fuzzy, black dogs

fuzzy, black dogs
All three of my fuzzy, black dogs -- Bob, Ace and Lilly.

Phillip's Scenic Overlook

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

From top to bottom: Lilly, Ace and Bob.

Three tired, fuzzy, black dogs all tuckered out after ringing in the New Year. 

Happy New Year to all my readers!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

New Year Resolutions, Fuzzy, Black Dogs Style

The fact that you're reading this right now means that I'm still alive, well and writing. I stared death in the face and lived to tell my tale! I took a licking and kept on... Ugh! Gross!

That could have been a good pun, but the event it refers to is just too fresh in my mind. Regardless, the above topic and pun reflect my first two resolutions for 2015. I resolve not to lick ANY dogs (ever!) and to create and print more and better puns and witticisms. Especially puns that refer to fish...

For the curious, here is the remainder of my list of New Year Resolutions.

I resolve to keep my readers updated on any weird, new products available to the unsuspecting public.

I resolve to hone my selfie-taking skills and take a good selfie of myself. Is that redundant? I'll also locate and eradicate redundancies in my writing!

Good focus, bad aim and perhaps a little less hair gel...

I resolve to overcome my addiction to Pop-Tarts. In case of failure, I plan to reduce my Pop-Tart intake. Significantly.

I resolve to run more 5K's in 2015 and the future. That's my contingency plan should my backup plan of the reduction of Pop-Tarts not work out the way it is supposed to.

My last ditch effort resolution should none of this work is to get Pop-Tarts to sponsor this blog. I wonder if they'd pay in cash or toaster pastries?

I resolve to petition Clairol to rename their hair coloring from Nice 'n Easy to something more accurate. Maybe just shorten it to Nice. I didn't perceive it to be that easy. Regardless, my wife will have to find someone else to help her in the future.

I resolve to take my idea for CeleBags to the guys on ABC's Shark Tank. Perhaps my first bags will be Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, Robert Herjavec, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John and Lori Greiner. I've heard schmoozing sometimes helps with those guys.

And, when I finally take down Christmas, I resolve to store the top of the Christmas tree in the same general area that I store the rest of the tree. Let's pray I remember THIS resolution a week from now!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Fond Farewell

My dear readers. It is with a heavy heart that I write this, but, alas, this could be my final post. I've been assassinated by a dog.

The guilty party.

Given my socioeconomic status, as well as my financial status, you may think I'm being melodramatic. However, keeping my celebrity status (as the creator of Fuzzy, Black Dogs, of course) in mind, I don't think so.

Regardless, as of this moment, I estimate that I have one hour and 20 minutes left to live. My teenager estimated two hours since the incident occurred.

Here's the incident in a nutshell. I was joking with my son and playing with Bob. I pretended I was going to lick Bob (pretend being the operative word here! Yuck!). Bob saw his opportunity and went for the kill and licked me. Two things touched that should never, ever come into contact with one another!

My son, who witnessed this transgression, did some quick math. He estimated I had approximately two hours to live. That was 11:45am, Eastern Standard Time.

Considering that Bob has eaten, literally, remote controls, oranges, canine excrement, trash, leashes, branches, bugs, lettuce, eggshells, dirty socks and other items unknown, my son and I are certain I'm a goner.

We spent a good 60 seconds pondering our mortality and fates. Then my son put a hand on my shoulder.
"You've been a great dad," he said, "but I've got things to do. So long, pop."
And off he went.

I should go now. I'm waiting for phone calls from J-Lo, Kimmy K. and Madonna, among others. They're sure to call to grieve with me.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Great Christmas Gift Ideas

Yet another incredibly awesome gift idea item at the little family drugstore in which I work, and just in time for Christmas!

It's the desktop drum set! You can set it on your desktop, right beside your desktop computer. Anytime's a good time for a great drum solo! Perhaps you just made a great pun and you need to accentuate it with a brief drum rift. Or, perhaps, you need a staccato burst to signify the importance of something you've just said.

Don't know how to play the drums? That's okay. A little practice on the desktop drum set and you'll be able to "Jam like a superstar!"

To make this deal a little more enticing, the drumsticks are included! Holy cymbal clap, Batman!

You better believe I'll be jumping on this deal! In fact, I have already measured the drums and know exactly where they will sit on my table at school.

While my principal is momentarily unaware of the upcoming purchase and placement of said drums, I have supreme confidence that she'll understand and back me on this little monetary venture.

After all, how distracting could a miniature drum set really be to a bunch of third, fourth and fifth-graders? No worries! It's all good.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving From the 5K Turkey

To 5K or not to 5K, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows...

Honestly, I did suffer some sharp, shooting pains up my shins this morning at the Thanksgiving 5K Fun Run in Lexington, NC. Scratch the run part since I actually had to walk part of the 5K!

For some reason, I thought it would be fun to wake up very early on Thanksgiving morning and run slightly more than three miles in a slight drizzle with 100 or so similarly insane people.

Despite the fact that I am currently falling to pieces, we did manage to have fun this morning. I think. We all finished and I don't think they had to scrape anyone off the road.

Regardless, so far so good this Thanksgiving Day. The 5K turkey (pictured below) and I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving! Gobble, gobble!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Missing: One Christmas Tree Top

It is approximately two feet tall, is green (same green as the photo above), looks evergreenish and is made of metal and plastic on account of the fact that my poor son is allergic to real, live Christmas trees.

So how, exactly, does one lose one-third of a Christmas tree when the entire thing was put up at the same time, in the same place by only one person? My only answer is this -- with great skill!

My only other explanation is that someone, missing a tree top themselves, broke into my house and took my tree top. Filthy, rotten scoundrel! I may have to fire my fuzzy, black dogs and get a fuzzy, black Rottweiler!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Stealers Set to Take Superbowl

We are well into November and everyone knows what that means -- football! That's right, we're in the thick of football season and everyone is making predictions, including me.

This may sound like blaspheme to some, but I don't normally keep up with football. In fact, I couldn't tell you who won the last Super Bowl, or even the two teams who played in it.  I can, though, tell you they had some pretty good commercials. And I do remember some half-time shows, wardrobe malfunctions and all.

Regardless, I have studied the ins and outs of football during the last few days. Here are my observations and  predictions for the rest of the season.

First of all, NFL stands for National Football League and AFL stands for American Football League. Some teams belong to one league, while others belong... Well, to the other. Duh!

Secondly, football is a sport where you are not allowed to touch the ball with your hands.

Wait! Scratch that... That is football to the rest of the world, otherwise known as soccer. On this side of the pond, football is a sport where a ball can be kicked, thrown, fumbled, passed or run by a bunch of guys wearing enough padding to protect them from a charging rhino.

Anyway, we have all these teams out there pounding and beating on each other, vying to be the top two teams to beat on each other in the final bout known simply as the Super Bowl. And what does the winner of that get? Cuts, scrapes, sprains, bruises, broken bones, an occasional Gatorade dunking and a little trophy.

Oh yeah! My wife just reminded me that they also get these little rings, as well as trips to Disney World. Is that part of the winning package?

But, again, I digress. In a nutshell, the Pittsburgh Stealers will take the whole thing. My reasoning is simple.

The Dolphins are all wet. The Bengals, as we all know, are close to extinction. The Buccaneers' ship has sailed. The Redskins are experiencing an uprising because, I think, they don't like being called Redskins. The Panthers have been poached. And the Chargers? They're maxed out.

While there's a plethora of other potential pigskin potentates out there, the Stealers...

I've just been informed by my wife that its Steelers, as in metal. Not Stealers, as in thievery. Makes sense due to the steel factories in and around Pittsburgh.

Oh great. Back to the drawing board!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Twitter for Twerps

As a father and an old man (according to my son), I detest social media. But, as a writer, I've had to learn to embrace it. Now, through my own attempts at marketing and advertising Fuzzy, Black Dogs, it seems I've become somewhat of an expert in that area.

There are lots of social media platforms out there. In fact, the number of types of social media surpasses the number of pairs of socks that I own. Like I said, lots.

I have to admit to favoring Twitter, and not just because I blogged once about how to conjugate it. I've since found out that the people who utilize and can be found on Twitter aren't Twerps. They're Tweeps. Sorry about that, Tweeps!

That may explain my lack of followers.

Regardless of what Tweeters are called, I am proficient in Tweetland. Twitterland. Twerp... Whoops -- Tweepville. Anyway, to date, I have Tweeted, Bleated and Blundered. 

However, I nearly strayed from my intended topic. Getting back on track, here is but a handful of social medias and how I have learned to interact with them. Or on them. Whichever.

Most older folks have trouble with Vine. Not me. I proficiently Vine, Whine, Grape and Raisin. I've been known to Snapchat and Claptalk. Not only do I Facebook, but I Sleepwalk and am good friends with Ed Modo.

I Pinterest with both interest and enthusiasm! I YouTube, Innertube and Jiffy Lube!

On top of all that, I Google and Bing. Yahoo! But my 16 year-old told me not to celebrate my social media knowledge too soon. He informed me those are search engines. Search what?!

Sometimes, every now and again, I just get tired of trying to keep up with all the social media. When that happens, I just throw up my hands and yell, "Oh, Instagrammit!"

Thursday, October 30, 2014

$#!% My Son Won't Do

Like any good parent, I worry about my son, and not because he will be 17 soon. I worry that he is going to miss out on life.

The thing about my son is that he doesn't just jump right in to situations. I do. I generally don't bother to look. When you look before you leap, you might see the dangers involved. That seems to serve as incentive not to do them.

I suspect that's what my son does. He looks first. It's worrisome! I'm afraid he's going to miss out on a lot of life's experiences by looking before he leaps. He says he's being careful...

Take electrified cow fences, for example. My son was with my father on my aunt and uncle's farm. My father warned him not to touch the electrified cow fence. My son's response? He steered clear of the fence.

When I was his age, curiosity would have taken hold in less than five seconds. Within another 10 seconds, I would have had a finger touching the wire just to see what it feels like to get shocked by an electrified cow fence.

My friends and I use to make human chains with one person touching the wire. That way, we could see how many people the current would go through. I remember volunteering to be the person touching the wire.

Careful and cautious has been a central theme throughout my son's life.

Once, when my son was two, I suggested we jump in some mud puddles after a big rain. He geared up in rubber boots, rubber fireman suit and hat. You know, mud jumping gear!

Once outside, my little guy looked up at me with his big brown eyes wide open with what I took to be excitement.

"Umm, Dad?" he replied. "Do you think this is a good idea? You don't know what's in there..."

I can't begin to tell you how many times I've heard the "do you think..." line, or some variation of it, in the last 16 years!

I had quite the sense of adventure as a kid. This may come as a surprise, but I still do. I like to try new things. I enjoy discovering what will happen when I take certain chances.

From birth to approximately 24 years old, my personal motto was "what if." Some strictly hypothetical examples would be 'what if I used a bedsheet for a parachute,' 'what if I used an umbrella,' 'what if I caught a snake,' 'what if I jumped my dad's car on my bicycle' and 'what if I threw a rock at that hornet nest.'

My son exhibits none of my natural curiosity. He definitely reads a lot. He Googles a lot, too. He loves to learn things, though not necessarily experience them.

Luckily, he has a caring, wonderful father who looks out for him. In fact, what if I booked a father-son bonding sky diving clinic for the two of us? Now THAT would be exciting and fun! Now if I can just convince him.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Paid Time Off Is Hard Work

I've diligently checked the current, extended and long-range forecasts for several days now and things are not looking good. No snow days have been forecasted for the remainder of October. Or for the entire month of November!

I think my co-workers would agree with me that a snow day would be awesome right about now. My snow dance, however many times I perform it, seems to have no bearing on the weather. No snow equals school, or work, for me.

If snow days are out of the question, then what? The answer came to me quickly. Holidays!

Tomorrow is October 24. Tomorrow is also National Bologna Day. Now THAT'S a holiday worth celebrating! That's also short notice. My boss might not be so understanding of my absence.

Monday is Navy Day. Tuesday is Plush Animal Lover's Day. Wednesday is National Frankenstein Day. Thursday is National Candy Corn Day and Friday, of course, is Halloween.

I do have a plush skunk. How can I properly celebrate Plush Animal Lover's Day if I'm at work? If I fail to show up at work Tuesday, my boss and students will surely understand...

While it may be too late for October, I'm hard at work on a plan for November.

While we may have two days off for Thanksgiving in November, that may not be enough. I've started a petition to make World Peace Day a paid holiday like Christmas or Memorial Day. That would free us all up for a mental health day on November 17th.

I won't even touch December for obvious reasons. January and February generally usher in some decent school altering weather, snow dance or not!

And then there's March. There will be some big changes come March. Those changes will be dependent upon my clout as a celebrity, as well as whether or not my paperwork is approved, of course. I'm hoping to hear from President Obama any day now.

He should be signing off on my paperwork to make March 12 an official, nationally recognized, paid day off for everyone. Parades will be held. Future students will be forced to read about it and write reports. You may be thinking "What earth-shattering event occurred on March 12?"

March 12 is the date that the creator of Fuzzy, Black Dogs was born! If that doesn't constitute a full-blown, nationally observed holiday, then I don't know does.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bass-tastic Fish Tales

"Do you expect me to talk?"
"No, Mr. Bass! I expect you to die!"

He was just a bass player in a little band. That is, until one day, a fan hooked him and stuck a finger in his mouth. That was the beginning of the end.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Bass Fish

"But you look like a baritone."
"Nope. I only sing bass."

Quick honey! Get out the Ronco Bass-O-Matic! Mmmm! That's good bass!

My mental radio seemed to be out of synch. I decided to adjust a little bass.

Another fisherman saw my catch.
"Nice fish," he said. "What're you fishing with?"
"Well," I replied, "I started with a treble hook, but ended with a bass hook."

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fifth-Grader Kills Off Aliens

As a teacher's assistant working with third, fourth and fifth-graders, I'm very wary of dogs, aliens and unavoidable tragedies of epic proportions. 

Approximately 30-some odd years ago, when I was in fifth grade, all my friends, neighbors and I owned homework-eating dogs. These dogs look like any other dogs. They are only identifiable by being caught in the act. This also poses a problem since they very rarely are.

Regardless, my homework was targeted by these dogs more so than either of my sisters. Perhaps because I did so much of it. Maybe mine was tastier. Whatever the reason, it was most unfair how often I came to class empty handed because of that nefarious dog.

Even worse than the dogs in those days were the aliens! They buzzed around like scavenging mosquitoes. They took anything that wasn't nailed down like, for example, my homework. Imagine that.

Those aliens weren't picky, either. Besides homework, they took house keys, car keys, money, dog leashes, books, pencils, paper... You name it. They took it.

As if the dogs and the aliens weren't enough, we also had tragedies of epic proportions in those days. You know the kind. These are the inexplicable events that just randomly occur that cause homework sucking vortexes to materialize out of thin air. There's no explaining them.

Honestly, it was a miracle that I ever even finished high school. The amount of time I spent guarding the work I did left me with little time to do it. Despite my due diligence, I was not able to protect the amazing amount of homework that I produced!

This, of course, explains my dismay to my fifth-grader's response concerning her lost math packet last Monday. I stopped her and asked if she had found it.
"Umm," she said. "No, Mr. Haworth."
"Holy shmoly," I exclaimed. "Was it eaten by a dog?"
"We don't have a dog, Mr. Haworth," she said, and giggled.
"Aliens," I said. "It must have been aliens! They took it, right?"
"There's no aliens, Mr. Haworth," she replied.
I stood there a moment, stunned.

No aliens? No homework-eating dogs? Her casual comments killed them off quickly and efficiently. I simply didn't have the heart to allow her to kill off the tragedies of epic proportions. Despite her predicted reaction to these tragedies, I am certain that they still exist somewhere in this world. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

New, Inspired Line of Bookbags

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Cars, Disney princesses, My Little Ponies and Monster High are some. Jansport, Nike and Airwalk are a few others.

Thanks to the innovative creators of Fuzzy, Black Dogs, we have an all new, totally different line of bookbags. We call them CeleBags!

So what's the difference between our bags and regular bookbags? CeleBags may have all the same compartments and zippers. CeleBags are made of the same sturdy material. So what makes them special? Authors!

Just think how cool your kid will be walking in to school sporting the newest Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., the C.S. Lewis or William Golding CeleBag.

You may be wondering, why authors? Why CeleBag? Simply put, authors are celebrities, too!

Take this LeBron James character, as an example. Who is this guy? Is he really somebody important? He's probably some famous tennis player, or relatively well-known sports figure of some sort.

Now take John of Garland, as a comparison. Not only did he author "Dictionarius," one of the first dictionaries, he also created the word 'dictionary.' Imagine how proud your child would be to carry his name, or perhaps Thomas Pynchon, upon his back! 

 LeBron? He could only hope to be so famous or important!

The CeleBag will come in a variety of colors and styles. CeleBags will be for kids of all ages. Best of all, CeleBags can be tailored just for you! That's right -- just give us the name of your favorite author.

The first CeleBags to roll out will be limited editions featuring me, Phillip H. Haworth, creator and celebrity author of Fuzzy, Black Dogs! Don't miss out! Order yours today.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What Do Skilled Writers Do?

I sometimes like to help my wife grade her students' work, though she won't let me touch the English papers. I'm not sure why. If you don't mark everything (and I mean everything), how will they learn?

Regardless, we're only four weeks into the school year and I've already received quite the education from both her kids and mine.

My wife went down. Last year, she taught fourth-graders. This year she is teaching second grade, and she's very thankful for that. Me? I went up. I am now working with third, fourth and fifth grades.

So it was no surprise that I found myself helping out by grading my wife's second grade math papers. You know, kids are great. Their answers may not always be correct, per se, but sometimes they are really pretty accurate.

Here are just a few of the questions from the papers I graded.

What is the value of three dimes, one nickel and three pennies? The answer given -- Monday. 

Wow! Nailed it! Mondays are pretty worthless.

What is two days before Saturday? The answer given -- Monday.
Another asked what is two days after Monday? The answer given -- Friday.

Wishful thinking, kiddos. Wishful thinking.

While I've also learned a bit from my upper grades, my favorite thing is a poster in one of my fifth grade classes. It's titled (not entitled - English lesson!) "What do SKILLED writers do?" Each student wrote on it what they thought skilled writers do.

Here's a brief sample of their contributions.

[Skilled writers] Take neat notes.

[Skilled writers] Use action words.

They make books.

They use gramer.

[Skilled writers are] Storyiers for people to read.

And my personal favorite:
they wriite flawlessley...  I guess...

I'm currently working on my next flawless blog post. It will be neat, since I'll compose it on the computer. It will also include some action words.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

C25K in the Rain? No Way!

I shouldn't be divulging secret identities, especially within my family. Regardless, I'm going to anyway. It's my son. He's Aquaman.

I should mention here that I don't particularly care for rain or rainy days. Allow me to add that I used to be a swimmer, so I just don't like to get wet. So, C25K in the rain? No way!

It should also be mentioned that my son enjoys waking up early as much as I did when I was 16. And he's just about as friendly as my younger self was, although I think I was a little nicer.

Anyway, I woke him up to run with me Monday morning. I looked out the door. Rain, ugh. I told him to go back to bed "cause I don't run in the rain. It makes you wet."

My son jumped -- literally -- from his bed. Yes, it was a first. He dashed to the front door. He stepped out in the rain and his face lit up like a six-year-old on Christmas morning.

"Oh such glorious weather," he announced. "Why wouldn't we run? Are you crazy?!"

Against my wishes and better judgment, I allowed my lunatic teenager to drag me out the door into that wet, nasty morning.

Normally, within the first three running minutes, he's dying as my energy starts revving. But as the rain pitter-pattered upon his skin, Aquaman was only getting started.

Halfway through that horrendous run, I suffered a brief hallucination where I was 16 and my son transformed into my father, extolling the health virtues and character-building traits of running through a monsoon-like rainstorm.

I did finish the run. I managed to keep the grumbling to a minimum. And, just for the record, despite what Aquaman says, I do not suffer from seasonal bipolar disorder!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Pop-Tarts Caper

It was only the second day of school and we already had a major problem on our hands. The Pop-Tarts had gone missing!

Here's the basic, pertinent information, in a nutshell.

They moved the machine from the snack room to make room for Mr. Haworth. Hey! That's me! Where did they put it? In the first grade wing, of course. That actually made the most sense. 

The other snack machine also has Pop-Tarts, sometimes. That machine, however, doesn't always dispense them correctly. It only releases the cheaper snacks, literally.

Please keep in mind that Pop-Tarts are, quite possibly, the most amazing breakfast food ever. You can eat them hot or cold. You can eat them while you're driving, walking or performing your morning duty. They come in a variety of colors and flavors. And, best of all, the Pop-Tarts company infused vitamins and stuff in them to make them healthy!

Imagine my surprise when I got to the first grade wing that second day for my happy, healthy breakfast and, gasp, no Pop-Tarts!
Note, if you will, the obvious hole in an otherwise full snack machine.

I was most distraught. I began grumbling about the first grade and kindergarten teachers eating all my Pop-Tarts. Although, I suppose they deserve happy, healthy breakfasts, too.

Extreme circumstances call for extreme measures, of course. On night two, Mr. Haworth, aka, the creator of Fuzzy, Black Dogs, actually sojourned to the grocery store and parked the car. He marched straight to the breakfast aisle and purchased said Pop-Tarts. End of story and problem solved. Or was it?

Someone who shall remain nameless obviously has a self-control issue concerning Pop-Tarts. This explains the reason why they are kept safe in a metal and glass enclosure.