Friday, July 26, 2013

Pop Culture Fenzy, Round 15

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Here's our question.

The redoubtable Justin Bieber got himself a new tattoo.  What is it? 

A crib sheet containing tips
on how to act like a man?
Hostmaster:  would that it were so.
What are you talking about?
  Justin Bieber is manly. 
Metro sexual is not manly.  
I'm Old School.
Hostmaster:  returning to the matter of Bieber's new tattoo. 
I think I heard this guy singing
 something about mistletoe. 
Could that be it? 
Hostmaster:  nope.  The tattoo is not mistletoe.
His momma?
Hostmaster:  close.
Whoa.  Actually, I was kidding.
 Because he looks like a momma's boy.
Hostmaster:  Yeah.  Anyway, the tattoo.
It's an eye.
  The watchful eye of his loving mother.
Hostmaster:  correct.
Where on his body is this watchful eye?
It's in the crook of his left arm.
That seems an odd placement.
I know enough about human anatomy to notice
 that the crook of an arm is not exactly the crow's nest. 
Think about it.  From Bieber's perspective,
when he gazes upon the
watchful eye, it gazes back
at him.
What a self absorbed freak.
Did he run out of mirrors?
He's running out of room for tattoos.
  This eyeball is said to be his sixteenth.
Round 15
Fluffy/Molly   7
Bryan/Cyndi   8

Friday, July 19, 2013

Drop that Stick!

As some of you recall, I have a long standing daily walk gig with a Cairn Terrier whom I refer to as Walt, aka Client X.  (We must protect him from the dangerous snare of celebrity.  Should he taste renown, his temperament suggests that he would bask.)

Walt has observed with apparent joy, that wind and rain are nature's tree pruners.  Thus, after such weather, Walt uses our walking time to hunt sticks.  Firstly, Walt thinks big.  Perhaps it is his Scottish heritage.  He sees himself as one of those huge guys in a kilt carrying a phone pole across a field than tossing it end over end. Walt's version of the Highland Games is taking a dead tree limb roughly the size of a javelin, and carrying that across a field.  A few hundred yards later, he permits me to take the javelin stick and toss it for him.  Walt scampers after the stick.  He picks it up and I toss it again. 

Mega fun.

You may be thinking, wait a minute!  That's like fetch, isn't it?  A Terrier fetching?  How do you get a determined guy like Walt to relinquish the stick?! 

Even most Retrievers need a little fetch instruction.

Let's look at a couple of ways you can teach a dog to drop the stick. 

Here's how Walt learned to drop the stick.  After he walked around merrily with the stick in his mouth, I reached down and gripped the stick.  Walt's first impulse was to pull.  Since I didn't want to teach him to play tug, I released the stick.  He strutted around some more,  with the stick in his mouth.  Once again I reached down and gripped the stick.  This time Walt didn't pull, but let go.  I then tossed the stick.  Walt merrily fetched the stick.

Walt is no dummy.  He realized that letting me have the stick for a brief time brought about boffo fun. 

Not all dogs will get it that quickly, so you may have to repeat the Gripping of the Stick exercise.  Or you might wait till the dog drops the stick on his own, then casually pick up the stick and announce your intentions by exclaiming FETCH! as you throw the stick.  (Walt and I don't talk much, we play without exclamations).

Another way to teach a dog to drop the stick is via generalization.

Yes, I know.  Some "experts" say a dog is incapable of generalizing, that is, understanding a command in a different situation than the one in which he learned it.

Poppycock.  If that were so, how do experts account for my dogs?  They were taught the "get up there" command at the back door of their home, to mount the three stairs to the kitchen.  Yet somehow magically they all were able on the first try, to understand that "get up there" means move upwards, not just the three stairs to the kitchen, but also to climb the stairs to the second floor of the house, or to enter an automobile!    

Now, let's look at using generalization to teach drop a stick.  We teach puppies the "drop it" command.  This command teaches them to relinquish something that we deem off limits, such as your shoes or the family cat. 

If you haven't already taught your dog to drop it, here's a How-To. The dog picks up say, a pencil.  You tell him to "drop it".  Offer him something better, such as a piece of cheese or his favorite toy.  He drops the pencil, he gets the cheese.  He learns that "drop it" brings better things.

Back to dropping the stick- the dog has a stick in his mouth.  You say "drop it".  He knows what "drop it" means, so he drops it, eager to find out what better thing will happen.  You toss the stick.  He runs to it.

Super fun.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 14

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Here's our question.

The Coca-Cola Company has released a new bottle for distribution in Colombia.  What is this new bottle made of?

Banana peels?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Flower petals?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Recycled ransom notes?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Frozen syrup?
Hostmaster:  close.
Hostmaster:  correct.
That bottle has been who knows where.
  Ever taste dirty ice?
You humans are so squeamish.
Ha.  That's for sure.  A few seeds on the floor
 and it's the end of civilization as we know it.
  Mice will come in and take over.  But we digress.  
It's cold to hold ice. 
There's a sort of rubber band around the
 middle of the bottle to put your tender hand on.
Rubber is a petroleum product.
  They should use flower petals.
  It's ecofriendly.
I doubt the flowers think it's friendly.
  Isn't rubber from rubber trees?
Not synthetic rubber.
  That's from, like, dangerous lighter fluids.
Um.  Yeah.
  I wonder why Coke did this ice bottle
 business in Colombia.
Maybe it's a goodwill gesture
 to thirsty kidnap victims.
You're kinda dark, Bryan.  I like that.
I'll say, he's dark.  After being his
 dogwalker for two months
 I quit and became a hair and nail stylist. 
Don't hair and nail stylists put
 dangerous lighter fluid type things
 on their customers?
What do you know, Fluffy?
  Look at your hair!
Time to end this round.  There are
 a few things I am squeamish
 about.  One of them is cat fights. 
Round 14
Fluffy/Molly  7
Bryan/Cyndi  7

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Breed Profile: Schipperke

The Schipperke is a small sturdy spunky dog believed to have been developed in the 1600's in Flemish regions of Belgium.  Bred down in size from the Leauvenaar, a sheepdog, the Schipperke was used by tradesmen and river bargers as a ratter and watchdog.  Schip is the Flemish word for boat.

Some Schipperke Facts 
- weight:  10-16 pounds
-  height at shoulder:  10-13 inches
-  life span:  13-15 years
-  Also Known As:  Little Captain, Little Boatman, Belgian Barge Dog
-  harsh fairly short double coat, black, spitz style
-  many are born without tails, those born with a tail usually have it docked
Today's Schipperke likes to keep busy in his job as companion and is involved in all activities going on in the household.  An alert dog with a sharp bark and suspicious nature, the Schipperke is a very good watchdog.  
Schipperke Manifesto
-  I'm not willful.  I simply have everything under control
-  I am smarter than you but will not hold that against you
-  we'll get along fine, if you have a sense of humor

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fluffy and the Heron

Fluffy the Dogwalker      by Lynn Benoit