Sunday, August 11, 2013

Guy Smiley and Here is Your Life

Recently, I desperately needed to be cheered up.

I called my friend V because he can make me laugh, and so he did, immediately, when he referred to my Beagle as my little "Guy Smiley."

And here is your Here is Your Life host, Guy Smiley!

Instead of rehashing the horrors of my day, which never helps as much as you think it will, V and I launched right into recalling every detail that we could about Guy Smiley, the muppet, and his Sesame Street game show, "This is Your Life."

I remembered that Guy Smiley always got caught inside the stage curtain as he made his way out to the camera, and he would flail around in that distinctly Muppety way until he burst out (An early Kramer?). I also remembered an episode in which a tender-hearted loaf of bread was brought onto the game show (under the guise of being delivered to be made into a club sandwich) so she could be reunited with long-lost friends.

"Loaf of bread, here is your life!!"

I went home and YouTubed it, and realized then that the writers of 1980's Sesame Street were out of their minds.

Such a thought never even occurred to me when I was little.

In that episode, a loaf of bread with long eyelashes arrives on the set of the game show and asks how many slices of herself will be needed.

But Guy Smiley surprises her by, instead, bringing out the baker who baked her. (The studio audience coos when the baker shows a picture of the bread in her formative state, just an "adorable little recipe.")

Guy Smiley then promises to reveal the loaf of bread's best friend, another loaf who once sat on a grocery store shelf beside her. (Loaf of bread winces in anguish when she remembers the day that someone purchased that neighboring loaf and took her away.)

Guy Smiley then produces that long lost loaf... sort of. That loaf of bread has since been turned into two sandwiches and two plates of French toast, which, inexplicably, now have their very own personalities and even speak French!

But the best part might be when Guy Smiley announces that the show will be providing the loaf of bread with...a charm she'll always remember the day!

What? That's nuts!

But I remember watching the loaf of bread's show when I was little, and taking it perfectly seriously. I also remember the episode in which the oak tree is reunited with the cloud who rained on him, and when Guy Smiley visits a museum to surprise a painting of a bowl of fruit, which has eyeballs and is overcome with emotion when the paintbrush who painted him shows up.

I wonder if Sesame Street --and these very shows-- contributed to my steadfast belief that all things have feelings. When I was little, I believed that everything had feelings, and I thought that everything longed to do what it was meant to do. This is how I formed irrational attachments, and wept when my parents traded in our old car (I was sure it was devastated to be sent away), and wanted to rescue every garage-sale stuffed animal. I'd feel sorry for every lost and lonely glove, who surely felt useless and humiliated without its mate. I was convinced my first bicycle felt abandoned when I outgrew it.

Today, I know that's absurd, but I still feel sorry when I, say, send one of my purses to the secondhand store. I wonder if it casts a sad glance back at my other purses and thinks, "But what did I do? Wasn't I pretty enough?" And I hope it has a nice life, with someone who likes it and takes it to lots of places.

See what you did to me, Guy Smiley?


In other news, here are my current favorite things:

Taking my dog everywhere. I'm going to be really, really sad when summer is over and I can no longer socialize by making my friends join me at parks, or restaurants, bars and coffee shops with patio seating. Right now, if you want to see me, you also see my Beagle.

I guess most people leave their dogs at home most of the time. My dog knows that unless I'm going to work, the sound of my keys jangling means that we're headed for adventure, and he gamely hops into my car's back seat. He even knows the sound of a Subaru being unlocked vs. the sound of any other kind of car.

He's up for anything, except staying home alone. And he is the most perfect, amiable little sidekick.

Let's go play!
Related: Food Trucks. The biggest summer food trend, especially for people with dogs, is getting delicious food out of the window of a truck! A different truck comes to my neighborhood every Monday and I am especially fond of the Pittsburgh Taco Truck, with its amazing avocado cream, and Oh My Grill, which serves gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and dipping sauces.

I also love the crepe truck:

and I love that Porter can come along when I dine this way.
I would like to invent a salad truck, who would have a dazzling array of toppings on various lettuces. Things like chick peas, hard boiled eggs, avocado, artichokes, cheeses, slivered almonds, and homemade dressings.

Also, still, Pearl Jam, who played two wonderful shows in London, Ontario and Wrigley Field, Chicago, in July. I'll see those guys in Pittsburgh in October for a long-awaited hometown show.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dog-Friendly Dining in Pittsburgh

Dear local dog owners,
Will you help me add to this list?

Dog-friendly restaurants in Pittsburgh-Updated 9.20.15:

City East

Regent Square 
Biddle's Escape - coffee shop - porch - year round
61B - sidewalk ordering and seating - seasonal
D'z Six Packs and Dogs - sidewalk tables - seasonal
Thai Cottage - sidewalk tables - seasonal
Square Cafe - sidewalk tables - seasonal
Map Room - sidewalk tables - seasonal
Park Pizza and Cream - sidewalk ordering and seating - ask for the order window in wintertime
Food trucks visit Animal Nature every Monday and Biddle's Escape every Wednesday, summers only!

Squirrel Hill
61C - coffee shop - patio - year round, though chairs may be stacked in wintertime
Te Cafe - sidewalk tables, but not much room - seasonal
Tutti Fruiti - one sidewalk table - seasonal
Silky's - two sidewalk tables - seasonal
Aladdin's - sidewalk tables - seasonal

East Liberty 
Panera Bread Bakery Square patio - year round
Coffee Tree Roasters Bakery Square - patio - year round
Social Bakery Square - patio
Dinette - sidewalk tables - seasonal
Whole Foods - patio - year round
Verde - side patio
East End Brewing 

Oh Yeah Ice Cream - patio - year round
Cappy's - 5-6 sidewalk tables
China Palace
Girasole - patio
Soba - side patio
Brasserie 33 - sidewalk tables

Coca- sidewalk tables - seasonal
Round Corner Cantina - not back patio, but front tables on Butler Street
New Amsterdam (when they have the garage door up)

Highland Park
Park Brugge
Tazzo D'Oro


Voodoo Brewing 

(Will someone inquire about The Porch and report back?)

City South

South Side 
Double Wide Grill patio
Big Dog Coffee - patio

City North

Atria's, Federal Street (PNC Park) - patio
Bettis Grills - outdoor tables
Redfin Blues - patio

Il Pizzaiaolo - Mt. Lebanon - sidewalk tables - seasonal
Aladdins - sidewalk tables - seasonal
Crazy Mocha - Brentwood
Hartwood Restaraunt - Glenshaw
Grist House - Millvale

Links to other resources (I have not confirmed these places) - Pittsburgh
CBS Pittsburgh's List of Best Pet-Friendly Restaurants