When we bought my dad’s house on Buena Vista Avenue last June, we inherited a gourmet kitchen. The previous owner, an executive with Nike Sports, made several million dollars a year, but he was really a frustrated chef. He dumped $260,000 into his little slice of cooking heaven. Nike; however, didn’t care about his fantasy life as the next Gordon Ramsey – they fancied him a guy who wines and dines basketball players for shoe contracts and, several months later, they transferred him to another office … in Portland, Oregon.
My dad loves his garden apartment, and Jazzy loves having a yard, but the kitchen was definitely the selling point for me. With its open floor plan, the space is perfect for cooking and socializing or, when you’re on your own, there’s a clear view of the TV. I find nothing more relaxing than making my mother’s chicken croquettes or my grandfather’s spaghetti botarga while catching up on the day’s news on CNN. Naturally, Jazzy likes to help, by lying near my feet and cleaning up whatever drops near her nose. When there’s nothing to clean up, she grabs a favorite stuffed toy and sprawls out on the sofa, her head on the nearest pillow, blue eyes fixed on the screen.
Now I know all dogs watch TV, but Jasmine really watches TV, and she has some strong reactions to what she sees.
When the race for the democratic nominee heated up, Jazzy was entranced by Senator Barack Obama’s cool style, staring intensely at him through an entire speech, big pink bunny in her mouth. When Senator Hillary Clinton gave her almost-concession speech in the canary yellow pantsuit, however, Jazz began a low growl; she dropped the pink bunny and slid her two front feet onto the floor to get a closer look, which caused her to lift her top lip Elvis-style and growl even louder. On the night Hillary did concede, wearing a simple black number, Jazzy didn’t growl. She watched, pink bunny across her paws, big head on the pink bunny, but she eventually slid off the sofa and came to lie by my feet. She sniffed for scraps, drew in a deep sigh, and took a nap. I know they say dogs are colorblind, so I’m not sure if it really was the fashion statement she didn’t like or one of the two sides of Hillary.
Before I say that my pit bull picked the democratic nominee, I need to be fair and disclose that she has other strong reactions to things on the tube. She absolutely hates the Six Flags commercial – you know, the one where the Japanese guy’s huge head bursts on the screen, yelling, “Six Flags, more fun!” That commercial drives her absolutely insane. She will awake from a snoring sleep, bark at the screen, grab one of her toys, usually the stuffed duck with giraffe spots (or, as I call it, the “girducken”), and shake it at as if trying to break its neck. All I can figure is that she agrees with everyone else I know – the commercial is not only annoying, it’s racist. It can’t be the guy’s crazy energy because she’s a big fan of Jim Cramer, the financial guru on CNBC who runs around the set like a wild man teaching viewers how to make “Mad Money.” I have to admit, I have a little crush on the Cramer – yes, he’s short and bald, but what’s sexier than a funny, brilliant man who knows how to work it? Jasmine is definitely a true-blue Cramerican, though she does growl at the cartoon bears that run across the screen in a down market. (Then again, so do I.)
She also likes Judge Judy; she watches intensely and seems to have learned the one thing the idiots in Her Honor’s court haven’t – to put on her listening ears.
Usually, animals on the screen elicit some sort of barking or growling. She barely growled at Growing Up Camel on Animal Planet, but she barked so much at Growing Up Grizzly that I had to change the channel. I have no idea why she’s better with camels than grizzlies, unless she’s still making that bear/bad market connection.
You would think The Dog Whisperer would drive her nuts, but she’s quite well behaved as she watches with me, even during the worst “red zone” cases. Cesar Milan does have doggy magic and, it seems, it transmits even to dogs watching him on Nat-Geo.
As for the upcoming presidential election, Jazzy remains an ObamaMama. She’s definitely not a fan of Senator John McCain. During his last speech, she fell asleep – big blue elephant across her paws, big head on the blue elephant, my un-feminine flower, snoring like a man.