketosis,” the result of sun exposure, ugly but harmless. I called for a follow-up 2 years later, but this particular dermatologist had left the practice, so I sought out a different doctor, who looked at it and said, “Seborrheic ketosis! I can’t tell what that is just from looking it.” He would need to take a biopsy.

It turned out to be an actinic ketosis (of course!), “pre-cancerous,” and my doctor prescribed a cream to remove it and introduced me to the religion of sunscreen.This prompted me to sign onto an aggressive hat-wearing regimen, such that I now own a broad-rimmed Australian-style (American made) sunhat to ward off the burning orb’s evil rays, especially on the cheeks, which baseball-style caps largely fail to do.

Which brings me to this past Friday (June 19, 2015) at the Roche Brother’s in West Roxbury, shopping with my sunhat on (don’t expect me to take it off in the store!). After declaring my bag preference, I proceeded to check my email on my phone (why? why?) while my bank account lost great sums. And then I took hold of my goods and made my way out the door, passing checkout lines with couples and old folk and a carriage with a pair of youngsters 3 or 4 years old, one of whom nudged the other and said, “Look! A Cowboy!”  

So the actinic keratosis has done a lot for my public image.

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The Bathoom Inside Me


The biggest complaint real estate agents have with my house is that “it lacks a master bath,” i.e. a comfortable, modern place to bathe and whatnot within the confines of the “master bedroom” (another thing it lacks). It has become my mission to change this situation such that we can tell that world, should we ever sell this building, that it contains a “master suite,” suggesting more than just a sleeping area and loo, but several rooms, walk-in closets, and perhaps even an antechamber wherein invited guests can be received. (Guests? In a master suite? Yes, that’s how impressive ours will be!)

My master bath idea involves building an external, all-glass pod that bulges out from our bedroom like a futuristic knobby protuberance. The walls will be made of one-way glass, such that you can see out, but people outside, looking up at the tumor-like glass pod sprouting from the house, can only see mirrors (unless the light is just right, in which case they can see the home’s inhabitants emerging from the shower naked, etc., causing nausea in passersby).

Of course, the piping in this arrangement is complicated. Pipes have to get into and out of the masterbathpod according to code, which means we pretty much have to build a significant false floor under it to hide the water-in/water-out. Or else build a traditional addition from the ground up (boring!), meaning we end up with something less tumor-like and more cylindrical.

Time to look for architects who excel in cylinders and lavatory pods.

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Ye Little Towne Upstate


When I retire, I’m pondering a move to the town of Upstate New York. First, I have to find this town, which I know is north of New York City (and is therefore “upstate”). That rules out Long Island and, maybe, Westchester County, but not Dutchess County, which is a little north of Westchester. Yes, I know, Dutchess County is south of most of New York State, and yet it’s nevertheless upstate for people who live south of it. People in Brooklyn for example. So I’m thinking this is quite possibly where Upstate New York is located.

Hopefully, by the time I retire in the year 2100 or so, the authorities will have found the crazed murderers who made a daring escape just this week from “a prison in Upstate New York”, according to NPR (no further details were offered, including where one might find this “upstate” prison.) I wanted to alert my friends and relatives living in Syracuse, Buffalo, Oneonta, Remsen, Cazenovia, Geneva, and just about every town in between to watch out for a couple of maniacs on the loose, but I had yet to pinpoint Upstate New York. So I checked Google Maps.

upstate New York


It turns out “Upstate” is an oyster bar in New York! Someone really needs to inform The New Yorker magazine of this, which has a story in the current issue that begins with an anecdote about “a couple from upstate New York” who, it is implied, no longer live in New York City (so how can they be from an oyster bar that’s in Manhattan?)

Time to admit it: my knowledge of my home state’s geography is woefully lacking. Best to sign up for adult education class focusing on all things upstate.

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Care For Bowl of Schmacaroni And Cheese?


My international reputation for being terse at the water bubbler and taking all my meals in front of a computer would suggest I’m grooming myself for a sixteen-hour-a-day coding job in Silicon Valley. However, I've gotten wind of Silicon Valley's recent moves to phase out actual food. Apparently earning seven figures doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to consume solids. (Don’t believe me; it’s in this New York Times article so it must be true).

I have a friend who once had a video editing job that allowed so little time for things like water and food breaks that he mused that the future of the industry included editing suites in which food and liquids are delivered via tubes to the mouths of editors, who are simultaneously perched on toilets such that all bodily functions and essential sustenance can be maintained without any editing downtime. Powdered, drinkable meals for employees are just the beginning of this future without chewing.

Although I don’t happen to like the whole idea of having a job that allows such little time for food consumption, I wouldn’t mind selling products to people who have such jobs. And so, piggy-backing on the schmilk and schmoylent craze, I intend to unveil Pat’s Schmoked Brisket (in powdered form).

Needless to say, my SchBelgian ales are not far behind.

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