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I left my tooth in San Francisco

After communing with the trees in Redwood Country, Ace and I rushed through the rest of northern California — high-tailing it through Marijuana Country, barreling through Wine Country and feeling a bit like the Joads as, being occupants of what was clearly the dirtiest car on the highway, we rolled through Rich Folk Country.

Humboldt, Mendocino and Marin Counties were but a blur as we hurried south — trying to get to the Monterey area in time for an appointment. We stopped in the San Francisco area only long enough to eat lunch and try to get a photograph of Ace at the Golden Gate Bridge.

It was a chicken salad sandwich that did me in — more specifically, the bread on which it was piled. My troublesome dental cap came off again — as it has every week or so, after which I put in in my pocket and, later, glue it back on.

This time, unless it’s somewhere in my duffel bag, I seem to have lost it.

There is a direct correlation between how much of a hurry you are in and how many things go wrong. Everybody knows this. Few do anything about it. One in a hurry is more likely to leave something behind, make a mistake, forget an important chore, or behave in a reckless manner. Eighty-seven percent of bad things that happen are a result of people being in too much of a hurry.

Maybe it’s not exactly 87 percent, but it’s a lot.

This is the kind of elementary, any-doofus-knows logic that self-help authors write books about — often speedily, and with errors. It’s nose-on-your-face obvious. And yet we — often at the encouragement of our employers — don’t slow down. Not a whit.

And definitely not on Highway 101, where, since we were southbound, we couldn’t get to the official scenic vista point — unless we were willing to cross the Golden Gate, and pay its tolls, three times.

Instead, we took the last exit before the bridge and drove up a hill that’s part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, then walked up a trail that takes one to the edge of a cliff overlooking the bridge.

Low hanging clouds obscured the arches, and a wispy cold white haze climbed the mountainside and drifted right through us. A foghorn bellowed up from somewhere below every minute or so, making Ace stop in his tracks and look around. After about 10 blasts, he got used to it.

We spent 30 minutes among the clouds, then hiked back down to the car, whizzed across the bridge and through San Francisco,  seeing some familiar sights but only fleetingly and through dirty car windows. As we got back along the coast, on Highway 1, we were back in the clouds, winding along a cliffside highway past San Pedro Mountain. All the way to Half Moon Bay, almost into Santa Cruz, the fog clung to the coast like silver Spandex on a bicyclist’s behind.

I thought about all I was missing — partly because of the view-obscuring fog, partly because of my rush through San Francisco. I didn’t see a single seal. I didn’t get to mosey along Fisherman’s Wharf.

I realized if I hadn’t spent time there before, I wouldn’t be having the regrets. But I had, and they were good times, and now, just like my tongue kept reaching up to probe the gap in my grin, just as my hand kept searching my pocket for the missing cap, just as I rued that I no longer had the chops for sourdough rolls, I was focused on the void.

Voids aren’t a good thing to focus on.

So I turned on the radio, and “Uncle John’s Band” by the Grateful Dead was playing, and it was the long version, and when I got to Monterey, I cleaned my car windows, ate some Vietnamese food and snuggled with Ace on the Motel 6 bedspread.

I was still on the lookout for my fake tooth, but my outlook was improved.

Not quite ugly enough to win

Pabst — the newly named “World’s Ugliest Dog” — will be getting all the glory today, but we at ohmidog! think the ugly runners-up deserve some face time, too.

So here’s a look at some of the ugly also-rans from the annual contest, part of the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California.

dog_opie_180OPIE — One of five Chinese Cresteds in this year’s competition, Opie, 10, was found by a good samaritan and taken to an emergency veterinary clinic for help. He had a large ulcerated mass on his side that the rescue center that later took him in had removed. It was cancer. The skin on his body was covered with sores, abrasions and dried blood. Half of his lower jaw was missing. He has only one tooth. The rescue center named him Ooglee, but his new owner thinking “he should have a nice little boy’s name,” changed it to Opie. “We are so happy that we adopted this little dog. He is the kindest, sweetest, most gentle dog I have ever known,” wrote his owner, who prepares Opie’s meals in a food processor. “He entered this contest and is going to Petaluma to show everyone that old dogs and dogs with disabilites can be great pets!”

dog_mojoMOJO — The only Shar-Pei in this year’s ugly dog contest, Mojo has a face only a mother could love, says her mother, “and I absolutely adore her.”

“Despite her appearance, she is the sweetest, most lovable dog you could wish for. She always causes a stir wherever we go,” her owner added.

” We do everything together, she is the love of my life and makes me look good.” dog_rascal_180

RASCAL — Rascal, the  2002 World’s Ugliest Dog winner, is owned by actor, Dane Andrew of Sunnyvale, Ca. Naturally hairless and weighing seven pounds, he sports what his owner describes as “Einstein hair, crooked face and a tongue that hangs out due to being born without many teeth.” Rascal has had roles in a few horror films, coming out soon, and has a cartoon strip and documentary soon to debut, both named “The Ugliest Dog.” Rascal uses his ugly for good, his owner said, and will soon be coming out with a “patented trademark hot dog leash,” proceeds from the sale of which will go towards animal charities.

dog_arf_180 ARF –Arf, 12, was rescued as a puppy from a pound where he was on death row. Through his life, he has faced many battles, his owner says — dermatological problems, a disfigured front paw and eventually the loss of his back leg.

“Although his hair is sparse, and he puzzles people he meets, this three-legged dog continues to walk in pride with a sparkle in his eyes and a wag in his tail.”

To see all of the entrants and learn more about the contest, click here.

In memory of Gus, “World’s Ugliest Dog”

Gus, the irrepressible, one-eyed, three-legged, nine-year-old Chinese crested who was named the World’s Ugliest Dog at the 20th Annual Sonoma-Marin Fair in northern California, has died of skin cancer.

Gus, from St. Petersburg, Florida, was rescued by his owners, Jeanenne Teed and her daughter Janey, after they learned that it was being kept in a crate in someone’s garage.

When her pet won the contest in June, Teed said the prize money would be put toward the dog’s radiation treatment. Gus, who lost an eye in a fight with a cat, was also missing a leg that was amputated because of a skin tumor.

When Gus accompanied Janey to school one day, frightened teachers corralled him into a bathroom with a broomstick. He had a long, skinny rat tail, and looked as if he had been in a fire.

“He was the most hideous thing I had ever seen,” Jeanenne told the St. Petersburg Times, which ran an excellent story yesterday on the demise of Gus.

Recently, the cancer that took his leg returned, appearing in his spine and pressing into his abdomen. By September, he was too weak to walk. Jeaneanne, a certified public accountant, used his prize money, and her mortgage payment for October, to pay the $5,000 bill for chemotherapy.

Gus was buried in a tiny grave in the family’s backyard. Next to it, Jeaneanne planted a Butterfly bush with golden flowers.

“Something beautiful,” she said, “to grow out of all that ugly.”