Wanted: Professional dog walker; have résumé, portfolio ready 7

The other day Liz and I were discussing the stereotype of the grouchy older person — the “get off my goddam lawn!” dude we used to make fun of. Based largely on experience, I’m of the opinion that older people aren’t necessarily grouchy—they’re just fed up. After 60-plus years of bullshit (both theirs and others’, but especially others’) they’ve had their fill, and they’re old enough that they don’t care who they piss off.

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Confused about the World Cup? Just wait till you read this 4

I’m a huge fan of football. And so, with World Cup 2010 in full swing, this is an exciting month for me.

I’ve been a football fan for literally as long as I can remember. And by that, of course, I mean that the Cup started a week ago, and a week is as about long as I can remember. Before I was a football fan, I was a Grateful Dead fan; you can draw your own conclusions.

Anyway, for those of you who are new to “the beautiful game,” as it is sometimes called, I have assembled a few pointers.

The biggest news in World Cup action this week was a foul called against the US side during their match against Slovenia; the controversial ruling deprived the Yanks of a goal and subsequently a much-needed win.  Good news, however – according to FIFA rules, the call is not officially final until Joe Barton apologizes for it.

Some of the terminology used in soccer can be confusing; allow me to clarify. To begin with, the game is rightly called “football,” although in this country it is sometimes called “soccer,” or more often “elitist Euro-fag-ball.” It’s called “the world’s game” because the entire planet has taken it to its bosom. The entire planet except for us, I mean. But then, we’re the country that stages baseball games that we call (without irony) the World Series — and then don’t invite any other countries in the … you know … world.

Vuvuzela – Perhaps no aspect of this Cup has generated more commentary than the vuvuzela. No, this is not a country in South America; nor is it a part of a woman’s body (oh, grow up – I was referring to the uvula). It is a long plastic horn that has roots in South African culture that stretch all the way back to the early 2000s. It emits a sound that has been compared variously to a flatulent elephant or a BP spokesman.

Many fans despise the vuvuzela, claiming that its sound is distracting. Chief among the haters are long-time fans of English Premier League football, a refined lot who are accustomed to the more Shakespearean cadences of what are known as  “terrace chants” – refrains of encouragement such as “Posh Spice takes it up the ass” that once welcomed Manchester United’s David Beckham to the pitch.

Speaking of chants, fans of Mexico’s “El Tri” are fond of chanting “Puto! Puto!” at opposition goalkeepers. If my high school Spanish still serves, this means, “If it please God, may our team prevail in this contest.” The language of Cervantes is indeed a beautiful one.

Ghana – Unlike “vuvuzela,” this is a country, and not the sacramental herb adored by Rastafarians and fans of String Cheese Incident. To muddy the waters further, the team’s colors are identical to the Rasta colors of red, gold and green. I spent 90 minutes (not counting stoppage time) waiting for Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz to take the pitch, or for the entire team to wander off in search of donuts and some Bob Marley music.

Royal Bafokeng – Apparently this is a stadium, and not a World Cup “special” being offered by Rustenburg hookers, as I had reported earlier. My apologies.

Getting old beats the alternative? Jury still out 5

I like to say, “Getting old sucks, but it still beats the alternative.” And while that’s mostly true, there’s no denying that getting old … well … kinda sucks.

Speaking of getting older, I just read the other day that in 2010 (which is this year, in case you haven’t been keeping up) one of every four people in the US will be 55 or older.

This is both good and bad. The good side is that people my age will have lots of peers to keep us company; the bad side is that going to the pool may soon require a blindfold. Seriously – – if I want to look at saggy, overweight old folks I have a full-length mirror in my bedroom. Of course it’s been turned to the wall since I turned 45.

You know those funhouse mirrors that distort your image to great comic effect? Don’t need one. Or people who put mirrors above their beds to heighten their erotic appeal? Not for me, thanks. That’s a little too much like sea-lion porn for my taste.

Speaking of mirrors, what sadistic bastard decided that mirrors the size of billboards, combined with operating-room lighting, were a good idea in hotel bathrooms? Last time I stepped out of a hotel bathroom shower and stood in front of one of those enormous mirrors, I screamed like a girl because I thought a walrus or, even scarier, a naked Wilford Brimley (or, scarier still, a naked David Crosby) had snuck in behind me. Turned out to be me. Now I shower with the lights off and my eyes closed.

Parties are different at this stage of life, too. Used to be, I could count on going to a party and meeting some hot chicks. Today when I go to a party, the only hot chicks I’m likely to meet are the host’s kids — or, even more depressingly, their grandkids. And even if I were not chronically married, I would never stand a chance of hooking up with one of these young nubiles. You’ve seen the bumper sticker that says, “No Fat Chicks?” Well, I saw a young woman the other day wearing a t-shirt that said, “No Old Dudes.” You’re probably familiar with the concept of the MILF, but did you ever wonder why you’ve never heard of a GILF? By the way, if you ever have wondered that, you’re a sick puppy and sure hope you wash your hands before you eat.

Another cruel trick nature plays on the aging — about the time my eyes started to go, I started sprouting wiry little black hairs in places I’d prefer not having wiry little black hairs. This makes it hard to see those wiry little black hairs. Those wiry little black hairs are partially to blame — they have a wicked knack for growing where I couldn’t see them, even if I had the eyes of peregrine falcon. Places like the inside of my ears. In the great evolutionary scheme of things, why in the world would a mammal need those wiry little black hairs inside his ears?

If there is a God and I were to meet Him (or Her) and I could ask only three questions, I already know what they’d be. The first would be, “What is the meaning of life (and, God or no God, if He – or She – says, “Monty Python’s best movie,” there’s gonna be an ass-kicking). The second question would be, “So, what were the Kingsmen actually saying?” And the third would be, “What is up with the hairs? I mean, seriously — WTF?”

A setup like this only comes around once in a blue moon 7

Last night, Liz and I went to a party in Travis Heights at the home of a friend of some friends. Late in the evening the host gave some of us a tour of the house, which featured a deck on the roof.

As you know, we had a blue moon on New Year’s Eve, and we were discussing this phenomenon.

Several in our group were curious about the exact nature of a blue moon. Ever the pedant, I was happy to drop science.

“Any time there are two full moons in a month,” I explained, “the second is called a blue moon.”

“Hmm,” one of our party mused. “Is there any significance to a blue moon?”

“Not really,” I said. “It just indicates a second full moon in a month.”

“How often does that happen?” she asked.

What could I say? Mere minutes into the new year, she was handing me a totally sweet setup. For about a nanosecond I wrestled with my inner smartass and, as usual, he won. I almost hated to do it to her, but a setup like this is rare. I paused, letting her question hang just long enough for the group to process it.

“Oh,” I said, “once in a blue moon.”

And I wonder why I don’t get invited to more parties.

“Hide your glasses, Sunshine – the Viagra’s kickin’ in!” 3

I read a news story the other day that claimed that the same generation that had ushered in the sexual revolution is about to have its way with senior sex.

As they said in that movie: “Be afraid – be very afraid.”

The story was about a program on aging and sexuality in sunny Orlando, Florida. Great – like the mental image of old, naked and sweaty wasn’t bad enough, now you can add to that list the adjective “sun-damaged.” You know, leather may be sexy in some situations, but not when it’s hanging in folds from your paramour’s bones.

The doctor who led the program said, “Attitudes about sex among seniors are changing as the baby boom generation comes along. They want more information about staying sexually active as they get older.” Here’s some information, fellow boomers: keep your eyes closed. And speaking of mental images, here’s a couple of helpful words for you guys: Salma Hayek.

One couple attending the program had been married for 48 years; they said they came to learn new ways to add spark to their relationship. The guy was quoted as saying, “She knows all my tricks by now.” If that’s the case, then she’s probably hip to that Salma Hayek thing, too.

In the song, “My Generation,” Pete Townsend famously wrote, “Hope I die before I get old.” Had he been even half as clever as he thought he was, he would have said, “Hope I die before I have to get naked with an old person.” (Pete, here’s an idea: maybe you could rework the chorus lyrics to say, “Talkin’ ’bout old genitalia.” Just a thought.)

For reasons I probably don’t need to enumerate, most people don’t think of older folks (especially when we’re trying to eat) as sexually active. But research shows that sexual activity occurs in about 73 percent of those aged 57-64, 53 percent of those 65-74, and 26 percent of those 75 and older. The research did not specify if those figures reflect sex with partners; if you toss in that parameter, I bet the numbers go down. Way down.

The article said that Boomers are less likely to accept and internalize society’s view of asexual seniors. The organizer said,  “One of the problems is that there are few role models of elderly sexuality. There aren’t a lot of media portrayals of sexually active seniors.”

To that, one can say only, thank heaven for small graces. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to see portrayals of sexually active seniors. “Sexually active” usually implies nudity (as I recall) and that’s a sight I can live without — glasses or no glasses.