Dogs Playing Poker Doesn’t Qualify as Art?!

Friday afternoon, I was wandering around one of my favorite areas of Portland – the Hawthorne District. It’s fun, funky and cool. The people watching alone makes it a worthy destination! There’s a place there called House Of Vintage where I love to browse. It’s a cavernous store full of vintage (or retro, or antique) appliances, decorations, knickknacks, clothing, etc. It’s already a well-established fact that I am in love with the 1970s (see: my fascination with/collections of lava lamps, tie-dye, peace signs, vinyl records, and someday – hopefully – a VW Bus). So, when I spotted a groovy tapestry that featured dogs playing poker – and for a mere $29 – I knew I had to have it! My mistake was firing off a text to my girlfriend.

Do we want a dogs playing poker tapestry?? I wrote, and included a photo of said tapestry in all its velvety glory. I’m dead serious…

Um…no. Maybe one day when you have a man cave, she responded.

The rest of the conversation went like this:

But…I love it!
But…where would you put it??
In the dining room.
You’re a nut.
A nut who loves tacky 70s stuff. Good thing you’re moving in, or I’d totally buy that.
You could hang it in the garage.
Nah. Such a thing of beauty deserves a place of prominence.

And just like that, my dreams were dashed. I still thought Tara was slightly crazy for not recognizing the beauty of this amazing tapestry (which I genuinely did love), so I posted a photo on Facebook, and was promptly bombarded with a slew of less than enthusiastic comments.

Puke, wrote Monica.

Ummmm…WTF, Mark???? chimed in Wendy.

Mark, they don’t appreciate your refined taste in “art,” said Mike, the lone male in the conversation. Suddenly this man was my savior, the sole voice of reason in a sea of negativity. Dogs playing poker must be a “guy” thing.

And then Wendy slammed the coffin lid when she replied, I thought you WANTED Tara to move in.

It’s really not that bad…is it??

Say what you will, but I think this is a perfectly lovely piece of art.

I guess it takes a certain type of person to appreciate that kind of artwork. I personally thought it would look fantastic hanging on the dining room wall. A real conversation starter, for sure! I’m forced to concede that perhaps dogs playing poker is a “guy” thing, along with lighted beer signs (I’ve got one hanging in the garage!) and bikini calendars. I love Tara to pieces, but man, she broke my heart with her resistance to that masterpiece. We’ve got so much else in common, I was rather shocked that our tastes deviated so drastically when it came to this tapestry. In retrospect though, I suppose I should have known. Each time she’s come out here, she has managed to “girl” the place up a bit more. Last time she left I found myself with a pumpkin-scented air freshener downstairs and a sorta-flowery air diffuser in the bedroom. And she’s already talking about things like a throw rug in the living room and plants hanging from the ceiling.

Living together is going to be an adventure!

Speaking of adventures (and demonstrating the fine art of segueing), my whole Friday was chock full of fun! I started out by heading downtown for the first showing of The Hunger Games. I haven’t looked forward to a movie so much in ages, and this one felt like an Event. I devoured the trilogy in a matter of weeks, and even though it’s marketed as Young Adult fiction, the story is dark enough (kids fighting other kids to death in an arena while an enthralled nation watches the bloody spectacle on television) to appeal to adults, too. And when I finished each book, I passed it on to Audrey, who tore through them just as quickly, providing us with a nice father-daughter bonding experience. We would discuss plot points and various characters over dinner each night, something we’d never done before. So, how was the film? Pretty damn good, as a matter of fact. The story was condensed in places, a few characters were cut, and the tension between Katniss and Peeta was downplayed quite a bit, but it was a faithful and satisfying rendition. I loved seeing the book brought to life, and many of the characters – Effie Trinket, Caesar Flickerman, and especially Haymitch Abernathy – were spot-on. Woody Harrelson rocks, and Jennifer Lawrence is the perfect choice for Katniss Everdeen. I can’t wait to see what they do with Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

The theater was also packed to the rafters. I see a lot of movies, and I’ve gotta say, I haven’t encountered crowds like this since…ever. Black Swan came close, but that was during Christmas break and an evening show. The matinee on Friday started at 11:30, and it took me twenty minutes just to exit the parking garage. I predict a huge weekend opening.

It was around 3:00 by the time I reached Hawthorne. Later than I’d planned, and rush hour traffic would be kicking in shortly, so I just decided to spend a couple of extra hours there in order to avoid it. After the vintage store and my aborted attempt at buying the dogs playing poker tapestry, I stopped by the Bagdad Theater for a cocktail and an appetizer at the McMenamin’s pub. My Cable Car was delish, and the Cajun tater tots hit the spot. I then wandered around for quite awhile, stopping in various shops (a record store, a bookstore, an Italian market) and soaking in the sights. Like this one.

I told you Hawthorne was great for people watching! It’s like a street full of sensory overload.

Nothing screams “Portland!” like a fake kidnapping. Fortunately, she was a mannequin.

I think.


As the sun sank lower, I figured it was finally time to head for home. I ordered a pizza to go from Hot Lips, and then hit the freeway. Fortunately, my timing was perfect, and the traffic flowed smoothly – I had managed to avoid rush hour altogether.

Got home, watched a movie, read for awhile (11/22/63 by Stephen King – I am enthralled with this book!), and then went to bed. It was a near perfect day! The only thing missing was Tara, of course.

And my beautiful dogs playing poker tapestry…

28 thoughts on “Dogs Playing Poker Doesn’t Qualify as Art?!

  1. Sweetie, had I known you were so in love with the damn thing, I would’ve told you to get it. And then over the course of a few weeks and several re-arranging of wall hangings…it could have ended up in the garage.

    Sure wish we had spent the day together. I can’t wait to experience all the wonderful weirdness Portland has to offer!


    1. LMAO! I see…it would have slowly shifted its way into the garage, huh? Sneaky. Maybe I should consider turning Rusty’s room into a “man den” instead of a guest room when he leaves for college next year!

      I can’t wait to explore Portland with you, either. You’ll love Hawthorne! And Alberta. And downtown…


  2. Sometimes I think that you and I are twins separated at birth. However, I’m not so sure about the dog tapestry. I mean, part of me would say “Totally cool…get it!” But the other (girl) part that actually has decorating sense (hi Tara!), says “Get that, and it’ll be hanging in the garage.”

    We girl’s tend to sneak in, huh? It’s like the episode of Big Bang Theory where Penny has to point out every sign that Leonard’s gf has, indeed, moved in.

    But, trust me, you’ll like having scented candles and plants. Or you can learn to pretend. It makes us happy. Right, Tara?

    Btw…I’m fighting Ross on a lot of the vintage decor I want. He said No to a pink toilet, damn him. And I’m 40’s to your 70,s…pink vs avacado green.


    1. I almost mentioned my fondness for avocado green in this post! And orange, too. You saw my coffee/tea/sugar/flour canister – which I also happened to score at the House Of Vintage! Love that thing.

      The pink toilet might be a bit much, though…


  3. But playing poker in itself is an art. The art part is playing Seven Card Stud with five other people and winning the pot bluffing against a straight, two flushes, and a full house with 5-6-10-J-K of mixed suits. Now that’s art ! Tapestry? Better off listening to it by Carol King.


    1. Remind me to never play cards with you! Unless you’re bluffing about bluffing…maybe that’s your game…maybe I could really clean up…or maybe you aren’t really bluffing…

      Remind me to never play cards with you!


  4. Art is personal. As much as the entire world hates that piece, it is perfectly acceptable for you to live it and show off your taste (which is all in your mouth). My dad likes bobble heads, pez and cowboy art. Mom let’s him decorate the laundry room. Having a place to express hs own taste has saved their marriage… And mom’s pretty home.


  5. I have to agree with The Edmonton Tourist and say that art is personal. Therefore, what one person likes, might not be what another person likes.

    “I guess it takes a certain type of person to appreciate that kind of artwork.”

    Personally, I like the piece. I’ve seen it several times in picture framing shops and thought it was very clever. However, it’s not something I would hang in my own place because it’s just not my style. But I DO appreciate it.

    OMG…I can’t WAIT until Tara moves in and you start posting about your decorating clashes. It’s going to make for more GREAT blog fodder, I can tell!

    I’ve not seen the “Hunger Games” yet, but I’ve heard from MANY people that it was great!

    LOVE the photograph of the car, Mark! It’s STELLAR!

    Glad you had a super weekend, buddy!


    1. I agree with you both, art is definitely personal. Yet, everybody pretty much agrees that the Sistine Chapel is a thing of beauty, right? Well, hello! They’re practically companion pieces to one another. Hell, I’ll bet Michelangelo would have painted dogs playing poker on the ceiling of that old church if he’d thought of it!


  6. This one made me laugh and I could really ‘hear’ the two of you converse.

    I agree that art is personal. After all, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” I, for one, am not a huge dogs playing poker fan but it doesn’t matter. What matters is what you like. Granted, it may end up in the garage or your man-cave and it’s a steal at only $29.00 and it is a tapestry and it’s only $29.00 so….ah…I’ll just leave it up to you!

    The pumpkin air freshener is from Bath and Body Works and you can get the refills there.

    Can’t wait to see you guys in a couple of weeks. 🙂


    1. See, babe? Your mom says it’s a steal. SHE’S ON MY SIDE!!!

      Err…I think.

      Looking forward to another night at Casa Cutler. Just be sure those peace symbol sheets are nice and Downy fresh for us!


      1. Just another set of flannels. Please don’t feel bad Mark. I’m thrilled that you love them as much as you do. Honest!! I lucked out getting them in the first place and the reason being so I could give them to you…


  7. Oh, the Hawthorne District. How I miss thee and your sweet outdoor pub seating, the tattooed and proud pedestrians, the kitchy shops, the pine state biscuits, the walk to Laurelhurst park! LOVED that neighborhood! I want to move there so bad! Someday! Someday!!!

    Glad you liked the Hunger Games so much! It is awesome; loved that you Audrey got to chat over dinner. It’s amazing that the dogs playing poker tapestry wouldn’t have sparked the same stimulating conversation…for shame.


    1. You summed up Hawthorne perfectly in just one sentence, Jess. And did you know there’s a Packers themed fish ‘n chips restaurant there? You’d feel right at home!

      I think the dogs playing poker tapestry absolutely *would* spark some scintillating conversation. Since Tara’s mom wants me to buy it, maybe I should!


      1. I didn’t say I wanted you too…I just said they were a steal at $29.00 and I was leaving it up to you….lol


    1. Did you know there’s one version of the painting where cats and dogs are sitting down together playing poker? Talk about living in perfect harmony. It brings a tear to the eye, I tell you.


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