Sunday, December 31, 2006
So, after our visit to Dallas we went directly to pick up Pappy. We made the mistake of taking SuperShuttle down from Baltimore-Washington Airport to our friends' house in Alexandria, Virginia, undergoing a two and a half hour meander through parking lots and back alleys of DC under the lunatic guidance of a possessed GPS.
We arrived before anyone was home. Pappy barked at us through the window in the front door until he worked out who we were, whereupon he commenced weeping, wailing, and pawing his way through the glass. Though misleading, my previous post about the composition of our friends' family was accurate. The pre-college teenage son came up shortly after we arrived. Whenever I see him I like to remind him that, when he was two years-old, I babysat him and wiped his butt. It's important for kids to know their history... where they came from.
He gave us a quick report card on Pappy's performance. Pappy was a good boy and a lot of fun. Pre-college son said he spent, like, an hour wrestling on the floor with Pappy. (Huh? Pappy doesn't wrestle. He shoves balls in your lap.) Pappy was afraid of the bare wooden steps (Okay, I can see this one. He always looks like a bag of broomsticks going down stairs, and slippery steps would probably freak him out.) And he would stand up on the landing and bark. (Huh? Pappy doesn't bark unless Timmy has fallen in the well. Did they check the well?)
All of this left me thinking that this wasn't my dog. But he looks like my dog. Suspicious. I'm going to have to keep an eye on him.
Friday, December 29, 2006
So, we are entering the last couple of days of voting on November's Cool Dog Site of the Month at Dogmark.net-- and I must remind you that Pappy's in the running for his November 22nd site of the day appearance. If you haven't voted yet, get on over there and vote your conscience. But, before you do so, I'd just like to say that you are such a pretty dog. Such a smart dog. Good dog.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
For several weeks it has been looking like the "Do They Know It's Christmas?" video might surpass the "Teletubbies Meet Pappy" video as the most viewed Pappy movie of all time, clocking slightly less than 6,000 viewings on Youtube in a month. Then, overnight, suddenly Youtube was showing that the music video has 9,250 viewings. At first I was thrilled and wondered how this might have happened. Then I started noticing all these messages in Youtube about various "temporarily disabled" features and "site maintenance"-- and the number seems to be oddly stuck at 9,250.
Color me suspicious.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Since my arrival in Dallas, my assistant Fred has been helping me with a special project. When you sort the Dogs with Blogs site listing by state, you find an inordinate number of listings for Texas. Without troubling to figure out whether any of them live in Dallas, Fred and I took to the paths and alleys to see if we could spot any blogging dogs. In addition we were looking for traces of paparazzi and guard dogs in hopes of finding the Ayatollah Mugsy's compound. The picture at left is Fred peering through the bushes, investigating a promising mansion.
So far no luck, at least as far as we could tell. I'm not exactly sure what characteristics distinguish dogs with blogs from the general population. If you're a blogging dog and happen to recognize Fred and me wandering past, come up and give us the secret handshake.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
I've written of Pappy's Uncle Fred in Dallas before. Sure, he looks like a stuffed animal, but he's as tough as nails. Today you should have seen him going after the guys with leaf blowers on the other side of the sliding glass door. And he doesn't have a yappy poodle bark, he's got the solid woof of a mutt.
It's been over a year since we visited Fred, and in that time we've lived with Pappy for almost ten months. It's weird, because when I finally saw Fred again, it was like he'd been miniaturized. He's so much smaller than Pappy, and I wouldn't have guessed that. And before our visit, if you'd asked me to guess at his age, I would have said seven or eight years-- but thinking more carefully, we realized he has to be around 13 years old. His poofy fur and trim physique help to conceal his vintage, but his eyes have gotten a bit rheumy and the skin is getting slack on his belly. Fred's getting old.
But thankfully he is still game for a good walk, and we plan to do plenty of wandering around the mean streets of Dallas in search of Cowboys fans to antagonize. Hey, if the Redskins are going to stink this year, the only joy left is reveling when their football rivals lose.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Well, it's done. We've given Pappy to a lovely family. They have a preteen son to continually throw balls to the Papster, a teenage daughter who will welcome him on the bed, and a pre-college son to ignore him. I'm sure his life with them will be a happy one.
But Pappy's blog will continue. We are now living with a new pair of dogs I like to call Pappy II and Pappy III, for purposes of continuity. Their official names are Fred (on the left) and Buddy. Fred is thirteen years old and hogs the bed, but we have to honor his wisdom. Buddy is a still athletic eight-years, and constantly thunders up and down the stairs.
Psych! We'll be back with Pappy next week. We're just in Dallas visiting my Mother-In-Law for Christmas.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Bookmark this photo, because it may be the last time Pappy is seen in a headdress. Old Navy was handing out the antlers when I was doing my last minute shopping at 7:00 AM this morn before heading to the dog park. The shot itself was a Christmas miracle, since Pappy sat still with a ball dangled in front of his nose for several snaps. Finally he snapped, and lunged at it.
Happy holidays. Pappy and I will be back in a few.
Poor Pappy the mutt. Too often, he clings to his semblance of a breed-identity as a "terrier". But even then, would this win him a place in an AKC competition? No. Can he join a breed-specific web ring without fear of being ostracized? No again. Though he has more traits in common with than different from his purebred counterparts, his generic dog-ness excludes him. It's time to stop pretending.
I'm thinking of organizing a movement of mutts. And this movement would be inclusive of all dogs and breeds, since they are not the ones that choose to impose these artificial divisions. It is The Establishment! Yes, after fading out after the mid-seventies, they have resurfaced to sow discord and undermine dogs' 17,000 year franchise as humanity's first and best friend.
Ask yourself this: do poodles ask to have pom-poms carved into their luxurious manes? No! (Of course if they do like their pom-poms, I'm not judging them.) Would the Great Dane lay down with the Chihuahua? In a second, if he could work out the logistics. Dogs tend towards homogeneity in the state of nature, and it is only The Establishment imposing these divisions of breed.
The movement needs to have a catchy name and acronym. Hmmm, Mongrels and Underdogs Together for Tolerance? Discussions are ongoing. I may need to take a little time off from blogging to give this matter and our mission some serious consideration. Plus we're headed out of town for the holidays.
More later! 'Til then, fight the power.
Friday, December 22, 2006
I remember way back in the nineties when I moved from Metacrawler to Google as my favorite search engine-- I was a pretty early adopter. But, in a recent bout of navel gazing, I typed just "Pappy" into Yahoo, and Pappy's Dog Blog came up as the number one hit ahead of Pappyland, Pappy Boyington, and many other worthy Pappies. Google is so ten-minutes-ago that we don't even appear on the first page.
To be frank, I find it unfathomable that Pappy even appears on Yahoo's list. It leaves me wondering if they are somehow tracking my activities, then playing on my vanity by bubbling up favorite sites for my every search. Woo-ooo-oo, the internet sure is a creepy place full of scary people who know everything about you.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Pappy is pretty good with his paws, but they are only really useful for pinning things to the ground. For grabbing and fine manipulation, his mouth is his only hand. The disadvantages of this arrangement are pretty evident if you have ever seen your dog's tongue coated in filth. Another problem reveals itself when I hear Pappy trying to breathe, snorting and snuffling, while trying to extricate rubber balls jammed into tight spaces.
Every once in a while I try to imagine having my tongue on my palm, my nostrils on my knuckles, and my eyeballs on my wrist. Washing dishes becomes much more than a chore if you're trying to hold your breath the whole time. Rubber gloves would be a real problem. And you could forget me picking up after Pappy takes a dump... not going to happen.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I was retagged on the Christmas tagging circuit by crazed flyball junkie Pippin-- I love those wacky ears. This go round I thought I'd take a slightly different tack on the "three things I want, three things I don't" theme, and list what I want from Pappy this Christmas:
- My grass and shrubs back, freakin' herbivore.
- Him pooping directly into the bags.
- Do you think he could operate an espresso machine? It would certainly speed up the morning routine.
And these are three things I don't want from the Papster:
- Pawprints emblazoned on my suits and dress shirts in the morning.
- Muddy balls dropped in my lap.
- Him disappearing into the guest room, then getting "ominously silent" around my wife's few remaining stuffed animals.
Rather than tagging another five people with the Christmas Tag, I'm looking for volunteers. Any takers? Instructions are in the previous post.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I was only about 15 feet from him to start with, and I had one of those "wait a second" moments because the context was so odd. He was in a quiet spot next to some sidewalk construction, but I can't imagine how he got where he was without drawing a crowd. He ignored me, so I felt reasonably comfortable following him at a little distance as he meandered towards the Vietnam Memorial. He was very doglike, and I couldn't help but draw some comparisons to Pappy.
The fox was completely oblivious to people, and moved to a much busier area without any apparent notice. I guess he must be habituated to humans since he doesn't exactly live in the wilderness. The fox never glanced at anyone, even when kids started yelling about him. Pappy spends his life around people, but he is constantly vigilant for people and animals. On a walk, his head is on a swivel if there is anyone around or following behind us...always waiting on my command to kill or lick.
The fox was totally focused on squirrels, which, in turn, were pretty oblivious to him. He was carefully stalking them across the lawn, and then giving a little light chase at the end. In the same situation, Pappy would be storming across the lawn until every squirrel in the vicinity had retreated far up in the limbs-- but then he doesn't have to conserve much energy. I've never seen a trace of a stalking instinct, though he's quite a tracker. All the same, I doubt the fox would have much respect for Pappy's technique.
Monday, December 18, 2006
I've been thinking recently about putting together some t-shirt designs and opening a little online store. My motive wouldn't be to make money (because I'm pretty sure my only customers would be my wife and myself), but it would be wild to come across a total stranger wearing Pappy merchandise.
There are a number of different web services that allow you to set up an online store without any upfront costs-- they take a certain amount on each sale and you charge your profit over and above that. I see a number of bloggers who make use of Cafe Press for this service, but I've seen a few mixed reviews on the turnaround time, cost, and quality of some of the merchandise. I have absolutely no experience, so I'm ignorant on all counts.
Are any of these companies good? In the spirit of all things on the web, a little research exposes a wealth of contradictary guidance. What sense I can make of it seems to indicate that a lot depends on matching the printing process to the appropriate materials. The direct printing technique used for these print-on-demand companies isn't the same as screen printing used for large t-shirt productions, and sometimes appears washed out on thick cotton sweatshirts, for example. There are a couple of helpful posts with detailed discussions ongoing here and here at the now-deceased The Brooke blog.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Tensions have been high in the parking lot at the dog park. Evil looks are exchanged, tempers flare. This is between the humans, not the dogs.
The parking lot is at the end of a long driveway, and is shared between the dog park and an outdoor skating rink. Whenever there is a hockey game, suddenly the lot is packed and there is no overflow parking... and some doofus in an oversized SUV has parked across two spaces. Bunches of hockey dads high on adrenaline and testosterone are milling about looking for pencil-necked dog park regulars to thump-- well, not really, but it could happen.
Last weekend, the park maintenance guys left a huge pile of bark mulch in the parking lot, compounding the shortage of spaces. I thought there was going to be a war. At least there was a bunch of grumbling amongst us nerds in the dog enclosure. After all, it's our lot.
I came across a site as today's Dogmark.net Cool Site of the Day (don't forget to vote for Pappy as November's cool site). At first glance the product at Sniflabs.com seems pretty amazing. If you watch their flash animation, it's fantastic.
This little gizmo on the dog's collar senses the dogs physical activity, senses which other dogs with gizmos are in proximity giving you a social network, flashes lights under different situations, wirelessly transfers all this information to your computer, and logs it on their site. Then you read around a little and realize they aren't selling them, they are asking you to "reserve" one. In other words they haven't actually built much of anything yet.
So, projecting out, with all these great features the gizmo will be the size of a cigar box and have a battery life measured in minutes. Let's say you buy the fifth one off of the production line... it should be about seven years before you actually encounter another dog wearing one to test out the social features. And it doesn't actually have a GPS, just motion sensors (like those Wii remote controls that people are throwing through their TV sets) and proximity sensors. Mmmm, I pass.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
I've been giving some thought to Pappy lately. His chest is so deep, and his forelegs are long and overdeveloped. And his brow is kind of beetled. And that fur... I haven't seen many dogs with that fur.
But it's best not to overthink his heritage. We'd hate not to be allowed back in the dog park.
Friday, December 15, 2006
I've been tagged by my tiny terrier brother Scrappy to respond to the following challenge--
The Rules: The player of this game starts with "3 things he/she would love to get for Christmas" and also has to list "3 things he/ she definitely does not want to get for Christmas". Then he/she tags 5 friends and list their names. The ones who get tagged need to write on their blogs about their Christmas wishes, as well as state this rule clearly, then tag 5 more victims. And the one who tags need to leave a comment that says "you've been Christmas tagged!" in their comments and tell them to read your blog.
As always, my only purpose is to channel Pappy's thoughts and wants, so I will speak for him. These are three things Pappy would love for Christmas:
- A bouncy ball.
- Someone to throw the bouncy ball.
- A big chain to keep the bouncy ball thrower from going away... ever.
These are three things Pappy definitely does not want for Christmas:
- A gift certificate to the veterinarian.
- Body soap, shampoo, or any form of bath paraphernalia.
- A hotspot. (Well, he kind of enjoys working on the hotspot itself, but he really hates that disinfectant spray.)
Now I'm back to the hard part of deciding the next stuckees. Five is a lot. How about the following:
Thursday, December 14, 2006
As Pappy and I go for a walk, he'll be trawling along at a good clip sniffing the ground. Suddenly, he'll scoop something up and swallow it down as if by sleight of hand... mouth... whatever. The whole sequence happens so quickly I never have any idea what went in his mouth.
How could he possibly find and eat something so fast? In analyzing this question, I plotted out a flow chart of Pappy's thought process for searching and gobbling. My theory is that he expedites the eating process by eliminating several superfluous steps, such as considering whether he is hungry or if the item is edible. He just swallows and lets his stomach decide.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
It's that time of year again! Festivus is fast approaching on December 23-- the last non-commercial holiday for the wildly disfunctional family. In the celebration, the "Airing of Grievances", where the family expresses their disappointment in each other, is followed by the final "Feats of Strength". Traditionally this entails pinning the head of the household to the ground, but may involve any cathartic release of pent-up energy.
I would have to say this Airdale has the whole feats of strength part down pat. Crazy.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
In honor of the season, Pappy and I have been busily photochopping away. Greg from dogswithblogs.com.au asked for a Christmas tree ornament in memory of Daisie, a sweet little blogging pup who passed on.
And now, in order to fill out that dull nativity scene on your dining room sideboard, we have Paper-Doll Pappy. He comes complete with shepherd and lamb outfits, depending on your mood. Add a creche and a few supporting characters, and you should be good to go. Just glue a printout to some cardboard, and mind your fingers as you're cutting him out.
Now if I can just get the Pappy dreidl done...
Monday, December 11, 2006
It's amazing the things I find in our back yard when looking through the heap of construction debris from renovating our porch room:
|The old tile from our porch bathroom.|
|Water bottle chew toy.|
And, of course, Pappy.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
This weekend at the dog park was a tough one for all involved. Saturday the temperature was down to 22 degrees... yes, that's Fahrenheit, not Celsius. All you Canadians and northerners can stop laughing now, because for us that's pretty cold when you're just standing around. Molly and Honey's owner was wearing not one but two pairs of gloves.
Then, today all of the dogs were bonkers for some reason. As we were getting ready to enter, Pappy just went off at these two strange dogs through the fence. He was getting bad enough that I was prepping to leave. I've seen a few owners walk their dogs around the perimeter of the fence to settle down all the dogs before entering, so I tried that after a little cool-off walk. I tried him again, but Pappy and those two dogs were just bound to have trouble. Their owner said they were headed out, so we just switched places and Pappy seemed fine. Truman and owner returned from a walk around the park, and it turns out Truman was having trouble with the same dogs earlier. Then Cisco showed up, decked a Border Collie, and left almost immediately. Then this big German Shepherd showed up and ran yelping in terror all around the enclosure-- I didn't see anything happen to her that caused that. We had a full moon last week, but who knows what was going on. Not a banner day at the dog park.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
I was looking at a report of referrals to my site, and I've gotten like 30 different hits today from search engines where people are looking for "immovable object", "irresistable force", and some variant of "wrestling"-- I did a post a while back containing these phrases. Other search phrases that have brought people to my site in the past include "duck footed dog" and "dog ate a maxi-pad". I see stuff like this, and it makes me wonder what the heck is going on out there that I don't know about.
In the comments for a recent post, I was tagged by Disgruntled Owl and again by 3DogCache to list six weird things about Pappy and/or me. Is this a trick question? This blog is essentially a celebration of everything weird about Pappy. We've got an embarrassment of riches to draw upon. Of course I am of no relevance-- just a poor scribe.
Maybe I should be trying to make this a challenge, and list six normal things about Pappy. Well, I'll stick with the instructions. Here are six weird things I haven't seen other dogs doing:
- When chasing a ball, if it ricochets off a tree or other object he has to go back and investigate. He'll go look the tree up and down, even if it means backtracking across the yard. It could well be that he is the Isaac Newton of the dog set, working out the physics of ball trajectories.
- When Pappy has his ball and you aren't playing with him, he'll immediately take it to the nearest low-hanging obstacle-- a bureau, a chain-link fence with a gap under it, a bookshelf, a sofa, the TV stand-- and start a high-stakes game of pawing and poking the ball. Within seconds he'll have knocked the ball under the obstacle, whereupon he begins scrabbling around underneath with his paws. Often he can get the ball out himself, but he'll continue poking it under until he can't. Finally he'll begin a little dance of looking at the ball, then looking back at us and whining...driving...me...nuts...until I totally cave in and get the ball for him.
- When you're petting him, Pappy always tries to gnaw on your rings. My wife worries he'll eat the diamond from her engagement ring, and I don't look forward to the "outcome" of that eventuality.
- For some reason he always gets playful when I am putting on my shoes-- grabbing at socks, getting under my legs, etc. It's not that he isn't playful at other times, but he's always riled up with the shoes. I think he gets high on foot odor.
- When anticipating a walk I've seen dogs go nuts, or I've seen them enthusiastically sitting waiting for the leash. For some reason Pappy nervously paces in slow circles around me making it difficult to get the leash on. I have no explanation for this one, because he clearly likes walks and never goes off-leash.
- Pappy's bed is at the bottom of our bed. I have a little eighteen inch gap between bed and bureau to squeeze through to get to my side of our bed. For some reason Pappy always flops off his bed and sprawls his head and front legs across my gap when he goes to sleep. I'll stomp back and forth over his head while getting ready for bed, and he never flinches. After I turn out the lights I shuffle, night-blind and worried about crushing his skull, to bed. Later, he curls up on his bed out of the way. Ha ha ha, funny game.
Now for the hard part-- who do I want to victimize next? I remember my first chain letters as a kid, and they gave me a bit of a complex. They either promised a horrible and painful death if I didn't continue the chain, or asked me to send a dollar I didn't have to the people who victimized me in the first place. When I got older I made a methodical practice of breaking any chain letters, but always with some hesitation.
Let's see who looks like they haven't been tagged recently (man, there was a huge outbreak of tagging back in August). OK, I'll tag the following:
[The rules...Each player of this game starts with the "6 Weird Things about You"-- or your dogs. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says 'you are tagged' in their blog.]
Friday, December 08, 2006
When we got Pappy, he had already been *ahem* fixed. That means we won't be hearing the pitter-patter of tiny Pappito feet anytime soon. It's a sad thought we can't share the love by mass-producing him.
Unless... what is the current stance in the US on dog cloning? Yes, I understand that this would be an abomination with horrible moral implications, and I've read that the South Koreans went through thousands of clone implants to get one dog. But wouldn't it all be worth it to see Pappy's reaction? It's time we put modern science to good use.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I have no right to complain, because Pappy waits very patiently while we wipe the mud off his paws when he comes in from the back yard. But every once in a while we blow it, leading to carpet catastrophes. Ahhh, but if you can get past her twitchy Felix-Unger-on-caffeine persona, this Italian Greyhound has a pretty nice trick.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Some say that a dog grows to resemble his owners. If this is true of Pappy and us, then my wife and I must be flat-out stark raving mental.
Case in point-- give him one of his big biscuits, and he will wander in circles around the house whining. We let him outside so he can bury it (anything to stop the whining), but that isn't what he wants. Then he brings it back in, drops it on the rug, and jumps around barking at it. Then he wants to play fetch with it while whining. As near as I can tell, this will go on forever until I break it in half-- whereupon he gobbles it right down. I've figured out he must have a complex about treats longer than four inches, because he does the same thing with dried chicken strips and pizzles but not smaller treats.
I blame all of this on my wife. She was given an Easy-Bake Oven as a child. She loved it, but she was terrified of using it lest she use up all of its little cake mixes. Her parents thought she wasn't interested in it, and finally gave it away. She still hasn't recovered. If they knew all this background, the shelter would never have given us a dog.
Monday, December 04, 2006
I'm happy to report that, after greatly depleted attendance over the Thanksgiving holidays, this past weekend the dog park was back to normal. Jack (getting creamed on the left) and Jojo were paroled from the kennel for good behavior. Pappy continues to wear his body armor, which two different people described as looking like a diving flag. Truman was storming around, thankfully keeping away from the poo. And new star, Sammy the Bull Terrier puppy, was racing around like a wild thing. What do other people do on weekend mornings?
I used to find this the most entertaining dog video on Youtube. Then I recalled the plot of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes-- talking ape leads revolt resulting in human slavery and world domination by apes. Sure, these talking dogs want their Mama now, but what are they going to want tomorrow? Disturbing.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
You don't have to look far to see the happy Pappy, as he chases his ball or chases votes on the campaign trail, but here is the sad Pappy. Today was his bath day, prior to the application of his monthly flea goo, and it's all we can do to get him upstairs to the bathroom as the tub fills. The steadying hand in the photo is the countermove to his "flashflood shake" maneuver. Check out his accusing glare-- pretty withering.
This week a contractor started rebuilding our porch room. We went to the office, and when we came home the room was gutted-- my wife says it's like we've got a construction fairy. I'm not sure the workers would be too pleased if we got them t-shirts that said that.
The workers have to come through the house to get to the porch, and, of course, Pappy is running loose. I have to wonder what he is up to through all of this activity. I don't see any evidence of blood or detached limbs, so he's certainly not protecting the house. Heaven help us if he's playing ball with them.